Barbie has become the biggest opening film at the New Zealand box office for 2023, leaving the likes of Tom Cruise, Indiana Jones and Fast X. Raking in $3.85 million over opening weekend, including preview screenings, Barbie has also provided the biggest opening for any Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Greta Gerwig film and is the biggest opening for any film directed by a woman.
Reflecting the enormous Barbienheimer box office figures in the United States, hot on Barbie’s sparkly heels locally came Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer in the second spot. “The phenomenal success of Barbie, combined with the release of Oppenheimer, resulted in sold-out sessions across the country for both films,” said a spokesperson from Universal Pictures International NZ. “They are expected to sell out in a similar fashion again this weekend.”
As for The Spinoff’s take, our critics commended one movie for being astounding and grandiose, moving and existential, and were disappointed in the other for it’s shoddily-written two dimensional female characters. You might just be surprised which is which, so make sure you click here to read more of our thoughts on Barbienheimer.
The gunman responsible for killing two people at a downtown Auckland construction last week turned his shotgun on himself, police have confirmed this afternoon.
Officially named as 24-year-old Matu Reid, police said a post-mortem confirmed he was injured when gunshots were exchanged with officers last Thursday morning. “However it has also confirmed his fatal injury was self-inflicted.”
Post-mortems have also been completed on the two people killed by Reid, though no additional information has been released by police today.
A forensic examination of the building site has been carried out and preparation work will now get under way to ensure the site can be handed back to the construction company, likely towards the end of the week.
Meanwhile, four people remain in hospital following the shooting. It includes three construction workers who are all in stable conditions and continuing to recover well. The police officer injured in the attack was also continuing to make progress in hospital, “however will have a long road to recovery from injuries”.
Police were continuing to ensure support remains in place for the victims as well as the injured officer.
Labour still has a shot at winning this year’s election, according to the prime minister.
Chris Hipkins has told media at this afternoon’s post-cabinet press conference that the resignation of Kiri Allan – the fifth minister to leave government this year – doesn’t mean Labour can’t secure a third term in office. “We are just getting started with the campaign and there is lot more we have to offer,” Hipkins said.
Asked how the public could see that the government “had it together” ahead of October’s elections, Hipkins simply said: “just watch me”.
It didn’t show that the government was running out of talent, he said. “There is a logic in bringing the portfolio together given the issues we are dealing with at the moment,” said Hipkins. “If you look at the overall job share around the cabinet, I think the portfolio allocation is fair across ministers.” Later in the press conference, Hipkins failed to name his current customs minister (it’s Jo Luxton, by the way, though I had to Google it).
Asked if he had any more information about Allan’s arrest overnight, Hipkins said those were now questions for police. “I don’t want to get in the middle of that,” he said. “I’ll be dialling back my comments in that space.” However, he said that Allan had been well supported over the past few weeks and that her decision to go on leave recently was unrelated to her mental health. “I made sure that she had got support, that she had been seeing a counsellor. I did not compel her to stay away from work.”
Allan had “indicated that she wanted to come back to work”, said Hipkins, and it was not his job to keep her away if she wanted to return. He had “encouraged” her to take additional leave, but Allan opted against this. “Kiri was being very well supported. She had some very good support from colleagues, we had arranged professional support… I like to think that right through this I have handled the situation fairly and with respect.
“I don’t think mental health should disqualify someone from employment and shouldn’t disqualify someone from employment in this building. I think what is important is people are supported, I think Kiri was supported here.”
First term minister Ginny Andersen will take over the justice portfolio following the resignation of Kiri Allan, the prime minister has announced.
She’ll continue to hold her police role and Chris Hipkins said aligning the two portfolios would be “important in the coming weeks as we progress ram raid legislation to ensure young offenders face more accountability for their crimes”.
Kieran McAnulty will become the minister for regional development, which Hipkins said aligned with his current portfolio of rural communities. Grant Robertson will take over the lead coordination role for Tairawhiti following Cyclone Gabrielle, while Damien O’Connor will pick up associate transport.
Unrelated to the departure of Allan, there will be a new revenue minister. “At his request David Parker will pass on revenue to Barbara Edmonds, freeing him up to focus on transport,” said Hipkins. Parker publicly expressed disappointment over the ruling out of a wealth tax, though Hipkins wouldn’t confirm this was the reason why he opted to give up the revenue portfolio.
“Prior to entering parliament Barb was a specialist tax lawyer and I have confidence in her to ability to pick up a greater share of the economic work of the government, which is why I am also making her an associate minister of finance,” said Hipkins.
“She will relinquish her associate health role which will be redistributed amongst other health ministers.”
Overall there are now 25 ministers in the executive, with 18 in cabinet.
The resignation of Kiri Allan is the latest in an unfortunate series of ministerial mishaps, distractions, scandals and unexpected departures that have plagued the government in 2023.
It all started in January with the revelation that Jacinda Ardern would be stepping down as prime minister, prompting the ascension of Chris Hipkins after then-deputy PM Grant Robertson opted not to run for the top job.
Then, in March, Stuart Nash was sacked from cabinet after it came to light that he’d been emailing private cabinet information out to donors. This was his final strike; Nash had previously been embroiled in a dispute over “lobbying” the police commissioner.
Two months later, in May, Meka Whaitiri quit cabinet to jump ship to Te Pāti Māori. That won’t formally kick in unless she’s elected in October. For now, Whaitiri remains an independent MP.
In June, then-transport minister Michael Wood resigned after undeclared shareholdings were eventually disclosed. This followed intense scrutiny over his portfolio of Auckland Airport shares. Wood returned to parliament last week as a back bencher and has confirmed he’ll contest the October election.
And then today, the third minister in as many months left cabinet. Kiri Allan resigned this morning after spending much of the night in the cells of Wellington Central Police station following a careless driving incident in Roseneath. She has returned home and will consider her future in politics.
What happens now
Chris Hipkins has made it clear that he won’t be ordering a snap election following Allan’s snap resignation. The prime minister told media today that he’s confident his smaller team of ministers can manage extra portfolios. “I have absolute confidence that the remaining ministers will be able to cover that workload,” he said.
The last new minister to be appointed was Ginny Andersen who moved into cabinet following the exit of Stuart Nash. Since then, Hipkins has opted to maintain the same ministers, but has simply pushed additional portfolios onto them.
Hipkins told reporters today it was too close to this year’s election to think about expanding cabinet. With Allan’s departure, there will be 18 ministers sitting around the cabinet table, with two empty chairs. That means this team of ministers will be even busier over the next 80-or-so days until the election.
As for who will take on Allan’s roles (justice and regional development), this will be announced at a 4pm press conference from the Beehive. We’ll bring you the details then.
Chris Hipkins was asked today if he knew the last time a government minister was arrested. He didn’t have an immediate answer, telling the journalist he simply didn’t have that information.
There are a handful of political scandals involving police or the threat of them. Many didn’t result in charges and few involved current ministers. For example, former minister Taito Phillip Field was sent to prison in October 2009, but this came after he’d left parliament. That same year, National minister Richard Worth resigned following allegations of sexual harassment, but no charges were laid by police.
However, at the turn of the century, minister Ruth Dyson faced a drink driving scandal while a minister in the Helen Clark government. She was at the time a minister outside of cabinet, making it less serious than the current issue involving Allan.
According to this Herald report from November 2000, Dyson, the minister for disability issues, was stopped by a random police check late one night and was found to be almost twice over the (then) legal limit. She had an alcohol reading of 744 micrograms a litre of breath.
Dyson resigned that night as a minister, but opted to remain as an electorate MP.
A few weeks later in the Wellington District Court, Dyson pleaded guilty and was fined $600 and disqualified for driving for six months. “I’m going to pay the fine, hand in my licence. I’m really pleased that this incident is over and everyone can get on with their lives now,” said Dyson at the time.
However, proving that politics can occasionally be a forgiving career, Dyson managed to regain most of her ministerial responsibilities just a few months later in June 2001.
Dyson stayed on in parliament for another 19 years, leaving ahead of the 2020 election.
That’s a question that was being asked in the newsroom earlier this morning and which Otago University professor Andrew Geddis has answered.
Kiri Allan has been charged with careless use of a motor vehicle and refusing to accompany a police officer. Both carry potential fines.
And according to Geddis, this wouldn’t instantly disqualify Allan from being a member of parliament. “MPs only are automatically kicked out of parliament if convicted of an offence with a two-year-or-more [prison] penalty,” Geddis said.
Of course, Allan has resigned from her ministerial posts because, as noted by the PM and others today, being justice minister was an untenable position given the criminal charges.
* Correction: Earlier reports suggested Allan had been charged with a ‘reckless’ driving offence, which would have carried a potential sentence of up to three months imprisonment.
The leader of the opposition said the resignation of Kiri Allan “raises questions about the judgement of prime minister Chris Hipkins”.
The PM fronted media about an hour ago, acknowledging that his former justice minister was “clearly not in a good space” and needed time away from politics. Her position as a minister had become untenable.
In a statement shared by Stuff, National’s Christopher Luxon agreed that Allan could no longer stay in cabinet. “It was the right thing for Kiri Allan to resign,” he said. “We wish Ms Allan well and hope she is getting the support and help she needs.”
Earlier comments from Act Party leader David Seymour also questioned Hipkins’ role in this situation. The prime minister had a “lot to answer for”, said Seymour, and had clearly brought Allan back into cabinet too early.
Justice minister Kiri Allan was involved in a careless driving incident in Roseneath, Wellington, shortly after 9pm last night.
Police confirmed she was charged with “careless use of a motor vehicle, and refusing to accompany a police officer, and summonsed to appear in court at a later date”. An infringement notice was also issued for excess breath alcohol between 250 and 400mcg.
Allan was taken to Wellington Central Police Station where she was held until about 1am this morning.
The prime minister spoke to Allan at about 7am: “I spoke to her on the phone this morning, it would be fair to say it was a difficult conversation. She’s clearly not in a good space so it was not a long conversation. We have people with her and around her, supporting her.”
Allan will be returning home and considering her future in politics.
Reallocated ministerial portfolios will be announced later today and Hipkins rejected any suggestion of calling a snap election: “There will be an election on the 14th of October… I have absolute confidence that the remaining ministers will be able to cover that workload.”
There remains some confusion over the circumstances of Allan’s arrest. “It wasn’t clear whether she had been the one who was driving… exactly what had happened”. However, it’s now believed Allan was alone in the vehicle.
Prime minister Chris Hipkins has addressed media following early morning reports that one of his ministers, Kiri Allan, had been involved in a careless driving incident.
It’s been revealed this morning that Kiri Allan was charged last night with careless use of a motor vehicle, and refusing to accompany a police officer. She will appear in court at a later date.
Speaking to media from the Beehive, Hipkins reiterated his earlier comments that while Allan’s actions were “inexcusable”, she was experiencing “extreme emotional distress” at the time of the incident. “My initial concerns last night were for her immediate safety and wellbeing. It appears that some of her personal struggles came to a head,” Hipkins said.
The prime minister spoke to Allan at about 7am, moments after she had texted him to say she’d be leaving her ministerial posts. “I spoke to her on the phone this morning, it would be fair to say it was a difficult conversation,” said Hipkins. “She’s clearly not in a good space so it was not a long conversation. We have people with her and around her, supporting her.”
Last week saw Allan return to work and help launch a new government policy targeted at ram raiders. Hipkins said that those who watched last week’s press conference would have seen her at “the top of her game”. However: “last night’s incident is evidence there are no quick fixes when it comes to mental health”.
“The best thing for Kiri right now is to focus on her whānau and her wellbeing,” he added.
Asked whether today’s events would make a snap election necessary, Hipkins said that hadn’t been on his mind this morning. “There will be an election on the 14th of October,” he said. As to filling the void within his cabinet, Hipkins said: “I have absolute confidence that the remaining ministers will be able to cover that workload.”
Hipkins said that he considered making a statement on this issue last night, but there was insufficient information to make a public comment. “The facts weren’t particularly clear last night, they’ve become clearer this morning… what had happened was contested, now we’ve got clarity around that,” he said.
The prime minister’s initial statement at about 7.15am this morning claimed Allan was charged with “reckless” driving, while later confirmation from police noted it was the less severe charge of “careless” driving. “It’s a terrible set of circumstances,” Hipkins said.
There was also initial confusion as to whether or not Allan had been driving or in the car with another person, added Hipkins. “The facts were simply not clear… it wasn’t clear whether she had been the one who was driving… exactly what had happened”. It was now his understanding that Allan was alone in the vehicle. “That is my understanding but I’m not in a position to verify any of the facts.”
A police spokesperson has revealed Kiri Allan was charged with “careless use of a motor vehicle, and refusing to accompany a police officer”.
In a statement with the subject line “Evans Bay Parade crash”, it’s also confirmed an “infringement notice was also issued for excess breath alcohol between 250 and 400mcg”. The incident took place in Roseneath shortly after 9pm last night.
It’s worth noting that the earlier statement from the prime minister said Allan had been “charged with reckless driving”, while the police statement said “careless use of a motor vehicle”. A spokesperson for the prime minister has since confirmed the less severe charges in the police statement to be correct.
Police do not name Allan in the statement, which also adds that she will appear in court at a later date.
In further comments to RNZ, police added: “One person was taken in to custody and is assisting police with inquiries into the circumstances of the crash. The road was blocked for a short time, no injuries are reported.”
James Shaw says the sudden resignation of justice minister Kiri Allan is “frankly heartbreaking”.
As has been reported today, Allan has stepped down from all her ministerial posts after being charged with reckless driving and resisting arrest in Wellington overnight. She’ll be taking some time out from politics back at home.
Shaw, the Green Party co-leader, said that it was the right call for Allan to quit her portfolios. “Kiri has been through an incredibly tough time recently and it is possible for people who are in that situation to go for weeks feeling fine and then not be,” Shaw told RNZ. “I think we have to acknowledge she’s a human being and has been going through a very tough time.”
As a colleague, Shaw said he was very sad for Allan and hoped she was getting the help needed. But he said it wasn’t his place – or anyone’s – to judge whether Allan had returned to work too quickly after recent time on leave.
It also didn’t reflect on the broader Labour team, despite a series of recent high profile situations involving ministers. Shaw said no government was immune from that. “Politics is very high pressure and people are under a lot of stress, so when something goes awry it tends to play out in a fairly spectacular manner in the media,” he said.
Act Party leader David Seymour has expressed sadness over the sudden resignation of Kiri Allan from her ministerial posts, saying she was a “good sort”.
It was revealed earlier this morning that Allan had been taken into police custody following a car crash in Wellington. It was then confirmed she had resigned, with a spokesperson for the prime minister saying Allan had been charged with reckless driving and resisting arrest.
Seymour told Stuff that politicians were human. “I’m really sad… I’ve known Kiri for years. To see this happen, there’s clearly real problems here,” he said.
However, he added that Hipkins had a “lot to answer for” and had clearly brought Allan back into cabinet too early. “They were clearly not taking the issue seriously.”
Asked on RNZ how Hipkins should address the aftermath of Allan’s resignation, political commentator Bryce Edwards said that was a tricky question. “There will be some sympathy for the hand he’s been given here and overall he’s been handed quite a few problems since taking over as prime minister,” said Edwards. “But turning back to policy, announcing some policy, is still ultimately the best thing he can do.”
Minister for arts, culture and heritage Carmel Seuploni announced on Saturday that the government would pledge $15 million to help fund the restoration of the St James theatre in Auckland. Auckland Council has already pledged $15m towards restoring the historic theatre. Sepuloni said mayor Wayne Brown had confirmed to her that the commitment stood provided work was under way by June 30 next year.
As Chris Schulz reports, the pledged funding means work can begin on foundational repairs, earthquake strengthening and structural improvements. Schulz writes that while the St James’ owner has said publicly that he wants the venue open in time for its 100th anniversary in 2028, privately, “he believes it can be done much earlier, suggesting he could even beat the opening of the City Rail Link in 2026.”
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The justice minister, Kiri Allan, has resigned after being charged with careless driving and resisting arrest. She also returned a breath test that was over the infringement offence level. The prime minister called her actions “indefensible” but suggested her mental health issues had “come to a head”. Allan said: “I accept my position as a minister is untenable.”
Allan, who was also minister for regional development and associate minister for finance and transport, had returned to work last week following struggles with mental health and the break-up of a personal relationship. She has separately faced accusations over the last month in connection with her interactions with staff. Below, read the statements just issued by the prime minister, Chris Hipkins, and Allan in full.
The prime minister’s statement in full:
Shortly after 9.00pm last night Kiri Allan was involved in a car crash on Evans Bay Parade in Wellington. She was taken into custody and held in the Wellington Central Police station. She was released around 1.00am this morning. She has been charged with reckless driving* and resisting arrest. She also returned a breath test over the legal limit but at a level considered an infringement offence. Police have not pressed charges in relation to that.
While her alleged actions are inexcusable, I’ve been advised she was experiencing extreme emotional distress at the time of the incident. Her recent personal struggles with mental health have been well documented and it appears some of those issues came to a head yesterday.
I have spoken with her first thing this morning and advised her I do not believe she’s in a fit state to hold a Ministerial warrant. I believe it’s also untenable for a Justice Minister to be charged with criminal offending. Kiri agrees, and she’s advised me she wishes to resign all her portfolios immediately, is heading home, and taking time to consider her future in politics. I’ve accepted that resignation.
I recently provided Kiri the opportunity to address her mental health issues. After taking some time out I believed she was okay and was assured by her she was. Last night’s incident is evidence there are not always quick fixes when it comes to mental health, and the best thing for Kiri right now is to focus on her whanau and her wellbeing away from Parliament.
I don’t provide this detail to diminish her actions, they were indefensible, but to provide context for the distressed circumstances she found herself in when the incident occurred. I will confirm the reallocation of her portfolios later today.
Kiri Allan’s statement in full:
This morning I have advised the Prime Minister I will immediately resign all my portfolios. I’m heading home and will be taking time to consider my future in politics.
Over recent weeks I’ve faced a number of personal difficulties. I took time off to address those, and believed I was okay to juggle those challenges with the pressure of being a Minister. My actions yesterday show I wasn’t okay, and I’ve let myself and my colleagues down.
I accept that my position as a Minister is untenable. I’m very sorry for my actions, the harm they could have caused and the embarrassment it has placed on the Government and my colleagues.
* This posted was updated following a police statement that the charge is careless rather than reckless driving (“careless use of a motor vehicle, and refusing to accompany a police officer”).
The justice minister, Kiri Allan, was involved in a car crash on Evans Bay Parade, not far from Wellington airport last night, after which she was taken into police custody, according to reports on RNZ and Stuff.
In a statement, police said a crash involving two vehicles was reported shortly after 9pm. “One person was taken in to custody and is assisting police with inquiries into the circumstances of the crash. The road was blocked for a short time, no injuries are reported.” RNZ said the incident involved a Hyundai Kona hitting a parked car.
Last week Allan returned to work after taking leave for personal reasons. She has separately faced allegations in recent weeks over her working relationships with staff.