New Jersey governor Chris Christie has been criticised after he was spotted enjoying time at a beach he had closed to the public due to a budget impasse.

All non-essential services, including parks and beaches, were shut down by the Republicans during the 4 July holiday weekend in the state.

At a news conference on Sunday 2 July, Christie announced he was spending the weekend at his governor's residence and was commuting by helicopter to work. He said: "That's just the way it goes. Run for governor, and you have can have a residence there.

"I didn't get any sun today."

However, despite saying he didn't catch any sun, he was spotted lounging on a beach with his family.

It was only after the photographs were published that his spokesperson, Brian Murray, said that Governor Christie had "briefly" spent time at the beach, before heading to the office.

"He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on," Murray added

The budget shutdown was caused because a health insurance bill had not been passed.

The healthcare bill had to be passed to allow the entire budget to proceed.

Christie had been pushing for the health insurer Horizon Cross Blue Shield to give $300m as part of efforts to tackle drug addiction.

The state of Maine also implemented a similar shutdown to services due to budget disputes, and seven other states are facing similar shutdowns in the coming weeks.