Call centre brings jobs and a welcome boost to Ruatoria

One of the most depressed areas in New Zealand had a welcome boost today with a call centre company opening, creating up to 50 jobs in the small East Coast town.

Ruatoria has a population of 750, unemployment is around 15 per cent and the median wage is $17,000 a year.

Unemployment in Ruatoria is around 15 per cent, but there are hopes the new call centre will create 50 new jobs. Source: 1 NEWS

Porirua-based call centre Connect Global needed to expand and saw a chance to benefit the Ruatoria community by opening a branch office in the town.

"Instead of getting the people to the jobs, take the jobs to the people," said Serena Fiso, Connect Global owner.

Fourteen people are employed at the call centre now and the aim is to expand to 50.

Ruatoria worker Vanessa Ngarimu, a mother-of-four, couldn't be happier about being upskilled to a new job at the call centre in a town where jobs can be tough to find.

"Fourteen to what, 50 jobs at once, that's just unreal to us," Ms Ngarimu said.

The company is also moving to the Taranaki town of Patea, creating 10 jobs there.

But there are challenges for firms in expanding to small communities.

It's not the remoteness of places like Ruatoria but a lack of fast internet that people in the town say is holding it back from ventures like Connect Global. 

They're telling the Government to speed up the ultra fast broadband roll-out.

Man enters woman's Gisborne home late at night, assaults her and steals her car

Gisborne police are hunting a man who assaulted a woman in her home and stole her car.

The man, who was not known to the woman, entered the woman's home at around 11.30pm on Friday, Detective Nicholas Puttick said today. 

He assaulted the woman before stealing her car. 

The woman was not injured, but police are concerned about the nature of this offending and are asking for the public's assistance to identify the man involved, Mr Puttick said. 

The man is described as being in his early twenties and about 1.7 metres (5 feet 7) tall. 

The car is a 2011 blue Mazda 6 sedan, registration GCQ637. 

Anyone who sees the car is being asked to call 111 immediately. 

If you have any other information which could assist the investigation call Gisborne Police on 06 831 0700. 

Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Police Source: 1 NEWS

East Coast region gets $152.7 million Government cash injection for roads, tourism, airport

The Government are injecting $152.7 million into the Tairāwhiti - East Coast region from the Provincial Growth Fund, in an attempt to develop transport, businesses and create more jobs. 

The bulk of the regional growth fund money will go towards improving roading and transport links. Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in Gisborne today for the announcement and said the funding would be a "significant boost" for the region. 

Of the $152.7m:

- $137m is going to transport, which Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones said had suffered from "historical under-investment and recurring extreme weather events". 

"The locals have repeatedly told me they need an efficient and reliable road network that better connects the community, helps them get goods from farm gates and forests to the local and global market, and supports tourism," he said.

- $13.3m would be going towards tourism projects.

- $1.3m would be put towards forestry projects.

- $1m was for projects in the food and beverage sector.

"Tairāwhiti [East Coast] offers a unique quality of life combined with genuine business and economic opportunities," said Ms Ardern.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"However, it faces significant infrastructure challenges, high unemployment and lower productivity."

Part of the $152.7m would see $5.5m going towards Gisborne's airport redevelopment, which Mr Jones said said would provide "opportunities to expand and grow, as well as bring more visitors to the regions" through reliable air travel. 

PM Jacinda Ardern gave a clever response to her minister at the launch of the renamed forestry service.
Source: 1 NEWS


Risk of flooding, severe gales as heavy rain expected across parts of the North Island

More heavy rain is expected across parts of the North Island today, bringing with it the risk of flooding and severe gales.

A complex low pressure system east of the North Island has been forecast to move slowly throughout the rest of the day, while another may cross the northeast of the North Island tomorrow, MetService said.

Heavy rain has been forecast for the eastern parts of the North Island, while strong winds are expected to rock southern parts of the North Island, the national meteorological service said.

A heavy rain watch has been issued for Gisborne, south of Tokomaru Bay.

A heavy rain warning remains in place for the Hawke's Bay this afternoon into tomorrow afternoon, bringing a further 150 to 180mm of rain on top of what has already been accumulated around the ranges north of Napier, while 70 to 100mm is expected to fall elsewhere.

A strong wind watch is in place for Bay of Plenty, including Rotorua and Taupo; Gisborne south of Tokomaru Bay; the Hawke’s Bay; Taranaki; and Wellington south of Ngauranga Gorge.

For a full forecast for your area, see our weather section here.

TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett gives the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS

One dead after serious crash near Gisborne

One person is dead after a single vehicle crash near Gisborne today.

Police cars Source: 1 NEWS

State Highway 35, south of Tolaga Bay has been closed by police following the serious crash.

The crash happened just before 1pm.

Police say second person in the vehicle was taken to hospital for injuries not thought to be serious.

The road is currently down to one lane with stop-go in place.

Police will be investigating the cause of the crash.