Where will Cyclone Hola hit? 'If I were living in Northland, Coromandel or Gisborne I'd really be keeping up with that forecast,' says MetService

MetService says an accurate path for Cyclone Hola will not really be able to be predicted until about Saturday night.

Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said Hola is "really intense now" and is just beginning its recurve to the southeast from its current position between Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

She said an accurate forecast of Hola's path near New Zealand will not be known until Saturday evening, and urged people to keep up to date.

An updated track map for Cyclone Hola, overlaid on Google Earth, issued 4am NZT on Friday, March 9.
An updated track map for Cyclone Hola, overlaid on Google Earth, issued 4am NZT on Friday, March 9. Source: JTWC/Google Earth

"That track is going to become very important," Ms Griffiths said.

"If I were living in Northland Coromandel or Gisborne I'd really be keeping up with that forecast for Monday, which is D Day."

With Hola following just weeks after Cyclone Gita ravaged parts of Nelson Tasman and the West Coast, Ms Griffiths said the number of cyclones this year hitting New Zealand was "not exceptional".

"We've only had three this year," she said, "but they are targeting New Zealand right now".

The category four cyclone brought 170km/h winds to Vanuatu yesterday. Source: Breakfast

Ms Griffiths urged people to get their official forecast from MetService, as she said they are the only agency with the relevant tropical cyclone expertise.

Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says Monday is "D-Day" for areas like Northland, Coromandel and Gisborne. Source: Breakfast

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Auckland lawyer sentenced for helping human trafficker

They were promised high wages, free food and accommodation, but instead they were paid just a fraction of what they were promised and forced to live in squalid, cramped conditions.

Today, the lawyer who helped a human trafficker fool Immigration New Zealand was sentenced to 10 months home detention with six months post release conditions and $1575 in reparations to the workers.

In 2014, Mohammed Idris Hanif provided legal services to Faroz Ali, who was found guilty of human trafficking in 2016 - the first conviction of its kind in New Zealand.

Hanif gave false and misleading visitor visa applications on behalf of the Fijian workers, so that the workers Ali had trafficked into New Zealand could continue working in his gib-fixing business.

Hanif provided applications on five separate occasions that stated the Fijian workers were genuine tourists, who were in New Zealand to sight-see and visit friends and family, which was false.

Hanif was used to appearing at the lawyers' benches of Manukau District Court but today he was in the dock.

He maintains his innocence and applied for a discharge without conviction, saying the charges were trivial.

The application was opposed by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment lawyer Shona Carr said Hanif provided false information to authorities on who and who should not be allowed in New Zealand.

She said the vicitms of the offending - poor workers from Fiji - had spent so much on getting to New Zealand that they could not pull out of the scam because they had to try and recover the money they had borrowed from friends and relatives.

"The victims were embarrassed and ashamed and left unable to repay their debt."

She said it would not be appropriate to give Hanif a discharge without conviction when he maintained his innocence.

Judge Gregory Hikaka said the matter was serious as it involved misleading Government officials who relied on lawyers to be honest.

The judge said the workers spent their time in New Zealand in squalid conditions and returned to Fiji in debt to friends and family.

Hanif has been a lawyer since 1987 but now his practising certificate has expired but the Law Society are aware of the charges and he still faces disciplinary action.

He's also been ordered to pay $1575 dollars in reparation to the workers.

Ali, the man who promised the migrants everything, only to exploit them was found guilty of bringing in vulnerable Fijian workers and exploiting them in 2016.

Justice Heath sentenced Ali to nine-and-a-half years in prison for 57 charges, including people trafficking, which he described as an "abhorrent" crime.

Ali headed an organisation that ran advertisements in a Fijian newspaper, promising people orchard and construction work in New Zealand at seven or eight times their pay.

They were charged exorbitant fees to travel to New Zealand, but when they arrived they were forced to sleep on the floor and had rent and food costs deducted from their pay.

Suliana Vetanivula was one of the workers, and her victim impact statement was read by Crown prosecutor Luke Clancy at Ali's sentencing.

"When I go out I feel ashamed to see the people I owe in my village. When I came to them for help, they were ready to help me and in return I didn't do my part. When I returned to the village I felt like I was not wanted anymore, like everybody sees me as a failure.

"It was like I stole money from them because they know that whoever goes to Australia or New Zealand for work, they come back with a lot of money."

Mr Clancy said Ali had expressed no remorse whatsoever and owed the workers $128,000 in fees and outstanding wages. He said that figure did not include the profit Ali made from their labour.

Ali's lawyer, Peter Broad, said his client had no other money available and was facing bankruptcy after being pursued by the Inland Revenue Department for a $126,000 tax bill.

Justice Heath said some of the workers were sent to the Bay of Plenty for orchard work, where the accommodation was shamefully poor.

"Three married women and one married man were taken to a house near Pyes Pa and told they would be staying in the basement with other people. There was no bedding to speak of and only one mattress was available. This in July 2014, in the midst of a New Zealand winter. That must have been extremely cold for people travelling from the tropical warmth of Fiji."

In sentencing Ali, the judge ordered him to pay reparation of $28,000 to refund the fees the workers paid.

"People trafficking is an abhorrent crime. It is a crime against human dignity. It undermines the respect that all of us should have for the human rights and the autonomy of individual people. Such conduct degrades human life. It is a crime that should be condemned in the strongest possible terms."

By Edward Gay

rnz.co.nz

Mohammed Idris Hanif
Mohammed Idris Hanif Source: rnz.co.nz

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Detector dogs in prisons sniff out nearly one synthetic cannabis sample a week

A small group of specially trained detector dogs are sniffing out synthetic drugs in New Zealand’s prisons. 

Five dogs have been in action since March, searching for ever-changing psychoactive substances smuggled into prisons. 

Since then, the dogs have retrieved 33 samples of synthetic cannabis, nearly one a week. But that's nowhere near as high as other drugs that are found. 

But the Ministry of Corrections said it's front-footing potential prison deaths from synthetics after inmate fatalities overseas.

"It is on our streets, it is affecting our communities, so as a team the dog handlers felt that they wanted to front foot this emerging threat," Manager Specialist Search Jay Mills told 1 NEWS.

"We have a duty of care to our prisoners, our staff and our prisoners ensuring we keep our site safe."

It’s something Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis supports.

"We know that psychoactive substances are out in the streets, in our communities and we would be naive to think people aren't trying to get them into our prisons," Mr Davis said. 

Corrections is working with the Ministry of Health, and Environmental Science and Research (ESR) to improve the scope of ingredients they can detect. 

"NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) is extremely difficult to keep on top of, in terms of the chemical makeup of the drug," Mr Mills said. 

It’s a tough job for both the dog, and trainers.

"We match it up to what we're searching for currently and if we see any differences or irregularities with ingredients it means we can go back to our training room and load our dogs with that odour. So we are constantly staying ahead of what's out there today," dog trainer Ricky Trevithick said. 

Training for the five dogs will be on-going, with ingredients constantly changing and new batches constantly coming onto the drug market.

1 NEWS reporter Emily Cooper has the exclusive details. Source: 1 NEWS

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Accused Kiwi conman's partner arrested in Australia on multiple charges including indecent assault

The partner of a New Zealand man who was deported from Australia over two years ago after the couple arrived in Sydney on a stolen yacht has herself now been arrested in Australia on multiple charges including supplying ecstasy to a 15-year-old girl and indecently assaulting her.

Christchurch Police have told TVNZ tonight that Australian Federal Police, acting on New Zealand-endorsed extradition warrants, arrested Simone Smith, AKA Simone Wright, in New South Wales on Tuesday this week.

She was arrested on charges of supplying a girl aged 15 with the class B drug ecstasy, the indecent assault of the same girl, multiple charges of fraud and theft of a yacht, Detective Craig Farrant of Christchurch Police said. 

She has been remanded in custody to reappear in court in Australia on September 28.  

Her partner, Paul James Bennett, was arrested in Australia when the couple arrived in Sydney on a stolen yacht from New Zealand.

Bennett was deported back to New Zealand on May 13, 2016. He was taken into custody at Christchurch Airport and taken to court next day on 48 charges stretching back to 2008.  

These were 28 charges of dishonestly using documents or obtaining funds, 10 of forgery, five of theft, three of supplying a girl aged 15 with the class B drug ecstasy, and two of indecently assaulting the same girl. 

The total involved in the alleged dishonesty offending is $567,000 and Bennett's case is currently proceeding before the court.

Bennett had been on the run until being arrested aboard a yacht moored on the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney in February 2016 .

The yacht had been stolen from the Bay of Islands the previous year.

Simone Wright and Paul James Bennett..


Temporary relocation of Auckland City Mission ruffles some neighbours' feathers

Auckland City Mission is moving temporarily while the original site used since 1980 is being upgraded.

"Spider" has been homeless since the early 1980s.

"It’s virtually my second home really, I’ve been here since the early 80s and I’ve seen it all."

The temporary location is just 700m away on Union Street and will be based there for the next two years while its Hobson Street premises undergoes a makeover.

The revamped facility will have 80 secure apartments and a 30 bed detox centre.

"Spider" says, "It has been a long time coming, very much so, it is about time we had a change."

The temporary location will continue to offer a variety of services and the mission is promising better care.

"We want to give people good space to eat," says the mission's CEO Chris Farrelly.

"Kai is not just about filling the belly, it's about a place of engagement," she says.

1 NEWS spoke to some parents and neighbours who have reservations about the mission moving to Union Street, because the crossing that children use to get to and from school sits right outside the mission's front door.

"Sometimes they do you know drugs and smokes, so I’m not really comfortable," person said.

Mr Farrelly says, "First and foremost we’ve listened and we really hear those concerns so we will have more staff at certain time of the day as an example on the streets when there are children on the streets."

The City Mission will host it's final dinner at Hobson Street tonight, before creating a new community in central Auckland tomorrow.

It’s moving temporarily while the original premises get an upgrade. Source: 1 NEWS