First images of Christchurch's new $220m sports centre released

A new world class multi-sport facility to be built in Christchurch promises to bring thousands of people into the city centre.

Design images, released today, show a modern facility which will house an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the country's largest leisure pool, nine netball courts, and a high performance sports centre.

The government and Christchurch City Council are jointly funding the venture, which will cost more than $220 million to build.

Construction will begin next year at the centre which is set between Moorhouse Ave and St Asasph Street. Work is due for completion in early 2020.

'It was all in his head' - former Conservative Party board member denies strategy to defame Colin Craig

A former Conservative Party board member has told a court there was never any strategy to defame Colin Craig as the former Conservative Party leader.

John Stringer is giving evidence in the defamation case taken by Taxpayers' Union founder Jordan Williams against Mr Craig which is being heard in the High Court at Auckland.

Christine Rankin gave evidence at Mr Craig's defamation case today. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Williams alleges that Craig lied about him at a press conference in 2015 and in a leaflet. Craig is defending the case.

Mr Stringer told the court today that in the wash-up of the 2014 election the board and wider party was getting more and more concerned about rumours about Mr Craig's relationship with press secretary Rachel MacGregor.

Mr Stringer said the board was assured by Mr Craig that the rumours were "scurrilous, baseless and just wrong" and downplayed them as "just a matter of employment and issues of pay rates".

Mr Stringer told the jury he had been asked to comment on Craig's position that there was a strategy to defame him.

"There was not," he told the court.

"It was all in his head…the leadership was disgusted [Craig] was writing secret love letters to his press secretary while telling us that she was obsessed with him.

"It wasn't Dirty Politics or strategy it was us losing confidence in him and wanting to roll him."

Mr Stringer further clarified the nature of a steamy text that Mr Craig was alleged to have sent Ms MacGregor.

It allegedly reads: "I slept well because I dreamt of being between your naked legs."

Mr Stringer says he's seen a text which says "on your legs," as Mr Craig has provided it to him in another court action between the pair.

Mr Craig launched High Court litigation against Mr Stringer in September 2015 – it's been amended a number of times but Mr Stringer says Mr Craig is seeking a total of $1.07 million plus unqualified claims for aggravated and punitive damages.

He in turn is suing Mr Craig and his wife Helen for claims they've made about him.

The case continues.


Witnesses clam up over crash that left three Mongrel Mob members dead

Moments before three Mongrel Mob members plunged to their deaths in the Mohaka River they had been dicing on the road with another car, but everyone has clammed up about it.

Police say they believe a blue car was involved in the incident that killed the Hawke’s Bay gang members (file video). Source: 1 NEWS

Coroner Chris Devonport has released his findings into the deaths of the three men in November last year on their way to the mob's 50th anniversary celebrations in Hastings.

The driver Ronald Rigby, 53, Nathan Isaac, 29, Terry Stone, 31, were killed when their Honda Inspire vaulted a roadside barrier and crashed down an 125m bank into the Mohaka River near Raupunga in northern Hawke's Bay.

A fourth man, Anthony Atikinson, who was the only one wearing a seatbelt, survived.

The findings reveal there was paint transfer between their car and a Honda Prelude. Police say Mr Rigby crossed the centreline as he tried to stop the Prelude overtaking.

The driver of the Prelude braked before hitting the roadside barrier but the Inspire vaulted it and crashed into the river.

The Prelude was later found but police couldn't discover who was driving and anyone who was in the vehicle was refusing to speak.

Mr Atkinson also maintained Mr Rigby simply lost control and there were no other cars around at the time.

Mr Rigby had methamphetamine in his system and the coroner noted the research said that may impair driving skills.

Ronald Rigby.
Ronald Rigby. Source: Supplied