In case you missed it: Air NZ announces new 16 hour long-haul Auckland-Chicago flights

Auckland Airport has welcomed the announcement by Air New Zealand today that it will launch a direct, year-round service between Auckland and Chicago at the end of the year.

From November 30, 2018 Air New Zealand will fly three times per week between Auckland and Chicago with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The new flights will provide the first non-stop service between Auckland and Chicago. Chicago, Illinois, is the third largest city in the United States with a population of almost 10 million people in the wider metropolitan area.

Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport's general manager aeronautical commercial said in a statement today: "The announcement is great news for New Zealand and will introduce a new region of North America to non-stop flights to New Zealand for the first time.

"The new service will provide more than 85,000 seats on the route and inject around $70 million annually into the New Zealand economy.

"This flight will also provide a convenient service for New Zealand and Australian travellers flying from or via Auckland to the north-eastern United States and Canada."

Chicago O'Hare Airport is the major hub of Air New Zealand's partner United Airlines, who offers connectivity to around 100 cities in the north-eastern United States region and Canada such as New York, Boston, Toronto and Montreal.

At over 13,000km one way, this will be Air New Zealand's longest route with a flight time of approximately 15 hours northbound and just over 16 hours southbound.

House of Travel's Brent Thomas discussed the potential new route on TVNZ1’s Breakfast today. Source: Breakfast



Truck rolls on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, causing road closure in Tararua

A truck has rolled in Tararua and is blocking lanes in both directions.

The truck rolled on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, also known as the Pahiatua Track, about 7.40am this morning.

The driver sustained moderate injuries. 

No other vehicles were involved.

Police are advising motorists to use an alternative route.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS

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Man dies in overnight crash near Gisborne

A man has died following a crash involving a car and truck on State Highway 35 near Gisborne last night.

The driver of the car died at the scene.

Emergency services were called to the scene near Makarori Beach Road at around 9pm.

The road was closed overnight, for the Serious Crash Unit to investigate, but has since been reopened.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

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Kererū Count takes off with people urged to document every sighting over the next 10 days

The Great Kererū Count is taking flight again, with people being urged to document every member of the species they see over the next ten days.

The eight-year-long study is a joint venture between The Kererū Discovery Trust, Victoria University of Wellington, WWF-New Zealand and Wellington City Council.

It aims to help scientists understand how conservation activities like trapping, restoration, and aerial 1080 drops are helping Kererū numbers increase.

A spokesperson for the The Kererū Discovery Trust, Tony Stoddard, said last year New Zealanders counted more than 15,000 Kererū.

"Ideally what we'd like to see is that number stay stabilised or increase if possible, and this is the reason why we have to do the Great Kererū Count over such a large number of years...so we can actually get some robust data out of it," he said.

"What happens over probably the seven-year to eight-year period, Victoria University will go through that data and they'll analyse this for us and they'll be able to tell national trends on where Kererū have been populating areas or where their populations have decreased over time."

The Great Kererū Count is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, he said.

"It's the only centralised data collection monitoring the trends of the Kererū across New Zealand."

While the birds aren't classed as 'threatened' by the Department of Conservation, Kererū numbers have declined in the last 100 years.

However, unlike many of their counterparts, Kererū have adapted well to New Zealand's increasingly urban environment, said Mr Stoddard.

"Most often you'll see them on powerlines early in the morning or foraging on trees and even in your own backyard," he said.

"They're really easy to spot- they're really large pigeon-like birds, with a white singlet....and they've got white bloomers as well, like furry pants."

By Katie Doyle

rnz.co.nz

Kereru. Source: 1 NEWS


1080 drop to go ahead in the Hunua Ranges near Auckland despite legal intervention

A conservation group has failed in its legal bid to stop a 1080 drop in the Hunua Ranges near Auckland.

The Friends of Sherwood Trust won a temporary injunction in the Enivronment Court halting the major pest control programme two weeks ago.

It argued that the drop breached the Resource Management Act which prohibits the dropping of substances in beds of lakes and rivers.

However today the court refused the Trust's bid to further halt the drop.

"We are not persuaded that there is likely to be serious harm to the environment if the proposed application proceeds."

The judge said the information provided by the Council was comprehensive around the regulation, planning, delivery, and monitoring for the 1080 programme.

"The detail provided is sufficient to show that the discharge of the 1080 pellets is necessary, will not be indiscriminate, and has been carefully planned. It will be governed by the conditions applied to the permission by the Public Health Service to address this particular operation.

"The documents provided by the Council make it very clear there are risks to the use of 1080. We consider the methods proposed to manage those risks are appropriate and adopt the necessary precautions.

The court noted that the Council had followed up with initial landowner communications "with face-to-face meetings where requested, phone calls, project updates by email, the provision of fact sheets specific to adjoining properties, and maps showing the proposed operational area.

"Muzzles and emetics for dogs have been offered to dog owners, with staff made available to deliver and assist in fitting these where requested."

"As well, a precautionary setback of 200 metres has also been applied to all residential dwellings (greater than 150m set out in the Assessing Applications for VTA Guidelines by the Ministry of Health).

Water would be supplied to two properties at their request and water extraction points would be "excluded from the treatment area whether requested by the landowner or not. "

Two of Watercare's reservoirs would be taken offline during the first drop and be returned to service after water testing was completed, before that was repeated with

The council said 108 properties had been spoken to who adjoined the land involved in the operation and 1529 ratable properties within 3 kilometres of the area had all been sent information about it.

"We are satisfied that there has been an extensive consultation programme undertaken by the Council and DOC to engage with those people who have the potential to be adversely affected by the proposed operation.

"We acknowledge that the very nature of 1080 means that there needs to be absolute compliance with the conditions, and this is what the Council have assured us will occur. The Public Health Service and Watercare will be monitoring and overseeing compliance with their requirements."

The Auckland Council has welcomed the decision and said it would be resuming the drop soon, whether permitting.

"We are at a critical point in terms of, this is the optimum time generally around New Zealand to undertake these types of pest management operations; just before main breeding of the bird species that we're seeking to protect and also in terms of plants and trees fruiting," Mace Ward, the general manager of parks, sport and recreation, said.

"So our focus now is on the weather."

He said they couldn't get started straight away as they needed to give the local community 24 hours notice.

"We hope that the parties that made objection to the operation respect the court's decision," he said.

Sue Grey, the lawyer for The Friends of Sherwood Trust said they would be assessing their options.

"Look my clients are extremely disappointed of course because people are very, very concerned about toxic substances being deliberately put in the drinking water catchments and looking at options of where to go from here.

"There's obviously the possibility of appealing this decision and trying to extend the injunction. We've got people looking at that as we speak.

She said she did not think the Council would comply with the conditions.

"The court has assumed all the rules and legal protections will be followed. The community is concerned from past practice that they will not."

The judge kept the injunction in place until 5pm to give parties time to consider the judgement.

rnz.co.nz

Source: rnz.co.nz