'Just be aware of the fire potential' - tighter fire restrictions in force around country as temperatures soar

Tighter fire restrictions have come into force around the country as officials attempt to reduce the risk of major blazes.

Dry and hot conditions have experts warning fires could spread in minutes.

Most regions around the country now have restrictions in place, meaning fires now require a permit.

Officials say total fire bans could be on the way for more areas if dry conditions continue.

Regional fire manager Richard McNamara says people need to be aware of the risk.

"Just wherever you're using hot material, whether it's a barbecue, whether it's an open fire, whether its grinding steel because you're working on your boat trailer, whatever it is just be aware of the fire potential," he says.

"Just be aware - have fun in the sun this summer, I want a long hot summer with my family and friends, we want to go out in the boat we want to go diving we want to do all the things we normally do, but we've also got to be aware of the fire risks that are out there."

You can check the restrictions in your area at http://www.checkitsalright.nz/

There are fire restrictions in place across most of the country, with total bans likely. Source: 1 NEWS

'People are leaving because of her' - claims staff at Royal NZ Ballet are unhappy with new US artistic director

There are claims staff at the Royal New Zealand Ballet are unhappy with the choice of the company's new artistic director.

American Patricia Barker started her role in June this year, but since then 10 dancers will not return in 2018.

The RNZB says three are retiring, three have signed deals to perform in Australia and four have not had their contracts renewed.

But one RNZB employee 1 NEWS has spoken with says "people are leaving because of her".

The employee says Barker's style has got on the wrong side of some of the dancers, questioning whether her American background is suited to New Zealand.

The person – who chose to remain anonymous – says the Board of Trustees has favoured foreign artistic directors over Kiwis.

The concerns are echoed by former RNZB dancer and board member Nick Carroll, who says "there's a pattern and I guess that pattern relates to the fact that the last time there was a New Zealand-born artistic director of the company was in 1971".

"It sounds like you could virtually end up with a New Zealand ballet company which is not a New Zealand ballet company," he said.

The company's executive director Frances Turner denies there's a problem, and says she backs the choice of Barker.

Ms Turner says she has backing from the Board of Trustees and staff members.

In relation to the claims made, Frances Turner says "transition can be challenging for people, so people have their views".

"I'm so confident, I'm so aware of all the support Patricia has from the board and the team," she said.

- By 1 NEWS reporter Arrun Soma

The organisation is backing the controversial artistic director, despite 10 dancers heading out the door. Source: 1 NEWS


Raw video: Paramedic lowered onto fishing boat to help man who smashed head after falling down stairs

A man in his 60s has been airlifted to hospital suffering serious injuries after he tripped and fell down some stairs on a commercial fishing boat off Whangarei Heads this afternoon.

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter were called to assist the man at 2.00pm today, with an intensive care paramedic being winched onto the boat to treat the patient.

The injured fisherman had suffered a severe laceration of about 5cm to his stomach and had sustained some blood loss, as well as hitting his head in the fall.

Both the patient and the intensive care paramedic then met the Westpac 2 helicopter as the fishing boat docked, and they flew the patient to Whangarei Base Hospital in a serious condition.