Possibility of heavy rain may dampen clean-up efforts across western Bay of Plenty and southern Coromandel

The possibility of brief heavy rain will dampen clean up efforts about coastal areas of western Bay of Plenty and across the southern Coromandel Peninsula this afternoon. 

The deep low which has caused havoc across much of the North Island over the past two days, bringing heavy rain and gusty gales, is slowly moving southwards. 

MetService says strong gales are anticipated to batter the lower North Island and Marlborough through to this afternoon.

The weather service has warned that the combination of strong winds and hide tides may cause flooding, especially along Wellington’s south coast and harbour.

Torrential rain and gales have lashed the North Island for much of the day. Source: 1 NEWS

Delays and cancellations were expected for the Interislander ferry service today as bad weather batters the region. Source: 1 NEWS

All Wellington ferry services in the capital have been cancelled as residents around the coast prepare for potential flooding as the huge storm makes its way down the country.

MetService says strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. They’re warning that driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

Heavy rain fell overnight at the Tongariro National Park, as well as in Kaikoura and neighbouring areas.

Emergency services were kept busy with call-outs to downed powerlines and trees.

There were no further reports of flooding and slips overnight in the Coromandel and Thames. 

The big clean up begins

A mammoth effort will be undertaken today to clean up flood affected areas and move debris for the upper North Island after Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Auckland after taking the biggest hit from the storm. 

As the weather conditions ease the number of faults across the network is coming down.

Across the Auckland network there are 11 storm-related faults ranging from feeder outages supplying suburbs to single houses. This number is down from a peak of 18 overnight.

Close to 2400 PowerCo customers remain without power this afternoon, mainly across the Coromandel. 

At least 500 people were affected by severe flooding in and around Kaiaua, a town along the Firth of Thames Coast, floating caravans and inundating houses.

The Hauraki District Council said in an update that there were no additional issues in Kaiaua overnight. 

Civil Defence and council building teams will be in the area today doing a rapid assessment of affected homes in terms of public health and safety.

A community briefing will also be held at 2pm today at the Kaiaua Bowling Club, Lipscombe Rd.

Hauraki Plains Civil Defence is on high alert amid concerns for about 500 coastal homes between Waitakaruru and Kaiau. Source: 1 NEWS

Footage taken by the Auckland Rescue Helicopter shows waves crashing onto the shore adding to flooding that has caused residents to flee their properties.

"King tide, low pressure and strong nor easterly wind, a combination of those things, ended up pushing the sea level up and ended up flooding a lot of low lying areas including some houses and farmlands and throwing a lot debris on to our roads," Hauraki District Council Community Service Management's Steve Fabrish told 1 NEWS. 

Local Civil Defence asked for people who need to evacuate to go to the Fire Station, or be with friends and family on higher ground.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council says the New Zealand Defence Force and Red Cross will be doing community outreach today where people have been badly affected by the weather.

Houses along Harbour Dr, Otumoetai, have been flooded by extreme sea conditions along the Tauranga coast. Source: 1 NEWS

Beachfront properties in Tauranga were also affected by a king tide, flooding a number of coastal areas in the district along with several East Auckland areas including Maratei and Bucklands Beach. 

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence advised people in low-lying coastal areas to get ready for high winds and another king tide last night at 11pm, with the risk of potential large swells broaching that had the potential to cause flooding.

Auckland Airport was forced to cancel domestic flights to Great Barrier Island, Whakatane and Tauranga as the smaller aircrafts used to fly to these destinations were unable to deal with the high winds.

Flights to Wellington, Gisborne and Blenheim were also been delayed due to the weather.

The fatality occurred on Arawa St during severe weather. Source: 1 NEWS

In Rotorua, a woman died after a tree fell on her car. Police believe the woman was driving in severe weather at the time on Arawa Street. The incident will be referred to the coroner. 

Roads remain closed around the country

Several roads remain closed around the North Island due to several slips and rock falls caused by wild weather. 

The Thames Coromandel District Council said "All our local Council roads are open, with Colville Rd open to one and expected to be open to two lanes later today."

"Our roading contractors are out this morning checking everything and will keep us informed.

"NZ Transport Agency has advised us that the Thames Coast Road (SH25) is now passable from Te Puru north, but remains closed between Te Puru and Tararu. There is severe damage to the road at Whakatete Bay.

"If you are trying to leave Coromandel the way out is through Whitianga to Tairua, traffic delays are expected." 

State Highway One from Goose Bay to Peketa and from Mangamaunu to Clarence is closed due to adverse weather conditions. 

NZTA has issued a hazard for State Highway 31 in Kawhia due to rocks on the road at Puti Bluff. Traffic management is currently in place and the transport agency is advising motorists to avoid the area. 


Powerball struck for fourth time in a month as winner scoops $7.2 million

Powerball was struck for the fourth time in a month tonight when a punter from Silverdale north of Auckland scooped $7.2 million.

The prize is made up of $7 million from Powerball First Division and $200,000 from Lotto First Division.

The winning ticket was sold at Pak'nSave Silverdale in Silverdale. 

It's the fourth time in as many weeks that Powerball First Division has been struck, following on from late-August’s $5 million Powerball win by a Christchurch couple. Those lucky winners plan to use their winnings to go on the trip of a lifetime to Italy. 

Four other Lotto players will also be celebrating tonight after each winning $200,000 with Lotto First Division. 

The winning Lotto tickets were sold at Kelson General Store in Lower Hutt, Richmond Night N Day in Nelson, Ilam New World in Christchurch and New World Gore.  

Meanwhile, Strike Four was won by two players in Waikato and Tauranga, who each take home $50,000. Both those winning Strike tickets were sold on MyLotto.

Lotto Powerball (file picture).
Lotto Powerball (file picture). Source: Lotto


Eighteen kilo meth import in printer toner cartridges sees Canadian man jailed in Auckland

A Canadian man was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment in the Manukau District Court today for importing and possessing 17.9 kilograms of methamphetamine that was found in printer toner cartridges and had a street value of up to $9 million. 

Jingyuan Zhang, 28, will serve at least half of this term before facing deportation.

Zhang and his travel companion arrived at Auckland Airport from Canada in January and Zhang stayed in temporary accommodation in south-east Auckland. 

In March, Customs examined a mail consignment from the United States linked to Zhang, locating finely powdered methamphetamine in 12 printer toner cartridges. Customs monitored the delivery of the cartridges and arrested Zhang.

Michael Blades, Customs’ Acting Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations & Enforcement, says renting short-term accommodation to receive illegal drugs is a known tactic of criminal syndicates.

He says if someone has concerns about anyone renting short-term accommodation and making out-of-the ordinary inquiries about receiving packages, they can be reported in confidence to 0800 4 CUSTOMS or to Crimestoppers.

Customs says based on the New Zealand Drug Harm Index, the potential social harm avoided through this seizure is estimated to be $22.1 million.

Methamphetamine was found in toner cartridges. Source: Supplied


Most read: Auckland bar responds to Pink's outburst: 'It was a bit of a shock'

This story was first pubksihed on Wednesday September 12.

The pop star wasn’t happy her group wasn’t allowed into Deadshot, and let her millions of followers know. Source: Seven Sharp

After seven world class concerts Pink decided to celebrate and head to Auckland's food and beverage hotspot of Ponsonby on Tuesday.

Pink’s first choice of bar was Deadshot, but unfortunately, her large group was turned away.

Soon afterwards, the whole world heard about it when the pop star Tweeted about the encounter to her millions of followers.

After the unwanted publicity, manager Heather Garland spoke to Seven Sharp.

“One of the crew came in earlier in the day and spoke to Brian over the bar and he told them we just couldn’t take a group that big, and offered to find them somewhere else," she said.

“But they showed up anyway and we couldn’t fit them in.”

Garland said they simply couldn’t cater for 30 people.

“They just went on their way and we didn’t realise there was a problem.”

Pink then took to Twitter saying, “She’s been to some cool bars around the world and Deadshot is not one of them.”

Garland said it came as a bit of a shock, but was pleased by the support they had been shown.

“We never even saw her, we didn’t even know she was part of the group.”

But when Deadshot couldn’t cater for them, they went across the road to the Revelry bar.

Alex Dunn was about to shut up shop when the superstar and her crew dropped in.

“She came to the bar herself, so we were just sitting down together discussing what cocktail she was going for.”

It turns out Pink likes pink drinks so she had a blush negroni.

Dunn says, ‘It wasn’t intentional but I had a feeling that she might like the colour and that I might get a few extra bonus points.”

Her posts here were a little kinder calling the Revelry bar, “The perfect place in Auckland.”

Pink got down to some Kiwi tunes and the party ended around 2am.

Russian troops sweep across Siberia in war games with China amid tensions with US

Hundreds of thousands Russian troops have swept across Siberia in the nation's largest ever war games also joined by China - a powerful show of burgeoning military ties between Moscow and Beijing amid their tensions with the US.

Moscow said the weeklong Vostok (East) 2018 manoeuvres will span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans and involve nearly 300,000 Russian troops - nearly one-third of the country's one-million-strong military. They will feature more than 1,000 aircraft, about 36,000 tanks and other military vehicles and 80 warships.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has described the drills as even bigger than the country's largest Cold War-era exercise called Zapad 1981 that put NATO allies on edge.

A retired Russian general said that the giant war games come as a warning to the US against ramping up pressure on Russia.

"The manoeuvres are aimed at deterring the aggressive intentions of the US and NATO," Retired General Leonid Ivashov said. He was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the drills are "also a response to the US sanctions."

China is sending about 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at a Siberian firing range, a significant deployment that reflects its shift toward a full-fledged military alliance with Russia. Mongolia also has sent a military contingent.

Asked if the US is worried about a possible military alliance between Russia and China, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told Pentagon reporters on Tuesday that, "I think that nations act out of their interests. I see little in the long term that aligns Russia and China."

As the manoeuvres kicked off, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russia on Tuesday to attend an economic forum in Vladivostok. 

President Vladimir Putin treated Xi to pancakes with caviar and shots of vodka in a show of their warm rapport.

Moscow and Beijing have forged what they described as a "strategic partnership," expressing their shared opposition to the "unipolar" world, the term they use to describe perceived US global domination. However, the military drills they had until now were far smaller in scale, reflecting China's caution about alliances.

Some experts pointed out that the US helped spawn closer Russia-China military ties by labelling them strategic competitors.

"They feel they need to embrace to deal with the increasingly high pressure and containment from the US," said Yue Gang, a military expert and retired Chinese army colonel.

He noted that China feels that the Washington's hostile attitude and actions, such as deploying the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, relieve it of any need to take US views into consideration when deepening strategic trust with Moscow.

"The war games have laid a foundation for China and Russia to enhance cooperation on international arena and will lift the combat proficiency of both sides," he said.

The Chinese media touted the Chinese involvement in the manoeuvres as the country's largest-ever dispatch of forces abroad for war games.

Some noted that the People's Liberation Army, which hasn't fought a war since the attempted invasion of Vietnam in 1979, is keen to learn from Russia's experience in the Syrian campaign, where it tested its latest weapons and tactics.

Around 300,000 troops will take part in the Vostok war games, as well as 1000 aircraft and 900 tanks. Source: 1 NEWS