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. 


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New Zealand's refugee quota jumps to 1500 per year from July 2020, Government announces

New Zealand’s refugee quota will be raised to 1500, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. 

It was previously 1000, after being increased by the National-led Government from 750 in 2016.

"It is the right thing to do," said Ms Ardern. 

"It puts New Zealand much more in line with the humanitarian policies of other developed countries."

Deputy PM Winston Peters said the increase was "about people, not about politics and controversy". 

The NZ First leader said the increase was “always on the cards”. Source: 1 NEWS

The new quota will take effect from July 2020. 

Major points

- There will be six new settlement locations, on top of re-establishing Christchurch as a settlement location.

- Expanding the public housing supply for 150 extra refugee families is expected to cost $32.5 million over three years. 

- Budget 2018 included money to build new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre 

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Background

Yesterday, Ms Ardern told media she wanted to see the current quota increased but a sticking point has been the vastly different policy positions of Labour's Government partners. 

Labour pledged to raise the quota to 1500 and the Green Party aimed for a quota of 5000.

Earlier this month NZ First's Winston Peters told media in Nauru that the focus needed to be on New Zealanders struggling at home.

"We have 50,000 people who are homeless back home and I can show you parts of Northland where people are living in degradation," Mr Peters said, while being questioned at the Pacific Islands' Forum.

National's Simon Bridges said yesterday if the refugee quota was lower than 1500 it would be a demonstration of "Winston Peters undermining the Prime Minister".

"If you look at the Prime Minister's rhetoric she's made great play about being a globalist, a progressive with soaring rhetoric on these issues.

"It's all very well to do the photo ops, the international pieces, but when you've got important questions like this back home that... [are] now are up in the air because of a lack of unanimity and cohesion."

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS


Don Brash says Massey's Vice Chancellor should consider resigning after email dump

Former National Party leader Don Brash is calling for Massey University's vice-chancellor to consider her position, saying it's "almost untenable".

The university prevented Dr Brash from speaking at its Manawatū campus last month.

He was due to give a speech about his time in politics, but vice-chancellor Jan Thomas cancelled the talk for security reasons.

The university had cited a Facebook post on 3 August that linked to the event page and included the comment "take a gun".

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act contain correspondence to and from Ms Thomas in the run-up to the cancellation.

In one email, on 9 July, the vice-chancellor said she did not want a "te tiriti led university to be seen to be endorsing racist behaviours".

On 10 July, Ms Thomas emailed to say she would like to know the options for banning the politics club from holding events on campus.

She said the "racist behaviour of Dr Brash - given te reo is an official language of NZ and we are a tiriti-led university - can't be ignored".

Speaking from China, Dr Brash said he considered Ms Thomas' position almost untenable and told RNZ that he believes she was "totally misleading".

"Quite frankly, I don't know if she can stay in her position."

Dr Brash has previously said he believed it was his views, rather than safety concerns, that led to him being banned from the publicly-funded university.

The documents also contain many emails sent to the university objecting to its cancellation decision.

- By Amy Williams

rnz.co.nz

Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas and Don Brash Source: rnz.co.nz

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Government moves to make pay equity claims easier - 'We must continue to close gap'

The Government want to make it easier for workers to lodge pay equity claims, introducing a proposed law on the 125th anniversary women first got the vote in New Zealand. 

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees Galloway said today he was proud to take "the next step to address historic inequities in pay for women". 

He said The Equal Pay Amendment Bill was intended to make the process of making pay equity claims simplified and more accessible.

Acting Women's Minister Eugenie Sage said the bill was "one piece of the puzzle" in striving to close the gender pay gap. 

"Discrimination has led to lower pay for many female-dominated industries, despite having similar working conditions and skill requirements to comparable male-dominated occupations."

Earlier this year, National MP Denise Lee's Members' Bill on pay equity was voted down.

It intended to "eliminate and prevent discrimination on the basis of sex" in employment pay, and to also "promote enduring settlement of claims relating to sex discrimination on pay equity grounds". 

Labour MP Megan Woods saying there were "some very simple mechanistic reasons contained within this legislation why that would not occur", and fellow MP Jan Tinetti saying "this bill does put things backwards for pay equity". Labour, National and NZ First voted against it. 

Shot of New Zealand twenty dollars.
New Zealand $20 notes (file picture). Source: istock.com


Watch: 'Cantankerous old' rescue dog's escape down Bay of Islands thoroughfare prompts laughter around the world

A rescue dog named Lily from the Bay of Islands has become an overnight internet sensation after her wily escape down Kawakawa’s main street – with a giant flag in tow — put smiles on tens of thousands of Facebook users' faces.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 320,000 times in the first 16 hours since it was posted last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

But the dog wasn't interested in waiting to see what surprise might be in store, instead bolting despite being tied to the large Coca-Cola flag.

"It wasn't until I saw the video that I realised I had charged into oncoming traffic, which is quite alarming, but I just wanted to get hold of her before someone hit her," Ms Green told the New Zealand Herald today, describing the nine-year-old as a "cantankerous old lady".

"After taking her home I realised I still had to return the flag and pay for my sausage," she added. "I couldn't believe it."

Ms Green changed her Facebook profile picture to show Lilly late last night as the video, posted by user James Mcdonald, quickly started to take on a life of its own.

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

"Crack up go doggie," added user Katie Bennett.

The basset hound, named Lily, was tied to a large flag outside a dairy. So she took the flag with her on her wild escape. Source: Facebook/James Mcdonald