Pre-dawn thunderstorm hits Auckland, westerly front could bring more this morning

Aucklanders have woken to a vigorous thunderstorm this morning as a westerly flow moves over many parts of the region.

MetService says Aucklanders can expect the showers and possible thunder to continue until midday, where they will start to break up into fine spells.

The chance of thunderstorms this morning is also moderate in the regions surrounding Auckland - Northland, Waikato, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki, as well as Rotorua and Taupo to a lesser extent.

The storms could bring localised downpours up to 20mm per hour, but MetService is confidence the amount of rainfall should not cause too many problems.

Going into the weekend, more fronts are coming in from the west and temperatures to drop somewhat.

Down south, there are overnight road snowfall warnings in place for Porters Pass and Lindis Pass, as well as the Crown Range Road.

For a full forecast for your area, see our weather page here.

Lightning (file picture).
Lightning (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

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Two senior Black Power members charged with murder over shooting death of Whanganui man in August

Two senior Black Power members have been arrested and charged with the murder of Mongrel Mob member Kevin Ratana in Whanganui in August.

A 38-year-old man is due to appear in Whanganui District Court today while a 31-year-old man will appear in Lower Hutt District Court this afternoon.

Ratana, a 27-year-old father-of-four, was shot outside his home on the morning of Tuesday August 21 as he was leaving to go to the gym, Detective Senior Sergeant Philip Skoglund said in a statement.

Two further shots were fired into the house where four adults and two children were taking cover.  

Detective Senior Sergeant Philip Skoglund said bail has been opposed for both men and police anticipate further arrests in the coming days.

Police continue to seek information from the the public about the movements of five men who walked to Ratana’s address on the morning of August 21.

“We're also continuing to seek information regarding a blue Holden Commodore, registration number WU3395; and a white Hyundai Coupe, registration number JJF26, which was found burned out on Seafront Road on the evening of 21 August,” Detective Senior Sergeant Philip Skoglund said.

If you can help, please call Whanganui Police on 06 349 0600 or alternatively information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Mongrel Mob member was shot dead last week. Source: 1 NEWS

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'Extraordinary', 'raw', 'deeply disappointed' - what National's MPs have to say about Simon Bridges' Jami-Lee Ross problem

As the National Party prepares to hold its caucus meeting, where the fate of renegade MP Jami-Lee Ross will be decided, 1 NEWS spoke to its MPs about a day of high drama. 

Yesterday, leader Simon Bridges named Botany MP Mr Ross as the likely person behind the leak of his travel expenses.

Mr Ross in turn levelled a series of explosive accusations at Mr Bridges.

This is what National's MPs had to say about the matter:

Mr Ross’ fate appears sealed after a day of explosive revelations over the leaking of Simon Bridges’ travel expenses. Source: Breakfast

Amy Adams: "[Jami-Lee Ross' tweets] were extraordinary. I don't think I've seen an MP come out and make those sorts of comments in my time as a parliamentarian."

Corin Dann interviews National’s Finance Spokesperson Amy Adams with her reaction to Budget 2018
Source: 1 NEWS

"I think there's certainly some questions that need to be asked. I think Simon has done an excellent job [at handling the situation] and he's got my full support."

Mark Mitchell: He "absolutely" has confidence in Simon Bridges' leadership, and "it was someone lashing out" in regards to Jami-Lee Ross' tweets. "it was a clear attack on the leader and that's not acceptable."

Mark Mitchell.
Mark Mitchell. Source: NZ Parliament.

He also said he contacted Mr Ross after he went on medical leave, and Mr Ross told him "he was focussed on his recovery". 

Todd Muller: "[Simon Bridges] has managed a very complex and sensitive issue very well." He said Jami-Lee Ross' behaviour was "hugely disappointing".

"It's very raw when it's a colleague who has lashed out as he has." His personal view was Mr Ross could not remain in caucus. 

Chris Penk: Would not comment on Jami-Lee Ross' actions, but said "that much is obvious" when asked about his support for Simon Bridges. "I'm a loyal and unified member of [the National Party] caucus."

Nikki Kaye when asked about Jami-Lee Ross' behaviour: "It's unacceptable and we'll obviously deal with that this morning."

Judith Collins: "I'm deeply disappointed and sad that Jami-Lee Ross behaved like that. I'm absolutely supporting the leader."

Judith Collins says National Party leader Simon Bridges has her support at this morning’s caucus meeting. Source: 1 NEWS

Louise Upston: "We've got an MP that's been going rogue and caucus has an important discussion today. Unity has been our strength and it will continue to be." She called the tweets "absolutely shocking". 

Alfred Ngaro: "It's unfortunate that he's made [the tweets] and when it's out in the public it doesn't do anyone any good." He said he "100 per cent" has confidence in Simon Bridges. He said Mr Ross has always been "a good colleague and a good friend" and he was surprised by his actions. 

Harete Hipango: "I have every confidence in the decision we make as a caucus and I have every confidence in our leader."

Jessica Mutch McKay says Simon Bridges faces a "long, drawn out and embarrassing process to try and get rid of him".
Source: 1 NEWS

Tim Macindoe: "Absolutely 100 per cent" had confidence in Simon Bridges' leadership and was "very disappointed: in Mr Ross' tweets. 

"My advice to him would be think of his family, think of his future and to take responsibility for his actions."

Michael Woodhouse: "[Jami-Lee Ross] has some serious explaining to do." He said Simon Bridges "absolutely" should stay on as leader, "he has my 100 per cent support". 

Nick Smith: Would not comment. 

Maggie Barry: "Absolutely, I have full confidence in Simon Bridges as leader."

Simeon Brown: "We've got one thing we need to do any we're going to go and have a caucus meeting and discuss that today. Simon Bridges has the full support of the caucus and we are going to support him. 

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How do you convince Auckland Transport you did have the kids in the back when they ticket you for using the T3 lane?

Paul Martin came to Fair Go with a story about competitive barbecuing, rush hour traffic and $170 fine that he didn’t deserve.

"I don’t want to pay it cause I'm not liable for it. There were three people in the vehicle. Do they not include children as people?”

Paul had been moving two gazebos for Meatstock, the competitive barbecue competition. 

Paul says he’s won prizes for his chicken with one team. Yes, barbecuing can be a team sport.

Paul had two small children secured in a car seat and capsule in the back, but between the gazebos stowed inside and the tints on his windows, you could only just glimpse one of the passengers and the transport camera guy on the roadside snapped him.

"Even at that time I thought 'I could have some trouble with this, but didn’t think to even stop because I’d block up traffic."

Paul had been busted on a Friday at 7:30am on one of the busiest side-roads in Auckland and it’s a nightmare numbers game.

Here are the facts from Auckland Transport: Onewa Rd feeds nearly 3000 cars and buses from the North Shore onto the motorways every weekday in the morning peak.

Some commuters think rules restricting who can use Onewa Rd's T3 lane don't apply to them. Source: Seven Sharp

More than two thirds of the vehicles are stuck in a regular lane crawling along at 3km per hour on average.

But two thirds of the humans moved along the road in traffic are using the T3 lane reserved for cars with three or more passengers, or buses and motorbikes. They are moving about four times faster - seven minutes of traffic for them instead of nearly half an hour for those still driving alone.

For John Strawbridge from Auckland Transport, the main drivers are keeping people moving and keeping them honest.

"There's nothing more frustrating for people that are in the correct lane seeing a single person going past in the T3 lane when they're doing the right thing. That's pretty frustrating for the public."

What Paul found frustrating was AT’s deaf ear, despite his repeated attempts to resolve things over the phone.

"They give you a bit of empathy but at the end of the day they just keep sending you reminder notices. It wasn't until I started getting them from Baycorp, threatening, that I thought ‘what's going on here?’"

Paul had sought a court hearing, but AT somehow missed that step and persisted with enforcement, passing this to the Ministry of Justice for collection.

Paul was getting hotter than one of his special barbecue sauces.

"I'm pretty angry about it to be honest, you don't seem to be able to get a chance to go forward and explain yourself."

Fair Go had a simple question for Auckland Transport – who must prove themselves? Does Paul have to show he had three on board?

John Strawbridge from AT explains: "We have to prove that they didn't have three people in the car."

Since they can’t, he says AT has decided to accept Paul’s word for it and waive the fine. It didn’t help that AT had slipped up and didn’t handle the request for a court hearing.

Tinted windows didn’t help either, but AT hopes new cameras it is testing will soon be able to peer through tints into cars.

So, be warned. If that’s a pet dog or a dummy you dressed up and strapped in the back, so you can fake your carpooling, you will be found out!

Paul Martin came to Fair Go with a story about a $170 fine that he didn’t deserve. Source: Fair Go


Jacinda Ardern dismisses suggestion that increased fuel prices are beneficial for environment

Jacinda Ardern has dismissed suggestions that increased fuel prices are beneficial when it comes to reducing climate change, saying the increase has been too jarring for Kiwis.

Ms Ardern admitted it had been raised with her that New Zealanders paying more at the pump was a positive from an environmental point-of-view after an international report which showed we’re not acting quickly enough.

Nearly 90 scientists from 39 countries, including New Zealand, have spent three years on a planet saving plan, one that requires drastic action. Source: 1 NEWS

She said her Government had spoken about a "just" transition to a more environmentally friendly economy and a 40 cent increase in fuel prices in the last year was too jarring.

“That means for us, to be able to transition our economy and the way we work day-to-day in such a way that it isn’t jarring for consumers and employees whose jobs might change as a result of climate change,” she said.

“That’s hard on families and that’s why we’re digging in to see what’s going on behind some of those changes.”

“That’s why we are changing the law this week and next to allow the Commerce Commission to go in and look at some of those issues.”

Ms Ardern said there a couple of key points if New Zealand was to transition to a more environmentally friendly way, sustainably. 

“One of the key things is public transport alternatives, which is actually what the regional fuel tax is going into, so people have that option

“The second thing we need to do is make sure that the alternative fleet around electric vehicles is more accessible, the price point at the moment, we can’t expect families to be able to afford the price point for a number of our electric vehicles.”

She said making the Crown fleet exclusively e-vehicles meant there was more second-hand options available in the market “because ultimately an e-vehicle is the equivalent of about 30 cents a litre”.

Jacinda Ardern says the government is trying to make the transition to a more environmentally friendly economy just and the rapidly increasing fuel prices have been too jarring. Source: Breakfast