Stakes increase for Nelson candidate after Green Party's shock poll plunge

Green Party candidate Matt Lawrey is shrugging off the pressure of winning his electorate, despite the possibility of his party needing the seat in order to scrape into parliament.

Matt Lawrey and MP Julia Anne Genter hosted a question and answer session in Nelson's city centre last night, as the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll results revealed the Greens have dropped below the five per cent threshold required to return to parliament.

If the polling numbers remained that low, the Greens would need to overturn the Nelson seat, held by National MP Nick Smith for the past 20 years.

But Mr Lawrey told 1 NEWS he expects the polling results to shoot back up. "It quite exciting to think where I'm at, being the 'Nelson guy' but I'm absolutely, totally convinced and confident that our vote is going to rise significantly in the next poll".

Mr Lawrey did acknowledge that he expected the poll results to drop, after his party experienced "probably the worst week in its history".

"But New Zealanders like a comeback" he said.

It's the first time the Party has tried to win a seat since Jeanette Fitzsimons held the Coromandel electorate in 1999.

The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll shows the Greens have been hit badly by Meteria Turei's resignation. Source: 1 NEWS



National dive squad to assist police in search for two men missing in Tongariro National Park

Police are bringing in the national dive squad for day six of the search for the two men in Tongariro National Park.

Vincent Taurima and Hakopo Ngaronao have been missing since Saturday after entering the bush to escape police after allegedly stealing a vehicle.

The pair phoned 111 on Sunday morning when they got lost in the bush.

Police believe they have found the cellphone of one of the missing men yesterday.

Over the course of the search, crews have found two campsites lit by a gas canister, a phone case and items of clothing too - an indication that the pair were suffering from hypothermia.

Crews searched between Tree Trunk Road and the Pillars of Hercules but no further evidence of their whereabouts were found yesterday. 

"The dive squad will search streams and creeks within the area," Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen said in a statement. 

"At the Taupo Police Station search base, all the information gathered so far is being evaluated."

Vincent Taurima and Hakopo Ngaronoa have been missing since Saturday after entering the bush after fleeing car. Source: 1 NEWS


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Woman at centre of Aaron Smith sex saga says All Blacks halfback asked her to lie about incident, as NZ Rugby reopens own investigation

New Zealand Rugby has reopened an independent legal investigation into the Aaron Smith airport toilet sex scandal.

The incident hit the headlines again this week following an article in the Daily Mail Australia, followed by an exclusive interview with the woman which aired last night on TVNZ 1's Seven Sharp.

In that interview, the woman concerned claimed Smith offered her money to lie on a legal affidavit, and is pursuing her own legal action against NZR, the Highlanders, and Smith's manager for defamation and breach of privacy.

In response to recent publicity, NZR released a statement saying:

"Based on information published today New Zealand Rugby believes that it needs to investigate the Aaron Smith matter further and has instructed an independent lawyer to do so."

"Until those enquiries are complete we will not be making any further statements to the media. It is effectively an employment issue that requires investigation."

In the Seven Sharp interview, the woman said Smith asked her to swear on an affidavit they did not have sex in a Christchurch airport toilet in order to end the media scrutiny on them.

"He acknowledged that he did understand it was wrong, but he said 'look I really need this... I feel bad asking but would it help if I compensated you financially,'" the woman said.

However, the woman admitted to Seven Sharp that "things did turn sexual" in the airport toilet, and that she refused the money, or to sign the affidavit.  

The woman spoke with Seven Sharp in a bid to set the record straight. Source: Seven Sharp