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Canterbury Storm – Fisherman Missing – North Island Weather – Fletcher Energy Sale Stopped

- CANTERBURY STORM: High winds and heavy rain battered the Canterbury region today. Gail force winds and rain lifted roofs and blew over more than 400 trees. About 20 people have been evacuated because of flooding. Winds gusted over 150km per hour. Lyttleton’s marina took a pounding, with waves smashing it from all sides and sinking boats. The rain has now stopped. Over 500 homes in Canterbury are still without power. Several roads are closed. The public are being advised to stay away from anywhere where there are trees, especially parks.

- FISHERMAN MISSING: A man is missing after a fishing boat overturned on the South Island’s West Coast. He is feared dead.

- NORTH ISLAND WEATHER: In the North Island, heavy snow fell on the central plateau, closing the desert road. 25cm of snow fell on the Whakapapa ski field, good news for skiers. Strong winds lashed Waikato and Auckland, and motorists are advised to take extreme care. The AA has just said the Desert Road is open. Cook Strait ferry crossings have been cancelled because of huge swells and high winds.

- FLETCHER ENERGY SALE STOPPED: The Commerce commission has turned down Shell’s bid to buy Fletcher Energy. Fletcher shares were suspended, with mass selling following the news. The Commerce Commission were worried the sale would give Shell too much dominance in the New Zealand energy industry. The deal would have helped Fletcher Challenge’s restructuring plan. The news is embarrassing for Fletcher Challenge, who were supremely confident of the deal going ahead, announcing it two days ago. The dollar has fallen below US40 cents after the news, and is expected to fall further.

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