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Wintry Blast – White Out – Southerner – IRD To Be Fairer – Tauranga Murder – Geraldine Murder – ENZA Deal – Spilt Milk – White Bait Season Opens

WINTRY BLAST: Gale force winds have been battering Wellington for most of the day. The central North Island has seen no trains or car movement. Auckland roads also disrupted by high winds. On the Bombay hills police have been warning motorcyclists and vans to be careful. AUGIE AUER LIVE: Here in Auckland we are getting the sting in the tail of this storm today. This is caused by low pressure system off Hawke’s Bay. This system will last for another day with bad weather moving to the Gisborne area tomorrow.

WHITE OUT: Roads have been closed throughout the central North Island today due to snow . The town of Ohakune had some activity on the streets today, other towns had now power. In Wellington morning traffic was held up by surface flooding. This was a classic “old man southerly”, said weather forecasters. Sailings of the ferries will not resume till tomorrow at the earliest. Power savings have slumped with the weather. The only people pleased will be skiers.

SOUTHERNER: The campaign to save the Southerner rail service has failed. The Southerner passenger will end next month. Dunedin MP David Benson-Pope is disappointed saying cash has not followed rhetoric on the service. Central Government offered to pay 60% of the cost of subsidising the service. Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt says it thinks that West Coast Rail was not serious in its negotiations. Don Gibson for West Coast Rail rejects Shadbolt’s description of his company as a tin-pot company, asking how big Invercargill is.

IRD TO BE FAIRER: Inland Revenue is set to become more lenient to defaulting taxpayers under proposals coming from the government. Prue Finlay the wife of Alastair Finlay who killed himself after being bankrupted has welcomed the development. Minister John Wright says the government is trying to make the system as fair as possible. The proposals came out of a Select Committee investigation sparked by the suicide of a father and son.

TAURANGA MURDER: A murder investigation is underway in Tauranga after a body of a 76-year-old woman was found in her flat last night by police. The woman’s body was discovered after concerned neighbours contacted her family. The woman was the landlord of the apartment block. She may have been dead for up to two weeks. Police say they are unwilling to comment on the crime scene or motive. This is the second murder in Tauranga in two months. A team of 25 detectives are working on the investigation.

GERALDINE MURDER: Timaru Police searching for the killer of Geraldine man Desmond Payne are searching the dump for blood-stained clothes. Payne was stabbed to death in a car. Locals in Geraldine have been asked to look in their gardens too. Police are searching rubbish down to two meters in an area the size of a netball court.

ENZA: The bitter dispute between ENZA and apple growers appears to be over. The deal is dependent on 50% of growers dropping out of a legal challenge. ENZA has backed down on charging growers for forex losses from next year.

SPILT MILK: A milk truck has crashed in the Waikato.

WHITE BAIT: On the East Coast of the South Island it was a slow start to the white bait season today.

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