News in brief from Northland: Double decker views, tools to quit smoking and Emergency Mobile Alert

A Ritchies double-decker bus has been spotted in Onerahi.

Get on board – double-decker in town

A taste of London has come to Whangārei in the shape of Ritchies double-decker buses. Sadly for those excited about the unusual sight, they are not here to stay. A Ritchies spokesperson said rumours the buses were brought in to address anti-social behaviour are unfounded. Instead, the company sometimes temporarily swaps double-decker buses with buses in its regular fleet. They hoped the passengers enjoyed the view from the top deck “while it lasts”.

Emergency Mobile Alert

The National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) will be conducting its annual nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) system between 6pm and 7pm this Sunday. The nationwide test is a way to check that the EMA system, cell towers and mobile phones have the ability to receive an Emergency Mobile Alert and to make sure that it will perform as it should in an emergency. The message will tell people what the emergency is and what to do. It will also say which agency sent the message and if needed, where to go for more information.


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Tools to quit smoking

Two new digital tools have been launched for young tāne and wāhine who want to stop smoking. Tua Tāne and Hine chatbots are available 24/7 on Facebook Messenger, sending daily check-ins, tips and distractions to provide support through the first 30 days of stopping smoking. Te Whatu Ora director of health promotion Kathrine Clarke says the technology offers a contemporary solution to support those who want to stop smoking and improve their wellbeing.

Half-price SPCA pet adoptions

The SPCA is offering half-price adoptions across the country in a bid to help its overflowing shelters. From May 27 to June 2, the animal welfare charity will be offering a 50 per cent discount on adoption fees during its Clear the Shelters campaign. The SPCA currently has 20 per cent more animals in their care than at the same time last year due to an influx of kittens, the cost of living crisis and a lack of desexing. SPCA interim chief executive Robyn Kiddle said the discount is about “helping give a push to those people on the fence about bringing a furred or feathered friend into their home”. Visit:


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Farmers can’t use bionic capsules

Farmers are being urged to consider other options to support ewe performance over lambing following a ban on the sale and use of bionic capsules. Dr Ginny Dodunski, an experienced sheep veterinarian and manager of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand-funded Wormwise programme, said farmers need to be aware that they cannot use the capsules even if they have already been purchased. The Ministry for Primary Industries has issued an alert banning their sale and use.

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