Northland news in brief: Rail between Whangārei and Auckland out of action; Mayoral Relief Fund opens in Kaipara

Scenic Drive is closed near Swanson following a large slip. Photo / Isaac Davison

Rail freight between Whangārei and Auckland is being put on trucks after the rail network between the two cities sustained significant damage during Cyclone Gabrielle. KiwiRail said there were about 50 slips on the line between Swanson and Whangārei which require detailed geotechnical assessments to help ensure repairs, prevent any further slips, and a number of bridges have been affected by floodwaters. KiwiRail runs a daily return freight service between Auckland and Whangārei every weekday. The company transports milk powder from Fonterra’s plant at Kauri, dairy goods, cement and high-quality clay for export, among other things. At times, KiwiRail also carries containers for ships that unload at NorthPort and are then taken to the Whangārei rail depot. Since the North Auckland line closed after the cyclone, KiwiRail has been moving Fonterra’s freight by rail between Kauri and Whangārei and then taken to Auckland by road.

Firearm found

Police are making inquiries into an incident where a firearm was found inside a vehicle on the driveway of a Kaitāia home. Police made the discovery around 7pm on Thursday on Allen Bell Dr. A police spokesperson said officers secured the vehicle.


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Flood debris dumping extended

The Kaipara District Council has extended the timeframe for disposing of flood-damaged green waste and items free of charge to Friday, March 3. Both the Hakaru and Dargaville transfer stations are operating normal hours during this time. Since February 17, the Dargaville transfer station alone has accepted more than 454 cu m of flood-damaged items and around 180cm of flood-damaged green waste. Since the clean-up around the district is ongoing, the council is pleading with people to be patient, expect queues, and be respectful of staff when disposing of your items. Normal fees apply for general household rubbish and recycling apply.

$500,000 for Northland

Northland will receive $500,000 as part of a $1.7 million government contribution to Mayoral Relief Funds to support communities impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty said the additional contribution would help ensure support for recovery gets to those who needed it most and as quickly as possible.


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Bank subsidised netballers

ANZ is providing $100,000 to subsidise netball fees to ensure young Northlanders can take part in the sport. Teams can apply directly for financial support from until entries close on March 24. ANZ New Zealand chief executive Antonia Watson said more and more families are under financial pressure and registration fees are one of the first barriers of entry to sport. Applications for the ANZ Future Captains experience which gives two lucky netball fans the chance to lead the stars of the ANZ Premiership on to the court at an official match, interact with the players, and experience the action from prime courtside seats, are open.

Kaipara Mayoral Relief Fund

Kaipara Mayor Craig Jepson has established a Mayoral Relief Fund to help support those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. Jepson, who has been out and about every day since the cyclone hit, said the breadth of those impacted across the district is huge. The Mayoral Relief Fund may be used to allocate one-off payments to Kaipara individuals, families, community organisations, marae, and small businesses. More details on the Mayoral Relief Fund criteria and how to apply will be available next week.

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