NZ at Noon: Wallaby invasion, sneaky scientists, stolen horse

Red the horse has been reunited with his owner.
Red the horse has been reunited with his owner.

Stories making headlines across New Zealand at noon today include an expensive night out for a drunk driver, a wallaby invasion in Mid Canterbury, expensive weatherbeaten roads on the East Coast and scientists sneaking around the West Coast in the dead of night looking for new species.

It was an expensive night out for a Bay of Plenty drink-driver who crashed into a power pole resulting in more than $6000 in reparation and fines, including a fine for throwing a cup of water over a police officer. He'll no doubt make an appearance on the BOP "Named and Shamed: Drink drivers list."

A large pothole in the road described as "the size of a crater" brought an end to an Aucklander's boating holiday in Northland.

A Rotorua man who sold Class A drugs to an undercover police officer on four separate occasions has pleaded guilty and now faces a "pretty long stretch" in prison.

In Hawke's Bay, the story of Red the stolen horse has a happy ending, with the thoroughbred found unharmed. Red's owner, 11 year old Zara, cycled 2km twice a day "hail, rain or shine" to groom, ride and cuddle the horse, her mother said.

The cost of repairing the East Coast's weatherbeaten roads is already in the millions of dollars and climbing, says the Gisborne Herald, after six weeks of landslides and flooding have taken their toll. The web site has video from the massive slip at Gentle Annie.

Wanganui basked in sunshine over the Easter weekend and Wanganui Chronicle photographer Bevan Conley has the photos to prove it. Meanwhile a Wanganui motorist caught driving with a blood alcohol level almost twice the legal limit was mistaken when he thought he could use his work relationship with the police to get him off a charge.

It has been 18 months since Nadia Lim won the gripping Masterchef 2011 finale, but she tells the Wairarapa Times Age it's still taking some getting used to. She is heading to Masterton to promote her new book. And a former Wairarapa College student has just had his big break - a $100,000 grant to make his first feature film.

Christchurch woman Isabella Lynch was woken on her 75th birthday by the barking of her dog Chloe, letting her know the garage attached to her house was on fire. "Chloe was barking and jumping on top of me and I realised something was seriously wrong. She was telling me to get moving."

In Mid-Canterbury, the Ashburton Guardian reports the wallabies are coming. The furry marsupials are mobilising their forces and spreading north and Mid Canterbury farmers are worried.

Over on the West Coast, about 150 scientists have scoured Denniston Plateau "in the dead of night" in the hope of finding new species that could help derail plans by Perth-based Bathurst Resources to mine the plateau.

And a couple are unhappy after they received a freedom camping infringement notice while their van was parked outside a Wanaka backpackers where they were sleeping.

- NZ Herald

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