A Northland mum says free school lunch packs are a 'huge help', and Dannevirke gets a taxi service for the first time since 2009. These are just two of the stories making headlines around the regions today.

A Northland mum has praised a group for providing free school lunch packs to families in need.

Since Dannevirke's last taxi service went off the road in December 2009, the town has been without a service - until now.

Hand-made reusable bags are available for shoppers to pick up, use, and return in the middle of Red Square, in a bid to combat the high number of plastic bags used.

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They've been learning about social issues such as homelessnesss in class - now a group of Rotorua Girls' High School students are set to get a small taste of the problem firsthand.

Dame Tariana Turia has accused the Government of spending more money on locking people up than on combating poverty.