Launch sinks at mooring

Efforts were under way yesterday to salvage a launch which sank at its mooring in the Waitangi Estuary. The partly submerged boat was spotted on Sunday morning but it was not immediately clear when or how it had sunk. Northland harbourmaster Jim Lyle said salvaging the boat was the owner's responsibility but the Northland Regional Council would assist if required. There were no reports of leaking fuel and only a small amount of diesel is believed to have been on board.

Arson trial to re-start

The trial of a Kerikeri man accused of burning down his own shed packed with musical equipment is set to begin today in the Kaikohe District Court. Anthony (Tony) Norman Harrison is charged with two counts of arson relating to a fire at a Waipapa Rd property in October 2017. The trial was to have started on Monday but the jury had to be dismissed after just a few hours, after the prosecution and defence had finished their openings and before the first witnesses were called. A new jury is due to be chosen this morning. Harrison denies the charges.

New fire permit system

A new online fire permit system has been introduced in Northland ahead of what's likely to be a dry summer. Previously Northlanders had to call their local rural fire office to arrange a permit but starting last month permit applications have been moved online to www.checkitsalright.nz or www.fireandemergency.nz. People without internet access can phone 0800 658 628. Most of Northland is currently in an open fire season which means permits are not required. The exceptions are within 1km of conservation land and in the fire-prone Karikari and Aupōuri peninsulas and areas north of State Highway 10 and Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd, where fire permits are required year-round.