Head-on smash injures two
Two people have been injured, one seriously, in a head-on crash near Paihia. The smash occurred just before noon on Friday on State Highway 11, near the intersection with Te Haumi Dr, when a south-bound Ford Festiva hatchback and a north-bound Toyota Rav4 collided. The male driver of the hatchback, thought to be aged in his 20s, suffered serious injuries and had to be cut out of his vehicle by volunteers of the Paihia Fire Brigade. He was transported by St John Ambulance to the nearby Paihia School grounds, from where the Northland Rescue Helicopter flew him to Whangārei Hospital about 1.30pm. The female driver of the Rav4 suffered moderate injuries and was able to get out of her vehicle unassisted. It is believed she was transported to Bay of Islands Hospital. The crash occurred in dry conditions on a bend with a double yellow centre line. Police are investigating. It was not known at edition time yesterday whether the drivers were engaged in essential travel.
Pastor to stand for Parliament
Kaikohe pastor Mike Shaw has announced his intention to run for Parliament in the next general election. Shaw said he would stand in the Northland electorate as an independent candidate and would seek support for his views on issues including education, the environment and the economy, but his main motivation was opposition to the Abortion Law Reform Act 2020. He had already lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission against Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Justice Minister Andrew Little, who he held particularly responsible for the new law. It passed its third reading in Parliament on March 18 by 68 votes to 51. Shaw believed the next election would be ''anybody's race'' due to the erosion of National's once-solid majority. ''I will be running as hard and as fast as I can, not on moral or religious grounds but a fundamental human rights issue.'' Current MP Matt King's majority is just under 1400 votes.
No DHB April meeting
Northland District Health Board's April board meeting has been cancelled due to Covid-19 response demands. The scheduled third board meeting of the year was to be held on Monday, but a NDHB spokeswoman said the meeting was cancelled so the staff who normally attended would not face undue burden. Relevant staff who usually prepared reports for and attended the April board meeting were already fully engaged in the organisation's Covid-19 response, the spokeswoman said. The meeting was originally scheduled, pre-Covid, to be held in the Far North's Kaitaia Hospital as part of regional venue rotation. The next NDHB meeting is currently scheduled to be held at Dargaville Hospital on May 25.
Free skills initiative online
NorthTec and TANZ eCampus are launching a fees-free online learning initiative to help Northlanders upskill or reskill if they have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unemployment is predicted to rise sharply. The initiative is aimed at helping people upskill or learn new skills in order to help the region's economy recover from the effects of the pandemic. Learners can also access Chromebook devices from NorthTec to help them study from home. People need to enrol by May 18 with more info at www.northtec.ac.nz/programmes/ecampus, along with details on how to inquire and apply.