A man who gave police the slip during a swoop on a Northland house this week remains on the run. Police are appealing for any sightings of Luke Edmonds and for the public to call 111 immediately if they spot him. The 40-year-old is wanted on a prison parole recall warrant. On Wednesday the armed offenders squad were involved in a search of a property and officers shut down Port Marsden Highway during the search. Police said Edmonds is considered dangerous and should not be approached. Anybody with information about his whereabouts should contact Whangārei Police by phoning 105 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Driver due in court
A 43-year-old man is due back in court next month in relation to the death of a Moerewa teenager in a crash last Sunday. Nga Roimata Beattie-Rihari, 18, died when the car she was sitting in was hit by a vehicle driving on the wrong side on Mason Ave in Moerewa about 7.45pm. Her car was shunted backwards into a power pole while the other vehicle mounted the kerb and crashed into a house. The driver, Ioakimi Sale, has so far been charged with driving with excess breath alcohol for a third or subsequent time. He was remanded in custody and will make his next appearance at Whangārei District Court via audio-visual link on May 4. Northland's head of road policing, Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson, said more charges were likely with a decision due to be made before Sale's next appearance. A service for Beattie-Rihari will be held on Tuesday once the Covid-19 alert drops to level 3.
Family in motel
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A Whangārei family who had their home destroyed by a suspicious fire, which is still being investigated by police, are now living in a motel. Lisa Bowers and her three children — Joanna 11, Noah, 5, and Luke, 2 — and her mother Diana Jordan, who suffers from severe arthritis, managed to escape from their house on Matai St when a suspicious fire broke out about 10.20pm on Wednesday. Bowers was on the phone when her daughter alerted her to the fire in a room outside the back door. She saw someone jump the back fence as she got her family outside. Police are still investigating the fire and have not made any arrests. Thanks to Women's Refuge the family have moved into a motel after staying a night with neighbour Vanessa Wihongi. Donations have been pouring in and the family, left with only the clothes they were wearing, have been overwhelmed by generous offers of help.
Plea not to light fires
Frustrated firefighters are once again calling on Northlanders not to light fires while Covid-19 and fire restrictions are in place. Kerikeri Fire Brigade was called out to Conifer Lane, off Kapiro Rd, about 10.45pm on Wednesday after a resident lit a pile of cut vegetation. One fire appliance and one tanker responded. Kerikeri fire chief Les Wasson said the fire did not have a permit — a restricted fire season is still in force across Northland — and had also dropped ash into neighbours' spouting and water tanks. He called on Northlanders to be considerate of emergency service volunteers who had to come together and put themselves at risk of the Covid-19 virus every time there was a callout.
Car ends up in harbour
Emergency services were called to Whangaroa Harbour on Tuesday after a car skidded off Whangaroa Rd and ended up in the water. The crash occurred about 5.15pm with all occupants of the Mitsubishi sedan fleeing the scene before emergency services arrived. Kaeo deputy fire chief Jo Sweet-Bennett said firefighter Josh Haxby braved the water to check no one was trapped inside the partly submerged vehicle. The brigade then handed the incident over to police.
Call to clear consents backlog
The New Zealand Planning Institute wants Northland's local authorities to use the lockdown as a prime opportunity clear any consent backlogs. NZPI chairwoman Karyn Sinclair said this would minimise potential delays to development projects when restrictions end. "We support the Government's appeal to councils that encourage them to continue consenting during the Covid-19 crisis," Sinclair said. "The majority of consents are cost-recoverable. At a time when councils are facing a downturn in income streams it makes economic sense to take advantage of the quieter period and clear as many consents as possible – which will also mean there is work ready to go when we come out of lockdown."