A Whangārei man has been charged after he allegedly drove off from police who wanted to stop him for allegedly driving at excessive speed.
A police unit on Rust Ave saw a dirt bike being ridden at excessive speed before 1.30pm. it did an abrupt u-turn after the rider had seen the police vehicle.
Police signalled the rider to stop but he failed to do so. A very short pursuit ensued before it was abandoned near Alexander St.
Police arrested the rider, a 23-year-old male, after the dirt bike became stuck in a nearby creek.
He faces a number of driving charges, including failing to stop. He has also been warned in relation to breaching alert level 4 restrictions

Cruise ship outbreak

Australia's top doctor says this country was lucky the ship Ruby Princess cut its New Zealand cruise short before triggering a major Covid-19 outbreak across the Tasman. Last week the Advocate revealed the ship had been due in the Bay of Islands one day before it docked in Sydney and disembarked 2700 passengers. Since then 15 deaths and more than 650 cases in Australia have been linked to the Ruby Princess. Its Napier visit also led to a cluster of infections. The Tauranga, Auckland and Paihia visits were subsequently cancelled. Australian chief medical officer Prof Brendan Murphy told Tuesday's meeting of the Epidemic Response Committee that New Zealand was lucky the Ruby Princess cruise ship had only made temporary stops here. Australia had many more cases than New Zealand though two-thirds of cases across the Tasman were from returning travellers and cruise ships.

Whangaroa blaze

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A rubbish fire lit without a permit in strong winds is thought to have started a large blaze near Whangaroa yesterday. The alarm was raised about 12.20am yesterday when the fire, on Wainui Rd near the junction with Porters Access Rd, spread into a paddock and from there into gorse and scrub. Kaeo, Cavalli, Mangonui and Kerikeri fire brigades responded. Kaeo deputy fire chief Jo Sweet-Bennett said a powerful northeasterly wind was pushing the fire rapidly up a gully, but firefighters attacking the right and bottom flanks brought it under control. A Salt Air helicopter was called out from Paihia but not required. Fire and Emergency NZ is investigating.

Countdown hours change

Countdown stores across the country, including in Northland, will be changing their opening hours from tomorrow to open from 8am to 8pm. The change aims to allow customers more time to shop and help ease queues.
Countdown's priority shopping hour for emergency services and medical personnel will move to 7am, so that they can continue to get their food and groceries before the store opens to the general public. This priority shopping hour is available to NZ Police, Fire Service, ambulance paramedics, DHBs, hospital and medical personnel with proper ID.

Fees-free learning

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 as the country deals with the uncertainty created by the pandemic.
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 enquire and apply.