Key Points:

Today's Morning Rush is brought to you by Patrice Dougan. Good morning and welcome to today's edition of Morning Rush. Everything you need to know, including the latest, breaking news, sport, entertainment, traffic, travel and weather information. Share your news tips and photos at #MorningRushNZ or morningrush@nzme.co.nz 9.05am: In a late piece of breaking news - two vehicles have crashed off a Northland road after hitting black ice on a bridge. The incident happened on SH12 near Whirinaki just before 8am, police say. Take care on the roads out there folks. 9.01am: And I'll leave you with one of these fun pics of giant gummy bears street art. Check out more of them here. malta-streetart-festival- 8.57am: Wrapping up the blog for today folks. Stay tuned to nzherald.co.nz for the latest breaking news and analysis. Coming up today we're covering Daniel Livingstone's court appearance; the murder trial for the man accused of killing Connor Morris; the latest on event rider Andrew Nicholson's neck injury; And Lee Suckling will give you his take on diversity in the media, which has sparked plenty of debate since Rachel Smalley's column on Friday. 8.55am: Earlier crash in Riccarton causing traffic delays:

8.53am: Today's Rod Emmerson cartoon tackles Donald Trump: 8.49am: Update, on the man who died after an avalanche near Queenstown yesterday - he's been named as Roger Greville, 58, from Sydney. Police are working with the Australian Embassy, and a number of Mr Greville's family are expected to arrive in New Zealand today. 8.45am: Auckland-based Rocket Lab has released details of prices and the online booking system for carrying "nanosatellites" into space. Find out more here. 8.40am: An update on the rugby ref push - North Harbour Rugby Union chief executive Brett Hollister says it was "hugely disappointing". It was a "random act", he says, and Massey Club has assured him "the individual is not associated with the club". 8.37am: Aww! Lorde's mum has posted a photo of the singer and her sister Indie as little girls. How cute.

more pumpkin patch clothes @jerryflorence @lordemusic

A photo posted by @sonjayelich on

8.34am: A judge in the US has ordered a 21-year-old Texas man to marry his girlfriend or get jail time. Josten Bundy got into a fight with his girlfriend's ex-partner, which prompted the judge to ask if his girlfriend was "worth it." 8.32am: Two appeals for funds to help three sisters who survived a Waimate fire which killed their parents and young brother last week have raised $67,365. 8.27am: If you missed it last night, here's another chance to watch a video which emerged of an Auckland rugby referee being pushed violently to the ground by an onlooker after a club rugby game on the North Shore. 8.24am: What with Eddie McGuire defending his description of Victorian Sports Minister John Eren as a "soccer loving Turkish born Mussie" and the controversy over Adam Goodes, our Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says the spotlight on racism is important. 8.20am: Footballer David Beckham has hit out at critics who said his 4-year-old daughter Harper should not be using a dummy anymore.
8.16am: Jackass star Steve-O has been arrested for climbing a crane. 8.13am: Labour's export growth and trade spokesman David Parker has laid complaints against Foreign Minister Murray McCully after revelations the controversial $11.5 million Saudi sheep deal was opposed by the Treasury. 8.12am: Karl Stead is the country's new Poet Laureate. The Aucklander will keep the title until 2017. 8.10am: Traffic lights are out at Riccarton Rd-Clyde Rd intersection following earlier crash. Temporary traffic management is in place, NZTA says. 8.09am: This is still getting people going - yesterday's Modern Etiquette question: I can't afford to buy a house. What are my options? 8.06am: This is pretty amazing, a beautiful rare white humpback whale has been spotted off the coast of Australia. 8.04am: The Crown will call its last witness today at the trial for the man accused of murdering Connor Morris, 26, during a street fight in August last year. A pathologist will tell the jury more about the injury that killed Mr Morris. 8.01am: Today's Sideswipe looks at a possible hangover cure, beach signs, and hippy brownies. 7.56am: More details of Jennifer Aniston's secret wedding to beau Justin Theroux have emerged, with radio host Howard Stern revealing that he gave a speech, Jimmy Kimmel officated, and Sia performed. 7.50am: There's been a crash in Christchurch. Emergency services are at the scene. No further details as yet. 7.48am: The eastern end of Hamilton's London St has been cordoned off, and forensic examinations have begun. 7.47am: BREAKING: An elderly man's body has been found in a public toilet in Hamilton. Police have launched a homicide investigation. 7.44am: UPDATE on top event rider Andrew Nicholson - a family statement says he has a neck injury and is undergoing treatment at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Eventing journalist and a friend of Nicholson's, Barbara Gale, says there's no clear information on exactly what had happened. "I can only say that knowing Andrew very well over the years, that it can't just be a little knock to keep someone like Andrew Nicholson in hospital." 7.42am: Earlier breakdown citybound on Causeway has been cleared, NZTA says. But motorists can expect delays, with the current travel time to Auckland one hour from Westgate. 7.40am: Soft drink giant Coca-Cola is backing a new solution to obesity - get more exercise and don't worry so much about cutting calories. It's funding scientists to push the message around the world. 7.38am: Travel times into Wellington right now: Melling - CBD 33min; Tawa - CBD 32min; Cobham Drive - CBD 12min 7.35am: One small bite for man, one giant leaf for mankind - astronauts have eaten salad grown in space for the first time. 7.32am: The All Blacks remain the top ranked team in rugby while the Springboks have fallen to fifth in the latest World Rugby rankings. Ireland has moved into second place. Yay! I'm hoping for an Ireland-All Blacks RWC final. 7.31am: Cold in Auckland brrr! 7.26am: An Aussie father has asked federal politicians to pay for him to take his kids on holiday. He's set up a Go Fund Me page after taxpayer's money was used to pay for former Education Minister Tony Burke's family holiday in 2012.
Dear Federal MPs ... I would appreciate it greatly if you [donated] to my Go Fund Me campaign so MY kids can go on a holiday too. I won't be accepting donations from everyday Australians ... they have already paid too much for YOUR kids.
Stephen Callaghan
Good luck with that one Stephen. 7.24am: NewstalkZB host and Herald columnist Mike Hosking has waded into the flag debate - he says there are some genuine contenders in the 40 shortlisted designs. Watch him here: 7.20am: A vigil to mark one year since 18-year-old Micheal Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri, by police was marred by a rowdy outbreak, which ended in gunshots and a man being rushed to hospital in a critical condition. 7.16am: Canberra's hopes of an NRL finals berth are hanging by a thread, after going down 20-18 to Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium last night. 7.13am: The number of mortgagee sales has jumped nationwide in the past quarter as worsening economic conditions and lower dairy payouts hit parts of provincial New Zealand. Read more from property reporter Lane Nichols here. 7.09am: It'll be a fine and frosty day for most of the country, MetService says. 7.07am: Did you catch TV3's new current affairs show, Story, last night? Check out Duncan Greive's review, and see if you agree with him. 7.01am: Aucklanders are waking up to a beautiful sunrise after yesterday's wintery weather. 6.58am: Daniel Livingstone, a convicted sex offender who allegedly absconded after cutting off his electronic monitoring bracelet, is due to appear in the Hutt Valley District Court this morning charged with breaching the conditions of his release. 6.56am: Today's Big Read asks, Is this the beginning of the end for Donald Trump? 6.53am: A humble art deco building in Parnell is at the centre of a scrap between three of Auckland's wealthiest property owners and a part-time property investor. Read more on the stoush from Herald reporter Bernard Orsman here. 6.49am: PM John Key has been forced to don a green and gold Wallabies jersey after losing a bet with CNBC anchor Oriel Morrison. 6.45am: If you didn't get enough of it yesterday afternoon - or didn't get caught walking home in it like I did - check out more images and video of the hail storm that hit Auckland late yesterday, as well as photos of a funnel cloud, here. 6.41am: There's a blockage on the North Western motorway this morning. 6.39am: "It looks like temperatures of between 3C and 4C right around the Auckland region, there is likely some light frost in some places, but there shouldn't be hard frost anywhere, and certainly no severe frosts," MetService meteorologist Nick Zachar says. 6.38am: For more on the flags - the Southern Cross outnumber the koru and the silver fern on submitted flag designs. Find out more about the shortlisted 40, and see more images, here. 6.35am: Flags, flags flags - the flag panel has whittled down ensign choices from 10,292 to 40. What do you think of them? 6.32am: Travel times into Wellington this morning: Melling - CBD 20min; Tawa - CBD 18min; Cobham Drive - CBD 9min 6.30am: A candlelight vigil will be held tonight for 4-year-old Maggie Watson who died in unexplained circumstances in Onehunga on Friday. REad more about it here. 6.27am: If you missed it last night, a 58-year-old man has died after being buried by an avalanche on a heli-skiing trip. 6.23am: In the latest Cecil the lion news, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has hit out at his own people, saying they failed to protect him.
Cecil the lion is yours. He is dead ... and you failed to protect him.
Robert Mugabe
In his first public comments about the lion's death, he said Zimbabweans should protect their natural resources from what he called foreign vandals. 6.19am: This is getting a lot of interest this morning - a woman says she will no longer eat at Nandos after being told off by staff for bringing food in from a different takeaway outlet. She had brought in a snack-size pack of sushi to tide over her hungry and irritable 5-year-old son. What do you think? 6.16am: The low this morning is -5.2C in Alexandra, with New Plymouth the warmest, sitting at a toasty 5.3C. Wellington is the wettest getting 0.4mm of rain, and Kaikoura the windiest with gusts of 31km/h, according to MetService. 6.13am: Also in overseas news - two people have been killed at an Ikea store in Sweden. A third person is seriously injured. 6.10am: Meanwhile, back here in NZ - a man has been arrested after shots were fired at two Palmerston North police stations last night. He is expected to appear in court later today. 6.05am: In breaking news overnight, top New Zealand event rider Andrew Nicholson is in hospital in Oxford after suffering a neck injury at a British event. He was competing at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe yesterday, and fell at the last fence on the cross-country course. 6.02am: Good morning! It's a cold one out there again this morning guys, so wrap up warm if you're heading out, and we'll get cracking with this morning's news.