Heavy storm hits New Zealand

Heavy storm hits New Zealand

The local civil defence controllers told the ministers Kakaka wasn't as badly hit as they had anticipated but the Takaka Hill Road was likely to be closed for several days.

After causing wide spread damage in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa last week, ex-tropical cyclone Gita hit New Zealand's upper South Island this afternoon (20 February, NZDT), prompting airline carrier Air New Zealand to ground all flights into and out of Wellington.

Civil defence systems were up and running when Gita arrived and the situation had been managed.

"We would like to acknowledge the generous capital contributions made by the governments of Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America who have made this result possible, and the World Bank for their role in supporting the overall PCRAFI Programme".

They also met Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorn and Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese. As of this morning, 36 of these have had mains power restored, while 3 additional sites remain on battery operation.

Massive slips have closed the Takaka Hill Road in Tasman, cutting off Golden Bay.

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"Things didn't eventuate as bad as we were expecting", he said.

Heavy rain caused landslips, closing arterial roads, including a state highway.

The storm is expected to lie southeast of the country and will continue to move further away to the southeast by Thursday.

However a heavy rain warning remains in place for Dunedin and North Otago.

In the North Island, parts of New Plymouth are without water after a large tree fell and destroyed a pipeline but the airport is open.

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