Snow in south, thunder in north

Snow in Heddon Bush, Southland.

6 min ago  Snow and ice hit the south, heavy snow picked for central North Island and severe thunderstorm risk for upper north.

Your Kiwi winter wonderland

Murderer 'kidnapped' - lawyer

Phillip John Smith at his court appearance after arriving back in New Zealand following his escape to Brazil

11:47 AM  Lawyer for murderer Phillip John Smith claims his client effectively "kidnapped" when deported from Brazil.

'Violent, opportunistic' offender

Dinesh Lal at the Auckland High Court.

Illegal immigrant tied up an elderly woman and beat her unconscious in daylight attack.

Smoke alarms save family gallery

A fireman grabbed Bee the cat and "threw her outside" as a fire gutted a house on Wainoni Rd in Avondale, Christchurch.

11:58 AM  Six people, including an 8-week-old baby, escaped a pre-dawn house fire thanks to smoke alarms.

Harbour victim couldn't swim

Finbarr Clabby at the Mornington Golf Club in 2011. He was named on Monday as the man whose body was found in Wellington Harbour on Sunday.

Man found drowned in Wellington harbour on Sunday had ticket to Super Rugby final in his pocket.

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crime

Plumber fraud charges: $1.42m

Accused Suzanne Davies at the start of her trial at Wellington District Court for $1.42 million fraud.

16 min ago  Former Zip Plumbing worker accused of stealing $1.42m in cheques written to herself.

Murderer 'kidnapped' - lawyer

11:47 AM  Lawyer for murderer Phillip John Smith claims his client was effectively "kidnapped" when deported from Brazil.

'Violent, opportunistic' offender jailed

Teddies and torches for abused children

politics

Govt 'complacent' on economy

Winston Peters: New Zealand is staring down the face of recession.

Opposition parties are accusing the Prime Minister of complacency over the state of the economy, after John Key said there was no need to hit the panic button.

Fewer kids in welfare families

The number of children living in benefit-dependent households drops 42,000 in three years.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has announced income support payments for struggling farmers.

Assistance for farmers

11:31 AM  Farmers who have taken a hit to their income after recent floods are due for some respite from the Government.

education

Why are NCEA results up? video

NCEA grade inflation graph

15 min ago  Dramatic increases in NCEA pass rates "clearly indicate grade inflation".

Funding boost for Nelson schools

11:54 AM  Nayland College and Hampden Street School included in $10m fund to encourage innovative teaching practices.

Golden Bay High School principal Roger File says it's difficult to get consistent NCEA pass rates with a relatively small and fluctuating school roll, particularly at Year 13.

Big job for a small school

11:56 AM  It's one of the only schools in the country where NCEA pass rates have not increased since 2004, but the principal isn't concerned.

health

Drinking while pregnant is 'common'

Female smokers are much more likely to drink alcohol when pregnant, a new study shows.

Between 20 and 80 per cent of expectant mums drink alcohol at low levels, new study shows.

All in your mind

The trendy cure-alls of meditation and mindfulness can come with a few downsides.

New MidCentral DHB chief executive Kathryn Cook at Palmerston North hospital.

DHB budget blowout disappoints

Members were "disappointed" as MidCentral DHB budget blowout extends to $3m.

Women of Influence

'It's a huge privilege'

"I think today women still have to make a decision about career and taking time out to have a family and how much time," says Jo-Anne Wilkinson.

Jo-anne Wilkinson was the joint winner of the Women of Influence 2014 award for Social Enterprise.

On being Women of Influence video

Some of our Women of Influence alumni on what being a Woman of Influence means to them.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, home from the United Nations to accept the Kea World Class New Zealander Supreme Award.

'I'm a role model for NZ women' video

Helen Clark's handshake is still cast iron strong; the self-confidence still supremely intact.

farming

Gay marriage hasn't hurt NZ trade

Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce believes gay marriage could affect his country's trade with Asia.

New Zealand's trade with Asia has increased since same-sex marriage was legalised, rubbishing Aussie minister's claim.

Woman killed in farm accident

A 32-year-old woman has died after an incident on a Southland farm.

PGG Wrightson chief executive Mark Dewdney addressing the company's annual meeting in 2013.

Livestock division investigated

PGG Wrightson has been investigated by the Commerce Commission for breach of the Commerce Act.

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