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Four Queenstown tourism operators and stakeholders have been selected as finalists in the 2017 New Zealand tourism awards.

A Queenstown-based social housing provider says its Shared Home Ownership scheme has become difficult to run due to extremely high housing prices.

Southland has a goal of attracting 10,000 more people by 2025 and efforts to make sure they get a friendly welcome have begun.

The Dunedin City Council has shifted its priorities to information-gathering post-flood as clean-up operations following the weekend's wild weather continued today.

Embattled MP Todd Barclay returned to Parliament today.

The Clutha-Southland MP has not been at work in Wellington since his decision to resign at the end of this parliamentary term.

This year's International Film Festival will see the release of an Christchurch-based film, about environmental plight of Canterbury's rivers.

The Labour party has labelled the Prime Minister's comments on the immigration changes as an "abrupt backflip".

They accuse National of not understanding the immigration problem.

The state of emergency in Dunedin was lifted at 9 o'clock this morning as Civil Defence moved into recovery following the weekend's flooding.

The Government is likely to tweak its proposed immigration policy changes following a backlash from business groups and the regions.

The world of competitive eating is not pretty, but it is competitive, fast, furious, and a bit frightening.

Last weekend saw the annual Poultry, Pigeon and Canary Show being held in Oamaru.

Poultry fans of all ages flocked to Oamaru for the event.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is the new President of Local Government New Zealand after being elected to the role at the organisation’s AGM in Auckland.

A ranger fears some rare native wildlife may have drowned in their burrows following the worst ever storm damage in the ten-year history of Dunedin’s Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

A six car nose-to-tail pile up at Roaring Meg in the Kawarau Gorge resulted in four cars needing to be towed this morning.

Greymouth teenager Lily Gordon has been found safe and well after being missing for five days.

A Queenstown man will need surgery on his jaw after it was broken in a fight at the World Bar at the weekend.

Aurora Energy report that they have restored all power that had been lost during the weekend storms.

Several of the towns in South Otago were also hard hit by the severe weather event.

Dunedin

  • Several roads and highways remain closed due to flooding in Dunedin, and several roads in the Central Otago District are also affected by snow. The NZTA advises the many state highways were closed at 2.15pm.

  • Cancellation of planned power outages due to severe weather

    A severe weather warning is in place for Dunedin and Central Otago.

    The extreme weather has caused some planned power outages to be cancelled today and all planned power outages to be cancelled tomorrow.

    Areas which would have been affected by planned outages tomorrow include Cromwell and South Dunedin.

    These planned power outages will be rescheduled and electricity retailers will be notified at least ten working days in advance.

  • A kit set aeroplane arrived from the United States at Otago Polytechnic's engineering department this week.

    Polytechnic students will have the opportunity to put the plane, a Vans RV12, together themselves under the supervision of an aircraft engineer.

  • The Dunedin City Council says information centres have been set up at the Mercy Room in Catholic Social Services in South Dunedin, and at the Fire Station Theatre in Mosgiel

    The DCC has activated the Civil Defence Bunker

    The NZTransport Agency is asking people to avoid all travel between Dunsandel and Oamaru, and further north, a state of emergency has been declared in Timaru.

  • A man once called the godfather of the Dunedin music scene has passed on.

    Roy Colbert ran music shop Records Records in Stuart Street during the heyday of what's known as "the Dunedin Sound".

    His passing is being felt not only by those closest, in his hometown, but also around the world.

  • Dunedin was struck by the forecast rain storm around 11 am, but by mid-afternoon it appeared that the city was coping well.

Invercargill

  • It's back to school on Monday for thousands of children - their parents now allowed a small sigh of relief.

    But, in Invercargill these last two weeks, holiday boredom has not been a factor.

    A number of the city's businesses provided plenty of ways to keep children entertained.

  • Invercargill Police have today made an arrest following an assault in Nith Street on June 29.

    The person arrested was a 21-year-old male.

    He will be appearing in Invercargill District Court on the twenty fifth of July charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

    Inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

    Police would like to thank those members of the public who came forward with information in relation to the assault

  • Department of Conservation Te Anau staff are "devastated" after a much-loved gecko at the local visitor centre was taken.

    Graham, a Marlborough green gecko, had been in his terrarium at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre for 30 years.

    Staff noticed he was gone on Wednesday. The padlock to his terrarium was missing and marks on the latch pointed toward it having been forced or cut.

    DOC representatives say the gecko has lived in one place all its life, and it might now be subjected to uncomfortable experiences.

  • Around 70 people attended the MoreFM Southland Midwinter Swim held recently at Oreti Beach.

  • A major low pressure system is heading towards the South Island and forecasters believe it may well create headlines later this week as severe weather bites some areas.

  • It will be late next week before the National Party releases the list of those vying for the job of controversial Clutha-Southland Member of Parliament Todd Barclay.

Business

  • The median house price in Otago has reached a new high of $296,000.

    That's a $16,000 jump compared to this time last year.

    Prices are mostly up in rural areas but down in Dunedin, and overall sales volumes have fallen 7% in the last 12 months.

    Otago is one of six regions in the country to hit a new record high median sale price.

    Smaller increases are also being reported in Southland and the Queenstown Lakes area.

    There has been a large jump in sales volumes in Gore and commentators say demand from first home buyers remains solid.

  • Organisers of the iD Dunedin Fashion Week are looking at ways to cut costs after reporting an almost $55,000 loss.

    The society in charge of the annual fashion week just publicly confirmed the deficit.

    In the 2015 financial year it enjoyed a net profit of more than $120,000.

    But that's turned into a net loss of just under $55,000 following this year's event.

    Income dropped and expenditure increased for the society, disappointing members.

    They're blaming lower than expected ticket sales and are now looking at trimming costs and boosting sponsorship.

  • Otago is the second fastest growing region in the country in relation to tourism, according to the latest statistics.

    It's second only to the Nelson region, which has had 11.7% growth in tourism expenditure.

    The figure for Otago is 9.6%.

    That equates to $3.2b for the year to August.

    Wanaka led the country for individual towns and cities, experiencing a $16.3% increase.

    Dunedin's also had a winter tourism boom, thanks in part to a new promotion enticing Australians and New Zealanders to the city.

  • Port Otago has generated $7.3m for parent organisation the Otago Regional Council in the last financial year.

    The company's just publicly announced its latest annual performance, reporting a group profit of just over $34m.

    There has been an increase in export container volumes and higher valuations on investment properties.

    But the log industry has declined slightly, as have import container volumes and cruise ship numbers.

    Port Otago's well into its planned $45m infrastructure upgrade, spanning several years.

  • The latest stage of the Cromwell town centre redevelopment is beginning to take shape.

    Work on the Big Fruit Reserve started in July and is on schedule to be completed by November.

    And locals are hoping it'll entice passers-by to stop for more than just a photo opportunity.

  • A two-month Enterprise Dunedin campaign to entice people to the city is costing stakeholders almost $100,000.

    The city council's footing half the bill, with partner organisations covering the rest.

    Those involved say it's money well spent but the project is attracting scrutiny.

Local Sport

  • New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association have agreed that women's cricketers will be paid more.

    A new three-year Memorandum of Understanding will see 15 of the country's best women cricketers offered annual retainers ranging in value from $20,000 to $34,000.

    Previously, only the top 10 players received contracts worth more than $10,000.

    The New Zealand Cricket Association says paying our best women's players more fits in well with the organisation's commitment towards inclusivity and diversity.

  • Despite a season-ending loss to the Lions at the weekend, the Highlanders are celebrating success, having 7 players selected in the latest All Blacks squad.

    All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen named his side for the upcoming rugby championship, with the now expected contingent of Highlanders making the cut.

    He says he and his fellow selectors are very happy with the squad and combinations they had come up with.

  • The Kia Toa Tigers have been crowned this year's Otago rugby league champions after defeating the East Coast Eagles.

    The side won 32 to 18 at Forsyth Barr Stadium taking home the coveted William Johnston Cup.

    And while there were a few stand-out players, the Tigers captain says it was very much a team effort.

  • All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will retain his position through to the next Rugby World Cup in 2019.

    His previous contract was set to expire next year following the British and Irish Lions three test tour.

    The 57 year old has been involved in the side's two back-to-back World Cup successes in the past eight years.

    And he's lost just three of 57 All Blacks tests as head coach.

  • After almost 20 years, Kaikorai is once again at the top of premier rugby.

    The side defeated Dunedin 29 points to 22 in Saturday's final at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

    And despite a slow start to the season, the winning captain couldn't be happier with how it's finished.

  • More than 100 children are participating in a football school holiday programme at the Edgar Centre.

    The importance of growing the sport at a grass-roots level is one of the main drivers behind the four day event.

    And although the football season's winding down, there's no let-up in local interest.