Tuesday 18th October, 2016

The government's spending about $1b adding extra beds in prisons throughout the country.

None of the 1800 new beds are being allocated to the Otago Corrections Facility.

At the last count in September there were 465 prisoners at the Milburn jail.

They made up just under 5% of the country's total inmate population.

There are currently almost 10,000 prisoners nationwide and the government says that number's growing faster than expected.


Thursday 06th October, 2016

All Black and Highlander Aaron Smith is facing a misconduct hearing after allegedly having sex with a woman in a disabled toilet at Christchurch Airport.

Smith has been stood down from the All Blacks for the game against South Africa this weekend.

He'll face a misconduct hearing on his return to New Zealand.

The 27-year-old halfback was witnessed entering a disabled toilet with a woman at Christchurch Airport on a busy Sunday afternoon last month.

It was reportedly obvious what the two were doing, although the woman was not Smith's partner.


Monday 26th September, 2016

The Central Otago township of Alexandra is buzzing from a standout 60th annual Blossom Festival at the weekend.

About 15,000 people bought tickets to the Pioneer Park activities and events, following the street parade.

Floats of all shapes and sizes kept children and families entertained during the procession.

Vintage vehicles, trucks and bands also rolled down the town's main street.

Live music, stalls, rides and fun competitions were popular among the crowd.


Monday 26th September, 2016

Firefighters are battling a blaze inside a popular Bluff restaurant.

Emergency services were called to the Oyster Cove Cafe and Bar just after 3pm.

It's believed the fire started in a dryer in a laundry room although that has yet to be confirmed.

The majority of damage is at the back of the building, where the laundry and kitchen are.

Up to 30 people were in the restaurant at the time fire broke out.

All were evacuated without injury by co-owner Lynda Jackson.


Monday 26th September, 2016

A Gore art gallery has recently been ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the best places to visit in the South Island.

The Eastern Southland Gallery houses an eclectic, far-ranging collection of both New Zealand and international work.

And its curator is pleased to see hard work paying off.


Thursday 22nd September, 2016

There's bad news for rural Otago residents as banks around the region are permanently closing their doors.

Westpac and ANZ are closing a number of branches across Otago despite protests in the region.

The Gardens Westpac is closing in North Dunedin, as is the branch in Ranfurly, which is the Maniototo's only bank.

It follows a strong online trend, with 85% of transactions no longer taking place inside banks.

Other affected areas include Clutha and Te Anau.

Ranfurly residents will now face a 180km round trip to the nearest bank in Alexandra.


Thursday 25th August, 2016

Fonterra has indicated it will increase its 2016/2017 farmgate milk price.

The rise of 50c to $4.75 per kilogram of milk solids is seen as a positive signal for farmers.

Federated Farmers dairy industry spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says the announcement will likely boost dairy farmer optimism, and make their bank managers 'more cheerful'.


Wednesday 24th August, 2016

The price of petrol is heading up, once again.

The price per litre has increased 11c in just under a fortnight, to $1.88 for 91 octane.

The rises have been attributed to the increasing cost of refining crude over the same period.

Industry watchdogs are expecting the price to remain at the present level in the short term.

A barrel of petrol is now costing more than $NZ82.


Wednesday 24th August, 2016

Beef and lamb exports to key markets have fallen.

Statistics New Zealand figures show total exports were worth $4b in July.

That's down 19% on the same month last year.

The largest decrease was in lamb exports, which are down 29%.

The drop has been attributed to record meat exports at this time last year, when they were 31% higher than the average over the previous five years.

The United States and the EU are the largest export destinations for beef and lamb.


Tuesday 23rd August, 2016

New figures show the number of people coming to New Zealand is increasing.

Statistics New Zealand says more than 20,000 extra visitors spent time in the country during July, compared with the same month last year.

The rise was due mainly to a 21% increase in holiday arrivals, from Australia, China and the United States.

As well, visitor arrivals numbered 237,900 last month, setting a new July record.