The Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is assuring drought hit farmers and Hawkes Bay, they will get support; and New Zealand currently has five confirmed and two probable cases.

1.The Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is assuring drought hit farmers and Hawkes Bay, they will get support. O’Connor says an announcement is coming but it won’t be today and his not giving details.  

2.The head of WorkSafe, Phil Parkes has defended the rate of its investigations, saying it will only launch one if charges are likely to be laid. It follows criticism from a health and safety lawyer and unions, who are concerned at the declining trend in the number of investigations the agency is doing.          

3.More European Union countries are adopting measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Italy is under virtual lockdown, travelers restricted, schools are closed and public gatherings have been banned.     

4.In the United States, schools and churches have been closed for two weeks in the country’s worst coronavirus hot zone, just north of New York city. The US National Guard has been deployed to NeuroShell and a 2.5km containment zone has been set up around an outbreak.      

5.New Zealand currently has five confirmed and two probable cases. 47 remain under investigation and more than 280 negative tests have been returned.    

6.A junior Health Minister in the UK Government has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation at home. Under-Secretary of State for Health Nadine Dorries, who played a role in drawing up legislation to tackle the coronavirus, fell ill on Friday last week.

7.The New Zealand stock market has opened up, taking its lead from Wall Street. The NZX Top 50 Index opened up about 1.5 percent in early trading, but the session was expected to be choppy as the Covid-19 virus continues to make headlines.

8.A British national arrested after a 200kg methamphetamine haul in central Auckland has pleaded guilty. James Woodley was one of two Brits charged after police found the drugs valued at $144 million in an apartment complex last August. Authorities found the drugs inside plastic storage containers hidden in cardboard boxes that had been stored in a wardrobe in the apartment.

9.The Department of Conservation, says New Zealanders are ignoring the rāhui at Tongariro National Park which could threaten its world heritage status. The area has been under the temporary restriction twice already this year after the deaths of two trampers on the Tongariro Crossing.    

10.Sunday’s National Remembrance Service for the 51 people killed in the Christchurch terror attack has been moved indoors as wet weather is forecast. The service was scheduled to be held in Hagley Park but now will be held in Horncastle Arena.        

11.About 100 tributes selected from the thousands left in support for the victims at the Christchurch terror attack have been registered as part of Canterbury Museum’s collection. Some of the smaller tributes are on display in the museum’s visitor lounge until 22nd March.      

12.Police are still trying to work out the identity of the man found dead near an Auckland brothel early yesterday morning. His body has been removed from the scene at an address in Epsom and a post mortem is underway. 

13.Fomer US Vice President, Joe Biden is hoping to cement his status as the frontrunner to face Donald Trump in November’s election.    

14.Russian President Vladimir Putin has not ruled out running for president again beyond 2024, when his term ends. But he told parliament that the Constitutional Court would first have to approve such a step. An MP has proposed “resetting to zero” the number of presidential terms.

15.Masterton District Council is looking to invest almost $1.5 million in its era drone. In a bid to become an entysic commercial airline after a six-year hiatus. The runway extension and system upgrade is one of the big ticket items in the council’s draft annual plan which will be discussed at a meeting this afternoon.

16.A dawn ceremony in the far north has marked the 175th anniversary of the felling of the British flagstaff at Kororāreka. Protest action by Ngapuhi chiefs, Hone Heke and Te Ruki Kawiti in 1845, provoked what became known as the Flagstaff War

17.A tourism company has been fined $12,000 for illegally guiding on public conservation land, including in Mount Aspiring National Park. The Department of Conservation said it prosecuted Active Planet 2015 for commercial guiding without authorisation at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, Pancake Rocks in Paparoa National Park, and at Blue Pools in Mount Aspiring National Park.

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