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A home in Dannevirke was badly damaged by fire yesterday.

Firefighters from Dannevirke and Norsewood were called to the house fire in Victor Street shortly after 11am, and found it well involved on arrival.

Firefighters worked for close to three hours to put the blaze out, leaving around 2pm.

No one was reportedly in the house at the time the fire broke out, and a Palmerston North based fire investigator was called in to determine the cause.

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A 4WD had to be towed from the Tukituki River yesterday after becoming stuck.

Staff from Cervus Equipment were called to tow the “well stuck” vehicle from the icy river back onto dry land.

The driver had attempting to cross the river upstream from the Tukituki Bridge.

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Staff at Findex Central Hawke’s Bay are working from home until further notice following an asbestos scare in their Waipukurau building.

A small amount of asbestos was found in the ceiling cavity above the Findex offices, with testing and a plan for removal currently being worked on.

The company said all staff were working from home or from its Hastings office until the “situation is resolved”.

Downstairs tenants in the building that Findex occupies, including Unichem Pharmacy and NZME, are unaffected and remain open as usual.

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The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has revealed that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Justice all signed off on a $2.75 million drug rehab contract given to Mongrel Mob leaders. 

Yesterday Hawke’s Bay Today revealed the money had been granted to the Mongrel Mob to run the Kahukura marae-based programme in Waipawa.

NZ Taxpayers Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke said at first, the funding sounded like the kind of lapse of judgment typically made by unelected, out-of-touch bureaucrats,  but said the funding was approved by our highest elected officials. 

The Prime Minister has defended signing-off on the funding, and Justice Minister Andrew Little said the programme had significant backers including the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Health and Hawke’s Bay Police.