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Winds, rain affect flights and roads in New Zealand

 Auckland Airport (file photo): Air New Zealand says the weather is expected to cause "significant disruption" to its services. [Photo: RNZ / Teresa Cowie]

Traffic in Auckland has eased as Cyclone Cook heads towards the Central Plateau but the wild weather continues to disrupt flights in many parts of the North Island.

The weather system bore down on New Zealand just as the Easter weekend travel rush kicked off. MetService predicted downpours and winds above 150km/h for large parts of the country.

The NZ Transport Agency says three state highways in the Eastern Bay of Plenty are closed in places because of fallen power lines.

NZTA said the closures were at Otakiri and near the Pikowai campground, as well as on State Highway 30 between Thornton Road and Awakeri.

Meanwhile, the Whakatāne District Council said high winds meant it might be some time before contractors could clear fallen trees, and it urged people to stay off the roads.

Air New Zealand said the weather was expected to cause "significant disruption" to its services.

It said customers booked to travel should keep an eye on arrival and departure information via its website. It was offering fare flexibility for customers no longer wanting to travel, but not to passengers whose flights had been cancelled.

A number of flights out of Wellington have been cancelled, diverted or delayed due to low clouds.

Aucklanders were being urged to avoid travelling unless they needed to.

Auckland Transport put on extra buses today to meet demand with long queues at some stops, and some Auckland motorways had nose to tail traffic.

Gulf Harbour ferries were replaced by buses.

Local roads are closed by slips and flooding throughout the country.

Read more at RNZI