Thursday's headlines: Rena divers sacked; rental crisis deepens in Christchurch; pay rise for mayors in the Wellington region.
The New Zealand Herald leads with widespread panic in nations bordering the Indian Ocean, when a magnitude 8.6 earthquake struck off Indonesia. The paper describes how residents fearing tsunamis, fled coastlines to higher ground on cars and motorcycles. The quake was centred 33km deep. It was felt in Singapore, Thailand and India and was even recorded in New Zealand.
The paper also details how two divers working on the Rena salvage have been fired, after helping themselves to wine from one of the containers.
The Waikato Times reports a South Auckland woman was left terrified after being abducted and held for ransom at a Hamilton property. Two men and a woman appeared in Hamilton District Court on Wednesday accused of kidnapping for gain.
The paper also reports a truck and trailer unit laden with palm kernel lost control and plunged off the Kaimai Ranges road last night killing the driver.
The Dominion Post leads with Mayors in the Wellington region getting another pay rise, while councils slash spending to prevent rates blowing out. The Mayors of Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt will have their pay boosted by up to $5400, while Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-brown's $2000 rise will take her salary to just over $161,000.
And the parents of an out-of-form Piri Weepu say they are backing their son, despite comments from his Blues captain and All Black team-mate Keven Mealamu that he is not at the top of his fitness level.
The Press leads with the deepening rental crisis in Christchurch. Agencies say a shortage in rental housing is nearly at breaking point, with landlords fielding a 42% increase in inquiries.
The paper details how rental listings have dived 40%, compared with last year, with some people having to move back into red-zoned homes, or make do with garages.
The Otago Daily Times reports Dunedin City Council is investigating after a wheelchair-bound man and his support worker were showered with glass fragments when a roof panel exploded inside the Wall Street mall on Wednesday.
Support is sought for the Otago women's rugby team. With a bail-out deal for the Otago RFU not providing funding for the team to play in the national competition, efforts are being made to raise $20,000 to get them there.