Aucklanders warned as Sky City fire burns on
The Sky City Convention Centre fire burns on this morning, leading to major central Auckland disruption and a site visit by the Prime Minister today.
Orange flames and billows of black smoke are still coming out from the roof of the SkyCity International Convention Centre in Auckland.
Firefighters say they're trying their best to get the fire under control after it broke out about 1 pm Tuesday.
Twenty-one appliances are on the scene with laddered hoses trying to reach to the top.
Two lanes are open on Nelson Street, part of Hobson street is closed, and Wellesley West Street is closed between Hobson and Nelson streets.
Auckland Emergency Management said diversions are expected to remain in place until at least mid-morning and commuters should expect major delays.
A Fire and Emergency alert was sent at close to 5am again, asking people nearby to stay out of the smoke, close windows and doors, turn off air conditioning.
Flames engulfed the top of the building yesterday afternoon, starting on the seventh floor - the roof - before spreading to the sixth. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Jacinda Ardern, who usually spends Wednesdays in the capital, changed her plans and will meet Fire and Emergency this afternoon.
She is also expected to meet representatives from SkyCity and builders Fletchers.
Firefighters worked into the night, abandoning the roof, and focusing their efforts instead on preventing further spread to the lower levels.
Dozens of fire units were on the scene, with additional help even arriving from the Hamilton Fire and Emergency branch.
Smoke continued to billow from the building into the CBD precinct yesterday, affecting workers and residents nearby. Those in the area have been warned to either avoid the blocks around SkyCity if possible or take precautions to avoid breathing in the fumes.
Niwa yesterday said a wind shift was also forecast this afternoon, which would result in shift of the smoke plume.
SkyCity evacuated its entire Auckland precinct, because of smoke from the fire, with people forced to leave the Sky Tower, casino, all SkyCity hotels and restaurants and corporate offices.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told RNZ yesterday the council also had to tell staff to leave the council building, near SkyCity, yesterday afternoon when the hazy atmosphere made their offices "uninhabitable".
Reminder to plan journey to CBD
As firefighters continue to battle the blaze, it is expected large amounts of smoke will rise from the building.
Auckland Transport is reminding Aucklanders to plan their journey carefully, with major delays expected due to road closures and diversions.
It said several bus routes across the city will have arrival and departure times affected in the morning peak hours, with some delays and cancellations also exptected.
"If you can work from home or from a non-central location tomorrow morning, or start work later in the day, we recommend you do so," said Auckland Transport spokesperson John Nottage.
"If you do need to travel into the city centre, cehck for road closure and public transport information before you do so and plan accordingly. Use train or ferry services if possible."
Auckland Emergency Management Acting Director Sarah Sinclair said: "We urge people to use their common sense and not put themselves in harm's way by standing in smoke plumes or downwind of smoke."
Auckland's Regional Public Health Service said people living or working near the convention centre should take precautionary measures to avoid breathing in the smoke, inclusing staying indoors, closing windows, shutting external ventilation, seeing a doctor if smokes causes shortness of breath or worsening of asthma symptoms, wiping down surfaces - especially food prep and cooking - in areas affected.