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Published: 2016-02-26 00:00:00

Nine full car bodies and assorted vehicle bits, as well as a small boat, have been hauled from the Waikato River around Hamilton this week as part of a national police dive squad training exercise.

The exercise, carried out with support from Waikato Regional Council and Hamilton City Council, was held over three days. It allowed dive squad members to practice their skills and had the added benefit of hauling wrecks from the river where they are a potential safety hazard.

“The exercise has been a very valuable one for all the partners,” said the regional council’s maritime services team leader Richard Barnett.

“We’ve been very happy to support the police with their training and will work with them again in future on request. It’s also great to see some significant rubbish and potential navigation safety problems removed from the river.”

Seven of the full car bodies were recovered from near the Pukete boat ramp and another two at the Narrows. The small boat was found about 500 metres upstream from the Pukete ramp.

“The exercise allowed us to locate items we suspected were there but couldn’t be sure about,” said Mr Barnett.

The exercise involved the dive squad’s specialist vessel and a four wheel drive truck, a local police boat and a regional council vessel.

“Pooling our resources like this has had a really positive result for all parties,” Mr Barnett said.

Hamilton City Council’s city waters manager Andrew Parsons also said the project had been great news all round.

“It’s been an excellent training opportunity for the NZ police divers, and we were delighted to support the Waikato Regional Council in this initiative.

“We worked closely with our refuse and recycling contractor to help dispose of rubbish, and the divers also did some visual checks of the underwater intake structures at our water treatment plant as part of their operation. It’s been great for the environment, great for the police, and a great example of added value through partnership between all involved.”