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Key to View Auckland Tornado Damage After Three Workers Killed

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will today visit parts of Auckland devastated by a tornado that killed three workmen, injured others and damaged homes in the nation’s largest city.

Key will be briefed by emergency services staff and meet representatives of Hawkins Construction, which employed the three casualties, before viewing the damage in the suburb of Hobsonville, according to an e-mailed statement. The deaths occurred at a building site after the tornado struck early afternoon yesterday, New Zealand Police said in a statement.

As many as 150 homes were damaged by the high-speed winds that brought down chimneys, wrecked roofs and uprooted trees, with 250 people sheltering at the nearby Whenuapai Air Force base, Auckland City Council said in a statement yesterday. Seven people were treated at a nearby hospital.

Lightning storms and heavy rain elsewhere in the city disrupted flights and cut power. As many as 1,300 homes were without electricity late yesterday and 700 had supply restored by early today, Vector Ltd. said in a statement. In some areas, poles and transformers need to be replaced, prolonging the outage, it said.

Key is also the member of parliament for the area.

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