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New Zealand Flooded overnight

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A state of emergency will remain in the Nelson region for a few more hours as the area recovers from record breaking rainfall.

Heavy downpours in the northern South Island have caused widespread flooding and 148 people have left their homes to avoid the rising waters and slips.

Police said there has been gridlock on the city's roads this morning after flooding forced many routes to close.

Traffic jams have made it difficult for emergency services to get around and police are asking motorists to only drive if they have to.

"It's still a state of emergency and that will remain in place as long as we're likely to need the emergency powers, and that will be for a few hours," Nelson mayor Richard Kempthorne told TV ONE's Breakfast.

"We've had a tremendous amount of rain yesterday but we've had less than expected overnight and some of the rivers are starting to drop."

Kempthorne said the worst affected areas were Pohara Valley in Golden Bay where up to 30 homes have been affected after a dam burst, and the port hills in Nelson which have had numerous slips.

He said there has been significant property damage.

The only road connecting northwestern Golden Bay with Takaka collapses

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