Exercise Tangaroa Set to Launch
The threat of a tsunami sweeping over the city will be the focus in today's national civil defence exercise. Exercise Tangaroa will see emergency staff across the Bay of Plenty's city, district and regional councils respond to the warning of a potentially destructive tsunami. It's expected to begin early this morning and will be treated as a real event by all involved. Spokeswoman Diane Turner says it'll begin with a simulated Pacific Tsunami Warning centre bulletin that an earthquake off the coast of South America may have generated a tsunami. She says it'll test everyone's readiness to respond and will be run in real time. The exercise will end when the ‘tsunami’ reaches New Zealand at 7pm tonight.
Accessibility of Pokie Machines Hard on Problem Gamblers
A gambling addiction counsellor says it's worrying the city's still pouring over 7 million dollars into pokie machines. That figure is nearly 3.5 per cent of the nationwide spend on gaming machines. Oasis caseworker, Rachel Hamilton says the accessibility of pokie machines makes it hard for problem gamblers to walk away. She says people can chose to bar themselves from venues that have machines.
Workers to Protest over Employment Rights
It's not just teachers who will be striking today, but also workers protesting against unfair employment rights. Hundreds are expected to gather at midday in Tauranga's CBD as part of the nationwide protest of what they believe is National's axe of work rights. The Council of Trade Unions says the Government has instigated a full on attack to undermine fairness at work - including the removal of rights to appeal unfair dismissal. It says requesting a medical certificate from the first day of illness implies workers are slackers, skivers and liars. Thousands of workers around the country will be stopping work in protest.
Students Urged to Use Day Off for Studies
Meanwhile year nine students off school today are urged by police to use the time off wisely. Senior Sergeant Ross Bielby says the teenagers should make use of their day to study for up-coming exams. And Western Bay PPTA Regional Chairman Jason Smythe says that's his advice too. He says most teachers will spend the day teaching other school levels.
Heater Causes Bathroom Fire
The fire service is praising the efforts of a Papamoa resident who managed to stop a bathroom blaze from burning down her house. Two fire appliances were called to the address at around 9 yesterday morning after a heater caught fire. Station Officer Paul Van Kol says the woman closed the bathroom door, which instantly isolated the fire, turned off the power and called 111. He says many household owners panic - but this is a fine example of what you should do when there's a fire in order to minimise damage.
Primary Schools ‘Full’
Western Bay of Plenty primary schools are under pressure to squeeze students onto school rolls that have reached full capacity. According to reports, the nationwide spike in new entrants is the result of baby booms five years ago. Tauranga Primary School says it's had to adopt a stringent balloting system as they're nearly bank full. Greenpark school Deputy Principal Jason Michweski says with the largest school roll in the district they've had to adopt similar measures.
Police Geared Up for Labour Weekend
Bay of Plenty police are gearing up to target holiday speeders and drink drivers. The speed tolerance level will be lowered to four kilometres an hour this Labour Weekend - a measure that worked on Queen's Birthday which saw our lowest toll in more than 50 years.
Boaties Check Your Vessels - Coastguard
The Coastguard is sending out an urgent reminder for boaties to double-check that their boats are in working order before this weekend. It's after an incident over the weekend where an engine seized, just off Papamoa Beach. The boat hadn't been in the water for nearly six months.