Deluge Causes Evacuations
Dozens of Whakatane residents spent the night in a shelter after escaping their flooded homes yesterday. Around 15 households were evacuated in the Fortune Road and Paroa area at around 10 o'clock in the morning. Heavy weekend deluges blocked access to Opotiki, flooded roads and caused landslips throughout the region. Whakatane Civil Defence controller Diane Turner says many affected families found temporary accommodation last night. Others remained in a welfare centre, set up by the council as a temporary shelter. Meanwhile there are reports schools in Waimana and Otakiri will be closed this morning. Over 300mms of rain fell in Waimana, the worst affected area in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. It's believed the school will re-consider opening later today.
Tauranga Escapes Worst of Weather
Tauranga escaped the brunt of the weekend's downpour. 62mms of rain fell on Saturday and Sunday, causing one slip along State Highway 33, just south of Te Puke yesterday afternoon. The fire service says the city was relatively lucky, with next to no call outs for flood related incidents. But Metservice forecaster Gerard Barrow says the rain is likely to return on Wednesday.
Community Split over Waterfront Car Park Removal
There's conflicting public opinion over the proposed removal of car parks along Tauranga's Waterfront. 298 car parks will be taken away to make way for the Waterfront project. Project Manager Tony Bodger says community feedback thus far has been split. He says commuters are upset they'll have to find alternative car parking, but others are excited to see the transformation of the waterfront. Photo/Garret Horwitz
High Court Ruling Favours Zespri
Zespri is to keep its status as New Zealand's largest kiwifruit exporter. Zespri currently represents around 90 percent of all kiwifruit exports, but Turners and Growers wants to break its virtual monopoly. The company has questioned whether regulators acted unlawfully in giving Zespri so much power. The High Court has now ruled in favour of Zespri. CEO Lain Jager says he'd like Turners and Growers to discuss how the two organisations might work together. Pictured: Zespri CEO Lain Jager