Lions tickets come with envelope
Tickets to the first game of the British Lions tour under lights at Rotorua International Stadium continue to be offered on the popular internet site TradeMe.
With one week to go until the Bay of Plenty Steamers take to the field against the touring side, punters are still trying to shift unwanted tickets.
A quick scan of the website this week turned up two covered seats together but to get them you had to buy an envelope. The bidding started at $100.
Scalping was technically illegal so people were offering other items for sale such as envelopes and broken shoes which then accompany the tickets.
If you would like a stylish black leather wallet, that another seller says "would look good in anyone's pocket" you might just have to fork out $800.
The seller has generously thrown in two tickets for the first test at Jade Stadium in Christchurch and the tickets are gold-plus tickets in the Paul Kelly stand "under cover so you won't get wet".
Another offering of four tickets on the embankment behind one of the try lines attracted a first bid of $200.
The seller said: "The tickets are currently in my possession, so bid in confidence. Serious bidders only please, I reserve the right to remove your bid if I feel the bid is not serious. I received these tickets in the ballot but am now unable to attend due to being out of the country." Kristin Edge
Project powers ahead
The first of two new generators is being installed in Tauranga's Waihi Rd substation, marking the start of a $14 million Powerco project to upgrade the electricity network in the Tauranga district.
The transformer arrived at Port of Tauranga during the downpour last week - and the second unit will arrive within a month.
This $1.9 million upgrade, one of several planned to improve the power supply in the central city, will more than quadruple the substation's capacity.
Powerco general manager network assets Richard Krogh said the Waihi Rd substation upgrade would be large enough to cater for future growth. He said each of the new transformers carried more than twice the capacity of the old units combined. This meant the new transformers each had enough spare capacity to supply the load if one was out of action due to faults or maintenance work.
Other improvements to the Waihi Rd substation included new cables, replacement of the 11,000-volt switchboard and protection relay upgrades.
The new transformers would enable the substation to feed Fraser Cove shopping centre and Judea's industrial area, currently supplied by the Tauranga and Otumoetai substations respectively.
Feeder cables would be run from Waihi Rd through the Avenues to Elizabeth St, significantly boosting capacity to the central business district, Mr Krogh said. Mr Krogh said as the new transformers were loaded into the network some brief outages would be necessary. Affected people would be told. Graham Skellern
Bay hits big time
Images of beautiful Bay locations are now in the hands of some of the world's most influential production companies.
The promotional DVD, compiled by Bay company Volcanic Locations, has been distributed to 160 "genuine movie producers" after it screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival last month.
Volcanic Locations manager Kevin Rowell said the DVD, which was fronted by Temuera Morrison and featured aerial footage, still photographs and interviews with the region's mayors, was a complete success. "We had a really good response at the end of it all," he said, with the DVD being given to all those that registered an interest.
Mr Rowell said the eight-minute-long picture, which was shot with the aim of attracting producers to the region for potential movie sets, had received some excellent feedback.
He added the extensive interest generated by the Los Angeles Festival also prompted Film New Zealand to take the DVD to Cannes from May 11-22. Yvette Wakelin
Strikes at banks
Ongoing industrial action by bank staff caused disruption to banking customers in the Western Bay on Wednesday.
The National Bank in Katikati was shut for a time and 50 ANZ workers walked off the job in central Tauranga as part of continuing rolling strikes around the country over a pay dispute between ANZ National Bank and employees.
The bank workers' union, Finsec, is seeking a similar pay deal to that of the bank's Australian workers for working weekends and evenings.
Fifty ANZ workers from branches around Tauranga held a stop-work meeting on Wednesday afternoon then picketed outside the main branch on Spring St with signs calling for penal rates for working after hours and "everyone on the same deal".
Finsec organiser Luke Coxon said the bank's facilities were severely limited by the action.
However, ANZ spokesman Craig Howie said the bank is "managing to minimise the impact on customers".
The workers are in their third week of action after negotiations over a collective agreement for ANZ and National Bank employees broke down on May 6.
Finsec campaigns director, Karen Skinner, said the snap strikes would continue until the two parties were back at the negotiation table.
"We've asked the bank to come back into negotiations and back into mediated talks. We hope they will," said Ms Skinner. Frances Morton
A safer place to live
Nearly 1400 households are now all the more safer thanks to hazardous waste collections in the Bay of Plenty this year.
Tonnes of unwanted products, such as agricultural chemicals like DDT and old paint, were taken to the HazMobile during four visits to the region between March and May. The visits were organised by Environment Bay of Plenty and local district and city councils.
Environment BOP's Paul Futter was pleased with the response in the Western Bay.
"It was really worth the effort, not just because of the numbers who came but because of what they brought in," he said.
"Many of the items we received were very old and in containers that were falling apart, which made them accidents just waiting to happen.
"Some products, such as DDT and 245T, are now banned."
Mr Futter says the sheer volume collected meant some district councils were still processing hazardous materials.
Many items are able to be recycled while others will be disposed of safely.
The HazMobile facility was set up for a day each in Tauranga and Te Puke in March, Opotiki in April and Whakatane in May.Anna Bowden
Internet brides speak up
At least half a dozen more internet brides have come forward since the Bay of Plenty Times revealed white, middle-aged Western Bay men were bringing them in from overseas.
Tauranga Women's Refuge social worker Yvonne McLean was pleased the article had given the abused women confidence to come forward. "We've had a heap of responses," she told the Bay Times.
One woman had a particularly horrible story to tell and was going through the legal process of separating from her Kiwi husband, Miss McLean said.
She planned to go on national television and tell her story but details could not yet be divulged because of a protection order.
When the Bay Times ran the initial story, the refuge had five internet brides in abusive relationships on its books.
But Miss McLean was concerned many more were out there - too afraid to come forward. Often brides blamed themselves for falling into the trap and were ashamed to tell their families the marriage had not worked out, she said. Rachel Tiffen