Auckland warmest but Tauranga sunniest

By Kirsty Wynn

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Say what you like about our nation's largest city - Auckland is officially the warmest area of New Zealand.


It reclaimed the title in the latest climate summary for last year released by Niwa last week.


Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest, Hamilton was the wettest, Christchurch the driest, Tauranga the sunniest, and Dunedin the coolest and cloudiest.


The warmest area crown has changed hands over past years between Auckland and Tauranga, which took the title in 2011 and 2009.


Tauranga MP Simon Bridges - and associate climate change minister - said he had no doubt his area would reclaim the title this year.


"We will be the warmest, sunniest and hottest - in every sense of the word - place to be," he said.


"I like Auckland but there's no doubt Tauranga has it all over the City of Sails when it comes to beach, brawn and babes. On the many times when I go from Auckland to Tauranga on the same day it is sunshine here and humid and overcast there."


Claiming the title of the country's sunniest town, the people of Ohope reckon their beach should be on the must-visit list.


Justine Knowles from the Top 10 Holiday Park said locals were "really proud of the title and it even felt sunnier last year".

The friendly rivalry between Whakatane and Nelson got serious last year when the Bay of Plenty town was accused of using faulty meters for measuring sunshine hours.


It was disqualified from the competition.


This year has begun very dry in some parts of the country.


Irrigation bans are expected on three Hawke's Bay rivers as the region faces a possible drought in the wake of this week's heat wave and continuing hot weather.


Hawke's Bay Regional Council resource management group manager Iain Maxwell said bans would be in place in a week.


MetService's forecasts carried no hint of rain in the next 10 days in Hawke's Bay and East Coast areas north of the Takapau Plains, apart from some cloud on Monday and Tuesday.


New water restrictions are also in place for Hamilton and the Waikato District. It comes after recent high water use and long-term weather forecasts for hot weather.


Hamilton City Council spokesman Tim Harty said Hamilton had used more than 70 million litres of water each day for the past five days.


He said the restrictions meant sprinklers and irrigation systems could only be used between 6am and 8am, and 6pm and 8pm on alternate days.


Extreme view


Andrew Tait from Niwa said the number of extreme weather incidents was down significantly on 2011 although the fatal tornado in Auckland - which claimed three lives - was devastating. "People will remember that and events like the water spouts, but 2011 was the stand-out year for extreme weather," Tait said.


"There were 131 extreme weather events such as floods and only 82 last year."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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