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New Zealand roads turn to toffee -

(EMAILWIRE.COM, January 21, 2009 ) New Zealand - Funny to think that, whilst those in the UK are shivering through one of the coldest snaps on record, our New Zealand counterparts are sweltering in the midst of a heatwave so severe that the roads are melting and sun worshipping Aussies are increasingly looking to New Zealand…

As the mercury unofficially hit 40C in Christchurch yesterday, Weather Watch Centre Head Analyst Philip Duncan said that such a high temperature at this time of year was a once in a decade event.

“The hottest period of the year does not usually come until February, but but the odds are against Christchurch topping today’s high later this year,” said Mr Duncan.

“It is important to look at not only pure data - what a thermometer tells us - but also ‘polluted data.’

“This is the effect of hot tarseal, high density housing and metal roofs, which all make us feel hotter.

“Readings are often taken from a white box in a field. But most of us live in the city, so we are more likely to be affected by this polluted data. It may be 26 degrees, but feel like 33 degrees, and a thermometer won't show that,” added Mr Duncan.

The North Island’s Desert Road section of State Highway 1 turned to toffee, its tarseal melting and lifting in the afternoon sun.

Warm air coming across the Tasman Sea has been blamed for the scorching temperatures, which went into the 30s in several North Island centres.

MetService Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt said, “This hot air is part of the weather system that brought temperatures to over 40 degrees in Sydney recently.”

The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research’s (NIWA) National Climate Centre’s seasonal outlook for January to March shows that summer is set to be a hot one for most regions - but scientists have also warned the warmer weather could also bring more cyclones to the country.

One less positive effect of the heatwave was the series of fires which have broken out, keeping fire crews in the lower and central North Island busy.

Attracting the Aussies

So, New Zealand is currently boasting temperatures that would make Australians feel right at home and, hoping to cash in on this, one city is even doubling the amount it spends on attracting Aussie tourists.

Positively Wellington Tourism is planning to spend more than £380,000 on enticing Aussies to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.

According to a recent survey, one in five Australians intending to travel overseas this year is planning to head for New Zealand.

Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks said the global economic downturn provided an opportunity to boost the region’s profile in Australia.

Australians accounted for a third of all international visitors to Wellington last year and spent £59 million in the city.

“An Australian-wide campaign would cost about £1.5 million, which is not realistic in the current climate,” said Mr Perks.

“Instead, a smaller amount of money could be better spent by targeting a specific area or market in Australia,” he added.

Tourism New Zealand Spokeswoman Cas Carter said the fact that New Zealand remained high on Australians’ wishlist was vital considering the size of the market and its importance to the tourism industry.

For more information on New Zealand properties and the market in general, please visit


Notes to editors: is a property website that was founded in 1999 as an online resource for buying, selling and learning about property. It now receives as many as 300,000 visits per month and advertises over 50,000 properties in nearly 90 countries, which are listed by over 500 partner organisations.

For further information as well as images and interview possibilities, please contact:

Dan Johnson
Managing Director
0207 952 7650
Jon Moore
020 7952 7658

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