National working for and in the south #5

September 16, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 5:


Matters that matter

September 7, 2014

This week National made several announcements on matters that matter:

A re-elected National-led Government will improve freshwater quality by investing $100m to buy and retire farmland next to important waterways. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
National is committed to building a stronger economy and improving the quality of our environment, which is why we’ll require dairy cattle to be excluded from waterways by mid-2017. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
We’ll deliver world-class connectivity to even more people, extending the roll-out of Ultra-Fast Broadband to a further 200,000 New Zealanders. ntnl.org.nz/1t1RAF2 #Working4NZ We’ll boost funding for special needs by providing an additional 800,000 teacher aide hours. ntnl.org.nz/1vUMAqE #Working4NZ

None of these would be possible or sustainable without National’s sound and careful economic management.


There’s hope

August 29, 2014

Two school boys have won a change of policy at their school:

. . . The Waikouaiti School board of trustees has thrown out one of its longstanding school rules after two of its pupils presented a convincing case to the board.

Tamati Sagar and Aaron Jones (both 10) love climbing trees, but the practice is banned for safety reasons.

The duo surveyed all the school’s parents and found about 90% of them were in favour of allowing their children to climb trees during break times.

The boys prepared a pie chart on their findings and presented it to the board of trustees and school staff.

Board members were so impressed they relaxed the school rule three weeks ago, and children are now enjoying the freedom to climb trees in the playground. . . .

There’s a fine line between being safe enough and too safe.

When life gets too safe it becomes more dangerous because people stop taking responsibility for themselves.

These two boys, with the support of most parents, board and staff, have done their schoolmates a favour allowing them to take acceptable risks.


All aren’t equal

August 25, 2014

Teacher unions try to tell us that all teachers are equal, this survey gives the lie to that:

Two thirds of people remember a teacher who had a significant positive impact on their life, according to a survey.

And nearly everyone believes a good teacher can change the course of a student’s life, the survey commissioned by Warehouse Stationery found.

About 87 percent of respondents felt teachers had a “really hard job”, while eight out of ten said teachers were undervalued. . .

Good teachers can and do change their pupils’ lives for the better, teaching is a very difficult job and teachers are undervalued.

Schools can’t do much to change home environments but good teachers can do a lot for even the most disadvantaged children.

Not all teachers are good. Most could be with the right help and that is why putting resources into helping teachers be better is one of the best uses for extra funding in education.


Class Act

August 17, 2014

Prime Minister John Key presented certificates to the ODT’s Class Act recipients on Friday.

He told the 58 outstanding pupils from 29 secondary schools it was the sixth time he had attended the Class Act ceremony at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and he looked forward to it each year because it was an opportunity to celebrate each new generation of New Zealanders coming through.

”They will be great leaders for our nation in the years ahead.”

Mr Key praised this year’s award recipients and gave credit to their parents and teachers for guiding them in the right direction.

He also shared some sage words of advice: ”Have really big dreams and big ambitions.”

”My big thing for you would be for you to go on and become a great leader in New Zealand.

”There’s lots and lots of potential that you have and we have a great need for what you’re doing.”

Otago Daily Times editor Murray Kirkness said events such as Class Act provided a ray of light in a world where more newspapers were sold if they were filled with trauma and tragedy, tears and fears.

”So, to our Class Act 2014 recipients I say: You may not realise it, but you already inspire and encourage those of us around you.

”The world is yours for the taking. Grasp your opportunities. Continue to strive to achieve.

”Refuse to yield. Be humble. But most of all, keep the sun shining.”

Class Act was established in 2000 by former Otago Daily Times editor Robin Charteris because the newspaper felt, and continues to feel, excellence should be encouraged.

As such, the criterion given to schools when nominating Class Act recipients is simply, excellence.

Academic, sporting, social, artistic or cultural excellence, leadership qualities, or a combination of those, was the standard by which pupils were nominated.

The 2014 award winners now join the ranks of the 837 other Otago school pupils who have won Class Act awards since they were established in 2000. . .

Last Saturday’s print edition of the ODT included a supplement celebrating the recipients achievements.

The overwhelming impression was of talented, well rounded young  people who provide a wonderful contrast to the often negative portrayals and stereotypes of the youth of today.

A photo of all the recipients, with their names and schools is here.

 


NZ 1st for what matters

August 14, 2014

Labour, the Green party and their fellow travellers would have us believe that New Zealand is in a parlous state.

The Social Progress report shows otherwise – New Zealand is first in the world for social and environmental progress:

. . . The 2014 Social Progress Index reveals striking differences across countries in their social performance and highlights the very different strengths and weaknesses of individual countries.

The results provide concrete priorities for national policy agendas and identify other countries to learn from.

The top three countries in the world in terms of social progress are New Zealand, Switzerland, and Iceland. These three countries, closely grouped in terms of score, are relatively small in terms of populations. They score strongly across all social progress dimensions.

The remainder of the top ten includes a group of Northern European nations (Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark), Canada, and Australia. Together with the top three, these countries round out a distinct “top tier” of countries in terms of social progress scores. . .

New Zealand scored:

* 91.74  out of 100 for basic human needs, which rated nutrition and basic medical care. the only relative weakness was in this area – for maternal mortality.

* 84.97 for foundations of wellbeing which rated access to basic knowledge, access to information and communications, health and wellness and environmental sustainability.

* 88.01 for opportunity which rated personal rights, personal freedom and choice, tolerance and inclusion and access to advanced education.

This doesn’t mean New Zealand is perfect. There is room for improvement.

But we are doing relatively well  in social and environmental measures which are the ones many say matter far more than economic ones.

However, let us not forget that the sustainability of those depend on a strong economy.

It is no coincidence that countries which rate well in social and environmental areas also do well economically and the countries at the bottom don’t.

GDP alone doesn’t guarantee social progress but it provides a strong foundation for it.


Move to country to become a have

August 13, 2014

A reversal of  rural-urban migration could help more have-nots become haves,  Massey University professor of pasture science Peter Kemp, says.

Clinical psychologist Nigel Latta painted a gloomy picture in his recent television programme “The Haves and Have Nots” that highlighted the thousands of unemployed university graduates in New Zealand.

It provided a stark contrast to the agriculture sector crying out for qualified workers to meet the growing demand over the next 10 years.

I suggest too many urban people are looking in the wrong place for a career with a good salary and the opportunity for wealth creation. If people are looking for a lifestyle that incorporates running your own business and being able to afford hobbies ranging from horses to helicopters, they should target a career in agriculture, food and agribusiness. In other words, join the agrifood industry that drives New Zealand’s economy. . .

It would help if more people studied the subjects which are in demand in land-based careers, but smart people trained in one discipline can usually learn fast in another, and the agrifood sector is far broader than farming.

Agrifood doesn’t just underpin our economy with food exports, it supports jobs in almost everything – banking, software development, mechatronics, food technology, veterinary science, environmental management, manufacturing and marketing to list a few. Whether you want to be a farmer, bank manager or entrepreneur, you will find success in the agrifood industry.

Let’s look at some facts and figures. The Government’s latest “People Powered” primary industries future capability report projects there will be 50,000 new jobs in agriculture by 2025. Many of these will be service workers with qualifications such as researchers, rural business consultants, food safety specialists, irrigation specialists and sales professionals. The report also shows the need for 15,000 qualified workers in horticulture by 2025. Horticulture is a multi-billion dollar industry yet there is a chronic shortage of managers and consultants with horticulture degrees.

Not all these jobs start with high salaries but they all come with the potential to get ahead.

New Zealand is well placed to provide the eduction to support the need for more qualified workers in primary industries. We have Massey University, ranked 19th in the latest QS rankings, which offers programmes across the whole spectrum of agrifood and agribusiness, as well as Lincoln University, which focuses on production agriculture and Waikato University that offers agribusiness.

There are many entry points into jobs in agrifood and there is training and education at all levels. Secondary Schools such as St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton are setting up an elite academy for students heading into agribusiness. Taratahi College near Masterton will teach you how to manage and work on a farm, while the Primary Industry Training Organisation supports on-the-job training across the country.

Some schools still think agriculture is a subject for the less able and deter brighter students from studying it.

I do not have the solution to all the economic ills that worry Nigel Latta but if you are a person who wants to get ahead in life then I believe you should consider a job in the agrifood industry. Who knows, you might end up with a multi-million dollar business.

Paddocks aren’t paved with gold but there’s opportunities in the agrifood sector to earn good incomes.

The demand for good workers is high and there are plenty of opportunities for becoming your own boss.


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