Outstanding leadership from New Zealand mayors
The Mayors of New Zealand’s two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch have
united with a joint proposal for an alternative plan for the divisive 3waters issue. Mayors
from Waimakariri and Manawatu are already backing the scheme and we should see a
landslide of N.Z. Mayors joining them in standing up for their communities as the proposal is taken on board The new proposal maintains crucial aspects of central governments existing plan, while
maintaining local ownership, control and accountability. It also suggests they will
accept mana whenua input, but not cogovernance. This is a complex and lengthy
document and details are available online. Try ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
The leadership of Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown and Christchurch’s Phil Mauger is
nothing short of outstanding and is to be highly commended. We trust we will be able
to proudly stand behind our own Mayor, Len Salt, as we move away from the current
divisive plan which has failed to achieve political consensus either within or between
Parliament and local authorities.
I admired the passion in Lee Barraclough’s letter in Tuesday, 1 November edition of
your fine periodical. Lee is obviously fervent in her desire to protect trees and I respect
that however I also respect the Council acknowledging that trees can get out of hand,
take over land for no purpose and upset the rate payers.
Having read Lee’s letter I decided to do a quick count which showed there are slightly
over a trillion pohutakawas in the Mercury Bay environs. This figure is a worry as it is
common knowledge that when populations of living things get too high they turn on each
other. Signs of this happening are obvious; pohutakawas on berms are cracking footpaths
in their desire to escape larger members of their species; other pohutakawas act like
lemmings trying to hurl themselves from sand spits into the sea. There are just too many of
them and it is good to see the council take a stand for population control.
The Council must expand its battle and I suggest they take moves to protect the
Taputapuatea spit which, contrary to earlier agreements made, has become inundated with
refugee Pohutakawas. They creep in at night and are taking our land from us. Pohutakawas
of many nationalities (they are not just New Zealand natives) are forming enclaves and
abusively raising the twig at their neighbours. This must be stopped; after all there are
trillions of Pohutakawa but only one vista of the Bay and tourists don’t come here to look
at yet another tree. But when Lee asks “Is anyone else concerned with the amount of poisonous
chemicals ….” She has me on side. I am concerned; chainsaws would be far cheaper
and more efficient.
Failure of the education system
Every child who leaves the education system as an illiterate is a failure that need not have
happened. In the past we were proud that our schools’ reading and numeracy skills were
world-leading. So what happened? I can think of five reasons.
Firstly, Rogernomics and Lange removed collegiality, where older teachers would help
new teachers by putting competition between teachers for promotion in the hands of lay
people. Also removing the benign influence of Education Boards who would know
teachers after pocket-money. Secondly, the introduction of decimal
currency removed the relevancy of the teacher-honed primary school maths textbooks
and replaced them with USA maths rubbish to save money. Where are our
curriculum-based NZ text books? Thirdly, in line with number 1, Friedman
philosophy took principals (management) to form the principals association out of the
all-encompassing teachers union (NZEI). Do we still have in-service course to upskill
classroom teachers? Fourthly, the accountability of principals seems lost. They are responsible for their school standards! When did you last see one given a demonstration lesson in a classroom
or taking a check up on mental arithmetic and tables? Taking a class pile of workbooks to
check on handwriting in this age of computer keys (bread and butter subjects.) Where did
the ‘back-to-basics’ group go? Fifthly, reading has been round for a
couple of thousand years so the teaching system should be fairly foolproof now. Pretty
pictures and fun titles are only a small part of the learning. Graded vocabulary, repetition
and unambiguous content are also needed. New Zealand had many systems like ‘Janet
and John’ in the past but a teacher-honed series called ‘Ready to Read’ was by far the
most exhaustive and efficient. Where is it now? Did selling off the Government Printer
cause a glitch to this wonderful resource?
Failing readers were bolstered by the Reading Recovery’ system.
All of this should be covered by teacher training in the Training Colleges so there is
no ‘teacher shortage’. Where does truancy fit into this? Or do we need an underclass of
Peter H. Wood
Last week The Informer (issue 1026) reported that Damon Christensen was the only man
among 200 women at the Lions High Tea “Tea and Music”. Not correct.
I was there as a bona fide ticket holder. And I have every reason to believe that I am a man.
Peter G Hull