News from Hon Louise Upston - August 2016
In this issue
• Out and about in the Electorate
• Education achievement data and school roll growth
• Upcoming events
• Have your say
I have really enjoyed spending time with my children during the recent school holidays. While it was a welcome break, it also provided a good opportunity to catch up with constituents at coffee meetings from one end of the electorate to the other and visit local businesses. Ministerial portfolio business keeps me busy too – from canvassing people’s thoughts on dog attacks and potential ways we can reduce the harm of these attacks, to supporting a call for more women to put their hand up for positions in the upcoming local body elections. I have enjoyed the variety of activities during the past two months.
You will find a link to a survey at the end of this newsletter where you can voice your opinion on our current dog control laws, I look forward to hearing your views.
Out and about in the electorate
Our youth – education and skills
July certainly proved a month for all things youth, from another Youth Advisory Board meetings to Youth Parliament 2016, to Youth Pathways roadshows. I really enjoyed a range of meetings since January this year with Javan Rose, Youth MP, and students from schools across the electorate, talking about matters that affect our youth. This culminated in Youth Parliament proceedings in Wellington on 19 and 20 July.
I’ve been very impressed with some of the ideas forthcoming from our young people. Even more so impressive, was Javan’s participation in Youth Parliament and representing those ideas at select committee debates. I was proud to see his efforts picked up by the Waikato Times – he is a fine young person with a great heart and I wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.
Photo: Javan Rose, Taupo Youth MP 2016
Update from Javan Rose, Youth MP
It was a huge privilege to represent Hon Louise Upston and the youth of the Taupo Electorate at Youth Parliament.
I debated in the House of Representatives about the Mock Bill, which was about online accessibility for people living with disabilities. I debated for the bill being passed, and it was successfully with a majority of 88-30.
I was assigned to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee and the topic was “should we decriminalise recreation drugs”. This was an interesting topic and it was fantastic to see young people showing a real interest in key issues that are facing young New Zealanders in our communities.
Youth Parliament really gave me huge insight into how important it is for young people to show an interest and be engaged in our political system in New Zealand. As young people, it will one day be our responsibility to vote in elections and even run for local and central government, so we should be preparing ourselves for the future. The government makes decisions that have a huge impact on our lives and it’s up to us to ensure that our voices are heard.
It was great to visit the Taupo Youth Pathways roadshow and hear about the fantastic work they do getting young people into education, training and employment in the Taupo District.
Photo: With Gaeleen Wilkie, a Taupo Pathways Trustee
Another highlight was speaking at the Cambridge Rotary where we talked about skills shortages and youth pathways, and how important it is to have strong linkages between students, families, schools, training providers (whether workplace based or tertiary) and employers to ensure our businesses have people with the right skills to grow their businesses. A growing local economy means better quality of life for those living in our communities.
Coffee catch ups and local issues
My regular coffee catch ups across the electorate have continued. While I’m always keen to hear about issues that matter to our local people and communities, at times I also hear about issues that stretch across electoral boundaries. These provide me with an opportunity to work with my neighbouring colleagues in an attempt to advocate for solutions for people in a cross section of areas facing the same issue.
Last week I, along with my Parliamentary colleagues Ian McKelvie – MP for Rangitikei and Barbara Kuriger – MP for Taranaki-King Country, met The Lines Company Directors and the Waitomo Energy Services Consumer Trust.
We discussed the company’s current performance, their future plans, and their management of customer complaints.
Ian McKelvie, Barbara Kuriger, and I expressed our continuing and serious concerns relating to complaints received from our constituents regarding The Lines Company. The Lines Company Directors and the Waitomo Energy Services Consumer Trust have assured us that they are taking these issues seriously with the pricing review announced in July, and have scheduled an additional board meeting in early September to progress the issues.
Change is required!
More of our kids in the Taupo electorate are getting the best start in life in Early Childhood Education, and going on to achieve National Standards.
The information comes from 2015 Public Achievement Information (PAI) released by the Ministry of Education on 9 August 2016, and it’s something parents will be very happy to hear.
ECE participation in the Taupo electorate is sitting at 96.9 per cent, close to the national target of 98 per cent in December 2016. We know the earlier our children get started in education, the better off they will be. We saw this first hand when visiting a local ECE centre during the Prime Minister’s visit to Taupo in June. The early childhood years are vital to a child’s development and to their future ability.
Over 84 per cent of local 18-year-olds achieved NCEA Level 2 or equivalent. This means good things for the futures of local kids. Our teachers and students are working hard and the results are showing.
I regularly visit local schools in the electorate, and I get to witness what’s involved to ensure our kids get the best possible education. A big thank-you to all the teachers and principals for the work you are doing to lift achievement in our schools.
For more information visit www.educationcounts.govt.nz.
Roll growth in Cambridge schools
Cambridge has a growing population, which is great in many ways, but has put a strain on our schools.
I am working closely with Hon Nikki Kaye, Associate Minister of Education and the Ministry of Education to manage this issue. So far, $20 million has been invested into property needs of the local school network over the last five years, and further investment is planned.
The Ministry is also working with all Principals from the Cambridge community for a wider collective and agreed response to the wider growth occurring in the Cambride area. Some of the options being explored are:
• Reviewing existing classroom space to maximise teaching areas
• Reviewing school catchment areas
• Confirming growth trends to inform future schooling needs including years 7-13 provision
The work we do now will prepare our schools for the future so they can continue to provide top quality education for future generations.
Industry training programmes
During my visit to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts at Whakapapa ski field to find out more about their industry training programmes arranged through the Skills Active Aotearoa ITO, I was delighted to have the opportunity to present Vission with her National Certificate in Tourism and Ali her National Certificate in First Line Management. Congratulations to both women on their achievements. Qualifications like these are recognised both nationally and internationally and support our growing tourism, sport and recreation industries.
The next series of Friendly Forums will be held as follows. RSVP your attendance here:
• Taupo – Friday 19 August at 10am, at Matai Room, Waiora House, 129 Spa Road, Taupo
• South Waikato – 26 August at 10am, at The Plaza, 59 Kensington Street, Putaruru
Have your say
Dog control rules
I want to hear your feedback on dog control rules. From 1 August through to 14 August you can share your views on how to reduce dog attacks here: www.govt.nz/reducing-dog-attacks.
I'm keen to hear ideas about what can be done at all levels – by the Government, by councils, dog owners themselves, and others to ensure people can feel safe in our communities.
You can contact me for assistance through my electorate offices on the following numbers or by email.
Cambridge Office: (07) 827 5572
South Waikato Office: (07) 886 5554
Taupo Office: (07) 376 5563
Parliament: (04) 817 8242
Authorised by Louise Upston MP, 67 Paora Hapi Street, Taupo. Please do not reply directly to this newsletter. If you want to share your reactions with Hon Louise Upston, email firstname.lastname@example.org.