Shane vs Shane and the case of false respect

National MP Shane Reti says the possibility of facing experienced former politician Shane Jones in a battle for Whangarei at this year’s election will be a challenge, but one he’s up for.

Mr Jones is widely tipped to stand in the electorate for New Zealand First, but both he and the party are remaining tight-lipped on his candidacy.

The former Labour MP from 2005 to 2014 is not expected to make any announcements until his three-year term as Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development comes to an end in May.

Mr Reti says he’ll let events unfold over time, but will continue to focus on the electorate seat he’s held since 2014.

“We’re convinced the people of Whangarei will extend the privilege to us that we had at the last election,” he said of his chance at retaining the seat.

“(Mr Jones) will have my respect and he will be a challenge, but we’re strong and we’re prepared and we are ready for that.” Read more »

Finally we get started on decent transport links to Northland

Simon Bridges and John Key have turned the sod on a much-needed motorway to Whangarei.

The current road is a dog, and Whangarei is growing immensely. If Kaikoura showed us anything it is wise to develop alternate infrastructure as Wellington is now finding out with their crippled port. Whangarei port has been constrained by poor roading?infrastructure so this motorway is welcome.

A motorway from Auckland to Whangarei has been flagged by Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

Speaking at today’s sod turning to mark the start of the $709.5 million Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, Bridges said over time the motorway would extend to Whangarei, a distance of 162km.

Prime Minister John Key and Bridges turned the first sod during a tour of roading projects north of Auckland, including a new roundabout in the township of Waimaukau. ? Read more »

Northland loss to Winston not a lesson for Whangarei?s Shane Reti it seems

Shane Reti isn’t quaking in his boots, or even his jandals over claims that NZ First will seriously contest Whangarei at the next election.

NZ First Leader and Northland MP Winston Peters is targeting Whangarei for his party next election, but incumbent Shane Reti isn’t too worried.

Speaking at the start of the party’s annual conference in Dunedin at the weekend Mr Peters said Whangarei was ripe for the taking because of National MP Dr Reti’s low profile.

“Shane can walk down the main street of Whangarei and eight out of 10 people don’t recognise him. Now that’s a fact,” Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters, who captured Northland from National in a by-election in 2015 and has since put more campaigning focus on the regions, also named Whanganui as a possible target. ? Read more »

Whinston says its all go for Whangarei and Whanganui

Winston Peters has indicated for the first time that NZ First is targeting two blue seats in next year’s general election.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says his party is eyeing up Whangarei and Whanganui in next year’s election – and is aiming to have all candidates confirmed by year end.

Speaking at the start of the party’s annual conference in Dunedin, Peters told media Whangarei was ripe for the taking because of National MP Shane Reti’s low profile.

“Shane can walk down the main street of Whangarei and eight out of 10 people don’t recognise him. Now that’s a fact.” ?? Read more »

Auckland port is in the only place it can be

Phil Goff is the latest politician to suggest moving the port. But it is damn expensive to move a port.

Now some idiots are suggesting that Manukau Harbour is the preferred option.

A leaked draft report into the future of Auckland’s ports has revealed it could be relocated to the Manukau Harbour.

But that option would cost billions of dollars, and there are concerns it might not even be safe.

Auckland’s port is a hive of activity right in the middle of the CBD. But as more and more freight comes in, there’s less space for it.

“The first decision is: are you going to expand out into the harbour or are you going to find an alternative location?” says mayoral candidate Phil Goff.

In a draft report leaked to The Nation, the Port Future Study panel examined alternatives like expanding the current port and relocating it.

The preferred relocation option is Manukau Harbour, followed by Thames and Muriwai.

Mr Goff wants it moved. He says expanding into the Waitemata isn’t an option, nor is staying put.

“Those 75 hectares can be used for far better revenue-raising purposes — high-value residential and commercial public space,” he says.

But the Manukau option has its pitfalls. The channel would need to be dredged to make it deeper, and that would cost billions of dollars. Also the mouth of the harbour is a well-known danger zone for shipping.

Read more »

Provinces benefiting from Auckland housing issues

I fielded a call yesterday from a mate in Taupo, Rick Cooper, he used to be the Mayor and is a real hard case.

He was telling me about what is going on in Taupo as a result of Auckland housing issues.

Basically his experience is that Taupo is booming and growing as Aucklanders cash up, release capital in their houses in Auckland and move out to places like Taupo. Anyone who advertises for jobs in Taupo is being inundated with people from Auckland applying. On top of that with their capital freed up they?are buying nice houses in Taupo and then deploying the rest of the capital into new businesses and investments.

He doesn’t want the problem solved in Auckland anytime soon as Auckland spill over is Taupo’s gain.

TV3 covered a similar story last night:

Regardless of who is fuelling the Auckland property boom, it’s forcing many people to look further afield.

Whangarei is a couple of hours’ drive from Auckland, but sales of homes there have almost doubled in the past year.

Real estate agents say they’re being snapped up by people who can’t afford to buy in our biggest city. ? Read more »

Face of the day

Graham Stoop

Ministry of Education head of student achievement Graham Stoop

Today’s face of the day, Graham Stoop, does not agree with the PPTA’s actions regarding their blacklisting of a student teacher which prevented him from completing his placement at Tikipunga High School in Whangarei. The PPTA’s nationwide ban makes it extremely difficult for student teachers who are employed by Charter Schools to complete their teaching diploma. The student teacher was blacklisted because he is employed by Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa which is a Charter School.

The Ministry of Education and today’s face of the day say that the actions of the PPTA aren?t ethical and that the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) had no authority to make the decision that they did.

Ministry of Education head of student achievement Graham Stoop said…

?It is not appropriate that a school refuses to accept a placement because staff at the school, or the union representing some of the staff, are running an industrial campaign against the student?s place of employment,?

?The PPTA has no responsibility or authority to influence these decisions and it is disappointing if they have used their influence to stop a student-teacher receiving all of their training because they disagree with the student?s employment choices.?

The ministry had contacted the school and PPTA about the issue.

-Northern Advocate

More on Northland College

Given that the PPTA bang on that Charter Schools in their first year should shut down if they are a few places below a predicted roll for the end of year two – shouldn’t they be seeking a Northland College shut-down given that it is 710 places below its maximum roll?

A good question. Back in 2013 they were looking to?the principal to turn things around.

A new principal signals a turning point for Northland College.

Students returning from holidays will be greeted by newly appointed Jim Luders, from Whangarei.

The college has long been seen as a bellwether for the community and the man who was installed to steer it out of a decline says it is on the right track as students head into holidays.

Commissioner Chris Saunders says the appointment of a new head, construction on the campus and an increased roll all indicate progress. ? Read more »

Winston is still geographically challenged

Winston Peters claims to be a “force for the north”.

Unfortunately he doesn’t even know where the electorate boundaries are.

Firstly he thinks Wellsford is in Auckland and not in Northland electorate.

Now he thinks that Waipu is in Northland electorate.

I am reliably advised that the Peters Roadshow rolled into Waipu yesterday much to the amusement and bewilderment of the good burghers of that town … why? … Waipu ain’t in the Northland electorate … hilarious.? Read more »

Another Great Charter School ERO Report

So about now the comments will flood in and all the apologies from the NZEI/PPTA patch protectors.

A Northland charter school which was one of the first in the country appears to have passed its first test with flying colours.

The Education Review Office (ERO) report for Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa, released last week, found many areas of the school were doing well and identified just a couple of areas for improvement.

The kura, sponsored by He Puna Marama Charitable Trust, is a co-ed secondary school based in Whangarei that emphasises Maori education.

After initially opening its doors to 50 students on February 27 this year that number grew to 53 students with many more on the waiting list for next year. ?? Read more »