HuttNZ

Local News, Current Affairs and Events for the Hutt Valley Wellington New Zealand

Posts Tagged ‘Hutt Valley

Hutt Valley: College academic standards under scrutiny again

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It would seem that the debate that councillor Max Shierlaw started in early July that academic standards improve at single-sex schools has had some legs albeit surrepitiously behind the backs of those directly involved. The debate had seemed to lose some steam but the council has taken the bat by the horn (mixed metaphors, Hutt educated you see) and directly approached government to do a review without consulting the schools involved.

Councillor Shierlaw went on record earlier that academic performance at single-sex schools was superior to mixed sex schools after reviewing NCEA results released in June

Tomorrows Schools was supposed to give parents a choice as to what sort of school their children went to but Cr Shierlaw says that choice doesn’t exist north of Boulcott, Lower Hutt.

“You are getting a choice between a school with a 30 percent (NCEA) pass rate and a school with a 40 percent pass rate. Something has to change that.”

The “sensible” option is to close Taita and Naenae Colleges and re-open them as single sex schools. Another option that he wants explored is the possibility of re-opening Petone Tech. A review should also take a look at St Oran’s College and why it is accepting students from Whitby, when some Hutt children can’t get in.

via Dominion Post July 7

I struggle with the role that a council plays in all of this as surely the mandate belongs to the Education Department. Equally at the time Councillor Shierlaw was questioned that the issue around gender was not the most significant issue more important was the soco-economic background of the pupils. At the time several principals expressed great concern that the issue was not being discussed with them. The principal of Naenae college Mr Russell took a lead role and expressed his feelings in the same Dominion article

He doubts Cr Shierlaw has any understanding of the problems the two northern colleges face.

”In terms of the issues facing Taita and Naenae, the least significant is gender.”

Many of the pupils coming to the school have ”poor learning skills” and are operating at a level well below the National Curriculium Level for Year Nine students.

Both colleges are working with their contributing schools to try and improve the performance of students entering Year 9. Naenae’s Year 9 roll is going up and he says there is evidence that community confidence in Naenae is rising.

Mr Russell says that the population of the Hutt Valley is changing and that could be used to justify a review. But he warns Cr Shierlaw that reviews do not always lead to the result the community wants. The government has the final say and the provision of education is highly political.

He goes further to say recently:

But principals are furious, saying the council has “lobbed a hand grenade over the back fence” by initiating action without asking for their opinion.

“It’s a blind, uninformed swipe and it’s a pretty sad thing for the council to do,” Naenae College principal John Russell said.

“This move illustrates that the council is totally out of touch with the community.”

via Dominion Post

Rightly so, several of the Principals of the involved schools feel miffed, I would to as surely the right for evaluation lies within the domain of their governing body, the Education Board, who by all accounts have several standards on which they judge a schools performance, not purely academic.

This July video from TVNZ programme Closeup illustrates the debate and the out of touch attitude that seems to have started this debate by Max Shierlaw.

With all due respect Mr Shierlaw  I appreciate your diligence at council spending and development, but feel you have overstepped your role, as has the council and me has a sneaky feeling that this issue was given legs by the council, so your fire is directed here, rather than at other council matters.

Pity the poor colleges now who will go through a ringer. A previous education review in Tararua District once released was throw out by an upset local community by the changes ask to be impementated, I see the same result occuring here, the Hutt Valley is segregated by social-economic boundaries, live with it.

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Written by HuttNZ

November 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Hutt Valley: Artists & Creatives harness the power of the Web

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Hear Astrid Nielsch (www.asni.net) talk about her experiences with her own website, and as a member of a number of online art, music and fan communities. Astrid explains how the internet can help you, whatever your artform. Get advice on what to look for in a website, and ideas on how to plan your own online publicity campaign.

Astrid recently set up her own web design business, Asni: Multimedia Art & Design. She draws on her experience in online arts promotion to build sites that harness the power of the internet while remaining affordable on an artist’s budget.

Her own website was originally built in 2002 with the aim to promote her career as a professional musician, specializing in medieval and baroque music performed on the harp. Within two years, the site was attracting substantial numbers of visitors, and generating a small but regular, and steadily increasing, income from online shop sales and licensing fees. For the last year, her web statistics have averaged 600 visitors a day.

As well as promoting her music, the site features her photography and artwork. This has resulted in several of her images being published internationally.

Asni also speaks as an active participant in online forums and in web communities. It was through one of those online friendships that she got the opportunity to come to New Zealand for a tour in 2003, and decided to settle here when she was offered a teaching position at Victoria University.

In 2007, Asni got stuck with a completed master tape for her “Travels in Middle-earth” CD production, and no money to print and publish the CDs. She used her website, email newsletter and promotion in online communities, and succeeded in raising the funds to publish the CD from pre-orders collected over a period of six months.

The same year, she realized that the internet had moved on from the days when one could create a successful website in a text editor. She decided to put her self-taught skills on a more solid foundation, and completed the Diploma of Multimedia at Natcoll in Wellington in 2008.

Parking is available in the Peel Street Carpark off Britannia Street, and the Arts Hub is wheelchair accessible.

Details

Arts Hub Forum Series 20 October: Harnessing the Power of the Web – Online promotion for artists

Where: Petone Community Library meeting room Britannia Street Petone

When: Tuesday 20th October 11am till 1pm

How Much: Free!

Contact: Hutt Valley Community Arts Email: benedict@hvca.org.nz Phone: 568-3488

Written by HuttNZ

October 12, 2009 at 1:15 am

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Hutt Valley Rail: TranzMetro service to be contestable

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I read with interest today that Mr Steven Joyce, Transport Minister is to make the MetroRail services in New Zealand contestable. In essence, the government will own the new rolling stock that will hit the Hutt Valley next year, (and Auckland) and will lease these to the service provider. Currently KiwiRail is the service provider.

Steven Joyce:

“The model builds significantly on the best of what we already have in place, and will ensure the operation of commuter rail services is contestable, so that we get the best possible service for commuters at the best possible price”.

KiwiRail will be able to bid to operate the services alongside other train operators, but all bidders will face the same price to lease the trains, and to access the track.

Steven Joyce:

“This move will ensure that while KiwiRail owns the trains, it is not necessarily the case that they operate the services. They will have the opportunity to bid, but it is the regional transport authorities alongside NZTA who will determine the successful operators,”

This is a laudable business model given the current structure that the tranzmetro services do not pay their own way and in effect were the reason that KiwiRail ended back in Government hands.

Mr Joyce:

“That is appropriate as it is the regional organisations and NZTA that provides the public transport subsidies that make the services viable.”

Further to that Mr Joyce also advocated further enhancements on current practice by implementing contracts that reward or penalise service standards:

“Performance-based contracts ensure the train operator is rewarded for providing reliable services and penalised when they don’t. We will ensure that operators have sufficient control over their operations to ensure they can be held accountable for performance.”

via NZRail

I hope, along with the many Hutt commuters that the standard of service improves to the point where it can be called a service, and not a joke. No doubt the last decade has seen when this service was placed in private hands that it was raped of value, with no attention or money spent on infrastructure maintanence or development.

The result, that the government repurchased the business established KiwiRail and has started on this long process of redevelopment, in the hope at the end to pass it on to private hands again. 

The circle of business continues, but at least at this point the government is putting in place caveats on performance.

One would have to wonder who would step into the fray to be a regional rail service provider. Currently Aucklands service is run privately by Veolia (following masive reinvestment in regional rail by the government) and also the bus service in Wellington by a Scottish private company (I think).

The question on every Hutt rail commuters mind is first, get the service to the level that you can call it a service that people willing pay for. It has to be a viable, reliable, cost effective alternativeto other transport.

The second outcome if successful in the first, is how much will this new and improved service cost once placed in the hands of a private contractor. The balance generally of all of this business structuring and performance contracts is nearly always in the end the user, the commuter.

Are they the one going to foot the bill through increased prices to make this service profitable again?

 

Written by HuttNZ

October 5, 2009 at 9:53 pm

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Hutt Radio: Update on developments

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Following on from the earlier post on the inaugural public meeting of Hutt Radio, further details have emerged as to the current concept development for Hutt Radio. The latest from Eddie O’Strange one of the Trustees of Hutt Radio:

Our pathway to becoming a fully-fledged community station is now a bit different to how we planned and represented it.

In a nutshell, the new plan is this:

– we initially transmit from Naenae.
– we start off in a temporary studio.
– we broadcast BBC World interspersed with local live slots.
– we move into our complete studio site in two stages.
– the ultimate transmitter site is, as yet, unknown.

The reasons for the changes?

– we’ve gone past the on-air deadline imposed on us.
– the Kaukau transmission site is too costly at this time.
– the various Public Funding Agencies can’t help us yet.

Funding continues to be a real and pressing problem for Hutt Radio, and while sourcing initial funding from the inaugural public meeting,  given the current economic climate prudence in development seems an appropriate step at this time. 

If you are interested in being part of the project please contact Hutt Radio through

http://www.huttcity.com/huttradio/

or become a friend through

http://www.myspace.com/huttradio
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hutt-Radio-1061-fm/123613418758

Written by HuttNZ

September 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm

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Fire at Haywards Substation

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A fire caused by an explosion at a Wellington substation has been extinguished.

Staff at the Haywards Substation were installing a new piece of equipment just before midday when it tripped and caused the blaze in a confined basement area.

The fire was under control by 4pm.

Further details at Hutt Valley Fire Police Unit website as they emerge

No-one was injured in the explosion.

Written by HuttNZ

September 22, 2009 at 4:32 am

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Hutt Valley: Upper & Lower Hutt experiencing record temperatures

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Record high temperature for Upper Hutt

By ROSEMARY McLENNAN – Upper Hutt Leader

Upper Hutt’s temperature of almost 20 degrees celsius on Saturday, August 15, rivalled the highest for any August since 1947.

NIWA’s only Upper Hutt weather station – at Wallaceville – recorded 19.9 degrees on August 15.

The highest August temperature at the station since records stated there in 1939 was 20.0 degrees in 1947.

The highest winter temperature at the station was 20.2 degrees in June 1973.

Following on from this, last Saturday in Lower Hutt was 20 degrees.

Is it me or are the temperatures for this time of year way above average for this time of year. Must go and do some more research, but it seems we have quickly moved from the depths of Winter in late July to temperatures that are extremely mild, equally the rainfall is way down for this time of year.

Is that the reason for the spate of earthquakes as well, so says my mum.

Well as I said some more research needed, but if this continues expect a drought come February March 2010. I said it here first.

 

Written by HuttNZ

September 16, 2009 at 6:05 am

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Lower Hutt: Housing battle at Farmer Cres cost New Zealand more than $250,000

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Housing battle costs NZ $250,000 (Source: ONE News)ONE News

The battle to evict a group of state house tenants with gang connections in Lower Hutt’s troubled Farmer Crescent, has cost taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars.

In March, Housing New Zealand gave five tenants who are either the partners or friends of Mongrel Mob members, three months to leave their state houses.

However the move has promoted allegations of gang intimidation, and now Housing New Zealand is paying up to protect the property.

Figures obtained by ONE News show legal costs have reached at least $15,000 whilst installation and monitoring of security systems have cost around $13,500.

But the biggest cost has been community security patrols that have cost more than $56,000 and security guards that have cost more than $230,000.

Housing New Zealand says security is part of their business where they have troubled communities.

This no doubt explains the presence of security personal outside of HNZ offices at Lower Hutt in recent months, as a precaution and the protection of staff who might have been intimidated by Mongrol Mob members. This issue is still not resolved, is it a sign that we are over cautious in our dealings with gang related issues in NZ.
Is our political correctness getting in the way of protecting others from their rights, that is normal citizens. I’m quite sure Michael Laws if in charge of HNZ might have the issue resolved by now!

Written by HuttNZ

September 2, 2009 at 1:39 am

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