Thursday 11 March 2010

Room for Growth in Kiwifruit Industry
One kiwifruit expert believes there's plenty of room for industry growth in the Bay of Plenty. Harvest of green and gold varieties in the region begins in a couple of weeks, with at least 80 million trays expected to be picked. Kiwifruit growers association president Peter Ombler says at its peak, the industry employs 12 thousand seasonal workers and things are only going to grow.

Outrage Over Special Needs School Proposal
There's outrage at a Ministry of Education proposal to close Kaka Street Special School in Tauranga. It's part of a wider plan to close special needs schools throughout the country and reintegrate those students into mainstream schools with special units. Kaka Street School principal Barrie Wickens says you just have to talk to the parents to realise how devastated they would be if the school closes. He says many of his parents have tried mainstream schools and believe the system has failed them. Public feedback on the options is open until next week.

Bethlehem Students Get New Facilities
The Bethlehem Foundation is spending millions of dollars to get local college students active again. A three million dollar sports project will see new facilities built for cricket, rugby, hockey, tennis, football and mountain biking at Bethlehem College. Foundation CEO Peter Wyatt says construction will begin early next month. He says the foundation realised college students need the best facilities to be the best they can be.

Tsunami Debrief Focuses on Communication
The issue of communication with the public during a civil defence emergency will today come under the spotlight. Key Bay of Plenty civil defence personnel will spend the day reviewing their actions during the tsunami warning nearly a fortnight ago. Tauranga/Western Bay operations manager Alan Pearce says the debrief will focus on how effective communication was throughout the event. Alan Pearce says he's still in talks with locals about the possibility of using local Marae as emergency gathering places.

Gang Members Arrested in Opotiki Brawl
Opotiki police are continuing to pick up the pieces following a gang related riot almost a week ago. Late last Friday, 12 gang members from the Mongrel Mob and Mangu Kaha were arrested on unlawful assembly and disorder charges. Sergeant Brent Anderson says the fighting happened outside a few local bars. He says tension had built to boiling point throughout the day. Sergeant Anderson says a number of those arrested will be appearing in court today and others on Monday.

Concerns over Standards in Schools
Bay of Plenty parents and teachers have big concerns about national standards in schools. A bus tour run by The New Zealand Educational Institute has been in town to raise awareness about the standards. Spokeswoman Lyndy McIntrye says the question that's asked over and over again is how will the standards make any difference. She says the way to overcome these concerns is to properly test the standards before they're put in place. Lyndy McIntrye says our kids can't be turned into guinea pigs. She says the response to the bus tour shows school communities just want to be better informed about the standards.

Posted: Thu 11 Mar 2010






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