Sarah's Southland Scoop - end of June 2016

Invercargill news
Thursday, June 30, 2016

AquaVision Conference

Recently I returned from Norway where I attended, along with fellow MP Stuart Smith, the AquaVision world business conference on aquaculture. It was valuable to compare and contrast the two jurisdictions with respect to aquaculture, and learn about best practice, technology and regional development. Aquaculture has transformed the regions in Norway and it was exciting to learn more about the benefits aquaculture can provide communities through more jobs and revenue, while at the same time making sure we preserve and take care of our environment.

Helping Kiwi kids achieve

As a member of the Science and Education Select Committee I enjoy celebrating in the achievements of Southern students who are a talented group of young people. The 2015 National NCEA final results are the best ever achieved by New Zealand students. Final roll-based results show level 1, 2, and 3 NCEA achievement rates rose between 1.5 and 3.2 percentage points last year to 74.4, 76.4, and 62.7 per cent respectively. Well done to the students, as well as their teachers, parents, and all of those individuals who have supported them in their endeavours. I am also pleased the Government is investing $350,000 into Donovan Primary School in Invercargill for a new classroom. The new classroom is part of a broader investment across the country to ensure local schools can meet growing rolls.

Southland benefits from Civil Defence fund

I am pleased Environment Southland is one of the successful applicants to receive funding through Civil Defence’s Resilience Fund. Environment Southland will receive $245,000 funding for Alpine Fault resilience work. The grant provides first-year funding of a two-year project bringing science and emergency management together to improve understanding of the implications and priorities relating to an Alpine Fault rupture. It’s important to recognise that some of the best work towards enhancing New Zealand’s resilience is happening in our regions.

Regional Development Caucus

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting fellow National MPs and Regional Development Caucus representatives Chris Bishop, Stuart Smith, Ian McKelvie and Todd Barclay in Invercargill. We had an informative briefing from Venture Southland and the Southland Regional Development Strategy, visited the Southern Institute of Technology, Blue River Dairy, Bill Richardson Transport World and Stabicraft. While in the south we discussed the benefits and challenges of living and doing business in regional New Zealand.