Letters to the editor

00:13, May 28 2012

Sounds scalloping

There have been many emotional letters to the Express regarding King Salmon and the damage their farms may or may not cause in the Marlborough Sounds.

However, there is a much greater danger that is about to happen right now.

In Golden Bay, Tasman Bay and Okiwi Bay, the scallop industry has totally collapsed. The areas have been vacuum-cleaned by commercial dredgers and the experiment with reseeding has failed. This October-November, the scallop fleet will concentrate on the Marlborough Sounds.

This means that in two years' time we will see the same consequence here: the scallop beds will be wiped out and what is more, the sandy seabed habitat of young blue cod and other species will be destroyed.

We need to wake up and see what is happening under our noses.




Sport selections

Good on you Anita Hargreaves for your letter ["Sport selections", Express, May 22].

Sadly, this has been going on for years.

When I was at Marlborough Boys' College in the late 60s-early 70s, it was not what you are, but who you are.

Sadly, it seems it's still going on.



Pupil ratios

Some facts and balance need to be introduced to the story "Pupils `losers' in ratio changes" [Express, May 21].

The Government is committed to ensuring our children leave school able to read, write and do their maths to a level that enables them to reach their potential in the modern world. It is investing $500 million over four years to greatly improve the performance of teachers and educational outcomes in the classroom.

Let's introduce some facts ignored in the article: teacher numbers have grown by 12 per cent in the last 10 years while school pupil numbers have grown only 2.5 per cent. In the meantime, educational achievement has plateaued.

This tells us we should be focusing on improving teaching standards, which is what the Government is doing by investing $500 million in a range of teacher development initiatives.

More facts: funding ratios will remain the same for year one pupils at 1:15. During the crucial NCEA years (11 to 13) the ratio will be standardised to 1:17.3, which is basically what they are now.

In years 2 to 10, the funding ratio will be standardised to 1:27.3 from the existing range of 1:23 to 1:29. This means 90 per cent of schools will either gain or have a net loss of less than one fulltime teacher equivalent.

Quality teaching is clearly the best way to improve overall educational achievement within the classroom.

It would be great to see less emotive language and more factual research feature in front-page stories. While bad news makes good headlines, it is objectionable when it fosters unnecessary anxiety among parents.



Kaikoura electorate

The Marlborough Express