Editorial: Good things in the news

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014

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OPINION: The nature of news is it's often negative. Something's gone wrong, someone's done something dumb. Or illegal. Which is usually also dumb.

But after flicking through yesterday's paper it's worth highlighting a few good news items.

The Timaru sister city delegation has had a fruitful trip to China. In what could be seen as a flag-waving exercise (and a nice trip) some practical initiatives have come from it.

Aoraki Polytechnic in particular has grabbed the bull by the horns, building on its recently opened Chinese Resource Centre in Timaru.

Following this trip it will conduct hospitality training in China, students from here will be invited on internships there, Chinese students and teaching staff are likely to come here for professional development and we have been invited to the Weihai Food Expo.

Not bad for one visit.

Mayor Damon Odey says there are endless opportunities for the two communities, and he will now be working hard to bring them to fruition. A businessman himself, you can imagine he will be.

There's nothing like meeting people face to face.

Then we read of motion-activated cameras designed for hunters which are producing accidental but beneficial results. Like identifying thieves in rural areas.

And Environment Canterbury has mounted some in trees to catch people dumping rubbish in riverbeds. Infringement notices have followed. Excellent.

Third is the story that more is now being done to monitor and assist tourist drivers when they come here.

A project in the lower South Island encourages tourists to hire the safest possible vehicles and plan realistic itineraries; and rental companies are developing driving videos, booklets, an iPad driving test and even sitting in the car while the tourist driver takes it around the block.

Just as we address our own driving behaviour over speed and drink-driving, it is right that tourists also be targeted. More effort is obviously going into that.

And finally comes a growing realisation that the Gigatown competition being run nationally could provide significant benefits for Timaru.

Should the town show greater passion for gaining the country's fastest broadband than anywhere else, there will not only be benefits for local businesses but we could attract new ones here.

The example given is the American town of Chattanooga, which has reinvented itself as an IT hub.

There's no reason why we couldn't achieve IT hub status in New Zealand.

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- The Timaru Herald

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