And just like that it’s autumn and children throughout the Waitaki and South Canterbury are back to school for their second term of the year.
In Geraldine the return to class has brought a battle between the local high school and Ministry of Education as the Government tries to enforce a new enrolment zone on the community.
I have been working with representatives from the school who insist such zoning restrictions will only compromise the ongoing feasibility of courses and hamper the quality education provided to local pupils.
More than 1000 people have now signed a petition against the proposal and I just hope the Education Minister sits up and takes notice.
Numbers and spreadsheets should not be the driving force here. There are wider implications of the zone boundary on families, the community and other education providers. The ministry has an opportunity now to re-think their approach. If they believe in meaningful consultation, that needs to be reflected in their final decision
With the seasons changing, farmers throughout the region are turning to the winter months ahead.
With the risk of cattle contracting the dreaded disease Mycoplasma bovis still in the forefront of people’s minds, decisions around stock movement and wintering remain a challenge.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has revealed another 300 farmers who have had high-risk animals move on to their properties over the past months will be contacted – with 50 of these expected to have Notices of Direction forced upon them.
This means they can no longer move cattle from their property until testing has shown they’re clear of the disease. The announcement has come as a shock to many who believed MPI was making headway containing the disease.
Since Mycoplasma was first detected here in South Canterbury two years ago, it has spread to 165 farms, with 93,000 animals being culled throughout the country.
Over this time, I have been in contact with many farmers throughout the region who have been badly affected by this disease, taking a hit not only financially but mentally, watching on as their herds and businesses are destroyed.
I am concerned we are still in the clutches of this disease and hope the Government realises how vital it is to keep adequately supporting and funding MPI so it can work to combat and contain the disease, while fairly compensating farmers affected by it.
Finally, it was a noisy weekend for many throughout the South Canterbury countryside as shotgun blasts rang out from the early hours of Saturday, signalling the start of the duck-shooting season.
It’s the first season where the new firearm regulations which ban the use of most semi-automatic firearms and some pump action shotguns will be in force.