OPINION: It appears that I must have made my soon-to-be-ended role look too easy. Nine candidates are after it - if the same ratio had been seeking seats on, say, the Kaiapoi-Tuahiwi Community Board, there would have been 45 candidates for that board.
In fact, despite the very real challenges, there is much to be enjoyed in the position, as with last week when I swore in 36 new New Zealand citizens. All mayors regard this as an important, and enjoyable, part of what they do.
The best part of the job is being out there with all of you at community events, whether I have a specific role, such as at a fire brigade gold star presentation, or whether I just turn up, as at the recent Woodend School Fair.
I have made a huge number of friends and acquaintances - I've got over 1600 contacts in my phone, most of them local. When I leave the mayoralty this weekend, those friends and acquaintances won't disappear.
I've enjoyed the variety of the position. Councils cover a huge range of activities and elected members have to make decisions about all of them. That, of course, gives them all some knowledge across what is going on the district. On top of that, our community has an even larger range of activity to be appreciated and enjoyed - some of it commercial (and that's important) and some of it voluntary. Without volunteers, our community couldn't operate and supporting them is a significant part of what a council does.
A great example of how our community works through volunteers is Roy Adams, who last weekend was awarded a double gold star for his service to the Kaiapoi Volunteer Fire Brigade - that's 50 years on constant call-out - think about it.
Finally, I want to thank all of you in the Waimakariri community for welcoming Marilyn and me wherever we have gone and for allowing me to have the best job I have ever had.
Kia ora koutou.
Does anyone know a contractor who does mini beleage in the Fernside area?
It is our week to push the government to recognise the valuable work we do in schools to support students - this an email written by my sister and I wanted to share it with you to perhaps encourage you to email Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern on our behalf - Help us to have our voices heard.
"My sister is a teacher aide. She earns less that the living wage at $18.81 and is only paid during the school term. Every year she is unsure if she will have a job the next year, she is made redundant every Christmas and rehired in the new year if she is lucky. She could get better working conditions working at Kmart or a supermarket – instead she chooses to help other peoples children because in her ‘spare’ time, she has a special needs son herself. She chose this job because she wanted to make a difference – to help children and their families because she understands the hardship.
You support helping these children and allowing them an education with their peers and yet you wont even pay the living wage to the very very special people who put their hand up to work with them. It is nothing short of appalling. Teachers have so many children in their classrooms, they rely on their teacher aides to get their class through the day. For less than living wage she has to
• Clean up their mess, including bodily functions
• Learn how to deal with aggressive children
• Restrain them when they are self-harming without hurting them
• Teach them values
• Help the teachers educate them
• Encourage them to be their best
• Be happy and strong no matter what the personal situation
• Not be able to take time off work as these children go into melt-down mode without their supporters
• Be the person they trust with their world day in and day out
• Give herself to these children every day
• MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Most people could NOT do this work, even the teachers cannot teach and deal with these issues at the same time. The schools could not function without them and yet – not even living wage.
As was recently quoted so well – SHAME ON YOU"