Welcome Phil, may the battle begin!

Phil Goff has achieved his ambition of becoming the Mayor of the country’s largest City. It is now his turn to achieve the ambition of Aucklanders of living in greater comfort, free of fear of rising rates, controlled expenditure and progressive programmes.

Aucklanders have given the veteran politician a massive mandate; compared to the dismal polling number, his acceptance rate of 47.6% is convincing.

Known for his work ethics, ‘can do’ attitude and affable manners, we would not only hope that he would remain an accessible ‘City Father’ but also carry out the promises that he made during his campaign.

Improving Performance

As an Indian Newslink Columnist, he said, “We need our city to be New Zealand’s best performing city. That means an efficient Council that cuts waste and duplication. It means changing the culture of Council so that it is transparent, responsive and accountable. We have to sustain a city that is inclusive of and celebrates all cultures and faiths. We should also be inclusive of all people regardless of their incomes, making sure that every child has a good start in life and can achieve to his or her full potential.”

Mr Goff now has an opportunity to turn Auckland in to a City of his dreams and that of common people.

That would mean a number of things- a place where talent and enterprise can thrive; a home that will not be abandoned by its people in search of greener pastures and a City that retains talented Kiwis here and attracts the best and brightest migrants from overseas.

Handling growth

Keeping Auckland moving is critical for New Zealand, for more than 50% of economic growth occurs in this City.

As Mr Goff has said, what that means is an extra 800 people a week or more than 40, 000 people a year are coming to Auckland.

“With growth at this level but without the extra infrastructure needed to meet the demands of growth, we risk undermining some of the basic things about Auckland that make us want to live here. Our roads and motorways become daily more congested and the economic costs and frustration over grid-locked roads are soaring.”

We will pin our hopes on Mr Goff, wait and watch with interest how he performs.

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Student victims deserve equal opportunity to learn

International students from India are in the news again.

A small number of them (some say 150, while officials say no more than 41) are facing deportation as it has emerged that they submitted faked documents, thereby undermining the high standards that are required to seek admission in our Universities and Private Training Establishments (PTEs).

The students blame their agents back home in India whereas Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has said that the ultimate responsibility rests with the students and that they should not only know the type of documents that they have submitted (or allowed their agents to submit) and whether their qualifications and achievements have been overstated.

Ugly turn

While the government may have the right to ask the students to return to their home country, it should also understand the plight of these students, many of who would have incurred substantial debts to be here to pursue their higher education.

The young men and women protesting in front of the offices of National MPs and at public events does not bode well for New Zealand, which is known for its fairness and as a country that provides equal opportunity for all.

In that spirit, it would perhaps be wiser to allow the affected students to complete their studies in the first instance and then allow them to pursue their careers if their skills are required here.

Foreign study took off in the 1980s, when several rich countries started to offer large numbers of scholarships as part of their aid programmes. Rising incomes in poorer countries added a financial motive.

But not every country lucky enough to have lots of foreign students is doing what is needed to keep them coming.

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