The period pre-Christmas is an extremely busy one for everyone – apart apparently for men, who as the old joke has it, don’t worry about how many shopping days there are until Christmas, so long as they manage to get out before the shops close on Christmas Eve.

It was a busy time in Parliament last week in the run-up to Christmas, tidying up the odds and ends of legislation on Saturday.

One of the Bills that was passed was the Education Amendment Bill (no 2) which, amongst other things, allows for the development of trades academies for Year 11-13 pupils.

New Zealand, and particularly Southland, faces a trade training shortage.  This new law will give Year 11-13 students a leg up into trades.  In Southland, it means those students who might otherwise leave school for lack of opportunities now have more choices.