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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Whanganui's Inland Container Terminal

Photo: Graeme Siddle

This photo of containers in the Palmerston North railyards was taken from Tremaine Avenue on Friday 17 December, 2010.   Having heard/read suggestions for an inland port for Palmerston North I googled ‘inland port palmerston north ‘  and found that on 7th October, 2010, the Wanganui Chronicle announced the creation of an inland container terminal in Whanganui’s industrial area in an article by John Maslin - http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/local/news/inland-container-terminal-is-all-shipshape/3925469/
Train enthusiasts have posted some photos of the line to Castlecliff and the facilities at:

It appears then that Palmerston North has missed out on this opportunity and will instead consolidate its position as a distribution hub with a population catchment of over 1 million people.

Exporting companies are playing a key role in the Whanganui development.  However there doesn’t seem be any information on the net about how the project is going and whether it is fully operational yet.   Perhaps Whanganui readers of this blog or those interested may be able to contribute to this.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Learning languages follows trade deals?

The Palmerston North Tribune recently (November 24, 2010) published an article about Dr Colin Anderson, retiring senior lecturer in languages at Massey University.  He said that language studies follow fashions and trade deals.  'All BA students in the 1970s had to have a foreign language as part of their degree and many opted for French.   In the 1980s that requirement was dropped, but emerging trade deals with Japan created demand for Japanese speakers.  Something similar happened in the 1990s with more trade and contact with Latin America triggering demand for Spanish.'   Dr Anderson said that he can see the next big push will be for Chinese.  He also believes that children should start learning another language at eight or nine.
Since New Zealand has trade talks coming up with Russia will there be a renaissance of Russian teaching?  Or will Korean studies be set up in one of our tertiary institutions?
It seems Dr Anderson is not alone in stressing the importance of teaching foreign languages.  Japan's education minister Yoshiaki Takaki has said: "Since we are living in a globalized society, I am keenly aware of the necessity of children acquiring the ability to communicate in foreign languages."  (Japan Times October 13, 2010)
Will New Zealand exporters be equipped first to negotiate deals with countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Korea, and then to carry on successful trade with them?  Or will we expect these new trading partners to speak English?


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

TPP Talks in Auckland 6-10 December 2010

You may have been wondering where to get further resources on the TPP talks which are currently being held in Auckland.  The newspapers and news websites do have reports -  by googling:  tpp talks Auckland you will retrieve some information.
A website sponsored by a grant from the School of Law at the University of Auckland which has more comprehensive information is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Digest at:
As the name suggests it brings together information about the TPP – it tends to give space to those who oppose the TPP but as the talks are not open to the public, there is no information which can be given at the moment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade does have daily media briefings at this page: