Policy options with both economic and environmental benefits are among the innovative ideas for regional economic development put forward by schools that have taken top honours in the 2016 Treasury Schools Challenge.
Hastings' Lindisfarne College has won the 2016 Treasury Schools Challenge competition with diverse policy ideas ranging from encouraging organic fruit farming in the Hawkes Bay by using water allocation rights as an incentive mechanism, to creating a single Hawkes Bay Council.
"The standard of the entries was incredibly high,” says Treasury Director and judging panel member, Amy Allison. “The finalists all displayed great enthusiasm for their local regions, and backed this up with well-researched ideas for developing the opportunities they identified. Lindisfarne College presented their ideas very clearly and persuasively and, by speaking without notes, they engaged well with the audience and the judges."
James Hargest College came in second presenting their policy idea for creating a regional cluster of organic dairy producers. This would take advantage of the growing international demand and higher prices paid for organic dairy produce and also have environmental benefits. They also proposed creating more tourism infrastructure, including an innovative 'park and ride' shuttle service from Hollyford to Milford Sound.
Taking third place honours, Onslow College proposed that Wellington could use its unique geographic position to harvest tidal power to generate electricity and create the Wellington Energy Cooperative, a public-private partnership, to fund it.
"I've been impressed by the creative and original ideas that have come through in this year’s Schools Challenge," says Gabriel Makhlouf, Chief Executive and Secretary to the Treasury. "The teams have supported their ideas with research and analysis to show how these policy recommendations could lead to improved living standards. This is our sixth Schools Challenge and has been a great way to hear innovative ideas from young New Zealanders."
Students from the three winning teams will receive a $500 electronics voucher, provided by Victoria University of Wellington. The Lindisfarne College team members will also each receive scholarships valued at $2,000 to study at Victoria University. Team members from James Hargest College and Onslow College will receive a scholarship valued at $1,000 each.
Andrew Tang from Scots College in Wellington has been awarded Best Speaker prize for 2016, and will receive the same prize as the second and third placed teams.
The teams will head back to Wellington on July 27 for the prize-giving and to give their presentations to a wider Treasury audience.