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Retirement Commissioner's Schools' Competition

Winners Announced

Retirement Commissioner's Schools' Competition

sponsored by Armstrong Jones

James Hargest High School of Invercargill has won the overall prize in the Retirement Commissioner's Schools' Competition sponsored by Armstrong Jones.

Winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Parliament today hosted by the Hon Steve Maharey, Minister of Social Services and Employment.

Members of the winning team, Steven Sutton, Christopher Walsh, Helen Lindsay and Scott Donaldson submitted an assignment in which they had to consider New Zealand's ageing population and its likely economic, social and political impacts. Once the team had identified the key issues they developed a long-term retirement income policy for New Zealand which had to be fair, sustainable, affordable and have their community's support.

The Chair of the Judging Panel Angela Foulkes said the judges felt the team from James Hargest High School deserved the top Award because they demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the needs of their local community and wider New Zealand.

"As one of my fellow judges said, this team seemed to have an instinctive feel for the issue and the work they had done."

"We were hugely impressed by the quality of all the entries from schools. And those who are winners in all categories of the Competition are to be congratulated on their remarkable achievement." said Ms Foulkes.

Retirement Commissioner Colin Blair congratulated all competing students for their commitment to the challenge posed by the assignment, and said they had helped to improve understanding of retirement income issues in their school communities.

"As a result of the competition we have a significant number of students, and their local communities, who are much better informed on the issues. I'm sure they will now be more interested in participating in the future debate on this topic. That has to be a healthy outcome."

Paul Butler, judge and Chief Financial Officer with Armstrong Jones also praised the initiative as a positive way to engage younger New Zealanders in the issue.

"Ultimately, the most important thing is for all New Zealanders to focus on this issue - earlier rather than later. And to get everyone thinking of retirement in terms of 'lifestyle change' - not 'survival'." said Mr Butler.


For further information please contact Robyn Cormack, Competition Manager, 04-499 7396


Over the last six months secondary school students throughout New Zealand have been wrestling with one of the biggest public policy issues of our time.

The Retirement Commissioner's Schools' Competition sponsored by Armstrong Jones, has had young people considering New Zealand's ageing population and its likely economic, social and political impacts. Their task was to identify the burning issues and then to develop a long-term retirement income policy for New Zealand which was fair, sustainable, affordable and had their community's support. Of 18 teams submitted entries in the competition, five made it through to become finalists. On 7 September these five teams came to Wellington to be interviewed by a panel of judges and then to attend an awards ceremony at Parliament, hosted by the Hon Steve Maharey, Minister of Social Services and Employment.


The competition had several prize categories designed to encourage participation from a wide variety of schools. Winning teams received a prize for their school and a prize as individuals. The financial services company Armstrong Jones sponsored the prize pool of $42,000. Paul Fyfe, Managing Director of Armstrong Jones (NZ) Limited says "Armstrong Jones is delighted to be associated with the Retirement Commissioner's Schools' Competition. We believe this is an ideal issue for students to have tackled, since it is one that will affect each of them directly in future years." Winners were from Auckland, Wellington, Invercargill, and Gisborne.

PRIZE CATEGORIES Winning School School Prize Team Prize

Overall Winning Team James Hargest High School, Invercargill $8,000 $6,000

Overall Runner Up Team Macleans College $6,000 $4,000

Winner Best Team (decile 1-3) Wesley College Auckland $4,000 $2,000

Winner Best Team (decile 4-7) Gisborne Girls' High School, Gisborne $4,000 $2,000

Winner Best Team (decile 8-10) Wellington College Wellington $4,000 $2,000

Teams are as follows:

School and Contact Details Team Names Gisborne Girls High School, Gisborne Ph (06) 868 6092 David Boardman (teacher) Daphne Coyle Fiona Edmonds Annaliese Proudfoot Michelle Stichbury Kesaia Waigth James Hargest High School, Invercargill Ph (03) 217 6129 Jonathan Tucker (teacher) Steven Sutton Christopher Walsh Helen Lindsay Scott Donaldson Maclean's College, Auckland Ph (09) 535 2620 Mark Phillips (teacher) Janice Chow Matthew Loy Whiter Tang Amelia Tsang Louisa Tse Wellington College, Wellington Ph (04) 802 2520 Bruce Connett (teacher) Albert Bollard Alex Franks Michael Keenan Timothy Maddren Philip Whittington Wesley College, Pukekohe, Auckland Ph (09) 238 7014 Louise Gaines (teacher) Lachlan Bruce Gavin Hayward Hosea James Rimoni Leota Gidion Manda

"The primary objective of the competition was to increase understanding of some of the key issues, rather than to come up with perfect solutions", said Angela Foulkes, Chair of the competition's judging panel. "We wanted students to learn about retirement income policy issues and to talk to their community about what they found out," said Ms Foulkes.
The judging panel included:
 Angela Foulkes (Chair of judging panel, Former Secretary of the NZ Council of Trade Unions, and former Chair of the Super 2000 Taskforce)
 * Colin Blair (the Retirement Commissioner)
 * Judge Mick Brown (former Family Court Judge)
 * Paul Butler (Director and Chief Financial Officer, Armstrong Jones)
 * Professor Richard Bedford (Geography, University of Waikato).

"The competition was a difficult task for students. It was a major exercise in research, analysis, time management, and consultation," said Ms Foulkes.

"All teams reaching the finishing line have achieved a great deal. Their reward has been substantial prize money sponsored by Armstrong Jones," said Ms Foulkes. The competition generated significant interest from over 100 schools (and 1000 students nationwide). Many teams explored the issue in depth, but were not able to complete task. "Students identified a wide range of issues and options. The judges placed more emphasis on the process and thoroughness of students' research than on the actual policy proposal," Ms Foulkes said.

Questions judges put to teams

All finalist teams met the judging panel, and were asked to respond to the following questions:

 How did you involve other members of your school and community in your research for your assignment? What would you do differently next time?
 * What did you learn from talking to your school and community about retirement income policy issues?
 * What was the key point of difference between your community today and in 50 years time?
 * An important part of the competition was to work in multi-disciplinary teams - how did you find this process?
 * How would you briefly describe your assignment?
 * Overall, what are the key things you have learned from taking part in this competition?
 * What would you do differently next time?
 * What was the most surprising issue (to you as a team) in the work you undertook?
 * Given the diverse range of public opinion on the matter of retirement income policy what criteria would you apply if you were Government faced with making appropriate policy decisions? * Who should have the primary responsibility for providing retirement income? Is it the individual or couple concerned or is it the State through the tax system? Give reasons.
 * How do you plan to use your prize money?
 * How does your school plan to use its prize money?

Participants Judges were impressed with the quality of the work submitted by all teams, and wish to acknowledge the effort of all teams which entered the competition. Representatives from Armstrong Jones will be visiting participants in the competition over the next two weeks, and presenting them with Certificates of Merit and book tokens. Local media will be informed of these presentations. Teams from the following schools submitted entries in the competition: Epsom Girls' Grammar School, Auckland Gisborne Girls' High School, Gisborne Hastings Boys' High School, Hastings James Hargest High School, Invercargill Kapiti College, Kapiti Coast Macleans College, Auckland (2 teams) Paeroa College, Paeroa Putaruru High School, Putaruru Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Wellington (3 teams) St Mary's College, Wellington (2 teams) Upper Hutt College, Upper Hutt Wellington College, Wellington Wesley College, Pukekohe Whangarei Boys' High School, Whangarei

For further information please contact Robyn Cormack, Competition Manager, 04-499 7396

How much money will you want in retirement? Work it out online at < >

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