Letters to Editor: Phonebook's size defies sense

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Phonebook's size defies sense

Now what on earth is this which we have had delivered into our mail box? It's a joke, right?

The latest "Pocket Edition" issue of the 2011-12 Hawke's Bay phone book: Remember when they used to get dropped off at the front gate? Well now they actually fit into that tiny slot in the mail box.

I'm looking for answers here. To my knowledge the phone book has never been this small.

Where's the magnifying glass? Coming in the post? You see, I reckon we'll be needing that to read the, um, fine print.

The reason for it being smaller in size, and thinner I have to add, is what?

Are there fewer people with home phones now? Are we encouraging an upsurge in mobile phones?

It's smaller now in print than the local newspaper is to read. Must have been designed by some intellectual without an ounce of common sense.

It just got that much harder to find that number we're looking for. Get used to it, I hear you say, times are tough and think of the savings made.

Yes, I know. Should have gone to Spec Savers. (Abridged.)

Bill Carswell, Hawke's Bay

Shame by degrees

D. B. Smith's reply to my letter about HB Today's "List of Shame" is interesting and shows that being on the list labels one (in some people's eyes) as a "drunk".

Persons convicted of driving with excess blood alcohol have committed a crime, but there is a vast range of severity of crime involved which the courts take account of.

The "List of Shame", by its very title, suggests that all those named are equally deserving of being pilloried, a view I don't subscribe to. The vast majority of drink-related fatal accidents involve drivers who are two or more times the legal limit. At two times the limit, a driver is more than 20 times as likely to cause a fatal accident as when sober.

My letter did not say we drive better when slightly intoxicated. It simply implied that careful driving and attention reduces accidents.

If readers wish to get to grips with the facts, try the following Association of British Drivers website for a start: www.abd.org.uk/abd-bac.htm

Try to absorb the facts and, if interested, extend your investigation. (Abridged.)

Edward Hamilton, Hastings

Pride in our flag

With regard to Patricia Robert's letter (November 2), I suggest that she go back and read her original letter from October 20. I was quoting from it, in which she said: "Australia and New Zealand lag behind in that respect, and it's time we had a flag that showed pride in our own country" - that implies that people who like the current flag do not have pride in their country. I like our flag and I am proud of the flag and New Zealand, and please do not tell me otherwise.

My reference to the American flag was a misreading on my part, for which I apologise.

Patricia, in her latest letter, states: "People think the New Zealand flag was designed specifically for us, but it wasn't. The only part of our flag that is truly ours are the red stars."

Three-quarters of the flag is plain blue with four red stars; the red stars, it has been conceded, are our own, and how can a plain blue flag belong to anyone?

I would also point interested parties to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture website, which on the subject of the New Zealand flag states: "Its royal blue background represents of the blue sea and clear sky surrounding us. The stars of the Southern Cross emphasise this country's location in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Jack in the first quarter recognises New Zealand's historical origins as a British colony and dominion."

Patricia then goes on to say that people wanting to keep the flag with its Union Jack are a bit selfish because she and others don't want it; what does that make her for wanting to remove it then when others wish to keep it?

The Union Jack merely pays deference to the heritage of the antecedents of about 60 per cent of the people who live here; it also is a flag for past generations as well - it is still their flag.

Why does having the Union Jack in the corner make New Zealand look as if it "belongs to Britain"? The New Zealand flag (all of it) belongs to this country and is unique.

This country is a democracy where everyone is entitled to an opinion, even ones that not everyone else agrees with. Please stop telling me I have no pride in my country because I like the current flag or that somehow I secretly wish to be part of or belong to Britain.

My opinion is I like the flag and I have endeavoured to say why I like it and believe it has historical and cultural significance to past, present and, hopefully, future generations of New Zealanders. (Abridged.)

Giles Thorman, Havelock North

Tailgater alert

Members of the Alfa Romeo Club of New Zealand who were attending our annual meeting spent an extremely enjoyable weekend over October 29-30 in and around your fair city.

The hospitality and facilities made available to us by the council were second to none and the spectacular location along the waterfront made for a memorable event.

Unfortunately, the weekend was marred for me by the driver of a white saloon who tailgated me as we departed on Sunday afternoon for Taupo via State Highway 5.

Even though the driver was very close as we drove out through the various urban speed limits, I didn't mind too much.

However, when we opened out into the 100km/h zone after the turn-off through the Esk Valley, the driver stayed glued to my rear bumper with no hope of passing because of on-coming traffic. I couldn't tolerate this for long so indicated left, moved over as much as I could on the hard shoulder and slowed down a little bit.

By now suffering from a slight case of road rage, I caught up with the white saloon as she tailgated the next car in front of her.

I had assumed from the aggressive way the car was driven that the driver was setting out on a long journey, perhaps in response to a family emergency.

To my surprise, she turned into the next winery/cafe.

Possibly there was a family emergency there, but I have to say I was angry that my life and that of my passenger had been endangered because she was desperate for a latte or glass of wine.

She gave me a charming single-digit wave as she turned into the entrance in response to me giving her a blast on the horn.

It occurred to me that if she was so stupid as to drive at a less than one-second gap she might have no idea why other drivers get annoyed with her.

I surely cannot be the first to have been brought to rage by her tailgating. While it is true there are more serious road-rule transgressions than tailgating, there are few that reveal the poor spatial awareness, judgment and lack of self-preservation of a driver than that.

Hopefully if she and all other tailgaters read this, learn to count two seconds and keep their distance, we will all have a safer and less fraught time on our dangerous roads.

John McTavish, Tauranga

- Hawkes Bay Today

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