Letters to the Editor: Tuesday January 10, 2017

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A clear path to the future

The opinion piece that appeared in the Northland Age on Thursday, December 15 was one of the most insightful ever printed in that journal.

It should be prescribed reading for every New Zealander.

Its author, Casey Costello, provides a clear path for New Zealanders, of whatever background and ethnicity, to take the country forward into the future.

By coincidence, just two days before, a number of Far North District councillors and community board members attended a workshop at Waitangi to learn about the 'special' relationship accorded to our Maori citizens in local government.

This is prescribed under the Local Government Act (and others), but actually is not there in the Treaty.

It is generally accepted that it is the Maori version of the Treaty of Waitangi that has the greater relevance.

An English translation of that, made by Sir Hugh Kawharu, a former tribunal member, is therefore an impeccable authority.

Article the Third: 'For this arrangement therefore concerning the Government of Queen, the Queen of England will protect all the ordinary people of New Zealand, will give them the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England.' Nothing more and nothing less.

As a nation we are all ill- served by those who would read into the Treaty meanings that don't exist. There are no Treaty "principles" and no "partners".

There are clauses (articles) and parties to a contract that bind both equally.

Would that the past could be left behind and we all together boldly face the future, united in a common cause.

S REILLY
Kaikohe

Avaricious iwi

John Key's assurances that Maori exercising their hereditary rights under the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, and to their fisheries' ownership, would not inhibit the freedom of fellow New Zealanders have gone badly astray with the sheer avarice of Ngati Apa, Ngati Kuia and Rangitane o Wairau acting as Te Tau Fisheries and Te Ohu Kaimoana in their opposition to the establishment of national marine parks.

How far can Chris Finlayson stretch the bounds of "full and final settlements"?

The legendary tangata whenua's spiritual connection to and protection of our natural resources seems to have been replaced by a more practical taonga, a financial one.

It is to be hoped that these disputes do not disturb the festive season's enjoyment of the former prime minister, who supported Maori fishing rights and the 'foreshore ' debacle, or Environment Minister Nick Smith, who has to clear them up.

BRYAN JOHNSON
Omokoroa

United we'll win

Re 'Out damned weeds,' by Cr Mike Finlayson, the man who dreams of progress.

Just look at what progress has created here in the Far North, and why we have wild ginger and other troublesome weeds, pests etc.

These things have become problems, but not overnight, and the only reason is through progress and lack of responsibility.

Funny how some people keep their properties, roadsides etc. clear of unwanted plants, rubbish etc., while others do not, just as others collect rubbish etc on beaches and waterways.

These people give up their time and money because they care about their environment, while not spending thousands of dollars on advertising, seeking votes to become nothing other than a petty politician.

Not once in my 17 years living in Herekino have I seen Mike on the side of the road removing one of his wild ginger plants around the Herekino/Manukau area, yet I would say he has travelled many miles, creating a large carbon footprint, just as he is doing now he is a big time councillor, wasting many hours driving like his predecessors have done over the years.

One would think that, being a councillor, Mike would be visiting land owners both great and small, advising them of the invasion of pests, weeds etc that are a danger to our fauna and flora, how such invasions can reduce income and devalue properties, and the only solution to the problems is that we all work together to address problems facing the Far North, not only for ourselves but our children and future generations.

I say the time is long overdue that we showed some pride as caretakers of our land, fauna, flora, streams, rivers ,beaches, oceans, air etc as we are not doing very well at present, to make our children and future generations proud of us by setting good goals.

Many thanks to those doing their best, but sadly fighting a losing battle, as more and more disregard their responsibility, considering they have the right to litter, pollute streams etc, dump rubbish where they please allow seeding etc of unwanted weeds, provide habitat for pests, dump cats and allow dogs to roam.

When is the time to start such ventures?

Mother Teresa was so right when she said yesterday has been and gone, tomorrow we may never see, so the time to start is this very day, what a wonderful outlook for mankind, the fauna and flora, in fact our whole planet, no matter where we live.

God bless everyone. Enjoy your festive season, and may we see good changes for 2017.

JOHN BASSETT
Diggers' Valley

PS: Have not heard if our dotterels have returned for this year's breeding. Be a shame if we have lost them to progress.

Cultural confusion

We saw Moana at Te Ahu last Friday. The graphics were stunning. We also saw a confusion of Polynesian cultures.

Te Ahu was the fullest I have seen it. Kids were everywhere and really enjoying themselves.

The last matinee that we attended at Te Ahu was The Descendants which lulled me back to the Hawaii of the 60s and 70s.

I have watched it again since Hollywood got it right about the kamaaina families.

I had many mates who traced their roots back to the original missionary families and to Ol' Hawaiian royalty.

Their families had huge land holdings that were passed from generation to generation.

The story, the characters, the setting were all right out of the kamaaina (upper) class.
We hung together, fished together, occasionally partied etc, but they always let everybody know that they were gifted.

When they made an effort at a party to tell my then wife, Peggy, and me that we were welcome in their group, I called them "kamaaina snobs".

That rejection kept me as an outcast, so I stayed with the Hawaiians, who told me, "Mike, you are not a friend, you are family".

Peggy took my country club membership and fitted right in. Best choice I could have made - changed my whole life.

I have found Maori to be as welcoming, so the hongi between Maui and Moana was a wistful, cross-cultural moment (the Hawaiian greet by sharing breaths, inhaling each other's essence).

MIKE WARD
Doubtless Bay

Fake truths

The new jargon is fake news, which seems to replace the old jargon conspiracy theorists, who could be deemed to be conspiracy exposers.

The Bill just signed into US law by President Obama, and anybody wanting a copy of that Bill has free access to it, will now allow restriction (read censorship) of those who attempt to expose the real truths, and allow the promulgation of 'fake truths'.

For decades we have been exposed to 'fake truth' regarding cannabis, and many refuse to accept that they have been fed these fake truths, despite the science which has exposed the true benefits of cannabis. Were it not for the internet, we would still be accepting these 'fake truths'.

Whether or not we accept the real truth is our choice, but we must not allow those who are entrenched in their distorted perceptions of the truth from the decades of fake truth to force us to accept legislation which is based on these fake truths.

We should all be grateful to Julian Assange, of Wikileaks, who, at great personal cost, has allowed those who are still able to critically think to read the truth.

Based on the truth of real science, cannabis should be re-legalised immediately.

BEVERLEY ALDRIDGE
Kath Pattinson
Otamatea

Who are they?

Every day there is more written about the homeless - but who are these people?

There is always a mother involved, and multiple children. Rarely do we see a man in the picture.

A recent report in The Herald gives the sad story of two women with several children in their care and the usual desperate tale of wanting a place to call home.

Since then the story has been exposed as not quite true, as both these women have been living in motel rooms under the government's emergency accommodation scheme, at a cost to the taxpayer of $1000 and $2000 per week.

Both these families have a more than adequate and rather expensive roof over their heads, and are not in imminently genuine need at all.

The real reason they cannot get a home is that they have both been evicted from Housing NZ homes for non-payment of the quite manageable rents they were supposed to pay.

There are so many genuine cases of need, but why has it suddenly become such an issue? How did we apparently house everyone a few short years ago?

Compared with places like Aleppo, where there are few buildings left standing, we in New Zealand have little to complain about, as the taxpayer seems to pick up the tab for homeless families.

We do indeed have light at the end of our tunnel.

ROBIN BISHOP
Tauranga

Happy New Year

Oh dear. Reading the January 5 edition of the Age there seems to be a lot of angry behaviour, too much booze and stealing etc going on.

I have to remind myself that most people are law-abiding and only wanted a happy Christmas and New Year, even if they are unemployed and suffering from the policies of a government not catering for the needs of many.

If only the education system was run by qualified, trained, frontline teachers able to control the finances and use them as they know best.

Aristotle said, "Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man".

From my own observations pupils who we thought were performing to the best of their ability have managed to sail through the rough patches life throws up and are employed.

Sorry to have to say it but their success in many cases was because of the love and sacrifices of their mothers, aunties and grandmothers.

Great fathers are thinner on the ground. Because of what they drink during pregnancy, some mothers cause brain damage leading to anti-social behaviour, before the child is born.

I think it was a clever Kaitaia lad who said something like, "We aren't being taught the things we need to know about".

How fortunate we are in the North to have a paper that lets all opinions be printed. This includes long epistles by Peter Dunne in a forlorn hope of electing another 'Look after your rich mate's government'.

It will be an interesting year, with Labour so far failing to rev properly. A couple of Greens being politically unwise, one with an attempted entry into Gaza.

Winston often hits the nail on the head but who knows which way he will jump?

Key has shot through leaving the Right Wing Party with a lot of Left Wing moves to make if they want to be re-elected.

Our expert Arabian desert sheep farming rep in the United Nations has upset future President Trump.

Russia needs another Mikhail Gorbachev as Putin is holding back what could be, with the right government, the world's richest nation.

So all bets are off, but for sure 2017 is going to be an interesting political year.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a Minister of Education who said to teachers, "Okay, now teachers, what can I do to help? What can we do to cut out the crap?"

Such a Minister would get enough votes to tip an election their way.

Hmm now for a coffee.

SAM McHarg
Kerikeri

Where to now?

Peter Dunne is not slow in getting off the mark with another typical long discourse this New Year. Is it because it's election year?

There is still confusion as to which party he belongs to. Clearly he is really Labour, but now the playing field has changed, where all his favourite subjects such as drugs, alcohol, sodomy, child abuse, anti-violence and now euthanasia are embraced by National.

I can't see Bill English being very much different, as he did a recent U-turn on supporting homosexual marriage, forsaking his principles.

His bailing out of South Canterbury Finance to the tune of $1.6 billion was a disgrace, while penny-pinch taxing the meagre earnings of paper boys, and while a 96-year-old woman can't get one hour a week home help. So much for God's own country.

TIM GLASSON
Kaikohe

- Northland Age

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