A selection of letters to the editor:
After the recent elections I thought it would be good to let the electors know how the mayoral chain originated.
In the mid-1970s when Rotorua changed from being a borough to becoming a city, the then mayoral chain had wording referring to the borough and so the local Rock Gem and Mineral Club in Rotorua, of which I was chairman, offered to make a chain for the city.
We planned it to have pounamu (greenstone) and a stone from the Coromandel called carnelian.
Having in our club able people (as we now do) in the art of silver smithing and stone polishing, we made the chain as is now seen at official functions and presented it to the then mayor, John Keaney.
So it is with pride that our members see the mayor wearing this chain of office.
Your story on November 17 (Still missing) regarding Te Awatea Lemon deserves comment. Firstly, to describe the situation as her father 'snatching' her from school suggests that there is something wrong with a father collecting his child from school.
Secondly, the article claims that this father did not have 'custody' of the girl.
There is no such thing as 'custody' in NZ family law.
Thirdly, parenting orders are frequently breached by mothers who keep children from fathers but this never seems to attract media attention or concern from authorities and police do not act on such breaches unless an additional enforcement order is successfully applied for by the father.
Yet when a father does a similar thing it's a different story.
Fourth, although we have been told there is no concern for the safety of Te Awatea, the public know nothing of the background to this case because our Family Courts are secret institutions.
False allegations are rife and decisions are not accountable to the public.
It's time family law processes became accountable to the public who pay for them and it's time we as a society respect the crucial role of fathers rather than tolerating such denigration.
Load of hot air
Your correspondent Gwynne Dyer speculates that the Philippines typhoon could be a "warning to the world over climate change" (Rotorua Daily Post, November 16).
This hyperbole relies on the inability of science to rule out the faint possibility that global warming might have contributed to the intensity of tropical cyclones in some immeasurable way.
If it could be measured, how much would it be?
Tropical sea surface temperatures are typically around 22C, and this has increased by a maximum of 0.4C since 1950 - less than two per cent. If Typhoon Haiyan's top one-minute windspeed of 200km/h were to be reduced by two per cent, it would still have been 194km/h and would likely have killed the same number of people.
Sea levels have risen by 18cm over the past 100 years. If the 6m "hump" of water mentioned by Mr Dyer had been reduced to 5.82m, that would not have materially reduced the destruction caused by the storm surge.
Given all the uncertainties of global warming, are these trivial potential increases even worth discussing?
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