Dental discount

I want to thank Hadleigh Reid (Chronicle, August 3) from the bottom of my heart for making a start on offering a possibly somewhat more affordable alternative to dental treatments than we usually get in Whanganui (or is it the whole of New Zealand?).

It has long been a bugbear of mine that going to the dentist is something that people on low incomes often can't afford. I was born in Germany and lived there until 16 years ago.

In the beginning of my life in New Zealand I couldn't understand why a lot of people didn't seem to look after their teeth or have them seen to by a dentist until I had to have my first New Zealand experience of dental treatment.

What a shock it was, and what an eye-opener to discover that there is absolutely no Government subsidy for visits to the dentist. Not even the Community Services Card makes a difference.

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In Germany we had a system where you have to have proof that you had a dental check-up every year in order to be eligible for paid or partially subsidised treatments from a dentist. And it makes so much sense!

It is very important for overall health to have no troublespots in your mouth. All sorts of health problems can actually start with having hidden or not-so-hidden dental problems.

A lot of health problems could be prevented, if the Government would encourage people with financial support to visit the dentist regularly. In the meantime, maybe other dentists could follow Hadleigh Reid's example.

ANNE MOHRDIECK
Whanganui


No money tree

I read in the Chronicle (August 24) the Whanganui District Council has informed me my rates are not going up 30 per cent over four years but only 22 per cent over four years. Woo hoo!

Inflation is about just over 1 per cent. I live on a pension. Should I ask Bill English to increase my pension by 22 per cent over 4 years? Yeah, right.

My total rates bill for this year is $2951.53, divide this by 52 = $57.76 a week just to live in this city.

I have my own rainwater in a tank and a septic tank for my sewage. We have no streetlights or footpaths.

What am I paying this council for? The last time I looked out my back door, I did not see a money tree to pay Ms Main and her council.

RICHARD BOULD
Whanganui


Maori dialects

Daniel Harding, in his "forthright" reply to Ian Brougham (letters, August 18) suffers many delusions.

Pre-European Maori had no written language, so the "correct spelling" of anything was meaningless.

Europeans spelled words as they heard them, the missionaries taking particular care. Thus we have "wenua" for "land" in the Treaty of Waitangi, not "whenua", and "February" transliterated as "Pepueri".

One only has to look at the Treaty to see that, clearly, there was no "wh" as in "when" nor "f" as in "February" in the Ngapuhi dialect.

There were many dialects of Maori, some mutually unintelligible. The place names Wangaloa in the south, Akaroa and Akaloa in the centre and Whangaroa in the north use the same word. Which is right or wrong?

The Maori name for Wellington harbour is spelt Wanganui-a-tara by librarians at their recent conference. Of all people, they will have got it "right".

The generally accepted Maori spelling of Lyttelton harbour is Whakaraupo -- that makes four spellings for the Maori word for "harbour", and all, I suggest, are equally legitimate.

So how did the tribes of the area actually say the name of the river which became that of your city?

Certainly both forms were used, but an excellent example is that of Archie Bogle, prince of surveyors in the district, who frequently employed local Maori to assist him.

Invariably he used the form he heard and that was Wanganui, only noting Whanganui in the index of his book Links In The Chain as an alternative.

Mr Harding, in telling us to "respect the Maori language", demonstrates only his ignorance of it.

In the circumstances, perhaps the wishes of the residents should actually be given some weight -- 80 per cent of them prefer Wanganui but their wishes have been arrogantly over-ridden on spurious grounds by ignorant people with the power to do so, who hold a clear choice -- democratically expressed -- in contempt.

BRUCE MOON
Nelson


Change needed

I am obliged to comment on Whanganui District Council's "cute" response to my latest letter.

It is pleasing to note that we have their confirmation that, in low inflationary times, we ratepayers are faced with massive rate increases.

If it is not to cover the cost of their "gold-plated" wastewater treatment plant, what is it for?

Yes, the increase is 22 per cent on last year's rates in four years.

The advice that council has spent over three years in unproductive meetings with industry only confirms that major change is required at council.

All those many ratepayers on fixed incomes will undoubtedly agree with me.�Edited

GRAEME YOUNG
Whanganui