Vietnam medals

Why do people write things they (by their own admission) know nothing about? I refer to a comment by Chester Borrows in his article in the August 26 Chronicle concerning the Vietnam War.

He states, "There was no service medal until 2008." This is incorrect as one or two medals were awarded on completion of individuals' service in Vietnam, dependent on the time in theatre.

If you look at the medals worn by the gentleman on the right of the photo, the second one is the Vietnam Medal (dark blue, red, yellow and light blue) and the last is the Vietnam Campaign Medal (green and white striped).

The Vietnam Medal was awarded after specific days of service in theatre, dependent on whether you were navy, army or air force. This medal was awarded by the NZ Government. The Vietnam Campaign Medal was awarded by the Vietnamese Government after six months' service in theatre. As a foreign medal, it is worn last in sequence.


The central medal (blue and red striped) is the NZ General Service Medal 1992 (Warlike) awarded to people who served in Vietnam without previous medallic recognition. It was also awarded to those who had been previously recognised with the other medals. This was instigated in February 2008 and is obviously where Chester "went astray".


Logic of the rich

I don't know who in the social service sector Stephen Lace (letters, August 18) might have spoken to when he suggests the "socio-economically disadvantaged" are basically guilty of "poor decision-making".

I've been in the field for 40 years, and it isn't a view that I and most of my colleagues have formed. In fact, when I established the Palmerston North Foodbank in 1981 we were quickly impressed with how well people on low incomes managed with their decision-making. Of course, there were those who didn't make wise decisions, but that isn't confined to "the poor". People at all levels of society make poor decisions from time to time -- me included.

To follow Mr Lace's logic, the wealthy have achieved their status because they have made wise decisions -- not because of any inheritance or example or education they've received.

This logic suggests that we are all born with equal capacities and understanding, but some simply decide not to use them. Like they wake up one day and decide they'll make bad decisions, or that they'll be lazy, or spend all their money.

I notice that it is usually the rich who suggest this. They think their wealth is completely the result of their "hard work", and that everyone could do the same if they simply "chose" to.

Well, that's certainly not the world I've been living in all these years.


Narrow view

How narrow is the thinking of council when considering the issue raised by residents of Onetere Drive -- the culvert in Wikitoria Rd that becomes a dam in extreme weather events?

A number of years ago, when Land Transport were considering a bypass at Kaitoke, there was a robust discussion about the flooding across SH3 between Marybank and Putiki. One of the causes was identified as the culvert in Wikitoria Rd, which does not have sufficient capacity to clear water from the catchment above it.

To state that this issue affects only the five or so residents of Onetere Drive is an oversimplification. Some have described a smokescreen in that any work here must flow on to a review of the entire district. I say "rubbish" to both responses.

When the road is closed between Putiki and Marybank, the issue of an inadequate culvert in Wikitoria Rd affects a much greater population than the immediate residents.

I have to agree with Ray Stevens that the significance of this issue in maintaining access for both residents and emergency services along with the benefit of significantly reducing the threat of flooding to the immediate residents should be taken to Land Transport. Surely this qualifies for a subsidy which would significantly reduce the financial investment of council.

But then again, we live in the country. Our issues are of lesser importance when it comes to prioritising such projects. What an insult to also consider a privately funded stopbank system. That seems futile, as any stopbank would have to extend beyond the immediate residents.

On the stopbank topic, there used to be a second stopbank alongside the road in Anzac Parade which acted as a second line of defence. It wasn't much more than a metre high. I wonder if anybody in council has considered this as an option for protecting Anzac Parade residents. A low second line of defence wouldn't cost anywhere near as much as raising the bank alongside the river, which then spills over at the ends anyway.


Flood plains

Regarding Zaryd Wilson's article "Onetere Drive stopbank bid" (Chronicle August 25).

In Europe they have had repeated major flooding of the Rhine River, due at least partly to climate change.

The only solution that has worked is to clear large areas of buildings and roads and establish them as flood plains -- somewhere for the water to go.

With the increasing frequency and severity of floods around Wanganui, surely this would be a better solution here too. If Kowhai Park disappears beneath a metre of silt, the cost of restoration must be considerable, so move the park.

Stopbanks just get swept away with increasing water loads.


Heads Rd squeeze

I wonder if Heads Rd is going to be another Onetere Drive?

Who in their right mind would reduce the road size by almost six metres in a commercial area that is used by a massive number of trucks during the day and night just to install a open drain to collect the overflow of water? When this drain floods -- and it will -- and closes Heads Rd to vehicles and floods the local businesses, is the council going to foot the insurance bill for these companies that have to close?

I very much doubt it. In today's society, is having an open drain beside a busy road not a health and safety issue?


1080 and TB

Federated Farmers vice-president Donald McIntyre thinks we should expect the continued use of 1080 poison despite widespread public protest and scientific evidence that indicates we are doing irreparable damage to the whole ecosystem.

I would like to know why Australia reported the appearance of TB around the same time as NZ but was able to eradicate the disease within 20 years despite its huge land mass and its many possible vectors -- including wild cattle, water buffalo and, of course, possums, to name a few.

Federated Farmers' aim is not to eradicate TB but to maintain the disease at roughly 10 per cent, which will secure their jobs well into the future, which includes animal health and the poison factory which is owned by the NZ Government and operates right here in our own city limits.


Council attendance

In response to the article "Pay councillors based on attendance" (Chronicle, August 5):

We still see the options put forward by three of the mayoral candidates as responsive actions towards poor attendance and not pre-emptive ones.

I suggest we push for online streaming of all non-confidential meetings and that they be recorded as well, with the use of simple timeline tags of each subject so people would not have to watch hours of video to find the subject they want, making it much more efficient than Parliament's version of this. The best part is that it can be done free or at a very, very low cost.

Often we see the turnout for meetings is much, much higher when those meetings are attended by many community members or are televised -- ie, when people are watching. If we make the level of transparency and accountability of those meetings high, and the outcomes and tone of the discussions very easy to access, you can bet the turnout for those meetings will be a lot greater.

We cannot afford to punish people after they have missed many meetings or sit back and spend another three years with our fingers crossed, hoping elected members will "do the right thing" without any form of accountability or record presentation until the end of their term.

Foresight is better than hindsight.


William Osborne is a candidate for the Whanganui mayoralty in the October elections.

Living language

I fear Bruce Moon's letter of August 26 is the pot calling the kettle black.

My woad-covered ancestors fighting the Romans had no written language. Now we use the Roman alphabet and Arabic numerals. The development of English after the advent of writing was plagued with inconsistencies of spelling. There were transcription errors, and still are many varied dialects.

Are the Maori languages of Aotearoa not allowed the same right of development? In the case of Whanganui/Wanganui both forms have been gazetted, as both are in common usage, so the wishes of the "residents ... have not been arrogantly overridden". The right of a minority to develop their native tongue has been upheld.

Referenda are not a fair way to decide such questions. They are a way to ensure a cultural minority will always be overruled on matters of more concern to them than to most members of the cultural majority.

Jacinta Ruru, law professor from Otago University, was recently interviewed by Kim Hill. She described Maori and Pakeha law students who, by learning even the basics of Maori language, gain an understanding of Maori perspectives. That is the nub of this issue -- understanding.

There are many inconsistencies and there will be many changes in our languages, innit? (sic). That "innit" is a recent example of change in English. It is ugly to many, but language will not be controlled; it has a life of its own.