One Plan action

I am so disappointed to find Fish & Game and Environmental Defence Society wanting to take legal action over the One Plan.

Horizons have being leading the way in improving water quality in our region, working hard to bring all stakeholders along the journey of improvement. We know it won't happen overnight.

Fish & Game have been invited to be part of the solution, the last written invitation to meet with us on March 2016. They did not even have the courtesy to reply.

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I ask you, are Fish & Game grandstanding, because their words of wanting mediation do not match their actions.

This legal action could cost ratepayers $500,000-plus and will not improve water quality one bit, but it will improve lawyers' bank accounts.

Catchments and communities care about water, not courts.

DAVID COTTON
Kai Iwi

David Cotton is a candidate for Horizons Regional Council in the local body election.
Fairness at stake

Events of the past week, in the lead-up to the Whanganui election, have caused concern to many in local and central government who understand and value the importance of maintaining our country's proud record of largely corruption-free democracy.

Outside this newspaper, many residents will have seen copies of deeply troubling emails between John Harding, a Wellington-based civil servant with the Ministry of Health, and David Bennett, the leader of a four-man ticket seeking election to the district council.

Publication of this recent selective correspondence is just the latest step in a campaign to undermine the research, advice, debate and, finally, decision-making of the current council.

One aspect in particular of the Harding-Bennett emails, and the way they have been published, shows at best a failure by both men to understand the rules and conventions designed to safeguard the integrity of our election processes.

A long-standing rule prevents public servants from commenting on the election process for a period of 12 weeks preceding any election. This includes emails that provide an opinion -- positive or negative -- on any matter that can affect election outcomes.

This rule protects us from election corruption and fraud, and is stringently adhered to in NZ. Despite significant provocation, our council's CEO has not publicly commented.

It is very unfair that we have seen attempts by Mr Bennett and Mr Harding to drag him into their "games" with the voters of Whanganui.

The publication of these emails at such an important time, and as part of a scare campaign by Mr Bennett's group, will likely have confused some voters who are yet to return their ballot papers.

Ultimately, our aim is to ensure our community is fully informed and an urgent request for ALL emails from the Ministry of Health has been made under the Official Information Act. Meanwhile, voters will make their own assessments and no doubt question whether tactics like this are acceptable from those who seek their trust to be councillors.

Along with many others, I am keen to see what the outcome of this unprecedented behaviour is.

JENNY DUNCAN
Whanganui

Jenny Duncan is standing for the Whanganui District Council and District Health Board in the local body elections.


Time bombs

The letter from Garth Scown (September 30, "Utopian dream") had me in fits of laughter in his expressed naivety and fanciful ideas. Methinks he has been out in the countryside too long, whiffing the dairy air (oh dear! I just couldn't help myself on that one).

A utopian dream -- that it is, just like the Greens' aspirations. Thank you, Garth, for a bit of levity in my morning and I am sure for others as well.

Seriously now, our poo ponds today are not like those of over 100 years ago. I have heard it suggested over the years that we should use our bodily wastes in our gardens.

Not a good idea nowadays, unless you know your soil's chemistry, are a vegetarian eating your own organically grown produce, never consume industrially processed "food", never partake of medications or ingest synthetic compounds, nor have fluoridated water supply or water from a catchment where compound 1080 has been used.

I agree with Garth that all the nasty pathogenic micro-organisms in the sewage we can deal to with aeration, ultraviolet light, ozone, and other treatment types before that component of the sewage harmlessly hits the sea. But with the other component, it is impossible to filter out all the nasty chemicals and toxic metals, which include thousands of unnatural synthesised compounds that are dumped into the sewers, big time.

That said, the settlement ponds must act as a catchment for much of this horrific stuff, mitigating how much goes out to sea. There has been discussion and concern expressed that I am aware of over the years as to the harm our industrial society is doing to the ocean life with sewage. Not only the ocean, of course, but also the watercourses and water supply aquifers, as was highlighted in Havelock North.

In this regard I believe we have unexploded time bombs all over the country. Insofar as the current pest control poisoning programme goes, I personally would never swim in, let alone drink from, any watercourse in this country now that the fluorine compound 1080 is being irresponsibly broadcast seemingly all over.

(Abridged.)

N B SHEPPARD
Wanganui

Undignified

I see Annette Main is "appalled" by the relevant comments made by councillor Philippa Hogan-Baker regarding the ongoing wastewater treatment saga (Chronicle, September 27).

Let me say that I am appalled that the incumbent mayor has entered into a slagging match with her own councillor in the public domain.

I think it is outrageous that she is slagging it out, which is not very dignified nor becoming for her status.

My mother's advice when I was being brought up was to say that women in positions of power always show their true colours when they lose or enter into disputes publicly by throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

MARINA LYONS
Whanganui

Commissioner

Your recent correspondent Kate Joblin (September 22) makes an interesting comment regarding the appointment of a commissioner to presumably run the council.

This may be a good proposition, as the community is about to be punished with massive future rate increases.

There are those who inquire why a commissioner has not been appointed to date.

Our council has let a contract to build a wastewater treatment plant which has the capacity to treat the waste from a population equivalent of 360,000.

Industries which produce 70 per cent of the industrial loading have advised the council that they do not intend to have the city treat their waste.

One of the existing councillors, Jack Bullock, expressed a view in recent months that the issue was too complex for him and some other unnamed councillors to resolve. Yet when it came to voting to proceed with the contract, he -- and presumably others with like concerns -- voted in favour of the scheme proceeding. Frightening stuff.

GRAEME YOUNG
Whanganui

Graeme Young is standing for Whanganui District Council in the local body election.
Assisted dying

The writer of the Chronicle's September 26 editorial seemed to completely dismiss the idea of legalising assisted dying because there was a report of a woman in Belgium who suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts and was granted permission for assisted dying.

The proposed bill in New Zealand is much stricter and wouldn't allow that to happen (which doesn't mean I am opposed to it; I think it is a case-by-case thing). There will be an age limit and people have to be terminally ill and/or suffering from incurable chronic pain.

Several health professionals have to be consulted before the OK is given to go ahead.

I wonder if the writer of this editorial ever had to watch someone they loved in intolerable pain, where nothing helps and there is no end in sight.

I agree that very strict and thorough processes and safeguards have to be in place before legalising assisted dying. I hate the idea that people have to live a terrible, prolonged life, when they could go in a painless and peaceful way, surrounded by their loved ones.

As it is now, they have to commit suicide secretly -- that is if they are physically able. Otherwise they have to live against their will. That is, in my view, utterly cruel and unnecessary. We have the means to help them out of their misery. Let's do it.

ANNE MOHRDIECK
Whanganui