Game of thrones

While I am happy with Winston Peters being the so-called king-maker (or possibly queen-maker), I think it's time the media recognised who is actually creating what many seem to regard as an unsettling scenario.

Labour and National with their neo-liberal policies and adherence to the market since the 1980s, and the overlap in their lolly-scramble policies for this election, could form a coalition government that would enfranchise around 70 per cent of the electorate.

If Labour and National really want a New Zealand that works together, they should get together and make Bill King and Jacinda his Queen.

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Together they could pick the best people as ministers for the job of running NZ and solving all the problems they identified on the run-up to the election.

They could even pick Winston as a minister to recognise the wisdom and experience he has, as well as some of their own.

MMP voting gives us a representative Parliament, but the games Labour and National play to gain the Government benches are First Past the Post, where even a one-person majority in the house puts that party in the Government seats.

If nothing else, what has been happening over the past few elections shows the need for electoral reform, so around a third of the voters cannot put a party in the Government seats leaving the remaining 66 per cent or so out in the cold (apart from a few minority party members who have been "bought" to prop up that minority).

No party should be able to trade off policies to ensure supply. They must work out policies that most of Parliament (and the population of New Zealand) can agree on - every vote in Parliament needs to be a conscience vote rather than a whipped party vote on party lines.
Remember, Winston is only using the tools that National and Labour are gifting him, although he does use them expertly. But don't blame him for the gifting.

(Abridged)
TERRY O'CONNOR
Whanganui


Whose mistake?

G R Scown (letters, September 27): Let me return the favour by giving you some good advice.

You live and learn, mate, so be reassured - or not - that by next election the Maori Party will be back en masse with the backing of a lot more disempowered persons by the time your friend Winston is finished.

Wait, isn't he Maori? Perhaps the Maori mistake you allude to.

(Abridged)
ALBERT THOMPSON
Whanganui


One cause

Regarding silver birch trees being a cause of asthma (Chronicle, September 21):
There is always more than one cause, and taking the trees out may reduce the incidence of asthma, but there always remains another cause.

Over the years I have had asthma, I have found the biggest cause is always in the week after the councils, contractors and house owners have sprayed weed-killer around my area.

The makers of the weed-killer say that it is perfectly safe and disappears after touching the ground.

Of course they say that; they are trying to sell more of it.

In a presentation to Auckland's Environment and Community Committee on September 12, the authors of the widely supported scientific report Public Health Concern: Why did the EPA Ignore the World Authority on Cancer? asked the council to reconsider its current approach of relying on EPA advice on glyphosate to protect public health.

Steffan Browning MP and principal author Jodie Bruning told the committee that EPA's advice to council that they should have "no worries - business as usual everybody - glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer" was not supported by the academic and scientific community as revealed in their recently published report.

The report criticises the EPA's actions in dismissing the findings of its own authority on cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), whose 17 international experts determined in 2015 that glyphosate and its formulations was a probable human carcinogen (and a known animal carcinogen).

Instead they relied on a cancer review carried out by a single NZ toxicologist who concluded that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer. Continue reading: http://bit.ly/2xblHU8

MERV SMITH
Bulls


Righting wrongs

To simply state that Maori are locked up at four times the rate of non-Maori because they are poorer is atrocious.

Newsflash: It's not illegal to be poor. The historical wrongs aside, it's the present wrongs that need to be addressed.

The up to seven final warnings given to Pakeha as opposed to three given to Maori for similar crime is wrong on several counts, one being the judges' misunderstanding of the word "final".

If they don't know, how do they expect the poor bloody crim to know?
What should be illegal is making New Zealanders second-class citizens in our own country.

My involvement with prisons and the law goes back to 1975. From then until now the Corrections Department has been, to quote a more eloquent person than myself, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

If you want people to stop going to jail, you need to give them jobs and accommodation on release so they don't have to reoffend.

Patronising, do-good God-botherers achieve nothing.

JEFF KING
Castlecliff


Poaching issues

In support of Steve Lourie and his poaching problems:

Under similar circumstances, I have submitted complaints, supported by valuable evidence (including still photos and video footage of vehicles and individuals), to the authorities.

Effective response has been underwhelming.

What has become apparent is that affected citizens in a rural neighbourhood are required to prepare an almost watertight case for police consideration, before any action will be taken! (Is this not the police role in society?)

However, I believe this is a result of leadership policy rather than inadequacy on the part of any stray copper who might wander into the picture.

Refuse to pay an $80 fine for minutely exceeding the speed limit and behold the effort expended to bring the miscreant to justice!

JOHN THURLOW
Whanganui River Rd


Divine bribery

In reply to Mandy Donne-Lee, who rants about G R Scown's "atheistic religion" and how we have no morals:

First off, there are around 3000 gods that people believe in; the only difference between you and us is that we don't believe in one more.

Secondly, as for having no morals, we believe that this is the only life you will ever have; you will never be the same again. So that's why we try to help people and enjoy this planet.

We don't do it on some divine bribery that if you're good you'll go to heaven. According to your religion, we could kill and hurt people our entire lives then, just as we are about to die, accept Jesus and we would go to heaven. Doesn't seem very moralistic, does it?

As Ricky Gervais said, "If you destroy all religious books, in 1000 years they will come back differently. If you destroy all science books, in 1000 years they will come back the same because the results of their work will come back the same".

CAMERON TAURI
Whanganui


Connections

How sad is that? I entered our wharenui (meeting house) and found that it had been transformed into a boardroom.

Wow! Has the desire to conform got so strong that we would abandon centuries of tradition just to counter that feeling of inferiority? I believe this is so.

A couple of centuries of bad press for Maori and their culture has had the desired effect.
Maori are now imposing that Dickensian world on ourselves. And that is the real problem. It was all brought with that Westminster system, which has not changed one iota since 1840.

And those Treaty settlements that so many object to were used to reinforce the determination of the colonials to remove all traces of Maori and their culture.

Consequently, my iwi now has an 80-page document that dictates how we should live our lives as Maori. And it only cost the Government a paltry $31 million plus costs.
And the evidence is obvious that it has all been an exercise in futility.

It's all connected: Gangs, suicides, dairy robberies, high numbers of Maori in prisons,
many children living in poverty. land confiscations still in place etc. Yes, I'm afraid so.

It's all a classic case of ethnic cleansing. But Don Brash and others of his ilk are still not satisfied.

POTONGA NEILSON
Castlecliff