Another issue that must be addressed alongside the STV (Single Transferable Vote) and FPP (First Past the Post) debate is the order in which names appear on the voting paper.
Candidates with surnames near the beginning of the alphabet have a clear advantage, but under ranking with STV this becomes more pronounced.
In the last council election (FFP), of the 12 elected, the names of seven were in the first quartile of the alphabet (A-F).
It is important, no matter what election process is decided, that voting papers are printed in a random order which can be done at minimal cost.

JIM WHITE, Castlecliff
Tactics unfair

Although I recognise that many Green Party supporters have New Zealand's best interests at heart, some members and the party's campaign tactics leave much to be desired.

Their effort to make farmers look like criminals - especially dairy farmers being the sole reason for dirty rivers - is unfair.

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Have they, in protest, stopped eating cheese, butter, yoghurt, food containing milk and pouring milk in their tea or on their cornflakes?

And while they attack farmers, why do they never mention tourists and dirty campers or have they never seen the revolting mess in our otherwise glorious bush or walked the Tongariro track?

We never hear of them singling out the campervan companies that give discounts to travellers for not using the on-board toilet facilities. We see photos of cows standing in rivers, but these photos are often years old.

As a trout fisherman, I have not ever seen cattle on the river side of fences, or come across a single span of unfenced river anywhere in the lower North Island in recent years.

Farmers are making huge efforts and progress cleaning up their part of the environmemt. They also have many mouths to feed. The Greens need to stop trying to split city and country apart.

- Abridged
PHILSON SHERRIFF, Marton
Hear! Hear!

To D Partner: "Sorry, misheard" (Letters; September 6):
Hear! Hear! Many of us are fed up of the Baron barrage.

MARGARET CORKERY, Whanganui
Short-term gain

I've been trying to make sense of the election promises and goodies on offer and have concluded that for almost every party it is all about short-term gain and long term pain (as well as hanging on to the baubles of office).

All, except one party, is pushing growth ... more and more people, the need for more export income and more infrastructure - basically a dog chasing its tail.

In my lifetime we have doubled our population but our land area has remained the same. The market-led reforms of the past 30-plus years have meant those who have, have much much more so there is less for the rest.

Worse, it's fuelling a race-based power grab by some Maori groups trying to protect their way of life.

We need to vote to stop the spiral and keep this country so there is still empty space to relax and unwind. We are too small to solve the world's problems but we can show by example the way humans should live.

Enjoy the mix of peoples we already have and allow a select few to pay for the privilege of visiting us.

MMP means you can vote to make it so they have to form a coalition which will slow their mad rush to destroy the Kiwi lifestyle.

Whatever you do, please don't give one party all your votes.

- Abridged
TERRY O'CONNOR, Whanganui
Praise for staff

The district council staff deserve thanks for the way they provide a friendly, helpful, efficient service.

The telephonists answer the phone quickly, voice messages get answered usually the same day, and if one has a query, the staff know who can help.

I am also impressed at the speed graffiti and other damage done by vandals gets removed or repaired. I would encourage anyone who sees something needs doing to ring the council.

Thank you, council staff.

FIONA DONNE, Whanganui