Ototoka Beach

I would like to thank the people who did repairs on the steps leading down to the Beach at Ototoka.

The people that sustained broken bones on these steps over the past couple of years will also be grateful.

All we need now is for the access road to have a grader over it.

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At the moment, small cars are in danger of being lost in the large holes left by logging trucks.

M A CRAIG
Gonville


STV explained

The vision created by those who propose Single Transferable Voting (STV) is that after electors rank their preferences and cast their votes, the computer program will somehow take account of all this and churn out a homogenous list of successful candidates.

That's not the case. Using the 2016 mayoral election results for Porirua City, I will do my best to explain the system.

To win a mayoral election, a candidate must win more than 50 per cent of the first-preference votes (called the Quota), at what is known as the First Iteration. If no one reaches the Quota, the lowest-polling mayoral hopeful is deleted from the list of candidates and the second-preference votes from all the electors who voted for the deleted candidate are distributed to the remaining candidates.

The votes are then counted in the Second Iteration. The procedure is repeated until the Quota is reached and the successful candidate is declared the winner.

In Porirua City, 13,872 electors voted for six mayoral hopefuls. At the First Iteration, Euon Murrell was 309 votes ahead of nearest rival Mike Tana.

Had it been a First Past the Post (FPP) election, Murrell would have won, but because it was an STV election he needed another 3077 votes to reach the Quota.

After the Fifth Iteration, when the four lowest-polling candidates had been deleted and the second-preference votes from the electors that voted for them had been distributed, Tana reached the Quota, 164 votes ahead of Murrell, and was declared the winner.

The outcome of the election was decided by the second-preference votes of the 6463 electors who voted for the four lowest-polling hopefuls. Those voters had two votes.
The second preference votes from the 7409 electors who voted for the two highest-polling candidates were never counted.

Those voters had only one vote.

Proponents of STV say this is a fairer voting system for a mayoral election because more than 50 per cent of voters vote for the winning candidate. Because of adjustments to the Quota, Mike Tana won with just 42 per cent of the cast votes.

To summarise, STV produced a pathetic win for Tana. With the help of the second-preference votes of the four lowest-polling candidates, he crossed the shortened goal line a mere 164 votes in front.

Under FPP, with one vote per person, Murrell, 309 votes ahead, would have won.
Not going to say what I think of STV; you guess.

Let's know what you think. Any questions or comments, give me a call. Phone 06 281 3616. If you live in Whanganui it's not a toll call.

JOHN CARSON
Springvale


Facts, please

G R Scown's comments (letters, October 10) muddy the public's perception of forestry as much as his perception of "tracks willy-nilly, mud galore washing into the waterways".

The forestry sector is far more rigorously monitored by regional councils than any other land based activity, yet scant credit is given for environmental gain such as mitigation of soil erosion, stormwater holding capacity and flood mitigation - let alone water quality improvement.

You might like to search out the recently announced NES - National Environment Standards - about to become mandatory that will set exceedingly high environmental practices.

The comment "... pine trees pollute the soil with chemicals so nothing else grows in it ..." is pure hogwash and "pollutes" the community perception of a wise and well managed land use.

Please present your facts, Mr Scown, or else consider apologising for mistruths.
The only other option is for you to leave town for a day and examine the real facts about one of NZ's leading industries.

IAN MOORE
FNZIF, Registered Forester MNZARM
Kaiwhaiki


National debt

I do not have any great affiliations to any political party, and I was tolerating National as a Government.

I am disappointed that our rivers have become polluted under their reign but realise that this has not happened overnight.

The huge gap between the rich and the poor worries me, as does the housing shortage.
However, what really worries me and, very little has been said about it, is our national debt.

When National took office from Labour our debt was quite small. In fact, the debt was less than what we are now paying in interest annually.

Our national debt, as I write this letter, is NZ$87 billion. Interest per year is NZ$4,316,624,562. Interest per second is NZ$137. Debt per citizen is NZ$18,575.

With the amount of debt we owe at the moment, you could wrap $1 notes around the Earth 245 times - or, if the notes were stacked on top of each other, they would make a pile 6861km high.

These figures are accurate and anyone can google them. Just pull up The National Debt Clock.

I think we have to seriously question just how healthy our economy is under a National government.

KEVIN O'SULLIVAN
Parkdale


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