Stephen Palmer's letter criticising moves to improve the bus services in Whanganui requires a response.

It is correct to say Whanganui buses are not packed on every journey but, importantly, they are full at peak times. Providing different sized buses off-peak isn't sensible.

Public transport helps keep communities connected, particularly elderly people who have stopped driving or people who don't have a car - it is vital for people who are potentially isolated.

Our bus services are only partly funded through rates - NZTA provides up to 50 per cent of the costs, recognising the benefits of public transport.

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We have found where we have invested in improving services in Palmerston North, the numbers using buses have increased. Earlier this week, we had a public forum presentation at a Horizons meeting emphasising the value of public transport.

We will be consulting on our proposed improvements through the Long-Term Plan process early next year and welcome all views.

NICOLA PATRICK, Horizons Regional Councillor Whanganui
Forest sales

I read recently of the decision to sell off a number of council-owned forests in the Whanganui region by the Whanganui District Council.

I am concerned at the apparent secrecy surrounding the sale - the lack of information regarding the sale price and the purchaser indicates a lack of transparency in the overall process. Similarly, what plans the council has for money generated from the sale.

These forests are assets which, in fact, are owned by the ratepayers of Whanganui and, as the major interested party in the sale of such assets, I would have expected some form of consultative process to have been undertaken.

When the forests were planted under the direction of mayor Ron Russell, they were done so for the future benefit of Whanganui citizens - the use of local business/labour for harvesting and the use of the port for transporting the logs to name but a few of the benefits.

Lets hear from the council in regards to:

1) Proof of an open, fair and transparent sale process.

2) Sale price

3) Who the purchaser is

4) What are the funds from the sale going to be used for

5) How are the ratepayers going to benefit from the sale.

Its not unreasonable to expect council to provide assurance to the ratepayers of Whanganui that it is selling off major assets in an open, fair and transparent process.

ROBERT ALLEN, Durie Hill
Cost of change

The new government is in place and it is getting stuck in.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised moves on wages, housing, water pollution and child poverty within 100 days - by the time school starts next year.

A billion dollars to the regions each year, 100,000 affordable houses in 10 years, the planting of millions of trees is also promised.

And she has committed her team to see that rental homes are warm and dry, that a first year of tertiary education be free of fees, that national productivity be lifted through collaborative agreements between employer and employee, moving to renewable energy, a referendum on cannabis, curbing immigration to acceptable levels and a preference for those with useful skills.

And a look at taxation.

These are worthy objectives. But the government is already in debt, immigration is falling, the economy is slowing and house prices are levelling off.

And the Dominion Post of September 19 in its article More spending equals more tax and more debt predicts that this new coalition Government will cost each NZ household $230 per week over the next three years.

TOM PITTAMS, Whanganui
Mixed message

Recently former United States First Lady, Michelle Obama, told an audience that all those women who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election voted against "their own voice".

After all, women must vote for a woman simply because she is a woman, mustn't they?

Of course, nobody asked Mrs Obama the obvious question. Why didn't she say the same thing about all the women who didn't vote for Hillary to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008?

You know - all those women who voted for that bloke Barack Obama.

K A BENFELL, Gonville
Video nasties

I struggle to understand how Ken Orr, from Right to Life, can think Jacinda Ardern is a bad role model for our children by living with her partner.

I suggest he instead target the deliverers of the pop music porn videos aimed at our children.

A good percentage of our children could not tell you who our new Prime Minister is, but could tell you about the latest music videos, a majority of which are sexualising our children.

I would also suggest he target the low lifes teaching our children that transgender is okay, which equates to child abuse.

PHIL HYDE, Aramoho
Heed science

In a Chronicle article last month, Dr Trisia Farelly explains the great scope of plastic pollution and its harmful effects.

She mentions the inter-relation of politics and science, and political control, meaning they can sway the outcome. Politicians are impatient, science is a slow process to get correct results.

The obesity epidemic was started against the advice of scientists. I have seen the video - politicians and scientists around a huge oval table, the scientists saying they did not have definitive proof that fat is the cause of heart problems, the politicians saying they knew enough - and so they legislated as to the amount of fat in food.

To make food edible, sugar was inserted - whoopee, obesity epidemic.

We have the same scenario with the mankind-causes-the-weather folly. The politicians took over and now the science is polluted.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political body wasting huge amounts of money flying around the globe having huge talkfests, making no difference - except to their waistlines, because when they gather to talk, they feast, and only on the very best.

G R SCOWN, Whanganui