You are right, Carol Webb (Letters; February 2) - I do deserve a kick in the pants over the lack of progress in rolling the Dublin St Bridge illuminating lights across the entire nine spans.

Without just making excuses, the cost doubled last year from what it was expected to be, and this disillusioned me a bit.

Another system - colour-changing festoon-style lighting - was suggested to me as a cost effective and attractive alternative to the style of lighting on show in the sample span.

However, only this week I was told that the potential supplier was no longer supporting the product. It's back to the drawing board now.

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There are two alternatives - doubling the fundraising, or sourcing another supplier.

I am heartened by the genuine interest in illuminating the historic bridge and I would like to tap into this interest and form an enthusiastic group to get the project over the line.

If you want to help please email: rob.vinsen@whanganui.govt.nz

ROB VINSEN, Whanganui District Councillor
Backing the Pope

I endorse the Pope's pleas as outlined in "Cry of Earth, the Cry of Poor" by Dave Scoullar (Chronicle; January 1) and Dave's apparent support of those ideas.

They further my view that something is amiss within the human psyche.

I am not a supporter of traditional religion and have some disregard for it, including for the fear-mongering it generates and tries to inflict on itself and others.

However - and Dave Scoullar touched on this when he mentioned "the modern, growth-oriented industrial model of development" as contributing to the current world circumstance - my point is the aptness of the story of Adam and Eve, whether myth or reality.

Therein is described the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of gaining knowledge as an end, when actually we have sufficient (as outlined in Genesis) to be happy if, as the Pope prescribed, there were equity in practical terms and an equitable spirit to match.

For all our knowledge, do we know very much about what really matters?

I don't believe science is the answer, as that will not solve problems it was instrumental in creating, and science also neglects - as Dave Scoullar suggests - a crucial matching spiritual evolvement.

Neither do I believe traditional religion holds the key, because I consider it in many ways responsible for many of humankind's errant behaviours.

I don't believe there is a simple solution but words from two songs come to mind.

The first is by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the line: "We've got to get ourselves back to the garden ..."; the second is: "What the world needs now is love, sweet love," as sung by Diana Ross and others.

I scanned the world news on the next page from Dave Scoullar's article - a (post) script for the world's very own Rocky Horror Show?

It is disturbing that such news counts as entertainment or is rated highly by many, given that it generates the bucks for media conglomerates. The latter paint a more disturbing thought in itself with equally telling and sinister implications, perhaps.

PAUL BABER, Aramoho
Going topless

With regard to the recent incident involving a woman who was assaulted at a music event.

Firstly, no person has the right to lay a hand, without permission, on anyone else, whether sexual or violent in nature. This, I would have thought, would not just be a social norm but a social expectation.

That said and done, shall we at least take a deep breath, a step back and re-examine what the social norms now are?

We live in a time where the leftist agenda of liberalism and its forever changing platform of reform and shifting morality has created an environment of unaccountability for the individual and damnation of an entire group of people - in this case, men.

It has given a voice to those who talk the loudest and notoriety to those who are quick to employ their divisive rhetoric.

At the music festival, a young woman decided it was appropriate to walk around half-naked in a social setting of whom she would have known very few. Furthermore, she decorated her breasts with glitter - does this not denote wanting attention?

Was, at least, the question asked whether this was appropriate or safe to do so? Am I respecting the local customs and norms?

A lot of people got on the "it's her body" bandwagon - so am I to believe that, as a male, I can now walk around with my bits out and, as long as I paint them in glitter, I should be left to my own devices? Of course not.

If you prescribe to living in a social setting, isn't it reasonable to consider the moral and ethical standards of everyone else?

So before employing divisive tactics as implied by "mothers teach their sons to be better people", how about we have sensible conversations whereby mothers teach daughters to have self-respect, dress in a fashion that doesn't leave people guessing as to the attention they are seeking or when they want said attention; and fathers start teaching sons it's unacceptable to put their hands on anyone.

When men deem violence or other inappropriate behaviour against another man unacceptable, it will go a long way to stamping out violence and sexual misconduct altogether.

Only then can we tackle the larger problem within some of the most powerful organisations both in New Zealand and abroad which have been found to have a long history of sexual abuse and are still in charge of looking after the most vulnerable people in our society.

LEIGHTON HOBBS, Whanganui
Up salt levels

Much is being made of our beautiful weather and its effect on people who work out in the sun.

These people should do what the Aussies do - start at day break, work until 12 then do a late shift if necessary.

It is a dangerous time for the elderly as heat amplifies dehydration, and most elderly are dehydrated as they are on a doctor-prescribed low salt diet - not good at any time; very dangerous during hot times. Doctors should be ringing their patients and telling them to up their salt intake.

Salt is nature's blood thinner so anyone - young or old - on a low salt diet is depriving themselves of a healthy body.

Doctors have this mistaken belief that salt hardens the arteries when, in actuality, any hardening of the arteries is caused by a copper deficiency.

So get your salt levels up - you will play better sport, you won't cramp much and you won't have to keep sucking on a water bottle all the time.

With more fluid contained in your blood stream, your kidneys will naturally flush.

G R SCOWN, Whanganui