Unemployed, not unwilling
In reply to Doetie Keizer (Letters, May 12). Not all unemployed able-bodied young people are to blame for being unemployed. Take for instance a young man I know well who recently came to Tauranga to get work. As he had no qualifications and no driver's licence his opportunities were limited. Packhouse work? The only one on or near a bus route had no vacancies. Cleaning work? Full driver's licence required. No other job vacancies for a person with his limitations have been available since he came. And I guess there are many other young people in the same situation. We phoned the Citizen's Advice Bureau to find out if they knew of any kiwifruit orchards providing transport from Tauranga for workers. They knew of none, but they gave us a list of orchards to phone around, and finally we found one willing to give him employment as a picker and take him to work. He willingly grasped this opportunity. But how many unemployed young people would have known to take these steps? I would like your correspondent to refrain from criticising the able-bodied unemployed, and they shouldn't be threatened, as your correspondent suggests, with having their unemployment benefit taken off them unless it is certain they are deliberately shirking work.
Congratulations to Don Brebner (Letters, May 12) for his succinct description of how liberalised abortion laws have, over time, undermined our values and respect for the sanctity of human life. Legalising euthanasia threatens to exacerbate this.
Bird numbers decline
In reply to B Graeme (Letters, May 7), and A Graeme (Letters, April 13) they refuse again to accept the invasive spread of mangroves as a monoculture in our harbours and estuaries is at the expense of other habitats, including native flora, shellfish beds, seagrass beds, mud flats and open water spaces. These habitats are needed by banded rails, bitterns, fish and estuarine birds to feed and roost and for the gathering of kaimoana. The recent rapid expansion by mangroves by as much as 117 per cent in the Tauranga Harbour saw mangrove colonisation of the two high roost bird sites in Welcome Bay with a consequent decline in bird numbers. If no action is taken the ultimate outcome could be the complete closure of some tidal inlets with the loss of intertidal habitats. Before the 1970s and the marked increase of mangrove colonisation, large flocks of birds were a feature in the Tauranga harbours and estuaries. These appeared to thrive without the apparent benefit of nutrients from mangrove leaf litter. I agree with A Proctor (Letters, May 4) that protection of mudflats from mangrove incursion is necessary as both migratory and wading birds prefer to feed on open waters and undisturbed mud flats where they have a clear view of approaching predators. Hopefully, further debate on this issue can be research-based rather than dividing communities with emotional opinions.
Dr Meg Butler