Your columnist, John Paul College principal Pat Walsh (Opinion, February 5) presents an interesting solution to the current teacher shortage faced in our schools. Pat has made a massive contribution to education locally and nationally. His views are worth reading.

He is suggesting that the many former teachers and principals currently working for the Ministry Of Education be approached to fill the void. Considering that the Ministry of Education is, in my view, currently massively overstaffed with staffing levels far in excess of the displaced Department of Education (prior to Tomorrow's Schools), the suggestion would appear to have merit.

However, the reason in most cases for teachers and principals seeking work with MOE (as Patrick will very well know) was to avoid the frustrations of working in the chalk face- the classrooms; the schools - of an educational system that is underpaid, certainly lacking clear direction and according to world evaluation, seriously underperforming.

How many currently working in MOE with a teaching background would return to teaching? Zero, I suspect.

It is little surprise to see that the role currently being played by MOE in New Zealand education will undergo a massive transformation under the planned national wide educational reviews.

Jim McTamney
Mount Maunganui

Not so cute

While the ARRC Wildlife Trust do admirable work, I would like to point out that hedgehogs are in fact an introduced pest. They are known to eat our native lizards (in a study conducted in 2000-2001 in Otago 21 per cent of the 158 hedgehogs examined were found to have eaten skinks and geckos), invertebrates, baby birds and eggs as well as even getting into chicken coops and killing chickens. They are also known to carry TB and other diseases. They are actually good climbers and have been filmed climbing trees to raid bird's nests. I have seen hedgehogs in our native bush and hate to think about what they are dining on. So not so cute after all.

John Begley


Controlling pests

A correspondent (Letters, February 5) suggests we read a book about 1080. The book is based on anecdotes and decries the use of 1080 for controlling pests in our forests.

I recommend a book based on science. It is called Protecting Paradise – the fight to save New Zealand's wildlife by Dave Hansford. Online there is also the excellent – and shorter - Report on 1080 from the New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. To see for yourself, go to Pureora or Whirinaki where 1080 has been widely and repeatedly used. You will find healthy, flourishing forests loud with bird song.

Ann Graeme

No-show bus

I had a none too pleasant non-experience with the updated bus service on February 8. I was at the Maungatapu shopping centre bus stop at 2pm and I finally had to ring up a family member to pick me up at 3.30 pm.

Now I don't mind a bus being 10 minutes late. I've lived with Christchurch, Auckland, and Canberra bus services. But 90 minutes and still showing no signs of existence? The new timetable says the Maungatapu bus service - the CrossTown one - is half-hourly. Yeah


In my experience, the coach companies and the airlines always have something in place to compensate for such problems. By the looks of it, this bus company is going to need something similar. Or it won't have any customers.

Wesley Parish


Sea level change

Regarding the article on sea level rises (News, February 10). Quoted was research that Western Bay of Plenty needed to prepare for sea level rise of 1m over the next 100 years. Yet also quoted is Ministry for the Environment stating the average relative sea level rise for the 100 years up to 2015 was 1.8 millimetres a year, which if the rate continued it would take over 500 years to reach 1m.

The last 100 years included impacts on the Earth's environment and climate, like two world wars, nuclear bombs and testing in the Pacific, volcanoes, motor vehicles that were not clean burning, industrial pollution, and the list goes on - and yet the sea level rise was only 1.8 mm per year.

So, I would suggest that the next 100 years the rise would be more like 100mm not 1000mm as reported.

Matt Welsh
Mt Maunganui

Toll roads

Who can explain the fairness or logic of increasing the two Tauranga toll road fees when

Auckland has two new tunnel roads toll-free?

The beautiful new highway out of Wellington from Raumati to Waikanae is also toll-free!

Tauranga needs some good representation to the NZTA on this unreasonable tolling, and proposed increase.

Can the NZTA please explain why we are in effect subsidising other road users? Do we remember we also paid for our first Harbour bridge (and more) by our tolls?

M Chandler
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