I fully support your correspondent Nancy Sutthof's comments on the benefits of vaping as the most effective aid to smoking cessation. (Chronicle, February 11).

As a long-time smoker who has failed on many attempts to "give up" the habit, I believe that vaping is the most certain method for quitting cigarettes. It has worked for me and many others, and to a point where I would now finding smoking repugnant.

So far as I am concerned, Jay Kuten's views are so much hot air.

I suggest he reads Otago Medical School research findings on the topic. While they are aware of overseas claims that vaping may be a gateway to smoking for young people, they conclude that such observations cannot be established.



Doubts on refugees

Mayor McDouall has made some surprising statements about the sudden and unexpected central government news of Whanganui becoming a refugee destination.

Despite a current housing shortage in Whanganui, acknowledged in a council report late last year, McDouall said Whanganui could cope with housing the new residents: "I think with the investment Housing New Zealand is making in Whanganui and also with building consents up and developments expanded — those two things will assist."

And McDouall expected many refugees would be "extremely well qualified" and "find vacant jobs to fill". "There are employers along Heads Rd screaming for specialists."

My concern is that the Government can't even produce on its "Kiwi Homes" promises, so why should we believe that one of its departments or the Whanganui District Council can?

As for employment, these are refugees, not skilled immigrants, and Whanganui already has unsolved unemployment issues.

It will be interesting to see if McDoualls' statements will come back to bite him should he be mayor after the next local body elections.



Brexit debate

Your columnist Frank Greenall does not show a Churchillian backbone in the Brexit debate — he would sooner back off.

There has been a slow war going on in the European Union for years. Sovereign nations have been having their sovereignty taken away from them, bit by bit, by the bureaucrats in Brussels, supposedly in the name of cohesion.

The British have come to the conclusion that they were paying a high price (£60 billion a year) and losing control of their borders to the freedom of travel to member countries.

Britain had a good economy and a benevolent welfare system, so they came flocking.

Initially the influx was good — east Europeans, mainly Polish, who worked hard and had a beneficial effect on the economy. Eventually the weight of numbers started to have the effect of putting the locals out of work, especially the unskilled, as there had been a massive influx of migrants from Middle East, Africa and India.

Now the war against the lost sovereignty is out in the open, and with Brexit they have to show the Churchillian backbone they are well known for, not scuttle to the underground with their hands up at the first wave of attack from the EU.

The EU believes the British will buckle and, evidently, Frank thinks they should — no Churchillian backbone there.


Rangitikei River woes

Here is a comment on the article (Chronicle February 8) regarding the condition of the Rangitikei River.

We have fond memories of the river, especially the Vinegar Hill reserve close to Hunterville, as 56 years ago Janice and I, as newlyweds, moved to Hunterville to live and would often go to Vinegar Hill for a swim in the river. In those days, even at the height of summer, the water was crystal clear, cool and refreshing, not a sign of green algae.

By coincidence, the afternoon before this Chronicle article, we took our Auckland cuzzies, who have migrated to Whanganui, to Vinegar Hill Reserve. The reserve is a popular picnic and camp site with an excellent ablution block.

It has changed in appearance, as the large pine trees that provided good summer shade have been removed. Perhaps some more trees will be planted?

The greatest change is the water quality. The water looks reasonably clear but not pristine, as it was half a century ago. When I went for a swim it was warmer than I expected, not refreshingly cool as I remember. The worst feature was the pieces of green algae floating in the water. I never saw it in the river when we lived in Hunterville.

Roger Dalrymple and the Rangitikei River Community Catchment Group, mentioned in the Chronicle article, have to be commended for taking action to return the river to pristine condition. They will need everyone's support.


Send your letters to: The Editor, Whanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Whanganui 4500; or email editor@wanganuichronicle.co.nz