Stewart Gray raises matters we should all think about in his recent opinion piece.

He was responding with concern to the National Party opposition to the Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

The National Party opposes union participation and Stewart Gray notes the negative effect of non-union participation on the lowest paid and most vulnerable.

He covers many valuable points but one stands out for me, a powerful reason to ensure the lowest paid and most vulnerable have the option of union participation.

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He states New Zealander of the Year Kristine Bartlett had to, through her union, lodge a claim for equal pay and that resulted in a protracted court battle.

Kristine won her claim, and the outcome advantaged an estimated 50,000 mainly women in low-paid jobs who had been unfairly treated.

This shows how much opposition there was to equal and fair pay, given the long process and protracted court battle.

The union was a critical support for Kristine and it would have been virtually impossible for her alone — or even the workers alone — to have ensured they got what they were legally entitled to.

The National Party is convinced business requires a non-union workplace to prosper and survive. So if it had its way, Kristine and all those workers would still be deprived of their rights.

Members of the National Party: Is that fair?

DAVID ALEXANDER, Aramoho
Article made me cry

I wanted to say thank you to Chronicle columnist Rachel Rose for her article "Dead dog walking".

It was beautifully written, hard-hitting, and honest.

It made me cry.

I have circulated it around Northland to various noticeboards in the hope it saves one more dog's life.

I run a dog lovers group in the Bay of Islands, the BOI Watchdogs — just one of many voluntary groups trying to do the right thing by NZ's kuri.

It is a seemingly endless number of dogs that we are trying to save. Thanks for helping.

LEONIE EXEL, BOI Watchdogs
The aliens are coming

News out of Australia tells us there are 20 possible alien signals that their cosmic listening devices have detected.

Presumably they have eliminated the bleating of sheep in their dry, barren country or that of their population having to cope with a fundamentalist prime minister who is just another in what is now a long line of dysfunctional people in the position.

Could it be that after 2000 years of silence, "God" and his host of angels are returning from the outer reaches of our universe, if not alternate universes, at over the speed of light?

Dying on crosses for the cause on billions of habitable planets does take a bit of time, after all.

Presumably this time around, "God" — if the deity is the source of the signals — could set up an email address and a social media account to make its intention more transparent to us ignorant masses.

One would assume such a deity would be able to deal with the inevitable trolls, who are probably the spawn of Satan anyway.

PAUL C EVANS, Aramoho
POEM: On Puriri Street

Up North the puriri is whare puni and whare kai,
For the kereru and ruru and countless other little lives,
Tane's house and garden to manaaki his tamariki.
But no shelter here on this wild coast,
Where the bare houses stare vacantly
Over desolate yards to a treeless street named Puriri.
No shelter here behind flimsy curtains,
Where wounded men feed on baked beans and bashings,
Through the dead hours of hollow days.
No shelter here for the bruised women fixing a brave face,
To blood-stained bedrooms and empty pantries,
In kitchens simmering with discontent.
And no shelter here for the hunted mobster,
Served up a mid-morning murder from a suburban drive thru,
Felled on his front lawn in a fusillade of red hate.
Nothing to see here, say the cops and the mayor.
In this country these things can happen anywhere,
Nothing to see if you don't look,
Nothing to hear if you don't listen.
But the shoeless child without a lunch silently cries,
It's time to throw open the curtains,
And plant a forest of love,
Here on Puriri Street.

JOCK LEE, Castlecliff
(This poem was read at a cultural event in Castlecliff last month)


Royal honour for Winston?

I'm having a laugh at the suggestion in your editorial (Chronicle, October 24) that the New Zealand Governor-General should oversee the distribution of royal honours.

You won't be so keen on this idea when a certain Sir Winston Peters is the next GG.

DAVID BENNETT, Whanganui
When 'waste' becomes a resource

People in the Chronicle (October 26) and on Facebook, you say, have concerns about the costs of waste disposal and potential dumping.

If we were all focused on living as close as possible to zero waste, it would not be an issue.

We would not be ruining "mother Earth" with our crap, instead we'd be reusing, repurposing and recycling almost everything. It is only humans who do not understand and use the cycles of life.

We should be returning food scraps, lawn mowing and gardening waste back into the soil, for example.

Fortunately, we have the Resource Recovery Centre here in Whanganui. We just need to get past the idea it is only a "recycling" centre and develop it into a fully functioning centre where folks can action all those lovely "R" words.

Check out the Resource Recovery and Sustainable Whanganui websites to see how to transform "waste" to a "resource".

GRAHAM PEARSON, Whanganui