For many months, I unsuccessfully attempted to get my child's school to clarify its legal position relating to some of its policies to ensure it was complying with the law. The school was quick to highlight its self-governing status when explaining the decisions it had made.
I also unsuccessfully sought assistance from the Privacy Commission, the Ombudsman, the Children's Commission, and the Ministry of Education to raise concerns about some of the school's policies and practices. Time and time again, I was advised to raise my concerns with the board of trustees. I was told that schools are independent and self-governing agencies, which are free to make their own decisions, as long as they comply with the law.
The Ministry of Education has less influence over how schools are run than what these protesters imply. If teachers are so dissatisfied with their working conditions, they should take their protests to the doors of the principals' offices and boards of trustees' meetings, as they, ultimately, decide how schools operate. Schools, as self-governing agencies, must take some responsibility for the working conditions in schools and the state of the teaching profession: Thirty-years of self-governance is partly responsible for what it is today.
Ellen Peoples, Lower Hutt.
Once again the Government is talking of tougher measures (NZ Herald, June 5). It's a bit like holding the whole class in because a few are misbehaving. In 1973, our road toll was 843 and our population was 2.961 million. Last year, the road toll was down to 380, just about as low as it can practically go without having a man with a red flag walking ahead. Our population has risen to nearly five million. Based on the population increase alone, our road toll should be closer to 2000. There are now a greater number of cars on the road and driver miles, therefore, our road toll should be much higher. Stop trying to flog a willing horse, the level is a massive improvement and about the best that can be achieved. Some people are beyond protecting from themselves.
Adrian Wilson, Northcote.
Over the past two or three decades, ever more regulations are enacted to prevent children from incurring injury: indeed, from having fun, to the point accidents simply cannot occur NZ Herald, June 4) . They can't climb trees. Playgrounds have lower slides and safer swings with rubber cushions beneath. Few now cycle, let alone walk, to school.
Swimming pools have almost been legislated out existence on safety grounds.
And yet, we are told ever more children are being injured.
Whilst at university in the South Dakota, our son's thesis was sponsored by the US Army, which was concerned at the number of recruits falling by the wayside with fractures and joint failure after carrying heavy backpacks and other strenuous exercises.
He concluded these injuries were on the increase (in the USA) because children at an early stage used to climb trees, wrestle with their school friends in the playground during break, walked or cycled to school and had a compulsory 30-minute PT before class commenced and otherwise pulled, twisted, bent and stretched muscles, tendons and sinews.
They played "British Bulldog". Gym was compulsory. Life was actually quite tough.
Many of these activities, if not the majority, no longer apply with the result adolescent bodies are simply not prepared for what used to be quite normal physical activity.
Maybe if the Nanny State got out of their lives, kids would have more fun with fewer injuries.
Robert Burrow. Tāupo.
Granting Maire Leadbeater's wishes would undermine our security (NZ Herald, June 4). We are a maritime nation and (at some future time) we will again be threatened by some other nation that has exhausted its resources and living space. New Zealand has the largest area of responsibility in the world for maritime surveillance. To patrol this and to protect it, we must have: effective maritime patrol aircraft, an air strike capability, and naval ships and helicopters that can at least arrest foreign fishing vessels that plunder our fishing resources. It does not follow that we have no threat from submarines short of going to war alongside our allies. Powerful nations can pick off small ones one by one, long before any allies might come to their rescue. Submarines are a far more likely initial threat than capital ships. Admirals would be unlikely to sail capital ships across our distant surrounding seas in times of threatening war. That assumption is of course conditional on our restoring our RNZAF strike capability. Wastage in Defence is readily found in mothballed NZLAVs, NH90 helicopters, and the top-heavy military and civilian manning of headquarters. Let us defend New Zealand, that way we will be doing our fair share.
Hugh Webb, Hamilton.
Horrors. A letter writer warns of the danger of emerging "egalitarianism, collectivism, socialism and redistribution of wealth". Whatever next? Human rights, equal employment opportunities, social justice, a UN Convention on the rights of the child?
David Cooke , Pt Chevalier.
Road to Damascus
Reporters have been very sceptical about Tamaki's change of attitude towards the gay community (NZ Herald, June 1). Personally I do not care how and why he has changed, I am pleased to hear that he has finally realised his mistake and been brave enough to admit it.
People can and do change. We need to give them the support they need to sustain that change. As the church leader he can be an influence for positive change amongst his followers.
Any change of heart can only be a step in the right direction.
S Hansen, Hastings.
We are well aware of the high incidence of family violence, which is not okay. Government has offered assistance via agencies, to protect the vulnerable, as it should.
We would say, forcing people to suffer needlessly from health issues such as cancer, psoriasis, glaucoma, Alzheimers, Crohns, colonitis, Parkinson's, all of which have scientific and anecdotal evidence showing they may be cured or the suffering may be alleviated with cannabis, is not okay. The National and NZ First parties need to read the evidence. If they think suffering at the hands of a violent partner is not okay, but suffering at the whims of a political party is okay, then we believe that is hypocritical. All needless suffering is not okay.
Simon Bridges and Winston Peters need to demonstrate that their parties also consider needless suffering is not okay. We should not have to suffer another 18 months for relief, or indeed to stay alive. People are now saying, they are choosing being illegally alive, with the possibility of incarceration, over being legally dead.
Cannabis needs to be re-legalised now.
Beverley Aldridge/Kathleen Pattinson, Seniors' Voice.
I disagree with Colleen Wright that standards in Parliament have slipped (NZ Herald, June 4). Forty years ago I decided to record some Parliamentary debates to let my school class hear some real, fine debating for them to emulate. Listening to the first radio broadcast I thought: "Oh my! I can't let these innocent children hear this playground bickering, catcalling, sniggering and sneering indulged in by their country's leaders; let them keep their illusions until they can handle it." So that was the end of that exercise and standards were about the same as now.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
Neil Hattful believes that the NZTA figures showing 1 in 4 drivers who crash and die are affected by cannabis, will worsen if cannabis is legalised (NZ Herald, June 4).
I have a different take on this statistic; to me, it shows how ineffective criminalisation has been.
Legalising cannabis will allow Police to focus on more serious crime and, via taxation, help fund rehabilitation and counselling services for those wishing to quit.
Lyall Dawson, Sandringham.
I see Auckland Council is still doing a Feasibility study (spending unlimited ratepayers money) on building a light rail line along Dominion Rd to the Airport. They will need a bridge from the end of Dominion Rd across the harbour to Māngere and this area at the end of Dominion Rd is steep and unstable and contains an old council rubbish dump - maybe not good for bridge footings? At the Māngere end of the bridge there is a sewage farm and beyond that some sensitive Māori land.
John Robertson, Papamoa Beach.
Letters: Queen's Birthday Honours, tax brackets and John Roughan
Letters: Climate change, Gun licensing and Brian Tamaki
Letters: Education system, healthy eating and gender oppression
Short & Sweet
Message to cafe workers from an 80-year-old. Do not greet we oldies with the question "How are you?" on entry. You neither care nor want a detailed reply.
David Tolmie, Mt Eden.
Comparing a democratically elected leader of a western country to a Nazi terror device, is frankly an insult to the millions who died ensuring you could purvey your dislike of the man.
Larry Tompkins, Gulf Harbour.
While I hate to criticise Emmerson, I feel I should correct his cartoon of Donald Trump over London. Unlike Trump, Doodlebugs were at their most dangerous when they were silent.
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
Is Mr Trump America's answer to Mr Bean?
Chris O'Brien, Kerikeri.
Printer ink in cartridges costs about $4000 a litre, one of the most expensive liquids for domestic use on the planet.
Bob Wichman, Botany.
There is no point in reducing road speed limits unless they are adequately policed or have multiple speed cameras installed.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Surely we can't accept that ACC have paid out over $2 million in claims for injuries on e-scooters in the past eight months?
Ken R Holmes, Howick.
Has Bishop Tamaki turned the other cheek?
Hugh Chapman, Hingaia.