Letter of the week: Dr Judy Selvaraj, Hobsonville Pt.
Your editorial "Zoning the sore point in education changes" (Weekend Herald, November 16) is a tidy end to what John Roughan refers to as the "totalitarian takeover of schools averted".
Finally, boards of trustees will retain their roles as espoused in the original proposals of the Picot Report and Tomorrow's Schools over 30 years ago. Congratulations to Chris Hipkins in taking the next step where hubs are out and self-governance stays.
Those boards who struggle to attract personnel can consult with the new Education Service Agency who will lead the zoning at a regional level.
The chief referee's proposals to oversee school disputes and the priority for children to attend their nearest school augur well with a coalition government's thinking. This move has not bowed to the academia of neoliberalism and instead has carefully prioritised the rights of children and families to attend their local schools.
Rightly so, the Coalition and National parties have endeavoured to coalesce on many parts of these education changes.
The next stage needs to ensure that students with special educational needs can also attend their zoned school regardless of funding, and their need. Their journey to receive inclusive education, as outlined and promised in the Picot reforms, will begin. Less competition and a right to attend their zoned school will eliminate unequal education experiences and outcomes.
• Tomorrow's Schools: Govt takes over school zoning powers
• New rules may force more students to attend their local schools
• Biggest education shake-up in 30 years proposed
• School zoning changes on the way
It is a shame that Stewart Hawkins (Weekend Herald, November 16) should attempt to belittle the views of the more than 1500 New Zealand doctors who have taken a stand against the Seymour bill.
Given that political activism does not come easily to the medical profession, this is a very significant total. By contrast only 17 doctors have put their names to support of the bill.
Other relevant facts are that of all the health professionals who made submissions to the Select Committee, 93.5 per cent oppose the bill.
Add to this the public disapproval expressed by such groups as the Palliative Nurses Association and the Hospice movement, and you get some idea of the strengths of medical opposition to the bill.
In the wider context, it is also worth noting that the World Medical Association has very recently reaffirmed its uncompromising opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
This is highly significant, since the World Medical Association is the largest medical society in the world, comprising 114 nations and their national medical organisations (including the US) representing over 10 million physicians worldwide.
Both nationally and internationally, opposition to euthanasia by informed health practitioners is overwhelming.
Katherine Mclauchlan, Mairangi Bay.
If the dairy farmers are claiming that rivers are swimmable and this is the cleanest country in the world, then why has the nitrogen level in the most pristine water in New Zealand at Te Waikoropupū Springs risen 30 per cent in the last three years?
We need to plant trees to offset the carbon. Tasmania has trillions of hectares of forestry together with high dairying. How can dairying the vast areas of the dry Canterbury Plains without the offset of forestry there, be justified?
Everyone needs to pay their fair share including councils to reduce fly tipping by reducing rubbish fees, manufacturing pay for packaging return fees and to clean up urban waterways that flow into the sea.
Marie Kaire, Whangarei.
Genocide by diet
I read with interest your report on mooted initiatives to combat obesity (Weekend Herald, November 16).
Anything is better than nothing but it is unlikely that prohibition on advertising will make any difference.
The alcoholic knows where all the closest liquor stores are located and these businesses thrive with no advertising. The tax on alcohol goes partway to addressing consequent harms. The food industry is no different.
Commercial imperatives will prevail until significant sugar taxes are applied and outlets selling sugar rich food either close down or change the constituents of their product.
Sugar is the primary culprit, as it is easily consumed in excess - and is immediately metabolised to triglyceride which is abdominal fat - that being if the person is glycogen replete (stored in liver and muscle)
I very much hope things will change - but the current obesity burden is overwhelming and has momentum which is fueled by a mix of genetic and epigenetic factors - and so has considerable inertia.
The immediate solution would be to simply close down the primary fast food culprits and introduce serious sugar taxes - these would need to be applied to imported sugar containing product as well as landed raw sugar
What we have on a global scale is genocide by food - this applies principally to populations naive to Anglo Saxon diet.
Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
It was interesting to read of the anti-obesity measures to be undertaken, as confirmed by Health Minister David Clarke and Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor (Weekend Herald, November 16).
Mainly, the proposed measures are having manufacturers voluntarily reformulating more products to have less salt, fat and sugar, and some restriction on advertising of junk foods. In the face of rapidly rising obesity rates in New Zealand and the associated serious health risks, these measures seem, well, quite feeble.
The NZ Food and Grocery Council claims "taxes to artificially raise the price of energy-dense foods hadn't worked anywhere in the world". That would come as a surprise to the countries, including Mexico, France and the UK, which have adopted a sugar tax, and to the World Health Organization which refers to evidence when saying a tax on sugary drinks that raises prices by 20 per cent has been proven to lead to a reduction in consumption by around 20 per cent.
Come on Minister Clark. We have a health crisis. Stop arranging the deck chairs and start listening more to your expert advisers in public health and less to those with clearly vested interests.
Yvonne Guy, Wellington.
So, Auckland Port is a car and container eyesore. Here's an idea: Plant exotic trees around the boundary.
Intersperse them with natives. Over time the eyesore will be hidden. Ten billion dollars will have been saved. Trees will be helping the environment.
Just don't let the Tūpuna Maunga Authority near the port.
Grant Spencer, Pukekohe
When I saw my letter in print (Weekend Herald, November 16) I realised, too late, that the closing paragraph was not at all felicitous, I am nonetheless grateful to the Herald for publishing my views.
There will be many people who may have read my letter who have always done their best to ensure our House of Representatives is populated by compassionate people, and who have nevertheless found themselves very ill in part because of delayed or restricted access to publicly funded health care. To suggest to such people that they might be the architects of their own misfortune, is both wrong, and cruel, and I regret the unintentional inference, through carelessness on my part, to that effect.
Bruce Rogan, Mangawhai.
A quick word
"Forty Auckland beaches deemed unsafe to swim." That's one they cant blame on the farmers. Trevor Burgess, Snells Beach.
Never laugh at your wife's choices. You're one of them. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Letters: Cancer survival, rugby writers, Erebus memorial, Lizzie Marvelly and Simon Bridges
Letters: Judicial system, Ōwairaka, education, parks and health
If it's true that the Auckland City Council have declared a climate emergency, how can they stand by and allow mature trees to be butchered? M Thomson, Ponsonby.
Why are the protesters on Mt Albert being allowed to block access to the public car park on the maunga? Normally it's full as many people drive there to park while they walk themselves and/or their dogs, or to access the archery range. Dianna Roberts, Mt Albert.
Haven't we twigged yet that doctors and aged care workers will suffer a drop in income if this bill is passed? V Hall, Whangaparaoa.
There's a BP and McDonald's now at the end of the Hamilton expressway heading north, only 9km south of the KFC and McDonald's at Huntly. No wonder we're getting fat. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
In a world where we strive in vain for perfection, Prince Andrew appears to be the perfect buffoon. C G Marnewick, Bucklands Beach.
New Zealand's population is less than that of most major cities, yet we have 20 District Health Boards and 84 public hospitals. It is little wonder that we have "post-code" related levels of healthcare. Carl Bergstrom, Glendowie.
We could do worse than follow New York's lead in banning "pedestrians using hand-held electronic devices while crossing the street. Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
I have no sympathy with landlords bleating about anti-social tenants. They are no different from anti-social homeowners. Both are people. Tony Kaye, Hamilton.
Can somebody tell me what kind of tourist we are hoping to attract with the puerile antics of Stephen Colbert? Fiona Downes, Hobsonville.
If the advocates of a sugar tax were correct in their belief that demand for sugary products is so price sensitive, then there would be no dairies, since all these products are usually cheaper from supermarkets. Doug Hannan, Mt Maunganui.
It appears the Otago Medical School sends trainee doctors out to placements, never observes them or talk to the medical practice regarding progress. Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
Remember the days when you spoke to a human who listened to what you needed and said, "I'll put you through"? How many clients are lost through modern gadgetry and false economy? Anne Martin, Helensville.
Why do we see so many new immigrants selling real estate ? Are we short of real estate sales people? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.