LET us all stop buying into the freedom of speech myth in New Zealand. It does not exist as some would espouse the notion.

Please read the opening paragraph in Your Rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and towards the end of this ... "The Government may limit some rights and show why limitations are necessary, although Parliament can choose to override rights. Everyone has the same rights, and sometimes your rights are restricted to protect those of others." That is the reality.

In regard to free speech, we have laws about slander and libel. There are "codes of conduct" for elected boards, points of order in meetings and parents making judgment calls on their children's voice boxes and actions constantly. Free speech in Parliament is strictly watched over, despite colourful outbursts. In that same Act of Parliament is the right to observe your religion. That, of recent times, is a challenge for some.

Currently, the whole issue of Facebook and/or hate speech is within the Government's right to consider and perhaps legislate further, so "your rights are restricted to protect the rights of others".


On Facebook I have blocked 32 nut jobs and/or keyboard ninjas, and it feels ... great!

Has anyone or a group exercised the legal right and taken the Government to court to end Māori land rights claims (end date it), reverse gay equality rights, perhaps even stop women's equal pay or pregnancy rights? Has anyone gone to court to demand that freedom of religion only apply to Christians?

As an adult, I had resented that at times my rights for much of my life are restricted to protect the rights of others. Vice versa, I have been grateful for my rights over others' bigotry or dogma currently. At other times in my life I have actively protested and used my voice, with many others, for change at government level. That's freedom of speech to me, making it count as an act of direct democratic action over urban mythology.


Back to front

My congratulations to Jacinda and Clarke. But, to you both: You did it all back to front.

Did you not know that the normal practice is you get engaged, then tie the marriage knot, then have a family?

Anyway, all the very best to you both.


Foxton Beach

Personal choice

I congratulate Jay Kuten on his comments in the Chronicle (March 18). He is right on the money.

Do I want current and "particularly former Members of Parliament" imposing their cultural and religious views on me and this very personal subject? Hell no!

I want them to represent their community, not force their personal and cultural and religious views on people now. In Whanganui (and, I guess, other places) candidates did not stand on a race or religious ticket or card; they stood to represent the voters that voted them into power — so do it without fear or favour.

We are not interested in your personal views. Therefore, I support Winston Peters and his referendum idea. Pass the bill and put it to a referendum. All people of voting age should have a say on the End of Life Choice Bill. It's their choice.

Re. V Meredith (Chronicle, April 16), I totally disagree with your comments, but my main objection is with your claim of reading a file of a person with the words "Do not resuscitate" on it. That was the patient's personal choice, not yours.

I can assure you if you go into any hospital now, your personal rights are of number one importance to the admitting hospital. Recently, I had a four-page document presented to me (read out) that I had to read and sign.

Personally, I just wanted to sign the form and get on with things. They even asked if I wanted any body parts back. They said if I changed my mind, even half-way through the operation, I could terminate the process. It was the most complete process I have ever been through. That was my personal file or contract.

Yep, on the bottom I put "do not resuscitate". My wife was aware. I did not put a public notice in the paper or call a hui.

St John's Hill

Trump policies work

So you can't stand president Trump. Tough! Get over it.

His achievements for America cannot be denied. Not if you're honest with yourself.
The real issue is would Trump's economic policies work here in Aotearoa/New Zealand? Or indeed in any other Western democracy? Of course they would.

So the message for our Government must be: Get over your prejudice and get on with the job.


Torture instead of peace

I thank Bob Walker for his pragmatic approach to the need for assisted dying legalisation ("The dying shouldn't need a river", May 2).

As it is, 8 per cent of all suicides in New Zealand are committed by people desperate to escape the end stages of disease that is progressively robbing them of every bodily function and capacity, rendering their lives a meaningless misery in their own estimation.
Surely few people are more vulnerable than those in unrelieved agony as they die? They are helplessly captive in every way.

They need the protection of a humane law. Don't force them to endure beyond endurance, or we will see more people in this category taking their own lives prematurely, while they still can. They could have a peaceful death instead of a tortured one.
Good assisted dying law is good suicide prevention.


Can ribbons, reap benefits

All too frequently, the protestations of self-serving interest groups and individuals outmanoeuvre societal endeavours to ensure the physiological and safety needs of whole communities are met.

Strategies being adopted seek to reduce early development of such self-centred human traits.

Ribbons awarded during school's sporting events establishes an expectation in all of the attending young people's subconscious. Presentation of awards extends into classroom practice as well. For some educators this means creating reasons to ensure no student is excluded from receiving one when ceremonies are being held.

These extrinsic motivational rewards act to reinforce societal notion of it being about winning. As a focal point this notion can lead to tribal encampment that can be accompanied by emotive debates in which what is best for the whole community plays no part.

Some schools have stopped handing out such reward memorabilia. Students work together in order to achieve an increase in the total number of personal bests set the previous year.

Principals of the schools adopting the reward-free policy have observed a sense of collaboration and community develop over the years. Children no longer compete at the expense of another child, instead they gather around and cheer each other. Having had the pressure of not coming first or last removed, they focus on trying their best. Students in the classrooms, teachers note, are engaged and intrinsically motivated with their learning.

Opponents to the idea cite real-world scenarios in which rewards are an integral part of the workplace. Removing awards in schools, they argue, would disadvantage those entering the workforce, where individual rewards are given.

However, some corporations in the world have successfully created workplace cultures in which intrinsic motivation is embedded in their daily operations. Employees collaborate in both the setting and attaining of their organisational community's goals.

Having an intrinsically motivated society has the potential for its citizens to make sacrifices when required for the betterment of the whole community.

Such societies are sorely needed if humans are to successfully take on the challenges facing civilisation now and in the future.


Stop kids turning to dust

Our Chronicle's article that Mt Egmont/Taranaki has a chance of having an eruption in the next 50 years, using historic data and a new system of magnetic readings, also showing how widespread it might be.

If you say historically it went off 350 years ago and 750 years ago, that doesn't necessarily mean another one is due. You have to take into consideration the formation of our planet from a molten rock to what it is today.

As it cooled, quite quickly initially, then slowing as the ever-thickening crust formed, it slowly shrank causing plates and buckles and volcanic vents to expel the gases. These gases formed our atmosphere, lots and lots of CO2, that is why initially everything grew so large.

As the cooling of the core slowed, as the crust thickened, the shrinking slowed, earthquake activity and volcanic activity slowed and is still slowing to this day. We just have to hope the slowing doesn't stop or activity will stop.

Without volcanic activity giving us a supply of CO2, we will just be another Mars and other creatures will be looking and saying there must have been life as there is evidence of huge rivers, so there must have been forests.

So here's hoping the scare-mongerers are not too successful in getting rid of CO2, as without our greenhouse gases our great, great, great, grand children will be turned to dust.


No birds of a feather

What? No little feathered friends for pensioners in Whanganui District Council flats?
Time to flip this petty, officious, uncaring council the bird.


Shame on you, Winston

A recent commentary in a national newspaper ranked Cabinet ministers from 1 to 10 on their performance.

Not surprisingly, Phil Twyford, David Clark and Shane Jones each received a rating of 4.
However, I was aghast to read Winston Peters received an 8 out of 10.

Is this the same politician who coerced the voting public to support him with these three of many pre-election promises:

1. There should be "one law for all New Zealanders".

2. That the Māori seats in Parliament "must be abolished as recommended by the Royal Commission".

3. Reduce Parliament to 100 MPs.

Since this politician, who after the election engineered the Labour Party to become the new Government, made these important policy statements, not one of them have been fulfilled.

It beggars belief that despite Peters making promises he hasn't kept, he has still managed to retain his seat in Parliament over the last 30-plus years.

Shame on you, Peters. We won't be fooled a second time into voting for NZ First in 2020.


Shocking blasphemy!

What a shocking cartoon we saw in the Chronicle (April 20).

How dare you mock the crucifixion of our dear Saviour, who gave His life for sinners like we all are in such a terrible way? This is pure blasphemy.

Shame on you, Chronicle. Please apologise to all Christians.


Shame on your cartoon

Since you changed your cartoonists, I feel that your standards have slipped as to what is acceptable and what is not. Yours now are neither humorous nor clever — in fact they are often just plain cruel and often in very poor taste.

The lampooning of Christ on the cross (April 20) and linking it with the demise of VAT are insulting to those of us who believe in the crucifixion.

I am surprised that you condoned its printing. Shame on you.


Catholics attacked

I was appalled at the openly hostile and mocking letter (Chronicle, April 25) by Carol Webb. How is it, that if she wrote this vitriolic outburst about another religion (recently making headlines) it would be classed as a hate crime, yet she can attack the beliefs of the Catholic faith in public without taking any consequences? Is this not hypocrisy of the highest order?

Whether one believes in a creator or not is immaterial. The fact is that Christianity civilised the whole world and the laws of the countries were based on the Ten Commandments.

Now, to the detriment of the whole world, there are very few of these commandments that countries base their laws on. We are a Christian country and we celebrate holidays ... coming from holy days ...

I believe she has used this opportunity as a platform to launch a mocking attack on the Catholic faith simply because she had to pay extra for a glass of wine on Easter Sunday. She has 362 days to enjoy her wine, so how is it a hardship to honour God at Easter?

Truth is truth whether one person believes or 1000. It will always stand and whether Carol Webb believes it or not, or whether the great majority believe or not, we all will face our maker one day. Deo gratias.


Choice to die

Moira Floresta's anxieties about David Seymour's EOLC bill (April 25) have obviously been aroused by the wild and woolly misinformation thrown around by opponents of the bill. Let me attempt to allay those fears with some substantiated facts.

More than 21 countries and states now have this legislation — New Jersey being the latest, based on the Oregon model. In not one of these civilised and democratic places have the people demanded the clock be turned back. Tells us something, surely?

More than 75 per cent of New Zealanders, in repeated and recent polls by reputable market research organisations, indicate that they too want this choice.

They have watched the harrowing deaths of loved ones and know palliative care cannot always prevent this.

An Australian Hospice doctor has admitted that 6 per cent of their patients suffer extreme pain at the end of their lives.

The time has come to put compassion ahead of mindless dogma and deceptive scaremongering.


Rant at Christians

In response to Carol Webb's letter on April 25, a rant at Christians because she had to buy a meal in order to consume alcohol on Easter Sunday: I wish to say please have some respect for Christians and their faith.

I find your letter truly offensive, especially in light of what occurred this Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, where more than 300 Christians were slaughtered during their Easter celebrations. It is sad that you appear to be anti-"family-time" also. I feel maybe this is more a reflection of your personal circumstances and has little to do with the council and their decisions on Easter trading.

Let me know if you require a kind reminder to purchase a bottle of expensive pinot noir prior to next year's Easter holiday.


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