A letter from G J Philip (February 25), accompanied by a large photo of Henry Ford and a Model T, praised Ford's higher than standard pay rates for his factory workers.

That made it easier for them to buy his cars!

However, it didn't last long - his one-model policy dragged on until 1927, by which time the 1908-designed Model T was severely out of date. He then closed his factories for six months while they were tooled up for Model A production, leaving 60,000 men without work and his dealers to fend for themselves.

In the 1930s Henry Ford, a megalomaniac, anti-Semitic, anti-union friend of Hitler, employed one Harry Bennett, a tough-guy thug, to run his so-called Service Department. It was staffed by goons who had the plants running on fear. Beatings-up were common, and four demonstrators were shot dead. Union negotiators were severely beaten, with one having his back broken.

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None of Detroit's car factories were exemplary employers, but Ford was, in my view, the worst.

(Source: The Life of the Automobile, A New History of the Motor Car, by Steven Parissien, Atlantis Books, 2013)


Ronald Mayes
Rotorua

Rubbish collections

I see Stavros Michael's letter (February 27 ) regarding illegal dumping in the Rotorua district as an admission that the council won't do anything.

He said, "Council has considered all avenues suggested to try to stop this irresponsible behaviour".

Unfortunately, those options cost money. He suggested $1 million - $2 million for one or two free annual, inorganic waste collections. What does it currently cost the council to remove the illegally dumped rubbish?

Stavros suggested the cost would have to be borne by ratepayers.

The costs of non-essential projects have meant core services, including refuse removal, play second fiddle. Given council books are deeply in the red, any prudent advisor would recommend spending on maintenance and essentials, not wasted on the likes of the mysterious sculpture, or an extravagant upgrade of the lakefront.

I recall when, under previous councils which regarded provision and maintenance of core services as paramount, ratepayers received two dump passes per year. Yes, we paid for it in our rates, and no, we didn't pay for vanity projects. We paid for core services.

Sure, we can have lofty ideals like those suggested by Stavros Michael. Yes, we should be smarter about our waste production, but results from that mind-shift will take years and won't fix the problem here and now. (Abridged)

Paddi Hodgkiss
Rotorua

City toilets

I find it somewhat laughable in a tourist town such as ours that the choice of public toilets is limited. The ones in Pukuatua St usually smell unpleasant. The ones in Hinemoa for the women weren't able to be used due to work being done on them, and the portaloo was disgusting.

It is unacceptable in a town that boasts of its many beautiful attractions. Toilets are not one of them. The council needs to get its act together. (Abridged)

Ruth Ferreira
Rotorua
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