I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Janet Mace's letter to the Whanganui Chronicle (June 1) regarding the bus depot, or so-called Travel Centre, in Ridgway St.

Like that correspondent, I frequently travel via Intercity coach from Hamilton, arriving at 5.15pm into Whanganui to the most dismal of receptions.

The place is closed, so there's no toilet available for passengers, some of whom are continuing on to Palmerston North, having joined the service in Auckland.

The Travel Centre is a cold and cheerless place, a narrow platform with one small wooden bench seating no more than four people and offering almost no shelter from the weather.


It is most inconveniently situated, with a fair walk into town carrying luggage.

The Travel Centre should be better positioned, nearer the town.

It should be a welcoming and comfortable place for travellers and tourists, with clean toilets, open until at least the last coach has passed through.

Whanganui is a lovely, interesting and vibrant city.

The coach trip down through the Parapara highway offers the most spectacular, panoramic views.

Tourists and visitors alike should be encouraged to take this journey, and I do believe it is well patronised.

So surely those of us who travel by coach are worthy of a better facility, not some throwback to the 1940s.



White elephant

In reply to Peter Edmonds' letter to the Chronicle (June 8) that the Whanganui District Council wants to spend $12.3 million on the wharf at the expense of us ratepayers, I say here comes another white elephant - and that is what it will be.

We have had this problem before with the wharf, and nothing has changed.
Nor will it.
I think the mayor and his councillors had better have a mind check and put our money where it's needed.


Mental health need

An open letter to the Prime Minister: Sincere thanks to you and the Minister of Health from those families who have laboured under decades of mental health neglect.

District health boards who have not ring-fenced mental health funding but used it for "operations" need to be accountable.

Is that not illegal and a breach of statutory fiduciary duty? Lives have been lost.

A culture that steals from the sick needs prosecution to learn real change. Clearly, power goes to the heads of these civil servants.

We have the regulatory Director General of Mental Health, the Health and Disability Commissioner and, not least, the Ministry of Health. Have they been like the three monkeys? Oversight is not the roll of MPs.

In my experience, only the Mental Health Commission afforded any direct supervision. After its demise, only valiant attempts by the ombudsmen brought any legal focus. A warning of an inspection visit only allows the "doors to be unlocked" and staffing to be appropriate.

Have the media also missed the reporters' boat by not fulfilling their role as public watchdog?

More than 50,000 calls to police over suicide attempts and mental health issues is outside their funding and skills brief, is it not?

More than 600 people suicide every year. People commit suicide at night, not conveniently between the hours 9-5 on weekdays. Mental health community teams don't work at weekends. Answer phones drone: "Your call is important to us ... please hold the line." Twenty minutes of music follows and the person waiting gives up. Dead?

As someone who has made a number of submissions on health, including directly to Ministers of the Crown, I restate that there is no substitute for families in real life. Let us all make sure the $1.9 billion is spent where most needed. Save a life.


Cuddle the boys too

Dani Lebo's take on rearing boys is correct, in my view.

My mother reared six boys and three girls. When my children were born, she said she would not give me much advice on how to rear children, as every child has to be treated a bit different, but they all need a lot of cuddling, especially the boys.

They cuddle till they are about 14, then the punches, scrumming and handshakes start.
So, along with telling them how much you love them on a regular basis, there are subtle ways to do this as well. Be free with your cuddles.

Those people who want their boys to grow up tough and take the other approach generally end up with eggs — hard on the outside, soft inside. With the cuddled kids, it's the opposite.


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