Bag levy needed

Introducing a levy on plastic bags would be the most effective way of reducing use.

The Plastic Bag-Free Whanganui group supports Green MP Denise Roche's call for retailers to charge 15c for single-use plastic bags.

Paying up front dramatically reduces use, as demonstrated recently in Tesco supermarkets in the UK.


The New York City Council, which has to dispose of about 10 billion bags per year, recently voted to make a levy compulsory for most retailers.

John Key says that he doesn't support levies. He hopes that "consumers will be responsible", whatever that means.

Plastic bags were introduced in the United States by oil giant Mobil in 1976.

Retail chains picked them up and they have become so widely used that shoppers don't think twice about them.

These handy bags get used, on average, for 12 minutes before they are biffed into the rubbish, dropped in the street or left to float in waterways.

If the Government classed bags as "priority products" under the product stewardship scheme, manufacturers and retailers would have to take responsibility for ultimate disposal.

That would place the cost where it should be: on the producers of these polluting items, rather than on council landfill operations or on the marine environment which is paying the heaviest price for our unthinking addiction.

Bangladesh has banned plastic bags because they block drains and cause flooding during monsoon rains.

Two teenage sisters, Melati and Isabel Wijsen, are petitioning the Indonesian Government to rid Bali of the plastic floating everywhere in its seas and accumulating in a mountain on the island.

Many small groups in NZ have begun campaigning to increase awareness of the real costs associated with plastic bags.

Plastic Bag-Free Whanganui hopes that local shoppers will start saying no to plastic bags. Taking reusable, lightweight bags to the counter, then stashing them back in the car, bike bags or trundler, is the easiest way to kick the habit.

Plastic Bag-Free Whanganui

Thanks, voters

I would like to say a big thank you publicly to the more than 4300 people who voted for me in the recent council elections. Your support was greatly appreciated. I campaigned on change and we certainly got that with a new group of councillors who will ask some serious questions of council and place decision-making under a lot more democratic scrutiny, already evidenced with the review of the proposed wastewater treatment development.

Questions also need to be asked about the other elephants in the room like the Sarjeant redevelopment, councils' contributions, and whether there are any other alternatives. A vision I had was relocating the library to the old Farmers building next to Majestic Square -- and how about putting the Sarjeant's iconic collection in a redeveloped ANZ/National bank building opposite, while keeping Sarjeant on The Quay for exhibitions?

Not only would it bring development, provide more exhibition space and bring people back to Victoria Ave, it would open for redevelopment the old Sarjeant on the hill to other alternatives, privately funded. Inquiries I made indicate that both buildings next to Majestic Square could be purchased for reasonable sums.

Are councillors prepared to ask how much the so-called branding exercise cost ratepayers? How many rebranding exercises have been launched over the past six years, and at what cost? Also, to launch a major initiative like this without public consultation and within 48 hours of the council elections is beyond belief.

I wish our new councillors and mayor all the best. Please stick by your campaign principles and promises of growth, jobs, prosperity, etc, and finally pay attention that the vast majority of voters voted for change. (Abridged)


Three more years

Thank you for voting me to council and health board for a fifth time running -- jobs I am committed to.

I am excited about the next three years with the mix of young, experienced and business-savvy people at the table.

I promise to work hard, speak up when needed, and am particularly committed to advancing sport and recreation initiatives, particularly for our youth and the significant economic benefits sport brings to Whanganui.

Whanganui District councillor

War on drugs

One wonders why all the people who say they hate war -- church leaders, government leaders, and many others -- are intent on waging a proven futile war that we don't need, the war on drugs.

This is not really a war on drugs; it is a war on personal freedom. So many in society know better how to run your life than you do. At local level we call them busybodies, at higher levels we know them as control freaks.

So to feed their desire for control of your life, "because you can't control your life, it has to be us", the war on drugs is definitely a war on personal freedom.

You can't stop people getting drugs, but you can create drug lords with their armies of people terrifying the general populace, wrecking families with death and incarceration, lacing the drugs, pushing them on the vulnerable, turning good citizens into criminals, filling our jails, and depleting the government's coffers, all in an unwinnable war on personal choice. How sick is that?

When will the warmongers in our churches and governments admit they have got it wrong and do an about-turn for the betterment of the free citizens of the world? Don't hold your breath, as they too are controlled.


Inherent violence

How interesting to read of our inherited tendency to violence in Saturday's 48 Hours (Chronicle, October 15).

This is exactly in line with the Biblical teaching that since Adam first disobeyed God's instruction, every one of us has a natural inclination to destructive behaviour. Interesting, too, the spin evolutionists are now putting on this: On the one hand saying rates of human violence have dropped, and on the other saying such rates are connected to ecological, social or cultural factors.

Claiming that most human killing is of adults rather than young is very selective, since abortion rates far outstrip recorded rates of death by violence (Ministry of Health, Statistics NZ).

In general a society that adopts an evolutionary mindset is far more likely to suffer from crime of all sorts, having no ultimate authority and no logical reason to respect others who, evolutionarily speaking, are merely competitors for resources.

The theory of evolution is foundational to the doctrines of Marxism and Nazism, which produced the cold-blooded murder of millions. These murders include 77 million in Communist China, 62 million in the Soviet Gulag State, 2 million in the Khmer Rouge killing fields and 21 million non-battle killings by the Nazis (Rummel, RJ, Death by Government, 1994).

Thankfully, we are not merely the product of evolution, or birth, or background. We are creatures with free will and the ability to choose. (Abridged)