$3m port promise

As an ex-Whanganui boy, I think it is great that the Labour Party is giving Whanganui $3 million towards the local port.

I think Andrew Little deserves a chance to show what he can achieve.

Anyway, what did National ever do for the River City? Nothing, as far as I can see.



Spelling madness

Professor Tom Nicholson (Chronicle, June 14) says of English spelling: "... there is a system -- even though sometimes it seems like madness."

It IS madness!

Imagine if we could describe numeracy like that! Fortunately, we can all see the need for numerals to be strictly consistent: for example, 6 must always represent six, never seven or two, or any other number. The alternative would be chaotic and unmanageable.

A systematic spelling system should be the same. For example, we should have only one way of spelling the long "e" sound, as in keep. Unfortunately, there are at least a dozen ways: (deed, lead, demon, concede, siege, conceive, police, people, baby, key, quay, ski, debris).

It is true that our spellings sometimes tell us about the history of the words, but that is not the prime job of an alphabet or its spellings, which is to help us communicate here and now. Not many of us are aware of or note the etymology of words as we talk or write. We are concentrating on the message we want to send.

Our spelling should help us do this. English spelling, as often as not, hinders us. It is due for a repair job.


Apt editorial

Loved Simon Waters' editorial pointing out the short-term thinking of many who view changes in climate as entirely human-produced. And poking fun at the notion that humans could actually manipulate our planet's climate intentionally.

On the one hand, telling us that we are "not that significant" as so many evolutionists like to suggest, but on the other implying that we could somehow be completely in control ... masterfully tongue-in-cheek and a great reminder that although what we do is important, it is never going to be the final word.


Right or wrong

I see we still have some Trump apologists writing to the Chronicle with their anti-science, pro-CO2 bluster.

Scientists are smart enough to acknowledge that even 99 per cent confidence level evidence is not total proof. If the climate change deniers can understand that, then surely they must accept that they themselves may be wrong.

Now consider the consequences. If the scientists and every country that signed the Paris agreement (all except Nicaragua and Syria) are wrong, then the cost will be that we shift to renewable energy a bit earlier than we have to anyway.

If those Trumpites who are so sure they are right turn out to be wrong, then the cost of inaction is unprecedented human misery from extreme weather events, desertification and sea-level rise.

Economists put the risk in trillions of dollars. Social scientists see the risk as enormous refugee crises and armed conflicts. Even the Pentagon is taking that seriously.

I am guessing the noise of Trump's fossil friends is from old men who will be safely in their graves by then. I just wish they would care a bit more about future generations and listen to the real experts.


False news?

While agreeing with most of the opinion, I really have to take issue with one statement made in your column of June 17. You write, "...while Britons voted for Brexit even though most of them didn't really want it."

The official figure from the UK Electoral Commission is that 51.9 per cent of those who voted were for leaving. So on what basis is your statement made? Surely you are not using information from professional pollsters. How many times have they been proven wrong in the past year or so? Surely you are not using the old political fallback of the "silent majority" (72 per cent of eligible UK voters cast a vote).

Perhaps you are instead resorting to the "false news" which seems to have become a norm within some journalistic channels.

Whatever reason, is it that such "mis-speaking" is one of the reasons why voters are becoming so anti-establishment and dealing those unpredicted outcomes to election results? Perhaps our political parties have become too blase regarding true democracy and individual politicians more worried about their own political survival.

Perhaps the politicians might actually practise the words of their daily prayer of "Laying aside all personal and private interests ..." and listen more to the concerns of their respective electorates than to the concerns of their political masters.