It is time people stopped writing letters in which they assume a condescending tone and belittle the opinions of others.

The whole point of a letters page is to provide a forum for the opinions of members of the public on varying subjects, in which they use clear, reference, non-emotive language.

Words such as "rabid" and "crap" are loaded with value judgments and do nothing to advance the writer's thesis.

A letter should not resort to sarcasm, ("the lowest form of wit" remember) or personal attack in its aim to critique the opinion of another.


One may disagree with a policy, an opinion or an action, but, please, let us remain civilised.

Aotearoa origins

Ian Brougham believes Aotearoa has never been a name for New Zealand (Letters; September 7). Where has he been?

From 1845, George Grey, Governor of New Zealand, used the name Aotearoa to mean NZ.
During my childhood, Aotearoa was well-known as the name the Maori gave to these islands.

Kiwis understood it meant "land of the long white cloud", and it has been translated as glaring light (Hochstetter); continuously clear light, or land of abiding day (Stowell); long white world (Wilson); long bright world, long daylight, long lingering day, or long bright land (Cowan); and long bright day (Tregear). See more at

Aotearoa was once used to mean the North Island but by the 20th century the name meant the whole of New Zealand.

The name of NZ's national anthem is God Defend New Zealand/Aotearoa, and the Maori version has Aotearoa as the last line in each verse.

In 2015 the New Zealand cricket team played under the name of Aotearoa for their first match against Zimbabwe to celebrate Maori Language Week.

MARGI KEYS, Springvale
STV system

In a recent Chronicle article, Steve Baron told us 5 per cent of health board votes were invalid and that, therefore, the remaining 95 per cent of voters understand the STV system. This indicated that mathematics and statistics were, apparently, not part of the syllabus for his economics and political science degrees.

Allan Anderson (Chronicle; September 5) provided some useful facts about STV: In the last four Whanganui District Health Board elections, invalid voting papers averaged 2679, about 12 per cent of the electorate. But, since only half of electors vote, the number of votes wasted under STV was more like 25 per cent.

That compares with 0.2 per cent of invalid votes in the Whanganui District Council elections during the same period.

Steve's latest Chronicle article gave a clue to his mindset. He is still bleating about Terry Heffernan's defeat in the 1987 general election. Get a life, Steve.

Psychiatrist analyses Trump

K A Benfell (Opinion, September 14) asserts my opinion that Donald Trump is probably crazy is a "ridiculous and foolish" statement and that US mainstream media reports on Trump are the "garbage".

I assure Mr Benfell my opinion is not based exclusively on media reports.

I could list many non-media papers on the subject but, for the sake of brevity, I offer another opinion:

Dr Lance Dodes, former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in a letter to The Washington Post - "Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump" (February 13, 2017). Dr Dodes' letter was signed by 33 other psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

His letter concludes: "Mr Trump's speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behaviour suggest a profound inability to empathise.

"Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists)."

I am confident Mr Benfell will acknowledge that Dr Dodes (and his 33 co-signers) are not anonymous sources and that the article has credibility. To do otherwise would surely confirm his place in the Dodes' diagnosis.