Mayor Hamish McDouall's comment that "keeping a record of which way a councillor voted wouldn't tell the full story ... " (Chronicle; May 12) is at best trite and at worst puerile.

The implied suggestion is ratepayers could not understand either council procedures or the processes involved in voting.

Further, his example - "a councillor may support funding something in principle but vote against it because they were not happy with the amount of funding" - ignores the fact any ratepayer could establish this by simply speaking with the councillor.

If no voting was recorded and available for viewing, the ratepayer would have no idea which way the councillor voted, let alone discover any reason for supporting or not supporting the final vote.


A council statement states: "The process for recording all votes would be extremely time consuming ... " Is it too much of an over-simplification to suggest that the person recording the minutes also records who held up their hands in favour of the motion, who held up their hands against the motion and who abstained?

To suggest that divisions are needed to establish how 13 people seated around a large table in an open plan area voted is fatuous.

I view the council statement as "flim-flam", the logical extrapolation being that councillors do not want us, the ratepayers who elected them, to know which way they vote on matters affecting us.

I congratulate the Wanganui Chronicle on its promotion to achieve transparency and accountability from our elected representatives.

V W BALLANCE, Westmere
Literacy rules

I loved the article on apostrophes by Wayne Shaw ("Playwright rebel without a pause"; May 8) and the byline by Margi Keys, the wonderfully self-styled "vigilante-in-chief" of the apostrophe.

I hadn't noticed that George Bernard Shaw didn't use apostrophes, but it was almost half a century since I last read him. It strikes me that if Shaw claimed "leaving out apostrophes would save printers' ink", and he actually left them out and saved ink, he must have broken the rules of literacy.

To keep to the rules without an apostrophe, he must have had to write something like: "Leaving out apostrophes would save the ink of the printers", which uses far more ink than the use of the apostrophe in the shorter, earlier, sentence.


So long as we have Margi, the apostrophe's demise must remain a forlorn hope.

The Spanish language, by contrast, doesn't have apostrophes to begin with, but they do replace its absence by excessive use of words, similar to my example above.

The apostrophe is a handy convenience; not a necessity if one doesn't mind using extra words to circumvent its use - but then one does waste ink.

I think G B Shaw just liked being a rebel. I kind of admire that.

STAN HOOD, Aramoho
Seymour the brave

I was disappointed with the calibre of Simon O'Connor's article in the Chronicle (May 7).

Personal attacks on other parliamentarians are not on and a sign of desperation - and are certainly not showing any understanding of the End of Life Choices movement currently enlightening New Zealand.

David Seymour is our brave spokesman in Parliament, who speaks for 72 per cent of New Zealanders who want a choice in the way we die.

Mr O'Connor and the people he represents have their choice already - they can suffer as long as they like if and when they get terminally ill. For them there is no change anyway - enjoy the ride.

Let us, the other 72 per cent, die in the way we want to die.

In the meantime, be respectful to others who don't think like you.

ALIDA van der VELDE, Waikanae
Democracy lost or gained?

It is always funny when a supposed journalist lets the mask slip to show their partisan viewpoint, and a pity when the editor publishes them.

Gwynne Dyer informs us that "The model of Western-style democracy is now broken" (Chronicle; April 26).

One reads on with trepidation, fearing the end of Western civilisation, only to find Mr Dyer is complaining about democracy actually working and that people are simply voting for candidates and policies that Mr Dyer does not support.

Democracy ain't broken, but the Fourth Estate is certainly showing signs of failure.

K A BENFELL, Gonville

Editor's note: While fact-based, Gwynne Dyer's columns are his opinion - as the Big word at the top of the page indicates.