IT WAS really good to see Carmel Sepuloni, Social Development Minister, and Iain Lees-Galloway, Workplace Relations Minister, in town last week touching base with community agencies and other interested parties.

The report by Laurel Stowell in the Wanganui Chronicle gave good coverage about Minister Sepuloni's work, as she listened to community agency (Jigsaw and others) concerns and wishes for the future. Having had good experiences with Winz myself in the old building (I'm a pensioner), the new building was a revelation.

To see how some of the other clients were treated while I sat in my purple chair left a lot to be desired. We can trust the minister will help change the culture so many experience daily. She wants people to be told what they are entitled to and to be treated with respect.

At a lunch attended by agencies and Labour Party members, Minister Lees-Galloway talked about the introduction of fair-pay agreements, which will hopefully go a long way to addressing the race to the bottom that has happened over the last nine years. Ask anyone in an industry who has suffered reorganising and paid the price of so-called progress by doing the same job for less.


Wellington bus companies spring to mind, where the only saving was lower wages.
This Government has a battle on its hands. Early signs are that they are moving in the right direction.


No fluoride benefits

In response to Darrell Grace, fluoride was used as a weapon in World War II by both the Germans and the Japanese. It's illegal in 97 per cent of the world's countries, and no study anywhere has proved fluoride beneficial.

It's also a key ingredient in rat poison and pesticides.

It melts concrete and it's extremely toxic to the environment.

You want fluoride? Move to a town with it. I moved here to get away from it.


Opposed to euthanasia

Jay Kuten and Stan Hood try to make the proposed law change on euthanasia all about themselves.

They obviously (at this time, anyway) have no difficulty expressing loud and long their preferences and choices. Many elderly or very ill people cannot express their wishes and/or change of views quite so clearly.

Having had a close relative (who definitely did not wish to die) denied food when the medical profession deemed the existence of a DNR was sufficient reason, not only to refrain from resuscitation but also sustenance; and another in pain, wishing at that moment to die but living on for many more happy years once the pain-inducing condition was dealt with, I am utterly opposed to giving the medical profession (or anyone else) further permission to facilitate death.

We have appalling stats on depression and suicide. Permitting people to end the lives of those who are terminally ill will certainly save money, but at what personal and societal cost?

Stan and Jay, think beyond yourselves and instead of lambasting those who care for the vulnerable and sick, see the wider implications.

Choice is not a right. Those who choose to drive recklessly, or drunk, have their licences revoked or their freedom removed. We do not have a right to choose to hurt others; the mentally ill do not have the right to inflict pain on their community by choosing death.

Choice has a limit.


Hippocratic Oath

In the current debate concerning euthanasia, a frequent contributor in favour of the practice describes himself as an American-trained forensic psychiatrist.

When he graduated medical school in the US (1959), he probably took the Hippocratic Oath, which includes "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel."

The oath concludes: "While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot!"


Hager search

Once again, police have been found to be acting illegally, most recently in the unlawful search of the Wellington home of Nicky Hager.

It appears the same standards of law that apply to us common folk do not apply to those persons within the police who break the law ... a corporate apology and an undisclosed payment exempt these individuals from facing court time or further penalties for their actions. Thus that "old saw" that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and its twin that "no one is above the law" is exposed for the trivialisation of our rights by those within power that it is, and reinforced by its lack of enforcement.

Is the agenda, without evidence to the contrary, to keep the "common folk" in their place? Generations have paid the ultimate price in saving our democracy. That sacrifice is treated with contempt when our rights are impugned in this fashion.

Is there no shame?

Te Rapa