It's almost 100 days since police began a homicide investigation into the death of Whanganui man James Butler and the serious wounding of another man at a Wikitoria Rd property on April 22.

Just days earlier, Daniel John Gooch, 56, was found unconscious and badly injured in Tinirau St, Whanganui East. Police started another homicide investigation soon after his death a month later.

Our community has lived in the shadow of these killings, with no assurances that we are safe, as the perpetrators of these two homicides presumably remain at large. All we know comes from sporadic Chronicle "updates" such as "Whanganui Police say there are no updates ... and investigations are 'very much ongoing'."

Days after the James Butler killing we read: "Police would not say if they were looking for a specific person, but no one has been arrested".


Yet just days later came the report that police had revealed Mr Butler's death was not the result of a random attack and people in the incident were known to each other.
On that basis it's hard to avoid the conclusion that police have known all along who was responsible.

Official statements like that are cold comfort for the families of these men and raise questions for an uneasy wider community about whether we're in danger of becoming "cold case country".

Given the media's recent penchant for investigating cold cases and uncovering surprising truths and untruths, it might be time for a concerted effort on their part to delve past an uncommunicative police force and tell us what they find.


Stop the sugar

As I read your headline yesterday "Council to crack down on sugar", the only question in my mind was "when does this start"?

However, the first sentence of that article revealed the headline to be misleading, fake news even. "Sugar sweetened beverages could be removed" ... is clearly conditional.

What a disappointing failure of leadership. Sales of such beverages at the council libraries not only increases the consumption of sugar, but more significantly, it helps normalise their use, and so contributes to the adverse health outcomes of consumption.


No single policy is going to reverse this problem. We need lots of actions that combine to make a difference. Every action that contributes to this goal is worthwhile.


Substance please

Your editorial on TVNZ's supposed makeover must have been written from a different planet. I've made a habit of running to another room when TV1's news is almost over, lest I suffer even a moment of Seven Sharp. Your extraterrestrial writer suggests that "they took all the stuffiness out of Seven Sharp". Perhaps in the process they removed the objective journalism as well, as witnessed in last Friday's segment when the programme set about ridiculing the city of Whanganui.

A town, they suggested. A city, please! In the Manawatu, they reckoned. Off the grass, guys! Not a traffic jam in sight. We all know there are some, small but some. Houses don't sell, they thought.

Try finding a selection of modern, medium-priced houses in the real estate windows. Sorry, folks, they sell before they get to the window, to the open homes, to the internet.
Aucklanders are fleeing their city, and some of them see the light and come to Whanganui, where they can buy a mansion and waltz around the world with the change from selling a very ordinary Auckland house.

And on it went — all on Friday night's Seven Sharp, perhaps joining up old footage when everyone wanted to finish early for the weekend. In the makeover TVNZ may have removed the stuffiness — but they forgot to give us something in return.

No wonder I flee the room just before the end of TV1 News — and I bet I'm not the only one!


Consider the whale

The Wellington harbour whale was waving for help, as Steve Braunias identified (Chronicle, July 8), but not from hunger.

It was trying to make a late submission on the sand mining factory about to be approved off the Patea coast.

It was desperately pointing out that the 24/7 factory noise roaring in the Taranaki Bight would drive the whales away.

Somehow sensing the whale's true message, the Wellington council postponed the fireworks display.

They recognised the distress it would suffer from many small boats on the harbour and presumably numerous bangs.

The vulnerability of these gentle creatures is obvious with a sperm whale dead on the beach near Blenheim this week and eight more in South Taranaki last month.

Filling their route of passage with noise and silt is the last thing they need.


Send your letters to: The Editor, Wanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Wanganui 4500; or email