A comment by Dave Hill, President of the Wanganui Ratepayers' Association, has resulted in a quick response. Mr Hill stated (Chronicle, January 16): "Ratepayers had maintained the parks for decades and there was a risk that they could be blocked from the sites if iwi take ownership."

Mayor Hamish said: "When the parks and reserves are potentially at issue, we are really only talking about co-governance."

Whanganui Lands Settlement Trust chairman Ken Mair: "There were no plans to block public access. That's never been our intentions and nor is it our intentions into the future, and I think that is just once again scaremongering amongst a small group of people."

The ratepayers' group was formed in 2002. It folded a few years later. It was struck off the companies register in 2009 for not filing financial returns. It was resurrected in 2015 and its last return was April 2017. My last check showed they have not filed one for April 2018.


Could Dave share with us if he had any meetings with the mayor or Ken on these concerns before going to press?

Is this also related to the recent document handed to him by a councillor? Did they invite Ken Mair or the mayor to his group to speak with them first so the committee and members could be properly informed in a transparent manner?


Euthanasia bill

Jay Kuten should know the old proverb about counting chickens before they are hatched.

The Government is in no position to announce it would hold a referendum on euthanasia at the same time as one on cannabis decriminalisation. This would only happen if the bill succeeds at Second Reading.

If Seymour shared Kuten's confidence, he would not have engaged in embarrassing backdowns to try to get his bill over the line.

He knows the Greens will not vote for a bill unless it is restricted to terminal illness and at present it covers far more than that.


This will necessitate some very fancy footwork by David Seymour, but even this will not change the fact this is a very dangerous bill with many unforeseen consequences.

Even just one of these — the extension of euthanasia to children over time, as foreshadowed by the Attorney General's report and the current Canadian experience — should be enough to scupper it in the minds of all caring MPs.

Glen Eden

Chathams delights

I would like to congratulate Air Chathams, and Merv's Chatham Island Tours for the wonderful five-day tour we have just returned from — a fantastic journey of discovery, to the Pacific archipelago, the Chatham Islands, stepping back in time to how things used to be.

In the South Pacific Ocean 860km east of Christchurch, the Chatham Islands are New Zealand's most easterly region. Of the 11 islands, Chatham (90,000ha) has a population of 600 people. Pitt Island is 6300ha and about 30 people live there.

The other islands are uninhabited.

After a 2-hour flight we arrived at the Chatham Islands' rather bleak Tuuta Airport (19km northeast of Waitangi township where the hotel was situated).

Hotel Chathams was a first class-hotel that looks out across Waitangi Bay to the broad, sweeping beach and Red Bluff in the distance. We were served exotic gourmet seafoods every night and continental breakfasts and got picnic lunches every day — always something very tasty and fresh fruit.

Every day we travelled in our tour buses to every corner of the island, enjoying the varied terrain of rocky coastlines, majestic cliffs, volcanic peaks, rolling hills, flat swamplands, lagoons and sandy beaches. Sometimes we travelled over large farms, opening and shutting gates all the way to reach our picturesque destinations. Most roads were rough, loose metal and were barely two-way — often very windy and up hill and down dale.
We even went to the Chatham Island races (the Jockey Club was established in 1874), which was enjoyed by all.

Fishing is the major industry on the island.

A highlight was the fishing expedition, where those who went fishing were given fish to bring back to New Zealand.

These are just a few of the many highlights to enjoy on the island. I would encourage anyone to go to these unique islands to enjoy the wonderful hospitality and experience the natural beauty.


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