I AM writing to exclaim my distress on the article about resettling refugees in Whanganui.
I am a very welcoming person to all cultures. It bonds us, as the world is really one country and humanity its citizens.
What distresses me is the fact that I — a long-term Whanganui resident — have been searching for a rental home here ceaselessly, only to find prices are beyond reach and very few and far to come by.
If we cannot house ourselves, how is it that we are able to house refugees — while people like me, a single woman with two small dogs and little income, can't be housed?
The recent applications I have made to the only two affordable and viable homes (becoming available in the past three weeks) had 22 applicants. Having pets, which are my family and are extremely well trained and hypoallergenic, I am constantly on the back foot. I have no home myself.
Shouldn't we first be considering how to house the people who live here — people who have had to move out because of rising rental prices?
This is not about not welcoming others, it's about putting first things first, our own.
Vaping's no gateway
Jay Kuten's latest opinion piece (Chronicle, February 6) is more harmful than helpful — especially when we're talking about the 500,000 New Zealanders who are still smoking.
The debate about vaping needs to be grounded in facts and commentators need to comprehend the consequences and opportunities before us.
There is no debate smoke-free products are less harmful than smoking — it's the view of the Ministry of Health, Public Health England, the American Cancer Society and the Canadian Government, just to name a few.
Last week the NZ Herald reported that vaping was nearly twice as effective for getting smokers to quit. Public Health England's reports have also found that attempts to quit increase when smokers have access to e-cigarettes.
Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) New Zealand have found that vaping isn't the "gateway to smoking" Mr Kuten is trying to make it out to be. Ash's youth smoking survey of 26,000 students doesn't support this as their data found e-cigarette use largely confined to students who already smoke.
Co-founder/co-director Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy
Thanks, Dave Scoullar, for your timely Conservation Comment (January 28).
Timely for us because we've just spent an enjoyable weekend supporting a second cousin on her rest day in Whanganui and then on the beginning of the next section of her journey.
She also appreciated local support from Aramoho and Koitiata camp grounds, and the many fellow walkers she is meeting (and often re-meeting) on the walk.
Besides having learned how to walk through lots of mud, she has also learnt our awa has rapids.
Apparently it had been raining inland in hillier parts when we had been enjoying sun in Whanganui, so many parts of the central trail were damp.
And although told it would be easier to take heavier things in the canoe barrel than she could carry in her pack she was not aware, until she had to do it, that she'd have to carry the barrel up to each of the awa's campsites.
She is also concerned about reports from parts of the South Island trail that they are running out of water and asking walkers to skip some sections. Sections that she was looking forward to doing.
She doesn't want it to rain while she is doing the Tararua sections either but thinks it would probably have to if rain is to fall in the northern South Island.
She finds road walking boring but is determined to do each section of the trail.
Not bad for a freelance healthcare journalist who has spent the past few years living in London.
She is doing it to push past her comfort zone and fight self-doubt while raising funds for the charities Mind in the UK and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. And to prove that negative thoughts don't have to hold her back from this goal and that we can all own our own awareness.
Katrina is keeping a blog of how she is finding the journey, or you can follow her on Twitter — @KatrinaMegget if you wish.
So thanks, David, for giving us some more background info. We will forward your article to Katrina too.
May we all fulfil a dream in 2019.
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