The whole world — including New Zealand, including Whanganui — faces the biggest crisis in its history: climate change caused by global warming. It is already too late to limit the damage much, and very soon it will be too late to limit it at all.
One of the many things we can all do is limit the use of private motor vehicles by using public transport much more.
A massive advertising campaign is necessary to make more people more aware of this increasingly serious crisis, and how using buses instead of cars will help.
Of course, a corresponding improvement to the bus service (more buses, more frequently) so that public transport is a genuine alternative for motorists is also necessary.
I've once or twice had a letter moulder in an editor's in-tray for a month or two, but Mr Piper's five-and-a-half-month delay between my responses to Ms Raaymakers and Mr Halpin takes tardiness and procrastination to new dimensions.
The group I relate to ("ilk") is the majority in almost all liberal democracies which have passed current laws defining the causes and needs for abortion in modern societies.
That, of course, includes New Zealand, which is in the process of revisiting our legislation to see whether and in what way(s) it may need modifying.
The opposite "ilk", to which Mr Piper belongs is conservative in deeply traditional and religious ways, whether Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Protestant (especially in the USA), Muslim, and so on.
When such forces are part of or exert powerful influence on national governments, as e.g. in many South American states or traditional Muslim states in both the Middle East and parts of Asia, women can not influence or even advance arguments for abortion.
As Mr Piper himself puts it, where the foetus is defined as "human" at every stage of development, "no matter what 'reasons' are proposed to justify termination of the pregnancy", they are held to be invalid.
That is what is fundamentally wrong with broad-brush anti-abortionism; it prefers to argue for "revealed truth" and the authority of religious leaders, and against evidence and reason (let alone humane considerations such as compassion).
This, however, does not bring us to "end of story" but to an impasse that we have agreed to be adjudicated by parliamentary democracy.
FPP 'more honourable'
Steve Baron ( Chronicle, March 26, 2019) supports a system of voting that only political parties have an interest in manipulating. The present New Zealand Government is an example of being ruled by minorities. Is this how democracy works?
For some millennia, voters have said the majority rules because that is the popular result. That can be less than 50 per cent, but the larger number then turns to the minorities, not the other way around. That is why First Past the Post is the more honourable ... and the more transparent.
Unless you are a Republican saying votes are for the educated as the uneducated don't have a clue, FPP is the simplest, with the majority vote taking the temporary authority.
Voting for the conscious quite often means choosing the lesser evil. It may come as a surprise to some we are not all perfect. Every party has its faults and in the absence of a code of conduct (NZ is secular with only democracy as its guide) every voter in the country is faced with the same problem. Every party has a negative a voter does not want.
The vast number of voters do not have degrees, do not have degrees in political science, do have interminable problems with running their own lives and families. For the sake of sanity, keep it simple.
F R HALPIN
It is interesting that Steve Baron describes voting for someone who doesn't end up winning, in the democratic process of an election, as "wasted votes".
Although it must be said that he only says that about votes for losing candidates under the "First Past the Post" (FPP) system, and not about such votes under his favoured "Single Transferable Vote" (STV) system.
There are many people opposed to the STV system for various reasons. One reason is because the "vote" made in the STV system ranks the candidates the voter wants to vote for, so if the first preference candidate does not achieve enough votes, the vote gets transferred to the next on the voter's list.
If, for example, you voted for Mickey Mouse and he got the largest number of votes, that is your vote done. Meanwhile your brother-in-law voted for Goofy and Goofy got very few votes, so your brother-in-law's vote gets transferred to his next-choice candidate, Donald Duck.
In other words, you got one vote and your brother-in-law got two votes. And some get a third or fourth. Many would describe that as an unfair system that diminishes the rights of some voters and the power of their vote.
K A BENFELL
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