WHANGANUI District Council CEO asks: "If you want something to stop, let me know". Mr Fell, I would like you to stop Whanganui and Partners.

It now has a board chair with at least four board members. Two (more?) board positions were recently advertised. It has a chief executive with a management team of five, but he is looking for more. One of his team was recently employed by the council, where her role seemed very similar to what it now is as a member of the Whanganui and Partners management team. Why could she not do that job as a council employee? Does she now get paid more?

Are there council employees currently assisting Whanganui and Partners? Others who may be considered fit for transfer?

The chief executive of Whanganui and Partners has a budget from which he distributes money to events which happen regardless of the existence of Whanganui and Partners. That gift of money could have come directly from the council.

This economic development agency continues to waffle along and fails to justify its existence with any original work.

I wonder how much money Whanganui and Shenanigans is receiving in total from my council, because I cannot find that information on their website. All I can find are abstract intentions and superfluous commentary on items or events that already exist due to others' efforts.

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If this organisation fails, it will be good news for ratepayers, because money currently being wasted will be saved. If it is allowed to expand, I believe it will profit at community expense, and at the expense of genuine community groups, with less guarantee of oversight and increased problems with democratic participation.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. Everyone involved with Whanganui and Partners may be performing their roles out of love. Or paid with money from some other non-ratepayer source.

ROD SACH
Castlecliff


Persecution part of deal

Sonya Bateson is correct in saying criticism is not discrimination. However, she apparently makes an exception to this in relation to criticism of alternative lifestyles. This is a double standard, and in a world where 80 per cent of faith-related persecution is against Christians, it is little wonder some are feeling under attack.

Those who trust Jesus know persecution is part of the deal. We will be marginalised because the standards we live by offend the world's "I am my own god and will do as I please" mantra.

Just to be clear, Christians are called to love those around them regardless of the choices made by those people. That does not equal endorsing their lifestyle choices or failing to speak about how God calls us to live.

A person who lies is still precious to God, but if they keep lying, ultimately that will destroy their life. Sin is destructive.

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MANDY DONNE-LEE
Aramoho


Manuka honey definition

We applaud the public attention focused on the science of manuka honey. (Re: Beekeeping with Paul Dykes: Scientists seek pure essence of manuka).

Dykes mentions that: "There may even be a need to differentiate the geographical definition on regional factors, with Northland beekeepers now finding some of their manuka honey fails to meet the latest testing markers set down by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI)."

As a group of scientists involved in the NZ manuka honey industry, we would like to clarify the issue of manuka honey failing to meet the definition in Northland.

MPI determined a definition for manuka honey that accounts for regional differences and stand by this process and the definition.

Unfortunately, an eleventh-hour MPI regulatory change moved the level of one of the chemicals (2'-MAP) from 1 to 5 mg/kg. There is evidence that this excludes more than 50 per cent of Northland's monofloral manuka honey.

This regulatory move was not supported by compelling science.

If the more than 50 per cent of Northland-produced manuka honey, which currently does not meet MPI's standard, is blended with clover honey the mix meets the multifloral manuka standard. This is totally unacceptable.

We have been reminding MPI of their own internationally approved scientific evidence for six months.

It is time MPI addressed concerns in order to ensure consumer confidence in manuka honey.

DR JOHN CRAIG, DR GRAHAM WOOD, PROFESSOR EMERITUS ALISTAIR WILKINS, DR NEIL MITCHELL, DR ANNE STEWART, DR OKSANA BOROWIK
Coromandel


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