Smile and wave

It's nowhere near a year, in fact only eight months, since John Key resigned as PM. But already he has been rewarded with a well-arranged knighthood, in almost unseemly haste.

That was in June.

In July he was made an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia.


In August it was announced that he will be given an honorary doctorate by Canterbury University.

That's pretty quick going, gathering in awards like gambling chips in Monte Carlo.

What is September's effort going to be? Will it be a sainthood from Pope Francis?

Or is there something that he deserves more than that?


FPP, please

I hope the WDC decides to abandon the proposal to change the voting system to Single Transferable Vote (STV) and stays with First Past the Post (FPP).

The experience I have had with voting for the hospital board elections has convinced me that STV is definitely not the way to go.

Sorting out who to vote for takes a bit of time, and there are candidates who appear as an obvious choice, and others that who one would never vote for. Then there are the candidates that, for all sorts of reasons, one thinks could possibly become reasonable councillors, but how does one rank them?

As voters we don't have enough information to make a meaningful ranking.

The candidates who stand out will always get elected, regardless of the voting system. All that STV may perhaps do is alter the placings of the last few candidates.

It will make little difference to the overall calibre, ability and intelligence of the Whanganui District Council.

Make things friendly for the voters. FPP is simple; just a tick and then the votes are counted. The results are easy to understand.

No complicated transferable votes that, without a computer, are impossible to comprehend.

Please, WDC, take note of the 2013 Hamilton referendum, where 70 per cent of voters preferred FPP.


Say what?

Are you kidding me? I mean the word of the day for Friday, August 11. Anybody ever heard of "omphaloskepsis" before we all saw it in the Chronicle? Me neither ...

C'mon, you guys. As you reveal, it means "navel-gazing", so why not say that? Who would stick "omphaloskepsis" into a conversation?

Navel-gazing is easier to say, it has fewer syllables than its elitist counterpart, and everybody you say "navel-gazing" to will know the meaning without having to dash for dictionaries.

And good luck with those dictionaries. Of my four, only my 1980s Webster had the full "o" word. My 2009 (and relatively useless) Compact Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus ignored it completely.

To be honest, I feel pococurante about the use of words no-one understands.

It's terribly elitist, showing off like that, don't you think? Let's keep our language understandable.


Animal cruelty

It is very disturbing to see animal cruelty has become a major problem in the Tauranga area. Local vets say they have had to euthanise hedgehogs and birds that had been attacked by children, and the Tauranga SPCA reports 431 complaints last year.

Earlier this year, a 6-week-old puppy called Skip was dumped in a clothing bin, severely underweight and dehydrated. The perpetrators were never found.

Because animals cannot report abuse and can do little to fight back, they're often used as "practice" victims by those who tend towards violence.

People who commit acts of cruelty to animals often commit violence against humans.

Most disturbingly, an Australian study showed animal abuse was a better predictor of sexual assault than convictions for homicide, arson, or firearms offences. Cruelty to animals in New Zealand carries a penalty of up to $100,000 or five years' imprisonment. These penalties need to be applied rigorously by the criminal justice system.

If you suspect someone of animal abuse, report it right away.

Associate director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Australia