OUR thanks to Frank Gibson for his excellent report on the recent lecture about meat being replaced by textured vegetable protein.

I have noticed that vegetable growers here on the Waimarino plains rely on crop diversity to maintain long-term production without troublesome diseases. Different vegetables are planted in succeeding years, then a field is left in grass for about six years in 10. Similar rest periods are needed for healthy pea and bean crops.

A few sheep or cattle can be put into any small hillside paddock, and with very little financial input they will turn protein from clover into edible meat or milk protein for many years. When times are difficult, sheep and cattle can be moved on foot to their consumers in the cities.

But to obtain enough edible protein to feed our population from broad beans, peas or soy beans, food producers would have to lease new areas of expensive, well-drained ploughable land each year, as well as buying expensive imported machinery, imported diesel and imported chemicals to dessicate, plough, fertilise, cultivate, sow, irrigate, prevent disease, kill weeds, gather the crop and transport it to consumers. They would also have to export enough produce to pay for their imports.

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In this era of moderate temperatures, reliable rainfall, cheap fuels, easy finance and open sea lanes, that vegan option with its high-cost, high-tech, high-import protein production system may be the cheapest way to provide New Zealanders with protein. But disease, drought, recession, war and restricted imports are inevitable in the future.Our thanks to Frank Gibson for his excellent report on the recent lecture about meat being replaced by textured vegetable protein.

I have noticed that vegetable growers here on the Waimarino plains rely on crop diversity to maintain long-term production without troublesome diseases. Different vegetables are planted in succeeding years, then a field is left in grass for about six years in 10. Similar rest periods are needed for healthy pea and bean crops.

A few sheep or cattle can be put into any small hillside paddock, and with very little financial input they will turn protein from clover into edible meat or milk protein for many years. When times are difficult, sheep and cattle can be moved on foot to their consumers in the cities.

But to obtain enough edible protein to feed our population from broad beans, peas or soy beans, food producers would have to lease new areas of expensive, well-drained ploughable land each year, as well as buying expensive imported machinery, imported diesel and imported chemicals to dessicate, plough, fertilise, cultivate, sow, irrigate, prevent disease, kill weeds, gather the crop and transport it to consumers. They would also have to export enough produce to pay for their imports.

In this era of moderate temperatures, reliable rainfall, cheap fuels, easy finance and open sea lanes, that vegan option with its high-cost, high-tech, high-import protein production system may be the cheapest way to provide New Zealanders with protein. But disease, drought, recession, war and restricted imports are inevitable in the future. It would be wise to maintain a wide variety of protein options to ensure that New Zealanders remain well fed in difficult times.

JOHN ARCHER
Ohakune


Water at hall needed

I hope that while our council is upgrading the municipal hall, thought has been given to providing a drinking fountain on the first floor.

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Too often people overcome by coughing during a presentation have had to go downstairs to ask for a glass of water from the very obliging office staff. Not easy for the elderly.

On a different subject, I would like to support the person who suggested some weeks ago that we paint the Dublin St Bridge orange. It would look fantastic and would certainly put us on the map.

JEAN MCDAVITT
Whanganui


Labour's Budget

One of the great things about the Labour Government's Budget was that it forecast a substantial surplus after years of deficits under the previous National administration.

When the Key Government took power, the national debt they inherited was under $20 billion. When the National Party left office they had increased this to just under $90 billion and yet in the election they campaigned that they were good economic managers. The opposite was true and their statements were false propaganda.

This kind of financial mismanagement was what led to the virtual bankruptcies of countries such as Greece and Zimbabwe and should be taken very seriously. Before the next election the National Party should change its agenda to more responsible fiscal policies with prudent economic management aimed at budget surpluses reducing the national debt rather than increasing it.

ELWYN EVANS
Gonville


Reusable shopping bags

I now read that Sydney health experts are warning that reusable shopping bags are perfect breeding grounds for E. coli, yeast and mould and that they can also provide the ideal conditions for cockroaches. It was said that there was a much greater risk of food-borne illnesses from reusable bags than single-use bags. Surprise!

They also said reusable bags, especially the woven "green" bags (which are more porous), can harbour bacteria that can cause food contamination and therefore health problems. It seems only about 3 per cent of us regularly wash our reusable bags! You did know to wash them, eh!

I keep my multi-use bags in the car and was then told the heat in the car then builds up the health risk. I am so dumb! So, now I keep them in the house and it seems cockroaches love em! Worse, I now own about 30 multi-use bags due to forgetfulness and very poor self-discipline.

Avani Eco, an Indonesian company with its headquarters in Bali, makes bags made from cassava, an edible tropical root that is cheap and abundant in Indonesia, with the words "I am not plastic" on them. They do break down quickly in water. Avani Eco produces goods including cassava carrier bags and straws fashioned from corn starch, which they say biodegrades relatively quickly and doesn't leave any toxic residue.

We must look at natural measures like the use of cassava, corn starch, sugar cane and recycled paper.

ROSS FALLEN
Castlecliff


Send your letters to: The Editor, Wanganui Chronicle, 100 Guyton St, PO Box 433, Wanganui 4500; or email editor@wanganuichronicle.co.nz