Oh, well done, Paul Brooks. Upon commencing my reading of your editorial (Chronicle, August 25) I was perplexed with your change from sombre criticism to gay approval, but as I progressed, more and more subtle tongue-in-cheek nuances winked lasciviously at me until I came to understand.

However, I doubt that all your other readers will, and they may very well, like Monty Python's Conservative Candidate for the North Minehead Byelection, "... just drone on and on and on and on without letting anyone else get a word in edgeways, until (they) start foaming at the mouth and falling over backwards."

V W BALLANCE
Westmere


Keep water clean

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Bryanne Weber's informative letter warning us against fluoridation prompts me to point out that Gisborne has been fluoridated since 1965 yet it officially has the worst pre-school teeth in the country.

I live not far from two dairies and a Four Square superette. Nearly every time I visit these shops, I find youngsters clutching large bottles of fizzy-drink purchased for them by a parent. To think that almost 100 per cent of the fluorides added to the water here are not imbibed at all.

Water is supposed to be a taonga — to be protected from pollutants.
At least W(h)anganui is so far free from such nonsense.

HEATHER MARION SMITH
Social Credit, Gisborne


Free speech precious

Amen, Dr Jonathan Tracy: "... and if we can't do those things [ie. in brief, enjoy freedom of speech], then why are we claiming to be a university at all?" (Dr Tracy is a lecturer in classical studies, School of Humanities, Massey University).

I hope everybody read his editorial (Chronicle, August 18, "Free speech a safety valve"). I put it more bluntly. I say, if we pander to the narrow-minded, the bullying bigots, the ones who get hostile because we may dare to have a different opinion to theirs, then we have already lost our open, free, democratic society.

STAN HOOD
Aramoho


Words hit home

What a sensible letter written by A. Barron (Chronicle, August 27) questioning whether boxer Joseph Parker was a good example for students of "what can be achieved in this world".

Yes, let these students have the opportunity to hear the benefits of a worthwhile career in the forces. The other choice could be speakers who teach the world about compassion and caring for one's fellow man.

JEAN HANSEN
Marton


Personal agendas

I attended the Oral Submission on the End of Life Bill and am disturbed that so many opponents of this bill are of conservative or religious in nature who often preach that government should have less impact on people's lives.

However, it is ironic that they wish that the reduced levels of government be replaced by their own personal beliefs. "Life is sacred". I look forward to them opposing war.
Relief of pain is a last-century thing; in previous centuries pain was a part of life! Laudanum, anyone? Been around a long time, pre-Roman times.

It is important to distinguish between the moral and legal aspects of belief. There is no need for emotive hysteria over this bill, it is only for those who want it and need it, are mentally capable of informed consent and are going to die anyhow.

It harms no one else, does not put huge cost on the health system. Death, as they say, is as inevitable as taxes; it is a natural conclusion to life.

I would like to reiterate that this law was drafted to protect the vulnerable who die each year in intolerable pain. Ten per cent of terminally ill patients cannot be treated for pain, despite what Palliative Care NZ says. This was said and acknowledged in the Lucretia Seales case (Justice Collins implicitly stated this in his findings).

We should be able to choose the manner of our dying as much as is possible for each of us.

ELAINE HAMPTON
Durie Hill


The helpful type
What joy to pick up the weekend edition of the Chronicle and a find a font that is easily read.

PETER JOHNSTON
Whanganui East


Emotional words are a tool

Psyched out by a psychiatrist? Jay Kuten's evident pluralism once again sets up religious absolutism (Christianity) as the whipping boy in the legalised suicide debate ("Religion in public space", Wanganui Chronicle, August 22).

Religious opposition was not even a concerted thing when legalised suicide advocates began their campaign to get David Seymour's bill across the line, but it was used from the start. It has been a repeated mantra, intended to tap into the negativity toward Christianity. Jay comments that "manipulation of emotion with appeal to the primitive is the very opposite of respect for and enhancement of dignity".

That sentence construction and choice of words is itself designed to manipulate and alienate. The saying comes to mind, "They will call you what they themselves are."

Advocacy for life, against death, for the vulnerable, carries with it a clear message of reverence, respect, care and protection that transcends mere emotion. That's hard to counter. Emotionalism has more often been the consistent resort of suicide advocates, but their appeal to "dignity" is negated by their evolutionary presuppositions. Humans are not dogs to be "put down", and if they were, a bullet would be more "humane" than chemical poisoning.

JOHN HAAKMA
Whanganui


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