UPON reading the two-page Whanganui District Council's "Representation Review Final Proposal" (Chronicle, September 14) my first thought was what justification has the council for the expense incurred by expanding on to two pages that which could have been included in one and a half?
One does not see so much white spacing or excessive use of large fonts in any other part of this paper.
My next was about the number of ratepayers who responded to the initial proposal. Ten people out of a population of 45,500 responded! Why such a low response?
I doubt it was because of a lack of interest in what the council is doing, as the opinion pages of the Chronicle regularly contain letters from residents about that. I believe there is a simple explanation and it is that the council is not responsive to ratepayer's views or opinions. As evidence, I use one of the subjects referred to in this proposal, "Changing the name of the Rural Community Board".
On August 10 I sent a polite email to all seven members of the board asking for their personal reasons in voting to change the name. More than a month has passed and I have only one reply and that promptly from the chairman David Matthews, explaining that he was the only member who voted against the change. For this I thank you, David.
The other six members — elected by us to listen to us and represent us, the Wanganui rural ratepayers and residents — have ignored me.
What justification have these six members for this? Their emails were sent to their addresses listed on the council web site and clearly, David Matthews received his.
Here is the reason 45,490 Wanganui residents did not respond to the council's initial proposal. They are being ignored and, as a result, see no purpose in wasting time responding. Will the day come when they also see no purpose in wasting their time voting for a mayor and councillors to represent them?
The question of prisons
John Tanner, who made the front page of the Chronicle (Raapa, 12 Mahuru) in unhappy circumstances, was well brought up by fine, upstanding parents. I worked as a volunteer alongside his mother at a now-defunct live theatre in Whanganui (I think both of us were on the theatre board for a time). His father was a respected person in a branch of law enforcement and probably worked alongside a couple of brothers-in-law of mine for a time.
Certainly the man's mother was a good friend of my ex-wife, who happened to work in the probation service those years ago. I met his father only once, when I personally delivered a Christmas card with a few supportive comments for them on it, in that terrible year long ago.
It seems the British justice system let a good young man down, by doing nothing to address an obvious need for coaching in anger management, over 12 years in a British jail.
I hope the New Zealand justice system does better by this man. In case anybody is offended by my personal opinions, consider two facts:
In recent weeks, the Chronicle published a variety of opinions from people who know about these things, about what is lacking in our prison system. There is a call for training in anger management at least, alongside the development of social skills to help offenders stay out of jail (to revert to NZ's common use of the American spelling).
John Tanner's girlfriend is sticking by him. I think we should take note of that. How much more obvious can it be that she sees finer qualities within him?
Let us hope that this man gets all the help he needs during this stay "at Her Majesty's pleasure", and upon his release, his girlfriend can stand by him and be his "rock" until he settles into life as a free man again, in better control of himself.
Springboks' win deserved
The All Blacks have had a real wake-up call and the loss to South Africa would have done them good.
Kieran Read has a lot to answer for as the captain. I had a cheeky $10 on the Boks with my neighbour and came out on top.
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