I've been a fan of MMP since it was introduced and like the way it has transformed New Zealand's Parliament into a diverse assembly that is the envy of countries worldwide.
Prime Minister Ardern and her large, fantastically diverse women's caucus last week featured in a Time magazine centrespread photo/story as an exception to the stale, pale, male tradition that prevails in so many governments.
But recent events have made me question whether MMP isn't past its use-by date, like National MPs Nick Smith who resigned [citing an inquiry into a "verbal altercation" in his office] and his replacement Harete Hipango.
These two were soundly rejected by the voters of their respective electorates – Nelson for Smith and Whanganui for Hipango – just eight months ago but have ridden their list positions back to parliamentary salaries and perks.
Nice work if you can get it. [Abridged]
What's causing extreme events?
The editorial (Chronicle, June 1) blames our changing climate (global warming) for the devastating Canterbury flooding, stating that such extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and increasing in intensity.
History shows that similar weather events have occurred in the past. The 1863 Clutha flood in which 100 lives were lost saw the river rise 10m and a flow rate of up to 5700 cubic metres/sec. Another flood in 1878 caused even more damage. In the 1938 Kopuawhara flood, 21 lives were lost. Whataroa received 430mm rain in 10 hours on March 26, 1953. But perhaps the heaviest rain was on Mt Taranaki in 1971 when 795mm was recorded. From June 3, 1980, Dunedin Airport was under water for six weeks. The 1984 Southland flood left 1200 homes uninhabitable and thousands of stock losses. Cyclone Bola brought 900mm rain in 72 hours with 514mm recorded in one day during 1988.
To accept that climate change is now causing extreme events we need to explain what caused historical events.
If indeed there is now more flooding and predicted to increase further then how do we explain droughts which, with climate change, are also predicted to increase at the same time?
Traditional religious beliefs
I don't have much truck with Professor Geering (referenced in Letters, June 3), but disagree with much that one hears of him. It may be in his agenda that "Europeans do not" fit with traditional religious belief. It may be part of our perceived intelligence and human pride, to dismiss things we do not understand.
Yet one cannot deny reality. Look at the hills and the sky, and ask yourself, how can they be? Consider time and space, and ask where did they begin, and where will they end? Count the stars, or grains of sand. Common sense does not let us look only at "this world and this time".
Some things we do not know and cannot understand. Some may say it just happened with a bang, but surely that's nonsense, for who made the bang?
The only possible answer is God - however you may know him. I believe early Māori - as early people everywhere - looked to gods or God beyond limits of our understanding.