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Letters to the Editor

Outstanding leadership from New Zealand mayors

The Mayors of New Zealand’s two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch have

united with a joint proposal for an alternative plan for the divisive 3waters issue. Mayors

from Waimakariri and Manawatu are already backing the scheme and we should see a

landslide of N.Z. Mayors joining them in standing up for their communities as the proposal is taken on board The new proposal maintains crucial aspects of central governments existing plan, while

maintaining local ownership, control and accountability. It also suggests they will

accept mana whenua input, but not cogovernance. This is a complex and lengthy

document and details are available online. Try

The leadership of Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown and Christchurch’s Phil Mauger is

nothing short of outstanding and is to be highly commended. We trust we will be able

to proudly stand behind our own Mayor, Len Salt, as we move away from the current

divisive plan which has failed to achieve political consensus either within or between

Parliament and local authorities.

Ady Cole-Ewen


Pohutukawa poisoning

Dear Madam,

I admired the passion in Lee Barraclough’s letter in Tuesday, 1 November edition of

your fine periodical. Lee is obviously fervent in her desire to protect trees and I respect

that however I also respect the Council acknowledging that trees can get out of hand,

take over land for no purpose and upset the rate payers.

Having read Lee’s letter I decided to do a quick count which showed there are slightly

over a trillion pohutakawas in the Mercury Bay environs. This figure is a worry as it is

common knowledge that when populations of living things get too high they turn on each

other. Signs of this happening are obvious; pohutakawas on berms are cracking footpaths

in their desire to escape larger members of their species; other pohutakawas act like

lemmings trying to hurl themselves from sand spits into the sea. There are just too many of

them and it is good to see the council take a stand for population control.

The Council must expand its battle and I suggest they take moves to protect the

Taputapuatea spit which, contrary to earlier agreements made, has become inundated with

refugee Pohutakawas. They creep in at night and are taking our land from us. Pohutakawas

of many nationalities (they are not just New Zealand natives) are forming enclaves and

abusively raising the twig at their neighbours. This must be stopped; after all there are

trillions of Pohutakawa but only one vista of the Bay and tourists don’t come here to look

at yet another tree. But when Lee asks “Is anyone else concerned with the amount of poisonous

chemicals ….” She has me on side. I am concerned; chainsaws would be far cheaper

and more efficient.


Trevor Ammundsen


Failure of the education system

Dear Editor,

Every child who leaves the education system as an illiterate is a failure that need not have

happened. In the past we were proud that our schools’ reading and numeracy skills were

world-leading. So what happened? I can think of five reasons.

Firstly, Rogernomics and Lange removed collegiality, where older teachers would help

new teachers by putting competition between teachers for promotion in the hands of lay

people. Also removing the benign influence of Education Boards who would know

teachers after pocket-money. Secondly, the introduction of decimal

currency removed the relevancy of the teacher-honed primary school maths textbooks

and replaced them with USA maths rubbish to save money. Where are our

curriculum-based NZ text books? Thirdly, in line with number 1, Friedman

philosophy took principals (management) to form the principals association out of the

all-encompassing teachers union (NZEI). Do we still have in-service course to upskill

classroom teachers? Fourthly, the accountability of principals seems lost. They are responsible for their school standards! When did you last see one given a demonstration lesson in a classroom

or taking a check up on mental arithmetic and tables? Taking a class pile of workbooks to

check on handwriting in this age of computer keys (bread and butter subjects.) Where did

the ‘back-to-basics’ group go? Fifthly, reading has been round for a

couple of thousand years so the teaching system should be fairly foolproof now. Pretty

pictures and fun titles are only a small part of the learning. Graded vocabulary, repetition

and unambiguous content are also needed. New Zealand had many systems like ‘Janet

and John’ in the past but a teacher-honed series called ‘Ready to Read’ was by far the

most exhaustive and efficient. Where is it now? Did selling off the Government Printer

cause a glitch to this wonderful resource?

Failing readers were bolstered by the Reading Recovery’ system.

All of this should be covered by teacher training in the Training Colleges so there is

no ‘teacher shortage’. Where does truancy fit into this? Or do we need an underclass of

community citizen?


Peter H. Wood

TWO men!

Dear Editor,

Last week The Informer (issue 1026) reported that Damon Christensen was the only man

among 200 women at the Lions High Tea “Tea and Music”. Not correct.

I was there as a bona fide ticket holder. And I have every reason to believe that I am a man.

Peter G Hull

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