Breakfast of bigwigs
The deeper mystery surrounding the Clare Curran-Carol Hirschfeld debacle ( Editorial, April 14) is why two presumably intelligent people agreed to a breakfast meeting of this nature in the first place.
Both women must have been acutely aware of the “rules” behind this type of prearranged get-together.
That is the real puzzle. Trish Bishop (Hamilton)
CHAIR OF THE BORED
I disagree with Bill Ralston – I don’t believe there will ever be equal numbers of men and women in the boardroom ( Life, April 7).
I don’t think many women are going to prefer the endless company of their bored-room companions to that of their children. Women are underrepresented in high-powered, stressful jobs because they prefer to do the most important, although worst-paid, job in the world. Helen Carver (Takapau) It’s good of Bill Ralston to explain to the Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter that she “needs to realise that for women, the situation is changing rapidly” with regard to the gender pay gap. He quotes figures of 85% of board members being male, yet goes on to suggest that “in one generation or less … there will be gender parity both on boards and in Parliament”.
Perhaps he is not aware that when the Ministry for Women was set up in 1984 – 34 years ago; more than a generation – one of its goals was to get 50:50 gender representation on boards.
It set up a Women’s Appointment File with the task of nominating well-qualified women for such positions. The figures show the dismal failure of that effort. Little wonder that Genter is using provocative language to get that point across. Jill Abigail (Otaki)
MAKING EV CARS GO
Christopher Feltham’s claim that nuclear-power generation will be needed to allow electric vehicles to replace petroldriven ones ( Letters, April 14) is the same fallacious argument that has been trotted out for decades by those who wish for a continuation of centralised power generation and the resulting cartel pricing.
Forty years ago, my wife and I demonstrated against nuclear energy in New Hampshire, before emigrating to New Zealand. Our friends thought our activism was misguided until the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl power-plant meltdowns, after which they apologised. Now we have Fukushima poisoning the Pacific.
It was pointed out in New Hampshire that solar panels could be put on every roof in the state for less than the nuclear plant would cost. This is even more true today.
A similar argument applies to John Moore’s claim ( Letters, April 14) that the embedded energy of EV batteries makes them more costly in carbon terms than internal-combustion engines. EV batteries can be and are being recycled where their use is more common.
As solar energy displaces fossil fuels, the carbon content of the embedded energy decreases, rather than staying the same, as Moore implies. New Zealand must move as rapidly as possible to encourage solar and EV uptake and a smart grid, ignoring specious delaying arguments. Michael Delceg (Takaka) It was great to see coverage of electric cars (“Battery charges”, March 31). But the charging tips provided in the article say it is best to set the charging limit to 80% and there is no need to keep topping up.
This may be true for a Nissan Leaf, but not for a BMW i3 (I can’t speak for other cars). The BMW battery-management system effectively controls heat, and the ABC mantra applies: always be charging. David Trubridge (Havelock North)
Diana Wichtel ( TV Review, April 7) contends that Barack
Obama changed the world for the better just by showing up for work. That may be, but it could have been so much more.
After a hopeless President, he gave hope. He rivalled John Kennedy for projecting his vision; intelligent, articulate, aware, he delivered wellcrafted speeches wonderfully. He told us: “Yes we can!”
His Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on expectation, not action. But he did not promote peace. He ramped up drone warfare. He financed and armed factions in proxy wars and civil wars. Had he learnt nothing from the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan?
He could have changed the system after the global financial crisis, but he surrendered to the bankers.
His diplomacy was patchy. Despite his inclination, he failed to advance the process towards a just settlement in Palestine. He pandered to Saudi Arabia and betrayed the protesters of Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
His successes, the Paris Climate Accord and the Iranian Nuclear Deal, were essentially European initiatives.
Is it a case of charisma obscuring lack of substance? Jim Colvine (Mangawhai Heads)
The three parties to the new Government agreed to invest in regional development ( Editorial, April 7). Unless they intend to merely pay lip service to that policy, they should collectively endorse the comments of New Zealand First’s Shane Jones about Air New Zealand abandoning uneconomic regional routes.
If there is a real commitment to the regions, the Government should meet that cost, whether it consists of assistance in the provision of rail or air services or providing employment or any other service. David Miller (Blenheim)
I was heartened to read in Marc Wilson’s April 7 column ( Psychology) the acknowledged physiological and psychological effects of wind.
As a teacher of primary-aged children for nearly 20 years, I know first-hand that on windy days, children can be crazy and exhausting to deal with.
What’s more, although people argue that the moon has no effect on human behaviour, I bet that many teachers have woken to a howling gale on their duty day, realised it is also a full moon and uttered words they would chastise a child in their class for saying.
Teachers the world over will be able to attest to the fact that often, on days when these two occurrences combine, the playground atmosphere can only be described as feral. Lesley Boswell (Auckland)
I have been a regular cycle commuter in Wellington for more than 30 years and I fully agree with the helmets Editorial (“Heads-up”, March 31).
In my experience, from
accidents I have had and from observing others, head impact and injury are likely whenever a rider hits the ground while travelling forward at almost any speed, whether or not a motor vehicle is involved. Helmets provide effective protection against this.
Even if other vehicles were the only danger, I have seen no evidence that this risk is lessening or that cycling is becoming safer.
By all means encourage sustainable transport with more cycling infrastructure. But in the meantime, the fines for helmet non-compliance should be quadrupled and/ or ACC cover removed for cycling head injuries where helmets are not worn. Simon Miller (Lower Hutt) Although an enthusiastic non-helmet wearer, I mainly comply with the law, primarily out fear of my wife and the cops, in that order. Overseas, however, the hair gets to fly free as cyclists are deemed able to decide their own level of risk in just about every country.
The argument that when we injure our brains we become a liability to the state and a burden on our loved ones is valid to an extent, but fears of
this nature are an inhibitor of outdoor activity.
If we made helmets optional, lots more people would cycle and the cops would no longer have to chase me for this particular crime against humanity. Sadly, I don’t think it will stop my wife giving me grief. Murray Jones (Christchurch)
It was disappointing that Jordan Peterson’s comments about transgender issues went unchallenged (“Cold-comfort contrarian”, April 7).
Does Peterson work with transgender people? Does he understand the processes they go through before they even begin to face trying to persuade a medical authority that they are “worthy” of the changes they want to make? Has he spent time finding out why pronouns matter so much to them? I’d be surprised.
His comments sounded similar to the level of insight expressed when gays and lesbians started to have a voice: they were accused of jumping on a bandwagon.
Peterson may be an intelligent man, but that doesn’t make him an authority on everything. I believe his comments do a great disservice to the struggles experienced by transgender people. Mike Cole (Upper Hutt)
Lindsay Rogers was a New Zealand surgeon who served with Yugoslav leader Josip Tito’s partisans in World War
He recounted his time there in his book Guerrilla Surgeon, published in 1957. Although this was translated into Slovenian in 1962, it was heavily censored because it criticised the Communist Party and Soviet dominance of the partisan movement.