Break­fast of big­wigs

New Zealand Listener - - LETTERS -

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)


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)


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.

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