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Go the god­wit

It is in­deed a con­tro­ver­sial idea to re­place the kiwi with the Buller’s shear­wa­ter, how­ever, if we are go­ing to con­sider a change, may I nom­i­nate the god­wit? Like many New Zealan­ders it re­sides in a coastal en­vi­ron­ment, loves to wade in wa­ter and like the Voda­fone War­riors, turns up once a year.

An­drew Hawkey, Christchurch That the kiwi has never been of­fi­cially de­fined as a na­tional em­blem is old news in heraldic cir­cles. The sil­ver fern is in the same boat, with no more for­mal sta­tus than the Buzzy Bee or jan­dals as a na­tional sym­bol. Even the so-called arms of New Zealand are of doubt­ful le­gal va­lid­ity. Now that the choice of flag has been laid to rest, how about prop­erly defin­ing a suite of na­tional em­blems and badges?

While we are at it, we could at last join Aus­tralia and Canada (and their states and prov­inces) in hav­ing a na­tional flower (pos­si­bly the kowhai) and a na­tional min­eral (pounamu) – and per­haps even a na­tional an­i­mal (any­one for the tu­atara?).

Roger Barnes, In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer, Her­aldry So­ci­ety of New Zealand, Auck­land

Blake’s killer

I would like to con­grat­u­late you on ‘‘A killer’s con­tri­tion’’ (Fo­cus, Septem­ber 10). A fol­low-up on a hero’s death and what has be­come of the per­son who killed Sir Peter Blake, who is still missed by New Zealan­ders.

It seems the killer, even though he says sorry, has lit­tle re­gard for do­ing the right thing, hence his pre­vi­ous and prior law­less­ness and so he should be in prison for his crime. If he has an un­told story as he claims, this in­ter­view/ar­ti­cle was his chance to tell it. In­tead he danced around the ques­tions.

It seems he’s out for glory and cash with his book when he does get out of prison. He’s ob­vi­ously be­ing pro­tected in jail and looked af­ter (by his gang/drug mates or his fam­ily), com­pared to how some other pris­on­ers are be­ing treated.

This is a good story of how some­one with their life and a fu­ture ahead of them can choose the wrong path when meet­ing the wrong peo­ple, and the con­se­quences of do­ing so. It would be nice to be­lieve he is turn­ing his life around, as he sort of leads you to be­lieve, but I’m not so con­vinced of that.

Anne Fabish, Tau­ranga

Silly prom­ises

The elec­tion is turn­ing into the usual cir­cus that I have come to ex­pect over the years I have been vot­ing.

I have watched with con­cern as one or­gan­i­sa­tion af­ter another is slowly starved of gov­ern­ment largesse, lead­ing to the in­evitable rot­ting of the so­cial fab­ric that binds us to­gether as a coun­try. Then, sud­denly, in the space of a few weeks there is enough dosh for prac­ti­cally any­thing you can think of. Well pull my other one.

Tar­gets that the Gov­ern­ment has no hope of meet­ing are set or in­sisted on by bul­ly­ing in­ter­view­ers. Lift­ing 100,000 chil­dren out of poverty is now set in stone as both par­ties ap­pear to have ac­cepted the tar­get. Well, good luck with that one. Pre­sum­ably a large num­ber of trained peo­ple will be needed to make any­thing hap­pen. They must be hid­ing be­cause ev­ery­body I see cur­rently work­ing in this area seems to be over­worked al­ready.

Maybe we need a new Min­istry of Silly Prom­ises to sort out the dopey ones from the ones that we ac­tu­ally need and can af­ford.

Ge­off Or­chard, Ohaupo

Trump’s prom­ise

What an ex­tra­or­di­nary let­ter from Neil D McCabe (Septem­ber 10) roast­ing Roger Wa­ters and other ‘‘tight’’ rock stars for not giv­ing mil­lions to hur­ri­cane-rav­aged Texas.

This is un­fair. Bob Geldof made his con­tri­bu­tion to famine re­lief a ma­jor fo­cus of his life. In the case of Wa­ters, it takes lit­tle ef­fort to Google his many char­i­ties.

So Don­ald Trump has pledged a mil­lion dol­lars of his own money to Texas. And who be­lieves it? That mil­lion dol­lars, if it does go south at all, will go to Trump’s pri­vate in­ter­ests there. Trump is for Trump. There is no one else.

An­drew Lud­ding­ton, Christchurch

Vi­ta­min lift

I would like to point out to Na­dine Hig­gins that ‘‘get some Vi­ta­min D’’ is not a hack­neyed plat­i­tude; in fact it is very good ad­vice.

Vi­ta­min D is known to reg­u­late more than 2000 gene func­tions in­clud­ing con­ver­sion of es­sen­tial amino acids into dopamine, sero­tonin and thy­roid hor­mone – all es­sen­tial to pre­vent de­pres­sion, etc. An ad­e­quate in­take of mag­ne­sium is also re­quired. Most peo­ple are de­fi­cient in both, hence the present in­crease in men­tal health con­di­tions, so peo­ple should ask for a Vi­ta­min D test.

Per­haps we should re­vert to what we had in pri­mary school, cod liver oil and or­ange juice on a weekly ba­sis for starters.

Frank Row­son, Matamata

Card games

With re­gard to HOP card ‘‘cash swipes’’ (Busi­ness, Septem­ber 10), they also steal your money if you don’t use your card af­ter two years (but will give it back if you call them).

This is not the case with trans­port cards in other coun­tries. I travel a lot and have public trans­port cards for Hong Kong, Shang­hai, Tokyo, Van­cou­ver and London. None of them ex­pire, and the money I put on them stays on them. That’s why I have cards for all those cities but not for Auck­land.

A lot more peo­ple would buy HOP cards and pos­si­bly use public trans­port more of­ten if they weren’t faced with these sort of has­sles. I know I would.

Ta­nia Teamoke, Auck­land

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