Freedom to choose off the agenda
Your Saturday editorial laments over a report that finds so very few students in professional degree courses come from our lowest decile schools. You also highlight the sad fact that choice and fairness does not exist for our poorer families. What a shame that Ministry of Education officials, bureaucrats and misguided politicians have yet to discover the power of choice.
State schooling is all about compulsion and a “one size fits all” model. Closure of the successful “charter school” model is a case in point. What will change outcomes is recognition of parents’ prior right to choose something other than the local low decile school where they happen to live.
A way forward is to adopt the concept of “money follows the child” or as it is more commonly known, “the education voucher system”. It is a simple but powerful idea where parents are given a voucher that they can redeem at any registered school of their choice. Parents can choose to invest their educational dollars in schools that get results and meet their child’s needs.
Isn’t it strange how we stridently claim freedom of choice in most areas of life but not when it involves schooling and education?
Shane Kennedy, Wattle Downs.
Ball dropped verbally
Memo to New Zealand's greatest brand, “The All Blacks”, after listening to news soundbites from Steve Hansen and Richie McCaw over the loss to South Africa, practise speaking clearly! Now even the latter has reduced his enunciating to a garbled mumble. Just because you're providing feedback about the All Blacks doesn't mean you have to talk like you're been caught halfway through chewing a lamb chop. It creates the impression that rugby players are dumbos when in fact, isn't the opposite the case?
Sam Cunningham, Henderson.
I'm amazed regularly by the behaviour of pedestrians on main city roads who just wander out in the face of oncoming traffic even in multi-lane roads at peak times, often only metres away from controlled crossings, even after dark. I suspect most pedestrian casualties result from such actions and that slowing vehicle speeds will have little effect on this.
R Howell, Onehunga.
Pride swells in anthem
I have watched via TV many All Blacks games of late and one thing comes to mind and that is how much I enjoy the New Zealand national anthem, God Defend New Zealand, sung in both te reo Ma¯ ori and English words by Thomas Bracken, and music composed by John J Woods. I am sure many other Kiwis also feel the proverbial lump in the throat. The te reo Ma¯ ori version followed by the words and music by Bracken and Woods is emotionally inspiring .
I sincerely hope there is no thought of ever changing the New Zealand current national anthem or would anyone want to especially after the fiasco of trying to change our traditional flag that many Kiwis have been proud of for many years.
Thomas Bracken also wrote the beautiful words to the poem Dunedin from the Bay, and is buried on a hill overlooking Dunedin.
Jimmi Farry, Auckland.
Excitement all round
While it is a real shame the All Blacks lost to South Africa in the weekend test match it made for a very exciting game to watch being so close, just like the both the league semifinals which were also played on the weekend. So the black cloud sure had a silver lining in three great games to view. Now if only those two All Black goal kicks had not hit the post we would have won the game.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Put onus on insurer
Diana Clement in the Herald on Sunday raises a serious issue for anyone taking out travel insurance. Few people know what is or is not a pre-existing condition and the insurer only “knows” after the event. The answer is to ask your doctor for a print-out of your medical history and enclose this with your application form. This places the onus on the insurer to state what is or is not covered before you pay the premium and denies it the option of claiming non-disclosure subsequently to avoid paying a claim.
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
It must be satire
I read Peter Williams’ column (September 15) choking on my morning coffee. Was he seriously suggesting having the national anthem only in te reo ( hardly an acknowledgment of bi-culturalism or diversity) and “give way” and “stop” signs only in Ma¯ ori? (Gosh, we have enough trouble with tourists not knowing which side of the road to drive on, without them not knowing what to do at an intersection.)
Then I realised that this was a brilliant piece of satirical writing exposing some of the silly demands for promoting te reo Ma¯ ori.
Well done, Peter, I was still laughing as I poured the milk on my corn-flakes.
Richard Prince, Welcome Bay.
Cycle lane changes
The upgrades of the Mt Albert Town Centre and the West Lynn shopping district have provoked much dialogue (Bernard Orsman, September 14).
As a partial solution to some of the traffic flow and safety issues I propose that cycle lanes are constructed more frequently on non-arterial routes and perhaps only pass within a block of major intersections and don’t proceed through shopping districts. Cyclists may have to walk a short distance to shop, much the same as any one who steps off a train or bus, or parks a car. This would still enable the flow of cyclists across the city and much more safely, while they travel less congested routes. It would also mean parking was less restricted around shops.
Additionally there would be less need to re-align traffic lanes at major intersections to accommodate cycle lanes. This having occurred at the Carrington Rd and New North Rd intersections has considerably slowed the passage of motor vehicle traffic, with further examples across the city.
Keith Brown, Mount Albert.
Ma¯ ori belittled
In his desire to belittle the call for equality, Paul Little conveniently chooses to ignore the co-leader of Hobson Pledge. Casey Costello is of Nga¯ puhi descent and is a high-achieving woman living a successful life. She just doesn't fit Little's narrative. Many, many Ma¯ ori are leaders in science, education, business, the arts and political fields to name a few. Many, many others may not be at the top of any ladders but they are living very good lives just like most other Kiwis. Little delivers on his name by belittling all Ma¯ ori by treating them all as one permanently damaged group with special needs.
Fiona Mackenzie, Whangaparaoa.
Te reo not for all
Although I respect those people who genuinely wish to speak te reo, I don't wish to. I resent having the views of others forced down my throat. Learn te reo if you wish, but don't make everybody learn it.
Similarly, the haka. I squirm with embarrassment when this war dance is trotted out. It is being performed on too many occasions now. And as for the suggestion that our national anthem be sung only in te reo — I would consider that an insult.
A N Christie, Rotorua.
Activists need chill pills
One cannot blame Steve Braunias for his third week portrayal of Jacinda Ardern’s alleged political turmoil. However, one would have to say it could be considered sexist or even biased when comparing it to how previous leaders have been treated.
The media cannot wait to rip into Ardern or the the coalition Government when there is the slightest ripple on the water. What they don’t appreciate, or don’t want to as it makes good headlines, is that it would be miraculous if coalition partners agreed on all policies. This is the beauty of coalitions instead of a autocratic leadership we have democracy at work.
Looking back at the last three weeks, apart from Curran’s enforced meltdown the world has remained on axis and will stay that way providing the right-wing activists in the media take their Prozac.
Reg Dempster, Albany
Trucks doing damage
It's shocking to see the terrible damage that's occurred to the surface of the SW motorway (SH16) in the months since the Waterview tunnel opened. Presumably a result of all the massive trucks using the road which is now being resealed. I hope they pay their fair share of road user charges to cover all this damage and it's not being passed onto regular car users. Similar damage is occurring on SH1 north of the bridge.
R Howell, Onehunga
Whilst Isaac Davison's article comparing the 1890s woman and the 2018 woman may have been meant to be upbeat, I was left feeling saddened that there is still such gender inequality in NZ.
Women have 48 per cent likelihood of being in work; if that statistic were applied to men, there would be a national outrage at the state of unemployment in New Zealand.
Surely it is time to stop talking about pay parity and equal employment opportunities for men and women and just do it? Kate Sheppard must be turning in her grave.
Viktoria Jowers-Wilding, Maraetai