Free­dom to choose off the agenda

The New Zealand Herald - - Editorial & Letters -

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.

Pedes­tri­ans care­less

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

In­equal­ity sad­dens

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

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