Con­cert de­mands a shout-out

The New Zealand Herald - - Editorial & Letters -

Many years ago I con­cluded that of­fer­ing gra­tu­itous ad­vice was a waste of time. Lit­tle did I think that one day I might come across an event so good I would just have to make the ef­fort to share the news. Last Satur­day the Han­del Quire pre­sented a short pro­gramme of sea­son­ally re­lated mu­sic that was ab­so­lutely out­stand­ing. They are per­form­ing in Auck­land and Pukekohe this week­end. If you have a taste for this kind of mu­sic you won’t want to miss it. If you are won­der­ing if this is for you, here’s your chance to find out.

Rus­sell Par­rish, Ep­som.

Rugby ed­u­ca­tion

The pub­lic­ity over St Kentigern Col­lege’s al­leged poach­ing of play­ers for its First XV rugby team high­lights two is­sues. The first is that those who are in the sys­tem know such prac­tices are not rare among the “elite” of rugby play­ing schools. The sec­ond, and more con­cern­ing, is that such schools see suc­cess on the rugby field as an in­di­ca­tor of the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion they pro­vide. I fail to see the con­nec­tion.

David Hood, Hamil­ton.

Sub­sidised poach­ing

The angst ex­pressed by many school prin­ci­pals about the re­cruit­ment of elite rugby play­ers on “schol­ar­ships” by Saint Kentigern Col­lege ex­poses a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem. There are just over 40 in­de­pen­dent schools in New Zealand and they re­ceive over $57 mil­lion in Gov­ern­ment fund­ing each year. This is to en­sure qual­ity teach­ing with smaller class sizes. No doubt schools like St Kents have many af­flu­ent past pupils who con­trib­ute to the schol­ar­ships avail­able to re­cruit tal­ented young stu­dents to their school. How much of the state fund­ing for pri­vate schools goes to­wards these schol­ar­ships? Per­haps our Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, Chris Hip­kins, could bet­ter use some of this $57m to go to­wards the cur­rent teach­ers’ salary claim rather than pos­si­bly be used to re­cruit rugby play­ers.

Peter Jamieson, Ti­ti­rangi.

Routes changed

Yes, the buses are great, and we did get out of our cars. But then Auck­land Trans­port can­celled our good bus ser­vice and in­tro­duced in­fre­quent once-an-hour feeder buses in­stead. Five months later the feeder still trav­els around all day with none, one, or at the most two pas­sen­gers (in my ex­pe­ri­ence). For those of us not trav­el­ling reg­u­larly, a feeder could work if it ran more fre­quently. In the mean­time we are back in our cars.

Pamela Rus­sell, Orakei.

Overqual­i­fied

When I ap­plied to train to be a pri­mary school teacher, a good few years ago now, I was re­jected be­cause ap­par­ently I had “too many” science qual­i­fi­ca­tions (I have a masters de­gree in an­i­mal be­hav­iour) for pri­mary teach­ing. I re­main to this day stunned by that de­ci­sion and the ap­par­ent lack of value given to learn­ing about science in many pri­mary schools. Ta­tiana Kal­nins PhD, RD Pa­pakura.

Right to mi­grate

If our coali­tion Gov­ern­ment signs up to the United Na­tions global mi­gra­tion pact, which al­lows au­to­matic mi­gra­tion with­out the sov­er­eign coun­try’s agree­ment, Si­mon Bridges says if elected he will re­verse the de­ci­sion. The United States, Aus­tralia and sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries have al­ready pulled out. New Zealand should with­draw as well. There is pro­vi­sion in the pact for any­one who op­poses free mi­gra­tion to be con­demned for hate speech. New Zealand should make its own de­ci­sions and not be a United Na­tions lackey.

Pauline Alexan­der, Wa­iatarua.

Hy­dro­gen plant

Tues­day’s Busi­ness Her­ald re­ported on the hy­dro­gen plant pro­posed by the Ports of Auck­land. It fo­cused on the emis­sion ben­e­fits of us­ing hy­dro­gen fuel for fu­ture ve­hi­cles and in­di­cated global hy­dro­gen ex­perts sup­ported the project. The re­port men­tions the fuel emis­sion prod­ucts com­pris­ing wa­ter and oxy­gen were highly ben­e­fi­cial in com­pet­ing with cur­rent hy­dro­car­bon fu­els, but no men­tion is made of the highly ex­plo­sive char­ac­ter­is­tics of hy­dro­gen when ig­nited from any ex­ter­nal ig­ni­tion source, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing any col­li­sion event which may rup­ture the hy­dro­gen con­tainer or fuel lines.

Brian Gun­son, Cas­tor Bay.

Long grass

It is sad to see the lack of pride in Auck­land’s ap­pear­ance be­ing shown by the coun­cil. To­day I have driven on Peach Pa­rade in Re­muera, Camp­bell Rd in One­hunga and Mer­ton Rd in Glenn Innes. Each of these sub­urbs has knee-high flow­er­ing weeds on the road­side berms be­side gutters filled with leaves and other rub­bish. Where are our street clean­ers?

H. Robert­son, St He­liers.

At­ten­bor­ough’s ap­peal

I am very sur­prised you chose to put on Wed­nes­day’s front page the petty story, “From Brazil beach to Kiwi prison — young mum caught smug­gling co­caine”, rather than news on the 2018 United Na­tions Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence where well­re­spected en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Sir David At­ten­bor­ough spoke on what could lead to the col­lapse of civil­i­sa­tions. Surely that should be front-page news.

Betty Hunt, New Wind­sor.

An­other mon­u­ment

The me­mo­rial for Air New Zealand’s Ere­bus dis­as­ter at Par­nell gar­dens is to cost $3 mil­lion. Surely we don’t need fur­ther re­mind­ing of that tragic oc­cur­rence. There is a me­mo­rial at Waikumete Ceme­tery with the names of all who were on board. There are sim­i­lar me­mo­rial set­tings at the Tangi­wai rail dis­as­ter of 1953 and the Wahine in­ter­is­land ship­ping dis­as­ter in 1968. Surely one me­mo­rial at Waikumete is ad­e­quate for Air NZ’s very tragic crash.

David Rainey, East Ta­maki.

Doc­tors’ right to choose

Mary Panko’s com­par­i­son of doc­tors with plumbers yes­ter­day echoes one of the many dis­parag­ing re­marks David Sey­mour has made about the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion. Panko claims that doc­tors should not be al­lowed to de­ter­mine the laws but it ap­pears she and Sey­mour do not even re­spect their right to give their views on a topic they know so much more about than the gen­eral pub­lic.

It is deeply ironic that eu­thana­sia ad­vo­cates have so lit­tle re­spect for the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion and yet they ex­pect them to carry out these killings on be­half of the state. To add in­sult to in­jury, doc­tors who do not wish to kill their pa­tients will be forced to re­fer them to col­leagues who will. And to lie on the per­son’s death cer­tifi­cate as to the true cause of death.

Melissa Hardy, Army Bay.

Knocked out

The Dunedin lady who wit­nessed the sparrow dy­ing in the su­per­mar­ket aisle and as­sumed it had been poi­soned may have mis­in­ter­preted what had oc­curred. It seems un­likely a bird sickened with a toxin would con­tinue flut­ter­ing around be­fore sud­denly col­laps­ing. From her de­scrip­tion, it seems more prob­a­ble the an­i­mal had knocked it­self out after crash­ing into a glass wall. This is not un­com­mon. Im­me­di­ately after the im­pact they may ap­pear in great dis­tress by ex­hibit­ing con­vul­sive move­ments but after a time they re­vive and fly away with hope­fully lit­tle more than a headache. It would be a pity if the sparrow had been mis­tak­enly eu­thanised when it had only been con­cussed. Nigel Shaw, Clover Park.

Brexit pres­sure

Shane Te Pou calls David Cameron’s de­ci­sion to hold the Brexit ref­er­en­dum “daft”. It was an elec­tion prom­ise, with­out which Nigel Farage’s Ukip Party would cer­tainly have picked up seats. The Brexit poll “shock”, had this ref­er­en­dum not been promised, might have been a Ukip shock in the gen­eral elec­tion. Ukip ap­pears to have been buried mean­while, but only by Cameron pulling their main cause out from un­der them. It now looks like this loss of this cause was tem­po­rary.

The lat­est pro­nounce­ment from Brus­sels is that any “crit­i­cism of im­mi­gra­tion” is to be deemed “hate speech”. Will all Euro­peans, let alone Bri­tish, re­gard it as ac­cept­able that their coun­tries be bound by that sort of edict? And in which di­rec­tion is this kind of ar­ro­gance most likely driv­ing Bri­tons if there is a Ref­er­en­dum 2.0?

Phil Hay­ward, Nae­nae.

Fools day

I see March 29th, the day Bri­tain is due to leave the Euro­pean Union, oc­curs on a Fri­day. This will give them the whole week­end to cel­e­brate. There will be flag wav­ing, fire­works per­haps and lots of corks pop­ping. Then they will wake up on Mon­day morn­ing to dis­cover it’s April the first. I won­der who thought up that date. I bet it was some­one in Brus­sels.

Bill Brad­ing, Northcross.

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