Wa­ter treat­ment

The Timaru Herald - - COMMENT&OPINION -

Mr Stone, in his com­ments (Letters, April 26), ac­cuses me of poor re­search. At least I have posted some. He goes on to men­tion man-made and ar­ti­fi­cial flu­o­ride. There is no such min­eral, ex­cept nat­u­ral flu­o­ride.

The prod­ucts of Flu­o­rosil­i­cates’ dis­so­ci­a­tion are flu­o­ride ions and sil­i­con diox­ide. SiO2 is the most com­mon ox­ide in the earth’s crust (sand) and is present nat­u­rally in veg­e­ta­tive cell walls. The only ‘‘chem­i­cals’’ from wa­ter flu­o­ri­da­tion ad­di­tives at the tap are flu­o­ride ions and sand.

Mr Stone men­tions lead in pipes and says the com­mu­nity has been ad­vised to run the tap to clear the lines. This is only a prob­lem with un­flu­o­ri­dated wa­ter.

At the level rec­om­mended by the US Pub­lic Health Ser­vice for flu­o­ri­da­tion of pub­lic wa­ter sup­plies (0.7 to 1.2 mg/L, or parts per mil­lion), the flu­o­ride ion has lit­tle in­flu­ence on ei­ther cor­ro­sion or on the amounts of cor­roded met­als re­leased into the wa­ter. Flu­o­rosil­i­cates con­trib­ute to bet­ter wa­ter sta­bil­ity with less po­ten­tial for cor­ro­sion, be­cause sil­ica sta­bilises the pipe sur­face.

But once the wa­ter leaves the treat­ment plant the onus is on the end user to take the re­quired steps to pro­tect them­selves, as in the case of wells and tanks that are used for drink­ing. C Price Palmer­ston North (Abridged) To cor­re­spon­dents

Web links can­not be re­pro­duced. Please re­fer to the au­thor, the re­port and the site.

AL: Source mat­eral lacks con­text. ‘‘He’s like an old-fash­ioned racist Ob­sessed with im­mi­grants’ eth­nic­ity Like an old-fash­ioned racist And he wants to gov­ern you and me.’’

Idon’t know if song­writer Paul Wil­liams or any of the mem­bers of Three Dog Night will ever read this, but if they do, I deeply and sin­cerely apol­o­gise to them for crudely re­shap­ing the cho­rus of their catchy 1970s hit ‘‘An Old­Fash­ioned Love Song’’.

In do­ing so, I might have de­stroyed the song for some read­ers, and pos­si­bly for my­self, so the cir­cle of po­ten­tial apol­ogy re­cip­i­ents is about as wide as it can be.

The trou­ble is, the tune, ac­com­pa­nied by my al­ter­na­tive first line, has been go­ing around my head since Wed­nes­day, when I first read ACT leader David Sey­mour’s state­ment de­scrib­ing Win­ston Peters as ‘‘an old­fash­ioned racist’’ for his re­sponse to a New Zealand Her­ald story on im­mi­gra­tion.

I should point out that Sey­mour is not some­one whose pro­nounce­ments I usu­ally take too se­ri­ously, and I was re­minded of why about 24 hours later when he put out a press re­lease re­spond­ing to ini­tial re­ports of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s plan for taxes.

In­cluded in the broad-brush out­line do­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia was a sug­ges­tion the busi­ness tax rate in the United States would be low­ered to just 15 per cent.

Sey­mour was, pre­dictably, quick to sound a warn­ing be­cause New Zealand’s busi­ness tax rate has long been an ACT bug­bear. How­ever his state­ment seemed, to my read­ing, to im­ply that busi­nesses pay­ing 28 per cent tax here might be tempted to shift op­er­a­tions to the ‘‘dump­ster fire’’ (Amer­i­can­ism used de­lib­er­ately) that is the United States un­der Trump and I found the sug­ges­tion hard to take se­ri­ously.

But his ear­lier state­ment re­spond­ing to the Peters re­sponse seemed on point to me and it was his choice of phrase that gave me an adapted Three Dog Night ear­worm. I’m hop­ing writ­ing this might help to ex­or­cise it.

Just in case you haven’t heard what Sey­mour was re­spond­ing to, it was a New Zealand First press re­lease headed ‘‘NZ Her­ald ‘al­ter­na­tive facts’ mis­lead­ing over im­mi­gra­tion’’.

Re­spond­ing to a re­port on im­mi­gra­tion by jour­nal­ists Lin­coln Tan and Harkan­wal Singh, the state­ment’s open­ing para­graph read: ‘‘New Zealand Her­ald pro­pa­ganda writ­ten by two Asian im­mi­grant re­porters stat­ing the top five source na­tions for work visas are not Asian is com­pletely wrong and based on flawed anal­y­sis, says New Zealand First leader and North­land MP Rt Hon Win­ston Peters.’’

Ex­actly what Tan and Singh had writ­ten in their re­port, and even whether or not Peters might have a point, is not re­ally the is­sue for me here, though I’d en­cour­age you to seek it out in your own time.

The pair have mounted a con­sid­ered de­fence to Peters’ re­lease and that has been backed up by their ed­i­tor, Mur­ray Kirk­ness, who pointed out that he too is an im­mi­grant.

Peters, of course, has fired back,

It’s pop­ulist rhetoric right out of the Don­ald Trump play­book, though to be fair to him, Peters has been a politi­cian, and us­ing this kind of tac­tic, far longer than Donny Come Lately. He’s ap­peal­ing to what he knows will be a ready, if lim­ited, au­di­ence.

It in­vites a knee­jerk re­sponse from the pub­lic that, in my opin­ion, is in­ex­tri­ca­bly tied to the race of the re­porters in ques­tion, im­ply­ing that they were bi­ased in their ap­proach be­cause of their conclusion. That also im­plies that the conclusion is to their ad­van­tage be­cause they’re Asian. Why would that fol­low, I’d like to know? Th­ese two re­porters are pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ists and based their re­port on widely avail­able fig­ures. Peters hasn’t ques­tioned the con­clu­sions they ar­rived at from those fig­ures. He’s said NZ First uses bet­ter fig­ures, so it knows bet­ter.

As an im­mi­grant my­self, I wouldn’t have as much of an is­sue with Peters’ state­ment if he’d been an equal op­por­tu­nity im­mi­gra­tion critic, but I hon­estlly can’t re­call one oc­ca­sion in my 16 years here when he has crit­i­cised mi­grant num­bers from [his­tor­i­cally racist] South Africa, though 2800 of us ar­rived here in 2001, the year I made the move. Ditto for those, like Mur­ray Kirk­ness, com­ing from Aus­tralia, or Bri­tain.

In con­trast, I have heard him can­vass im­mi­gra­tion from Asia on count­less oc­ca­sions. That’s a racist ap­proach, in my book.

Per­haps, as some have sug­gested, Peters was sim­ply try­ing to re­claim cen­tre stage on im­mi­gra­tion, his tra­di­tional pre­elec­tion fo­cus, ahead of this year’s gen­eral elec­tion, hav­ing seen the coun­try’s two ma­jor par­ties fo­cus­ing strongly on it in the last month. Even so, he chose a rusty, blunt in­stru­ment with which to wade into the de­bate.

‘‘He’s like an old-fash­ioned racist

Ob­sessed with im­mi­grants’ eth­nic­ity Like an old-fash­ioned racist And I’m sure there will be

more for all to see.’’

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