Letters : Women's tri

20:04, Nov 15 2012

Scared to speak

I refer to the article "Officials turned blind eye to Pike River" [Express, November 13].

There is a passage which points out that there was "no whistle blower, no hero within officialdom".

People today are too scared to speak out for a number of reasons. Apart from the fact that jobs are very difficult to obtain, to be a whistler blower means standing against the establishment. Finding oneself isolated, without the financial and support resources one needs to make a stand.

It is the worst form of bullying when one is afraid to "speak out" in a country where free speech is a right of every New Zealander.

Where does one turn to when one has genuine concerns about something?


Where is there an unbiased independent department to approach who would hear your concerns and not be afraid to act on your behalf, investigate the complaint and/or support you?

There is not one.

Submissions have been made to the Government to address this issue.

Until an independent and unbiased department or body of people is set up to investigate people's concerns, the mental and physical wellbeing of disadvantaged workers in our country will continue to be ignored and disasters will continue to happen. It is a very tragic situation when people are too scared to speak out.



Good on you

It was really refreshing to host the Marlborough Zone Cubs last weekend. The boys and girls had a great time and the credit belongs to the leadership who went the extra mile and endured a little personal discomfort to ensure that the children had many positive experiences.

There was a nice culture of polite manners, which was especially good as the cubs followed a North Island group who had little respect for our systems and the Marlborough Sounds environment.

I believe groups such as cubs contribute much to our community. And I would encourage parents to consider enrolling their children for the value that they would receive. And for adults of good character to think about putting something back into the district.

Another thing of merit was the local businesses that offered several forms of sponsorship - good on you.



Women's tri

The current organisers of the women's tri have no idea of the significance and the tradition of this event. There has been a series of shortcomings from the organisers.

It used to be the longest-running women's triathlon. However, after not running the 2011 event they lost this title.

In 2012 they decided to run this event in conjunction with a men's event. That showed little respect to the women of Marlborough. This event had significantly lower number of entries than all of the previous triathlons.

The previous organisers had entries out a couple of months before the event, thus giving women time to train. They would have training sessions, swimming lessons, cycling rides.

They also held information evenings concerning training and nutrition. There was a real positive vibe around town. Work places, groups of friends, sports and social groups would get together for training.

What have this year's organisers done? Nothing. They have given the women of Marlborough about a month to train. An event like this would take the average woman a couple of months to train for.

The proposed date was still unconfirmed on their website up to the middle of last month. Even when it was advertised it took a couple of days for online entries to appear on their website.

And now the latest problem is "a glitch" caused by Hurricane Sandy. The same week entries by the same online event director had no problems with its entries to a cycling event held in November. How inconvenient for the people who have entered.

The Marlborough District Council provides funding for this event for the health and wellbeing of women. From what I see there has been no attempt to provide this.



Go Marlborough director Duncan MacKenzie responds:

The concerns and criticisms voiced by Ms Barnes are to some extent justified and these have been taken on board by us. A long-running event such as the Marlborough Women's Triathlon arouses passion in its participants and supporters and these criticisms are a reflection of that passion.

I'm not about to launch into a series of excuses regarding the postponed event. To correct one point, while Go Marlborough works closely with Top of the South Events, it is a completely separate organisation with no connection to the New World Marlborough Marathon or any other event run by that company.

Here's what is being done to ensure the restoration of the event to its rightful status as a top level local event. A "brains trust" comprising long-time participants, multisport athletes, sponsors, health sector representatives, personal trainers and other interested parties will meet within the next two weeks to fine-tune the event and the lead up to it.

This group is almost exclusively women who share the passion for this event and what it does for those participating.

A training plan for intending participants is being created already and a confirmed date will be announced at least three months prior to the actual event.

While we can't invite everyone to be a part of the planning process, the passion displayed by your writer is such that I encourage her to contact me as we'd love to have her as a part of this group.

The Marlborough Express