Letters to the editor
As a mum in town with a child needing to go the toilet at short notice, or myself for that matter, I am that gutted you have pulled down the Queen St toilets that were clean every time we have used them.
We redirected ourselves to the nearest toilet in the Farmers car park, which was absolutely disgusting to say the least. The toilet was horrible, the liquid soap was out and the hand dryer not working, let alone the fact it stank to high heaven and my daughter didn't want to use it but had to do so to avoid an accident.
I have also used the toilet near the picture theatre in Kinross St and it, too, was unclean so this was not just an isolated incident.
I want to make the council aware that these facilities are used a lot, especially since they took away the only decent clean toilet block, and they need cleaning more than they are in a day if the self-cleaning is not working.
Being a ratepayer I expect this for our children, elderly and myself, who want to use a clean toilet in town. It's not a hard ask - please get it sorted as soon as possible.
Blenheim A good deal
I am advised that Lee Mason emailed you querying the French Pass road rate [online comments, Express, September 12].
The position is that there is a French Pass road charge of $99 per property to fund the sealing of the road between Matapehe hill and French Pass. It continues until June 30, 2015. This is matched by a subsidy from all the other ratepayers in Marlborough dollar for dollar.
Given who is funding roading as discussed, this subsidy is coming from Blenheim, the Plains and Picton ratepayers so the people who live down there are getting a very generous deal.
Marlborough District Council
Robust science? Yeah, right.
Former cabinet minister Nick Smith characterises objectors to the salmon farm plan change as "anti-growth" [Nelson Marlborough Farming, September 2012]. Mr Smith calls for "robust science" to facilitate the proposed plan change.
Like the paid experts supporting King Salmon, Mr Smith lives at a safe distance. The Sounds are not his spiritual headquarters.
The irony is that the Marlborough Sounds would not be under attack had they not been managed and preserved by the people of Marlborough.
Little surprise then that Mr Smith weighs in mid-inquiry. After four years on the Treasury benches, with disappointingly little in the way of growth initiatives, the Government is after the "low hanging fruit" in the name of attracting offshore capital.
Mr Smith is a forceful and articulate advocate, but in my view his position is not always a balanced one.
Robust science implies certainty and clearly the implications for the environment of the proposed salmon farms are hotly debated: to the point that King Salmon queries the motives of those who rebut the science commissioned by it in the pursuit of commercial gain.
We know science can become too tightly focused, losing sight of the big picture. It is no more than a smoke screen to dress up this inquiry simply as a growth v anti-growth science fest, when in reality it's about deciding the future character and exploitation of the Sounds.
While the outcome of this inquiry may not establish a precedent in a strict legal sense, it will have emasculated the long settled and democratic process of regional stewardship.
There are many points that could be made about the current hullabaloo over Muslim reaction to the latest insult to their prophet that has emanated from the West. One point which needs to be made, and which I have yet to see mentioned, is the unbalanced nature of this trade in insults.
For Jews or Christians of ill-will, it is nothing to insult the prophet Mohamed. There is no mention of him in any of their scriptures; he can be reviled and insulted at no spiritual cost to themselves.
In contrast, Islam, being the most recent of the three great religions of the Book to be established, incorporates what its followers believe to be the most important elements of its two predecessors. As such, in the Islamic scriptures, the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus are mentioned with honour and reverence.
There is no way for Muslims to offer a riposte in kind to the insults their prophet receives from Jews and Christians. For a Muslim to insult Moses, Abraham or Jesus would be blasphemy and an affront to their own beliefs.
Unable to respond with similar desecrations of Jewish and Christian holy books, crude cartoons and U-tube clips, how should they protest the repeated affronts to their religion with which their culture and their sense of identity is so closely bound up?
In response to Steve Walker's letter (Express September 13) I would like to clarify that we do attempt to provide hunters with opportunities to trap and poison possums in our reserves well before poison operations are undertaken so they can make use of the fur “resource” as he describes it.
We advise all possum hunters who obtain permits of the opportunity to control possums in areas coming up for 1080 control, prior to the work being undertaken.
With the Ship Cove operation the local Basically Bush fur buyer was also advised of the opportunity to trap possums in the Ship Cove Historic Reserve area, in order for him to pass this information on to his clients controlling possums.
To my knowledge no-one has taken up this opportunity. Our observation is the majority of possum hunters seek locations closer to town where the country is easier, more accessible and costs less fuel or does not require a boat to travel
Mr Walker seems to have an intimate knowledge of Ship Cove. He would therefore know most of the inaccessible parts of the reserve where possums nest are around the scrubby coastal margins as well as large patches of kiekie, not that easy to get through. While there is a track at Ship Cove much of the coverage area has no tracks at all.
We do not drop poison from the air in a haphazard manner as he claims. Mr Walker's emotive use of the words "heavy losses” of birds is not correct. There are no kea or bush robins present at Ship Cove.
I would also like to point out there are more weka killed and maimed by possum trappers laying their traps on the ground and by dogs, than native birds killed by 1080 control operations in the Sounds. In the past fortnight we have had four birds brought in to the office with broken beaks and legs. I am happy to share the results of radio tracked and monitored weka in this and other reserves in the Sounds following possum control operations.
I hope this clarifies the situation for your fair minded readers.
Sounds area manager
Department of Conservation
Colin King's observation ["A matter of conscience", Express, September 12] of the unusual and unexpected things that can happen when Members of Parliament are given a free conscience vote is worth comment.
It seems to me that a free vote forces MPs to confront their conscience, which then leaves them little choice but to obey it. This is exactly the proper way for an elected representative to serve. It should happen with every vote, yet it is rare.
Last Thursday I collapsed and was taken to Wairau Hospital by two very pleasant and efficient ambulance men.
There, after tests, I was diagnosed with a very low blood count and spent the next 12 hours receiving four units of blood. The result is amazing - once again I feel alive and active.
I write now to extend my grateful thanks to the doctors and nurses who looked after me during this short stay and especially thanks to the four people who each donated a pint of blood for my recovery.
Blood is vital and I urge all physically fit people who are not on medication, to donate just a pint of their blood to make people like me feel alive again.
There is nothing to it. I did it for years and have certificates of appreciation for it. Don't delay, do it today.
- The Marlborough Express