Book bias alleged
Jo de Joux, Yes for Compassion, Wellington (abridged)
I am contacting you from [lobby group] Yes for Compassion. On 14 July, Hibiscus Matters posted an interview with Caralise Trayes about her book The Final Choice. She has written and self-published it in order, she says, to ‘hunt for the truth’ about assisted dying. At no point has Caralise disclosed that she is a member of the Ignite Faith Centre, a church in Whangaparaoa. Evangelical Christians believe life is a sacred gift that only God can give and take away. Neither has she disclosed her links to [lobby group] riskylaw.nz of which her book appears to be the centrepiece and is for sale. Seventeen of the 21 interviews are with people with connections to those who oppose assisted dying – despite claiming a neutral/journalistic stance. Further, Caralise misrepresents Shirley Seales, mother of the late Lecretia Seales. Shirley believes the book minimises the extent of her daughter’s pain and suffering by omitting parts of a speech Shirley gave to the End of Life Choice Society. In the lead up to the referendum Kiwis ought to have all the facts in order to make an informed decision. We don’t believe they have all the facts about this book, or its author.
Caralise Trayes responds (abridged):: There are a number of incorrect assumptions made by this campaign group. In my book I used journalistic principles to interview more than 20 experts and specialists about the End of Life Choice Act and assisted dying, from both sides of the argument. My method is outlined in the book and says, in part, I chose who to interview by sifting through Justice Select Committee submissions and found early on the common voice in favour of the law change was endearingly simplistic. So in many cases I presented this case before those in opposition. I was not on a hunt to prove anything but rather to answer essential questions to position myself and help others to make a well-informed decision. Church is one of the many community groups I attend. However, religion does not dictate which side of the argument people are on and does not necessarily influence why they take that position. Among those interviewed were Catholics, Christians, Buddhists, atheists and more. According to MP David Seymour “the majority of people of faith are in favour of this law – we know this by polling”. I have no association with the Risky Law campaign other than they wanted to sell my book. I offer the same invitation to Yes for Compassion. In regards to Shirley Seales, I am sorry that she felt her daughter’s pain and suffering was minimised. Shirley shared a compelling speech and much of it was included in the book. I suggest Yes for Compassion focus on the real problem here: that many Kiwis need to be more informed when we come to vote.
Not fit for purpose
John Davies, Orewa (abridged)
I lived through the residential boom permitted by Rodney District Council, which made me realise it was essential to deliver Penlink. In 2016 I joined Penlink Now and stood for our local board. However, I believe the proposed two-lane Penlink should not be built and the community must fight for a four-lane road. While the current proposal might have suited 1990s Whangaparāoa, it does not suit today. It is a very poor spend of a proposed $411 million and will not deliver what I see as the most important reasons for building it. As funded, Penlink is proposed as a two-lane (one lane each way) highway with a separate shared walking/cycling lane. At least we get better active transport solutions, but for cars, trucks, buses and emergency vehicles, two lanes achieve little. My prediction is that as people realise the inefficiencies, they’ll go back to using the free road. It is likely we will achieve very little other than for commercial users, and with fewer private commuters, public transport benefits might be delivered through a lack of other traffic. Waka Kotahi/NZTA claim the road will support urban development but it won’t even accommodate development already in place. Yet planners will say ‘you have Penlink, we’re permitting additional development’. It’s crazy! Politicians talk about this proposal being future proofed. This implies a second round of construction that could render the road essentially impassable during construction and impact neighbourhoods a second time. It can all be done in a single blow right here, right now, as a four-lane, dynamic-laned road to ensure peak performance. This proposal would be better if we added a third lane used as a dynamic bus expressway pointed south in the morning and north in the afternoons – a suggestion I gave the ACT Party candidate at the last election where she was the first to mention the idea. At least public transport would genuinely be improved.
If the Government through Waka Kotahi/NZTA cannot afford four lanes then stay out of the way of private partners. There were investors who wanted to build it, with everything paid through tolls. Let’s tell local politicians and NZTA that we do not accept this compromise, that we demand a proper solution.
Local Board member and Penlink proponent, Janet Fitzgerald replies: The Local Board’s position is for four lanes with walking and cycling. I prefer not to comment further, as a timeline has been set and the money allocated. We need to get on with Penlink, people are sick of waiting for it to be built. That doesn’t mean to say meaningful conversations are still not happening to achieve what most believe will be a better outcome.
Carolyn Anderson, Manly (abridged)
I refer to the letter from Chris Casey (HM July 15). There are 36 dwellings in Tower Hill and with most dwellings these days having 2/3 vehicles that can mean up to 75 vehicles trying to access Whangaparaoa Road. I would suggest that the letter writer tries a little patience, which we all have to do while waiting for the lights.
Staff cuts wrong
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay
Auckland Council has reduced its staff numbers by a reported 600. This is both wrong-headed and comes with major personal suffering to those affected. Two recent independent surveys have shown that the excessive Council payroll costs of the Council are due to excessive salary levels and wage rates. On average these exceed comparable private sector norms by over 30 percent. Reduction of pay scales would have the same financial effects as staff number cuts without the huge personal costs associated from redundancies and would avoid merely shifting the costs of the jobless numbers to taxpayer funded support programmes.
Rubbish at Council door
Lorraine Sampson, Silverdale
In the area by Titan Place and up to bus stop 4789, opposite Northern Arena, there is no attention to keeping the area clean. Last week I collected 71 beer cans, nine beer bottles and two water bottles from amongst the agapanthus and under the trees. I put all this in a large clear plastic bag and placed it by the pole for the bus stop. I then called the Council Service Centre and told them what I had done. The lady thanked me but within five minutes called back and told me that they couldn’t come and collect this rubbish. It was suggested that I put it in my recycling bin but it was already full with my own rubbish. I told her that I was not going to use my prepaid bags. My solution was to take the bag down to the Orewa Service Centre and place it at the front door. Of course it was collected promptly. Surely it is not the job of the ratepayers to be doing the cleaning? I keep the kerb at the entry to Titan Place clean, as this is never done. It would seem that we are a forgotten area. There are 24 houses here and no footpath. I did ask a contractor why my street was not kept in the same condition as Totara Views, and the response was laughter.
Diane Hunt, Warkworth
Ellie and I would like to publicly thank all the people that have helped us in so many ways since we received the devastating news that Matthew lost his life on June 19, whilst working as a Police Officer, a career he loved and thrived in (HM July 1). We have been surrounded by kindness in the form of flowers, condolence cards, food, plus so many people making contact either in person or via social media telling us their stories of Matthew. We also extend our deepest gratitude to people who may not have known Matthew personally but have sent messages and created tributes to Matt through poetry and artwork. These gestures give us an overwhelming sense of compassion shown towards Matthew, our family and Matt’s friends, as well Matthew’s police family. We, as his family, have always believed Matthew was a special human being with enviable qualities, but now realise that so many other people hold the same thoughts too. No words can truly convey how grateful we are to you all. Life without Matthew will never be the same. We will never forget Matthew and will always hold him close in our hearts.