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In This Edition: NZ HRT Prescription Numbers - Growing The Economy & Saving - Heaps Of Junk - Can We Ever Bask In The Sun?

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NZ HRT Prescription Numbers

See… For what ails you - A dose of pregnant mares urine

Dear Barbara,

Thanks for that. Yours is an interesting and well thought-out piece that I think touches on a couple of important points -- medicalisation, that is the pharmaceutical industry's ability to turn normal life processes into ``diseases'', and people's willingness to believe that there are quick-fix no-risk pills for these; and the issue of personal responsibility when it comes to issues where people clearly have a choice.

I also circulated a previous column of yours, about Ritalin usage, around staff here and it provoked some discussion too.

Sadly many in the media are unwilling to question what is behind the claims of the new `wonder drugs', or closely examine `breakthrough' research.

When an overseas `expert' pops up at a NZ conference to tell us how it is a `tragedy' that drug A isn't available in NZ, journalists covering the story are unlikely to ask who has funded the researcher's trip, or the conference.

The muddied issue of conflicting interests is an international one, most tellingly revealed by the New England Journal of Medicine this year who who dropped their policy of not sourcing articles from writers with a disclosed conflict, because they couldn't find any (writers, that is!).

We also follow the issue of medicalisation closely. As drug companies globally struggle to produce new `blockbuster' revenue-earners they are turning more and more to creating diseases to fit their drugs. The British Medical Journal in February 2002 focussed on this issue.

I look forward to continuing to read your columns in future.

Kind regards Simon England Communications Adviser PHARMAC

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Growing The Economy & Saving

To The Editor

Mr Brash has identified that New Zealanders must grow the economy and save more.

I await for Mr Brash to mention "import substitution" as a method to grow the economy.

The last twenty years have shown we cannot have a first world economy based on third world commodity trading.

What sense does it make in exporting $164 million worth of wool to China and at the same time importing $165 million worth of women’s jerseys and suits, resulting in a trade deficit with China of over $1 billion?

In 1956 New Zealand had 130 footwear manufacturers and we were able to enjoy and afford a diverse range of high quality durable shoes. Now we have a handful of footwear manufacturers, thousands of unemployed footwear machinists and thousands of people purchasing Chinese made shoes with benefit dollars.

Has it not occurred to Mr Brash that local manufacture of goods will grow the economy and give people pride and purpose in their work? Only then, would savings become a reality - rather than an intellectually desirable but impossible achievement in this economy - where the majority are struggling to feed their children and put a roof over their heads.

I invite Mr Brash to join MADENZ and support "local production for the home market". After all, New Zealanders are paying his wages, not the Chinese.

Yours sincerely
Stephen Tindall -the woman
Founder of MADENZ
Mt Maunganui

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Heaps Of Junk

Sir,

19,464 new and used vehicles worth $293 million were imported in July.

Of these, 11,678 were used imports from Japan.

While there is no doubt the advent of the used import has reduced the cost of vehicle ownership considerably and increased the mobility of our nation markedly, there has been a corresponding large increase in the real, environmental and social costs to the nation.

Many will argue this has been to our advantage in that the age of the vehicle fleet has been reduced considerably meaning that the vehicles are not only safer because of the technological advances that have been made, but that they are more efficient.

This may well be the case. However, more cars has also meant higher costs to the nation in bio-security at landing points, evidence of compliance, fuel, roading, congestion, pollution and disposal.

This latter aspect (disposal of the discarded vehicle) has an interesting by-line. Because these vehicles are now so much cheaper the opportunity exists (and is taken) to forego regular maintenance and simply run the vehicles into the ground, discard them and purchase another. Thus promoting the cycle.

Evidence of this is littered around urban streets, beaches and the countryside as well as in local tips.

When all this is added up, it seems to me the cost to the nation of this type of availability and mobility far exceeds the benefits.

Mirek Marcanik

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Can We Ever Bask In The Sun?

Sir,

War veterans force Masterton District Council to take down a Japanese flag flying to mark a cultural exchange of students.

While acknowledging the sensitivities and depth of feeling World War II ex-servicemen and/or their relatives have when confronted with images which recall the horrors experienced, we must also recognise that this all occurred half a century ago.

If we are to continue these acts of denial, then I suggest that around half the flags of the modern world should be consigned to the closet, including those that many of us hold dear.

History is littered with events we would like forgotten and they are not confined to those relating solely to global conflicts.

It is not the object (the flag in this case) that perpetrated them, it is the ideology it represents or represented.

As this changes (as it does) so too must the attitudes towards subsequent generations.

Past events cannot be changed or wiped away simply by hiding or ignoring the objects that remind us of them.

We should certainly not forget.

But bringing about closure on the events of the past can only best be achieved by putting ones energies into forging relationships of new understanding and mutual respect for the new order. Not continuing to perpetrate feelings of mistrust and horror.

Mirek Marcanik


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