Feedback: August 6, 2016

by The Listener / 02 August, 2016
Good oil on bad oil; Olympics hurdles; how to pronounce Paraparaumu (continued); and the Middle East mess.
Cartoon/Steve Bolton
Cartoon/Steve Bolton


Although the adverse effects of oxidised fish oil products may still be largely unknown (“The bad oil?”, July 30), it behoves consumers to lessen a potential problem by ensuring the capsules they buy have an expiry date at least three years hence and by refrigerating them.

And they should be careful where they buy. If the capsules at the supermarket, pharmacy or health food shop are displayed close to fluorescent lights or in bins in direct sunlight, then don’t buy there. They could also enquire of the check-out assistant, pharmacist or naturo­path selling them as to the oxidation value of the product being sold. I bet not one of them would have a clue.

Colin Campbell
(Fairfield, Dunedin)

We are disappointed and somewhat appalled that you published this article with a tabloid headline, reporting and interpreting research carried out at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland.

First, we’d like to reassure readers that fish oils sold in New Zealand are not oxidised and are safe and useful for supporting health. A Ministry for Primary Industries report released in April 2015 gives a considered overview of this.

The article blows out of proportion a scientific trial designed to extend the body of knowledge, drawing erroneous conclusions based on irrelevant data. With the benefits of omega-3 now accepted after 25 years of peer-reviewed publications, it would be a great shame if consumers stopped increasing their omega-3 intake. We are sure this was not the intention of the Liggins group.

We do agree that consuming rancid or highly oxidised oils is definitely deleterious to health.

Laurence Eyres
Chairman, Institute of Chemistry oils and fats specialist group

Professor Lynnette Ferguson
Nutrition and dietetics, University of Auckland

Anne Scott
President, Institute of Food Science and Technology

Donna Chisholm responds: Scientific research does not now strongly support the benefits of fish oil supplements. The Liggins study does not show that fish oil is harmful to pregnant women or their babies but suggests we should not assume it to be safe.


There is a simple way to fix many of the problems besetting the Olympics – make them for amateurs only. It is no longer a contest pitting the best against the best (witness the top-level golfers who have withdrawn) and hardly seems to be a place for professional rugby players, either.

When technology can give competitors an edge, as in cycling, canoeing, yachting and other sports that rely on manufactured machinery, it has become a competition between manufacturing companies.

Professional athletes and sportspeople are already richly rewarded, internationally recognised and able to devote all their time to becoming the best in their chosen fields. Let them forgo this particular competition and instead donate a part of their professional proceeds to getting promising amateurs to the Games.

Malcolm Watts
(Titahi Bay, Porirua)


Thanks to a nurse at the medical practice that I go to, I had the opportunity to complete an advanced-care plan (Health, July 30). I brought the paperwork home with no pressure to complete it until I knew what I wanted to say.

I reflected on how I wanted to be involved in the decision-making prior to and during the end of my life. Thinking about and then completing the three-page document was a liberating experience.

I’m single and in my seventies and my only surviving adult child lives overseas. My siblings are scattered throughout the North Island and I have no immediate family living nearby.

The main incentive for completing the document was the fear of unnecessary and futile medical treatment to keep me alive when in reality no medical intervention was going to improve my quality of life.

Completing the plan has given the power back to me to have my voice heard. I have been able to record my wishes in a way that is held with my medical records, and those documented and signed wishes will tell my family and the person with enduring power of attorney over my affairs how they can help support me in my final days if I’m unable to.

I would unreservedly recommend doing this to anyone who has concerns about the prolonging of their life in questionable ways and wants his or her views, not necessarily those of their family, to be the deciding factors in their last days.

Gillian Wheeler
(Ashhurst, Manawatu)


In 1984, I recorded Te Aputa ki Wairua Parata-Kauri, a native speaker and a descendant of local rangatira Wi Parata, saying “Paraparaaumu” [sic] and 32 other Kapiti names.

Over the next 10 years, I recorded 140 other such pu-korero for their rohe, now almost all gone from us, saying some 7000 place names.

The result, Nga Ingoa o Aotearoa, was issued on cassette, then CD. It is now online ( and people who want to settle pronunciation arguments can simply listen.

Hugh Young
(Pukerua Bay)


The army engineers referred to by Bea Braun (Letters, July 30) who were dispatched to Iraq by the Labour Government in September 2003 were non-combat personnel. They worked on the repair of basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation to schools and health facilities.

They went after the invasion and after UN Security Council Resolution 1483 on May 22, 2003, appealed to member states “to contribute to stability and security in Iraq by contributing personnel, equipment, and other resources …”

In other words, Helen Clark’s administration followed a principled approach of being governed by a UN mandate; there was no mandate for the invasion, which New Zealand kept out of.

We need to congratulate our politicians for making principled decisions, not criticise them.

Graham Hill
(Parnell, Auckland)

The UK participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was not “for no discernible purpose” (Editorial, July 23). As Socrates observed, all wars are about the acquisition of wealth.

To pretend that the invasion was primarily about anything other than control of oil reserves in the Middle East ignores a truth I would expect to be obvious to any New Zealand secondary school pupil.

Although that truth is virtually inexpressible in mainstream US media, I would hope that a higher standard of intellectual honesty in the press is still ­possible in this country.

Paul Knowsley
(Eastbourne, Lower Hutt)


The article about Christ­church’s cultural boom (“When Christchurch shook”, July 23) is a reminder that there was another sphere in which the city was influential in the 1930s and 40s.

Christchurch people were appointed to top positions: Sir James Shelley as director of broadcasting, CE Beeby as director of education and Geoff Alley as national librarian; HCD Somerset and Walter Harris are other distinguished figures.

Several of the first Labour Cabinet had attended Shelley’s WEA summer schools and that connection seems to have led to the appointments. Perhaps someone will write a book about them.

Bill Sheat
(Lower Hutt)


Cathrin Schaer (Bulletin, July 23) implies that by voting for Brexit, Britain does not share European values. Most of the countries that share those values of such importance to her have, at best, had only a passing acquaintance with democracy.

Those shared European values have delivered com­munism, fascism and two world wars. It is hardly surprising that the British prefer their form of government over the anti-democratic mausoleum that is the EU. Wise choice.

LPM Hickling
(Greenlane, Auckland)


Why Am I? would have to be the most significant and informative programme that has appeared on New Zealand TV (Your say, July 23) – a beacon among the dross, with the polish and refinement of a Panorama or Horizon.

Brian Harrison
(Motueka, Nelson)

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