Money-go-round: Letters, 31 March

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The Bay of Plenty Times welcomes letters and comments from readers. Here you can read the letters we have published in your newspaper today. 

Fluoride fight needs facts

Discussions about the fluoridation of drinking water can become complex as they come to include the quality of scientific work being done on long-term implications. Participants need to be able to follow up the source and quality of information used in these discussions, so they can make judgments for themselves.

The United States' Centres for Disease Control provide advice on the benefits of fluoridation on their website, and provide access to reviews of recent research on the subject - see www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/.

They seem less concerned about the dangers of dental fluorosis than a recent correspondent implies - see www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety/dentalfluorosis.htm.

Proper referencing is important in ensuring a high quality of discussion, so opinion can be guided by reliable information.

Leslie Goodliffe, Bellevue

Cricketers pitiful

Perhaps the past criticism was not harsh enough.

New Zealand has again capitulated in the last two limited-over 50/50 games and were only saved in the first test by rain, then predictably annihilated in the second test within three days by South Africa. Another pitiful performance ensued in the third test and they were very nearly beaten in three days' play.

Yes, South Africa on rankings should of course beat them but it is the gutless capitulation that sticks in the gullet. In case anyone had forgotten, just over a year ago Bangladesh whitewashed New Zealand 5/0 in limited-over 50/50 matches and, despite this, they continue to talk themselves up.

Just to reiterate the problems which, with the present mindset are insurmountable, including the inflated egos, paucity of talent, lack of technical skills and any real cricketing nous.

A failure to face reality doesn't help either.

There is absolutely no fight or pride in this lot, who in reality should only be allowed to play in their own backyard (domestic cricket) to save New Zealand from continual embarrassment on the genuine international test cricket circuit.

The cricketers of yesteryear, who were never mollycoddled or paid obscene sums of money for sub-par performances, must all be shaking their heads in disbelief.

S Paterson, Arataki

Guarantee safety

We may be on the verge of a breakthrough having found our fluoride expert.

I raise this point because Dr Graeme Lynam of Matua, BOP Times , March 26, believes in fluoride.

So, I ask the good doctor to back his belief and personally guarantee that fluoride is safe for all of us. Just before he does, he might like to consider the following facts.

Firstly, our Health Ministry will not take responsibility for any harm from fluoride to us and states it is our councils' responsibility if they choose to use it. Sounds shonky.

Secondly, our Health Ministry advises parents to limit the amount of fluoride toothpaste, for children, to the size of a pea each time they brush. This is because they often swallow it.

Why is that? Is it poisonous?

Lastly, Our Conservation Department writes in its publication, Possum Control in Native Forests, that the active ingredient in 1080 poison is fluoride. This is what they use to kill possums.

"At the concentrations used in possum control, the amount of fluoride released is equivalent to one or two tubes of fluoridated toothpaste per hectare of forest."

Wow! A tube kills hundreds of possums and you want us to drink the stuff every day?

Let us know when you will personally guarantee it is safe.

Ken Evans, Tauranga

Poor record

In response to Dr Lynam's pro-fluoride comments: let's not forget we are talking about the same profession that not so long ago happily filled our cavities with mercury-based compounds.Ian LucasBrookfieldInjustice indeedMary Brooks makes the astonishing statement that the 1975 the Treaty of Waitangi Act and amendments is "the greatest injustice ever created by any government on its people".

I agree it is an injustice but it is by no means the greatest injustice ever created.

That honour must go to the many, many unjust acts and regulations that were (and still are being) enacted by recent and past colonial governments against Maori solely to dispossess us of our lands and possessions. Surely there has been no greater act of treachery by any government of New Zealand against its own people than this?

Maori have also been denied access to justice through our court system to restore those property rights that have been legislated away by government.

Instead, we are expected to participate in "the taxpayer-funded apartheid tribunal" process that she also has problems with.

On that point she and I agree. If she were to start a campaign that allows dispossessed Maori to have their property rights restored through the courts then great. In the meantime, she and her supporters should invest in some simple education, starting with the excellent historical records held in our local city library.

Charlie Tawhiao, Tauranga

Money-go-round

After a quick flick through the council's draft 10-year plan, I get an answer to my question of a couple of weeks ago - "What was the $3 million debt that council wanted to increase the water rates for?" Depreciation of course.

Who would have thought that a department of council, responsible for providing a core service to ratepayers, would be allowed to call depreciation a legitimate expense?

No matter what the council calls the water department in the draft plan, it is not a private business.

However, it appears that they are allowed to and have been directed by the Government to deal with it in one way or another. The idea is that we build up this huge amount of money which the council then borrows off itself, thus reducing offshore borrowing. Now they don't have to rate us the full amount of depreciation but it seems they are allowed to value their assets (watermains, roads) by today's values - what it would cost to build them today. Obviously the value would have increased by an enormous amount and central government has conveniently ignored the fact that, if the value has risen, it becomes appreciation and not depreciation. Oh, and they are not allowed to double dip, that is, make ratepayers pay depreciation while they are paying back a loan for the asset.

So where does that money go? According to the plan, depreciation was $4 million in 2009, rising to $6 million next year.

If we assume an average of $5 million, that is $25 million in five years. That's only for the water department. What other riches have they already borrowed off themselves? Keep in mind that they are already at the limit of their outside borrowing.

Scary eh.

Dan Russell, Welcome Bay

Uncivilised move

Poor Dr Lynham still hasn't seen the obvious.

He advocates uncivilised methods to achieve a civilised goal. This is an oxymoron.

What imagined right does Dr Lynham invoke to force people to ingest a substance he recommends for their own good?

It's not about science or facts - it's about the rights of the individual and Dr Lynham wishes to destroy your rights because he believes he knows best.

There is nothing wrong with advising his patients or financially backing an education programme to advise people of the benefits of fluoride, but to arrogantly use force on others to achieve his goal is a crime and morally wrong.

How would he like me to use force on him to educate him that the use of force is wrong and immoral?

I am not anti-fluoride - I am anti-busybodies who believe they have the right to destroy my rights as an individual.

Graham Clark, Lower Kaimai

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