Topics raised in today's readers' letters include tobacco tax and a plea to stop feeding wild birds.
Tobacco tax revenue will have to be replaced
If you are considering leaving New Zealand do not leave it too long.
With all the politically correct attitude to smokers, great changes will be under way.
In 2011, the smoking fraternity paid $801.2 million in excise duty tax and the tobacco companies $32.9 million, a total of $834.1 million which is as much as the 16 state-owned enterprises earned for the Government.
If we wish to maintain the present welfare state, this revenue will have to be sourced from other taxes such as GST.
No matter who gains control of the water for power generation there will also be increased costs for the consumer.
Shareholders will want a reasonable dividend on their investment or if others get the water rights, there will also be a monetary cost for its use.
God bless New Zealand.
KA Stollery, Tauranga
As a researcher and first of all a human being, I am disturbed that such a practice as the Te Ranga School Possum and Pig Hunt is being displayed as a "fun" fundraiser, disregarding its cruel nature.
One only needs to look briefly at research on animal cruelty to establish that there is a strong link between animal cruelty, child abuse and violence.
The fact that this is being carried out by parents and children is abhorrent as children are likely to model the behaviours they observe.
The mission statement for the Te Ranga school states:
"... to challenge children to become ... caring and responsible people."
Is it not true that fostering a caring attitude towards animals in children promotes responsibility in adulthood (and an overall psychologically healthy adult)?
I strongly believe that such a cruel activity is in strong contradiction to this mission statement.
Some may argue that these animals are pests.
However, every animal, regardless of their position in human society, feels pain and pleasure.
This would qualify all animals as sentient beings.
Every child is capable of empathising with the fate of these animals because we are all inherently sympathetic and experience empathy (other than psychopathic individuals).
Svetlana Feigin, Department of Psychology,
University of Auckland
Don't feed birds
On behalf of the 32 petitioners who are asking the authorities to stop our neighbour encouraging wild birds (seagulls) away from their natural habitat, I wish to also say thank you to Richard Moore for his Straight Talk article (July 10).
Some petitioners have tried the direct approach, before going to the authorities, but to no avail.
The neighbour seems to feel that the birds are in some way dependant on him.
It makes one wonder how seagulls have existed for hundreds of years before he came to their rescue.
Richard mentioned it's okay to cull ducks at Papamoa and cull swans in the Tauranga Harbour but council won't move to stop the nuisance of seagulls.
I challenge our council to follow the North Shore City Council which has a bylaw that bans people from feeding wild birds that may create a "noise or health nuisance".
The bylaw specifically named seagulls as being a problem bird.
The petitioners are not asking for anything as drastic as culling, just that the neighbour stops feeding these disease-ridden problem birds. (Abridged)
Bill Humphrey, Tauranga
Te Puna anger
The Kumara Vine has been hotter than a hangi stone out at Te Puna after the comments made in the Bay of Plenty Times on Monday.
To say Te Puna has been "consigned to the scrap heap" after going from pretenders to contenders of a play-off spot in the finals of the Baywide premier grade is insulting, derogatory and does nothing for the mana of a Maori rugby club.
For the record, Te Puna was the only club in the Baywide competition to have three teams in the play-offs across the senior and colts grades so the scrap heap is far from where the club is heading in the future.
For many Maori communities, rugby is the cornerstone of their community and when the club does well, the community benefits and our young tamariki then have role models and goals to aspire toward.
Scrap heaps are for seagulls and scavengers with no place to call home.
Te Puna rugby has had a home for almost 100 years with a proud tradition of the blue and black jersey featuring in finals across all sections of the local and Baywide competition.
Kia kaha Te Puna.
T Kapai, Te Puna