House values

Last week we all got our new house valuation notices. Looking at the figures showing the increase in land and improvements it is easy to see why houses are so expensive.

Our improvements have gone up 16 per cent while our land value has gone up 86 per cent. This is a criminal increase, and the Government should be doing something about it.

It would not be hard; it just has to give an incentive of say a $20,000 grant to all sections under say $220,000. This would be similar to the scheme in the 1960s where family benefit could be capitalised on if the section value was under $750.

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The $750 was about 3/4 of the average tradesman's annual wage. Section prices now are about five times a tradesman's wage. This is unjustified. Huge profits from "land banking" should be not be allowed or at least they should be heavily taxed.

Laurie Becroft
Pyes Pa

Pike River escalation

For years we have been reading of the risks and growing costs of entering the mine and recovering the bodies.

During that time, I have wondered what my view would be if a loved one were one of the victims. Would I want other people risking their lives? Is it really worth the cost?

Now I have even greater concern about reports that it is said to be a crime scene, that police staff will need to accompany the mine rescue team. No way should police, or others be asked to enter the tunnel. Forget this crime scene aspect. The chances of finding any worthwhile forensic evidence are low. Also, the threshold for criminal convictions makes it unlikely that forensic evidence would be robust enough.

The rescue team will have video cameras etc. That's enough.

Then there is the matter of now only entering a relatively small part of the mine with the likelihood that many victims will be unrecovered.

Sadly, I ask, is this is not a grandstanding political exercise at a massive cost to the taxpayer?

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Bill Capamagian
Tauranga