Barbara Baldwin is obviously concerned by social inequalities (Letters April 16) so it is surprising she would trivialise the magnitude of the French Revolution by suggesting a throw-away remark about eating cake was all it took to get it started.

The famous "Let them eat cake" comment which was attributed to Marie Antoinette during the storming of Versailles, was never said. It is simply an urban myth, probably on the scale of the choking doberman.

It does have a grain of truth. Jean Jacques Rousseau documented a heartless statement made by a princess regarding the lack of bread but that was in 1741 - 14 years before Marie Antoinette was born, and nearly 50 years before The Revolution.

Incidentally, her actual words were "let them eat brioche".


MV Newman
Mount Maunganui

Revamp misunderstood

So an independent review has identified that the Phoenix revamp was misunderstood, as reported (News, April 17) and who should be surprised at that outcome?

We were sold an urban green space and whatever Mount Maunganui Ward councillor Leanne Brown may say that not what we achieved as we got a concrete jungle and worse still 40 per cent plus over the original budget.

I can certainly also appreciate the position that mayor Greg Brownless finds himself in as it must be extremely difficult in defending the Phoenix redevelopment, when he opposed it.

Just don't defend the indefensible Leanne Brown as you were one of the six councillors responsible for this abysmal development which has achieved a negative outcome at huge cost to ratepayers.

Roll on election October 2019. (Abridged)

Mike Baker

Why so long?

Two events recently in the news cannot be allowed to pass without comment.


One: It took French President Emmanuel Macron only hours to declare that the irreplaceable national treasure of Notre Dame would be rebuilt. How come it took New Zealand seven years of wrangling to reach the same conclusion about Christchurch Cathedral?

Two: It took NZ Army engineers and NZTA only a couple of weeks to throw a bailey bridge across the West Coast's Waiho River for use by motor traffic. Grateful as we cyclists are for the proposed clip-on cycle bridge over the Wairoa River, how come it will cost $5.2 million and take who knows how long before it is completed?

Paul Chapman
Te Puna

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