Well done to the All Blacks. They have ruled world rugby for eight years and set the benchmark on and off the field on how our national game should be played. Great teams and their supporters are not only defined by the way in which they win, but also how they take their defeats. The All Blacks under the leadership of Steve Hansen have been great ambassadors for New Zealand and won the admiration of rugby and sporting fans worldwide.
Steve and his All Black teams have written a glorious chapter in the history of All Black rugby, which must not be forgotten as we come to terms with Saturday night's loss. Thanks for the memories, Shag.
Derek Parrott, Mangawhai.
Over the years Hansen has shown a preference for compliancy in his many rugby selections, allowing many of the top players to escape to other lands.
[On Saturday] the All Blacks compliance became simple submission. On every part of the field and in every aspect of the game they were out-muscled, out-thought and outplayed.
Hansen's earliest mistake was to select an assistant whose tenure with the Chiefs — a team with outstanding players and extraordinary game-breakers — never enjoyed success at the highest level. His next was his selection of Scott Barrett at No 6. Not only did it show he was panicking, it was simply a bad move.
Hansen's desire to outperform Sir Graham Henry ended in abject failure. If you want to be successful choose people who know more than you and quit while you're ahead.
Read, Whitelock, Retallick, Smith and Hansen all hung on too long. When aches and pains from rugby affect your life, a million or two earned abroad and salted away in the bank will mean a good deal more than some silly damn cup.
John Rush, Mamaku.
Recent correspondents have suggested Auckland Council should take control of the Council Controlled Organisations (CCO's) and make them accountable to ratepayers. But under the enabling legislation, the council is not permitted to have any political control of the CCOs. The organisations are, in effect, CUOs (Council Uncontrolled Organisations).
The council's structure was designed by Rodney Hide, then Act MP, and supported by John Key's National Government. In creating the CUOs Hide used a tactic popular with his neo-liberal predecessors, from Roger Douglas on, to call something one thing and make it the opposite. Hide also showed his lack of understanding of public bodies, as we now have a council that does less of the basics, like weed control and road maintenance (overseen by a CUO), and has to charge a great deal more for the privilege.
But don't panic! As I write this, a bill is passing through Parliament to bring all the CUOs under the control of Auckland Council. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen.
Gerry Beckingsale, Torbay.
In response to Emmerson's view (Weekend Herald) I wonder if too much credit/blame is directed at Winston. The Government is faced with an Opposition comprising 47 per cent of Parliament, and whose public polling is consistently in the 40s; ie the opposing point of view has strong support in our nation. Not to mention the help it gets from high-profile media commentators who consistently slam all aspects of government policy.
National avows to undo asap much of the legislation they have been attacking (farmers in the ETS, CGT had it survived, fuel taxes, ban on foreigners buying our houses, regional funding policy, KiwiBuild, employment regulation ... ) so it does indeed make sense for the Government to accommodate the opposing view where possible, ie try to get consensus in these and other areas (reform of justice, education, child welfare) to reduce the likelihood of flip-flopping and thus create more "certainty".
Transformative change is happening, but it is a slow process. We don't want to scare the horses. Winston knows this, and so does James Shaw.
B Darragh, Auckland Central.
Emmerson's "Yes, Prime Minister" take on the state of politics in NZ is priceless. This is what MMP delivers. We get what we voted for.
John Clements, Orewa.
It could have been worse. If England's two tries had not been overturned by the TMO, the score would have been 29-7, or potentially 33-7. Either would have been the worst All Black test result ever, eclipsing their previous worst loss to Australia 28-7 in 1999.
It could have been just about as bad if the All Blacks had somehow managed to win by a couple of points. The English press would have shrieked to high heaven and continued to shriek about the injustice of the TMO's influence.
H.E.H. Perkins, Botany Downs.
It seems to me climate change is just a political football thrown around without a try being scored.
Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
Thanks to consummate reporter Bernard Orsman for recognition of Mike Lee's considerable work and accomplishments for Auckland. Balanced, non political and a joy to read. Also very well deserved. Thanks Mike for all you have done.
In contrast, Simon Wilson's opinion piece on Tamihere's campaign was uncomfortably close to kicking the man when he is down. Unnecessarily.June Kearney, West Harbour.League victoryHard to swallow seeing the Poms get smashed. Full credit to Tonga.
Stephen Symes, Eastern Beach.
So Juliet Batten thinks that because I am a Pākehā New Zealander I have no spiritual connection to the land. Having planted hundreds of native trees, having a garden I love and being someone who has been known to talk to trees and animals of all sorts I would beg to differ. Just because I have a different cultural mindset doesn't mean I have a void in my life and I'm sure I speak on behalf of many NZ Pākehā.
Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill.
So the All Blacks lost to a superior English team and an Australian coach. The win was well deserved but what was glaringly obvious was the hype preceding this semifinal blown out of proportion by excitable columnists and virtual sports psychoanalysts.
They were more interested in the point-scoring off the field than the upcoming points scored on it. But that's what makes headlines these days it seems.
Ted Partridge, Mangere.
Loss for free spirits
The semifinal proved that brute force and brains gazumps free-spirited enthusiasm. Sad?
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Who has a bigger grin than the Cheshire Cat? Eddie Jones. The English can be well proud of him.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.
Out-thought, out-played, and out-classed. Beaten at our own game. No excuses, end of story. Well done Eddie and England.
Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
I thought the English played very well in the semifinal and the All Blacks helped them by making so many basic errors.
They were put out four times, a cardinal sin you learn at school. I lost count of the turnovers and yet they made no effort to protect the tackled player. They kicked away possession from the start of the game. They had no way of dealing with the English robbing the lineout, which they should have expected.
The depressing thing about this loss is the abject failure of the All Blacks to get the basics right.
Ian McFarland, Remuera.
How disappointing. We were well beaten by the better side on the night. We are self handicapped by a surfeit of theatre.
Our national anthem is twice as long as anyone else's. Half the team did not sing it and the English sang theirs with gusto.
The futility of the haka energised the opposition and once again ensured the All Blacks did not turn up for the game's first 15 minutes.
Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.
Bird of the year
Graeme Hill's entertaining article "A Flight of what you Fancy" in Saturday's Canvas magazine has shed some light on something happening in Warkworth.
Each day dozens of myna birds gather on the front lawn of a nearby property.
It really is quite a sight. Why they gather is now clear, they are plotting how to infiltrate our Bird of the Year competition.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
We should be grateful that the straw, plywood and bitumen roof on the convention centre caught fire during construction rather than when hosting an international convention.
We are told this unusual construction was designed for ecological reasons. Such ideology is not only impractical, it is literally down the drain. Millions of gallons of contaminated water in the basement are to be pumped into our Auckland harbour. Spare me.
H. Robertson, St Heliers.