Super 12 coaching lessons
The Blues have dashed more hopes this season than the average weekly Lotto draw. But it proves something - Crusader/Canterbury rugby coaching doesn't transfer readily to anywhere. Not to Australia, not to the Waratahs, not to Japan, not to the Highlanders and now not to Auckland.
We often forget the importance of local history - coupled with the massive physical demands of the game - it can make or break a player or coach's career in a couple of Saturdays.
The Blues have won the Super 12 only when Sir Graham Henry was either head coach or part of the coaching team. At the time, he was a world-class coach ahead of any other coach in world rugby. When the players have the confidence of a man of his stature, playing rugby is still hard on the body but much easier on the psyche.
This season has seen some great individual performances; a near win over the Crusaders in the first game; terrific writing by Simon Wilson ; the fabulous support of die-hard fans; and a realisation that, for a city, winning the Super 12 is probably as difficult as winning the World Cup is for a country.
John Rush, Mamaku.
Cellphones and driving
The article entitled "Confessions of a motorist" (NZ Herald, June 7) is proof positive that some people are just too stupid to be let out on the road. Here is a person who admits that using a cellphone while driving caused an accident, endangered others' lives, gave themselves the shock of a lifetime - and then reveals subsequent and continual use of the cellphone while behind the wheel. The apparent justification for this indefensible action is "everybody else does it". Newsflash: Not everybody does it. Cellphone use while behind the wheel is not a requirement for life to continue.
David Bevan, Howick.
It's pleasing to see Air Chathams filling the gaps as Air New Zealand abandons regional services (NZ Herald, June 7). The extension of the runway in the Chatham Islands to operate Boeing 737s should be a national strategic priority. The Royal New Zealand Air Force will in the near future be acquiring four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to replace six Lockheed P-3K2 Orions currently in service. While the Chatham Islands runway is capable of operating turboprop aircraft, including the Orions, it is too short to operate the Poseidons which are a military version of the Boeing 737.
There is a very large chunk of ocean to the south and east of New Zealand which needs to be patrolled by air. Illegal fishing is likely to increase in our EEZ, the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters as fish species become extinct due to over-fishing and climate change. Extending the Chatham Islands runway by 300-400 metres would be a sound investment should it be necessary for a Poseidon MPA to seek a diversion airstrip in case of an emergency.
Murray Dear, Hamilton.
The wide-ranging speed reductions on NZ roads being considered by the government (NZ Herald, June 6) as a result of the recent Mega Maps computer simulation are surely a case of nanny state interference.
Perhaps an in-depth study of factors other than speed also deserve close attention and appropriate action.
Terry Cammell, Silverdale.
Consequences of speed
It's all too easy to drive too fast and to get "pinged". But here in New Zealand, it's also far too easy just to pay the small fine online and then forget all about it.
In the UK you have two options: pay a big fine, or pay a much smaller amount to attend a half-day "speed awareness course" run by police driving instructors.
Having done that course a few years ago, I still feel the presence of that police instructor beside me in the passenger seat, reminding me of the catastrophic dangers of speeding (and also making sure that I'm never tempted to text at the same time).
I wish a system of driver re-education could be implemented here, instead of what many NZ drivers wrongly perceive to be mere revenue generation.
Charles Hadfield, St Heliers.
The Herald and Derek Cheng are to be commended for helping to reveal the machinations behind the Secretary of the Treasury falsely claiming to the police that Budget documents had been hacked (NZ Herald, June 10).
By asking the State Services Commission to investigate the circumstances, the Government has sought to restrict any information on the involvement of Cabinet Ministers, Robertson and Little and Prime Minister Ardern since the SSC cannot investigate, or report on, ministerial communications or activities.
With the Government seeking to shut down investigation of its role in accusing the Opposition of criminal activity, it is important that reporters such as Mr Cheng and your publication strive to reveal the truth.
Katherine Swift, Kohimarama.
A very wise old codger called Socrates, who lived in Greece 479-399BC, changed the way we debate a topic by using the quotation: "Do you understand what you are discussing?" To bring that quote up to date on this present trivial political diatribe - what do you mean by the word "hacking?"
The illustrated Oxford Dictionary gives numerous meanings, one of which is a dry cough and another is a miners' pick used for hacking rock.
The Treasury boffin's use of the word to describe Bridges action, to me is perfectly okay, that is literally what National officials did.
It does not matter to me what the computer experts think it means, I understood what it means in layman's terms. It does not show much understanding of ethics to work out it was a rather petty act. Well done Treasury boffin for telling it like it is.
David Johnston, Okura.
War in Iran
Why the sudden US haste to prepare for war against Iran? This surely cannot be justified. The EU can find no case against Iran. Any alleged provocation by Iran should be checked by the UN and a composite response prepared if need be. This action has to be channelled through the UN as happened in Kuwait in 1990. Trump is in trouble over tax evasion and the disclosure around the Russian investigation report. Therefore, this latest adventure appears to be a cynical effort to take the heat off himself.
The US has already destabilised the Middle East with its unilateral Iraq war in 2003. This caused the birth of ISIL and another war. Incidentally, the US spent far more in destroying Iraq than in rebuilding. As a general principle, the aggressor should shoulder much of the rebuilding cost for the damage caused.
Meanwhile, Adlib in Syria has been now been bombed by Assad (and possibly the Russians) and the West is quiet. Schools and hospitals have been targeted – locations disclosed by the US. Thousands have been displaced. Sudan, Yemen and Libya in disarray too, when will we learn to have dialogue before sending in the heavy armour? Hopefully some sense prevails among leaders after D-Day commemorations.
Steve Lincoln, Botany Downs.
A street light across the road from our house hasn't shone on the street for over a year, leaving a large section of the roadway in total darkness. Why? Because the acmena tree surrounding it has not been trimmed.
The council staff member told us that the tree is on private land, so they could not touch it. As I understand it, the tree blocking the light is in a public area and that part can be trimmed. After all the trees along the streets were trimmed for the double decker buses and none of these trees are growing on council land.
There are trees in Queenstown Rd completely covering road signs. Why are they not trimmed?
Overall Auckland streets look quite scruffy. Surely we pay enough in rates to expect better service from our council?
Elections this year.
Jim Radich, Hillsborough.
Rail to airport
I totally agree with your correspondent Hans van Ess (NZ Herald, June 7), light rail up Dominion Rd is a nonsense. Already constructed and working is a spur rail loop connection to Manukau. We already have Puhunui Station, a spur could be constructed across open land to Auckland International Airport to service all passengers from Auckland to the airport.
In every other country, this is standard. Auckland Transport and government get going. We can't transport all passengers by road, look at the current shambles.
This local light rail Dominion Rd idea is just an AT mind crash.
Eric Strickett, Henderson.
Letters: State housing, baby boomers, Mike Hosking and Speed limits
Letters: Road design, mayoral race polling, Brexit and Lizzie Marvelly
Letters: School conditions, road speeds and Brian Tamaki
Short & Sweet
It would be interesting if NZTA used their Mega Maps online risk assessment tool to come up with a speed limit for scooters on footpaths. It would probably suggest a fast walking speed about 8km/h would be safe limit.
Martyn Ellwood-Wade, Papakura.
To use one of Ardern's favourite words, the attempt to smear The National Party "absolutely" backfired. Peters isn't saying much either.
A J Petersen, Kawerau.
In some US States, road signage suggests manual use of mobile communication devices is a criminal offence, if the user is detected. How simple and expedient this would be to implement in New Zealand.
Mike Donovan, Remuera.
Brian Fallow is well overdue for some praise for his excellent articles on the economy. His knowledge of his subject is first-rate, and his ability to write about it so cleverly and at times amusingly makes his work a pleasure to read.
John Hampson, Meadowbank.
Some are saying Labour cannot lose the next election but Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten thought exactly the same.
Mike Baker, Tauranga.
Crusaders 66, Rebels nil. That game would be the best display of rugby I have seen for a very long time. Surely Razor Robertson must be the next All Blacks coach?
Gary Stewart, Foxton Beach.
Of all the road fatalities, speed is a micro fraction of the cause. Driver inattention, poor decision making, intoxication and incompetence are the main causes of every driving fatality in New Zealand.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.