Keep our track open

Re: The closure of racetracks in New Zealand - if this is to happen, please do it right and do it once and close as many as you can.

I know this sounds cruel, but times are changing and the family picnic day has gone.

I know what racecourses I would close to keep this industry alive, but who am I to speak out? I am only a racehorse owner, and these are only my thoughts.

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Today we are in the professional horse racing industry and we need more Randwick, Caulfield, Flemington tracks in New Zealand, so I would be closing more than 20 and building new ones.

In my area, the Foxton Racing Club has been closed for a number of years due to a major fire but still has 90-plus horses training there each morning and last week had 28 trials. We have one of the best tracks in the country. Ask the trainers and jockeys - they will tell you.

If I was on the racing board I would be saying to Winston Peters close Trentham, Otaki, Awapuni and Whanganui and build a Flemington in Foxton on State Highway 1. Very centralised to all.

GARY STEWART, Foxton Beach
Suburb needs help

Yet another murder in Castlecliff.

People living in St John's Hill or Bastia Hill will tell me I am negative when I speak of the violence and trouble in Wanganui and that I do a disservice to Wanganui's reputation.

I tell them, come live in Castlecliff for a bit and then tell me that.

Shortly after moving back here I was accosted in my car late after work on my property and harassed by several men who told me I was in "their territory" - my crime being "white". I had to call the cops. The policeman's advice - maybe I should move.

Apparently there have been rising gang tensions in this area. It brasses me off, to put it nicely, that I have been living among this rising tension and that my children have potentially been in the firing line.

It seems to me that behind advice such as "move" is the idea that Castlecliff is uninhabitable for normal folk.

Maybe we need to look at how to clean up the area rather than just attempting to manage the crimes once committed, telling people to move out if they don't like it. Reintroducing the gang patch ban would be an idea.

I feel for the family of the recent victim, for the children having to deal with their father dying like that.

Have the gangs forgotten the little girl killed in the drive-by shooting years ago? We can't keep on going like this. I see new footpaths being made and other tourist-attracting innovations but can we please focus on making Wanganui better for those who live here first?

MB, Castlecliff
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More on McCain

Here is an addition to Jay Kuten's "True definition of a hero" (Chronicle, September 5).

For once I do not want to disagree with Jay regarding the late John McCain, I just want to add more to it.

John McCain was pictured in 2013 with Free Syrian Army personnel. He was giving financial and material support to the Free Syrian Army, who were/are mercenaries moving freely between Isis and the FSA depending on who pays the best money.

WILLIAM PARTRIDGE, Hunterville
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Rates rip-off

The people of this district need to wake up - we are being ripped off.

Rising rates bills and pay two rates instead of one - too high as it is compared to other districts,

Why did you agree to pay for Horizons rates as well? They are doing (or not) what our council is supposed to be doing and we are expected to pay twice for it.

S JOLLY, Castlecliff
Ask Father Marcus

Jay Kuten in his article on the End of Life Choices bill (Chronicle, August 22) begins quite factually about religious programmes in the United States defending the unborn in two different manners - one gentle, the other grim.

He then focuses on the grim to express the instability of anyone of a spiritual faith. This is followed by seven paragraphs of emotional support for the present bill in New Zealand.

Some examples of a writer who is uneasy with free speech are " ... they do anything to win", " ... their ends justify their means", " ... they need to present fact", " ... manipulation of emotion with appeal to the primitive", "Proponents are given short shift", " ... more propaganda than truth-seeking". And others.

There is not a fact in these seven paragraphs to explain why Jay is supporting assisted suicide.

Jay needs a mentor, to help him grow and avoid self-deception. Could I make a suggestion?

Father Marcus Francis has made some level-headed thoughts in the Thought for Today column in the Chronicle.

Give him a tinkle at St Mary's Catholic Church, Whanganui, and pass the article to him for comment.

FR HALPIN, Gonville
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