John Pakes (Letters, April 13) says he attended three meetings about mass housing estates at Ngongotaha. There have been two. He was probably confused about the Long Term Plan meeting, at which locals ripped into the Rotorua Lakes Council for not consulting mana whenua.

He said that respondents were, "in the main," against the proposals, and they should have had greater concern for housing families than being on time for work.

I attended the April 5 meeting, and the April 10 meeting was apparently much the same, and more than 90 per cent were against.

Against the council's decision-making processes, unsuitable land, not consulting mana whenua, anti-social outcomes, inadequate infrastructure and mass housing estates. When more intensive infilling and social housing could deliver the houses needed for 0.72 per cent annual population growth.

Mr Pakes, in my view, was confused about the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers (RDRR) being "vociferous in opposition".

At the April 5 meeting he and I watched [RDRR secretary] Reynold Macpherson give an unchallenged and factual summary of the two proposals, ask two landowners and a kaumatua of mana whenua to give their perspectives, before opening the meeting to local feedback - which turned out to be "vociferous opposition".

At the April 10 meeting, the audience was infuriated when officials tried to justify the council's decision-making and hammered the same points.

RDRR's Alternative Spatial Plan did not state "that Ngongotaha is ready for increased densification of housing." Repeating a lie does not make it true.



Super sportsman

On Sunday I watched the Commonwealth Games marathon race and was totally inspired by Callum Hawkins, the young Scottish athlete who fell short at the 40km mark in his effort to win a Gold medal for Scotland.

He gave 100 per cent of himself to his sport, his team and his country and is a role model for all aspiring athletes around the world.

He is a credit to himself and his family for his gallant effort and I hope on his return to Scotland his effort does not go unnoticed.

Callum Hawkins of Scotland is given assistance as he collapses in the men's marathon. Photo/Getty
Callum Hawkins of Scotland is given assistance as he collapses in the men's marathon. Photo/Getty

In no way do I want to diminish the achievements of those athletes who did finish the marathon especially the gold medal winner Australian Michael Shelley and Callum's Scottish teammate Robbie Simpson, who was third, but, in my opinion, this young athlete Callum Hawkins epitomises the spirit of sport in the Commonwealth Games.

Growing up I can always remember my own coach saying – it does not matter if you win or lose it is how you play the game.

Yes, Callum Hawkins did not win the race but he showed everyone his commitment and dedication to be the first Scott to stand on the top of the podium in the gold medal position for over 50 years.

The Scottish people should be extremely proud of this young man and no doubt we will be hearing more of him in the future perhaps in the marathon at the Olympics in Tokyo.