John McEnroe's demanding plea to long-suffering tennis umpires when a call went against him was "you can't be serious".

The same line comes to mind following the call for the Government to provide financial backing to All Blacks to discourage them from taking up lucrative contracts in Europe.

The country's input into such ventures as the America's Cup is dubious but to give cash to players would be an appalling use of taxpayer money.

Steve Hansen and his co-selectors can, if they choose, select Northern Hemisphere based players for the national side. Argentina is a good example of a country which has done this.

Sure, there is a strong argument that if the selection policy was changed then it would result in players leaving for Europe at the peak of their careers rather than the end, which is the case at present.

However, by sticking with the status quo it achieves the aim of discovering which players have the passion for representing New Zealand. Generations of top players before them received no money for donning the All Blacks jersey.

Simon Earle

Inquiry not needed

The "weeks or months" response from the Auditor-General (Local News, September 1), in response to a request (into Mudtopia), implies that time and money would be spent unnecessarily.


The topic is, after all, recent history and redress cannot change that.

Such initiatives, however well intended, seldom reward when first introduced but instead grow in popularity over time.

What then, of a request for an inquiry? Could it be both an attempt to expose council and promote an alternative? If so, what?

I doubt the request for an inquiry will be granted - and neither should it be.

Mike Byrne

Submissions ignored

What strange things our Rotorua Lakes Council uses to measure their success.

Discussions at the recent council meeting on the finalised Spatial Plan included ample self congratulations for the number of people who had actively engaged in the consultation process, including hundreds of school children.

Yet Lake Okareka, with its fragile ecosystem and ecologically significant wetlands currently protected by the Lakes A Zone, is now mapped for future development, along with Tarawera.


This is despite ample natural hazards, unsuitable soil structure, and a lack of infrastructure able to cope with expansion.

The council received 50 written submissions against development at Okareka, and one for.

Repeated during personal hearings. That is 98 per cent of submitters strongly opposed.

Yet our council has ignored the content of these submissions and in my view, arrogantly pushed ahead, furthermore claiming success due to the high level of engagement from the community.

As a scientist, I look at the data values, in combination with the sample size, to obtain my conclusion.

I do not base my decision on the sample size alone - 98 per cent opposed did not give the council a mandate to develop Okareka. Shame on them. (Abridged)

Dr Toni Withers
Lake Okareka

GST on food 'crooked'

We have just spent a few cents over $100 in a supermarket, we bought- apart from washing up liquid - purely food items. The GST came to a few cents over $13.

This is outrageous, and it is little wonder that some families can barely afford to eat.

This is something that Jacinda must tackle - if she cares, as she claims, for the welfare of New Zealand families.

The cost of food here is high enough as it is, to pay GST is not just unfair, it is crooked.

Jim Adams