I feel a terrible sadness on hearing about the death of our young guest Grace Millane, and the sadness and despair her parents must be feeling.

I also feel as a Kiwi, a deep sense of guilt - this happened in our country on our watch; this is what we have allowed our country to become.

There will be no Christmas celebration for Grace and her parents, and somehow I feel we are all to blame, we have allowed our lovely country to sink to the level where tourists are not safe.

Some countries have policemen patrolling on foot throughout the towns - it used to happen in Britain, the last time I saw police on foot at night was in Hong Kong, several years ago.

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Maybe if a few more police were around-who knows? (Abridged)

Jim Adams
Rotorua

Property prices

Yet again a big, shouty, banner headline about the increase in property prices locally (News, December 8).

Yes, of course, it reflects well on Rotorua, but I feel that such seeming triumphalism is a slap in the face of those struggling to afford their own home whom we equally hear so much about. A little more decorum required maybe. (Abridged)

William Wright
Glenholme

Forest logical option

When treated wastewater was first pumped into Whakarewarewa Forest rather than into
Lake Rotorua many years ago now, this attracted worldwide attention as it was novel, scientifically sound logical option with the trees and other plants taking up most of the nutrients in the wastewater plus the pumice soil acting like a big filtering system.

Users of the forest and Rotorua ratepayers had found this system to work well with no hindrance to activities in the forest except when areas were to be logged.

What annoys many ratepayers is that a small group has convinced the council that this practice is culturally unacceptable and now tens of millions are to be spent on a new treatment plant that will put treated wastewater back into our lakes.

In my view, there have been no visible signs of ground saturation and if this were the case, a simpler solution would just to extend the area being sprayed.

While cultural concerns have to be taken into account, these should reflect the concerns of the wider community.

How about the ratepayers having more say and at the end of the day.

If the plant has to go ahead, then why not discharge this "extremely high standard" wastewater into the forest? (Abridged)

Paul Carpenter
Rotorua