Letters to the editor
Land for town
Twenty-five years ago my father, Dr Bryan Bruce, was a Blenheim borough councillor. He was on the planning committee, and they were charged with the future development of Blenheim and its surrounds.
The overview at the time was that Blenheim would develop towards the Wither Hills, as the land there was of lesser quality and the good land should be used for food production. The council of the day adhered to this plan.
It seems like a very short-sighted decision to cover some of the "best land in New Zealand" with housing in a town, country and world that has an ever-expanding population and an ever-increasing need for food.
These development decisions are severely handicapping the future sustainability of Marlborough.
Thank you, Dr Mike Trought ["Scientist says land too good for houses," Express, August 16], for bringing this voice of reason in a world, a country and our town that is difficult to understand.
Terry Harris [Letters, Express, August 14] claims the "Green agenda" is behind the push for the gay marriage bill.
This bill is in the name of Louisa Wall, of the Labour Party. It will probably pass with the support of Labour, National and the Green parties.
He claims homosexual behaviour is not natural, but if he is an observer of nature, he should know that homosexual behaviour has been observed in most animal species (check out the research on Wikipedia). Did they "choose", or is it simply "natural behaviour"?
Terry would also discover by doing some homework that homosexuality has existed in every society, in every era, in every place.
It was once considered moral to discriminate against women and people of colour. Gradually, our society has come to realise the immorality of discrimination on the grounds of gender, race and sexual orientation. This includes the right for gays to marry, like other couples.
Nothing is being foisted on anyone. People need to celebrate nature.
A new flag
Your editorial on changing the flag ["Debate of black and blue," Express, August 10] stirred me up.
My vote is for the Maori flag. I love it. It is original, colourful and looks good - much better than the old-fashioned present one, the stars and stripes.
Your correspondent Ian Wells [Letters, Express, August 22] wrote that his rates had been raised by more than 50 per cent, and repeated the widely held assumption that where a property's value drops, rates should also decrease.
In Mr Wells' case, there was a large increase in rates on his Picton property - $1621.71 (77.7 per cent).
This occurred because, as part of the valuation process, Quotable Value updated the improvements component of his valuation to reflect the fact that the property contains both a dwelling and a flat. Previously, he had just been rated as having a dwelling on his property.
As a consequence of him having both the house and the flat, his property attracts two general charges, two Picton sewerage user charges, two Picton water user charges, and two Picton refuse and kerbside charges.
Having two sets of user charges instead of one accounts for $1518 of his increase.
Rates increases or decreases do not depend on the movement of valuations alone. Change is determined by how the value of a property moves compared with the average movement of value within its geographic rating area.
The land value of Mr Wells' property decreased by 14 per cent, compared to the average Picton decrease of 16.31 per cent. As his decrease is less than the Picton average, his share of Picton rates increases. The revaluation effectively accounts for a further $8.59 of Mr Wells' rate increase. The remaining $95.12 represents a 4.6 per cent increase in his rates.
Corporate finance manager
Marlborough District Council
How can we get through to our politicians that, particularly for the welfare of our youth and society as a whole, we need an alcohol purchase age of at least 20?
I support the excellent comments made by Binky [Online comment, Express, August 20]. Lowering the age to 18 resulted in even youger people obtaining alcohol, and even more harm resulting. In recent years, there has been an increase in binge drinking by teenagers. Also, the number of babies born annually with foetal alcohol-spectrum disorder has increased.
Do any politicians ever watch the television programme Police Ten 7? It is distressing and a disgrace that so many alcohol-fuelled young people are ruining their lives and the lives of others.
- The Marlborough Express