Editorials 27 April 2010

The Herald editorial does not appear to be online.

The Press looks at the Melbourne Storm controversy:

Seldom, if ever, has an Australasian sporting team suffered such a resounding fall from grace as the Melbourne Storm.

From being regarded as a glamour side with one of the best records in the National Rugby League (NRL), the club is now mired in disgrace and ignominy.

The Storm’s deliberate breaches of the player salary cap have cost the club the premierships it “won” in 2007 and 2009, it must repay A$1.1 million (NZ$1.42m) in prizemoney, the franchise has been fined A$500,000 and must play out the season without being eligible for competition points. …

Over the past two decades a variety of Australasian rugby league clubs have been punished for exceeding salary caps, but the scale of the Storm’s breaches and the way it ran two sets of books was remarkable. Faced with evidence of the practice the NRL acted with commendable speed in publicly handing down its penalties. …

The Storm saga emphasises the wisdom of leading New Zealand rugby players being contracted to the New Zealand Rugby Union rather than having rugby league-style salary caps, which are open to abuse. And although provinces in the Air New Zealand Cup do have salary caps, it is unlikely that many local unions would reach the maximum salary limits.

I think NZ Rugby avoids most of the problems with its setups, but I am sure some provincial players end up getting jobs and cars etc as a way around the salary cap.

The Dom Post reflects on the loss of the RNZAF crew:

The deaths of two air force pilots and a crewman in a helicopter crash on Sunday is the cruellest of ironies. Flight Lieutenant Hayden Madsen, Flying Officer Dan Gregory and helicopter crewman Corporal Ben Carson were flying from Ohakea airbase to Wellington for Anzac Day commemorations when their Iroquois helicopter crashed into a steep, scrubby gully above State Highway 1 near Pukerua Bay. …

The crash is a reminder that those who serve in the armed forces do so at considerable personal risk. Since the Boer War more than 30,000 servicemen and women have lost their lives in the service of New Zealand. Many, many more have been injured. …

The funerals will be held this week. Mourners will include not just family and friends but probably the prime minister, who has cancelled a visit to Bahrain and Kuwait to attend. That is appropriate.

As Defence chief Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae said “We’re a small defence force and we know those people. The prime minister knows them. I know them. We fly with them all of the time. They’re part of our family.”

They’re part of a wider family too. All New Zealanders have reason to be grateful to those who carry on the proud Anzac tradition.

It will be a very sad funeral.

The ODT looks at the UK elections:

There have now been two such debates involving the leaders of the three main British parties involving Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Gordon Brown, Conservative Party leader David Cameron and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg.

And, while there has been some disquiet about subsequent superficial predictions – and the dangers of facile “worm”-like performance indicators familiar to the New Zealand public – most pundits agree Mr Clegg emerged from the first debate as the outright winner, and from the second as at least holding his own in a three-way tie.

This has been mirrored in the opinion polls, which show the Conservatives to be leading at around 34%, the Lib Dems at about 29% and Labour at 27%.

Yet ironically Gordon Brown may remain Prime Minister, despite coming third.

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