Super 'con' panders to boomers
Bill English's superannuation scheme is a con. The real problem with our superannuation is the big surge from baby boomers likely to happen in about five years' time.
But the English proposal skips right over all the baby boomer years and starts landing on our younger generations instead. The generations that have big student loans, are unable to easily buy a first home, and now they're expected to fund their own superannuation.
Meanwhile the baby boomers continue to receive NZ Super - no matter whether they are poorer or wealthy.
The way to deal with the "baby boomer blip" is for the Government to restart contributions to the Cullen Fund so that when it is required, there is sufficient in there to do the job. Oh, and no tax cuts.
But Bill English believes in appeasing the baby boomers and others with tax cuts, leaving the superannuation question in the air, and doing dirt on our younger generations. He thinks the baby boomers will vote, and the younger generation will not. So he's gambling on this element for his election campaign. I guess we'll see.
But in the meantime, I would call his superannuation move one of the most cynical gestures yet - and one that is destructive of our younger generations.
Jenny Kirk, Whangarei.
All the whining, selfish, self-centred greedies need to get their heads around the Scandinavian model. Efficient schools, nil surgery waiting time, and generous pensions for all. Their civilised peoples accept that these are essential features of a happy society.
They accept that high earners should be happy to pay marginal tax rates around 50 per cent. Both the givers and the receivers are happy. Our primitive Kiwi culture needs to stop back-stabbing and grow up.
Jim Carlyle, Te Atatu Peninsula.
Time to rein in Ateed
Thank goodness for Michael Barnett's good sense and let's hope that this is not the first of other missteps Mayor Goff will make by listening to self-interested advice from operations like Ateed.
In long forgotten past councils, departments like Ateed's equivalent had to justify their existence based on commercial returns. Now Ateed even supports events that compete with our own community's events, many of which have ratepayer investment.
It's really time to cut back on Ateed's approach to bread and circuses and let our own arts, sports and businesses and Auckland's many attractions generate the visitors we need.
Ateed should stick to some modest international marketing in a collaboration with Tourism NZ and we save millions.
Christopher Johnstone, Grey Lynn.
Super for younger generations
In fairness to younger taxpayers who contribute to the sustainability of our current NZ Super entitlement age at 65 for baby boomers, should not the NZ Super Fund be made a permanent institution to keep it sustainable at age 65 also for them?
Gradually raising the entitlement age is easily initiated at any time of urgent need - but to rely on it as the answer to better NZ Super sustainability is an admission of failure of even trying to achieve adequate wealth creation for the elimination and prevention of poverty.
Jens Meder, Pt Chevalier.
Do-up mentality works
I'm with Tony Alexander 100 per cent that some hard graft on doing up dunger houses combined with frugal spending habits have served boomers like me well. He's right to commend this approach to the younger generations and he and the BNZ have nothing to apologise for.
I doubt Tony was expecting to be taken literally about coffee expenditure. Bit too subtle for clowns like David Seymour who have to quantify lattes to trash the notion that being careful with spending is an important element in property ownership.
Alan Knox, Mt Eden.
The secretary to the treasury argues diversity is the key to survival in a competitive world. An interesting idea when two of the least diverse countries, Japan and Korea, have been so successful.
But there may be merit to his idea of diversity. The All Blacks are always welcoming new ideas to keep them at the top but when the game starts there is a single game plan. They could never win if every player followed his own plan. So it is how diversity is used that matters.
New Zealand has always been a world leader in producing successful women and given the decline in educational performance by boys it is likely that in 50 years women will dominate all the areas where brains are needed: medicine, law, business.
New Zealand has also experimented with high levels of immigration for 25 years. With most immigrants ending up in Auckland there should now be clear evidence that productivity per employee in Auckland is dramatically higher than the rest of the country.
But I can't find any evidence. In my experience in Auckland immigrants are taking the low-paid jobs (especially with the recent student-to-citizen scheme) and leaving our young educational failures on the dole.
Why not reign in immigration except for experts which could be defined as anyone earning over say $150,000? Then wait until there is proof that areas with high levels of immigrants have higher productivity per person than the rest of the country. Meanwhile NZ can continue to get its new ideas from the large number of young people on OE.
Bob Atkinson, Birkdale.
Before the 2016 council elections I noted that most mayoral candidates suggested they could hold or reduce the rates. I forecast that such a feat would simply mean that other "non-rate" charges would be increased or introduced instead, and were more imposts on the ratepayers no matter what they were called.
Mayor Phil Goff has suggested the first of these, a "congestion tax", and evades the impacts on most of us by saying it will "bring a greater element of user pays into our funding system" - as if the users will not also include most ratepayers. Similar euphemisms will no doubt be used to place tolls on our motorways. Surely all compulsory payments are taxes.
He says the congestion tax ultimately is going to be the solution. Really? The solution to what? The misdirected and wasteful expenditure for which Auckland Transport is becoming notorious? The huge expense of an outdated and inflexible "solution" of a subway in the CBD? Inadequate numbers of buses and ferries? Or the fundamental problem of the tidal wave of uncontrolled immigration and speculation?
Both the former Labour government and current National government are responsible for these problems and creation of this Super Awful City.
A.P. Holman, Northcote Point.
Kiwi driving culture
Had the pleasure to be in Australia this week. What a treat. Was it the company, climate or cuisine that made it so special?
It was the traffic. What a joy to drive where people observe the speed limit and keep a safe distance. Australia seems like a nation of defensive drivers, and they observe the law as the penalties for infringement are so high. As soon as I get back to NZ, I am confronted with the worst drivers in the Western world: rude, aggressive, impatient.
There is no political will here to change anything. We just let hundreds of people die each year, moan about "the carnage" occasionally and do nothing. For things to change we need to train and require our drivers to drive defensively, and have high penalties and loss of licence for any infringement of the traffic law.
Jules Riding, Whangarei.
An analysis of the submissions made to the Health Select Committee revealed that 78 per cent of submissions were opposed to euthanasia. The oral submissions were also overwhelmingly opposed.
The committee will be influenced by the written and oral submissions made to it, not by the misleading public opinion polls. The committee's report to Parliament should be an emphatic rejection of a change to the law to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.
The standard approach for years has been to get the very sick to tell their stories of suffering to the public and politicians, in the hope that politicians might take pity and change the law.
The community should understand that it is the strategic plan of the international movement to promote doctor-assisted suicide for a clearly defined minority as the first small step, with the ultimate objective of providing assisted suicide to an ever-enlarging group as in Holland, where they have within 15 years gone from doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill, to expanding the killing to now include the depressed, those with Alzheimer's, children, and an estimated 650 babies each year.
Ken Orr, Shirley.