Sorry state of our capital markets

The recent Herald editorial examining the sorry state of New Zealand's capital markets (NZ Herald, May 15) is a wake-up call. Few New Zealanders seem to appreciate that we must grow our "economic cake" if we are to fund high-quality readily available health-care and high-quality universal education. The editorial's insightful analysis is enhanced by Guy Body's cartoon (NZ Herald, May 16) with its astute captions and graphic depiction of the parlous state of Fonterra, our largest company.
Our fiscal policy doesn't help because it greatly favours investment in property and land, resulting
in a dearth of venture capital for investment in the productive sectors. Consequently, productive businesses wanting to expand and/or export often decide to source venture capital from overseas or move their enterprises abroad. Selling houses to one another is not our salvation. Correcting this distortion is daunting as residential property investments are a "nest egg" for many New Zealanders. Until we transform our fiscal policy and culture, this conundrum could well remain insoluble.
Dr John Hawkes, Remuera.

E-scooter speed

Clearly Auckland Transport chief Shane Ellison has never walked downtown. So his latest brain surge for limiting the carnage on Auckland's pavements from boy racers on e-scooters (NZ Herald, May 15) is limit the speed to 15km/h. Wow that will work. At 15km/h these silent whizzing metal tubes still break bones. They whip around you as you walk with inches to spare, if you're fortunate. The rider pays by the minute so speed limits above 5km/h are useless as every rider is trying to go as fast as they can. Enforcement is non-existent anyway. The ACC cost to taxpayers for injuries is now $1.5 million and rising fast. Someone, quite possibly a child, will be killed by a speeding e-scooter soon. The only ones at benefit are the overseas investors in Lime. E-scooters have fled major US cities where they face liability claims and have come here, where they can't be held liable for injuries. And they've been welcomed by a gullible AT.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland Central.

French e-scooters

France is very sensible with its new e-scooter rules, banning them from footpaths to only use bike lanes and minor roads (NZ Herald, May 16). One user was filmed at 85km/h on a motorway recently. Absolutely crazy. France has a limit too of 24km/h on bike lanes and minor roads with a 1500 euro fine for exceeding the speed limit, equal to NZ$2500.
We should do the same with equivalent fines and using bike lanes instead of footpaths. It will save numerous ACC claims and possible deaths from use of e-scooters. Bring in these rules before thousands more of them are clogging our footpaths every day.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.

Consensus and action

Perhaps there is reason to feel hopeful. If politicians (with cybertech giants) in Paris can make substantive progress on the issue of online evils, terrorism content first; human trafficking, child pornography, interference in electoral processes may be next? Maybe they can build up enough momentum to tackle together other global challenges such as climate change, worldwide environmental/oceanic degradation, human population displacement, nuclear disarmament, international tax havens ... They might discover that consensus and action are powerfully attractive to voters.
B Darragh, Auckland Central.


Business cartoon

Congratulations on ditching the consistently unfunny Alex and replacing it with Dilbert.
Alex depicted a world of finance which almost no one in New Zealand could relate to. Dilbert portrays an anarchic workplace and out-of-control colleagues: familiar territory for many people.
Doug Hendry, Tauriko.

Waitākere Ranges

With a large percentage of people living in the vicinity of the Waitākere Ranges wanting to re-enter the bush that is presently under a rahui – I wonder if council has considered boardwalks.
Boardwalks keep foot traffic off kauri roots, allow air and water around the tree roots to move naturally and are a suitable solution for large sections of any given track. A joint venture of the council and local communities to finance and install scientifically approved boardwalks would see the bush opened sooner. Also, hopefully, with the blessing of Iwi, who I understand have even submitted a boardwalk design.
Boardwalks, whether it wants to admit it or not, is DOC's gold standard for protection of PA-affected ancient kauri.
Gravel filled plastic webbing as shown in the picture in your article (NZ Herald, May 15), is a cheap but dangerous option as the roots of all trees grow through the foreign structure and it is then in place for eternity – a shabby heritage of human interference.
The boardwalk project may need to be completed in stages, but is entirely possible if the 71 per cent of surveyed potential bush walkers want to put their money where their mouth is.
Beverley Short, Albany.

Climate change

It astonishes me that there are still so many, apparently unqualified people out there who actually think they know more about climate change than climate scientists. It also amazes me that these people continue to confuse the natural warming and cooling of the Earth over very long periods of time during the Earth's geological history with the very rapid altering of our climate effectively within a single generation of people and their activities.
Tatiana Kalnins, Papakura.

Rail crossing

I used to be a regular sufferer of the needlessly long waits at the rail crossing at Woodward Rd (NZ Herald, May 14), and it was frustrating to read the indifferent comments of the KiwiRail boss.
It is quite obvious that west-bound trains entering the Mt Albert station trip the alarm switch for Woodward Rd, several hundred metres away, as they arrive at the station, meaning everybody at the intersection waits while passengers get on and off the train, which can take several minutes when an elderly person needs assistance, or when the grammar school kids are getting on or off.
All it would take is to move the switch to the other end of the platform, so the train trips it as it departs, not as it arrives, and thereby making the waiting time for motorists the same as for trains travelling in the opposite direction.
How many times do we hear monopolistic organisations like KiwiRail try to close down the conversation by saying "safety is paramount", or "we won't compromise on safety", when they just can't be bothered?
Tony Waring, Grey Lynn.

Listen to public

Interesting to note that Phil Goff launched a scathing attach on AT for not turning up to the residents' meeting and listening to what they had to say.
Sure - Mr Goff did indeed turn up to our residents' meeting at Takapuna last year. But we were actually objecting to the sale of the carpark to developers for apartments, leaving a tiny strip of land they call the Town Square. Goodbye carpark and Sunday market.
Yes, Mr Goff turned up to the "Town Square meeting", but he certainly didn't listen to the community. The council voted to sell the carpark.
Is that listening to the community?
Deb Karen, Takapuna.


John Caldwell is quite correct that the Government of the day is responsible for our immigration figures (NZ Herald, May 15). Perhaps he should have another look at the recent Herald table that highlights the sudden surge in net immigration under the Key administration.
In what could only be described as a money-grabbing Ponzi scheme, citizenship was offered to virtually anyone that could front up with $2 million, whether theirs or merely borrowed.
Their parents were even permitted to enter at one time, further adding to the liability of future governments.
His assertion that five million is a logical target for the NZ population is also bizarre, where does this magical figure come from? Since introducing this immigration policy, we have gridlock on our roads, critical shortages of police, nurses, doctors, housing prices pushed beyond the reach of the average Kiwi worker and Kiwis forced to accept shoebox-type houses as the norm, all initiated by this sudden increase in the population.
The present Government has also disappointed in their inability to curb immigration.
Heath Smart, Tauranga.

Short & Sweet

On lights

Today, while out driving in the eastern suburbs, I witnessed four cars go through red lights. Maybe drivers should be tested for colour blindness.

M Ellis, Mission Bay.

On recycling

The growing pile of plastic waste could be minced up and blended with the concrete that is used for cycleways and footpaths.

Gary Andrews, Mt Maunganui.

On crossings

If Auckland motorists can't handle dealing with trains at rail crossings, then how would they handle trams running down the middle of narrow, congested streets?

Euan Macduff, Titirangi.

On Bridges

I thought Mike Hosking was the Leader of the Opposition?

Lois McGough, Orewa.

On Kyrgios

I see Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios caught his Russian opponent off guard by serving his first ball underarm. Any New Zealand player would have been ready for that.

Alan Tomlinson, Herne Bay.

On cartoons

Bring back - not Buck - Alex.

Tony Pope, New Plymouth

Please leave your cartoon that has replaced Alex back where it was and away from corporate-minded readers with a sense of business humour.
John Cooper, Devonport.
On degrees
I am incensed some students feel they can get a degree with a ghost writer. How dare you cheat and undermine the university and the students that do the work with honesty and determination.
Linda Beck, West Harbour.