Your correspondent Dr John Hawkes (NZ Herald, May 17) calls for a larger economic cake . That is no solution for public expenditure shortfalls.
Economic growth is a function of mobilised savings productively invested, chiefly in high-return export industries, research and development (R&D) and infrastructure.
But economic growth, although necessary, is not a sufficient condition for higher living standards.
A nation's living standards are determined by its national income and the number of people sharing it.
The 1985 OECD Report on the New Zealand Economy noted our economic growth between 1950 and 1984 was close to the OECD average but strong population growth fueled by immigration eroded our per capita income or living standards. We learn nothing.
Between 2003 and 2019 our population has increased by one million, offsetting corresponding economic growth and cancelling out any per capita income growth. Progress?
Costly infrastructural and consumption needs of new arrivals absorb scarce resources that could otherwise benefit the resident population (e.g. R&D expenditure).
It is pointless creating a larger economic cake and increasing the number of people sharing it. Like a cat chasing its tail, rich-nation status is forever elusive.
John H Gascoigne, Cambridge.
Well done for the investigative work into the "Hit & Run" debacle. (NZ Herald, May 21). There are highly significant revelations in the newly released documents. Definitely civilians were killed – not "none" as we were originally assured by our political leaders, or "maybe some" as later reported. I am shocked that military officers seem to have drawn comfort from findings that these deaths were down to some kind of equipment failure rather than mistakes on their part.
When innocent people are brutally killed, is it any wonder that revenge attacks are considered? That seems to be the crux of the war in Afghanistan – a never-ending, constantly escalating cycle of violence and retaliation. Why on Earth are we still part of it?
The penny-pinching response of the inquiry team that we don't need to seek out the witnesses to obtain their testimony because they have already been interviewed for the Hit & Run book is a bit rich, considering earlier attempts to discredit the book's authors. The bottom line is, we New Zealanders have blood on our hands- we owe it to the surviving witnesses to let them have their say in this inquiry.
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert.
I have much sympathy with our teachers and the reasons they are striking again. I was a secondary school teacher, including as principal, between the early 1960s and the mid-80s. In those days we focused on planning, teaching and assessing work, collaborating with colleagues, and engaging in extra-curricular activities with our students. Since the advent of Tomorrow's Schools in 1989, which was supposed to be about giving schools more freedom, principals and teachers have been faced with increasing amounts of paperwork imposed on them by the education agencies, the purpose seemingly to improve teaching and learning especially for those groups who were under-achieving. Where is the evidence that it has? The same gaps, nationally, still remain. The best schools with the best outcomes for their students are still those with good leadership and good teachers, and a strong sense of purpose underpinned by clear values.
Unnecessary paperwork does not improve outcomes, commitment and practice do. As Pericles commented centuries ago, "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven in the lives of others." It is people who make things happen, not pieces of paper.
The answer is not to give teachers more time to deal with this overload, it is in removing that which has doubtful value to improving outcomes for our children. Teacher workloads was a prime factor in the recent decisions by minister Chris Hipkins for the future of NCEA. The same commitment needs to be applied elsewhere.
David Hood, Hamilton.
Pension and income
I managed to contact IRD about Betty Ellis' letter (NZ Herald, May 21) by email via the MyIR portal on their website and got a response which said, "Superannuitants with pension and passive (interest) income are captured under the salary and wage title; sorry for any confusion here." According to their reply, those with interest/passive income that they formerly declared to IRD will have to follow the same process, as in the past. This needs to be made clear to those who receive superannuation and I have requested that IRD send a new letter to those over 65 to put an end to this confusion.
Ian Dally, Mt Albert.
In the first of the Herald's series on Treaty settlements (NZ Herald, May 20), minister Andrew Little is quoted as saying we "need to learn our history". The report then says the three articles of the Treaty "gave sovereignty to the British Crown ..."
We do need to know our history, and the report's baseline of Treaty history is patently wrong. As always affirmed by hapu, as long accepted by the majority of "mainstream" historians, as even accepted by previous National Minister Doug Graham, Māori did not give sovereignty to the British Crown.
Even in the face of unbalanced terms of engagement, the Waitangi Tribunal (a Crown judicial body) concluded in its WAI 1040 judgment that Ngāpuhi did not cede sovereignty to the Crown by signing the Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Arguably, that judgment also applies - for parallel reasons - to hapu throughout the country.
Ngāpuhi's Tiriti history is well laid out in " Ngāpuhi Speaks ".
Let's not rewrite our actual history for political convenience, as current and previous governments have done. Getting our history right means having a real basis for negotiating our constitutional relationships.
Tim Howard, Whangārei.
I would like to give Andrew Little a big "thumbs Up" for his editorial (NZ Herald, May 21) on the important referendum vote to legalise the use of the drug cannabis in this country. It answered many questions, and I hope that everyone eligible to vote read the piece. This is a serious issue and it needs all of us to help get a positive decision.
Rosemary Howell, Meadowbank.
I can understand the frustration of David Marton (NZ Herald, May 21) .
We decided to spend a couple of nights in Auckland CBD just before last Christmas. But I doubt we ever will again.
The city is dirty, grubby and with so many homeless people everywhere, with one poor guy vomiting copiously in Elliott Lane. It was all quite sad and scary, leaving us with a horrible feeling.
There does need to be somewhere for these people to go. Some cities overseas have tackled this problem by building small areas for them to sleep.
Come on Phil, get your act together and clean our city.
Margaret Dagger, Laingholm.
Well done Future Post and Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme for getting together to find a use for waste soft plastic (NZ Herald, May 20). In Surrey, England, waste plastic has been recycled into simulated wooden boards, coloured brown and with a woodgrain finish. These have been used as boardwalks in the woods. If you produced the same, they could be used as boardwalks here to protect the kauri tree roots and the public would be able to enjoy our beautiful bush again. Seems to me that would be a win, win-win solution.
Pat Dennerly, Pinehill.
Thank you Mary Kisler (NZ Herald, May 21) for your fascinating description of your search into Frances Hodgkins' travels. For me, it was one of the highlights of the Writers' Festival.
After your talk on Sunday, I rushed into the art gallery and enjoyed the most extensive exhibition of Frances' work that I have seen anywhere.
We really should celebrate our most famous international artist who was admired more in Europe than here during her lifetime. She was such a prolific artist whose work reflects time and place and the artistic influences of her time.
"Finding Frances Hodgkins" provides a wonderful travelogue for a visit to Europe.
Meanwhile, I highly recommend the exhibition "Frances Hodgkins: European journeys" in the Auckland Art Gallery
Helen Gillespie, Hauraki.
Short & Sweet
I must say I admire Gerry Hill's
( NZ Herald, May 21).
A J Petersen, Kawerau.
There used to be a law in the UK – "Trespassing on the Queen's Highway".
Lionel Rogerson, Blockhouse Bay.
On Pike River
Well, the mine is open and entry has been gained. But where is Winston Peters? He said he would be (among) the first in.
Esther Bowden, Hamilton.
If Labour had not won the last election, would we have re-entered Pike River now? I don't think so.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Surely soldiers' families are as deserving of this extravagance as miners' families?
Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
What an oxymoron, "working in Parliament".
Dick Ayres, Auckland Central
White supremacists lose their argument as soon as they open their mouths.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Innovations like Bunnings' flat-pack DIY houses are exactly what's needed to disrupt the status quo in our stitched-up, locked-down, rip-off building materials industry and actually get affordable houses built like even the Housing Minister currently can't do.
Richard Irwin, Te Atatu South.