Snarl-ups end result of tunnel
At a cost of around $300 million, I believe the North Shore busway would be the best return on investment of any transport infrastructure project in the history of New
Zealand. It has forestalled a traffic volume driven need for extra capacity by at least two decades and given us time to think about what to do next. Hopefully we will use that time wisely.
Traffic modelling theory and day-to-day observation concur on the point that traffic merging and demerging creates turbulence that slows traffic flows.
The key constraint for traffic flows crossing Auckland Harbour isn't the bridge itself, where traffic normally actually speeds up but the approaches going at least as far north as Tristram Ave and as far south as Greenlane. The bridge has five effective lanes each way at peak times and no merging on or turning off provides excellent flow.
Putting a tunnel entrance and exit anywhere in the existing system will simply cause more congestion leading into and out of the tunnel and increase overall travel time for most journeys including people going nowhere near the North Shore. Any new crossing needs to be on a completely separate route to provide an improvement.
While the Greens' suggestion of a rail-only tunnel is a step in the right direction it requires an entire rail infrastructure to be built on the North Shore side, which would take decades and cost tens of billions.
Alternatives are a bus and emergency service vehicle-only tunnel from Devonport to Mechanics Bay and a bus, emergency service, pedestrian and cycle bridge from Meola Rd to Birkenhead.
Cleverly linked to existing bus and rail services, this would spread the flow and give public bus transport such a massive advantage over private transport that taking the bus would become a "no brainer" for most commuter journeys to and from the shore.
John Christiansen, Mt Albert.
Some pre-Covid bookings suddenly came to light and during the past three weeks I attended three departments at North Shore Hospital: gastroenterology for a colonoscopy, cardiology for a check-up and radiology for a scan.
During the drives from Warkworth to the hospital I had plenty of time to feel apprehensive about the pending procedures, but I was put at ease at every department. Reception staff, nurses and doctors were friendly, attentive and professional.
The dreaded long wait-times in reception were minimal — the shortest was two minutes and the longest 20. We can all be proud of our health-care workers who are working under tremendous pressure in somewhat run-down hospitals.
Johan Slabbert, Warkworth.
Was Daniel Morris (Weekend Herald, October 3) watching the same debate as the rest of us? He accuses Joe Biden of getting loud, angry and insulting, and of having no answers. Daniel, he had the answers but couldn't make himself heard over Trump's incessant ranting interruptions. It doesn't matter what you imagine CNN is trying to do, Trump showed the whole world exactly what he is: an ignorant, ill-mannered, childish, entitled, conceited, semi-sane bully who refuses to acknowledge reality.
Ron Hoares, Wellsford.
Your informal poll on attitudes to National's proposed tax cuts is far too simplistic (Herald, Friday, October 2.)
A significantly more meaningful poll result was that obtained in Britain a couple of elections ago. There were two questions. The first asked "Do you think you should pay less tax?" The response was a majority in favour of less tax by a large margin.
But then the pollsters asked a second question: "But would you be willing to pay more tax if it meant guaranteed high-quality healthcare and education systems for everyone?" The answer was yes, by nearly 70 per cent of respondents.
I suspect you would get a similar result to both questions in Aotearoa.
A. J. Forster, Mt Eden.
Steven Joyce is prognosticating bubbles won't be possible again and telling us there are risks in bubbles and we are too scared to accept the risk. How does he assess this risk? If you cannot accurately estimate a risk, look at the consequences of an exponential outbreak first. There is no mention of any consequences in his Saturday opinion. The consequences depend on how quickly we detect the incursion of Covid. From my observation of mainlanders over three weeks from September 1, none wore a mask and few bothered with social distancing despite being told I was an Aucklander. Complacency, naivety or bravado?
What is the risk of dying? Risk is age and BMI dependent. The attitude around mask-wearing in Auckland is so palpable that you wonder how Kiwis can act so unconcerned, oblivious to the possibility of contracting a deadly virus in the South Island. Clearly they are more at risk from tourism, being innocently naive.
Who pays for risk? My house insurance has tripled since the Christchurch earthquakes showed the true risk of living near a tectonic plate subduction zone. How could insurance companies get it so wrong for so long?
How much should tourists pay to risk our people? Do they triple or quadruple our risk? Who knows, and furthermore who is more at risk? A newspaper columnist, a nurse or a hotel cleaner? Until we know we have the ability to trace foreigners travelling wherever they like, who may spread the disease, what is the risk? If you cannot answer that question we must wait.
It is like going into battle. Do you blame a soldier for ignoring his fear or not respecting his enemy? We should ask Trump in two weeks but Boris Johnson already knows. We need to respect Covid, not fear it, but playing Russian roulette with it just for an economic gain is not a fair risk on nurses and older people.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Ultra-conservative journalist John Roughan was always expected to oppose assisted dying legalisation, so it was no surprise to read his opinion "Referendums: One chance to choose" in the Weekend Herald (October 3), warning of dire consequences.
He acknowledges the bodily indignities that can be afflicted on those close to dying as if they are the only trivial imposition on an otherwise perfect death. In his scenario, he tells the imaginary patient: "You wake each day to see the sun and feel lucky to be still alive".
Oh, if only! How about the patients who don't wake each day to see the sun but who spend their last days instead in a drug-induced torpor that causes them to lose control of their mind with terrifying hallucinations? How about the patients who wake to curse each new day they will have to live through in their suffering, worsening despair and irreversible decline?
Get real, John. Dying for some isn't as portrayed in cowboy movies. It's horrific. And when there is no way out other than death, some might prefer that death to come more swiftly. The status quo forces them to live through every last minute of suffering.
John Watson, Otaki.
Give parents control
NZIER principal economist Christina Leung is rightly concerned about inequality of opportunities in education, and states that some parents "can afford to buy a house in a good school zone". However, many do not have this option.
NZ education in the past 20 years with its constant downhill slide on OECD rankings and other international studies, is well overdue for a complete policy re-think. Persisting with a suspect, ideological commitment of achieving the same quality education across all schools has proved to be flawed and futile. The state-school model of compulsion and "one size fits all" approach is well past its use-by date.
The answer or "big idea" is giving choice and control back to parents by using the concept of "money follows the child", or as it is more commonly known, the voucher system.
Parents are given a voucher they can redeem at any registered school of their choice. Parents can choose to invest their education dollars in schools that get results and meet their child's needs.
Isn't it strange how we stridently claim freedom of choice in most aspects of life but not when it involves schooling and education?
Shane Kennedy, Wattle Downs.
Short & sweet
Liam Dann in his column lists policies which he says would make him unelectable as a political candidate. Well Liam — you would be my pick! I wonder who else would vote for Liam and his policies as PM? Hey Jacinda and Judith — you should take note! Alan Hay, St Heliers.
MMP can be used not only to elect a government but also a constructive opposition. There are many individuals in parties which may never get your party vote who you respect and whose presence in parliament would be an asset to us all. To enhance their future in politics is a productive use of our MMP vote. John O'Neill, Whangarei.
How on earth does Simon Wilson summon up a genie to be able to say that Nick Smith is in serious trouble in his electorate. Has Wilson counted the votes already? Anthony Browne, Birkdale.
I feel the three German yachtsmen were treated unfairly.
Flown home and their boat impounded, while a luxury yacht is allowed in Auckland and the occupants offered first class isolation. V. Hall, Whangaparaoa.
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