Tolerating harm for how much longer?
I was horrified to read from Richie Hardcore (NZ Herald, May 4) that up to 30,000 Kiwi children have been born with alcohol-related brain damage over the last 10
years. Imagine if 57 of our tamariki were suffering brain injuries weekly due to post-natal child abuse - surely it wouldn't be tolerated?
Out of sight, out of mind is no excuse. We have the data.
The only question is, do we have leaders with the foresight, compassion and courage to do something about it?
Stephen Bayldon, Mt Roskill.
Three cheers for Richard Prebble. He's right. We are in the hands of probably the most incompetent government in my lifetime (I'm now in my 90th year).
It has now found it necessary to establish some sort of supervision unit to oversee the implementation of strategy and decisions - a massive admission of failure.
Meantime, it is busy centralising as much as it can in Wellington. Tertiary education and the new health authority being the latest examples. All the better for political control and meddling.
Perhaps its most dangerous and far-reaching meddling is its progressive erosion of the Reserve Bank's independence. We should all be concerned. Making the Reserve Bank independent of political interference was probably the most wide-ranging and effective reform of the 1980s Labour Government. It was a move followed by many governments around the world.
This is a government that believes in political control. It abhors the independence of SOEs and other Crown entities. It believes it knows best.
Vince Ashworth, Morrinsville.
Samoa's parliament is paralysed and democratic representation is on hold.
There is no electoral winner because a policy of positive discrimination created an extra seat. That was not the electorate's wish.
Fiddle with democratic representation and watch it burn.
A lesson, nearby.
Anthony Martin Andrew, Clevedon.
Abuse of privilege
Trevor Mallard, supposedly as Speaker, sets the example in Parliament.
What came to light was a very serious false accusation that terminated someone's reputation and career, cost taxpayers over $300,000.
Yet, incredibly, under parliamentary privilege, he is totally free to do so.
I understand the need in most cases for this but when it is abused like this then it should be able to be overridden and the accuser made to face the consequences of their actions like any other normal citizen.
Mallard, ideally, should be removed from his exalted position.
Paul Beck, West Harbour.
Thank you for printing Dr Cam Calder's Opinion piece (NZ Herald, May 5).
So often we in the public arena and, at times in the media, discuss important matters mainly from an emotional point of view or simply on the basis of either liking something or disliking something.
Dr Calder's discussion seems to be from an educated, intelligent and well-reasoned and researched viewpoint.
His opinions strike a refreshingly balanced aspect to what is an extremely important matter relating to the fair and reasonable education of our young.
Our education hierarchy, and indeed our Government, would be well-advised to take note.
Steve Clerk, Meadowbank.
Two legs good
It seems to me that so many critics of traffic restrictions downtown don't see the big picture.
Auckland council and Auckland Transport are trying to make the central city more pedestrian-friendly. As a downtown resident, it is most welcome. But too many people still want to drive to and park outside where they want to go. Often just a single occupant of a vehicle.
Downtown streets jammed with traffic and parked cars hemming pedestrians on to overcrowded narrow footpaths must be a thing of the past. Trying to reverse this was always going to be initially messy and irritating for those who only want to drive everywhere unhindered. But the end result will be a downtown much more people-friendly and less polluted. AT understands this, even if angry car drivers are inconvenienced.
The success of the Viaduct Basin is a shiny example of putting pedestrians first.
It's like the banning of smoking; once we're through all the moaning we will wonder why we didn't do it long ago.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland Central.
Rod Emmerson's cartoon (NZ Herald, May 5) was spot on, encapsulating so much in his talented artwork. In the editorial, Wu Xi (China's Ambassador) is reported as warning us "not to interfere in China's internal affairs".
We don't Madam, but we certainly have freedom of expression here, and we will exercise it as we see fit.
B Watkin, Devonport.
Auckland Zoo director Kevin Buley (NZ Herald, May 4) must be commended for his compassionate and carefully considered decision to allow elephants Burma and Anjalee each to join herds of animals to live out their remaining years with a number of their kind.
These animals, well cared for and respected by keepers, have served the zoo well and this has been recognised in the decision to give them a richer, more natural habitat.
Judy Morley-Hall, Remuera.
The recent letter from Brian Stanton (NZ Herald, May 5) contains some significant thinking. From my experience comparing Australian food costs, we have serious challenges in NZ especially for the lower-income households. It's not just the issue of no GST on most Australian food that results in the cost differences. Until there is a greater level of competition in the NZ food market there is no incentive for further price reduction.
We desperately need to attract a successful Australian discount operator like Aldi. But how to persuade this type of business when Resource Management Act compliance, as well as site acquisition and commercial building costs, are likely to be serious disincentives?
Given the current Government's interest in social equity, I suggest that the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet be tasked with approaching a potential business partner like The Warehouse which has both existing floorspace, and a national distribution network to see whether a deal with Aldi could be brokered.
The New Zealand food consumer would be a serious beneficiary and the Government would have assisted the material wellbeing of many Kiwis.
Ken Tremaine, West Harbour.
Brian Stanton's letter (NZ Herald, May 5) asking for a return to real competition between supermarkets, mentions the Aldi German chain and their 600 discount supermarkets in Australia. He sees Aldi as a possibility this side of the Tasman.
I miss my local Aldi in Melbourne so much - a smaller scale supermarket with a range of unusual and reasonably priced goods.
In Devonport, we have only one supermarket. It is expensive. An Aldi in our suburb could well attract city dwellers and Waiheke Islanders by ferry as well as tourists when they return en masse.
Sarah Beck, Devonport.
I was saddened to read the one-sided article in Saturday's Herald criticising Shakti, the support service for ethnic and migrant women experiencing domestic abuse and violence.
Some anonymous critics feel they have had unpleasant experiences working for Shakti. Fronting up with a complaint once the occasion has past, and receiving an apology, would be much more productive than anonymous newspaper generalisations.
Former (or present) staff would have been much better to use the procedures clearly set out in Shakti's management documents to deal with their concerns. I wonder at their motives in trying to undermine the only national organisation dedicated to supporting the most vulnerable women in our society. If genuinely concerned, they should have presented their criticisms to the Shakti Board to deal with through the procedures available.
I have worked with a range of Shakti members in a number of contexts, some involving great stress and sorrow, and have huge admiration for the compassion, skills and sheer hard work of the staff. They may not be perfect, but they are an extraordinarily talented group, deeply committed to the well-being of ethnic and migrant women from all cultures.
They deserve much more careful investigation and fairer reporting - and need full support from community and government agencies.
Charmaine Pountney, CNZM, Auckland.
Short & sweet
Finally, the Government is taking midwifery seriously by announcing a Minister of Delivery. Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
Richard Prebble's criticism (NZ Herald, May 5) of Grant Robertson's Ministerial performance brought to mind the pot and kettle analogy. Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
It is customary for the speaker of the house to receive a knighthood at the end of their term. If Trevor Mallard is given a knighthood it will be a travesty. Randal Lockie, Rothesay Bay.
Dr Cam Calder succinctly analyses (NZ Herald, May 5) what the draft NZ history curriculum could mean. If implemented, its lack of facts, is likely to worsen race relationships as if there are not already a surfeit of longstanding, unresolved major issues. Dr John Hawkes, Auckland
Cam Calder (NZ Herald, May 5) searching through European history to justify alternative interpretations of Māori history is tiresome. Mumbo-jumbo at its worst. Grant Alexander, Devonport.
Could anything be more hypocritical than the Queen of England's address for Ireland's Centenary emphasising the importance of equity? J M Livingstone, Remuera.
Surely it is arrogant white colonialism to ban the number plate NGR when that word is freely used in the black community and is not considered a slur. Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.