Let’s be realistic. There is no way we can compete with Australia on salaries for comparative jobs, (Herald, 24/04). We need to emphasise the positive aspects of living in Aotearoa and not allow negativity to drown out the privilege of living in a stable and liberal democracy. Our international rankings in education, primary healthcare, and social welfare systems are better than the naysayers would have you believe, and New Zealand businesses are making a name for themselves in technology, scientific innovation, and sustainable energy. The world is turbulent and we mustn’t undervalue New Zealand’s ranking as the second safest place to live. I’m not suggesting there aren’t critical issues. Now is the time for the Government to take advantage of its’ low debt ratio, (21.3 per cent of GDP in 2023), and address systemic underfunding in health and education. It’s seductive to look at higher salaries across the ditch, but that isn’t the only measure of a better life. As someone with a discordant accent, and with all due respect to our Aussie neighbours, having an absence of snakes, spiders, and Aussie accents also makes New Zealand a good place to live.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
Weeds greener too
Reading the lead article on the carrot of higher wages in Australia (NZ Herald, April 24) reminds me that while the grass is always greener on the other side, so too can be the weeds. As a New Zealander who has lived overseas and received higher wages, I am only too aware that there was a glaring omission from the “carrot” article. Costs. Higher wages do not equate directly to higher standards of living. The weed across the fence can take all that away. Higher taxes perhaps? Higher housing costs, expensive health insurance, unemployment insurance costs, etc, are all issues that need to be factored in. JI can assure you that while I may have received higher wages while living overseas, that was at the very least balanced by out by all the aforementioned different employment and living costs plus the unmentioned big weed, eyewatering health insurance and medical costs.
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
Adapt to life
Congratulations to Tony Olissoff (NZ Herald, April 25) for pointing out the real issues we need to address regarding our ever-changing climate. Unless the climate activists are aiming to “kill off” the world population growth, or perhaps stem the emissions from worldwide volcanic activity, it is our duty to find coping mechanisms on managing to live within the vagaries of our climate. I too trust in the ability of our society to manage our way forward using pragmatism, not idealism.
Jim Cotman, Waerenga.
Tony Olissoff (NZ Herald, April 25) might be a bit off the mark when he suggests humankind can adapt to any obstacles, regardless of what life throws at us. The obstacles he refers to are those of our own, not Nature’s making. To ignore or deny this well-researched, proven and documented science is to ignore our imperiled future. The only adaptation needed by humanity is to listen to and observe the signs of change and act accordingly. A very good start would be for those who believe electric vehicles and every new version of their favourite cell phone are critical to their and our world’s well-being might just research the destruction involved in the manufacture of these and many other “essential” items we crave. This includes environmental, human (in terms of dispossession of homelands, cheap or indentured labour and ways of life lived for generations), ecological and historical damage. The bottom line is that the more we try to tame Nature, the harder Nature rebels. Humankind will never win the fight we’ve brought on ourselves.
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark.
Coverage of the bottom-trawling protest (NZ Herald, April 24), scratches the surface of one of the most important issues facing modern mankind. It is well documented that the condition of marine ecosystems is rapidly declining. A major contributor is bottom trawling, the most wasteful and destructive fishing practice on the planet. But it’s not just about the fishing. It is well known that the oceans with their massive ecosystems, covering two-thirds of the surface of the earth, are a huge carbon sink. The oceans alone have a huge bearing on climate extremes that are getting worse each year. This is largely because the marine and oceanic ecosystems are being slowly but surely degraded by human intervention and are less able to absorb and process carbon compounds. It is essential that we look after the health of the earth so it will be a fit place for future generations to live in.
Stephen Wilson, Te Awamutu.
Your paper reports (NZ Herald, April 24) the response of Seafood New Zealand to yesterday’s citizen protest about continued bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf - our backyard marine park. The CEO argues that unless a “mountains-to-sea approach” is adopted, anything else “will have little effect”. What this really means is that because there are other multiple (and undeniable) causes of harbour pollution, such as run-off from urbanisation and agriculture, it will make no difference to address the end result of direct commercial exploitation of our marine life. That is, unless you fix everything at the same time, don’t look at what I’m doing. We are seeing this self-serving and hypocritical argument being used with tiresome repetition as more organisations attempt to absolve themselves from the specific harm they do to our environment, on the grounds that others are doing it as well. I trust that the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries will give due weight to the reported 84 per cent of Hauraki Gulf residents who want our threatened jewel to be given a chance to recover from decades of human assault. I for one will be watching closely the Government’s response to its citizens’ efforts to restore an ecological balance in the face of pressure from commercial interests.
Peter Black, Newton.
We, including politicians and their hired bureaucrats, read daily of the misfortune of others who are ram-raided multiple times, seemingly with indifference. This is just another reflection of trends in society. We thank our lucky stars that it is just another headline affecting other people and their lives, not us. Please reflect on the fact that insurance cover is all about sharing misfortune. Every crime by others is compensated, future premiums upon all. If walking in another person`s shoes as a matter of personal morality does not spur action perhaps people`s back pockets will.
David M. Stevenson, Howick.
Celebrations about the ease with which New Zealanders can now become Australians raise a number of questions. For example: What do we need to change to ensure NZ remains attractive to New Zealanders themselves? And: How do we generate the income needed to make the key improvements we need? With the race to the middle, both major parties don’t seem to want to spell out what they see as needed for us all to have an attractive future that can be paid for. There is a need to be honest in dealing with our deficiencies. Public discourse often focuses on divisive non-essential issues. A lot of this discussion won’t help us realise our advantages as a country and as a people. If we focus on a select number of future opportunities and improvements, we might achieve an attractive national identity that most New Zealand citizens and businesses have reason to believe in and be proud of. Without that, we may suffer from an Albanese masterstroke.
B. Anderson, St Heliers Bay.
The lucky generation that is New Zealanders who were born after 1945 and therefore have never experienced a world war; had their mortgages well paid off halfway through their working life; and languish in warm air-conditioned homes with a bach and possibly a rental ensuring maximum comfort and luxury in their sunset years, should spare a thought for the growing number of families living in neglected damp rental homes with little or no insulation, heating they can’t afford and no prospects of ever improving their lot in life. The alarming and dramatic rise of influenza closing in on epidemic proportions therefore should come as no surprise to thinking New Zealanders and is testimony to governments’ widespread neglect of setting standards for rental properties and rental property owners in all our major cities and further afield.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay
Dick Ayres letter “Socialism recalled” (NZ Herald, April 21), is absolutely correct except for one detail. He states that the government once owned nearly all the infrastructure or assets. No, the government didn’t own all the assets. The people of New Zealand owned the assets and I, as one, don’t recall being asked if I would agree to sell them. That to my mind is theft and Labour lost my vote for good. Gwyneth Jones, Albany.
Thomas Coughlan writes (NZ Herald, April 25) of multiple, deliberate and false mis-statements on Eastern Busway funding cuts or reprioritisation by Auckland Transport. Waka Kotahi says this is incorrect. The ratepayers of Auckland have long suspected that there are many dissidents hiding out as employees at Auckland Transport. New CEO Dean Kimpton has a lot of weeding out of these not fit-for-purpose employees and the sooner the better. Culture will never change until the cleanout is complete.
Gary Carter, Gulf Harbour.
Short & sweet
Why is it NZers only respect those who have served in wars until 1pm on Anzac Day, when the shops open? In most Australian states, shops do not open at all on Anzac Day. Wendy Galloway, Ōmokoroa.
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a soldier. Peter Patten, Albany.
On Anzac Day at 3.30am, a few hours before the community began to rise early for the Dawn Services, the Campbells Bay Dairy was hit in a smash-and-grab raid. Who are these people, and where do they come from? Whatever the answers, we all feel just a little less safe. Chris Parker, Campbells Bay.
With the General Election taking place later this year, it is totally understandable that Chris Hipkins is becoming very excited about the possibility of a “brain drain” of New Zealanders to Australia, as a result of the easing of conditions for New Zealanders’ seeking Australian citizenship. Philip Lenton, Somerville.
Threatening to name doctors involved in assisted dying? I am Spartacus. Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.
I suggest the debate should be on class numbers, not class sizes. A class size relates to the area or shape of the classroom. Is this error a reflection of the state of NZ education? Dail Jones, Stanmore Bay.
The Premium Debate
Just waiting for the mass exodus to Australia. NZ will become the back door for immigrants wanting to get to Australia, who don’t yet qualify under Australian rules. Watch this space. Peter M.
That’s already been happening for years and years with NZ being the back door. I can think of many instances of UK citizens wanting to get into Australia through NZ when I was travelling in the late 90s. I doubt giving Kiwis the right to citizenship after four years in Australia is going to change anything except to improve the lives of NZers permanently living in Australia. Kate M.
I disagree. Many skilled people decided to go yesterday because as our Health System deteriorates it becomes more difficult and expensive to get care especially cancer-related and latest drugs and treatments not available in NZ. Also, opportunity won’t be open under the next Australian government. Better life choices for young people to have dual citizenship. An own goal from Hipkins and win-win from Australian government. It gets rid of 501s then takes best, brightest and hardworking NZers. Best time to go is under 50. Kirsty G.
It’s happened before. We were warned and ignored those warnings, so Australia introduced the need for a passport. We are still seen as a soft touch with an easy social welfare system and a quick back door into Aussie by many. Ross H.