Can anyone seriously doubt the validity of schoolchildren being introduced to the so-called “Three Rs” at the beginning of their education? Teaching has many facets depending not just on knowledge alone, but social skills, infinite patience and a caring nature. My own vivid experience from attending three schools composed of Mr Angry who recited monologues; Mr Cane who always dished out violence; Mr Wood who lacked any enthusiasm for tenon joints or dovetails and Mr Magician who kept every class spellbound. But my most endearing memory is Mr Successful who, for two wonderful years, led our mixed class of 22. He was our rock, Messiah, best friend and tutor who inspired us all to greater heights.
John Norris, Whangamatā.
I agree with correspondents Katherine Swift regarding the need for “enrichment or extension” sessions and Allison Kelly on parachuting “specialist maths teachers into every primary and intermediate school” (NZ Herald, April 20). Given the need for catch-ups in the crucial 11-14 age group, three changes that could be announced this year would be both cost-effective and ensure timely, beneficial change. First, make research MAs a prerequisite in both sectors both to ensure high standards and the ability to teach creatively, a la Finland. Second, fund learning centres in every school, and crucially the specialist teachers needed to make them work (parachutes optional). Third, second expert teachers to make suites of levelled and accessible (i.e. interesting if not fun) IT clips and resources, a la France. This avoids teachers spending so much time reinventing wheels. The other overdue secondary curriculum reform is a semester system and incentivised training for teachers of civics, philosophy, critical thinking, and other humanities options – without which any voting age lowering would be foolhardy. I see one political party has begun its campaign with a “Tour of Real Change”. Whichever party, please. And soon.
Steve Liddle, Napier.
Not so silly old King Canute had to sit on his throne at the shoreline, to show his people how futile his power was to hold back the tide. At what point will we consider that instead of trying to hold back changes in the climate, doing something about coping with those changes is more to the point, economically, technically and practically? The unspoken problem is that of the 8 billion people on earth, about 7 billion want the same things as we have (transport, food, housing, warmth, space, leisure, travel) and will use whatever means possible to get it. That is what humans do. We aspire. Climate change is not a major, if indeed one at all, of their concerns when trying to get those. Mankind has prevailed due to overcoming obstacles put in our path, which isn’t the same as removing obstacles. We go through, over or around mountains.
Tony Olissoff, Mt Eden.
James Gregory whimsically suggests (NZ Herald, April 24), “now might be a good time to start the debate as to whether Australia should become part of New Zealand”. The question has seriously been asked, “could NZ have been part of Australia?” The Australian Constitution gives New Zealand the option to join Australia. Covering clause six of the constitution states New Zealand may be admitted into Australia as a state. New Zealand has not yet taken up the offer.
Joy Bell, Ellerslie.
B. Watkin writes (NZ Herald, April 19) that the restoration of Notre Dame, damaged by fire in 2019, is proceeding ahead of schedule, for completion in 2024. Compare this to the reconstruction of Christ Church Cathedral. Levelled by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Consents granted for the rebuild in 2020, site stabilisation completed in March, 2023. Project to be completed in 2027. Seventeen years. Incidentally, the same time it actually took to build, by hand, in 1864 - without the benefit of modern machinery and construction methods.
Quentin Miller, Te Atatū Sth.
No port sale
Bravo, Professor Nigel Haworth for explaining why it is important for the Ports of Auckland to stay where it is. The port is vital to the Auckland economy and myriad industries and their workforces made up of local residents. Removing the port from the Auckland waterfront would not result in greater access to the harbour edge, as the space would inevitably be privatised and built over with high-rise office buildings, apartments and the like. Take a look at Princes Wharf to see what I mean. If Aucklanders want more access to the harbour, the opportunity arises at Queens Wharf and at Wynyard Quarter. Before amalgamation, Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council acquired (at a cost of about $40 million) a large area of land for a waterfront headland park and possible major public building. Thirteen years later, it is languishing undeveloped behind ramshackle fences. Let Mayor Wayne Brown start here and bring this vision to fruition. Aucklanders would be able to enjoy harbour-side public places stretching from Viaduct Harbour, through Silo Park, Headland Park, all the way to Westhaven. That would be a legacy to be proud of.
Sandra Coney, Piha.
Port of call
Nigel Haworth’s comments (NZ Herald, April 21) should be compulsory reading by Mayor Wayne Brown. Back in the 1980′s, the government undertook the answer to his question about privatisation with our railways, and we now know how that went. Let’s not go there. A well-run port in all our main city is essential to our economy. If he does not know that, why or how is he the head of our biggest city?
Derick Finlayson, One Tree Pt.
Income tax rates for those of us on wages or a salary are progressive. Those earning the least pay a lower percentage in income tax than those earning significantly more. What are the disadvantages of putting such a system in place for company tax? Small businesses with low profits would pay a lower percentage of income tax than large, highly profitable businesses. The advantages of helping small businesses seem obvious and the disadvantage of multinational businesses potentially deciding to reduce their business in New Zealand isn’t really such a disadvantage as the local businesses could grow to satisfy demand.
Jon Eriksen, Newmarket.
Over recent years we’ve repeatedly seen media lamentations about our school students’ falling achievements in maths, science, and more. Covid has facilitated a denouement revealing an unsuspected factor. Many people have postulated that our science teaching might be weak. Suddenly, shockingly, we learn that some of our teachers are anti-vax, and, ipso facto, anti-science. It’s tragic that such fifth-column saboteurs of trust in science have been paid teaching salaries. Some are so strongly deluded that they are taking their delusions beyond the High Court to the Wellington Court of Appeal (NZ Herald, April 20). The public seems forced to blame inadequate teacher recruitment screening processes.
Jim Carlyle, Te Atatū Peninsula.
Will New Zealand follow the USA’s lead with a Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act? This proposed act would empower the Government to designate any nation a “foreign adversary”, ban online services and products even indirectly controlled by an entity within that jurisdiction, and severely punish any Americans who engage in almost any transaction with them. The Act would impose civil penalties of up to $250,000 on individuals who conduct transactions violating the Act. Criminal charges could result in an individual fine of up to a million dollars and/or 20 years imprisonment. The definition of a transaction is sufficiently broad to encompass almost any action such as acquisitions, importation, data transmission, software updates, repairs, data hosting services. The Government is to be granted immunity from public oversight by restricting Freedom of Information requests related to enforcement of the Act. This appears to have a close similarity to the Great Firewall of China whereby the Chinese Government attempts to electronically isolate its people from the outside world. It is also strongly suggestive of a Government that is in mortal fear of its people.
G. N. Kendall, Rothesay Bay.
Andrew Yap (NZ Herald, April 21) gives his reasons why Taiwan should be incorporated into China. Problem is, Taiwan’s people absolutely do not want this. On what grounds does Mr Yap disregard the democratic wishes of the Taiwanese people? And if China were to succeed in its quest, who would be next? Vietnam was controlled by China for many centuries, so China could easily find historical justification for re-colonising Vietnam. The current Chinese leadership is attempting what imperial superpowers have usually done, which is to bully smaller countries. Britain once behaved like this, then the USA. Invasion threats are being pumped up by ego-driven President Xi to enhance his own political aggrandisement. A more rational person would try using a carrot instead of a stick, but that wouldn’t look so macho.
David Blaker, Three Kings.
Short & sweet
No way would I ever vote for a political party that supported the cruel export of live sheep and cattle. Anne Martin, Helensville.
There is no shortage of eggs in New Zealand. It’s just that no one can afford to buy them. Ian Doube, Rotorua.
I know what we can do to help us decide about having the Commonwealth Games: get some consultants to do some reports. Keith Berman, Remuera.
On Friday at New World, chicken breasts were $11.99/kg. Today, they are $13.70/kg on “Price Saver”, an increase of 12 per cent. Who’s saving? Paul Parker, Stanmore Bay.
Maybe ChatGPT could tell us how to get a fair deal at the supermarket? Richard Irwin, Te Atatū South.
Every year on May 26 Australia remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal people. Perhaps this should be expanded to include the decades when Kiwis living in Australia were treated like “second-class citizens”. Peter Culpan, Te Atatū Peninsula.
The Premium Debate
Is immigration the biggest policy U-turn in history?
This Government is desperate and clueless. All young New Zealanders with aspirations will chase big money in Australia now there is a path to citizenship. Hipkins has been well played by Australian government. We will end up with foreign workers and those who are happy to bludge. Stephen L.
I’ve got no intention of going to Australia and I’m certainly not a bludger and there are many more like me. Kevin J.
Don’t worry Kevin, Stephen only mentioned the best and brightest. We all knew you were always going to stay. Grant P.
So should we legislate people from shifting overseas perhaps? This isn’t East Germany. We are just seeing a return to policy pre-2001. I have personally known of people migrating and often returning from all corners of the globe since the mid-70s. It’s just what Kiwis do and whoever is in government plays little part in it. Stuart B.
In my experience, those bleating about that heavenly existence elsewhere have not spent much time elsewhere. Everywhere has its pros and cons, and it’s not great anywhere all of the time. To listen to the whingers about this subject, there will be no one who starts a business, renovates a property, gets a decent job or makes a go of life here. All the people saying it’s hopeless and everyone will leave are the same people who will say it’s hopeless wherever they go, there’s always something to make it not okay, but for all those whining and whining about it, put your money where your mouth is and go, give the rest of us forging lives here a break from all the bleating. Bruce P.
Kiwis have always gone overseas to study and work. Wages will always be better in bigger economies. We shut borders to save lives until we were vaccinated. (2716 deaths approx). Now the situation is different. All developed countries are crying out for skilled workers. Luckily, plenty still want to come here. We should welcome and reward them. Jod M.