Here we go, again
The "shovel-ready" of today is the "think big" of the 1970s.
How economically rich and blessed 2019 now feels. How silent and silly the Reserve Bank now appears, having overplayed its fiscal management cards in a year which looks golden by current standards.
As our leaders rush to spend $50b of borrowed money, we mortgage an entire generation.
Robert Muldoon and Bill Birch mortgaged my generation with spending on capital intensive, huge-scale energy-based projects, subsidising them by the billions. It's ironic one of them, the Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter, is finally to close.
All were built on an assumption oil prices would remain at the heights of the 1970s. Oil prices collapsed, our currency was devalued, state-owned companies sold off, and entire sectors corporatised and deregulated.
A few Kiwi oligarchs got fabulously rich, everyone else got poorer and worked harder for less. We lurched into neo-liberalism and our people sleep on the streets or in damp garages.
Those who danced their way through the 1980s in disco shoes may as well have bought houses with credit cards.
How quickly we forget.
Russell Hoban, Ponsonby.
On the tools
New Zealand is facing a financial crisis not seen since the crash of 1929. The Government
has handled the Covid crisis very well from the medical perspective. The very serious concern is now the economic recovery.
We have seen enormous sums announced but no actual plan or explanation as to how this will work, who is to monitor progress and what reporting can we expect.
The failure to name so-called "shovel ready" projects - save for more houses in the north, a bike lane over the bridge and more for Britomart - is deeply concerning.
Construction companies and the related consulting industries urgently need answers, as indeed do the employees who face losing their jobs due to the slow response.
Priority projects should be a further harbour crossing, incorporating public transport and cars; an eastern link to Southern Motorway at Penrose; accessible roads to Northland and Tauranga; a rail link to the airport from Puhinui, starting immediately. For good measure, there could be $300m for heritage projects.
Let us please get NZ moving; no more delays.
Mike Single, Bayswater.
Marilyn Waring (NZ Herald, July 29) is right. We need to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps - although she didn't use this expression.
We need to incentivise and activate our human capital to educate, research, make, import-substitute and reconfigure for a post-Covid/climate-changing world. For example, tax the bejesus out of new home builds over 150m2 and self-aggrandising lifestyle blocks.
Tony Kaye, Hamilton.
Long term health
There are an increasing number of calls to re-open our borders and even to manage a supposedly controllable level of Covid-19 infections. However, we need to be very cautious as an understanding of the full consequences of this disease is far from complete.
A new study from Germany, just published in the journal JAMA Cardiology found that, of 100 people with an average age of 49 who had contracted the virus, 78 showed structural changes to their hearts; 76 had evidence of a biomarker signalling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack; and 60 had signs of inflammation.
The long-term implications for those age groups that often feel themselves bulletproof are clear. These patients were not in the high-risk age group but were all relatively young and healthy, some having returned from skiing holidays.
Our present Government is absolutely correct in taking a conservative approach to the coronavirus crisis until there is a much fuller understanding of the implications.
Pam Laird, Milford.
Out on a limb
I find it difficult to understand why there are people anxious to lift this country's border restrictions.
We are the envy of countries throughout the world. Is this a matter of greed? I think so.
I would have thought healthy lives are much more important.
A N Christie, Rotorua.
Three more years
We are frequently told this country will remain a low-income economy until we improve productivity. The Covid-19 recovery period is an opportunity for Government to incentivise increases in productivity and at the same time develop meaningful jobs and increase the tax take without increasing taxes.
This Labour-led Government has failed at just about everything it attempted. There has been no solution to the housing crisis, child poverty, trains to the airport, carbon pollution - any of the big items, let alone the small matters like Pacific island bubbles, overseas students and Ihumātao.
The only thing it got right was Covid-19 and that was simply because it had Dr Ashley Bloomfield who told them what to say.
We need policies that reduce the traffic in Auckland and around NZ; incentivise greater use of broadband; research and development in areas we are already good in, such as agriculture; and any ideas which improve productivity.
What is of much less value is subsidising "nice to have" jobs not aimed at improving productivity.
Why would 60 per cent of the population even consider voting for three more years of the same ineptitude, albeit delivered sympathetically?
Richard Brown, Manly.
Your correspondent Neal McCarthy (NZ Herald, July 28) pointed out that Ports of Auckland Ltd paid no profits to Auckland Council to help reduce the rates.
Instead the cash was used to build a parking building on the waterfront to hold imported cars. In a short time, when the cars are being unloaded at Whangārei, Tauranga or Manukau (haha), the building will not move there but remain for the next century to block the view down the harbour. Doubtless it will be passed to Auckland Transport to be used like the forecourt of the old Rail Station for the cheapest all-day parking in the city and another thousand commuters will be encouraged to bring their cars every day, adding to congestion and pollution.
The Parliamentary candidate who campaigns for the end of the CCOs and for the governance and planning of our city to be returned to the elected councillors deserves the vote of every citizen.
J. Billingsley, Parnell.
I agree with Geoff Vause on handling waste in part (NZ Herald, July 24) but not conversion to energy. We don't need more electricity generation.
Waste-to-biofuel could operate much more locally than two North Island and one South Island plants fed by rail.
FastOx Gasification can destruct all our garbage and industrial waste - including car bodies, appliances and batteries - plus our unwanted noxious weed and exotic plant plague - including those pine "tailings" clogging East Coast beaches - and uneconomic forestry blocks - to produce biodiesel and/or ethanol.
What's more, the natural environment can be restored as an integral part of this "harvesting" - replant natives - and a localised hemp biomass industry can be encouraged to supply environmentally rejuvenating, sustainable biomass as ecosystems are stabilised and waste lessens.
A FastOx Gasification plant, producing 5600 litres of biodiesel per day, could be built for $18 million - the cost of the earthworks at Ngawha Industrial Park - employ dozens of people and totally revitalise the economy of an area such as North Hokianga, which could export biofuel to neighbouring places, minimising transportation, and pay for itself in nine years.
It would be a 15-30 year project during our transition to total renewables, because 97 per cent of our vehicle fleet is still internal combustion-engined.
Wally Hicks, Kohukohu.
If I understand things correctly, an ex-boyfriend put a poster up with the picture of a Wookie saying it was his ex-girlfriend.
The poster did not show the woman's real face. The picture only showed a Wookie.
The young announcer/reporter made a joke referencing the picture of the Wookie. Not referencing an actual picture of the woman concerned.
If all the above are correct, how was that a misogynistic comment and why did Campbell berate and humiliate him on air over a joke about a picture of a Wookie? An imaginary creature.
The worrying thing is none of the network management have hauled Campbell over the coals for his overreaction and misrepresentation of an innocent joke about the picture of a Wookie.
Even more worrying is the young reporter felt bullied into apologising for doing absolutely nothing wrong. I do not condone the ex-boyfriend's actions in any way. However, the joke was not aimed at the girlfriend, it was aimed at the picture of a long-haired, big-toothed Wookie.
This world is fast becoming a humourless place to live in full of woke virtual signalling bullies.
Graham Hansen, Howick.
Short & sweet
Most of us don't care whether the lockdown was legal or not – we considered it worth doing to protect our fellow countrymen, including the more vulnerable, and even you. Peter Cleghorn, Kerikeri.
So National candidate William Wood did something dumb when he was 14. Who didn't?
C. C. McDowall, Rotorua.
The best thing any aspiring politician can do when they are still children is to remove themselves from all social media and avoid having drongos as "mates". James Archibald, Birkenhead
Taika Waititi is being considered for an award for doing exactly the same in full-screen technicolour, isn't he? Max Wagstaff, Glendowie.
Why should NZ taxpayers fund Joseph Matamata in prison for the next 11 years? Deport him on the next flight and divide any assets he has among his victims. Surely he has forfeited his right to live here.
Geraldine Taylor, Remuera.
Greens co-leader Marama Davidson says that "tax is love". Not quite. Bob Dylan's album Love and Theft was much closer to the mark. Brian O'Neill, Chatswood.
On Hong Kong
The Chinese Government must be blushing red at the hypocrisy of accusing us of undermining their sovereignty, which of course we're not, we're simply saying you've not kept your word, so we stand by our values. Alexander Campbell, Oneroa.