Share ideas, solve problems
In response to the letter of Vince West in Monday's Herald, may I suggest the following.
Auckland congestion charge: don't introduce it, reduce the population of Auckland. Less people equals less problems — traffic congestion, housing and pollution to name a few.
Ghost houses: let the Government buy them at 20 per cent below market value if they have been unoccupied or have not had repairs/renovations done in six months.
Do not import prefab houses: the Government should assist the ramp-up of the production of companies already doing it in New Zealand.
Fossil fuel cars: ban the import of used cars more than 3 years old. Japan achieved NZ's car emission target in 2013/14.
Remove GST on basic food items.
I also suggest that the NZ Herald should poll its readers on a regular basis, as to what is important to them and what action it wants the Government to take to bring it about, nobody has the monopoly on good ideas.
All governments should remember — a good manager tells you why something is going to happen, a bad one why it did happen.
Unfortunately, the resetting of targets, breaches in security/law enforcement and plausible deniability seem to be ongoing hallmarks of the last few governments.
F. Fordham, Glenfield.
Vince West's bullet points surely resonate with many of us. The PC-correct brigade of analysts, reviewers and consultants may not like to see lengthy procedures being bypassed by faster common-sense solutions, but why would we need a review to, for example, remove tax for the first $20,000 earned? The lost tax revenue will be almost immediately spent on consumables, where the GST proportion will fill the Government's coffers just the same!
The same goes for the banning of all private fireworks. How many years have we been looking on, to see that nothing has happened under this Government's so-called "kindness" approach?
Maybe some policy makers need a little rocket up their backsides to speed things up. This does not mean that some politicians' pet projects can be rushed through without any public insight, just let common sense prevail, and let's add more of the (long-ignored) bullet points.
Covid has proven that entire industries can be reinvented in a relatively short time, so why is the bureaucratic society still hanging on to its old-fashioned — slow — way of doing things?
Rene Blezer, Taupo.
A goal too far
The proposed net-zero carbon standards are a wonderful aspirational goal. So was smokefree NZ, so is pest-free NZ — and just as improbable.
NZ aiming to get to the international desired goal of 1.5C by its own actions, is somewhat like a flea attempting to have sex with an elephant.
NZ has lots of achievable environmental goals, especially reducing plastic waste and not just burying it in landfill.
The desire to reduce carbon emissions appears to be some form of displacement activity, designed to avoid actual achievements.
Australia has just approved the Adani mine in Queensland. When developed it will mine 60 million tonnes of coal each year, giving 197 million tonnes of CO2, this is at least three times NZ's annual emissions.
If a nasty pandemic killed everyone in NZ there would be no measurable decline in world CO2 emissions.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel.
Getting around the rent trap
There are signs New Zealanders are well ahead of the Government's slow reaction to help first home buyers. With it now cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent, many are opting for dual ownership, with one owner's wage paying the mortgage, which means on the average wage, an $800,000 house can be owned by both owners and within 10 years will have appreciated to well over $1 million. The house can then be sold, giving both sellers a sizeable deposit on their own home and thus keep up with the inflation rate.
All of which is bad news for landlords seeing their custom base diminish, which can only be good news for many New Zealanders caught in the rent trap, and put the brakes on the feudal lord of the manor beholding to his subservient serfs, society, which the Government, and especially the previous government would have us becoming.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Where's the fun in that?
J. Longson of Kawerau may not be aware that language reform has been tried. One of the best attempts was "Basic English" devised by C.K. Ogden in the 1930s, which reduced the language to 850 words allowing expression of any idea. However, "Blood, body water and eye water" just doesn't hit the spot like "Blood, sweat and tears". Think what a spelling tidy-up would do to word games, puns, crosswords, anagrams, palindromes, spoonerisms and their like. Half the fun would disappear and that is what has made English a worldwide language.
Pauline Merritt, Hamilton.
A beef with emissions
While we have 96 per cent of the NZ fleet running on fossil fuels, there is still a lot we can do to reduce emissions and fuel usage.
So why is it that AT thinks it is a wise move to instal ramps so steep that all vehicles, including diesel-belching buses, have to slow almost to a standstill when everyone knows that the most economical speed for fuel usage is between 50km/h and 80km/h?
The same applies to the rather dumb city 30km/h limit, more so when it comes on the exit to a blind corner from a 80km/h off-ramp. Scrubbing off that amount of speed for those not aware of it, and on a wet road, flies against the wisdom of only ever braking on the straights.
Synchronising traffic lights to keep traffic moving at 50km/h, rather than the deliberate delays, deliberate stop/start and congestion, would do far more to reducing emissions, than culling 15 per cent off the beef herd. The more time a vehicle is on the road, especially stationary, or crawling, the higher the emissions.
Ray Green, Birkenhead.
Russia takes some heat
NZ Herald (1/02/21) correspondent P. J. Edmondson claims that Russia is reeling under the pressure of the demonstrations by the supporters of Alexei Navalny. However, these demonstrations are being carried out by far fewer people than have been involved in recent demonstrations carried out throughout Western Europe and the US. It appears that many of these supporters are motivated by Navalny's claim that Putin is stealing money from Russia to pay for a palace in Crimea and now it has been revealed that Putin has nothing to do with this luxury hotel project, the numbers of demonstrators will no doubt decline. And while the Russian economy is feeling the effects of Covid, so are the economies of the UK and US, which are both in serious decline.
As for sanctions against Russia being all that effective, the industrialists of Germany are pleading for the Russian sanctions regarding Crimea to be ceased because the big losers have been the EU countries, which have incurred trade losses of US$350 billion compared to Russia's US$50 billion.
David Mairs, Glendowie.
Pay for risk involved
Jacinda Ardern is sanguine about getting the Pfizer vaccines by the end of March. But facts suggest a vicious vaccine war is developing for a limited resource. That gives Covid time to mutate into more variants, some of which might make Pfizer less efficacious. Testing takes several months so basically we have to assume they will work and find out later.
The increasing risk placed on our MIQ workers, many of whom are paid less than the living wage, is cynical, bordering on slave labour. Ask yourselves would you do it for that, as Covid gets more infectious? If we expect them to front for us why can't we pay them significantly for the risk involved? Charge everyone entering MIQ exactly what it costs. The cost is a fair payment for risking our Covid frontline.
Australia charges and caps its intake; that is why we were a transit back-door entry to Australia. We promote and attract risk by offering kindness — this exposes our frontline. Cheap MIQ — cheap value on life — come for a holiday (three months) and then flit off overseas again. Can Ardern justify the zero charge now and slave wages? No.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Short & sweet
How on earth can Judith Collins blame the Government for the lack of vaccine in the country? We are entirely in the hands of the manufacturers producing enough.
Peter Brooks, Mairangi Bay.
From the Government initially telling us that we were in the front of the queue to receive the Covid vaccines it would appear that we are now not even in the queue.
Mike Baker, Tauranga.
The nanny state government has started. My V8 has the highest ANCAP safety rating, and meets all current emission standards. It looks like the six-litre V8 will not be on sale before 2032, and I would not mind that at all.
John Ford, Napier.
Cut NZ livestock numbers by 15 per cent for climate change? Far more effective to cut people numbers by 15 per cent, but far less politically correct.
Ron Baker, Onehunga.
I hear Eric Watson has already signed two book deals. Both are to be called All my Companies. One is a colouring book that comes with a single red crayon. The other is a join-the-dots.
Brent Cooper, Coatesville.
On Queen St
The German language has a glorious word — verschlimmbessern, which means "to make things worse by trying to improve them". The Queen St debacle has earned this adjective.
Garry Wycherley, Awakino.