Congratulations to Brian Fallow on his column "Spendthrift Robertson – says who?" (NZ Herald, June 24).
National (the party of pop-up leaders) is looking more and more like the American Republican party in pandering to its voter base at a cost to national wellbeing. They are part of the "lower taxes and run like a business" set of mantra floggers.
Labour also panders to its voter base by looking the other way when problems arise with certain segments of the population, but, for the time being, is more convincing than National in its general focus on the wider interest.
We have plenty of experience of businesses letting us down. Air New Zealand suffered like all other airlines from the Covid restrictions, but has a long history of squeezing out competitors and occasionally needing to be rescued by the taxpayer. We have had a long string of other businesses that have abandoned subcontractors and investors. The attitude expressed by some CEOs in written articles was that their only obligation was to shareholders, and ethics were irrelevant.
Let us run the country ethically and in the interests of all levels of society.
The low-wage economy suited the asset strippers, but it has magnified poverty.
Hugh Webb, Huntington.
Sense of proportion
The latest OECD Economic Report confirms New Zealand as a very low-producing country compared to other nations of similar size. We also lack expertise in many sectors and our supposed number 8 wire mentality is just about non-existent.
History portrays this tendency to lose important skills and attitudes when there is a mildly socialist-leaning government in place. Labour has approved over 30 billion dollars of infrastructure projects in Auckland and Wellington. This is over the next 25 to 30 years. It will be double and take nearly twice as long. Look at any project worldwide of similar magnitude in a small populated country and you only see disaster. We will need help from China or Korea as the major project constructors to achieve anything like the projections. They have the skills and machinery to do it. In addition, it is absurd to predict so far ahead in the modern world. Smaller steps would be more appropriate. Although we are a small nation with a big heart, trying to make such huge predictions with massive debts is a disaster for future Kiwis.
Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangōnui.
I have no desire to enter the very contentious fray of Roe vs Wade, but rational dialogue does matter and it could conceivably set a precedent for further incursions into civil liberties.
The Supreme Court, comprised of purportedly the finest legal minds in the country, should have considered the following facts. Fewer than half of US high schools and less than a fifth of middle schools teach all 20 topics recommended by the CDC as essential components of sex education, and abstinence is the predominant tool in the curriculum for avoiding unwanted pregnancies used in 35 out of 50 states. The result? In American women aged 15 to 19, five out of every six pregnancies are accidents, and 92 per cent of those are conceived pre-maritally. When conservatism collides with logic and reason, this is the outcome.
Is the Federal Government prepared to mop up the educational, societal, and healthcare messes that will ensue?
Remember the facile argument that guns don't kill, people do. Look how well that's working. God bless America. It will need all the blessings God can bestow.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
Why is it okay for politicians and celebrities to criticise the repeal of Roe v Wade, some in the crassest of ways, and yet not for those who passionately believe abortion to be evil to celebrate or even comment?
Have we reached a stage when only one viewpoint is acceptable?
Do we want to live in a voluntary North Korea where any divergence from controlled thought is vindictively punished? So much for genuine diversity.
Mark McCluskey, Red Beach.
The letter from Gary Hollis (NZ Herald, June 22) regarding mental health and institutions is timely and disturbing. Institutions like Lake Alice, Tokanui and Kingseat were no doubt run as well-meaning places where those who needed special care would receive it. The reality was, that patients were sometimes admitted with illnesses that were not fully understood.
During my youth in the 1940s and 50s, mental health was seldom talked about. A boy about my age was placed in Tokanui and stayed there for 20 odd years until he was correctly diagnosed with a muscular condition which prevented him from living a normal life. In the language of those times, he was considered an idiot and was kept in a secure unit. Eventually, he was rediagnosed, released from care and lived his life out at home with his family.
I don't know why mental health and suicide is such a problem today but as an 80-plus-year-old who has a body which aches most days, I know that life is a gift to be embraced and treasured. The last thing we need is institutions like those above.
P J Burrell, Morrinsville.
In response to the article on the Upper Highway Drive cycleway by Simon Wilson (NZ Herald, June 28) I would like to make the following comments.
Living on the North Shore which has limited cycleways, the approximately 4.5km cycleway is one of the most enjoyable places to ride.
Traffic is limited, there has been (until the barriers were installed) a 1.5m cycleway with an 0.5m buffer zone (delineated by road markings) and passing was possible on this buffer zone.
Installation of the buffers has made this cycleway single-file cycling. The cycleway is now strewn with rubbish and sometimes wheelie bins. To avoid these and passing slow cyclists entails passing between barriers - itself a potential risk (hitting a barrier) - and entering the carriageway travelling wider out on to the road with an increased risk of an accident with a car.
No serious accidents occurred since the cycleway was established in 2013 until recently when a competitive cyclist was injured by striking a barrier.
Perhaps Wilson should devote his attention to ideas to improve the Albany Highway/Upper Harbour Drive junction, which is probably the most dangerous intersection for cyclists in New Zealand.
Neil Pollock, Takapuna.
It seems incongruous that the speed limit on the Waikato Expressway is to be increased to 110km/h.
The Government has declared a Climate Emergency and the IPCC report 2022 said only the most drastic cuts in carbon emissions from now would help prevent an environmental disaster.
Surely adopting a nationwide decrease in speed limit to 80km/h would be more consistent with the Climate Commission's advice, and help preserve a liveable planet for future generations?
Robin Treadwell, Waiheke Island.
The current debate regarding the preservation of old heritage and classic housing versus densification is really a fight between young and old entitled middle-class people. I tend to side with the preservation lobby, being affected by the debate myself.
However, while we have concentrated on trying to densify central Auckland with what will become soulless high rises, and with endless debates about overly expensive light rail tunnels, we have been neglecting the rest of Auckland.
We really need to get those people from South Auckland to the Māngere employment hub. We should extend the Onehunga line so the people in Māngere can commute to Te Papapa, Penrose and Ellerslie; with the proposed Avondale to Southdown freight line the south could be connected to the west; and we have neglected the northwest by denying a rail link to Huapai.
We have been arguing about light rail and densification since 2014 and nothing has gone forward. We need to be dealing with climate change and social equity through quality transport options for all. Not trying to shoehorn some young, entitled, middle-class people into central city properties at the expense of everyone else.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Your editorial, "Political donation rule mere tinkering" (NZ Herald, June 29) comments that "donors don't give money to politicians without some expectation" and implies that all donors have some kind of nefarious aims, attempting to influence political parties for their own ends and profits.
As a National Party donor, albeit a small one, I can assure you that most, if not all of us, are seeking no personal gains from this support, we simply want to ensure that we provide the funds to allow the good guys to put up a good fight in the next election.
John Denton, Eskdale.
Tar very much
In a recent interview, the CEO of Waka Kotahi was principally focused on changing New Zealanders' approach to speed. I have motorcycled from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
I have also ridden extensively in the US. Not once have I encountered tar bleed, the most dangerous feature of our road surfaces.
Montana has an area of 380,832sq km and a population of 1,069,000. It is 42 per cent larger than New Zealand (268,021sq km) with 21 per cent of NZ's population (5,084,000). Yet better roads.
Nevada has an area of 286,367sq km and a population of 3,080,000. It is 7 per cent larger than NZ with only 60 per cent of NZ's population. Yet better roads.
Wyoming has an area of 253,596sq km and a population of 579,000. It's 5 per cent smaller than NZ but its population is only 11 per cent of NZ's. Yet better roads.
These states contend with a greater variation in temperature than New Zealand – from below zero in winter to above 40 degrees in summer. Why do NZ roads melt when temperatures reach the high 20s?
Someone in Waka Kotahi should go and talk to these American state governments.
Ian Hambly, Massey.
Short & sweet
Cassidy Hutchinson's damning testimony to the January 6 hearing confirms Donald Trump never was and never will be fit for the office of President. Lloyd McIntosh, West Harbour.
Could Andrew Little explain his definition of the words "satisfied", "coping", and "managing" as relating to the health problems he refuses to acknowledge or act upon? Ian Doube, Rotorua.
Does Richard Prebble still have his job teaching politics at Hogwarts? It would explain his submissions. Rex Fausett, Auckland Central.
Air New Zealand maximises space in economy (NZH, June 29) by making the seats "slimmer"? I can hardly wait. D B Hill, Freeman's Bay.
What a ridiculous poll on whether the public support free public transport. Almost as silly as asking if the public want free shopping at the supermarket. Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
What would Ardern say to Putin? Nothing. The Wellington protests showed us that she will refuse to negotiate with anyone who does not already agree with her. Ian Brady, Titirangi Beach.
Hipkins and Robertson - woof woof. Steve Dransfield, Karori.
The Premium Debate
That this is even being debated is absolute madness. Show me a world-class city where they've torn down their historical buildings and homes that show the journey of the city over time. I can only think of third-world cities, not world-class ones. Cities like Sydney, Copenhagen and London have turned to the regeneration of brownfield sites. In London, this includes the Battersea Power Station which reopens this year transformed into a modern place to live and work. We have a Council that is considering bending to the selfishness of a small number of people who want to live in Grey Lynn and Ponsonby and are prepared to decimate the area to do so. But the very thing that makes this area so attractive to them now will be destroyed forever. It makes no sense at all. Shame on those wanting to destroy the history of Auckland. Oscar R.
If it goes ahead, they will never be able to undo it. Why can't we value what we have? Go and put more houses on vacant land. Warren B.
Vacant land that could be used for growing food. We can't live on concrete. Unfortunately, the best land for housing (flat, often old river plains) is also the most productive agricultural land. And why oh why are we building new subdivisions around the country without associated infrastructure, like schools, shopping centres, medical centres, cafes, etc? Or even bicycle and walking lanes, including between houses and sections? In my city, we have new subdivisions of well over 100 houses, and there isn't even public transport (and little room for buses to negotiate narrow streets). So, of course, people have to rely on cars. Antje V.
Democracy lost. Show us your mandate, Mr Parker. David L.