Give business owners a voice
Small family businesses make up the bulk of the NZ economy providing jobs, taxes and rates, but are under-represented in central and local politics.
This can be fixed by creating business owner wards in time for the 2022 local elections and the 2023 general election. The process for establishing a business owner's ward will be the same as general and Maori wards. Small business owner's perspectives are not in opposition to community norms, but enhance and add to the wider debate - their views are good for everyone.
Polls are an insurmountable barrier to getting democratic representation of business owner interests. Business owners struggle to gain a support base in elections if they seek to champion business owner causes. The lack of adequate representation has led to poor economic outcomes for business owners. Examples of Government policy increasing costs to business owners include, minimum wages, paid sick leave, increased public holidays, bright-line capital gains tax, and non-deductibility of interest.
The creation of business owner wards is not democratic but we all gain from a business-focused government and local council – the ability to plan, implement and deliver to budget is good for the community.
Peter Mayall, Tamahere.
Auckland, 50 years ago you welcomed us to not only our new country but you became our new home town.
We thank you for: Our welcome at Princes Wharf on September 30, 1971; first rental home as newlyweds; new friends; jobs; drivers' licence; first car; new language; medical support with infertility issues; our two children; new nationality and Kiwi passports; education opportunities; help build and buy our first home; financial assistance with our mortgage; freedom to set up in business; beautiful West Auckland beaches and holiday spots; children's education; freedom of religion; daughter's wedding in a beautiful church; son meeting his Kiwi wife; grandchildren's birth; weekend sports; veteran sports; volunteering opportunities; semi-rural living; free public transport on SuperGold card; entertainment venues; cultural flavour and cuisine: and the clean green image.
Now we move on after 50 years to a new home in Renwick and a peaceful retirement.
With fond memories and a touch of grief for having to let go, we shall remain in God's own country.
We don't say goodbye – but see you later.
Thank you Auckland, from the Dutch Kiwis of Henderson Valley
Jerry & Maria van Kuyk, Marlborough.
Re: Matthew Hooton's column (NZ Herald, June 11); not since the days of Ancient Rome has there been such an obsession with knowing the future.
Chris Hipkins cannot be expected to know when, or even if, New Zealand will reach herd immunity. The scientists themselves do not know.
The vaccine rollout is something that has never been done before and true herd immunity will be reached when there are no more cases of Covid-19.
Instead of trying to beat up on the Government, perhaps Mr Hooton could do what the Romans did, investigate the entrails of sacrificed animals or watch the flight of birds. Then he would be able to tell us when we will all be immune.
Greg Cave, Sunnyvale.
Dose of reality
The column by Matthew Hooton (NZ Herald, June 11) makes interesting reading in the light of two recent newsletters issued by the Government. Both appear to contradict his first few paragraphs.
The first pamphlet I have is headed "When will I get the Covid-19 vaccine", issued by the Ministry of Health and dated March 31, 2021. The key sentence is "There is enough vaccine for everyone in New Zealand." I picked this up from our local pharmacy a few weeks ago.
The second is the SuperSeniors Newsletter from the Ministry of Social Development dated June 2021. This is issued by Minister for Seniors Ayesha Verrall. It states: "The Pfizer vaccine is free and available to everyone aged 16 and over. There are enough doses available for everyone aged 16 and over to get the two doses they need to be protected."
Malcolm Rickard, Huapai.
Once upon a time, significant trees in towns and cities across Aotearoa were protected by robust laws. Arborists were a well-trained, respected profession operating under rules that allowed for maintenance but not random felling.
But in the early 2000s, general tree protection was removed by the National Government to "reduce the high transaction costs caused by the large number of resource consents required".
Labour were strongly against the changes but were told by National they "couldn't see the forest for the trees".
Now the daily sound of chainsaws preempts urban trees crashing down, scattering birds in their path. Auckland alone has lost approximately one-third of its trees since the changes.
Who was the architect of these plans? None other than Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith. Perhaps he might reflect: consider an apology to the birds, and to the tree protectors who spend their days up trees or in courtrooms.
My guess is that the tūī and kererū he enjoyed seeing in Wellington were the result of hard-working Wellingtonian environmentalists.
A wish that "...birdsong forever be heard here at Parliament and across our land..." has a somewhat hollow ring to it.
Now we can't see the forest for the apartments.
John Clark, Glen Eden.
Blue-sky thinking would see a line drawn from the east side of the Fergusson Container Terminal to the west end of the Outboard Boating Club entrance bridge on Tāmaki Drive.
Backfill with dredged mudcrete.
Hand over the remaining downtown city berths to developers as has been done in Sydney, Vancouver, San Francisco, London and so many others.
Option 2: Continue the death by a thousand cuts as parcels of Auckland cargo drift towards Tauranga, Northport, Napier, just as Wynyard Wharf oil and chemicals have already done. Option 3: An island in the Firth of Thames with a guaranteed negative return on investment forever. Option 4: Manukau Harbour is not an option. It's a very shallow mudflat.
Option 5: Navel-gaze for another decade while option 2 is completed.
Nigel Meek, Bayswater.
Kent Millar ( NZ Herald, June 11) bemoans the Government's efforts to promote the use of bicycles and public transport, stating that congested roads are an indication that people prefer to use cars. I maintain that the tipping point is where the cost of using a car at peak traffic times outweighs the cost of using public transport. This will happen only when there is a hefty congestion tax to dissuade the use of cars.
Not only will this also reduce carbon emissions but so would a disincentive to buy petrol-driven cars and a strong incentive to buy e-vehicles. The intentions of the previous coalition to raise the price of the former to provide cost reductions on the latter were eminently sound.
If my recent purchase had been a few thousand less, I would have a hybrid now.
Chris Bangs, Hillsborough.
It is disingenuous for Christine Fletcher and four other councillors to claim they voted against the 5 per cent rate rise in Auckland.
Regardless of which parts of the budget they didn't agree with, the fact remains they all voted for the overall budget.
We should not be surprised when Ms Fletcher proposed an amendment to the legislation to allow for tools such as congestion charges and tourism taxes. There is an ingrained
thought process by the council that the way to get us out of this mess is to spend more and tax more.
To quote Robert Heinlein, "there is no worse tyranny to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him".
Lee Chambers, Birkenhead.
Modern waste incinerator plants are used in many countries.
They generate energy and retrieve useful substances from the material they burn. Plastics are part of their fuel. All that goes to the landfill from them is a small proportion of inert residuals. One plant even drives an entire indoor skiing area.
With the recent Climate Change Commission's final report pointing out the large contribution that landfills make to global warming, would it not be the right time now to consider reducing New Zealand's extreme dependence on landfills by setting up waste incineration?
Bernhard Sporli, Epsom.
So we have imported 0.3 million tonnes of coal this quarter (NZ Herald, June 11), the bulk of it used to produce electricity at the Huntly power station.
Genesis energy pledged to stop using coal at Huntly by 2025 "except in exceptional circumstances", which are not defined.
There seems a dichotomy between mining and transporting coal in Indonesia to burn it in New Zealand as against mining it at Huntly for the same purpose.
With a background of Huntly coal mining in the family, I'm happy to show those in need where to find it.
Tony Goodwin, Pt Chevalier.
Short & sweet
Can anyone access the data that convinced the Labour Government and our Auckland Council that they needed to spend $1 billion on a new pedestrian bridge that would only be used sparingly? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Will most of us worry if the America's Cup is staged elsewhere? Auckland Council can put the saved money towards our new bridge. Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
Time for road tax for cyclists to help fund their cycleways. Maxine Hudson, Hobsonville.
So Nick Smith voted against something years ago, and now apologises for it. I'm not saying whether I'm for or against it, I dare not. But can we not give an opinion anymore, in case it's the "wrong" one? S P McMonagle, Greenhithe.
It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the Tasman Mill was down closed because we are now importing paper cheaper from China, made from our own logs exported there. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
I understand that as a consequence of the newly announced Climate Change Commission plans, that within 20 years we will have millions of EVs. I am therefore surprised that the Government has not stipulated all new dwellings have an inbuilt EV charging point. John Robertson, Pāpāmoa Beach.
The only excuse for high rental prices is that most landlords worship at the altar of Gordon Gecko. Supermarkets go to the same church. Tom O'Toole, Taumarunui.