Distrust never sleeps
P. J. Edmondson (NZ Herald, August 22) finds Kushlan Sugathapala's call for the creation of a more decent society through a review of the type of capitalism New Zealand has used for the past 30-40 years "tiresome". It might seem "tiresome" to someone in the top one-third, but New Zealand has seemingly turned its back on those in the bottom one-third. Not only have we forced wages into poverty levels, but we have reduced many services such as many free primary health care services and public transport.
There is a lot a capitalistic society can do to make society more equitable, and we fail to do this at our peril. The US was once a "decent" society with fairness and opportunity, but President Reagan changed all that. Some of the disaffected there are known as the "Rust Belt". Their support for Donald Trump and the associated threat to democracy is a direct result of lowering wages for the bottom half while the top half increases their wealth.
This is being stirred up in New Zealand too, and another protest in Wellington this week is a small taste of where we could go without a decent and equitable society.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Simon Wilson's column (NZ Herald, August 23) was a very cynical view of mayoral candidates.
Being a lawyer, and previous Community Board member with Law, Science and Arts degrees, I am one of the most qualified candidates. Navigating the council's complex maze of rules, statutes and bylaws is my strength.
The media ignore candidates without massive funds (Leo Molloy, Wayne Brown) or major political party endorsement (Efeso Collins, Viv Beck).
However, the candidate's ability, qualities, and policies should decide the election.
At the campaign start, we were all relatively unknown. Once reporters appointed and anointed their favourites that all changed, as people vote for who they have seen or heard, and so the media has huge power to influence elections.
Most surprising despite my tiny media coverage, I am fourth equal at 5 per cent, with the others at 9 per cent, 13 per cent and 16 per cent. It is hard to keep a good man down.
My party, New Conservative, is centrist to centre-right. We seek to bring better representation and accountability in local and central government and create a better life for all.
Give candidates a chance, as most are just trying to do what they believe in, and be kind. It's a long campaign.
Ted Johnston, Auckland candidate.
P. J. Edmondson (NZ Herald, August 22) takes Kushlan Sugathapala to task for having the effrontery to question whether capitalism is the best economic system yet devised. With some indignation, Edmonson asks whether Sugathapala advocates the alternatives of socialism, communism, or fascism.
Yet, by 1933, there was a European country, which had in force an eight-hour day, a minimum wage, guaranteed work and continuity of employment, regulation of the work of women and children, compulsory TB and sickness accident insurance, provision for old age, and workers' representation alongside employers. There were public works schemes and the quality of housing was being improved. New roads were being built, in addition to the railways being electrified and running on time.
Believe it or not, this utopia was Mussolini's Italy; a Fascist state under what he called the "Third Way", which was in effect a synthesis of capitalism and socialism. I am not suggesting this country becomes a Fascist state, but it is very clear something needs to be done about the unequal distribution of wealth that is the end result of unfettered capitalism.
Bruce Anderson, Christchurch.
Banking to the left
I am 100 per cent in favour of Grant Robertson's decision to bring Kiwibank directly under NZ Government control. In 1989 the bank bearing the name of our largest city, Auckland Savings Bank (ASB), was sold to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Then in 1992 the bank bearing the name of our country, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) was sold to the National Bank of Australia. Every time I see the massive profits going across the Ditch I think that these were bad decisions. Short-term gain but long-term pain. If we are serious about making Kiwibank a successful bank rivalling the big four Aussie banks, then we need to have confidence in Kiwibank and transition toward that bank doing the Government departments' banking. This will give them a huge boost. Westpac has had that business long enough.
Now is the time for a NZ-owned bank to do some serious NZ banking.
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.
It's hard to have respect for Tamaki and his protesters.
In Nelson, people are desperate for help to clean up the devastation caused by the recent extreme weather. If the protesters have spare time, it would be better utilised in helping others. Helping others would earn them some respect.
Instead, they seem focused solely on exercising power and causing trouble.
J. Hansen, Hastings.
Dredge and plant
After reading your editorial (NZ Herald, August 22), my conclusion is we mostly do things on the "cheap".
This cheap solution of building floodbanks only raises the natural height of rivers, let alone flood levels, so much so that adjacent areas are often permanently below any river level. As well, due to rivers silting up, those stopbanks are built even higher with ever more disastrous results.
The dearer, permanent solution is to dredge those rivers back to their original depth; and this dredging will help scour out those bars.
As well, a vigorous campaign of quick-growing native bush should be planted on all slopes alongside riverbanks, up to the top of any surrounding hills. Later, mature forest trees will establish themselves under this shady cover helped by sowing seeds collected from local mature bush. This is ideal, healthy outdoor work for those on "waiting for work". I am sure these folk would appreciate how their work would benefit our lovely country.
Eric Strickett, Henderson.
Pressed for space
The Government's push to crowd people, pollution, exhaust fumes, crime, noise, greenhouse gases, or whatever into ever smaller and smaller spaces so that the remaining vast open spaces where the very least number of people live can have freedom of space, clean fresh air, peace, and tranquillity, purely from an outsider point of view looking in, statistically, and from a wellbeing point of view would have to be - to the people outside cities - that is, a barrel of laughs, wouldn't it?
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Who is this anonymous "spokesperson from the PM's dept" who made claims about how successful this Government has been in addressing child poverty (NZ Herald, August 22) and then goes on to boast of nine major achievements in the past five years?
What nine achievements? Has the PM lost her voice, or is she hiding from the media? If child poverty is an issue (which I do not doubt), then why has it not been fixed by these nine wonderful results?
Brent Marshall, Whangaparāoa.
In the 1980s/1990s the McGillicuddy Serious Party contested all elections to keep National and Labour on their toes.
Thirty years later, it is interesting to note that one of their policy planks has finally been adopted.
They planned to shut down the education system, in the belief that "ignorance is bliss".
Murray Reid, Cambridge.
On your bike
Thank goodness the idiotic idea of reducing the capacity of the bridge by one lane each way to cater to cycle lanes has been vetoed by Waka Kotahi.
This particular stretch of SH1 is the jugular for the movement of freight and people north and south and is indispensable even in its present capacity.
Waka Kotahi is charged with building and maintaining an efficient and workable road transport network for the good of the country and must not be restrained by political whims. How many more millions must be spent chasing rainbows?
I respect the bravery of Sir Brian Roche, in stemming the tide of political stupidity, but fear for the continued oversight of this essential service.
Mike Peet, Katikati.
Sir Michael Fay has quite rightly expressed outrage at the move of the NZ-held America's Cup challenge from Auckland to Barcelona. What a shabby unpatriotic decision by the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron. Most New Zealanders will agree with what Sir Michael says. But I am sure many, especially Aucklanders, will also be asking why he left it so late to express his opposition.
Why didn't he unsheath his sword and take up the battle to keep the Cup challenge in Auckland much earlier? This is a serious case of trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Or, as I prefer, a quote from the Bard's Henry VIII: "That comfort comes too late; 'Tis like a pardon after execution."
Russell Armitage, Hamilton.
The bell-like melodies, the throaty vocal depths and the supersized personality of her stage presence marked out Margaret Urlich as a genuine star.
Her earthy Croatian and Māori roots showed through in her special talent and passion. Bless her now ... at peace.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Short & sweet
This is the 21st century. We're going to need a lot more political protest, but we're going to need a lot less crazy stuff. Arch Thomson, Mt Wellington.
What do these protests hope to achieve, apart from being a damn nuisance and a complete waste of police time, money and resources? Bishop Tamaki and his church should pay the total costs. Bruce Tubb Devonport.
Both Dr Gaurav Sharma and Queen Anne Boleyn were allowed to attend their own trials. J. Livingstone, Remuera.
We are having to borrow $2.1 billion to buy our own bank and yet we are constantly being told banks are making billions of dollars in profits. The sniff test is being put under pressure here. Larry Tompkins, Waiuku.
The only person who is able to be influenced by an "influencer" in today's speech, is one who lacks the mental ability to think for one's self. Linda Lang, Henderson.
Not only do we need an inquiry into bullying at Parliament, but it now seems we also need an inquiry into how government contracts are awarded. Mark Young, Ōrewa.
More millions are being spent deciding on how to provide decent mental health support. Here's an idea: get a building, put some beds in it, get some health professionals and open for business. Steve Dransfield, Karori.
The Premium Debate
I went to go there once but it felt intimidating and I couldn't tell whether it was open or not, so ended up just driving through the car park. This probably says more about me than them, but still - it could've been more inviting. Vivienne S.
The fact of multiple failures of similar businesses on that site wasn't sufficient warning? Max K.
The fit-out and shopfront look more like a plumbing business, not a supermarket. Bevan M.
So sad that there are few opportunities in NZ to buy more exotic and interesting food. Every supermarket in NZ seems pretty much the same dull range. European supermarkets offer so much more variety. Marcus A.
So sad when someone's business dream ends. All that hope, sweat, and hard work. I feel their pain and the many others who have lost or will have to wind down in the next year, through no fault of their own. Deb T.
I thought it was a lovely shop and enjoyed the name. Very sorry to see it go. Christine R.
I went there once and it was significantly dearer for the same products that were sold at other stores and anything that I had not seen for sale elsewhere was very dear. I even told the checkout chap on the way out. Bob D.
Your input was probably why they decided to close. Kevin C.