Celebrate our difference
After 23 years in the UK, then shifting to New Zealand in 2004, I often heard, "You'll love New Zealand, it's a little England."
England was splendid but, happily, for me, Aotearoa was not little England.
The difference was and is, Māori people, Māori culture.
Mountains, rivers, beaches, glaciers, deserts, volcanoes can be found in many countries, but only Aotearoa has Māori - living and working side by side with Pākehā and other groups.
Why not celebrate and shout out in English and te reo our good fortune.
And please can we learn to pronounce Māori place names? Take Whenuapai for example: whenua is land and pai is good; not, "finNEWApie".
Growing up in the US, I remember the same sort of hullabaloo over changing Mt McKinley to the original indigenous Denali. Egmont vs Taranaki anyone?
As Wiremu Tāmihana Tarapīpipi Te Waharoa would say to Governor Grey, "Heoi anō, enough".
Caroline Dibert, Tirau.
The Government is "exploring options" (NZ Herald, August 16) for getting New Zealanders and our Afghan supporters back here, including using commercial flights. Some of these people could be dead by the end of the week.
Forget the red tape and send a plane or two, Air NZ has a few sitting around, and bring them back immediately.
It will be a disgrace if the Afghans who helped our troops are caught and killed by the Taliban,
Alan Milton, Cambridge.
The rapid capitulation of government forces to attacks by the inferior armed Taliban (NZ Herald, August 17) vindicates President Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.
For nearly 20 years, the Afghan Government and security forces have had access to some of the best Western training and materiel. Paralleling the military effort has been plenty of financial aid and technocratic political, legal and economic assistance. There was both enough time and resources to move towards the establishment of a robust civil state with a strong defence.
Apart from the Taliban's seasonal campaigns the US-led coalition's nation-building efforts have been stymied by the decentralised structure of Afghan society with its strong tribal affiliations and have been consistently undermined by the Government's rampant corruption.
President Biden has seen all of this unfold from the vantage point of having access to the highest levels of intelligence, first in eight years as Vice-President and now as President. As dire as the consequences of this withdrawal are likely to be for many Afghans, the determination to stop putting "good money after bad" and cut America's losses seems to be well justified.
Peter Jansen, Henderson.
The West cannot win an asymmetric war such as Afghanistan, Iraq, even in Vietnam, by adhering to "responsible" warfare as defined by the Geneva Conventions. In addition, having rules of engagement that merely pass the advantage to the enemy.
Terrorist fighters win by being warlike, by adhering to the doctrine, "If you are going to fight a war, fight to kill and ensure compliance by the population by any means." Brutality will ensure there is no fifth column.
One only has to view the disaster, not only in Afghanistan, but playing out daily in Lebanon.
The UN and human rights organisations ignore the victims of such terrorist groups and make excuses, or dismiss, their non-adherence to any civilised norm.
Afghanistan was never winnable, there are too many different groups all fighting for dominance, such is tribal loyalty, the Taliban will ultimately break up due to fighting within.
To have won there was to fight outside of civilised warfare and to destroy all the poppy fields on a continuous basis, with no rules of engagement and no major fixed bases.
Avi Modlin, Ōrewa.
Join the queue
I went along to the Ranui Pacific Island Church for my first Covid vaccination.
My appointment was 10am and I was directly asked several times if I had one. I am not sure why, as most of the people in front of me had not made appointments and were just walk-ins.
Because of this large number of people without appointments, it took an hour to queue to get my vaccination.
It makes me wonder why I bothered to book four weeks ago and turn up at a designated time.
T M Sullivan, Henderson.
It would be difficult to criticise the play of the All Blacks after Saturday's test against the Wallabies but the crowd numbers are obviously of concern. The reasons for this are probably multiple, however, some need more attention than others.
Penalty shots at goal are good for a toilet break as players go through their visualisation of the ball going through the sticks. Scrum resets are boring, especially for the players freezing to death in the backline. One could hardly call the pick and go a skill, it's rather more like the bulldozer championship with the unemployed backline screaming for recognition. Tries that are not absolutely one hundred per cent clearly scored are referred to the High Court which earns its keep by replaying the same clip at least 10 times.
Meanwhile, the players have time to adjust their new hairstyles in preparation for the next photoshoot. Forwards make their way to a lineout as if they were going to a funeral.
Basically, there are far too many stoppages and time-wasting which need to be cleaned up as spectators come for 80 minutes of entertainment not to see it reduced by at least 30 minutes because of inaction.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Portrait of a greenie
It was a real surprise to learn the Green Party hate Churchill so much, given Sir Winston's green credentials.
The part-Cherokee Englishman is known as a war leader but was much more interested in peace. He established Britain's first labour exchange to give information on jobs so that unemployed in one region could find work in another.
He also envisaged a future in which protein was made artificially by sustainable sources of non-solar energy, thereby allowing for urban growth and reforestation. "I mean, why grow an entire bird when the breast of the bird can be grown artificially?"
He won the Nobel Prize in Literature having never attended university and his love for parliamentary democracy was wed to true respect for ordinary citizens' lives and opinions over the counsel of "bloody experts".
Mark Donaldson, Mt Eden.
Why would any self-respecting New Zealander venerate Sir Winston Churchill? He was a driving force behind the balls-up of Gallipoli in 1915.
In March 1941, he dispatched an inadequate force to Greece. We nearly lost our entire army on the first throw of the dice. Those same troops could have been used to finish off the Italians in North Africa before Rommel arrived. Instead, the Desert War dragged on until May 1943.
Churchill ignored the Japanese threat until the last minute, then he dispatched an unbalanced naval force to Singapore. The RAF units in Singapore were equipped with aircraft considered unfit for service in Europe. The British Army in Malaya did not have a single tank.
The Fall of Singapore was the greatest defeat ever suffered by the British Empire. New Zealand and Australia were left defenceless.
Churchill was a brilliant orator, a great prime minister, but a hopeless military strategist. His own senior commanders were well aware of this.
C. C. McDowall, Rotorua.
I love the colourful depiction (NZ Herald, August 16) of a bright green, three-stage tram snaking its graceful path down a four-lane-wide designated rail path, with a three-lane car highway running each side of it.
Presumably, this is the long-term plan for Dominion Rd - which after all is central to residing in "The World's Most Liveable City"?
Robert Burrow, Taupō.
Auckland Light Rail's (ALR) advertising (NZ Herald, August 16) touts 400 passengers every five minutes, and if that's for both directions that's over 60,000 per day. Really?
How does ALR calculate these estimates?
It is fanciful and misleading to suggest all this seating capacity, which I believe is what is referred to, will achieve an occupancy rate of more than a fraction of this figure. It will not bring to local businesses the level of benefits ALR's advertising promotes.
Aucklanders are not stupid and ALR is going to need more realistic arguments to convince us that the light rail project will justify its staggering cost and massive disruption.
Ian Dally, Royal Oak.
Short & sweet
Is Auckland the "dumping ground" for past use-by-date Labour MPs? Goff now, Shearer, maybe, Twyford going to put his hand up? Too much. Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
Surely someone made a serious mistake by allowing the Rio de la Plata and other vessels to dock and be unloaded. Absolutely no mention of finding fault. I suppose we have to be kind. J. Porter, Taradale.
After last week's massive power cut and warnings of more cuts to come, I wonder how the power supply will cope with the charging of electric cars as their number increases. Anne Martin, Helensville.
I'm seriously disturbed and ashamed that we deserted those Afghans. Most could see what was happening and the pace of it; not the Minister. If he did, he didn't care. Colin Nicholls, Mt Eden.
Is the latest, lavish Westpac TV ad saying that if you are a child and you want to build an expensive tree hut you should go to Westpac? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
A man of high intellect with a sharp wit; a man with vision and foresight; he had a commanding presence and huge mana. He was in fact the complete antithesis of James Shaw and his Greens. Philip Lenton, Somerville.
The Premium Debate
Look out, everybody. The council is approving developments with 14 infringements contravening by-laws on a non-notified basis. Why even have building by-laws and zoning if they have no intention of adhering to them? Sadly, they have also adopted the policy of precedents, which means once something is built, more can be built. This makes a mockery of any consideration of heritage zoning or any special character, etc. John W.
Good, seems to be going well. Note, this is the private sector unencumbered by an ideological government. Let's hope Labour don't get to hear of it or their typical politics of envy will lead them to ruin it. John G.
The collapse in apartment prices is but a question of time, it has happened before and will happen again. Geoff W.
Everyone seems to think the bigger Auckland gets the better. But over my seven-decade lifetime, it has only got worse. I was born in Auckland and have lived my life here. But, having recently retired, I'm asking myself what good reason there is to stay. Sadly, I'm not getting any answer. Brian M.
Welcome to the shoebox slums where there is no privacy, rowdy neighbours playing loud music, babies crying the whole night, partying the whole night, etc. Not to mention high body corporate and maintenance fees on top of council rates and some units will have no car parks. Rajendra S.
Apartments are expensive and unaffordable for first home buyers as they generate large annual maintenance and body corporate costs as well as sudden, sometimes huge repair bills you all have to share in paying. They also have rules and conditions and there is always the possibility you can be shoved out of your apartment for serious non-compliance off the back of a court order. Kiwis don't live that way. Tony F.