Cecilia Robinson's powerful plea for action on child poverty (NZ Herald, October 13) has made it impossible for me to remain silent about this sad and shameful fact of life in modern New
It should be blindingly obvious that child poverty cannot be cured without first curing parental poverty, and parental poverty cannot be alleviated until people learn to restrict their family size to an affordable level. This is a difficult message to get across to those who most need to hear it, not least because of cultural sensitivity.
Jacinda Ardern deserves praise for pushing through the Poverty Reduction Act, but reporting and setting targets alone will achieve very little, if anything.
There is no short-term solution to the problem. If we are serious about improving matters, we need to begin a long-term programme of sensitive counselling and education by suitably-qualified people to explain the benefits of smaller families. We would first have to work with culturally-appropriate leaders to establish the best approach to help their people. The plan could not succeed without their acceptance and advice. The process would take years, so a long-term commitment would be required, but the benefits would be enormous.
Smaller families and improved education are essential to ensure a more equitable sharing of life's blessings in our society.
John Hampson, Meadowbank.
Yet again we are seeing Kiwis' real side when it comes to preserving capital gains from housing, which requires little or no real work. Where is the kindness and the genuine determination to address this issue?
While the detail of the Greens' proposed wealth tax may not be perfect, at least they are
showing some guts in putting forward ideas to address the extremely destructive economic and social consequences of out-of-control asset prices, in particular houses.
As a footnote, let's forget the supply myth, as all comments regarding the latest madness always refer to extremely low-interest rates and fear of missing out. Really.
Jeremy King, Taupō.
The Red shed
As a small parcel shareholder in The Warehouse and sometimes-shopper, alarm bells are ringing with the news of the redundancies proposed by this company.
The stores always seemed understaffed before Covid struck, with few on-floor staff to help find things in the maze of aisles stacked with goods; perhaps not always well chosen.
This seems to be a management problem rather than a staffing one.
Shrinking store operations will be good news for the likes of Briscoes and Kmart (increasing its presence in the NZ market) but not a good look for The Warehouse going forward.
Ultimately the buck stops with the board and some transparency on the strategy to all shareholders, not apparent currently, is required.
Coralie van Camp, Remuera.
In her call for the reinstatement of night classes, Pauline Faiers (NZ Herald, October 13) says "...it is difficult to understand why the 2009 Key Government saw fit to cancel this 100-year-old institution".
It was to pay for the tax cuts Key and English introduced at that time.
Those cuts benefited the top half of earners. Those who earned below $40,000 got nothing. Instead they got a 2.5 per cent tax increase, as GST was raised to 15 per cent to help fund the tax cuts.
Clyde Scott, Birkenhead.
Over, not under
Nearly all the recent comment on a second harbour crossing is of a tunnel. I understand that a bridge is cheaper.
Surely, someone can design us a stunning looking bridge. Think of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, some of the bridges in Bangkok or Tower Bridge in London. Forget tunnels – build a bridge.
Clive Couldwell, Newmarket.
David Hood (NZ Herald, October 12) says schools should be "building the knowledge and skills young people need to meet the complex challenges of their futures..." He is right.
Having been a teacher for 20 years and a funeral director and celebrant for the past 30, it seems to me that one of the skills most desperately needed is the ability to cope with adversity, disappointment or failure.
The insistence that students must enjoy their self-selected studies and avoid failure often means they have no resources to deal with serious setbacks.
Depression, youth suicide and anti-social behaviour often follow when instant solutions to problems are not found.
An education system that includes knowledge and skills to survive the muck life sometimes throws at us is essential.
Norm Murray, Browns Bay.
Rae McGregor's "Second Serve" suggestion (NZ Herald, October 13) is a novel idea for something worthwhile to come out of the extreme disappointment of the cancelled "big names" summer tennis tournaments at Stanley Street.
Organising a major youth tournament for January may be a logistical foot fault for planning at this stage, but motivating and challenging up-and-coming young tennis players has to be a winning ace.
Playing on the hallowed ground, including No. 1 court, would only inspire and motivate players to display their skills. Umpires, ball boys/girls, line judges and players – everyone wins.
Strawberries and bubbles in the courtside corporate boxes watching Serena may be off the menu for this season, but L&P and a TipTop trumpet would be a tasty substitute.
Aileen Hart, Havelock North.
Media continue to state that the US is "the worst-hit country for coronavirus infections". Obviously countries with greater populations are likely have more infections. I think confirmed cases per million of population is a far better measure of which countries are "worst-hit".
By this measure, the worst-hit country is Panama, with over 27,000 cases per million (the US has 23,400). Other countries worse-hit are Peru (25,700), Chile (25,000) and Brazil (23,900). In Europe, the worst-hit countries, by this measure, are not UK or Italy, but Spain and France. India, often cited as one of the "worst-hit" in the world, has 5159 confirmed cases per million.
Another relevant measure is deaths-per-million. By this measure, Peru is worst-hit by far (over 1000 deaths per million). In Europe, the worst-hit country by this measure is, again, Spain: 704. By comparison, as of 12 October the US had 648.85 deaths per million from coronavirus. UK is similar, on 630.84. Appalling, but not the worst. Other worse-hit countries are Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia.
Here in NZ, we have a mere 314 cases per million and we have had five deaths per million. Very few countries indeed are so well off.
Warren Prestidge, St Johns.
We have gone from having one of the best children's' dental services in the world, to one of the worst, in three to four decades.
It is unthinkable that 2500 children in Auckland alone, have not been seen since 2016. How many thousands more in the rest of NZ?
The worst move any government made was to remove school dental clinics. Mobile clinics are obviously not meeting the needs or providing good dental hygiene instruction in schools. If a child is absent or in transit from another school when the mobile clinic visits, they miss out. Working or impoverished parents cannot afford to chase that van. With school dental clinics, the nurse was always available, was known to the children and gave valuable ongoing oral hygiene lessons and toothbrushes to them.
These clinics are now used by schools as storage facilities or for special needs instruction spaces.
Typical New Zealand, tall poppy syndrome where the legs are chopped off any system that works and replaced with an inferior one with devastating results.
Marie Kaire, Whangarei.
Thanks for an excellent article by Gehan Gunasekara (NZ Herald, October 13), who argues that lockdowns do not lead to dictatorships, nor are they in conflict with democracy. I agree to the extent that they are not necessarily in conflict.
However I would add that if the leaders of any Western-style democracy were of a mind to take their country, by stealth or otherwise, to a more controlled dictatorial status, they might indeed have been very thankful of the Covid opportunity to soften-up their public with lockdowns to get them used to being told what to do.
Just food for thought.
Steve Clerk, Meadowbank.
Short & sweet
The Warehouse Group reported a profit of $44.5m. If it was not for welfare from the state it would have lost $4.3 million. Yet another example of "Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor". C.C. McDowall, Rotorua.
The National Party's leader makes a telling point in saying "she is not someone who takes the chocolate biscuits to the bargaining table to show subservience". This attitude is dinosaur politics, bringing nothing to the table is out of touch with the modern style of MMP. Stewart Halliwell, Warkworth.
I would like to sincerely thank the All Blacks and Wallabies for giving so many of us a truly wonderful 89 minutes of entertainment on Sunday afternoon. The Bledisloe Cup is alive and well again. Andrea Dorn, Meadowbank.
In a three-year term it is effectively only a one-year term as year one is doing some pre-election promises and year three is getting voters onside, whether it is appropriate action or not. Make it four, please. Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
It's better to restrict the damage to three years rather than four. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
All parties shamelessly demand we "party vote" for them. There are no pleases, thank you's or anything. If we are asked politely, it will be much better received and the desired result will happen more frequently. Dave Miller, Tauranga.
One really shouldn't gloat or feel pleasure watching the desperate last gasps as US Ejection Day looms. But anyone with so little empathy, excessive narcissism, lack of humour or remorse, total denialism and gold-plated bathroom taps must deserve an antidote of come-uppance. Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.