During 1914 and 1939, the two major sides of New Zealand's political parties came together to form a coalition of the best possible kind for the betterment of the country. We are at
war again, but this time it is so insidious and so destructive we cannot even begin to see the enormous damage it is going to make. Is it therefore time to call for another coalition?
This could bring together good people, concerned people from all our political parties and it could lead to affective and effective decision-making. It seems to me, unless we have a cross-party political strategy we cannot hope for the changes that need to be made to help contain and eventually minimise the destruction that could be wrought on this country, in particular, and the world in general. It would also stop the political bantering of "my idea is better than yours" mentality, which only appeals to people's personal preferences, instead of survival strategies for all.
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
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It is astonishing that the ambulance service remains not fully funded in the same way as the fire service and public hospitals (NZ Herald, December 9).
This is an equity issue where some, when it becomes apparent that urgent care is required, knowing that they will receive an account for being transported safely, will opt instead to be transported by friends or relatives. This can have disastrous consequences.
I know removing inequities is dear to this Government's heart, so do the right and logical thing and properly fund this core health service.
Marion Howie & Greg Judkins, Epsom.
St John admits it's in crisis (NZ Herald, December 9), Winston Peters tries to save it by advocating 90 per cent taxpayer funding. The regrettable probability is the Government will compromise with a lower figure and St John will continue to limp along with all its funding will permit.
We have a private provider trying to offer a public health service.
No doubt it suits the Government to retain the status quo by keeping down tax through milking private donors. New Zealand should follow the UK and take over St John. It would hurt St John's pride, but it's the only way we'll get an ambulance service to match the rest of the public health service.
St John says its service is a bargain, because Australia costs $100 per head of population, while St John costs $50. But the UK service does more to keep patients out of hospital, so saving much more. Australia is probably the same.
The Government should also take over the Wellington Free Ambulance Service.
Stuart Macfarlane, Remuera
Douglas Fairgray and Rodney Yeoman (NZ Herald, December 9) epitomise the hubris of the elitist, "we know what's good for you", urban planning set. Apparently we should be grateful for their Unitary Plan which might relieve Auckland's 300 per cent too high house prices by a few per cent.
For decades, demand-led urban growth was managed by civil engineers and economists, and the standard outcome was a house price median multiple of around 3, and this was for a decent multi-bedroom separate house.
The history of central planning is one of dismal failure, and the modern fad for central urban planning is no different. The conclusion is probably true, that the kind of minds attracted to central planning are incapable of thinking through real-world evidence, and "cause and effect". In the case of urban planning, the wicked problem is the way that land prices and site prices react to the "prescriptive" nature of the plan. Inflation of 1000 per cent plus is normal.
No city with these "plans" is going to achieve a median multiple below 6, regardless of the shrinkage of the average new housing unit size; except when the greatly increased cyclical volatility gives us a crash. Peak multiples between 8 and 12 are common meanwhile.
Philip G Hayward, Naenae.
How to move our port to Whangārei, and make the railway link double track, and get a second crossing over or under the Waitematā Harbour?
Simply convince the Chinese that it's all an essential part of their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Then watch things get done, in less time, and for less money.
Arch Thomson, Mt Wellington.
After all the opinions on the whereabouts of the future port of Auckland, a simplistic granny analysis of some focal points: 1. Decent rail service to Northland and its port is long overdue anyway. 2. Car imports have too long clogged traffic and loused up the waterfront; they should be landed somewhere else, with a way to go around central Auckland. 3. Too much investment has gone into Fergusson Container Terminal to demolish it. 4. Northland is the closest receiving port for most international shipping, and the fast-growing development of the North Shore would mean goods wouldn't have to go over the bridge to be delivered back again, nor would the cars if there was a northwest distribution point. 5. The road between Whangārei and Auckland is elongated and winding for transporting freight; the regular terminals at Fergusson and Bledisloe should stand until the roads are suitable, leaving the other wharves to public activity.
The idea of either/or is impractical, as London apparently found out.
Anne Wilks, Devonport.
If the government was really serious about finding options for achieving large-scale uptake of electric vehicles and consequent reductions in emissions then why wouldn't it be working to allow electric golf carts onto our low-speed roads immediately.
Here is a vehicle whose technology is well proven and which in road-kit version provides all of the safety necessary for suburban driving (we're not talking motorways here); is capable of 40-45km/h and has sufficient battery charge to travel much greater distances than the average daily trip length for most people in suburban areas; is affordable, and can use easily recycled lead-acid batteries (so no expensive, questionable lithium). The Post Office's electric delivery vans are evidence that golf-carts would also be just fine on city streets.
Stephen Barnett, Devonport.
Whenever one tries to phone Auckland Council, the constant refrain is all operators are busy ... no matter the time of day or night the call is made, it seems never less than 13 minutes on hold.
This is not acceptable as a first point of contact. It presents as the inefficiencies of a council apparatus that cannot keep up with addressing issues.
Also a bad look is a written request is always acknowledged with a 10-day response time. Ouch.
Yvonne Sutton, Northcote.
It's great to see Eugenie Sage and government supporting the elimination and uses of environmentally unfriendly plastic materials.
Another thing worth considering, surely, is a requirement that all takeaway food outlets should provide facilities for the rubbish that is created on site to be sorted according to type.
Currently, all waste seems to be dumped into large black bags at the major takeaway outlets.
Surely is should be sorted by type into separate disposal bins - glass, plastic, food scraps, etc.
Gillian Dance, Mount Albert.
Pastor Woodley's one-page advertisement (NZ Herald, December 4) on the 71st anniversary of Israel's founding, the seventh placed in major dailies this year, is a reminder we must get our compulsory history right by 2022.
Is he capable of understanding the difference between faith history and established history, as explained in 1999 by Tel Aviv university archaeologist Zeev Hertzog when dismissing much "biblical archaeology"?
Woodley's recent support for US flouting of international law based on his support for the "indigenous" population, claims history on its side. He knows better than 28 countries of the EU because he has read history and his Bible.
Never mind 700,000-plus Palestinians, also indigenous for hundreds of years, were forcibly displaced. And that any direct negotiations that the US wants now to take place can operate only in the enormous power imbalance Israel has – guaranteed by the US.
History depends on verifiable facts. What is needed is not Woodley's advertised "justification" but Israel to come to terms with its settler colonial past. With open minds – and archives.
Steve Liddle, Napier.
Richard E Grant has stated only gay actors should play gay characters. I can only assume he also believes only straight actors should play straight characters and that anyone asked to play Einstein should have an IQ of at least 150.
It is called "acting". People should get the role if they can make people believe the character they are playing is the character they are playing. Anything else is self-righteous bullying.
Lyall Dawson, Sandringham.
Short & sweet
I'm only a B cup and, apart from the increased risk of cancer, would never, ever sunbathe topless. Helen Lowe, Albany.
Putting Wayne Brown, Winston Peters and Shane Jones in charge of Ports of Auckland transition is putting three foxes in charge of the Auckland henhouse. John Roxburgh, Remuera.
Strangely, even though it admits that at some stage in the future it will have to move, the Port's board seemingly has no plan, other than to dig in and so make any future move more difficult. Neal McCarthy, Auckland Central.
On St John
Of the 79,921 incidents attended in 2018/19 by Fire and Emergency NZ (now a government department) 13,640 were medical emergencies. M L Fleet, Kerikeri.
It is disgraceful that someone can practice hate speech and receive millions of dollars compensation as a result. Derek Wallwork, Takapuna.
RA offered Folau a contract. He read it (presumably). He signed it. He breached it. They sacked him. End of story. He deserved nothing. Dennis Ross, Glendowie.
It is absolutely ridiculous how many orange road cones that are in use. Do these cone people get paid by how many they lay out ? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.