Not-so surprise ending
Simon Wilson (NZ Herald, January 18) uses books and movie titles that have alerted us over the years of destruction to our planet. One I've never forgotten was On the Beach, by Nevil Shute, a story set in Australia of radiation from the Northern Hemisphere. The ending left a family on a beach, looking toward an approaching darkness.
We came through that dark period, but we're still left with its waste, which makes some places unusable for thousands of years. In Russia for instance, we have sightseers running around with artefacts taken from the Chernobyl radioactive site. Where they go from there we do not know.
But this pales into insignificance when we see the approaching changes to our planet taking place right now. We are not changing our behaviour quickly enough. We're not successfully talking to each other, not getting through to those in power, nor as yet have businesses on board. And we are not individually taking responsibility for what we buy, how we travel, what we throw away.
Wilson talks about which debates have been tried in stopping climate change, claiming this decade, and "them some" will tell. Do we have the "them some" years left? We may not have a beach to sit on this time.
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
I watched our Defence Minister on Al Jazeera talking about New Zealand's assistance to Tonga after the volcanic eruption and tsunami.
Mindful that this was the feature item on their hourly news bulletin, I was hoping Mr Henare would come across well. In actual fact, he was brilliant.
He spoke eloquently and gave viewers around the world the impression, quite rightly, that we in NZ are very concerned and caring about our Pacific neighbours in Tonga.
He explained that HMNZS Aotearoa can carry 250,000 litres of water and, with a desalination plant on board, will help greatly with drinking water which is a high priority. We in NZ should be proud of our Navy and also of Defence Minister Henare. In my view this is exactly the sort of work I want to see our defence forces doing.
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.
Making our luck
Re: "Has NZ dodged another Omicron bullet?" (NZ Herald, January 18); throughout this pandemic NZ has had a lot of "luck".
What needs to be understood is the factors which have made us "lucky" and other places "unlucky".
The most likely scenario is that Covid has frequently breached the border but failed to seed. It has most likely failed to do so because our largest city has a relatively low population density, relatively mild climate, a dead CBD and little public transport.
We also have a population mostly compliant with public health advice. NSW took the brakes off in the first half of November and has had, until recently, considerably looser restrictions than we have
Restrictions carry with them a very high cost and it is not okay to sit back and say "that is a nice surprise", bank the win and continue with policies that we know have damaged hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders without some serious debate.
It appears way too easy to continue with the application of the precautionary principle unchallenged.
Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
Follow the money
Phil Goff's response (NZ Herald, January 18) to Greg Sayers' article (NZ Herald, January 14) on Auckland Council spending fails to address the key area of the huge increases in staff numbers and pay levels.
Parkinson's Law is at work here for all to see. Simplistically, this law states that in any bureaucracy "work expands to fill the time available for its completion".
More specifically it explains that, firstly, any official strives to multiply the number of his or her subordinates to increase their own importance and, secondly, officials make work for each other to justify their own existence.
If we add a third corollary, namely that all officials seek to increase their own pay levels (as a demonstrable proof of their value to the organisation) then you have the three key reasons behind what is currently happening at Auckland Council.
Sayers' claim that "the payroll bill requires an immediate 20 per cent reduction" is clearly right on the money.
John Denton (Auckland ratepayer), Eskdale.
Rolling in it
Mayor Phil Goff (NZ Herald, January 18) , while extolling infrastructural project developments, studiously ignores the elephant in the room. Council payrolls, of nearly $963m per annum (26 per cent of employees are currently paid over $100,000 pa) by any measure, are out of control.
Public sector pay scales now outstrip government and council rates by a reported 30-35 per cent.
Rationalisation and savings of council payroll costs could produce immediate recurrent and sustainable annual savings that are measured in the "hundreds of millions of dollars".
Mayor Goff, in his election campaign promised cost efficiencies. It is now past time for him "to deliver".
Larry Mitchell, NZ local government finance & policy analyst.
Back to the budget
Mayor Phil Goff (NZ Herald, January 18) should direct the CEO of Auckland Council, who is earning $630,000 per year and has an army of staff, to come up with an alternative budget that delivers core services and axing unaffordable nice-to-haves.
Then present this to Aucklanders for our feedback versus Goff's current spending plans. That would be democratic.
His attack on his colleague Cr Greg Sayers for simply making such a suggestion on behalf of Auckland ratepayers is indefensible and to me smacks of bullying.
Alan McKenzie, Remuera.
At any rate
Unlike Arch Thompson (NZ Herald, January 19) I have every sympathy with anyone facing rates increases calculated on an arbitrary valuation. Unless the value is realised through a sale, it has no real relevance.
Is it fair that a couple living in a "$2m property" pay the same to access council services as a family of seven living in a poorer suburb?
Maxine Samson, Whakatane.
So eight "name-suppressed" parents of varying "skills" but nothing relevant to vaccination decision-making, are proclaiming themselves as representatives of the swathes of sensible informed parents queuing to have their children vaccinated before school commences for the year.
Jay Laga'aia's description of Brian Tamaki is an excellent fit for these gullible folk, they are a "waste of oxygen".
Quite understandable why they'd want name suppression.
Heather Mackay, Kerikeri.
The group suing the Government on the vaccine roll-out for children are woke.
They believe in tearing down the mighty from their seats of power.
They have no acclamation or salvation.
Fundamentally, it is simply all about condemnation without consideration;
David de Lacey, Newmarket.
Your correspondent John Hunt (NZ Herald, January 18) complains about overloud conversations in his cafe. I am totally with him on that. However, people have to scream to overcome the idiotic music blaring through the place. The incessant racket of the coffee machines doesn't help either.
K H Peter Kammler, Warkworth.
Short & sweet
Its been a good summer so far. The Government has done nothing, as usual, and what's better, they haven't been in Parliament to do nothing. Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
The debate on overuse of the word "like" is refreshing. Without getting too caught up in the semantics, let's simply acknowledge it is a thoughtless, grindingly excessive, invasion and for those within earshot, a pain in the butt. John Norris, Whangamatā.
As we drive through the countryside on these hot sunny days, spare a thought for the thousands of farm animals standing in paddocks with no shade. J Cooke, Mt Eden.
Nothing short of a forced 10 per cent payroll cut across the board will change anything. R N Mirkin, Muriwai Beach.
I expect that Djokovic and Bishop Tamaki will be on the invitation list for Boris' next "work" party at 10 Downing St, a "rules don't apply to us" party. Tony Sullivan, St Heliers.
Man up, Brian. Steve Horne, Raglan.
The Premium Debate
So the Government wanted to tilt the market towards first home buyers, imposing tax changes on investors, etc; but now it's basically also put a blanket halt on lending for first home buyers. Is anything thought through? Anna K.
I'm a first home buyer. I attended multiple auctions in 2021 where I felt physically sick afterwards. Now the CCCFA is destroying my chances of buying a house How does it help first home buyers if they drown in ridiculously large mortgages so they can barely afford to breathe? I never wanted to go over a debt-to-income of six as there's no mum or dad who can help out if the unexpected happens. Surely getting prices back to where people can afford houses without having mortgages that are like ropes around their necks would benefit first home buyers more over the long-term? Marina L.
Once again the well-intended politicians attempting to help and protect people from their own decisions, actually believing they have all the answers to fix supposed issues in society. None of these unintended consequences related to the new lending criteria should be a surprise. Mateo S.
Banks must take responsibility for managing their response to the CCCF Act. It seems ironic that Minister Clark is worried about the only effective (thus far) mechanism for reducing the overinflated prices of the housing bubble. David W.
My tenant who has been saving to purchase their own home has now been told to go away and save more by April before trying again. These are the people this Government was supposed to be helping into their first home. Glynis M.
We Millennials have been told buying a daily coffee is the reason we can't own our own home. I guess this is just Labour putting that thought into actual effect? Catherine M.
The legislation is a disgrace. It is lowest common denominator legislation that is micromanaging good people under the presumption that their spending habits won't change if they decide to invest in a house. If a young person who is renting has decent disposable income right now, it is their prerogative as to how it is spent, even if it is on luxuries. If they decide to get a mortgage, then it is their free will to give up their luxuries in favour of saving and investing. What an insult. Keryn D.