Old dog, new tricks
Old Dogs, New Tricks (Herald on Sunday, November 6) was a long-awaited gift for all who have been concerned over our beleaguered future. Farmer George Moss pulls no punches as he fronts up with what he thought about climate change and its effects on his land, noting himself now as a reformed sceptic. His pronouncement, “If you can convince yourself something isn’t real, you don’t have to convince yourself to do something”, is a summation of the confronting challenges facing our society and its safety today. But climate change is the most destructive to our way of life and if we don’t move quickly right now to make the changes necessary, we may never have the chance to do so again. Pulling back the blinds to see ahead is what we all need to do willingly, so we secure the future. So well done George Moss from Tokoroa for helping with this process. Many will applaud you for your strength of character, your honesty and your courage to stand up to your fellow sceptics. What you have done so bravely is to aid in gifting a future to those who follow. It’s now in our hands. Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Leave farmers alone
A further foreign buyer has announced an intent to convert much of a South Island high country sheep station to forestry, no doubt enticed by carbon credits. This while Government methane emission policies anger farmers, the most efficient food producers globally. Methane emission has been a natural phenomenon since time began, long before climate change and global warming became matters of concern. Carbon pollution of course is the greatest concern, the burning of fossil fuels, the advent of the combustion engine. Food production should not be minimised at the expense of unnecessary, ill-conceived environmental initiatives. Our farmers are stressed; most are carbon neutral and sense they are scapegoats, their livelihood, food production, threatened. Instead we should protect our export trade, with our current account deficit now in a parlous state. If pastoral farming is unduly compromised we all suffer. P.J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
This Sunday was a calm and pleasant morning in the eastern bays of Auckland — so why not have an enjoyable walk around the beaches? The joy was short-lived, however, as we were assailed with the mess of spent fireworks spread all over the beaches. Some earlier walkers had already started an unofficial cleanup, as had council cleaners, but some of the debris — like spent sparkler wires and smaller spherical objects — was hard to see and pick up. During our tidy-up exercise we were stopped by lots of people who were similarly upset by the effects of fireworks, from the weary fireman who had been fighting a bush fire by the Rose Gardens during the night to pet owners whose animals were traumatised, conservationists worried about firework remnants getting into the oceans, and not to mention sleep-deprived neighbours woken by explosions all night. Unfortunately, those living by beaches will continue to be bombarded with fireworks for the next fortnight until the supplies run out. It is surely time to ban public sales of all fireworks. Controlled public displays sure — but let’s restrict it to that. Lionel Joyce, Eastern Bays.
For a country supposedly facing a cost of living crisis, an awful lot of money was wasted over the past three days, gone up in smoke to “celebrate” an unsuccessful terrorist attack on a parliament on the other side of the world. I am English-born and for the life of me I can’t understand why Kiwis do this. Sure, the fireworks can be a bit of fun but the fallout in terms of pollution and property damage, to say nothing about the ever-increasing cost, isn’t worth it. Far better to save the display for uniquely NZ commemorations where those who know what they’re doing can create a show that we can all enjoy. Rosemary MacKenzie, Rotorua.
The last fireworks were exploding after 6am although it had been light for a while by then. Our cat was calmer or had lost her hearing (they seem louder each year). Friends in Avondale, Titirangi and Epsom say that fireworks rained down most of the night on their roofs too. Each year there are calls to end private sales as the resulting costs in environmental harm, fire damage, animal cruelty etc increase. Any political party calling for an end will get my vote next year. Rosie Cumming, Grey Lynn.
To hear grant Grant Robertson’s speech at the Labour Party’s conference was sad, to say the least. First, it panged that he is positioning himself as the new leader, quite clear to many. Secondly, it was bordering on childish with his attack on Christopher Luxon. To lead, you need credibility. Sorry, Grant, the Labour Party deserves more than this from you. R.L. Bicker, Gulf Harbour.
In his opinion piece (Weekend Herald, November 5), Bruce Cotterill suggests the trouble with hate speech laws and disinformation is who decides what is right. Firstly, by conflating hate speech with disinformation, he adds further confusion to an already fraught and contentious field. Better the question, what is his definition of hate speech? It’s an arbitrary, unhelpful phrase loaded with endless interpretations. Secondly, the hate speech versus freedom of speech debate goes nowhere. Excessive speech is complex and heterogeneous. Better not to get lost in causes, interfaces and definitions but focus on the effect. The threshold is crossed when speech is in the public arena and incites violence. We already have laws for this, but they are not fit for purpose and are arguably discriminatory. Individuals publicly threatening, abusing, insulting and inciting hostility or contempt against any group or persons is a threshold already able to be effectively managed by our institutions and legislation. Our Government, unable to see the wood for the trees, would instead start a divisive political bonfire rather than plug some obvious legislative holes. Protecting the safety and dignity of some against the dangerous opinions of others is a human rights issue. Russell Hoban, Ponsonby.
Credit card security
There seems to be an increase in credit card fraud. The cry from the banks is never to disclose your card details but many hotels and car hire companies, to confirm a telephone booking, will ask for the card number expiry date and even the CVV number. This I presume is written down by a busy reservations person for all staff to see and it only takes one dishonest person to pass the details on to whoever to use. Surely, a more secure system is needed. Vince West, Milford.
I ride the K Rd cycle path regularly, about 7.30am, and congratulations are due for the street cleaners. It’s a revolting mess that they deal with on a daily basis. No congratulations to the public who seem to think it’s fun to discard their rubbish and break bottles and walk away. It’s so sad that we are unable to behave like tidy Kiwis. Julie Nicholls, St Mary’s Bay.
South African test rugby referee Jaco Peyper’s strange reluctance to use the TV replay in doubtful try-scoring circumstances greatly favoured the French in the Australia v France match. The All Blacks will be faced with this aberrant referee behaviour where Southern Hemisphere teams always seem to be the losers at northern venues. Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Vive Les Bleus
Can there be any more stirring national anthem than the French one? They are a great rugby team and I’m sure won the hearts of many New Zealanders. The bounce of the ball was the only physical oddity that separated these two equally talented rugby teams and the French had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. In the highly likely outcome that England will take the women’s World Cup, France have all the talent and ability to quickly win it back again on their home soil. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Jacinda Ardern says she would make ECE free if money was no object. Seems money is no object for her Government considering the billions wasted on consultants, bureaucrats, working groups and pet projects. With the amount of taxpayer dollars wasted by Labour, ECE could have been free for decades to come. Mark Young, Orewa.
Short & sweet
On Cabinet ratings
Was the bar set at an historic low level or is this just another instance of 21st century-grade inflation? Cam Calder, Devonport.
It is a sad day for this country when the Deputy PM spends his time lambasting another party when they are not even in power and have nothing to do with our current mess. Brent Marshall, Whangaparāoa.
On Black Ferns
Our national women’s team has brought the enjoyment back to rugby. Bruce Tubb, Devonport.
Do the plans for rail maintenance include the completion of the long-planned third track from the port to Penrose? Removing hundreds of trucks a day from the CBD and the motorways would be the greatest contribution to our children. John Billingsley, Parnell.
In response to the slew of correspondence regarding the housing crisis, I would point to the clamour for easing migration rules for overseas workers and, more recently, visa-free stays for Polynesian visitors. Ellie Carruthers, Eden Terrace.
Twitter should change its logo to a turkey, because it is a multibillion-dollar turkey. C.C. McDowall, Rotorua.
The Premium Debate
The difference between left and right has never been as big as it is right now. Jacinda Ardern would be the most polarising PM we’ve ever had. She leads the polls as preferred PM and is loved by her followers but absolutely loathed by everyone else. Alan M.
People who earn money should keep as much of it as possible. New Zealand is a tiny country with a huge government machine that is far too large for the tax base that can exist to support it. NZ’s Government meddles in everything instead of letting people live their own lives and enjoy the benefits of their own effort. Marcus A.
Good comment that if followed by any government would result in a South American-style economy, many shanty towns for the poor citizens and a minority, but powerful and rich, ultra-right wing group. George G.
Unless things change and change dramatically for the better, we will see mass emigration on a scale not seen for decades. Luxon/Seymour will have a huge mess and mountains of sadness to tackle when they get in in 2023. I do not envy them. Mark C.
I like the idea of voting by policy area because no one party has a monopoly on good ideas. I’ll vote for a government change this election but I’m not “National” or “Labour” or any particular party. It’s just the best decision now. Elsa O.