Planting the right ideas
If climate change is an emergency, why are we doing little immediately to reduce its effects in NZ?
Brazil, carbon sink for the world, increased destruction of its forests by 12 per cent during Covid, so despite the lockdown there has been little change in the carbon dioxide trend.
Let's plant native trees that have adapted to our local conditions. But infill housing removes garden trees and replaces them with a concrete jungle. Are we also crowding our roads with cars burning fossil fuels? I see little incentive to change yet.
Stating we have an emergency is disingenuous if we are not prepared to act. Subsidies for native plant nurseries countrywide, not cheap printed money for house speculators, is the "emergency action" required. Jobs planting trees in autumn required action a year ago. Planting farms to keep our waterways clean should be encouraged by subsidised planting programmes.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest
Urban boundaries are still important in European towns, despite their size. Switzerland's Lausanne, for example, has grazing fields and orchards marking its city boundary rather like Auckland's Pukekohe and Henderson's fertile gardens.
Lower Hutt lost its market gardens thorough sloppy planning and greed, so the cost of transporting produce back into town from the Kapiti Coast increased traffic on the motorway and upped the cost of veges. Protecting scarce fertile land is an urgent necessity.
Mary Tallon, Takapuna
When Spark won the rights to the international cricket games for the next few years I was really excited.
At last we would have free viewing of our favourite summer game. We were blasted with the ads about "free to air cricket". Oh what a summer it was going to be.
Then we had the exciting first T20 over game and the appearance of new young blood into our cricket team that looked to be giving notice to the "old dogs" that they had better watch their seemingly secure places in the team.
With that as first taste I was eagerly planning to watch the next game, bought the beer and the porkskin crispies all ready.
But then it all fell apart: the second T20 over game with all the excitement it brought was not shown live. Maybe that was because it was during the day I thought. But no, the Monday evening game was not shown. So I Googled and found that out only the first T20 of each visiting team series will be shown. That's a total of four matches with three left to go against Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh. At least with Sky we could go to a pub or visit a friend with Sky. Covid was a disaster but at least we can see an end to it — years of no cricket is like telling us there will never be a cure for Covid.
Geoff Minchin, Kawakawa
I hope the Transport Minister sat up and listened attentively as Shanan Halbert made his inspiring maiden speech in Parliament. At the exact moment when the newly elected Northcote MP highlighted ways to alleviate diabolical traffic messes, Aucklanders were actually sitting in the middle of one!
Neeli Govender, Birkdale
The number of shootings recently in Northland is certainly a worry. Arming police, which many may consider desirable, will not solve the problem. Similar to the East Coast, that part of the country has always been a little bit Wild West. The job opportunities have declined over the years and have left many able-bodied men with far too much idle time and little money in their pockets. Worldwide when that happens they look for ways to have the things in life that many others have. Unfortunately, often the avenue they seek is easy money and that means crime.
Tourists do not see the North as a desirable destination, which is a pity as there are many opportunities. The only way the North will get out the rut is jobs, jobs, jobs. Where there is a large distribution of benefits, crime rates are high.
Reg Dempster, Albany
We are led to believe not enough houses are being built to meet demand. The demand is in the towns and cities where jobs are. Yet we are building large expensive beach houses in places such as Mangawhai which will be empty most of the year.
There are plans for 1000 houses there which will be mostly yuppy holiday homes. Should we not put a stop to this type of development until we have built enough houses where they are needed?Also, why are we building houses with multiple bathrooms when most families only need a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house; surely mum dad and the two kids can manage with one bathroom.
If a tenant is paying rent for a house, surely they can afford to buy that house. Maybe we need to look at allowing those tenants to purchase that house on no deposit and continue paying the same money to pay off their own home instead of paying someone else's tax-free capital gains. Bring in a one family-one house policy and the housing shortage would soon disappear and places like Mangawhai would remain the peaceful havens they should be and not become over-run with over-mortgaged yuppies who end up destroying such areas with thousands of empty houses.
Gordon Walker, Piopio
Five hundred thousand New Zealand citizens living in Australia are unable to fly to NZ without Australian Government exemption.
Despite positive announcements relating to a two-way bubble by PM Ardern throughout 2020, there appear to be fresh reasons for delay and inaction. The latest hiccup appears to be apparent differences in travel management when inevitable outbreaks occur. Surely NZ controls its border and can shut down travel if an unacceptable risk arises? With the exception of South Australia, all other states meet or exceed PM Ardern's 30-day community Covid-free benchmark and in most instances actually surpass NZ's own Covid performance.
However, while it is okay for Kiwis to visit Australia, it is not okay for NZ citizens to return home. This suggests a double standard and abandonment of NZ citizens in Australia, who have had their hopes of family reunions over the Xmas season dashed. Ardern said in her election victory speech that she would govern for all New Zealanders, so let's see some urgent action to support the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposal for two-way travel to commence, starting with trial flights between Canberra and Wellington prior to Xmas.
Having been elected with half of those voting supporting Labour, clearly the Government has a mandate to introduce policies outlined in the Labour manifesto.
It was somewhat surprising therefore to see that the three measures given priority by the Government when the new Parliament sat were:
• Testing of illicit drugs at summer music festivals;
• Raising tax levels on those earning over $180,000;
• And increasing minimum sick leave to 10 days per annum.
Child poverty and social housing shortages which have worsened significantly over the past three years are apparently not on the urgent agenda.
Katherine Swift, Kohimarama
Apples and oranges
Phil Gifford seems to think that the Argentinian David that slew the All Black Goliath was the same David that was beaten by the same Goliath two weeks later. Argentina has done a great disservice to New Zealand and the All Blacks by making 10 changes to the team that beat the All Blacks. This has resulted in our sports journalists comparing apples to oranges and proclaiming we have an amazing orchard. It has in fact hidden worms we won't find until our next test.
New Zealand will fortuitously win the Rugby Championship, Foster will be reappointed in January to the next RWC and this time next year, Australia will have the Bledisloe Cup and All Black fans will be in no doubt of the NZRFU's folly.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay
Short & sweet
If Auckland ratepayers are to be subjected to a further 5 per cent increase we should demand that the Auckland Council be put into statutory management.
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki
Goff took 600 words to explain why Auckland needs to hike rates next year. He could have done it in one brief sentence: "Failure to keep Council wage rates under control".
John Strevens, Remuera
Auckland ratepayers are being bled dry by their vampiristic council.
Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay
On sick leave
Seriously, who takes 10 days sick leave a year? Unfit and unhealthy souls. How is that sugar tax, and GST off fresh fruit and vegetables coming along Labour?
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō
On bright line
Prior to the election, the Minister of Finance categorically stated that there would be no changes to the bright line test yet only one month from the election this appears as it could well be broken promise number one. What next?
Mike Baker, Tauranga
On Whaakari/White Island
Government departments are going to take other departments and helicopter heroes to court. Are there to be more victims from this unexpected natural disaster?
Ian Morrison, Blockhouse Bay