Letter of the week: Scotty Yates, Ōrākei
The financing of electric arc furnaces for Glenbrook Steel is such a positive step. Every coal-burning industry needs to change to electricity. The four Australian banks in NZ paid dividends of $4.2 billion, largely not in NZ, but to shareholders overseas. This is where the Australian banks could, with interest-free loans, support installing the plant used to eliminate coal. It would have minimal impact on their financial results. Dairy milk processing operations are big users of coal. Imagine if whoever the dairy company banked with, contributed interest-free funds to hasten the move to electricity. There are other industrial-scale coal users. They could all be supported to bring forward planned moves to electricity. One can be excused to wonder if the Opposition understands the severity of climate change. To criticise the Glenbrook scheme as “corporate welfare at its worst” doesn’t generate confidence. Developing more electricity generation is important but it is even more important to eliminate the sources of the devil, C02. As the eminent sustainability scientist Maja Gopel said: “We don’t just have an environmental problem, we have a societal problem.” We need to work together across political parties and in our communities.
The lowest mortgage interest rate I was lucky to pay was 6 per cent just before I paid the loan off. The highest was 20+ per cent, when I was a first homeowner. While it is all relative, salaries were lower and, as a female on my own, I was turned down by several lenders including the bank I am now with. I worked two jobs for many years, working a Friday night, Saturday day shift, plus public holidays. I had no help from my parents nor did I expect any. New homeowners taking on huge mortgages at 2 per cent are living in la-la land if they think the rate will remain at 2 per cent forever. It’s not easy and sacrifices have to be made; don’t expect a handout every time it gets tough.
J Wallis, Blockhouse Bay.
Labour MP Arena Williams reveals ignorance (Weekend Herald, 20 May) by claiming her father would be $50 better off a month with the removal of the $5 prescription “fee”, which is really a contribution to Pharmac’s funding of medication. The reality is her father will not pay more than $100 per year because there is a limit of 20 prescription items per year for which this “fee” is paid by any family. There is also no fee ever for any child under the age of 14. The $618 million this fee removal will cost over the next four years would be far better spent by giving it to Pharmac to fund more medications.
Dr Ron Baker, Onehunga.
Winners and losers
Two small news items (Weekend Herald, May 20), in close proximity to each other, caught my eye and my imagination. Apparently, at least US$396 million is needed in northeastern Nigeria to prevent a “full-blown catastrophe” due to widespread hunger and malnutrition. And the Queen’s funeral and lying-in-state cost the British government an estimated NZ$321 million. One sum has been spent, one sum is unlikely to be. I found the juxtaposition disturbing. Can’t we do better than this?
Fritha Parkes, Māngere.
Haves and have-nots
I very much appreciated Duncan Gillies’ informative and comprehensively researched article (Weekend Herald, May 20) on the musical Hamilton, arriving in Auckland this week. As the historians and other commentators cited in the article point out, the inclusion of Black and other people of colour cast as the main characters confuse and hide the historical facts about Alexander Hamilton (a white and reputed slave-owner) and other men who are portrayed in the show. Ultimately, the line between history and entertainment should always be clear but, when a popular musical can invoke further interest and research in a complex historical era, then all power to the creators. So, go and see the show, have a good time, then go home and open the history books.
Dr Marianne Schultz, Eden Terrace.
In her “letter of the week” (Weekend Herald, May 20), Susan Grimsdell makes some excellent observations; especially regarding the number of high earners, wishing they could pay more tax. Whilst they can not make donations of their unwanted excess monies to the tax department, there is nothing to stop them indulging their philanthropic nature by donating to worthy causes in New Zealand. St Johns ambulance, mental health, Westpac rescue helicopter, and various other charities spring to mind. This way, targeted causes would benefit rather than having any extra monies gathered from higher taxes being wasted on frivolous, woke, and PC “causes”.
Philip Lenton, Somerville.
“When I was young I listened to a lot of experts…but I learnt nothing.” That was written in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam several hundred years ago. Almost everything that people, especially educators, say about education is wrong. Just make sure your children go to school and encourage them all you can.
Keith Duggan, Browns Bay
A quick word
Wouldn’t it be nice if the focus for everyone, media, politicians and the general public, was on what the country needs and how far the Budget goes towards satisfying these needs? Greg Cave, Sunnyvale.
Does anyone see the irony of a wealthy owner buying property in front of his high-rise apartment penthouse to protect his view? I bet some of his neighbours weren’t happy with his high-rise apartment. Ian MacGregor, Greenhithe.
So the National Party would reinstate the $5 charge on prescriptions should it become the government. And this from the party that says it would cut taxes – yeah right. Stephen Alpe, Birkenhead.
The Government of Grand Announcements has grandly announced 20 hours/week of free early childhood care for 2-year-olds. There’s only one hitch: The Early Childhood sector says the policy is unworkable. Wendy Clark, Pukekohe.
Paul Beck suggests (WH, May 20) everyone is perfectly happy to use the same toilets in aircraft, so why not elsewhere. Aeroplanes may generally provide a safer environment, but toilet cubicles within a dedicated washroom area remain a more grounded solution. John Norris, Whangamatā.
Does patronising wokeness play any part in literary awards? David Jones, Parnell.
Thanks so much to the Government for “suggesting” we reduce shower time to save on power bills. I’m not quite sure if this may help my more fragrant self, so perhaps it could direct its helpful proposals to the supermarket duopoly? Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
Following the direction from the government to take “less than five-minute” showers, I’m wondering if I should ask for permission to sleep with my husband. H Robertson, St Heliers.
Claire Trevett (WH, May 20) writes National is planning “tax cuts”. Adjusting the tax thresholds to inflation is merely avoiding tax increases. K H Peter Kammler, Warkworth.
It was a “bread and butter” budget. True. With the price of food increasing monthly, that is all the voters can afford. Ian Doube, Rotorua.
Adrian Orr has no more power to command peak inflation than King Canute had to stem the incoming tide. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
Children living in poverty is a real problem. What is the correlation between family size and child poverty? Do parents have a responsibility? Nick Hamilton, Remuera.
Christopher Luxon says “if” he forms the next government. Should he not say “when” he forms the next government? He would not say “if” a plane arrives. Bob Wichman, Botany.
I hope Michael Hill is making a donation to the police’s Christmas cheer fund. Phil Skipworth, Auckland Central.