Old king coal
New Zealand will import a record amount of coal (NZ Herald, July 27) in the midst of a government-declared climate emergency. Missing from this important report is that world thermal coal prices are soaring as demand for electricity rebounds.
Trouble is, New Zealand imports Indonesian coal, one of the lowest grade coals which must be burned in greater quantities to achieve the same energy output. Australian energy efficient coal last trading at $80 per tonne would make more sense during a climate emergency.
Huntly Power Station is reported to burn 250,000 tonnes of thermal coal a month, (plus sea freight, port charges, road haulage, ash disposal) - 250,000 tonnes x $80 = $20 million per month.
China is reported to be paying up to $100 per tonne for forward orders of African and Indonesian thermal coal.
My question is: at what point would the Minister have to agree it would be better to mine the world's most energy-efficient coal in NZ and provide local jobs? I am sure many New Zealanders would prefer to see $20 million a month diverted to more important human needs.
Richard Buddle, Papakura.
When Bill Clinton ran for US President in 1992, his campaign slogan famously emphasised two issues: "It is the economy, stupid" and "Don't forget health care".
The Ipsos research ( NZ Herald, July 23) shows these very same issues are still amongst our top five. Matthew Hooton correctly criticises National for ignoring these in favour of populist issues such as He Puapua, pandering to "farmers and elderly conservatives".
But he overlooks the likely return in 2023 of thousands who had switched their National votes to Labour. We all know how the "switched" farmers will vote in 2023, and the rest of the "switched" voters are also quietly getting restless. This "silent majority," who share a general feeling of unease and betrayal, might be decisive in 2023.
My own prediction for 2023? Despite focusing on the wrong issues, National will be saved by a combination of their hardcore, the farmers and the forgotten "silent majority," all of whom will by 2023 have been battered by the high cost of living, insufficient houses, and a failing health system.
New Zealand's reward? Sadly, on a present showing, an equally incompetent National government.
Johan Slabbert, Warkworth.
Closing schools, shops, restaurants; restrictions on transport; mandatory social distancing; and banning public gatherings were all measures taken to prevent the spread of the Spanish flu virus in 1918.
In San Francisco, a policeman shot three people who refused to wear masks. Eventually, the strategy paid off. New York City, San Francisco, St Louis and Kansas City - who were the fastest and most effective at implementing the measures - cut transmissions by between 30 per cent and 50 per cent.
St Louis, emboldened by its low death rate, lifted restrictions after only two months of the outbreak, a rash of new cases soon followed.
Social distancing and the wearing of masks proved to be the biggest factors in preventing the spread of the disease. Stephen Morse, a prominent epidemiologist of the time, wrote the same measures might help avoid repeating the same in the future.
Fifty million deaths were recorded but analysts say it was much closer to a hundred million.
Currently, Covid-19 has killed five million. We have Morse, the administrators of the named American cities and the hundred million deaths to thank. Hopefully, their sacrifice has not been in vain.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
I am sorry I won't be spending anything this week on accommodation in Queenstown. I am sorry I won't be converting dollars for a New Zealand car rental. I regret that I shall not be buying 21 family meals at various restaurants and cafes in the land of the long white cloud, nor be hiring skis and boots from a lakeside ski shop.
I feel sad that I won't be spending any money at all in New Zealand.
I am sorry that I have had to spend already, but that was in Australia, at a pathology laboratory, where it was confirmed that I did not have Covid.
I am sorry that I had to do that.
Sarah Phillips, Sydney, NSW.
My heart goes out to Mackenzie Skinner (NZ Herald, July 26), and the significant failures of the justice system he experienced.
My own experience with the justice system has been disappointing, to say the least. The offending against me was not as distressing. It was a vandalism offence by two 13-year-olds and a 9-year-old. Who lets their 9-year-old out late at night, unsupervised?
It cost over $10,000 dollars to remediate, so the impact has not been insignificant.
The offending occurred six months ago and, as of last week, no justice has occurred.
I was told the offenders will be dealt with by the youth aid section. The Senior Sergeant told me last week, that there would be no reparation from the young offenders or their families.
I made it clear that I would be happy to attend a family group conference to at least receive an apology but was told the offenders and their families have vetoed this. No reason given.
No need for the offenders to make amends or apologise. No wonder gang membership has doubled in the last two years. There are no consequences for criminal behaviour.
C Cutfield, Remuera.
Withered of Oz
I thought it fillially humane to visit my 95-year-old mother in Sydney in late May after a two-year lapse due to Covid-19.
Now it looks like it might take two years to get back to New Zealand with the border guillotining in place.
I am in a Covid-free area of NSW and have had both Pfizer vaccinations.
The problem was we were given impossibly short notice and 15 minutes was all it took those-in-the-know to grab the miniscule flight seats.
I suggest New Zealand charters a few passenger ships to rescue its beloved 20,000 citizens and residents, who have little to do in Australia, and the captain takes14 days to get to K1W1 with passengers locked in their cabins, heavy padlocks on doors and food inserted through a straw.
Rob Buchanan, Sydney, NSW.
Edward Eyre (NZ Herald, July 26) has the wrong end of the stick on the industrialisation of farmers. It is not the farmers out of choice, but the demands of the industry, as well as overseas investment in our farming land, that has forced them into intense farming practices.
Farmers have tried but have been defeated in their efforts to protect the environment.
I know of a kiwifruit grower back in the 70s and, more recently, an avocado grower who both tried very hard to go organic. Greatly added compliance costs, the hoops they had to jump through and opposition from the secondary industry sector forced them to give up. Likewise, a small mixed horticultural and beef farmer who, encouraged by council incentives, began to fence off and plant flaxes and native trees on both sides of a waterway through his property. When he applied for the council rebate at the beginning of the project, he was told, "oh, we've stopped running that scheme". After spending tens of thousands of dollars and countless man-hours, he now has a beautiful tract of mature native bush through his property but with no encouragement from local or central government.
J. Leighton, Devonport.
Ken Duffin's reminder of the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry (NZ Herald, July 26) where bobby calves are torn from their mothers only to be slaughtered so that we can drink their mothers' milk is a call to us all to consider.
Changing our eating and drinking habits is the only weapon we have in the face of the might of the industry.
Duffin quite rightly scorns the fact that we can forget about the dreadful plight of bobby calves and yet express love, affection and care for a baby orca.
However, we did what we did for the baby orca because we could.
If people were privy to the sight of slender-legged, tender-eyed little calves waiting in the hot sun to be sent to their deaths and knew that they could somehow prevent this happening, I have no doubt they would be motivated to act.
The best we can do is change our habits, talk about what is wrong with the dairy industry and be aware that increasingly consumers worldwide are looking for humanely farmed products.
Judy Morley-Hall, Remuera
Seeing as all and sundry are offended by even the slightest slight, I thought I may have a go at being offended . And so I was by your front page (NZ Herald, July 26).
By using the word "sinister" in the headline, you immediately implicate that 10 per cent of the population are involved in this threat. The original meaning of the word is "of the left", i.e. left-handed.
As a left hander, I find it rather offensive that this word is continually used to inplicate left-handers in evil doing. Use another word please so as not to continue offending left handers.
James G McCormick, Gisborne.
Getting over it
I was a member of a North Shore Cycle Association (1978-1980) which successfully persuaded the then Auckland City council to provide us with a converted bus (bike racks and seating) to transport us, for a small fee, 7am-9am and return 5pm to 7pm at 30 minute intervals, from and to the traffic centre depot in Northcote and Jervois Rd in Herne Bay.
From one fossil to another, it is able to be done.
David Le Cheminant, Ōrewa.
Congratulations are due to both the New Zealand and Australian rugby leagues for refusing to send teams to the World Cup to be held in the United Kingdom later this year.
It seems that there are at least some sports bodies who value their players' health and welfare above the dollar almighty.
As these teams are the only threat to England, perhaps the cup could be awarded to England by default and all involved can rest easy for the next four years, free of disease and possible injury?
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark.
Short & sweet
On te reo
I'm just wondering if certain words spoken in English are now obsolete, such as "family" and "hello". Alan Walker, St Heliers.
The so-called "Groundswell" protest should have been called for what it really was, "a protest of people who resent change". Does anybody take these people seriously? Frank John, New Plymouth.
Further to Ken Duffin's letter (NZ Herald, July 26) about animal-lover hypocrisy and the affection for a baby orca: if only such love, care, and attention were also paid to the disadvantaged children of Aotearoa. Elena Inta, Henderson
If Opposition politicians can't speak freely on matters of public concern, then what kind of democracy does post-coup Fiji have? Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, Sydney.
It really grates on my senses to hear the commentators continually speak about the NZ team as "Kiwis". It is a childish, "cute" form and not fitting for this important international event. Geraldine Rose, Howick.
David Seymour is advocating for rich people to bypass the plebs' MIQ and establish their own. That is what Act is for – advocating for the rich to gain privileges not available to the rest of us. Harry McDonald, Auckland CBD.
The Premium debate
Let's have a free barbecue and a music concert to go with it. How about $10 for turning up and $20 if you get the jab? Robert M.
And the "stroll-out" shambles continues. Why is anyone surprised by this outcome? Just get the vaccines out to private GPs and people that want the jab. There's millions of us just waiting. Grant H.
In the UK they now will exclude people from nightclubs and large sports events if they're not vaccinated. Maybe this would spur people into getting the vaccine if by a certain date they're barred to do such things. We shouldn't need to pay people and offer freebies. Meanwhile, my 92-year-old mother has to wait for her first shot, booked for September 1. Anita W.
It's "boring" (not sure getting vaccinations are ever fun), it's not "practical" on a weekend (even though it starts on a Friday), let's see, what other excuses can we come up with? Those aren't reasons, they're excuses, pure and simple, and they're feeble at best. What do you actually have to do to get people to pick themselves up and take responsibility for making sure they, their families, friends, colleagues and communities are safe? I despair. Leigh H.
I reckon there will be a lot of people turning up without appointments over the three days. Andrew M.
It's a shame that this event doesn't appear to have been able to cater to the vulnerable community it was intended for however it will still be a massive achievement if it an extra 15,000 people are able to be vaccinated. I'm looking forward to more mass vaccination events being announced as the programme "ramps up". Anna K.