National campaign strategy
The admission by Todd Muller that one of his parliamentary colleagues, along with Michelle Boag, was responsible for releasing personal details of names and circumstances of New Zealand residents when
they are "at risk" will come as no surprise to many who have watched with growing anger, the results of a "dirty tricks" campaign emerge from National's ranks.
Last week, it was Michael Woodhouse and the "homeless man" taking advantage of "free accommodation' - all complete rubbish.
It is time to act. It has gone too far, and today's transgressors should face criminal charges.
Lawrie Walker, Ellerslie.
All he can eat
When it was still unknown who had leaked Covid-19 patients' private details to the media, Todd Muller evidently told RNZ the breach was "quite staggering" and "unacceptable" and "a reminder these guys can't manage important things well".
Now that the leaker has been revealed as one of his own MPs, the action has suddenly been relabelled "an error of judgment".
Muller is clearly unfamiliar with the wisdom "make your words short and sweet, as one day you may have to eat them".
E. J. Bax, Epsom.
The revelation of the Walker/Boag leak comes as no real surprise. In recent weeks, the National Party has fostered a culture of sniping, rumour-mongering, and quarantine myth-chasing.
This outrageous further attempt to sling anything they can at the Government was done amid a top-to-bottom condoned strategy that puts party before private rights and the country's welfare.
John Wilkinson, Stonefields.
A tax on your house
P. J. Edmonson (NZ Herald, July 6) makes a number of strange assertions about the Greens minimum income (GMI) and wealth tax proposal.
He claims that "extended education and the workplace would be shunned" in favour of a life of "idle bliss". For anyone who's actually tried to live on $325 a week, this is an odd idea. Since the GMI is effectively a universal student allowance, it's also hard to see how this would reduce motivation and access to education.
But the strangest idea is that people generally don't want to work. The right has a habit of taking the laziest, most dysfunctional people in society and acting like they are the norm. They are not. Most people want to work.
A proposal that taxes unproductive wealth and allows so many more people to participate in the economy is just good business, because with wages stagnating for 30 years and successive governments lacking the courage to implement a CGT, the link between hard work and getting ahead has been broken.
Currently, the best way to get ahead in NZ isn't to work hard, or get an education, or contribute to the community. The best way to get ahead is to acquire capital, because work is taxed but wealth is not. And that's the strangest thing of all.
Dan Jones, Mt Albert.
The Greens' proposals for lifting people out of poverty have brought some astounding pushback. Not one mention or disagreement about the need to do just that.
It's all about "we shouldn't be the ones paying". I say, the least you should do is make an alternative proposal that would achieve the same result.
The situation is dire and urgent. Do the decent thing, now.
Harry Parke, Thames.
As we endure yet another water crisis and we, the mugs who pay water and council rates, are told to restrict water use and pay higher water and rates charges, I'm so surprised to hear we've not talked about new dams being built for the future, larger Auckland.
Every speech by Mayor Goff and Watercare CEO Jaduram talk about extracting water from the Waikato and reinstating some smaller dams and bores at a cost of $200 million-plus.
Where's the vision to take what falls free from the sky and use it for our water? We are spending $100 million on cleaning up the Kaipara, but Waste Management is looking at putting in a huge 1062ha landfill in the Dome Valley, north of Auckland. Why don't we do the right thing? Turn the landfill into a dam for us, our children and grandchildren. We need to make the right decisions and plan better than we currently are.
Robert Wark, St Mary's Bay.
Police continue to prosecute people for drug possession, rather than referring them to doctors, in defiance of the new law. The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 2019 mandates that "consideration should be given to whether a health approach is more beneficial" to the public interest rather than legal action against any person for simple possession of drugs.
So why did the police prosecute 3159 people for simple possession since the passage of this legislation? Thanks to an Official Information Request, we know that police are not referring people in possession of drugs to doctors. Instead, drug possession cases continue to clog the courts. Police continue to waste time chasing people for drug possession.
Is it really in the public interest to throw drug addicts in jail rather than referring them to medical professionals or do the police simply not care about the law?
Why are not judges throwing out possession cases when police fail to show evidence that the public interest is being served as required by the law?
John Caldwell, Howick.
Trains in vain
I write with bewilderment at the letters from the blindly optimistic that somehow new rail lines and services will save our provincial centres and national economy.
Any exporter or importer will tell you the cheapest port is more often than not the closest. That's why logs harvested north of Wairoa and off the East Coast are shipped from Gisborne, not railed to Napier. It's an hour and a half by road from Wairoa to Napier and why after $6.2 million was spent on the rail line, only three trains have used it.
Tony Molloy (NZ Herald, July 7) writes we should have a rail line from Napier to Taupo as 80 per cent of the route is flat; no it's not. Similarly, his suggestion of a Taupo-New Plymouth line is a colossal engineering challenge that has no purpose.
As for sending all Auckland's sea traffic via Whangārei at a cost of tens of billions, why? For those of us who don't live in apartments in the city, the fact there are cranes, cars and containers on our waterfront, not cafes, doesn't impinge on our quality of life, nor does it justify the cost of both taxpayer dollars and carbon emitted.
John Tizard, East Tāmaki .
Cup runneth on
For "grassroots sailing" (NZ Herald, July 7), there is a fleet preparing for the 100th race for the Lipton Cup, an annual event for the mullet boats - sailed in the same boats under the same rules as they did in 1922 when competing for the trophy for the first time.
The very first winner, built in 1913 and still with her "barn-door" rudder, is already an entrant for the 2021 event.
One hundred years old and still providing the thrills.
Janet Watkins, Beach Haven.
How can this happen? Auckland Council has leased a 1.85ha block of land in the eastern suburb of Mt Wellington to ITC at a cost of $150,000 per year, rising to $290,000 in 2028. ITC has already agreed to sub-let about three-quarters of the site for $702,000 per year.
For the past 50 years the land, though zoned "light industry" has been leased as a park to motor racing clubs of various kinds, being the nursery ground for many sportspeople now well known on the International stage.
Naturally, the sporting clubs wanted to continue leasing the property as they had for the last 10 decades, assuming it to be a park. As the land was not designated as a park, the council decided to make a better profit by leasing at a more commercial rate. Has a precedent now been set?
Should we now be making sure the grounds they have used - whether for soccer, hockey, netball, karting, golf, etc - are truly zoned as parks, to ensure that they are not released to the highest bidder?
Barbara Jeffares, Māngere Bridge.
Short & sweet
To breach privacy law in order to set-up the government is not only dirty politics, it is a criminal assault on the integrity of all who are striving to deliver on the government's policy of protecting New Zealand from the ravages of Covid 19. G. D. Pratt, Hauraki.
Any adult, responsible person knows that even viewing or passing on other people's medical records is not an error of judgment, but is plain wrong and unlawful. Bernard Jennings, Wellington.
This looks like a deliberate stunt that does nothing to make up for a lack of constructive policy. Selwyn Irwin, Glen Eden.
July is New Zealand's wettest month.There are leaks everywhere. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Why are councillors "gobsmacked" at spending $224m on their most essential duty; water supply (NZ Herald, July 7) when $360m for the "SkyPath" goes through on-the-nod? Is water now a "nice-to-have" which we cannot afford? Martin Ball, Kelston.
Charles Hadfield (NZ Herald, July 7) writes: "I'd much rather be on my knees than dead." This is historically what dictators count on, even benevolent ones. Stephen Hodge, New Plymouth.
Wow, Samira Taghavi (NZ Herald, July 7) knows how to call a spade a spade, very impressively articulate, hitting the nail top-dead-centre. Jim Carlyle, Te Atatu Peninsula.
Have the authors of the report recommending the Manukau Harbour seen it at low tide?
Peter Melling, Warkworth.
In noting that Americans had split the atom, President Trump overlooked so many other remarkable first achievements by Americans – inventing movable type printing; building the pyramids; and ;discovering America itself, to name but three. He shouldn't be so modest. Jonathan Jepson, Torbay.