Checks and balances
It may be time for many people in New Zealand to reflect on the recent catastrophic implosion of the Titan submersible on its trip to the wreck of the Titanic. It has been reported that when safety concerns were raised, these were brushed aside as merely attempts to stifle private enterprise and tie up a modern, future-facing company in unnecessary regulations and red tape. This avoidable disaster should give pause for thought to those in this country who are stridently calling for less red tape and fewer restrictions on their own money-making concerns. They seem to have forgotten that regulations are in place to try to prevent the disasters that inevitably happen when such profitable ventures are allowed to flourish unchecked. Pike River, Whakaari/White Island, and Tairāwhiti forestry slash come readily to mind. There are many others. A healthy economy is desirable but not when the people who have been happy to reap the profits expect the taxpayer to clean up the mess created by their lack of responsibility. Jennifer Ma’u, Hamilton.
Such a misguided response by some correspondents (NZ Herald, June 26) to even suggest that rescuing the crew of the Titan sub was extravagant. The inference to suggest far too much effort was made to rescue billionaires, balanced against poor people not being rescued, is an outrageous comment to make. These events, both tragic in their own right, and vastly different in their complexities; who has such a right as these correspondents did to argue that some lives are worth saving, others not? John Ford, Taradale.
Even now, the National Party (and Act) want to opt out of any attempts to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change. In particular, to win farmers’ votes by “kicking the can down the road” and further delaying agricultural emissions charging for another eight years. Alongside Act, should they win power in October’s election, National is vowing to cancel any and all such climate change mitigating measures as legislated for by our current Labour Government. If you vote for either National or Act in October, don’t then complain about the weather. Or the inevitable increases in flooding. Or landslides, impassable roads, irreparable damage to people’s homes and property. And the immense, and ever-increasing reinstatement costs created; to be met ultimately by ratepayers and taxpayers nationwide. Will we ever be able to afford such an escalation of costs in the future? Three Waters anticipated this, regarding water. All are part of this far-sighted Government’s overall climate change mitigation plans. Opponents, who have attempted to impede such legislation, label themselves as existential enemies of us all. Clyde Scott, Birkenhead.
Dr John Langley’s opinion piece on “breaking the bruising cycle over teachers’ pay” made some very good points. His solution for this: defining and sizing teacher roles; benchmarking against comparable roles across relevant sectors; and fixing remuneration packages based on this. There seemed to be one glaring omission from his prescription, however: the assessment of individual performance. This should be a key component of any final individual salary determination. Assessing performance can be challenging, but it can be done. As in any other workplace, good performers need to be recognised, and rewarded. John Robertson, Stanley Pt.
I read with interest Amy Wiggins’ report on what skills and attitudes business leaders see as important in young people (NZ Herald, June 21). Between 1985 and 1986 I conducted a survey of employers. They overwhelmingly rated communication skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, numeracy, self-management skills, and ability to work with others above overall academic ability. School reports were the only source of information about the range of skills prized by employers such as the ability to work with others and self-management skills. Exam results were taken as evidence of competence in literacy and numeracy. Clearly not much has changed in what is getting close to 40 years. David Hood, Hamilton.
I read the letter about the young person who was starting an apprenticeship for a job (NZ Herald, June 23) and did not want to start by sweeping the floor and so rang Daddy to complain. The employer decided they were not suitable for the job. My first job was in a bank and I had to make the tea for the staff, run errands, and write notes in a book. The manager told me my writing looked like a “dog’s breakfast” but I improved and was a ledger machinist, then a supervisor. I didn’t ring Daddy, I just made sure I improved. P. Salvador, Hobsonville
Conservative naysayers are objecting to listing Māori/Pasifika as one attribute (among five or six) to be considered when conferring preferential surgical status. Rigorous statistical analysis has shown that in New Zealand, people of colour are discriminated against by suffering longer than average surgery wait-times compared with whites. Objections rest on an assertion there’s something besides discrimination that explains the statistical results. Psychologists note this denial usually has its origin in something called “self-serving bias”. In this context, this means finding any argument/explanation whatsoever, no matter how irrelevant, that stops the preferential listing of ethnicity. Self-serving motivation is maintaining white preference. If we are to be a harmonious society, this surgery access imbalance must be corrected. The proposed ethnic preference designation is a well-nuanced corrective. What remedial measures do the naysayers suggest? Robert Myers, Auckland Central.
Perhaps ACC should immediately set up an urgent cross-code inquiry into sports head injuries. It seems that constant head knocks are affecting player’s brains with a direct correlation to the early onset of depression, mood swings, alcoholism, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease, etc. This particularly affects rugby, rugby league, boxing and kickboxing. This long-term “ticking timebomb” has been conveniently ignored, at their peril, by sports administrators for far too long. The impact of these constant head knocks on the brain appears to be no different from that caused by a series of high-speed car crashes which is deeply concerning. As the old saying goes: “One can only bury one’s head in the sand for so long.” Bruce Tubb, Devonport.
Voices of reason
Thank you for the opinion pieces by Debbie Ngarewa-Packer (NZ Herald, June 21) and Jarrod Gilbert (NZ Herald, June 26). Such thoughtful responses to law and order and gangs should replace hysterical headlines that we are going to be subject to from now until the election. You also published the Ōpōtiki mayor’s calm words describing the town’s recent tangi, but these were largely ignored by commentators. May the shrieking slogans that stir up fear cease while we look at the causes of offending and work across the political spectrum to really make a difference and create a society in which all feel valued. Janet von Randow, Grey Lynn.
You report epidemiologist Dr Amanda Kvalsvig (NZ Herald, June 23) has called for improved ventilation in classrooms, to prevent further disruption to schooling from illness. How about the Ministry of Education removes its decree that schools build new classrooms in the “modern learning environment” style (accommodating up to 90 kids plus teachers)? Every day feels like a super-spreader event. Allison Kelly, Mt Eden.
Radio talkback personality Mike Hosking (NZ Herald, June 22) resents what he says is the Māorification of New Zealand. Pākehā ancestors were proud to call the country Māoriland. We have the Treaty of Waitangi where a large Māori population agreed to share their country with a few British colonists. Aotearoa is based on Māori allowing settlement and those who aren’t prejudiced anti-Māori are pleased that we have the benefits we have gained by their generosity. What did Māori get out of the Pākehā takeover? They have been discriminated against, and are at the bottom of social and health statistics. A Māori takeover? What a nonsense. Frankie Letford, Hamilton.
Interesting to see Taylor Swift is not coming to New Zealand (NZ Herald, June 23), which is disappointing. Unfortunately, the economics don’t stand up. At least we have advocates with pure intentions trying to get Taylor Swift here. Nick Sautner, from Eden Park, has taken it upon himself to lobby the local MP to get Taylor Swift here and declare that this would be another great female event. This is all whilst peddling the white elephant that is Eden Park. The reality is Eden Park needs to go and a purpose-built New Zealand stadium that is modern and fully integrated to suit sports and events placed downtown. It reeks of desperation to contact an MP for a stadium that is failing with transport access, neighbours, outrageous prices on low-quality food and drink and stadium ergonomics. Dunedin is a great example of build it and they will come. Nick Sautner and Eden Park stalwarts are trying to polish a turd. Andrew Wicks, Te Atatū Peninsula.
Short & sweet
If Christopher Luxon can’t see the irony in his wife claiming the clean car discount then his ability to make other more important calls if he becomes prime minister must be in serious doubt. James Archibald, Birkenhead.
This Labour Government has had over five years to fix the failures in important areas such as education, health, crime, housing and infrastructure. To name but a few. Don’t worry about Christopher Luxon’s car, it’s not as important as Labour thinks it is. Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
While he is offshore, it could benefit Hipkin’s perspective if he takes a small side trip to El Salvador to observe the crime situation. That looks like where New Zealand will be within a generation. Graham Steenson, Whakatāne.
The RMS Titanic is a graveyard, not a tourist attraction. C. C. McDowall, Rotorua.
If by a slim hope National wins the upcoming election, they had better start divesting themselves of shares, rentals, companies and other assets now, so they do not also go down the rabbit hole of conflicts of interests. Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
John Denton (NZH, Jun. 22) asks what the rest of Labour’s 64 MPs (those who are not ministers) do all day? Based on the dismal record of “successes” by Labour’s ministers over the last few years, we must all fervently hope that their back-benches are doing absolutely nothing. Philip Lenton, Somerville.
The Premium Debate
Yes, she is an idealist, but her policies and expectations are unrealistic. As an Auckland Central constituent, I will not be voting for her or the Green Party. John P.
I was delighted to learn (via the Greens’ helpful calculator) that we could not afford to retire in NZ after a lifetime of savings so we could. Idealistic indeed. Jo M.
Obviously, a very articulate and talented person, who would benefit from some “real-world experience”. Given her employment track record to date has seen a very ideologically sheltered view of the world. Hugh K.
I’ve been keeping up to date with her real-world experience, it’s impressive. By the way, I think it’s important to have young people represented in Parliament, on all sides of the political spectrum. Richard S.
Swarbrick hasn’t done a single thing to help her constituents. Auckland Central is a lawless mess. Her socialist ideals and inexperience show. She should retire from politics and see how she goes in the real world. Patrick F.
You either don’t live in Auckland Central or don’t follow the news. She is always advocating for Auckland with central Government. Got relief for businesses during Covid, and for businesses affected by the City Rail Link. Has a good relationship with Heart of the City and business groups. And council. She is nothing if not a hard worker. She lives in K Rd and is always around and active there. I can contrast that with some MPs who are rarely seen in their electorates. She also volunteers at the City Mission. If you want to criticise Chlöe, please base it on something that is actually true. Ross W.