I am appalled Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis washed his hands and turned his back on 16 prisoners who occupied part of the decrepit prison in a protest about the filthy conditions, refusing to get involved until the situation is resolved! Davis should be ashamed of his abject failure to do his duty as minister. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also silent about the crisis at the Waikeria prison which dragged on for days.
I am shocked to hear that our prisoners, most if not all Māori in this case, are treated in such a disgusting, immoral, inhumane way while living in an old prison which is being replaced, but won't be ready until the end of 2022.
Genevieve Forde, Whangaparaoa.
Political capital denied
Interesting to see Opposition MPs flocked to Waikeria prison to try to make political capital out of the situation. What makes them think they can negotiate with these fellas any better than Corrections staff? I was pleased Corrections did not allow two National grand-standers entry.
Also disappointing was the media not pointing out a $600 million new prison is under construction on site. The damage these fellas have done will only create more problems as far as overcrowding goes with people needing to be moved to new accommodation. However, they hopefully will be joined by 22 others from Whangamatā who no doubt will be willing to help with the clean-up.
Gordon Walker, Piopio
It's just not cricket
I can't tell you how disappointed I am at the lack of TV coverage of our Black Caps games. It just isn't summer without lovely long days watching the test matches. The green pitch, contrasting with the white uniforms just says "summer is here!" We can't even get the coverage on Sky TV now, so that is beyond disappointing.
Living in Auckland, we are just graced with three Twenty20s at Eden Park, which we will support, but all the other games are played outside of Auckland so we can't attend those. All this is so frustrating when New Zealand is playing the best cricket for a long time, and we have to miss it.
I am very upset that we, the fans, are left out in the cold, especially as we have supported our team through many rather lean years. New Zealand cricket has put money before ethics.
It was bad enough to have to fork out for Sky Sport, but Spark streaming the games for six years will cut out most of the public support, and "out of sight, out of mind" may be the end result, with the fans having deserted the game in droves in disgust.
Carol Oram, Torbay.
Spending zeal bubbling
Treasury has warned Finance Minister Grant Roberston that "money is so tight, strong management of revenue and expenses is required".
Post-election, Government increased workers' sick leave, raised the top tax rate to 39 per cent, announced a climate emergency, met the cost of Trevor Mallard's folly and initiated the $30 million Ihumātao buyout. So much for austerity. Covid-19 has become a convenient smokescreen as debt displaces fiscal prudence.
Bereft of economic leadership, the Reserve Bank now fills that vacuum, its aggressive QE strategy over-done, igniting a housing market with dire social consequences. Excessive credit creation does not end well. Sixty-five governing Labour MPs, many eager newcomers, will no doubt bring a zeal for increased state spending. Instead, greater productivity and wealth creation must be a priority.
Politicians lack map
Inflation is supposed to measure the rate of price increases. The Government boasts an inflation rate of 2 per cent and yet house prices in New Zealand since 2016 have risen 72 per cent. It is often said if you lined up all the economists in a straight line and asked them the way you want to go they would all point in different directions. Surely the same could now be said of politicians.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
A taxing question
I am always amazed when people advocate increasing or introducing a new tax to control house prices or any prices for that matter.
Just in case it has escaped Dominick Stephens (NZ Herald, January 2), or anyone else for that matter, any new or increased tax always causes an increase in costs — either as an increase in costs to your business, or a decrease in the amount you earn after tax when you sell something.
And any such increase in costs is always passed onto consumers in the way of increased, not decreased, prices in what people purchase.
One has to only look at the UK for proof of this. Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty has not controlled or forced prices down in that country. Quite the opposite, in fact. Prices of goods, including house prices, have steadily increased in the UK. And increased tax is one of the major factors in the increases in housing costs.
I note the UK Chancellor has, until April 1 this year, cancelled the duty on house sales. His stated intention is to decrease the cost of housing. This is of course completely the opposite of what Stephens is advocating.
Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
Home seekers gain nothing
Now that the election is over, those people that voted for a chance to get on the property ladder are no better off. Inflation has just pushed that dream further away. That's open market supply and demand.
What's stopping you is your Government, both national and local. They plan how you will build, what you can build with and where you can build. They employ a lot of highly paid civil servants that, when presented with an alternative, say no. So, unless the Minister of Housing, and whoever controls MBIE start leaning on their servants to come up with alternative solutions — you are not going to get on the ladder.
B. Simpson, Auckland.
It is a shame that the Tūpuna Maunga authority is not only removing significant trees but closed vehicle access to various hills in Auckland, which Auckland councils over the years saw no need to close. With regard to One Tree Hill, not only did it close off vehicle access to the summit but has now closed the road around the base of the hill, closing off an access through to Cornwall Park.
I am sure many people, particularly elderly and disabled, enjoyed a drive through and around One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park and are now deprived of this pleasure for no good reason. It is a disgrace. It seems that when control is given to these agencies they feel the need to take unnecessary actions in an endeavour to justify their expensive existence.
Ken Graham, Greenlane.
New Zealand needs greater urgency in its Covid-19 vaccination programme. Let us see more information from the Government on the extent to which supply logistics and the limited negotiating power of Pharmac are dictating the vaccination timetable, versus simple caution. The sooner most of our people are vaccinated, the sooner we can see more normal business, tourism and international student movements across our border.
Can the Government explain in detail what would prevent a much wider roll-out of vaccinations in the first and second quarter of 2021? If a faster response is possible, most of the team of five million will be queuing for their jab.
John Raine, Devonport.
Riot force justified
Alan Ringwood (NZ Herald, January 2) suggests a police officer kicking a youth in the back was unlawful, and not the sort of policing we want. Nonsense.
The events in Whangamatā were a riot, as defined under section 87 of the Crimes Act 1961. Under section 44 of the Act, police officers may use such force as they believe is necessary to suppress the riot, so long as it is proportionate to the danger posed by the riot.
Ringwood's comparison of a riot to a peaceful protest is false. It is impractical for a relatively small number of police to suppress a riot by threatening to arrest the participants. It takes force.
The type of policing seen in Whangamatā that night was of course not what we want routinely to see. It was necessary in the circumstances, however, and I applaud it.
Patrick Baker, St Heliers.
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