Letter of the week: Greg Cave, Sunnyvale
There are two autocracies which have recently been in the news.
One has invaded a much smaller neighbouring country, claiming that this country posed some sort of threat.
The other has shut itself off from the world and taken no precautions for a pandemic, while at the same time developing missiles and probably atomic bombs.
Neither of these countries is threatened militarily. The leaders of both live lavish lifestyles while largely ignoring the well-being of their people.
There are threats to both of these leaders of course, but they are threats to the mind. Neither can afford to let their people know that life is so much better in a Western liberal democracy.
Hence they conjure up external threats to keep their people under control.
A wealthy society
Sir Roger Douglas (Weekend Herald, May 14) urges us to accept that past policies - including free-market libertarianism, intensifying socioeconomic polarisation into haves and have-nots - have failed.
He draws attention to grim prospects for our children under widening welfare and superannuation commitments, especially if financed by more borrowing and/or inflation.
He points out the need for policies that genuinely empower all New Zealanders to achieve at least homeownership potential but does not directly specify the policy or principle for achieving it.
Fortunately, with the NZ Super Fund and KiwiSaver creating more national and widening personal wealth ownership, we already have the beginnings of government "of the people, by the people and for the people", when, through the taxation system at least, a minimally meaningful level of wealth (i.e. economic power) ownership is achieved by all.
More money into the Super Fund, universal (compulsory) KiwiSaver, and public debt reduction will create a sustainably more prosperous future for all of us and our descendants, towards a 100 per cent ownership society.
Jens Meder, Pt Chevalier.
John Roughan (Weekend Herald, May 14) lays out the merits of the proposed congestion charging, with regard to freeing up the city for essential commercial traffic – a good outcome. But he doesn't believe that it is an effective way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite access to free public transport, with his Super Gold Card, he prefers to drive into the CBD for "convenience".
This is dinosaur thinking and we will go the way of the dinosaurs if we don't get our emissions under control. Reducing our transport emissions is paramount if NZ is to meet our international commitments on climate change.
I suggest he tries the bus to the CBD – it's way less stressful than driving and there are no parking fees. A win for the environment and a win for the pocket.
Helen Geary, St Mary's Bay.
A recent letter (Weekend Herald, May 14) highlighted the plight of Cornwall Park house-owner lessees.
Land values have risen so much that, despite owning their homes, they have to pay $1000 or more weekly in ground rent – impossible for some. And soul-destroying.
So they are progressively walking off, abandoning their homes. That's business, but it's cruel. Isn't there a better way?
Why don't the trustees allow the lessees to freehold the land at market rates; and the trustees can then invest the proceeds elsewhere?
The present situation may be defended but it looks incredibly heartless.
Laurie Guy, Wai O Taiki Bay.
Your editorial (Weekend Herald, May 14) is correct when it says that the only thing that stands between Auckland's heritage and the wrecking ball is the Environment Minister David Parker.
However, at this stage, Auckland councillors are not completely cut out from the process. They can decide to make the heritage and character areas that were included in the Unitary Plan only a few years ago a "qualifying matter", which will at least mean the wreckers can't start swinging their ball immediately in August when the council formally notifies the proposed changes to the plan which the Government is compelling it to make.
Now is the time for our councillors to stand up for Auckland by at least doing that.
And where are our mayoral candidates on this issue? They have all been strangely silent so far.
John Burns, Mt Eden.
Home to roost
There will always be people, Diana Wichtel, (Canvas, May 14), who target others on account of their race or gender or colour or whatever they perceive to be worth "having a go" at.
These people are like the chickens that gang up on one bird and attack it.
When I arrived in New Zealand from the UK in the 1960s, it was "Poms" who were the target and it was common to see T-shirts with "Punch a Pom a day" or "Go home Pommie bastards". Poms just had to smile and take it on the chin or they were "whingeing Poms". The chickens still exist though such cackling and pecking are less often openly expressed.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
Great read on Jacqueline Paul (Weekend Herald, May 14). I really like her dad's attitude to following your purpose. It also demonstrates how easy it is for parents to inspire their children to become more than their environment.
We need great brains, regardless of age, sex or race.
I'm really excited for her return to NZ after her studies and seeing the changes she will bring.
Randel Case, Bucklands Beach.
A quick word
New Zealand trains nurses for Australia, the Philippines trains nurses for New Zealand. There is something very wrong with this model. C. C. McDowall, Rotorua.
Jacinda Ardern's detractors should heed George Bernard Shaw: "People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it." Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Labour gave the wage subsidy, which everyone pocketed, irrespective of financial circumstances or political views. There were no complaints then. Nishi Fahmy, Avondale.
Once again recent major football contests have been decided by the ridiculous expedient of penalty shootouts. Surely it's time to increase the size of the goals. Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Our PM has been extremely unlucky with Covid. She missed her wedding and now the Budget. Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell.
I want to see a comparison of National and Labour emission reduction plans— and a climate scientist's best guess of the likely impacts of each. I need to know if I have to move to higher ground or put in a bigger water tank. Ian Swney, Morrinsville.
Whilst this "brain drain" will of course be extremely damaging to New Zealand, it will at the same time give our Government a huge fillip, as they prepare for the General Election next year. Philip Lenton, Somerville.
I am now saddened to realise that we seem to have become a nation of entitled moaners. Not a recipe for happiness. Bev Hicks, Warkworth.
What never ceases to amaze me about the US, even after Buffalo, is that they could not join the dots up. The problem is a mentally ill person was able to get his hands on an assault weapon and purchase ammunition for it. David Brown, Waiuku.
I agree with John Harwood (WH, May 14). It is unnecessary for four new stations to have Māori names, one of them almost unpronounceable. This is clearly the work of some politically-correct nitwit at AT trying to make a name for themself. Neil Groves, Glen Innes.
Sofia Taueki-Jackson - another name on The Wall Of Shame. B. Watkin, Devonport.
Mainstream media is subject to libel laws. I buy and support our newspapers and watch television news. On the contrary, much social media is hateful, dangerous disinformation and misinformation. Jonathan Spink, Pāpāmoa.
At the rate DWTS contestants are dropping out due to Covid, and eliminated contestants are replacing them, the Lotto lady's number should be coming up very soon. Graham Fleetwood, Botany Downs.
The supermarkets and fuel companies would like to thank Santa Robertson for two million instalments of $350 straight to their bottom line. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
"Taranaki man pummelled with pies and beaten with a hockey stick over unpaid $50 wage." If they had really wanted to harm him, they would have forced him to eat the pies. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.