Give dogs the space they need
The statistics on dog bites make sad reading, given the victims are often children.
A lot of this could be prevented with more education, more diligence and a bit of commonsense.
Dogs have been invaluable partners to humankind. I doubt New Zealand would be in agriculture if it wasn't for the working dog. How would one muster the stock in big country?
But dogs are pack animals who need a trustworthy leader, otherwise they feel about as disillusioned as we do with an incompetent government.
They need their personal space respected. How would you feel if a stranger patted you on the head in a cafe?
And society is better off without violent individuals, that goes for man and dog.
Children who have learned how to behave around animals are a lot safer, the same as with education about traffic, water safety and stranger danger.
As long as we don't give dogs the respect they deserve, we will keep getting bitten. They are not fluffy toys and they have been trying to tell us that for a very long time.
Rita Shaw, Kiritehere, Te Kūiti.
Your correspondent, Tim Watkin, says the Government is running out of time to be "transformational".
This is a nonsense statement. The coalition Government is barely 18 months old, and in that time has started to undo the immense damage caused to this country and its people by the previous National Government.
It has stopped selling state housing, it is building new homes and renovating current state housing where it can, it has brought in much lower medical fees for people on a Community Services Card, and children, it is spending millions on fixing the mouldy old buildings which are our public hospitals, and ditto to bring on more teachers in the educational profession.
The Government's policies are creating more jobs to the extent there is now a low unemployment rate and it is bringing in specific training schemes for those young unemployed people who find it difficult to get work.
Right now, it is starting on welfare reform with the removal of sanctions from beneficiaries and more staff to deal with beneficiaries' needs more quickly.
Meanwhile, foreign ownership of New Zealand homes has eased right back, and the five-year bright-line test is helping to improve the housing market for first-time buyers.
I could go on. But what I want to say to Tim Watkin is that "transformational" doesn't happen all at once. That would be impossible. Just as it is impossible for an 18-month old Government to undo nine years of sheer destruction of our social fabric caused by John Key's Government.
Jenny Kirk, Whāngārei.
The old Government House lawn and surrounds have been a secluded jewel in central Auckland for many decades. It has been lovingly cared for and has prominent signs forbidding ball games, presumably to protect both the lawn and the opportunity for quiet reflection and enjoyment.
Regrettably, the supposed guardians of this historical treasure, Auckland University, have once again erected a temporary pavilion covering the full lawn. When it is removed, the lawn will again have been damaged and downgraded. Hopefully they don't have plans for more permanent use of the area, but maybe they do and are easing their way in.
Whatever, it is very disappointing that the university is showing such callous disregard for this precious historical, cultural and environmental asset that many Auckland citizens treasure.
Ken Allen, Auckland Central.
Your correspondent, Ross Harvey, suggests Ports of Auckland Ltd be relocated to Te Atatū. The many studies on possible port locations have failed to come up with a viable alternative to North Port, and for good reason.
North Port ticks all the boxes. In particular, it is a natural deepwater port with ample low-cost land. The cost of a link to the main rail line and upgrades has been estimated to be very much less than that of building a new port and, in the event of a catastrophic event to the south, a northern supply chain would provide increased security.
Unfortunately, until there is a revision of the outdated Port Companies Act, nothing will change. The description of Ports of Auckland as a Council Controlled Organisation is disingenuous. Under the Ports Act, our democratically elected council is denied any powers of control.
It is obvious that much of the waterfront land occupied by the port could be put to better use, but until there is a law change, ratepayers as owners will continue to suffer an inferior dividend with higher annual rates as a consequence.
Neal McCarthy, Auckland Central.
This targeting of airline travel because of climate change is quite right. But we mustn't overlook the elephant in the room — motor vehicles. The amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the Earth's atmosphere by aircraft is relatively small compared to that by internal combustion motor vehicles, because of sheer scale.
There are 39,000 aircraft in the world and a whopping 1.2 billion motor vehicles. There are nearly 4 million motor vehicles in New Zealand and only a few hundred aircraft. New Zealand's biggest airline has only 65 planes. If a plane produces 53 pounds of CO2 per mile and a car about one pound per mile, it still makes car emissions higher per person per mile. This is because of the number of people each can move. A full car driving from Auckland to Wellington pumps out more CO2 per head than a planeload of passengers making the one-hour flight.
While a plane's greenhouse gas emissions have more impact at a higher altitude, sheer numbers mean vehicles worldwide pump hugely more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than planes overall. So by all means don't take unnecessary flights. But what about not taking convenience car rides either? Especially when you can walk or take public transport. How about car-free days. That would make a difference.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland Central.
The "do as we like" culture at Auckland Transport has been there for years. It's just in recent times it's grown exponentially. They need to understand that taxpayers are their customers, not the other way round. Will the culture adjust with the recent backlash? I think not. The only way is a clearout at the top.
R. L. Bicker, Gulf Harbour.
Staring down walker
I delight in any art, big or small, that is displayed around New Zealand and I appreciate the economic and historic value they offer our country. They live long into the future, gaining recognition and a certain wonder, especially when well constructed.
What I can't help thinking, though, is why Ronnie van Hout's Boy Walking represents all young people? Would it not have been more of a comment to have made it Girl Walking, offering young women, perhaps, a confidence to be independent, strong and powerful?
It seems a small matter, even picky, but no matter how well young women do at school, they hold a less significant role in business and are paid less.
Also, as a woman in this country you have a much greater chance of being abused, physically and mentally, and are constantly reminded of your personal safety wherever you go. To a lesser extent men are, too, but the numbers are so much higher for women.
I think a great opportunity for our young women has been lost. A young man's path "walking optimistically into the future" is a bit hard to take, even if meant to represent all young people.
Next time, what about another young girl, hands on hips, staring down the bull?
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
The Boy Walking sculpture looks impressive and will attract much interest once installed. Hopefully, Auckland Council has a plan for protecting it from vandalism. In the past week, some idiot has again damaged the sundial outside Remuera Library, in a very public area.
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
I guess the person who wrote the Herald's editorial in praise of Auckland Council spending $550,000 on the Boy Walking sculpture in Potters Park was not someone stung with a 70 per cent rates rise last year. If the sculpture was clothed in a Ronald McDonald clown outfit it could have been sponsored for free and arguably have as much merit.
Coralie van Camp, Remuera.
Mike Lee is right. Water fountains are crucial for public health and must be kept in well-maintained and hygenic condition. The quality of street cleaning and footpath maintenance has also declined since the establishment of the Super City. It is time for a review.
The new systems and contracting may be cheaper but they are not delivering the quality or frequency of service. If not sorted they will be the issues that will dominate at a local level in the local-body election. Electors will vote for candidates who will find durable solutions including funding. Enough is enough.
Gerry Hill, Ponsonby.