E-scooters here to stay
Auckland Council and Auckland Transport's decision to increase the number of rental e-scooters available to Aucklanders is based on more than just waiting for central Government action (NZ Herald,
January 16), although we do look forward to an update on NZTA's Accessible Streets policy.
When deciding on the 3200 maximum cap across the region, we took an evidence-based decision which included international research, the transport direction Aucklanders have told us they want for the city in the Auckland Plan, and types of journeys that people take on scooters.
In particular, the increase in numbers supports the viability of rental e-scooters as a commuting option for first and last legs of a transport journey. The bump in numbers consequently benefits those living in fringe and outer suburbs the most.
At the end of the day, we do agree with the sentiment raised in the editorial and acknowledge that safety concerns around e-scooters are valid and should be taken seriously. Incorporating new, novel technology into a city is always going to be a learning process.
We will continue to refine and improve our e-scooter licences as new data and information becomes available - including that from central government.
In the meantime, micro-mobility is here to stay and we are getting on with incorporating this new mode into our transport equation.
Shane Ellison, chief executive, Auckland Transport.
• The e-scooter newcomers set to hit Auckland streets
• Battle of the e-scooters: Beam, Jump, Neuron and Flamingo take to Auckland's streets
• Auckland Council reveals e-scooter curfew areas
• Despite injuries, e-scooters here to stay in Auckland - with new conditions
Your editorial concerning the flood of e-scooters being rolled out in Auckland rightly highlights the lack of a comprehensive approach to footpath safety in the city.
Footpaths should be the safest place for transport for people of all ages and abilities. Now they are being invaded by scooters and bicycles capable of speeds which can lead to very serious injuries (and occasional deaths) to both pedestrians and riders. The safety requirements on rideshare rental operators focus on safety for riders and are not backed up by enforcement on individual offenders and do not apply to privately owned bicycles or scooters.
All electric scooters are banned from footpaths in Japan, France, Singapore and Jakarta. There are also restrictions on their use in Beijing, Shanghai, United States and Britain. Registration of bicycles and scooters, which is a protection against theft and helps locate hired vehicles, is widespread.
The government is overdue in setting proper rules including speed limits for all vehicles using footpaths and ACC levies.
David Holm, Mt Roskill.
The false alarm at Waihi Beach needs to be investigated, in Whitianga they managed to have several tsunami alerts several years ago, now no one will take notice.
Civil defence is a serious matter and the ninnies responsible for these debacles need to find more appropriate employment. This is a serious job for serious people.
The story of the boy who cried "wolf!" needs to be remembered.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel.
The New Zealand media has not reported a great deal about the recent re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan. The relationship between Taiwan and China is a major point of international tension. Taiwan is a major trading partner and source of tourists for New Zealand.
Many New Zealanders have a Taiwanese heritage. The election and its implications deserve coverage and discussion here.
China insists that Taiwan is part of China and advises other countries not to "interfere". New Zealand may well acknowledge this as Chinese policy. However, that does not mean that we necessarily accept the claim that Taiwan is a "renegade province".
An analysis of historical developments since 1895, when Taiwan was ceded to Japan, may lead to a range of different conclusions. We might also wish to affirm its movement from a dictatorship to a democracy over the last 30 years.
We can agree not to interfere in the relationship between Taiwan and China, which is for those two "political entities" to sort out.
We can, however, insist that neither side uses military force to get its way. The peace and security of the North East Asian region is not an "internal matter". China is not so big that we can't insist on this.
Stuart Vogel, Mt Eden.
How very heartwarming was the article on the father of the late Hayden Marshall-Inman (NZ Herald, January 16) and his pride at the catch of his first game fish.
My sincere admiration for his humility and acceptance of the loss of his loved and brave son Hayden in the White Island tragedy. No bitterness or resentment at his family's sad loss but a true belief that Hayden is at peace and could have even given his dad a hand with his catch.
Love to your family's memories and have pride and peace in your admirable acceptance of a cruel accident.
J E Preston, Ellerslie.
I agree that student loans should be repaid and the NZ formula for that is fair.
What is not fair is that Kiwis who go for an overseas experience should be made to pay interest on their loans and thus be treated differently than other students. Most Kiwis on OE are not earning a lot of money but are out there for the experience which is highly valuable both for them individually and for New Zealand.
There are several reasons why it is valuable for New Zealand, one being that the majority come back to live here after having gained valuable insights and experience and another is that the world and commerce is increasingly global and a loyal diaspora has helped many a nation around the world.
Creating disincentives for OE is thus contrary, not only to fairness and equal treatment of individuals concerned, but to the interest of New Zealand.
Frank Olsson, Freeman's Bay.
Most student loan defaulters are avoiding the exorbitant compounding interest charged in the 1990s. It was a very different, and unethical, scheme to the interest-free loans of today.
David Seymour is fully aware of this and pandering to his electorate when he refers to exiles as "ripping off a very generous scheme".
R France, Cheltenham.
It is incomprehensible for Auckland Council to take at least three years (NZ Herald, January 17) to make a decision on earthquake strengthening the Leys Institute building in Ponsonby.
I assume funding the work is a major concern and strengthening this heritage listed building will be difficult. But it has to be done to ensure this much loved building, which provides facilities which are well used by people of all ages, is fit for use.
To look after our few heritage listed buildings should be a key council responsibility.
If the problem is funding then surely the council should reconsider its support for the proposed park at 254 Ponsonby Rd. This commercial building was purchased by the council about 18 years ago and selling the site now, plus saving the proposed development costs of $4m to 4.5m, should provide funds of approximately $15m which surely should provide a substantial proportion of the required funds for the strengthening of the Leys Institute building.
Council officers should be tasked with identifying a suitable firm of engineers to scope the required works and provide a cost estimate so that a responsible decision for the future of Leys Institute can be made as soon as possible.
Warwick Lee, Freemans Bay.
Your cartoonist Guy Body took a giant swing and miss with his depiction of the taxpayer lying in bed clinging to a sack of cash (NZ Herald, January 20). A far more pertinent cartoon would have shown the taxpayer with his pockets turned out and various moths named, GST, Regional fuel tax, petrol tax, Income tax, road tax, ACC levy, rates and high cost of living flying out of the pockets.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
If we are to have a super city we will need super management and that isn't happening yet.
We are supposed to get streets cleaned regularly but that doesn't happen. Every time the heavy rains come, there are blocked drains all over the city. We are supposed to have street weeds sprayed regularly, but again that doesn't happen.
Privet trees are now in full bloom around the city, on council land, private land and some
on railway-owned land. They are easy to see for most of us but the council bio-security team has great trouble finding them. We citizens are supposed to notify council bio-security of privet and they are supposed to take care of them. They don't, and the same outcrops in the same locations flower freely year in and year out.
Property owners have responsibilities too.
Critically absent in our city is a "property maintenance code". Other major cities around the world require property owners to meet a property maintenance code and non compliance can result in expensive penalties.
A community preservation department promotes and maintains standards to preserve and enhance the quality of life and public safety.
We are talking here about grass verge maintenance, trees obstructing footpaths, graffiti removal, abandoned shopping carts, illegal parking and so on.
Auckland Council, get with it and smarten up if you are serious about wanting us to live in a super city.
Graham Astley, Epsom.
It's all very well for David Attenborough to throw stones from his glasshouse at the Australian Government for their continuing support for mining coal.
However, no one will mine coal if there is no one (steel manufacturer) who wants to buy it, and no one will buy coal if there are no consumers to buy the steel manufacturers' products — such as Attenborough and the rest of us.
Bernard Jennings, Wellington.
Editor's note: This letter has been corrected after earlier referring to Richard Attenborough, the error is regretted.
Short & sweet
The only way to make houses more affordable is to make more land available by enacting major changes to the RMA and reducing the power of NIMBYs. Eventually a political party has to have the courage to grasp that nettle. Nick Hamilton, Newmarket.
One would suspect the government has shares in orange cone production. They must do very well then. D Hoekstra, Papakura.
Ex-students are probably earning good money and need to understand the concept of the word "loan". Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
A student loan is like a business loan. It sets you up. Many businesses aren't out of the red until after trading for five years - what's the difference? Véronique Cornille, Devonport.
If the Warriors go in with the same team as last year what's the point? Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
The Duke of Windsor: Act 2. Graham White, Papatoetoe.
They are two human beings who enjoy each others company and obviously love their child to bits. That's all that matters. Wouldn't you step away from the one thing that would cause untold hurt and harm to your family? Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Can I suggest to appease all parties, Burger Fuel rename the burger "Hawkey Dawkey" and hopefully everyone will be happy. Ross Noble, Wellington.