Stop 2023 election spin cycle
Regarding your editorial on 100 days to the election (NZ Herald, July 7) — I can’t say I am looking forward to it. This will be my 20th general election, and over the 60 years there has been a distressing trend for our election campaigns to resemble those of the United States. We no longer have campaign funds, we now have “war chests” ; we no longer have advertising campaigns, we have “attack ads”. The trouble with using war terminology is we subject ourselves to the first truism of war, “the first casualty of war is truth”. This problem is compounded by the use of artificial intelligence (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) in designing these attack ads. Who or what do voters believe? It would be nice if we could have clearly-defined issues, delivered in context, with historical trends and/or mistakes acknowledged. But fat chance of that. For myself, I will vote for the party, or candidate, that I think is deceiving me the least. They will all spin to a degree, but some obviously more than others.
Richard Alspach, Dargaville
Politics not business as usual
I am always surprised at the lack of understanding of politics displayed by Bruce Cotterill in his opinion piece. There is a world of difference between running a business and running a country. Business is simple by comparison. One has a sole focus on the management of what is in front of one. In politics, one has complex problems rising up on a daily basis, often from multiple fronts. You need to manage the expectations of the public, which regularly exceed the resources available. Issues such as earthquakes, floods, disease crash across your best-laid plans on a constant wave. You need to quickly react to assure people and calm the situation. There regularly isn’t a written script to guide you and you will inevitably be judged in retrospect. To be all things to all people is impossible. The constant belittling of the people who serve in government as incompetent is to demean a group of people who spend many more hours in their week than the average business owner working for the public good as they see it at the time. I feel you do a disservice to all politicians.
Brian Dent, Kawerau
Climate the No 1 election issue
All of science is warning us if we don’t take bold and immediate steps to rapidly slash man-made greenhouse gas emissions, then climate change will devastate this planet. Global warming is already happening. The worst-case dystopian scenario is now a reality. So why on Earth is this not the biggest, if not the only issue, of the coming election? Compared to a near future of severe floods, searing droughts, intense storms, and rapid sea level rise, surely hospital waiting times, potholes and bikie gangs are simply meaningless distractions. You don’t quibble about bread-and-butter issues when disaster looms. If we don’t wake up and radically change course on burning fossil fuels, soon we won’t have any quality of life to argue over. There’s no time left to hide in self-serving denial and indifference. Our only hope now is voters under 40, who stand to lose the most from climate change, will make a big statement in October.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland
Nature a salve for savagery
Steve Braunias’ “Auckland’s trees offer silent sanctuary” (Weekend Herald, July 8) was hauntingly beautiful. The juxtaposition of the serenity and beauty of the gardens of Auckland University, with the horrific murder trial at the High Court of Auckland he was reporting on, was incredibly powerful.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth
Stop Aussie banks now
We have a cost-of-living crisis when families are struggling to put food on the table and petrol in their cars. I find it despicable that after posting massive profits that banks are repeatedly increasing mortgage rates. ANZ, New Zealand’s largest bank posted a full year profit of more than $2 billion. BNZ and ASB $1.4b each, and Westpac $1b. Can our Government legislate against this excessive profiteering and exploitation of our hard-working mums and dads? Or do the big four banks’ parent companies in Australia have free rein to do whatever they like?
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay
Greedy rich a puzzle
Why do people with considerable wealth, even vast wealth, want more? They are making large donations (which could instead be tax dollars) to the right-wing parties that favour their interests of business and profit-making. Why isn’t more than enough enough? Think of all those, especially children, who have to make do with so very little, who would benefit from extra support. This have/not gap is highlighted by the millionaires’ retirement village (Weekend Herald, July 8) when thousands are still homeless.
Barbara Darragh, Auckland Central
Methane not an ogre
What planet is Shane Te Pou living on? I suggest he spends some time on a farm to see first hand how regulatory red tape is affecting farmers. He omits to mention the proposed new emissions tax on methane to be implemented soon. This will be crippling to the agriculture sector. I also suggest he and his Labour mates listen to Dr Tom Sheahan, who is an expert on methane emissions. I think they will find methane is not the ogre it is purported to be. I find it hard to accept Labour is a friend of farmers when they have stated they want to get rid of 20 per cent of farms in New Zealand.
Norma Cross, Wanaka
USA must use might for peace
The United States is probably the greatest military and economic power the world has ever known. It is reasonable to assume that no significant international event occurs without America’s awareness and ability to exert influence. Given this, if America desired an end to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it could employ its formidable might to facilitate a diplomatic solution. However, instead of promoting peace, the United States has chosen to provide controversial cluster bombs to Ukraine. You don’t have to be an astute observer to realise the decision to send such weapons can only lead to an escalation, despite claims that Russia has already used them. Maybe now is the time for America to use its leverage to negotiate peace.
James Gregory, Parnell
Foreign doctors welcome
Each country believes that their education system is the best and requires foreign-trained graduate doctors and nurses to sit for exams in order to register these professionals into their systems. Is human medicine so diverse in every country in the world? Don’t we hear stories about doctors treating passengers mid-air? Are their registration and country of training inspected when these emergencies happen? As New Zealand has an acute shortage of doctors, it is time to rethink medical training and drop the ego. After all, every country has a medical workforce and they seem to do a splendid job.
Nishi Fahmy, Avondale
French bombing ‘backyard’
Mururoa Atoll is over 4700 km from Auckland. To put that in perspective, London to Moscow is 2500 km. How Norman Kirk, or any other New Zealander, could see Mururoa as being in our “backyard” boggles my mind. If the French want to set off atomic bombs on their own territory, I say “C’est la vie”.
CC McDowall, Rotorua
Be careful what you wish for
Te Pāti Māori is pushing the message that if you’re Māori then it’s a “no brainer” that you should sign up to the Māori roll for the next election. But if you do the sums, this clearly disenfranchises Māori. With close to 18 per cent of the population but only seven Māori seats, representing 6 per cent of Parliament, to vote for, if all Māori switched to the Māori roll then a Māori vote would only be worth one third of a vote cast on the general roll. Boosting the Māori roll may be good for Te Pati Māori but it’s poor value for Māori as a whole. Be careful what you wish for.
John Denton, Napier
Tell the truth
The general population is not stupid, so why not simply tell the truth rather than use the political method of half-truths and dripfeeding information in order to minimise the effect. The Air Force 757s are long in the tooth and a back-up was used recently, and for the first time it seems. As for being able to fly unusual routes, there is no reason a chartered commercial aircraft could not do that. So if it’s reliability you are after, either stump up the money for new military VIP aircraft or go via a commercial flight. But tell the truth.
Paul Beck, West Harbour
Short & sweet
On James Wallace
I thought mere Earthlings were not supposed to be able to buy justice.
Bruce Tubb, Devonport
So under the umbrella of wealth and philanthropy and well-credentialled characters in support, we have licence to wreck someone else’s life, then get a reduction in sentence.
Joan Scott, Rotorua
On science curriculum
Cathy Buntting says the “curriculum was very high level” but I doubt her students will be putting satellites in orbit like previously students could.
Randel Case, Bucklands Beach
I wonder why Fiona Helleur (Weekend Herald, July 8) thinks 2023′s Barbie movie is any more a sign of the end times than 2009′s G.I. Joe?
Morgan L. Owens, Manurewa
On RAT tests
The millions wasted on expired rapid antigen tests reminds me of the proverb “he who hesitates is lost.”
Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell
On airport queues
Would Auckland Airport queues be easier to join if signage was in an international language?
David Jones, Parnell
On wealth tax
Rod Emmerson suggests a wealth tax to exit Govt’s fiscal hole. Or don’t spend like drunken sailors on shore leave.
Steve Dransfield, Wellington