Issues lost in the fray
The election campaign has been a disaster. Labour's theme is: "We beat Covid-19, vote for us." National's is: "There's a problem, we'll solve it by throwing money at it."
There has been no serious discussion of building New Zealand's resilience to global warming, child poverty, the appropriate level of immigration, the level of unemployment and the demand for labour, which farmers feel will have to be filled by immigrants.
The only parties with any original ideas have been Act and the Greens.
There are only nine days to go before election day. Many voters are already committed – time is short if the two major parties are going to be serious about addressing the underlying issues in our country.
Nick Hamilton, Remuera.
Your lead article (NZ Herald, October 7) begs an insightful response.
I am not a teacher. I am an electronics engineer, tutoring maths and physics to middle and high school students for about 15 years.
Principal Claire Amos states: "The danger of prescribing a powerful knowledge curriculum is about whose knowledge. This is really a colonial tool of putting old Western knowledge ahead of indigenous communities."
It's also reported students' science knowledge has plummeted to a loss of about three quarters of the academic year and maths to a loss of about a year and a half. I have seen this massive loss - it is widespread.
School-level science and maths are globally accepted to be irrefutable facts regardless of indigenous or colonial history.
The facts around trigonometry, chemical bonds, and vectors are irrefutable, regardless of the colour of the student's skin.
The fundamental problem with the education system is the stubborn, arrogant approach of rote learning. Students of all demographics become regurgitating puppets, not intelligent freethinkers that STEM industries need.
Teachers also encourage the use of calculators resulting in students being unable to do even the most basic arithmetic in their heads.
Brian Cox, Pakuranga.
It seems unbelievable that three people on a yacht that had been at sea for 14 days and tested negative for Covid-19 were deported and their boat confiscated.
They had done everything required of them in order to enter New Zealand. They were not seeking accommodation or help from the Government and had done nothing wrong. Ironically, we are still allowing untested people into the country who then test positive in isolation and possibly require hospital care, an additional burden on the country.
Where is the fairness and the kindness New Zealand?
Pauline Paget, Campbells Bay.
Sara McNaught's comment on night classes (NZ Herald, October 6) deserves further publicity.
I also was aghast when John Key inexplicably cut funding to community classes. Almost immediately we could see a downward slide of social contact, communal activity and neighbourliness.
In my case, I and my two teenage sons had decided to pursue an interest in science and mechanics, so found across town an engineering evening class. Thus, most Wednesday nights, we drove over to Tamaki College where we learned welding and metalworking. After much effort, we completed a 1.8m working model of a Van de Graaff electrostatic generator. It produced a reasonable spark on dry days but Auckland's climate is not ideal.
Anyway, we have donated it to our grammar school's engineering department, where we hope it may encourage the next generation of budding tyros.
Also with a fervent hope that such useful classes may someday resume.
E. W. Doe, Epsom.
Years ago, as a New Zealand Young Farmers' exchangee for four months in South Australia, I was billeted with a family whose homestead had been destroyed by fire twice in one generation. Phoning back to friends there during Australia's huge bush fires earlier this year, they had great compassion for those who had lost lives and homes. But they had little sympathy for the stupidity of the authorities and conservation "experts" who had seemingly little knowledge of history or nature.
It was a disaster waiting to happen. Thousands of "lifestylers" moved into the "bush", rains came, vegetation flourished, it turned dry as it frequently does in dry regions, a spark came and the whole region went up in smoke.
The old farmers would have known to clear the vegetation; the Aborigines knew excess vegetation had to be burned off at the right time.
Many of our high country farmers are thought of as wealthy, land-grabbing individuals. For the most part, this is far from the truth.
This land has to be farmed carefully. It can be hard and dirty work, often with little or no reward.
Brian Matheson, Hūnua.
Kathy Gilroy (NZ Herald, October 6) is disappointed by the lack of public meetings in her Tāmaki electorate and she is not the only one.
Imagine how frustrating it must be for her MP, Simon O'Connor, who appears to enjoy social interaction in his electorate.
Many public events have had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
I understand that he is actively communicating with his constituents on Facebook and by email. There will be many MPs dealing with the same problem.
H. Robertson, St Heliers.
On the fly
Claire Trevett in her piece on Judith Collins' Leaders Breakfast performance (NZ Herald, October 6) says that Collins' list of bugbears about Auckland Council amounts to good election campaign policy.
We have since learned that her own Auckland MP and spokesperson, Denise Lee, may not agree. For good reason. Not only because Lee was clearly blindsided by her leader's pronouncements on Auckland Council but she, along with many thousands of Auckland ratepayers, was probably gobsmacked by the irony of Collins saying "bigger is not necessarily better". Seriously.
It sounds like Judith Collins is now saying that National's reorganisation of the Auckland region in 2010 - at huge cost, angst and disruption - was an experiment that may not have worked.
David Sanders, Torbay.
The UK constructed 1.2 million new houses from 1945 to 1951. That's six years, or 200,000 a year. Of those only 156,623 were prefab. My family moved into one of these new houses in 1948, and it was fabulous. That house is still there today, fetching about £400,000 (NZ$800,000).
If Britain can achieve this in the aftermath of a crippling war, with a shattered economy and much of the youthful workforce buried in the war cemeteries of Europe, why can't we? Is it the old story of a lack of will? Where there's a will there's a way.
Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
John Christiansen of Mt Albert's suggestions (NZ Herald, October 5) for a cross-harbor solution are eminently sensible: bus and emergency service tunnel from Devonport to Mechanics Bay; bus, emergency service, pedestrian and cycle bridge from Meola Rd to Birkenhead.
Put an end to the snarl-ups. Leave the bridge to the cars.
It's obvious when you think about it. Unless - and this is possible - we are addicted to spending time in queues in our cars.
Penelope Hansen, Remuera.
The American people will be heartened to hear that the President now "gets it" about Covid.
Presumably, he means that future sufferers of the virus will all get remdesivir, an experimental treatment drug, and a full team of medics.
Plus a motorcade to wave from.
David Cooke, Pt Chevalier.
Short & sweet
If you would relish the "smack" of good, firm authority in a country ruled, not governed, mind you, but ruled, by smirking malice, then the election campaign indicates where your gratification, and possibly more, would certainly lie. Dr M. S. Jones, Hamilton.
Will all the political parties participating in the coming elections please provide proof before the elections that they can be trusted. P. Richard Parsons, Pukete.
After 60 years of voting the only constant I have observed is: the bigger the promise the bigger the lie. Ron Gibson, Tūākau.
If Trump "gets" Covid now and Collins "gets" Christianity, how do we get a fully funded ambulance service? Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
The setting up of function-based CCOs for Auckland was logical. Having non-elected, but appointed and unaccountable boards directing how these CCOs spend other people's money was and still is, mind-bogglingly illogical. Neal McCarthy, Auckland Central.
"God will forgive them for they know not what they do." If only the rest of us could be so lucky. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
It is ironic that Judith Collins is complaining about the Super City when her party helped Rodney Hide and Act to bring it in without the people of Auckland getting any say in the matter. John Laing, Drury
Trump's upbeat mood could be a product of his medication. The steroids can disrupt sleep and, in some cases, lead to feelings of grandiosity and mania. How on earth will they know? J. Cameron, Ponsonby.
Question. How long has Trump been on steroids? Steve Horne, Raglan.