In announcing her plans (NZ Herald, July 9) to impose fees on petrol cars and give discounts on electric vehicles, Julie Anne Genter displays both the mendacity and the lack of
plain common sense that have characterised this government. There are plenty of honest reasons to promote electric vehicles without being misleading about the benefits of the rebates scheme. She makes it clear that the scheme will apply only to the purchase of newly registered vehicles yet she then attempts to suggest that the benefits apply throughout the life of the vehicle. She is conflating the rebate with the projected savings on fuel. In shaping the fees on petrol cars she wants to introduce a scheme that will be complex, difficult to assess by prospective buyers and require a whole new layer of otherwise unnecessary bureaucracy. Surely she should have a simple fee structure based on the cc capacity of the vehicle's engine. That will be simple – no need for assessment by anybody as the manufacturer will already have stated the capacity of the engine. Everyone will know with certainty what the fee will be and there will be no need for expensive added bureaucracy.
Peter Newfield, Takapuna.
There are many problems with electric cars, including the expensive paraphernalia they require and, a major problem - battery disposal. Investment bank Morgan Stanley in June said it forecast no recycling of lithium at all over the decade ahead, and that there risked being insufficient recycling infrastructure in place when the current wave of batteries die. Imagine piles of useless batteries in our landfill.
The answer is not to subsidise cars (NZ Herald, July 9) but to subsidise public transport by reducing fares by at least 50 per cent. NZ has the third most expensive public transport in the world. No wonder it's not widely used. Drop fares and people will leave their cars. Surely that's the ultimate goal – to get rid of cars as much as possible, thus reducing both emissions and congestion. We already have buses travelling around at regular intervals, mostly empty other than at peak times so a trial of reduced prices would not be costly. The recent "free day" was very successful. Try a "free month" and see what happens. Then the whole question of electric vehicles would become irrelevant.
Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
The letter from A Sherwood in Huntly (NZ Herald, July 9) made me cry. I too am a widow but living in a retirement complex where each day there is either a phone call or a visit from one of the management to make sure all is well. I wish I lived in Huntly and could brighten up this person's day with a visit every so often.
Margaret Wyatt, Tauranga.
Like A Sherwood (NZ Herald, July 9) I am aware that people live very busy lives.
I posted to eight people a hand written letter to accompany several photographs. These were treasured family photographs of their close relatives who have died. The photographs would serve as a valued part of each families archive.
Two months later I received one reply, a hand written letter of acknowledgement and thanks from the wife of one of the people who had received the photographs.
The remaining seven recipients did not send any acknowledgement.
Much later I was told by one of the recipients: "They all got the photographs.
People today live busy lives. Mothers often work. Today people don't write and offer thanks for wedding gifts."
Too busy to write a five-minute letter. Have other readers found such a lack of respect and courtesy?
Warren Johns, Remuera.
I can assure Derek Smith (NZ Herald, July 9) that the Classical Latin pronunciation of "data" is "dahta". Not "dayta". Therefore singular is "dahtum". I have many years of Latin under my belt. I would, however, say that I think custom dictates with these matters. The broadcasters are strictly correct, but language changes and, if the crowds say "dayta" then that is what it will be.
Vicky Miller, Ohaupo.
I recall a strict teacher who would inform us in no uncertain terms when we were "murdering the English language". I'm sure he would not be impressed with hearing about
"samwiches" or "congradulating" those who still cannot get that old chestnut - "women" down pat.
However, recently I noticed with a bit of a laugh that confusing similar words can be tricky when a television newsreader called the Right To Life Choice Bill a "conscious", rather than a "conscience", vote.
Colleen Wrigh, Botany Downs
Mike Binis (NZ Herald, July 9) lamented the stupidity of New Zealanders for not understanding his view that kerbs are there solely for the purpose of stopping vehicles from driving over them. Unfortunately Mike is quite wrong. The primary purpose of kerbs is to pick up road water and direct it to a stormwater catchpit or other stormwater device. It's why our roads are not flat. If we don't need to collect stormwater into catchpits then there is usually not a kerb installed. That's why in most of rural New Zealand where we don't collect water into catchpits there are no kerbs. Instead it falls into ditches. The kerb height is dictated by how much stormwater is expected so in some parts of the country kerbs are higher due to higher average rainfall. I know this from designing roads for 30 years. Kerbs are not there to keep you on the road.
Russell Parkinson, design engineer.
Those protesting about berm parking (NZ Herald, July 10) should look beyond their front gate. The accelerated expansion of Auckland's population and, consequently, car drivers has led to the current premium on parking spaces. The council is struggling to keep up with population growth, and there's little point in making Phil Goff the fall guy. What's worse than parking on verges now is the common sight of cars and delivery trucks parked on public footpaths.
Ellie Carruthers, Eden Terrace.
I read (NZ Herald, July 3) last week where the dams in the Waitakere were only 60 per cent full. We live just below the dams and reported a leak to Watercare a few months ago. Watercare did send someone out to look and we were told as there was no chloride in the water, it was not their problem. We knew the new leak was over a pipe Watercare had recently repaired. They told us we had a new spring and we had to call a drain layer. We knew it was on the road berm and a drain layer was not going to fix the problem. After the third phone call, they told us to phone the Auckland Council as it was their problem. The council told us it would be 45 working days before they could send someone out to look and another 45 working days before they could send out a contractor to fix the problem. If it takes six months to fix a leak in a Watercare main no wonder we have empty dams.
Barry Birchall, Oratia.
The Waitangi Tribunal recently concluded the poor health outcomes of Māori versus Europeans is a manifestation of inadequate Māori-health related spending and the need for a Māori primary health authority (NZ Herald, July 5). However, it is doubtful if these two initiatives will appreciably address the problem.
Over the last 50 years, there have been numerous developments in health care, but one of the most important and least heralded is the importance of lifestyle in determining our health. Where approximately 20 per cent of premature deaths are due to bad luck and or bad genes, 80 per cent are lifestyle related, eg. smoking, diet and exercise. Needless to say, lifestyle-related health problems absorb an enormous proportion of the health care budget, but our ability to reverse or even ameliorate the ravages of an unhealthy lifestyle are extremely limited.
For a number of educational, social, economic and cultural reasons different subgroups in New Zealand have markedly different rates of unhealthy lifestyles, and there is also a direct correlation between these rates of unhealthy lifestyle and poor health outcomes. The key to improving health outcomes for Māori is to address their high frequency of unhealthy lifestyle factors and not putting more money into Māori directed primary health care.
Don Guadagni, Auckland.
Yes, we Kane
Have just taken my copy of the NZ Herald (July 9) out of the letterbox and was delighted to see the lovely "art work"' of the Black Caps' captain Kane Williamson on the front page. As a life-long fan of "the beautiful game" I feel very proud of our team, win or lose they are sporting heroes to me.
Rosemary Howell, Meadowbank.
Short & Sweet
A new word that's crept into our language is "unashamably". What happened to "unashamedly"? J Tomas, Kohimarama.
Further to Mr Derek Smith's concern on the pronouncement of "data" we might also consider from whence came the additional "u" in known which, in New Zealandese is now well "knowun". Alan Thomas, Silverdale.
Has anyone noticed the urinary functions of tigers? Our cats will be the happiest animals in the zoo, but - be sure to take your umbrella. Graham Steenson, Whakatāne.
"Make it easy for buses and hard for cars" says P Skipworth (NZ Herald, July 9). Well, AT is hellbent on doing precisely this, and to date has done far more harm than good. John Hampson, Meadowbank.
On Sir Kim
Why should the UK ambassador to Washington be sacked for telling the truth? David Bennett, New Plymouth.
Steve Hansen may not be a psychologist, but he was a policeman so he has probably dealt with violent women. Donna Glasson, Helensville.
The cost of imported motor fuel continues to be New Zealand's biggest overseas expense and our biggest source of pollution. It is wonderful to see any encouragement to reduce demand. Vince West, Milford.
No word yet about penalising owners of imported used commercial vehicles which lay smokescreens like WWII destroyers on convoy duty. Richard Kean, Ngongotaha.