Hands off Entrust
John Collinge, (NZ Herald, September 2) takes up the cause against the only ray of light long-suffering consumers of electricity have that give a modicum of joy: our annual dividend.
Perhaps it's his turn by rote to send shivers down the spine of beneficiaries of the trust. In 2006, it was ruled by an independent consortium that the present set up was best. But no, the old chestnut is being regurgitated.
Using terms such as, "should the council take over administration it might choose to provide annual dividends". Yeah right.
Also it could use the assets to "prudently borrow" billions to assist with more infrastructure such as cycle lanes and running light rail lines in place of parking for customers of retailers.
But wait, there may be more to worry about. This borrowing will commit ratepayers to years of interest payments via rates.
I know, let's borrow it from China so they can place their last domino in the Pacific?
John Clapham, Beachlands.
My vehicle insurer has rebated approximately 5 per cent of the annual premium due to lower accident rates over a 50-day period during the imposed lockdown.
Has NZTA discounted the annual premium because we have been unable to use our vehicles? Not a chance.
RUC fees have increased, no doubt because they have collected less tax because of lower fuel consumption. A sign for future taxes.
John Upton, Algies Bay.
Sam Morgan is a highly successful entrepreneur and accomplished technologist, but it seems politically naïve.
In his withdrawal of his team from a joint venture development with Government on his concept for a Bluetooth enabled "CovidCard" - whereby every New Zealander would be issued with a neck lanyard - he fails to grasp the political realities of how a populace would embrace this idea as to be effective, and the taxpayer cost estimated at an eye-watering $100 million.
It is assumed, should this initiative be funded, it would be his company who got the contract.
Communications Minister Kris Faafoi was right to tap the brakes on this and Morgan's response would suggest he made the right call.
Nobody disputes we need smart outside the box ideas on battling this pandemic, but how about maximising the assets we already have in play like the contact-tracing Covid App? Why not incentivise users with spot prizes (great commercial sponsorship opportunities here ) with the chance of a really big pay-out to rev up wide public participation especially in hard to target younger age groups? Yes somewhat irreverent considering the circumstances but who said we couldn't have some fun fighting this thing?
Phil O'Relly, Auckland Central.
New Zealand hardly leads the world in fighting Covid-19.
Thailand takes that title with 0.84 deaths (less than one person per million head of population).
The 11 countries that have bettered New Zealand, per million in order of least deaths, are: South Sudan 4.28, Malaysia 3.96, Bahrain 3.48, Togo 3.42, China 3.39, Angola 3.34, Niger,3.07, Congo 3.02, Jordan 1.56, Botswana,1.35and Rwanda 1.2.
New Zealand, when these statistics were taken, was at 4.5.
Thailand's success was plain and simple. Everyone, by law, wore masks.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Sixty years ago our radios received the news of a double Olympic victory: Gold medals won by Peter Snell over 800 metres, and just 37 minutes later, Murray Halberg obliged with a gold in the 5000 metres.
Golden moments on a sunny afternoon in Rome. One of our greatest-ever sporting achievements.
After Halberg collapsed, in sheer relief, Snell quickly joined him, to shake his hand.
Then they both sought out their coach, Arthur Lydiard, and to clasp his hand in the sheer joy of the moment.
Vern Walker, Green Bay.
Is there any accountability for the distribution of public funds by MPs against credible criteria?
There has been even more outcry over James Shaw betraying the Green Party's own principles by allocating $11.7 million to an elite school infrastructure project than there was to Shane Jones allocating $10.5 million for a racecourse in Christchurch. That fell outside the location and social criteria for the Provincial Growth Fund.
Labour MPs signed off both of these projects. My letters to each MP who signed off the PGF racecourse project were ignored, apart from referrals to Shane Jones, whose automatic reply simply invited all-comers to read his bio.
If "democracy" means public participation in matters affecting society, this is not an adequate response to concerned taxpayers when there are so many real, pressing needs for funds. Do MPs consider themselves beyond accountability to the public ?
At least Shaw apologised, but retrospective apologies are not the answer. No MP should consider themselves above advice from the sector concerned, in that case, education. A higher professional standard is expected of civil servants managing public funds. They must justify every cent recommended for project allocation against clearly stated criteria.
Frances Palmer, Titirangi.
"Minister [James] Shaw won't sign this briefing [of infrastructure projects] until the Green School in Taranaki is incorporated," said an email, direct from Shaw's office.
"[Shaw] later released a statement suggesting he was withholding sign-off until he knew more about many projects, including the Green School."
If this is not a bald lie and contradiction what actually is. Shaw's fumbling reply clearly states he wanted to reconsider all applications. That is not what is implied and is a lie.
R Riccola, Lucas Heights.
Watercare has been earnestly repeating its message for Aucklanders to save water, and has published the resulting saving statistics, which have been impressive. Well done Auckland residents.
But where does Watercare publish its performance in fixing leaks? The last report from January 2020 was that 13.4 per cent was being wasted – well above Watercare's own target, which has been exceeded for more than two years.
The silence tells me that no progress is being made - more lethargy from a CCO of over-paid and un-elected sloths.
If their wallets weren't weighing them down so heavily, the Watercare Board might actually have contributed to solving Auckland's water problems.
Fred Wilson, Devonport.
Your correspondent (NZ Herald, September 2) has confused the longest day concept with that of seasons.
The longest day is simply that. It takes much longer for summer to provide us with consistent warm temperatures after the necessary time to warm the oceans and so on.
The quarters (if we wish to observe the human construct of seasonal periods) are simple.
Summer: December, January and February. Autumn: March, April and May. Winter: June, July and August. Spring: September, October and November.
Judy Lawry, Golflands.
Oasis of balance
Columnist Simon Wilson's writings present a consistent oasis of common sense in comparison to the hysterical and frequently biased blatherings of some of your other contributors.
It is refreshing to read balanced writing in your newspaper occasionally.
I would respectfully suggest that you might increase your readership if you attempted to provide more of it.
Murray Knight, Auckland Central.
Again, the chief mangler of the English language, Donald Trump, has spoken about "dark shadows", basically a tautology. His reference to police who "choke" under "tremendous pressure" is nothing but offensive to everyone.
Also, the logic of going to Kenosha, which is in mourning, defies common sense and could only be seen as a desperate appeal to his now diminishing support base.
Perhaps he should take the advice of the President he speaks so highly of, Abraham Lincoln, who is quoted as saying: "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt".
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia.
I'm sure that the perpetrators of social media platforms were full of good intentions (not the least of them getting rich). But it seems to have a knack at bringing out the worst in people.
Has anyone visited the "Official Donald J Trump Fan Club" on Facebook? It's pretty scary stuff.
I thought we had rid this country of dirty politics and lies. Take a good look at America folks, and ask yourself: is this the way we want NZ to go?
Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.
Short & sweet
It has always been my understanding Cabinet, presumably including the deputy prime minister, took joint responsibility for its decisions. So how can it be to the political advantage of Winston Peters to go around telling everyone that he got things so terribly wrong? Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
During the challenging months of lockdown and bubbles, music of various kinds has helped our household of two senior citizens maintain wellbeing. Going through my mind has been the line from the immortal bard or something very much like it,"If music be the food of health, play on." Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill.
Greenmail. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
The Green School is an architects folly, flagrant egocentrism, not fit for purpose. The environmental building does not and cannot have solar panels on the roof. Richard Ghent, Freeman's Bay.
Perhaps life-long confinement for the terrorist of Christchurch could be put out to tender. Some countries must have prison systems that cost less than ours to run, and they would welcome the money. Arch Thomson, Mt Wellington.
Being in Auckland, I'm looking forward to posting my vote for the upcoming election.
Can someone tell me where the nearest post box is please? Chris Thompson, Rothesay Bay.
Why should central government meddle in POA? If Auckland intends to use the port as a financial lifeline the ratepayers should first be consulted. The logical step would be to put say 49 per cent on the open market and again become a publicly listed company. A J Petersen, Kawerau.
For Facebook, substitute the word "heroin". An exaggeration? just try and take it away from the average smartphone junkie. Vince West, Milford.
Those who believe that bureaucrats are there to diligently carry out the instructions of the government of the day have obviously never watched Yes Minister. E. J. Bax, Epsom.