Where will tourists stay with motels full?
I understand how critical tourism has been to the New Zealand economy. So I, along with a large group of the country, are eager to see tourism return.
Businesses and large parts of the country depend on it.
In Hamilton on Ulster St we have several motels all full with Kiwis who are the victims of the housing crisis.
These are people in "emergency housing" with the number of people qualifying for it having risen sharply. The Government is spending $1 million a day on motels so it's not just the ones in Hamilton that are full.
What is going to happen to all these people when the borders open up again? Where will tourists stay? Will the motel owners kick out all the emergency housing tenants to make room for them or will we tell tourists we don't have anywhere for them to stay?
We need to start to plan now what we are going to do and we need the Government to be open and honest about this. I think we need to ask this question now so we can understand the scale of the issue and start to find where all these people will live once the borders open up again.
John Stewart, Hamilton.
Judith Collins is condemning the new health system to support Māori health initiatives, saying it is "apartheid".
There is already a two-tier health system in New Zealand. One for those financially well off and with private health insurance and another for those who have to rely on the public health system. This new initiative is going to make things more equal.
Jacqui Furniss, New Plymouth.
After many individual cases of gross incompetence around keeping Covid-19 under control (with the Americold cluster there are still no answers or action) there is now the wider comparison available showing our abysmal performance.
Surely it is time for Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins to resign. If not, Jacinda Ardern must show some gumption and fire him.
Ross Nielsen, Half Moon Bay.
Auckland's pediatric intensive care unit is desperately short of beds. Surely that is a far more urgent case than spending money for example on upgrading parliamentary buildings. And just think of the waste of $27 million orchestrated by a former Prime Minister to try to change our flag. How many beds and hospital improvements would that have allowed? There's the problem.
Paul Beck, West Harbour.
One hopes the Government will decide when to open the borders based on science not economics. John Roughan (Weekend Herald, May 1) who, on his own admission is a relatively recent connoisseur of NZ motel quality, says there is "no future in isolation". Apparently rapid growth only occurs with rampant tourism, the kind that brings more risk of lockdowns as more risk to our inadequate MIQ facilities failing and a poor tourism experience and inadequate infrastructure.
Of course the future won't be "economy motels" he experienced but the top end. We will not be catering for busloads crowding out our economy motels — that is Kiwi fodder.
Kiwi hotels should be stripping out their outdated ventilation systems in anticipation now. Tourists will demand safety and we should make them pay for the infrastructure. The days of a station wagon with a mattress in the back and young visitors using the bush verge as a toilet is anathema. I have personally tramped, used motels, camping grounds and forgone overseas trips for 50 years. Kiwis just experiencing it are not experts on their own country in two weeks.
Let's not sell it cheaply. Our environment needs a quality makeover too. Toilet paper in the bush is cheap and nasty; sustainable, quality tourism is our future.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Where the supply of houses is constrained below demand, as has been the case for many years in New Zealand, prices will be limited only by the ability of buyers to pay. That, in turn, is a factor of incomes, house prices and interest rates.
Forty years ago, the national median house price was $33,500. Mortgage rates were 20 per cent then, resulting in a monthly payment of $560 on a 30 year mortgage. Adjusting for inflation, this is equivalent to a monthly mortgage payment of $2586 today.
At today's 2.5 per cent mortgage interest rates, this would service a mortgage of $650,000, which is very close to today's median house price. The serviceability of a mortgage for the median house is therefore almost the same as it was 40 years ago (even ignoring the faster than inflation growth in median household incomes).
There are, of course, other factors that impact on affordability, most significantly the challenge of saving for a deposit, particularly with ongoing loan-to-value restrictions.
In reality, the only sustainably effective tools for bringing down housing prices are more expensive money (which would be politically unacceptable for existing homeowners with mortgages to service) or more houses.
Patrick Baker, St Heliers.
In his column on urban design (Herald, April 30), Simon Wilson mentions the yellow circles painted on lower Shortland St. These circles were originally topped with some sort of sparkly gritty material, perhaps it was sand or perhaps it was something synthetic. Whatever it was wore off over time and ended up in the gutters and so into the stormwater drains — it can be seen in the photo in Simon's article. Shredded car tyre mulch is being used around the bases of street trees which also ends up in the gutters and so to the sea.
I wonder what research and investigation and thought is involved before decisions are made to scatter these polluting materials around our streets. Just because it is recycled does not make it environmentally friendly.
J Leighton, Devonport.
Selling rugby's soul
It is almost impossible to discuss the All Blacks and New Zealand Ruby (NZR) without emotional language being used. The article by Gregor Paul (NZ Herald, April 30) "selling the soul" of our game hit a new pinnacle of pathos and drama.
After many years living here even a rugby novice like myself can recognise the iconic status of the All Blacks. They are unquestionably, the world's best, and I imagine many are outraged by the commercialisation of such a quintessential part of Kiwi life.
The crux of this very emotive debate appears to be NZR wanting badly-needed funding to support community rugby in the provinces, which have systematically been underfunded for years, versus player's souls being bought by the highest bidder. The argument becomes muddled because it's difficult to monetise a player's hard work and sacrifice, particularly when they carry the mana of a nation.
Professional sportspeople must be able to negotiate a salary package that reflects their expertise and long years of training. Comparatively, the All Blacks are paid a fraction of their overseas counterparts.
Ironically, the All Blacks' worldwide reputation is perhaps one of the very reasons they attracted interest from Silver Lake. Big bucks always factor in the sports world and New Zealand isn't immune.
By injecting funding into the community, boys and girls can dream of future glory, while learning the critical values of fairness and team work. Who knows, perhaps sometime women's rugby might attain such hallowed status without ads and commercial endorsements.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
If New Zealand rugby is so short of finances how come the Crusaders have the money to entice Pablo Matera to New Zealand? What could that money have done for grassroots rugby in Canterbury?
Mike Wells, Kawerau.
Our priorities seem wrong when the Government and Auckland Council had millions of dollars available for the America's Cup of dubious value but Starship children's hospital has to ask the public for money for extra hospital beds.
Bruce Tubb, Takapuna.
Short & sweet
To see how poorly we are doing in vaccinating, people should visit the Covid-19 Data Explorer website. According to that site, we are at 3.58 per cent of the population, Suriname is at 6.54 per cent, India 8.79 per cent, Azerbaijan 9.54 per cent and the United Kingdom 50.2 per cent. New Zealand is down there with the stragglers. What's the hold-up? Alan Milton, Cambridge.
On electric cars
I get the impression electric vehicles (EVs) are a bit like cell phones: after five years, having lost battery power, you throw them out in the rubbish or, in EVs' case, the nearest tip. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Perhaps the Blues and Warriors have had such poor form over the years, because even paid sports stars do not even want to live in Auckland anymore. Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.
While filling my car with petrol I started reading the sign of things not to do near petrol pumps. One of the items was "mobile phones should not be used". Next to the sign was a Covid scan poster. I would have taken a photo but ... Chris Thompson, Rothesay Bay.
On Five Eyes
Thank you Tom Tugendhat (NZ Herald, 30 April) for a thought-provoking article. The last sentence sums it up perfectly. "That means working with those on the side of liberty and being cautious of those only offering gold." John Bow, Whitianga.
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