Product and waste
K.H. Peter Kammler (NZ Herald, June 29) is correct in that "ethics are a question of economics". However, the characterisation of the "frontier economy" and description of the "sugary economy" is not
quite on the mark.
Participants returning from Davos in 2019 trumpeted "well-being" as a future economic measure and questioned economists' reliance on GDP. However, the Davos elites are not on the mark either, merely following the lead of Harvard-based consultants.
The recent and ongoing crisis highlights that to arise from economic recession we need to restore and increase GDP, to pay the bills. So, GDP is still a very relevant measure. As well, we can now see that "well-being" is a subjective and very fickle matter. Well-being, like globalisation, sounds very good but the reality is complex and only if you can afford it.
And here we come back to Mr Kammler's criticism of the "sugary economy" – which is correct but in a different way. We have focused on GDP but not looked at gross domestic waste (GDW). Waste through losses in power transmission, plastic pollutants, food spoilage, inefficient space utilisation, transport modes, human capital and so on. GDW is measurable and addressing it is ethically responsible. Annual targets reducing GDW would go a long way towards "green objectives", increasing GDP and improving well-being.
Dr Mike Schmidt, Pakuranga.
I am a retired Kiwi who by the Greens' definition will be classed as wealthy. I recently have recovered from near-fatal cancer and as such cannot go back to work.
The tax as proposed by the Greens makes no allowance for expenses. I am supporting my 93-year-old mother in South Africa and have two teenage children who will start university soon.
I have calculated that the tax would increase my tax paid manyfold and is not a one-off but year on year. I cannot afford this new tax.
My take on the election outcome is that the new MMP will be Labour and the Greens The Greens price for allowing a new government to form may be on the basis that the tax as proposed is implemented.
I will have no option but to sell up and move to Australia. We both lose - NZ on all of my tax, and me forced to become an exile.
Dr Alan Papert, Queenstown.
Good and bad
In response to Murray Vereker-Bindon (NZ Herald, July 1), I too am thankful to be in Aotearoa New Zealand because we have an excellent model for the rest of the world to follow and learn from regarding the issue of Black Lives Matter.
Pākehā and Māori have a partnership to be proud of so long as there are vigorous checks and balances to ensure accountability on both sides. Through the Treaty of Waitangi, NZ has proved colonisation can work well for both parties; something for the US and Australia to consider. In short, I live in a vibrant multicultural country that I call my own.
On the other hand, the worse form of colonisation was when a monarch was installed in Tonga (mid-19th century); under a feudal British system that did not exist pre-Christianity. Thanks to Shirley Baker (a Methodist Wesleyan missionary) and his constitution (borrowed from Hawaii), my ha'a (clan) lost our ancestral land to the king and nobles.
Chiefly titles and names (persons of significance) have since been lost and most Tongans today cannot own land.
Vasalua Jenner-Helu, Remuera.
Bruce Turner (NZ Herald, June 28) took issue with health warnings on packaging should marijuana be legalised as "replacing one problem with another". Tobacco and marijuana use by his own definition are not going to go away regardless of the outcome of the referendum and we should be acknowledging the benefits of a successful programme utilising health warnings to address a different health concern.
The issues he raises regarding the policing of cannabis would not be dissimilar to what is already the case with tobacco use and are based upon harm reduction and occur within the public domain.
The referendum is an opportunity to reach a general consensus and is a part of the development of positive achievable outcomes for the future.
Mike Passmore, Thames.
With the rise in postage prices on July 1, can we expect a better service from NZ Post?
I recently posted a birthday card from Whakatāne to Gisborne which took 10 days to arrive and, of course, missed the birthday, despite allowing a week for delivery.
Gisborne is 185km from Whakatāne so the delivery speed was 0.77km/h.
At least this was about 16 times the speed of an average garden snail, but only about twice that of another notoriously slow creature, the tortoise.
It is high time the NZ Post board and senior management were given a good shake-up, as my experience is far from an isolated event.
It seems a very long time since NZ Post provided a reliable service and yet prices keep going up.
J W Haldane, Whakatāne.
So now I can come off the motorway and drive up Wellington St, still at 50km/h, into Franklin Rd, now 30km/h, down the hill and around Victoria Park, now 30km/h, into Fanshawe St, now 40km/h and into the Wynyard Quarter, still 50km/h for almost all of it.
Just how this makes driving safer is a complete mystery to me.
If all of these streets had been made 30km/h, now that would make some sense. But as it is, all motorists will be doing is constantly checking their speedo.
Safe? I think not.
John L R Allum, Thames.
War by proxy
The supposed Russian practice of rewarding Afghan soldiers to kill US soldiers seems brutal and underhanded, but similar practices of employing or supplying proxies to fight wars is common.
In the 1980s, the Soviet Union were in Afghanistan fighting rebels. One of the huge advantages the Soviets had in the mountainous regions was the use of attack helicopters which could find and attack the rebels, or insert and extract Soviet soldiers.
To unsettle the Soviets, the US provided Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to the Mujihadeen. As a result, Soviet helicopters began falling from the sky on fire, hundreds of Soviet soldiers were killed, and the Soviets lost their advantage in the mountains.
This is how the proxy game is played.
Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
How amazing that the Government can find another $3 billion for the regions and 70 million more for film producers but cannot find 30 million dollars for St John Ambulance to avoid reducing services and laying off staff.
Surely the ambulance service is of far greater benefit to the community.
Katherine Swift, Kohimarama.
ASB announces branch closure because customers prefer online website and apps.
Haven't banks been driving customers online for years? And now you're telling us it's our choice?
Please at least make an effort to be honest.
David Patterson, Raumati Beach.
When the time comes for the next round of Governor-General awards, there will surely be a list of recipients who earned an honour or two for their tireless work in keeping us safe and (relatively) sound in these difficult coronavirus times.
Two artists who have made my day again and again with their brilliant contributions over all these weeks are cartoonists Rod Emmerson and Guy Body. Give those two GG gongs !
M.Carol Scott, Birkenhead.
So the US military is considering seeking repayment from New Zealand for meals given to Kiwis in Afghanistan.
They would do well to look to the past when many of their grandads might well have experienced - at no charge - the friendly hospitality of ordinary Kiwi families in New Zealand during their Rest and Recreation periods.
I am proud to say that my own family hosted several US servicemen during that time and remained close friends with them and their families long after they had returned to the land of the free and home of the brave.
Surely there can be no price on reciprocal kindness and hospitality between friends or, for that matter, strangers.
Renton Brown, Pukekohe.
North versus South
I am very pleased that the very first Island of Origin rugby game is set for Eden Park on August 19, based on the decades old State of Origin games in Australia (NZ Herald, July 2).
The loyalty of fans to the team from your island will be very strong.
I have hoped for it to start for a long time and now just hope from 2021, it is three games per year to increase the competition, as in Australia, played in Christchurch and Auckland.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Short & sweet
It may be more accurate to add the word "detected" to the often used phrase "No community transmission". Jeffrey Langford, Belmont.
So the SIS burgled the embassies of shady foreign countries (NZ Herald, July 2) to gain intelligence for ourselves and our allies? Glad to hear they have been doing their job. C.C. McDowall, Rotorua.
It is most unreasonable of the people of Auckland to expect the council to focus on water storage issues when we all know their priority must be to address the dire shortage of cycle lanes – whose absence is currently crippling the city. Brett Hewson, Parnell.
I suggest re-runs of the Auckland water shortage farce should feature on the Jones! SKY TV channel alongside It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Are You Being Served and Only Fools and Horses. Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
When I grew up, fairy tales all started with the words: "Once upon a time..." These days, I notice they start with the words: "If I'm elected, I promise..." Rod Hunter, Te Aroha.
Mike Hosking advises Todd Muller to say something mad, by which I think he means utterly stupid? Well how does "let's open the borders to China" comment grab you, Mike? John Capener, Kawerau.
Team NZ beat coronavirus. Team A Few Rich White Men spend other people's money messing around in boats. R. France, Takapuna.
If the Government can see the waste of money the light rail scheme is and can it, why can't they do the same with the SkyPath? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.