The Royal Commission report into the Christchurch terrorism highlighted the obvious failures of the mechanisms of government, especially the intelligence sector and police.
Yet there was no considered critique placed on a succession of governments for their persistent failure to enact sensible gun control laws, despite the evidence of the Aramoana and Tasmanian Port Arthur massacres.
The argument is that politicians were limited by what they could do due to the influence of the gun lobby. I don't buy into that for a second. The decision not to implement sensible gun control laws was due to political priorities, not lobbying. Simply, there was a political naivety to any risk. Tragically, it took a massacre to force politicians to reassess those priorities, only then to rush through inconsistent laws. Their reaction shows, again, that too much of our politics is done in hindsight.
If only one past government had the vision and fortitude to pass sensible gun control laws, 51 people would be alive today. All politicians, prior to and at the time of this tragedy, should take a serious look at how their combined inaction over the years contributed to this terrorist act being committed in New Zealand. An apology, at the very least, is needed for their dereliction of duty.
M P Boardman, Dunedin.
I am glad that James Goodwin (NZ Herald, December 8) has had the courage to speak out about his brutal treatment as a pupil at Christ's College. I was a boarder at that school from 1955 to 1959 - the worst five years of my life.
Boys were routinely caned by masters, school prefects, and house prefects for offences as trivial as undoing too many buttons on their jackets, or talking in the dormitory after "lights out". Bullying, both physical and psychological, was tacitly permitted by the school as a necessary part of its disciplinary regime.
Tired of the school's endless appeals for money, I recently wrote to the headmaster explaining my reluctance to contribute to an institution that had made me so unhappy.
His curt expression of "regret" was sufficiently dismissive to make me sceptical of his present claim that the school has undergone "immense change" over the years.
Michael Neill, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Auckland.
The decision to unload a container ship at Northport instead of Auckland has caused uproar, because of extra trucks on SH1 for one week. We ain't seen nothin' yet.
If the proposed arrangements for the Auckland Region Landfill go ahead it would involve twice as many trucks going through the Dome Valley every week for 35 years.
Let this be a lesson to us to get such traffic onto rail.
Steve Goldthorpe, Warkworth.
Derek Cheng's excellent article (NZ Herald, December 11) on the ministry actually highlights another problem, which is what to do with stupid employees.
Releasing people from quarantine without tests is so obviously stupid that the people who made this incredibly dumb decision need to be removed to an occupation which is not beyond their capabilities.
It is not an exaggeration that their decisions could have killed thousands of people.
Retraining will be the official suggestion but, no amount of retraining cures stupid.
These people need to go before they inflict further damage.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel.
I, as an Auckland ratepayer, would like to know why this mayor and council are not looking at reducing the amount of money being spent on the America's Cup, which will never repay it.
Also why are they not reducing staff and cutting their exorbitant salaries instead of reducing services to the Auckland ratepayers or selling off council assets that they do not have a mandate from the people to do?
Not to mention the port disaster. Is the CEO still going to get a bonus for the mess he has created?
This is a time for everyone to tighten their belts, not to just increase rates to a level way above most people's pay rises, if they get one, not to mention pensioners who are on a fixed income.
The money they have invested is only earning 1 per cent interest. How does Phil Goff expect people to pay a 5 per cent rate increase plus 8 per cent increase in water rates, and keep paying his and council salaries when they do not have the income to do so? Does he expect us to sell our homes to pay for his train set and other ridiculous things he has dreamed up, to waste ratepayers' money on?
John Laing, Drury.
I could not agree more with the comments of Dame Jenny Gibbs (NZ Herald, December 11) in respect to the rescues carried out on White Island by the local helicopter pilots and to whom many of the survivors now owe their lives.
The pilots involved deserve every accolade going, yet somehow now face charges for what they did.
Where will this madness end? Will we soon see every rescue carried out by a surf lifesaver come under scrutiny? New Zealand is fast becoming more and more like the US in respect to always having to blame someone or something, and the only beneficiaries to that are lawyers. Less of that the better.
Paul Beck, West Harbour.
The right thing
There is certainly enough here in Aotearoa that is broken and requires urgent action by various government bodies. Ongoing road remediation and appalling congestion on Auckland roads, rising sea levels threatening coastal towns, a stymied and ineffectual Ports of Auckland, and most importantly, children living below the poverty line.
But the one government organisation which seems to be over-zealous in application of its duties is Worksafe NZ. It is incomprehensible that included in its prosecutorial list over the White Island tragedy are Volcanic Air Safari and Kahu Helicopters.
Without the courage and compassion of those two helicopter pilots, there would undoubtedly be a higher number of fatalities. This in no way mitigates the absolute need for accountability and redress for the victims and their families.
However, in light of their heroism in the face of such unimaginable danger, prosecution of these two pilots is at best, flawed, and at worst an appalling overreach by Worksafe NZ.
Tim Barrow and Mark Law exemplify that special "Kiwi" quality of heroic actions tempered with humility and a steadfast desire to do the right thing. The Government must not sit mutely by and allow one of its government departments to so badly interpret its duty and responsibility to the victims of White Island. Those people deserve more, as do those two brave men.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
Your correspondent John Hawkes (NZ Herald, December 11) says it all when he says the Government is hamstrung to effectively change property price control levers.
However, I believe he is not quite right when he blames National voters switching to a more pure Labour vote.
Not wanting to upset her popularity, Jacinda Ardern herself said she wouldn't introduce any further taxes, so has hamstrung herself, her party, the government and her country by not being able to pull the most obvious, practical, effective (but unpopular) price control lever.
Andrew McAlpine, Herne Bay.
James Archibald (NZ Herald, December 14) calls for property investors to be taxed the same as any normal business.
Is he aware that if he buys a farm, and then some years later sells it there is no tax payable on the gain in value; if he buys public company shares and then some years later sell them then no tax is payable on the gain in value; if he buys a business and then some years later sells it, again no tax payable on the gain in value.
As far as any capital gain is concerned, investment property is already taxed exactly the same way as any other business.
Peter Lewis, vice-president, Auckland Property Investors Association.
Getting the cricket on my computer is a trial in itself, because Spark seems to think I should be watching Suzie Bates rather than the Black Caps. When I do manage to capture it the casting to the television is also a difficult and sometimes frustrating exercise. Sky was a doddle – this is an exercise in frustration which is not good for me.
Why oh why can this not be an easier exercise?
Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.
Friday's letter about pōhutukawa felling in Campbell's Bay demonstrates once again the inevitable conflict between population pressures and our wonderful world of natural heritage.
The pōhutukawa is the glory of northern coastal New Zealand in its mass of summer crimson. Its aerial roots cleverly adapted to descending long cliff faces in search of water.
We are grateful for the preservation of the massive magnificent specimen at 539 Parnell Rd, near the Jubilee Building. It is well worth a bus ride to see its display, right on cue for Christmas.
Harold Coop, Remuera.
Short & sweet
In a natural disaster like the Whakaari / White Island eruption, measured risks need to be taken to save lives. That's what those pilots did.
Nigel Bufton, Pāuanui.
If no one was to blame for Pike River; no one was to blame for the CTV building; no one was to blame for the mosque attack, how come we are going after two brave helicopter pilots at White Island?
Tony Marks, Omaha Beach.
This is not a proper yacht sailing contest now - it is high-speed water skiing. They have corrupted the original contest.
Derek Cunningham, Gulf Harbour.
If there is a container crisis at the Ports of Auckland, why have the three very expensive new large cranes been idle this week instead of working 24/7?
Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
Trelise Cooper is herself owed an apology from Professor Kidman for cynically misrepresenting the true situation in order to deliver yet another shaming.
Doug Hannan, Mt Maunganui.
Any council that relies on shares' dividends to remain solvent was in trouble before Covid-19 woes.
Grant Gillon, Devonport
NZ has always had a constant stream of clueless government ministers (with some notable exceptions). Why would anyone think that ministers incapable of overseeing the police, NZSIS and GCSB could now oversee yet another spy agency?
Christopher J Dudfield, Wellington.
Trevor Mallard is a sitting duck for the non-speakers role at the next How to Hold your Tongue Conference.
Graham Fleetwood, Botany Downs.