A progressive, civilised, and robustly democratic nation needs resolute protection of freedom of speech, open debate, and diversity of opinion. Attempting to subjectively codify into law categories of "hateful" rhetoric, speech and statement is dangerous, reeks of social control and ideological fanaticism.
It belongs more in the laws of an authoritarian one-party state than in a nation known internationally for tolerance of diversity, historical firsts and for fostering of innovative solutions and entrepreneurial spirit.
The proposed law changes are riddled with loose definitions, open to wide and diverse interpretation. This would only lead to simmering discontent and subtle corrosiveness of the very social fabric its proponents claim it would uphold.
In a social media age awash with grandstanding, egos, posturing and proselytising, mixed with hypersensitivities to criticism, state censorship is not the panacea.
Far better to let fools speak their mind and thereby use the opportunity to educate, than seek to criminalise every potentially offensive statement.
We progress as individuals and societies when we embrace fire and fury, not when we seek to censor and control it.
Sam Clements, Hauraki.
Audrey Young (NZ Herald, June 29) asks for some detail from our leaders on the proposed hate speech laws.
I remember a while ago when our dear leader announced she was introducing new laws on the subject, she was asked to define hate speech by some brave reporter. Jacinda Ardern replied, "you will know it when you hear it". So this, I guess, will be the basis on how the legislation will be written.
God help us all.
Roger Bale, Pukekawa.
We need to be aware that we are NOT the bottom of the OECD regarding the vaccination percentages that matter most. I refer to those people who are fully vaccinated.
In this we are ahead of Australia. We approach 8 per cent, Australia is around 4.5 per cent by Johns Hopkins data. Australia has fallen behind because of the time lapse between the two doses of AstraZeneca.
Australia is part of the OECD, so in the numbers that really count we are not (quite) the bottom.
Data that presents the number of doses is misleading. We need to investigate data for fully vaccinated percentages for a realistic picture.
Judy Lawry, Golflands.
Bungled roll out
This is farce, but approaching draconian levels.
It is maybe more fodder for the scaredy cats, but the strain of mutant coronavirus, perhaps more virulent, is not likely to increase severe illness or mortality.
Look at the increase of flu-like ailments due to last winter's lockdown and less immunity.
If our rollout of the vaccine was to world standards it would be a moot point anyway. But it is abysmal.
The Government's performance shortfall is the real issue. Fix this and stop frightening people.
Darryl Higgins, St Mary's Bay.
Up and out
So, high rises are coming. There is no water left for the city, there will be no car parking, the roads to carry the extra loads won't change and AT keeps forgetting to put trains to Flatbush and other planned high-density areas.
If they don't add industrial zones close to fund the new buildings, all Aucklanders will suffer.
Randel Case, Bucklands Beach.
I would like to add another perspective, in answering Mary Tallon's letter (NZ Herald, June 29) about the proposed cycle/walkway bridge.
I have taken my e-bike a number of times from Northcote Pt to the city on the ferry.
This can be a difficult and somewhat dangerous operation as some ferries require lifting heavy bikes down steep stairs and back up at the other end. I have stopped taking the ferry for this reason.
Once the bridge is in place, I will be able to ride easily across the harbour, enjoying marvellous views, proceeding down through the attractive Westhaven area and onwards towards Tāmaki Drive with its wonderful sea proximity or out towards the west, using the well thought-out cycleways already in place.
This bridge will be linked to the proposed seapath going north, so I might choose to ride
comfortably to Takapuna or beyond, again enjoying the spectacular scenery. I just can't wait.
Rhys Morgan, Northcote Pt.
As a pale male I have had to endure many attacks on the male species, coupled with the constant assertion of female superiority, but the article by Theresa Gattung (NZ Herald, June 24) takes first place for a smug, offensive and sexist claim to female superiority. After trotting out the usual hoary accusations of how women are treated in business, Gattung explains why women are so superior: they "perform vastly more cognitive tasks than men".
Would any male in business have survived the feminine onslaught had he claimed similar mental superiority over women?
Since Western males have generally been emasculated and silenced by strident feminism and the #MeToo movement, this incessant denigration of our worth and constant assertion of female superiority is becoming tiresome and is surely no longer necessary. Women have already won the war. Please leave us in peace while you get on with saving the world.
Johan Slabbert, Warkworth.
I walked Karangahape Rd on a recent Saturday from the top of Ponsonby Rd to the top of Queen St to experience the changes now the construction is finished.
We visited previously unnoticed shops with vintage/artisan wares that were easily accessible on the new footpaths. We also discovered, in Cross St, a small shop running woodworking classes.
Families were enjoying lunch at Fort Greene Cafe, where we ate, and St Kelvins Arcade. The area is reminiscent of the very popular Brick Lane in East London.
The shops deserve our support after all the disruption.
J Webb, Ponsonby.
Simon Wilson is right again (NZ Herald, June 28) in questioning the CCOs' ability to react to the problems of contamination and pollution. Having been established by the Act leader on the principle of "profit at any price", it is unnatural to them.
Auckland Transport still gains income from leased, long- and short-term parking in the CBD, encouraging more cars over the bridge and on the city motorways. It should be controlling pollution not contributing to it.
Why is the purchaser of the city parking building in Sturdee St required to include public parking in any new building that they develop on the site?
Availability of parking in the city is a major contributor to congestion and pollution over the whole area. New development in the CBD should provide only parking for residents or essential vehicles.
All long-term parking spaces in existing buildings that do not so conform should be subject to a rate - increased yearly until they become uneconomic - and the inner-city space used for more productive and attractive purposes, eliminating rush-hour congestion and reducing pollution.
J. Billingsley, Parnell.
Southern Cross Cables has landed its new cable at Takapuna Beach (NZ Herald, June 29) and it is buried out to 200m from the beach.
What a shame they couldn't be bothered to bury it as far as Whangaparāoa. If they had, the no-anchoring cable protection zone, up to 3km wide along the East Coast Bays, could one day have been removed from the country's busiest waterway.
As it is, it will be there for another 30 years, stopping Aucklanders from anchoring there, requiring the harbourmaster to waste time making sure they don't and with the country's communications threatened by dragging anchors and the occasional sinking America's Cup yacht.
How stupid to allow them to defy the Unitary Plan and just lay it on the seabed.
Richard Brown, Whangaparāoa.
Road to ruin
I was under the impression if you purchased a product or service and it failed to meet the requirements you were entitled to have the failure remedied or have your purchase money refunded.
I have been paying rates to Auckland Transport, an Auckland City surcharge and fuel tax to New Zealand Transport and quite frankly, the roads do not meet the required standard and serious damage has been inflicted on my vehicles.
When public-spirited road safety campaigner Geoff Upson has the temerity to highlight the transport authorities failures, the response is to charge him with vandalism and get crews out to remove his signs.
Geoff may have offended some by his choice of symbolism but I for one applaud his efforts. If Geoff had been a little more obvious with his signs, I would not have had to pay $350 to repair a wheel damaged by their failure to provide a safe road to drive on.
I would appreciate if the authorities concerned would pay my costs for damages their neglect has caused and refund the various taxes I've paid.
I am not optimistic but, as a minimum, they need forget charging Geoff Upson and fix the roads.
Rod Lyons, Muriwai.
Short & sweet
Regular letters to the Herald state that they never see cyclists on cycle paths or, indeed, anywhere. Anyone who cannot recognise a person on a bike is putting vulnerable road users at risk and should stay off the road until they have their eyesight checked.
Barbara Grace, Grey Lynn.
A prime minister who says that to debate hypothetical situations is to trivialise the debate on hate speech is herself in danger of trivialising the office of prime minister.
Peter Newfield, Takapuna.
I was talking to the coach after a seniors game and he said they had lost because of a couple of keeper errors. Then he says "but I can't say that, I'll get in trouble". Dear oh dear, has it really come to that?
S. P. McMonagle, Greenhithe.
The gains to be made from a government-mandated nationwide port strategy make more economic sense than many other poorly planned initiatives, including a proposed harbour bridge cycleway.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Borrowed from Mainfreight's Annual Report 2021, this would make a great motto for our government: "We avoid complexity, bureaucracy and procrastination, act with decisiveness, focus on what matters".
B. Watkin, Devonport.
As the Government eyes fines to enforce masks and code scanning, please also increase fines for wrongful disposal of Covid-19 litter. Some humans have no respect so let's teach them.
Carol Lamb, Taupō.
So many people want to follow their own personal priorities, regardless of the risk to the broader community, be it conducting business, travelling long distances for family meetings or even just an overseas break. Maybe the Delta variant will change that lax approach.
It is rare to see more than 50 per cent of bus passengers with a mask on despite the mandatory ruling. Trains are a little better with managers "encouraging" mask-wearing. The time for encouragement has passed. It's time to enforce mask-wearing and QR codes in close proximity situations.
The vaccine stroll-out is where we are going wrong. Look at our neighbours across the Ditch. Sydney's luck finally ran out.
The vaccine supply from overseas is the problem, not the Government. They can only roll out the supplies they have, which is the limiting factor.
The NZ side of the transtasman bubble was delayed eight months after Australia had introduced it as "all the complexities needed to be worked through". Now they are taking three days to decide what to do with emerging cases in Australia. Did this scenario not come up in those "complexity" discussions?
Isn't it time to put some heat on the Government for the vaccine supply agreement with Pfizer to be made public? Commercial sensitivities don't cut it as such a vital time. We'd at least have a clearer picture of why the roll-out has been so long and "confused".
Everyone has become complacent with scanning and masks. Yet the same people who can't be bothered will be the first in line to attack the government if it goes wrong.
Wish the borders were kept closed until we had the vaccines completed. It feels like NZ is walking a fine line and it's only a matter of time until there is a slip-up and a complete Covid outbreak occurs.
Government complacency is most evident in their approach to vaccination, or lack of it. Now government will increase legal liability on individuals to wear masks and use the app. Fair enough we might say, but government needs to lift its vaccination game as well. Walter H
We have no community cases for ages and have been in lockdown less than anyone else. Our response is rated by WHO as the best in the world. One must separate those realities from a dislike in general for this Government.