A remedy for healthcare
With debate concerning the inadequacies of our state health services, an article from the NZ Herald (June 12, 1990) makes fascinating reading. There, distinguished Auckland ENT surgeon Dr Ronald Goodey stated with authority the lack of morale amongst senior medical staff who were not listened to, inefficiency amongst administrative staff who responded to politicians’ edicts rather than patient needs, and inadequate clinical resources being available. What is certain, nothing much has changed over the intervening 33 years, except that matters are probably a great deal worse. Always a lack of funding for healthcare needs, a grave shortage of medical and nursing staff, an overblown out-of-touch newly centralised bureaucracy, and an inadequate lack of senior medical input. A massive new approach to repair this sad state of affairs must occur. This requires a guaranteed new annually increasing health funding scheme that does not compete in each year’s NZ Budget with other demands, the need to dismantle the unfortunate newly centralised Wellington bureaucracy where differing demands of regions can then be better met, where more trained medical and nursing staff are made available with priority, and finally a system where knowledgeable medically trained administrators are in charge. Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
There has been a lot of media commenting on the future of our planet being threatened by climate change, with many blaming CO2 emissions as the main contributing factor. There have been widespread protests and pleas for us to take urgent action to prevent this catastrophe from happening. Considering there is an upcoming election I would like to see an extra sheet of paper included in the voting papers which had a list of 10 of the most important emission generators that are currently present and ask people to indicate their five most important emission generators that they would be willing to give up. These would include international air travel, driving internal combustion motor vehicles, synthetic clothing and plastic products, purchasing products manufactured in high-emitting countries, eliminating the dairy industry to name but a few. This would provide our elected Government some guidance as to the areas it must focus future policies. Dick Ayres, Auckland Central.
Given we are more than ever mindful of the number of people experiencing poor mental well-being it is encouraging to read (NZ Herald, July 28) that researchers (including Kiwis) have developed a tool that can be used by a general practitioner to assess a patient’s mood. However, what is important is what happens next. According to the World Health Organisation, mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realises her or his potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to contribute to the community. This definition means that we all have varying degrees of mental health at any point of time. No one, given enough adverse life stresses, is immune from developing poor mental health. Unless we adequately tackle the determinants of health such as safe and affordable houses, education, poverty, abuse, and deprivation, transform primary health care, and strengthen the NGO sector, so people can get affordable, skilled help in their local communities that they need, nothing will change. Glennys Adams, Oneroa.
I’ve been scammed. Four times. It was my fault, every time. Twice I was silly enough to allow credit card transactions to be processed out of my sight. And twice I made payments to scam artists who enticed me into doing so on the internet. How is this my bank’s fault? In fact, in three cases, the bank saved me by making refunds. In the fourth transaction ($250), I realised there was nothing the bank could do. While I’m sympathetic to the people who have lost the money (NZ Herald, August 1), they tried to invest via an internet vehicle. I just cannot see how their banks, who by all accounts were just following their instructions to make the payments, should be legally or morally responsible for the losses. Chris Marnewick, Bucklands Beach.
Quentin Miller (NZ Herald, August 1) suggests the removal of GST from regional and local council rates. I suggest a step further. These rates should be income tax deductible for all, not just some. Local rates are charged to fund the provision of services the central government can’t or won’t provide, so why should ratepayers stump up from already taxed income? Of course, this will not happen, as it would result in a significant drop in central government’s revenue and we can’t possibly have that. Conversely, it could provide both central and local governments with an incentive to curtail their inane spending. PK Ellwood, Beach Haven.
I was hoping we’d see the likes of Rod Lyons’ letter (NZ Herald, August 1), looking at tax rates from 40 years ago. Britain also tried a multi-tier VAT 50 years back, before extensive computerisation. Not for long. The trouble with GST is that in 1986 we decided it applied to the total bill - no exceptions. If we now select a rate for each line on that bill, we change the way every bill is made up. That carries a cost which will be passed on, limiting the effect. But that is not all. A chef goes shopping for, perhaps, potatoes. If they are used at his restaurant he pays one rate – if at home, he pays another. That’s silly – but if later he uses half for his restaurant, his customers pay the higher rate and he makes more profit. That’s fraud. Multi-tier taxation is likely to cost more than it saves. It seems a good idea, but does it benefit the customer? History says “no”, at least in the UK. Much better to provide tax relief – and if you want to go after “the rich”, provide that relief only for those under a low declared income threshold. Mike Diggins, Royal Oak.
I was bemused to read the article “Sex-ed book a hot topic at libraries” (NZ Herald, July 31). Sex education’s always been a hot topic; I recently discovered one of my maternal great-grandmother’s aunts, a Dr Alice Vickery, was not only one of the first woman doctors in Britain and the British Empire, she was also a witness for the defence in the trial of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh over publishing and distributing one of the first English-language books on birth control, The Fruits of Philosophy, by Charles Knowlton. The charge was obscenity. I haven’t seen the book mentioned in the article, Welcome to Sex, but if it teaches respect along with the mechanical details, it will be better than leaving the children to pick up the details without respect. Wesley Parish, Tauranga.
Shane Te Pou (NZ Herald, July 30) cries foul against Kiri Allan’s detractors, saying, “some men in politics — and a few journalists — have been talking about her for weeks”. Claiming different standards were applied when Todd Muller resigned from the National Party leadership in 2020, Te Pou comments “unfortunately, while Muller was treated with dignity, it seems the same standards don’t apply to a queer Māori woman”. Talk about selective memory. Here’s a few clips from the media when Muller stood down. Claire Robinson, political commentator: “I think it shows how completely unprepared he was for the role. He obviously thought he was God’s gift to the National Party.” Bryce Edwards, political scientist: “He has never been able to take control of the narrative - the story around his own leadership. It really looked like he had played the situation very badly.” Even Winston Peters weighed in with comments about a divided and incompetent National caucus testing Muller beyond his powers. As Jacinda Ardern said at the time, “politics is a difficult place” but that’s why we pay MPs such big bucks to do the job. An old adage about heat and kitchens springs to mind, as does the one about glasshouses in Te Pou’s case. John Denton, Eskdale.
The National Party has now come out firmly against any expansion of the Auckland rail network and wants to increase the roads and numbers of cars and trucks instead which will just result in increasing congestion over the Auckland region. To get people and goods across Auckland’s suburbs is far quicker and far less congested and less polluted if one travels by train rather than motor vehicles such as cars and buses. Auckland’s biggest mistake was to get rid of the trams back in 1956. David Mairs, Glendowie.
Ted Joyce (NZ Herald, July 31) writes of his journey to success and retirement growing up as a Boomer in this land of plenty. A house and successful business paid for and sold. He claims that The Green Party and a wealth tax will take that away from him. The Green’s wealth tax isn’t retrospective Ted. No one is coming for your tax-free capital gains. Dave Stewart, Piripai.
I am disappointed to read that others dislike the food scraps bin initiative. We are a family of five and our rubbish consists of mainly food scraps as we cook almost every day and only order takeaways once a fortnight. We have been able to reduce the frequency of putting out our general waste blue bin from once a fortnight to once a month. It doesn’t take much effort at all to put our food scraps into a separate bin so that they can be put to good use instead of being sent to a landfill. A. Swaraj, Albany.
Short & sweet
So, $24 billion for roads and counting. Where’s the dosh coming from Mr Luxon? Obviously, not from the wealthy. Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
Near us in Western Bay District Council area, it is costing $23 million to upgrade 1.7km of two-lane road. Good luck to the National Party with its $6 billion for four-lane highways between Whangārei and Tauranga over the next 10 years. Wendy Galloway, Ōmokoroa.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is completely right in saying there is an “abundance” of talented people…unfortunately, very few are in Government. Ian Doube, Rotorua.
No aspect of war can be described as a game. Perhaps war exercise/practice/ may be more appropriate? Michael Taylor, Pāpāmoa Beach.
The Greens and Te Pati Māori’s tax policy is “if you have no money or assets and you do not work, you will pay no tax but you can get support”. I think I can see why this would be popular for some. Gary Carter, Gulf Harbour.
Why are the useful council scrap bins provoking peevish and querulous complaints? The bins are excellent, pop in your scraps and quit griping. Wendy Newton, Birkdale.
The Premium Debate
The key is economic growth, which requires increased productivity (higher-value goods and services), which requires better education. This country’s woke national curriculum (ie dumbed down so more pass and briefly feel good) is a disaster. Maths, English, science- then the nice to haves - the Chinese, Singaporeans and Japanese get this. Why can’t we? David G.
Our top talent is in the private sector. Yet our biggest business is running the country. How do we fix this? I’d suggest better pay and working conditions, for a start. Cut out the childish debates that waste so much life. Reduce party list MPs, and create greater accountability in general. Geoff N.
The keys are incentives and accountability. Clearly, there are too many list MPs. In the future, voters should get to rank them, not the parties. Ian U.
Why? As long as they publish the list before the election we can take it into account in our decision making. Nick P.
Easy answer, PM for the day, call a snap election. Mike B.
There’s no doubt Sir Ian has been incredibly successful and all power to him for that. He went down in my estimation with his posturing over the wealth tax. He says profits are important to a company and without money in the bank he wouldn’t have been able to support his team through Covid. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere. Kim B.