NZ's rust belt
Regarding history and critical thinking teaching in light of your excellent editorial "We need wise words and wiser heads" (NZ Herald, December 23), debate about the delivery of such is crucial. And
BBC's US correspondent Nick Bryant – who has a PhD in history – put those "rusted on" to support Donald Trump at 42 per cent. The fact that neither of their 150-year-old parties in their two-party system had policies for the "rust belt" most affected by Congress inaction, Nick believes, explains much of the frustration felt by "blue-collar" workers.
One hundred million Americans did not vote. Many now call for Federal-led compulsory teaching of civics at high school level, as in the UK.
So whether 82 per cent of New Zealand teachers self-report as already teaching colonisation, the real question for us with the second-highest number of ethnic minorities and a now-expected five-year secondary education, is how when making anything 100 per cent to make it interesting at any level.
Billy Te Kahika's following here, like viewing the First Light channel, shows it is not just "rust belts" that have fundamentalists with reactionary views – or those ignorant of thinking frameworks, plus citizenry information and obligations.
Steve Liddle, Napier.
"2020 hindsight" used to be an ironic compliment aimed at superior knowledge derived solely from looking back (something we can all do). Even so, hindsight is at least a source of knowledge, even though the learning process is lazy.
From now, however, "2020 hindsight" no longer refers to any kind of learning at all. The past is now something to arrogantly and unjustly misjudge to reinforce the vilification of the new moral outliers – men, white people, heterosexuals, Christians, people over 45, business people, farmers, meat-eaters, smokers, motorists and, I suppose, some others I haven't thought of.
2020 is when we stopped wanting to learn.
Gavan O'Farrell, Lower Hutt.
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority has been given the go-ahead by the High Court to remove exotic trees on Ōwairaka/Mt Albert and "restore" the maunga by planting natives.
When the exotics are felled would be the best time to do a proper restoration by reconstructing the quarried-away conical summit.
This iconic peaked cone was unique in Auckland. It could be restored using the city's demolition and excavation debris and rock at minimal cost. This should happen before native trees are replanted. Such a restoration would be consistent with the Auckland Unitary Plan (B4.2.1) and Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan. The latter states "Investigate opportunities to restore the landform … modified through inappropriate activities and use in the past."
Bruce W. Hayward, Meadowbank.
Unless a judicial review decision is appealed, the authority managing Auckland's maunga will have the legal right to chainsaw down half the forest on Ōwairaka/ Mt Albert.
Three hundred and forty-five trees, including olive and cherry groves, macrocarpa, oaks, claret ash and Japanese cedar will be cut down and replaced with mainly ground cover and shrubs.
Many of these trees are more than 100 years old and have been planted by schools and local community who have a long history with this area.
Ōwairaka is also home to tūī, ruru, kererū and even a kākā.
The promised pūriri forest is yet to eventuate, as of the pūriri planted, only one small specimen has survived.
Ōwairaka has strong spiritual significance to many iwi, including some outside Auckland, whose ancestor Wairaka is the namesake – and some feel that this functioning ecosystem should not be damaged.
DoC has also voiced concern at removing the protective canopy of exotic trees and the time frame for replacement natives to grow.
This prohibitively expensive deforestation should be halted - given the global warming crisis and the fact that Auckland Council and the Labour Government have declared a climate emergency.
John Clark, Glen Eden.
Oak and pōhutukawa
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA) has deliberately set out to disrupt long-standing links communities have with their maunga.
Vehicular access to Mt Victoria in Devonport has been severely restricted.
The plinth that supported the erection of an Easter cross and Christmas star on Mt Roskill for more than 50 years has been arbitrarily removed.
Now, the residents of Mt Albert are being threatened with the removal of much-loved mature trees.
The oak and the pōhutukawa have long thrived together in New Zealand.
The TMA's attitude is regressive, short-sighted and counter-productive to the rapprochement it was set up to foster.
Cam Calder, Devonport.
It seems like good news, well sort of. Electricity providers are apparently not now poised to put up the cost of domestic electricity for the consumer. That has to be good, doesn't it?
Of course, the prompt payment discount is being totally removed. In effect, those who used to make prompt payments will now have to pay considerably more than they are used to doing.
There are those who say it is much fairer, especially for those who could not usually afford to pay on time to claim the prompt payment rebate. I don't know about that. I just know it will cost me more and I still expect to get the "hurry up" letters if I do not pay by what used to be the "prompt payment date".
It will be even harder for beneficiaries to make ends meet in this post-Covid (surely, an oxymoron) commercial environment.
Dennis Pennefather, Te Awamutu.
The Australian Super Fund's prospective takeover of NZ corporate Infratil has highlighted the massive savings pool accumulated in superannuation funds across the Tasman, $3000 billion by comparison to our meagre $100 billion, it is concerning.
The cause, Norman Kirk's inspired savings scheme of the 1970s, was pillaged by the Muldoon government. Had it matured, it would suffice today to meet most retirement needs, seek investment options or compete with foreign investors, instead our savings culture is woefully inadequate. A further Achilles heel, banking favours house lending at the expense of a commercial sector starved of capital, consequently we own the costly houses and foreign interests own an increasing amount of our productive base who in turn repatriate the profits, an act detrimental to our affluence.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
I am well aware that judges today are constrained by screeds of namby-pamby rules introduced by successive governments to coddle culprits who prey on the public.
But, after reading paragraph upon paragraph outlining the callous venality of Rodney McCall (NZ Herald, December 29), how on earth is 12 months' home detention going to persuade him to change the errors of his ways?
Tony Potter, Remuera.
This serial conman ripped off elderly clients to the extent of $70,000 - spent on gambling, booze, rent, etc, etc. He got 12 months' home detention.
Kiwifruit picking pays $22 an hour. Maybe he should have been sentenced to 3000 hours on a kiwifruit farm working 24/7 until he had paid back the $70k.
Garry Wycherley, Awakino.
There is a simple answer to providing State houses, helping first-home buyers and addressing child poverty.
Increase the Bright Line test to 10 years.
Give all state tenants the right to buy their rental with a 20 per cent off the valuation. The price can be further reduced by subdividing off any surplus land with the state retaining ownership. Mortgage interest would be fixed at 2 per cent for the duration of the Bright Line test. No deposit required.
Sell the mortgages to a financial organisation.
Use the funds to build new state homes, starting with the cost-free subdivided land.
There are many advantages, including the sudden upgrade of rental stock to the standard of private rentals. State tenants purchasing their rental can choose to upgrade and they
become a huge number of first home buyers.
All housing costs go towards buying their own home, are affordable (due to the generous
purchase arrangements) and are fixed for 10 years.
Increases in wages over time provide real spending benefits for these families.
There is no huge upfront money needed to kick off this scheme. A win-win for all concerned.
Trevor Elwin, Half Moon Bay.
Jacinda Ardern's compassion and world-wide acclamation following the Christchurch massacre had a profound effect on New Zealand's self-image.
When she and Ashley Bloomfield asked the country to act together to protect one another, it was simple to follow the urging of people who obviously wanted the very best for our people.
Sue Otto, Whangārei.
I believe the decision to close Laura Fergusson (NZ Herald, December 21) is a tragedy for the disabled. They used to do such a great job.
My sister, Sharon Ryan, lived there for many years. Sharon had spina bifida. She never walked.
When she moved to Laura Fergusson it was a new life for her. She had her own apartment, meals supplied in the communal dining room and, when she needed assistance, it was on hand.
For the first time in her life, she had some independence.
She lived there for many years. She was so happy there.
Sadly her health deteriorated and she had to go to a hospital where she got more assistance.
Please, keep Laura Fergusson open and available to help disabled people.
Bernie Culpan, St Heliers.
Short & sweet
Knowing how important sharks are for a healthy marine ecosystem, I wonder at people who presume eating shark fin soup can be good for one's wellbeing (NZ Herald, December 29). Surely knowing your food is part of a sustainable cycle is better for your health? Wendy Pettersen, Devonport.
I'm not surprised the Tūpuna Maunga Authority did not consult about cutting down all the beautiful exotic trees on Mt Albert. The result of that would be obvious. " What?! Have you gone completely mad?" Something along those lines. Karl van de Water, Maungaturoto.
The lack of usability and sheer never-ending complications of the Spark Sports App to watch NZ cricket is an expensive, unacceptable, disgrace, which continues unabated.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
So many foods come in plastic with no recycling logo on them. Enquiries to manufacturers often result in, "Yes, you can recycle our packaging." So why is there no logo clearly on display? Come on - it's 2020. R Howell, Onehunga.
The American electoral system and time to transition from one President to the next provides the environment for chaos, for example, Al Gore and George Bush. Nick Bridges, Kerikeri.
D. Trump: You're fired. He who laughs last ... Tony Sullivan, St Heliers.
For 2020 heroes, I nominate the people who delivered my Herald throughout the various lockdowns. Unknown and unseen, they did a great job. Nick Hamilton, Remuera.