Auckland house prices are surging again and with it comes increasing unaffordability issues. This is good news for most home owners and awful news for young Kiwi families saving to buy their first
home. No surprise here.
The latest surge has nothing to do with the economy or immigration, both of which have been slowing. And the rich foreign buyers are gone too.
This price escalation is solely the result of the Reserve Bank slashing the OCR. This meant our senior citizens could no longer live off the interest on their savings so are being forced to buy income-bearing assets. Hence the surge in the sharemarket too. What is surprising is the Labour Government's stance on the issue. They have been happy to stand by and allow this to happen. They maintain it is a Reserve Bank matter. This is a huge "cop-out".
Fiscal and economic policy should be a cohesive matter between the Reserve Bank and the Finance Ministry. Auckland's Affordability Index will inevitably now move up to around the same level as when Labour last campaigned on a platform of moral outrage over housing unaffordability.
It will be interesting to see who they blame at the forthcoming election when any good they have done in this area over the last two years is thrown away in a matter of weeks.
Derek Wallwork, Takapuna.
• Reserve Bank keeps official cash rate at 1.0 per cent
• Weak inflation outlook could be enough to convince the Reserve Bank to cut the OCR
• OCR: NZ dollar spikes after RBNZ leaves interest rates unchanged at 1 per cent
• Final interest rate call of 2019 has markets guessing
Climate change has occurred before, and will occur again, as the world continues on its ice age/hot periods cycle. Modern humans were not around the last time this environmental cycle was at the same point, and our predecessors are not here to tell us what it was like.
Instead of uselessly agonising over who/what is to blame, we should be busy making sensible preparations for the warmer future.
Pamela Russell, Orakei.
I agree with Andrew Tichbon (NZ Herald, February 24) in respect of his views about the "all too early release" of fraudster David Ross.
The financial losses suffered by his many victims are permanent, while his punishment, by comparison, appears inadequate.
I disagree, however, as to where the responsibility lies in respect to these losses.
Ross, as I understand it, promised his investors a 10 per cent return with little or no indication of where this would come from and what the risks of this not happening would be.
Ross was not a member of the established financial advisory community, as he operated without oversight or professional accountability. His investors clearly did not carry out a level of due diligence but were content to believe his lies and did not prescribe to the adage "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is".
In my view, the losses should lie with the investors (victims), and while they should recoup what they can from Ross, they should not expect the financial community or the public at large to cover their losses.
The learning from the Ross saga is the need for the investing public to increase its understanding of how investment markets work and the risk/reward trade-off. It also further confirms the justification for the regulation of those providing financial advice.
G J Moyle, Financial Planning NZ Ltd.
Down the drain
Watercare in NZ Herald on Monday morning said: "Water is precious".
Go to Godley Rd in Green Bay. A water main has been gushing into the gutter for two weeks. Watercare's answer was that it doesn't have enough crews to deal with it at this time.
Glad we don't have an unemployment issue in Auckland ... oh yeah.
Debra Blake, Green Bay.
Ashley Church (NZ Herald, February 24) makes neoliberal arguments, calling Labour's "unmitigated disasters" a reason they will come second to National. Time magazine has refuted this, pointing out the many family-friendly and social policies already in place by this government.
Examples of things done are; a fast response to disasters (Christchurch and White Island) with reform of gun laws within days; environmentally positive policies include banning plastic bags, planting 140 million trees, setting zero emission targets, investing in rail and electric cars. For families, paid extended parental leave and finally getting houses built and laws passed making rentals safe, warm and clean. Infrastructure building has shifted on from planning. Remember the hundreds of bridges Bridges promised in the north? Not one built.
The scandal of poverty resulting from social policy of National's terms cannot be quickly sorted. If people remember the "do nothing" National government they will vote to give Labour a chance to fix our broken society.
Frankie Letford, Hamilton.
Commentator Ashley Church is incorrect when he states that parties that "won" the Election between 1975 and 2014 went on to form a government.
In 1978, Labour got 40.4 per cent of the vote, National, 39.8 per cent, in 1981, Labour got 39.0 per cent compared to National's 38.8 per cent.
National "won" these elections on seats, not total votes. It was Labour that received more votes.
Labour missed on two elections, there was no majority winner.
1978 and 1981 were the same as 2014, more people voted for parties other than National.
The electoral system is much fairer now, but National certainly did not "win" in 2017.
Rob Utting, Waiuku.
So the US wants "like-minded" countries to help it control a region from "Hollywood to Bollywood and from polar bears to penguins" (NZ Herald, February 24).
Why would we sign up to that? We are a nuclear-free nation, proud signatory to the 2017 Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty and upholder of the UN Human Rights Charter. The US has perfected drone warfare and its president sees nothing wrong with taking out a "bad guy" on foreign soil, completely contrary to international law. America already has an ever-expanding military reach, including some 80 foreign bases at last count. China has one.
Ominously, it seems we may already be helping the US with its newly launched Space Force, which Trump boasts will ensure the US can prevail in "the world's newest war-fighting domain".
Rocket Lab has launched payloads to support the work of US defence and intelligence agencies such as DARPA, the US Defence Advance Research projects Agency.
We are spending over $2 billion on Poseidon P8-A anti-submarine planes that will co-ordinate with Guam's recently acquired Triton surveillance drone and the US 7th Fleet. Do we really want "inter-operability" with the US' plans for global dominance?
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert.
Et tu, Latin?
First it was the Concert Programme, now the bean counters are trying to dumb down education with eliminating Latin, Classical Studies and Art History from Level 1 NCEA.
They seem to want compliant employees to the detriment of well-rounded, thinking citizens. Is this what we want?
George Orwell had something to say about this kind of thing.
Geoff Barlow, Remuera.
M A Pollock (NZ Herald, February 24) suggests that interference in the US election from Putin's Russia must be impartial as he says, "the US Intelligence Committee suggests they are equally helping Senator Sanders".
The reason for that has nothing to do with Russian hackers being impartial. Far from it.
Bernie Sanders, is seen by Trump and his supporters as the easiest candidate to beat, if he becomes the Democrats' choice for the next US election.
A Sanders candidacy will almost definitely ensure four more years for Trump in November.
John Watkins, Remuera.
From now until September, I think the only sections of my Herald I'll be reading will be Viva, Sideswipe, The Monday Column, the Family Notices and Canvas, mainly for the cryptic crosswords. And maybe the odd sex scandal.
It's Parliamentary Election Pantomime time ("Oh yes he did! Oh no he didn't! Look behind you!") and my budget will not run to the quantity of salt I'd need to take pinches of.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
Fuel me twice
Australia seems to accept "bush fire season" as a given, like the monsoons or the inevitability of seasonal change in some regions. Surely bush fires are not an inevitability. This may be a naive and a non-botanically feasible idea but couldn't sustained, concerted and ongoing replacement of gum trees with non flammable species be possible? Israel converted desert to arable land. Getting rid of gum trees could be a start.
It's a wonder that the colonisers from different parts of the world didn't do this or maybe they started to, but did not continue.
Removing incendiary material seems so obvious, what's stopping it?
Barbara Matthews, Onehunga.
Short & sweet
The three-headed Coalition Government was never going to agree to subsidies to make electric vehicles cheaper as only the wealthy can afford them and collectively they dislike the wealthy. Mike Baker, Tauranga.
How refreshing to read of mum-of-three and her husband (NZ Herald, February 24) setting routine and rules for their young children around sleep and bedtime. Start them young, and it continues for life. D Cook, Torbay.
Barely a ripple on the recent decision to stop cricket commentaries from next season. Surveys show more listen to the cricket than Concert FM. How's that? Tim Masters, Waihi Beach.
M A Pollock's letter (NZ Herald, February 24) on the unbalanced view of American politics in the liberal monopoly of the NZ media, could not be more correct. A writer some time ago suggested that even taking his "unique" persona into account, if Trump walked on water the headline would be "Trump Can't Swim". June Kearney, West Harbour.
Steven Lockwood (NZ Herald, February 22) from Tasmania asks if New Zealand doesn't want Jacinda anymore can Australia have her? Let's do this – it will improve the governance of both countries. Peter Mayall, Tamahere.
Harvey Weinstein has been seen attending court using a walker following back surgery. Were the doctors trying (unsuccessfully) to insert a backbone? Maxine Samson, Whakatāne.
New Zealanders, whatever their socio-economic standing, should not ask our government for favours but for opportunities. Richard Carey, Whangaparāoa.