Elephant in the housing market
People complain about the restrictions placed on property investors being the cause of a shortage of affordable rental property and folk living in motels. I fail to see the reasoning behind that notion.
They are only buying houses that first home buyers would be buying and are not miraculously plucking a new house out of thin air as they would have us believe. The end result is the first home buyer instead ends up paying the investors' mortgage and other costs on the house they should have bought.
All we have is a merry go round where a set number of houses are traded amongst a growing population.
The investor is buying to get the capital gain because other investments don't offer the same growth, then puts the spin on that he is doing the world a favour by renting it out.
The elephant in the room is the rampant population increases we had in recent years. During these years nearly 1 million people were allowed into NZ but no housing or other things like hospitals were provided to cope with a 20 per cent population increase.
In fact Bill English did his best to wind housing and health care down in the name of balancing the books. While he was doing that John Key was doing his best to flood the country with more people.
The solution to the current situation is to curb immigration while we catch up and perhaps get ahead with the supply of housing and hospitals etc.
Gordon Walker, Piopio.
The Covid-19 Response Minister's response to suggestions that New Zealand is being left behind is totally unacceptable and frankly we deserve better than such flippancy.
The real answer is that the government has had many months to prepare and has done a woeful job. There was never a need to wait for the vaccine before starting the preparation.
The other issue of note about which we have heard nothing from any responsible member of the government relates to the work being done by a number of countries to produce a so-called Covid-19 passport.
An International Certificate of Vaccination provided and supported by the World Health Organisation shows I was vaccinated for typhoid, and yellow fever in 2005 as well as subsequently for tetanus; I also required smallpox protection the first time I went to the US. Why do we continue to reinvent the wheel?
Rod Lyons, Muriwai.
Rugby legislators and adjudicators are ripping rugby followers off in terms of value for money. The abominable delays at scrum time are already well-documented. Stopping the clock at scrums till a successful resumption has occurred would be a simple change to the laws (as in rugby league) but no, not required apparently. However it gets worse. At Eden Park on Saturday, there were several stoppages when discussions about goodness knows what went on. Did the referee stop the clock during these? No. But the ultimate farce occurred when the home team scored and the visitors held a conference behind their goal line for a couple of minutes while the home team waited for the resumption.
Twice the referee beckoned to the visitors to get cracking and twice they ignored him. He only stopped the clock when they finally returned to the kick-off mark, saving about three seconds. And we keep reading about how much rugby is in trouble.
Colin Nicholls, Mt Eden.
Isn't it time Richard Prebble and Stephen Joyce realised that they have had their day, that they were unimpressive then, and that what they now think is irrelevant?
There is nothing more tiresome than a politician who cannot accept that his "wisdom" is no longer needed.
Sylvia Burch, Kerikeri.
Street of shame
For the first time in nearly 20 years I drove up Queen St, Auckland.
What a shambles. What a mess. Masses of poured concrete for buses to stop at. Huge white concrete blocks to block off parts of the road. Traffic lights that go green for 10 seconds, allowing three cars at a time to proceed (in my case) up Queen St.
What happened to the four lanes of years ago for buses and cars to share the road? If the council wants people to come back to Auckland Central they're certainly going about it the wrong way. And why would one want to come back, and spend nearly 25 minutes getting to the top of Queen St/Karangahape Rd?
I don't think I'll ever be back this way again.
Brian Henman, Algies Bay.
Beggars and bollards
It isn't simply a matter of removing the bollards and widening the road to restore the fortune of Auckland's Queen St. The Council and police will need to get serious and ship out the "homeless" beggars that make life miserable for all.
Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.
Take the chair
Amen to Ken Graham's letter. It should be mandatory for city councillors to access Newmarket in a wheelchair, from the top of Morgan St for example, and see how they cope with broken curbs, garbage bins sprawled across narrow thoroughfares, sudden scooters, leaking drains and unexpected obstacles at every turn. And everywhere those cones — signifying nothing.
M. Tallon, Auckland.
Train of thought
Regarding light rail, the narrative is "light rail to the airport" that Labour needs to deliver on and NZ First blocked them from doing last year. It is a bit more nuanced than that. Currently the large scale densification of Mt Roskill will need light rail infrastructure to cope and Aucklanders want rail to the airport. One is intra-urban mass transit light rail and the other is inter-suburban rapid heavy rail. Last year this was promoted as one system which couldn't work. A train full of airport and Māngere folk at the start of Dominion Rd would negate the purpose of it from there. This was something that no journalist challenged or politician explained.
Hopefully, this Minister will see that light rail will be needed, unimpeded, on Dominion and possibly Sandringham Rd. but the airport would be best served by extending the heavy rail connection from Onehunga.
Niall Robertson, Chair, Public Transport Users Association, Balmoral.
Winston Peters is right. The light rail project will turn out to be an extremely costly fiasco. It will make the Transmission Gully project look like plain sailing.
I would have thought a fleet of electrified "bendy buses" could achieve pretty much all the rail option offers at a fraction of the cost and be far more efficient.
Most cities in New Zealand tore up the tram tracks 60 years ago because of their inherent limitations and replaced them with buses.
Imagine what's going to happen when rail has its first fatality — the entire system will come to halt while the various regulatory bodies investigate the causes. Will barriers then be necessary for the whole length of the tracks in order to prevent people from attempting to cross them ?
Use the money saved to build a second harbour bridge instead.
Chris Tompkins, New Plymouth.
Pay as you go
Our Government is much too soft. Australian woman Lucinda Baulch — rather than we taxpayers — needs to pay her own MIQ bills seeing it was her own idea not to have a Covid test.
Pamela Russell, Orakei.
Zoned for housing
When land becomes zoned "residential" the increase in price is not due to any effort by the owners but by the decision of a local authority. Therefore such land should first be acquired by the local authority under the public works act or similar legislation which would enable it to supply land for state (and other public) housing and use the profits towards the necessary infrastructure such as roads and services.
Bob van Ruyssevelt, Glenfield.
Short & sweet
Despite constant pressure from the business community most people don't want the borders opened. Is it Covid-fear, or something else?
B Darragh, Auckland Central.
Being in the at-risk Counties Manukau DHB area and over 70, I phoned my GP's practice to find out when I might expect a Covid vaccination. They had no idea and have not been given any indication of when this might occur. I note "special" politicians not in the "at risk" category are getting theirs. Is this a case of visuals for the media but far less actual accomplishment?
Michael Sommerville, Beachlands.
So a 91-year-old in a serious condition waits hours for an ambulance, then later dies. Perhaps the government that wasted $70 million on a failed Pike River recovery effort, could have used that money to help finance the ambulance services in this country, to save lives. So disheartening.
C Bennett, Kohimarama.
In an article in Saturday's Herald, Troy Bowker suggests Labour is against property investors. Has he not understood the need to reduce the impact of property speculators and ease the market access for those looking to buy a residence? Very few don't understand the logic of this. No need to feel sorry for portfolio investors standing in the way of a broader ownership of residences for New Zealanders.
Frank Olsson, Freemans Bay.