Righting a wrong
National and Act have strongly denounced the Government's purchase of the contested land at Ihumātao. They say that it will open up a can of worms for more Treaty claims on, "private,"
land in the future.
This piece of land was confiscated by the British settler government from the original owners in 1863, despite that iwi not being in rebellion against the Crown at the time.
Mr Seymour and Mr Mitchell, would do well to ponder that fact, while pontificating about the need to "respect" the sanctity of private property.
As far as I'm concerned, a wrong is being righted, end of story.
John. S. Watkins, Remuera.
The Laura Fergusson Trust has housed disabled young adults for 50 years. Victoria Carter (NZ Herald, December 21) reveals the bleak reality when a board loses that vision and becomes secretive, unaccountable to its public owners and out of touch.
If 45, purpose-built units are sitting empty, Chris O'Brien must resign and the board be replaced by a fresh, innovative professional team that understands its core business and recaptures Lady Fergusson's dream for the vulnerable disabled.
New Zealand has a wealth of young women who could run with her vision.
Mary Tallon, Takapuna.
David Schnauer's article (NZ Herald, December 18) ignores the prime cause of NZ's savings dilemma, which is politics.
He compares Australia's compulsory superannuation with our voluntary one but does not mention the compulsory scheme that the Labour Government instituted in 1974 and which Muldoon scrapped a year later.
A dreadful political decision, announced on December 15, 1975, transformed New Zealand from the potential Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere into a low-ranking OECD economy.
Without this decision we would now be called "The Antipodean Tiger" and be the envy of the rest of the world. We would have a current account surplus, one of the lowest interest-rate structures in the world and would probably rank as one of the top five OECD economies.
Most New Zealanders would face a comfortable retirement and would be the envy of their Australian peers. The Government would have a substantial Budget surplus and we would have one of the best educational and healthcare systems in the world."
Politics is the sole reason for our lack of savings and the refusal to correct this situation continues this political weakness to the detriment of all New Zealanders.
Robin McGrath, Forrest Hill.
Fifty years ago, Parliament set up a system for abortion based on mental health grounds with certifying doctors. Refusals were rare and everyone knew it was a charade.
Now we are faced with a situation where those declined caesarean section on obstetric grounds are using private psychiatrists to overturn the hospital's decision. Unfortunately, psychiatric prediction is highly subjective except that, as with abortion, one knows the vast majority of women will cope.
To stop the misuse of psychiatry the hospital should appoint its own assessors under the supervision of women's health liaison psychiatrists.
John Werry, Emeritus Professor, University of Auckland.
In view of several police car chases that have resulted in crashes and deaths, I see merit that, in future, chases will be abandoned or not be made at all.
However, I am absolutely amazed that at the same time changing the penalty for not obeying a police order to stop seems to have been totally overlooked, which makes an almost complete nonsense of the policy change.
I completely fail to understand the logic of this. If the police call upon a driver to stop, then this should be obeyed and failure to do so carry a severe penalty, including loss of licence for a considerable period.
In most cases the registration of the offending vehicle has been recorded, so tracing this should not be difficult. It seems the original change in policy has not been properly reviewed, which definitely is not good enough and we should expect much better from those responsible.
Phil Hickling, Pāpāmoa Beach.
John Caldwell (NZ Herald, December 18) suggests lowering income taxes and increasing GST, as it is the tax that captures everyone.
I suggest that all income tax be abolished in favour of increasing GST to a level that makes up the difference. This would probably require a GST increase to about 40 per cent.
Of course, such a move would unfairly impact the working poor and beneficiaries but we already have the mechanisms to compensate (Working for Families, rent subsidies, etc).
With no personal income being taxed, much of the heat would be removed from the housing market as the tax advantage has been neutralised. More balance would be brought to investment decisions leading to more capital being made available for business and industry instead of being tied up in unproductive real estate speculation. Hard work becomes incentivised as everything earned is "take-home pay". The individual consumer will have discretion over how much tax they pay as they make their purchase decisions. Those with more discretionary spending capacity will pay more tax.
GST is a simple tax to administer, so the cost savings for IRD would be considerable.
George Williams, Whangamatā.
Though it's sad that people will have to move out of their houses to make way for new roads like the Mill Rd extension in South Auckland (NZ Herald, December 18), they aren't the ones we should really feel sorry for. At least they will be compensated and their legal and valuation costs reimbursed. They will be able to move on with their lives.
The worst affected will be those left behind with a four-lane highway as a new neighbour. They don't qualify for any compensation and their house values will most likely decline. This is an unfair situation that the Public Works Act should be amended to address.
Jon Addison, Milford.
According to published information from OECD, NZ spends 6.4 per cent of its GDP on education whilst Singapore with the similar population spends less than 3 per cent.
Yet Singapore 8-year olds consistently topped the international TIMSS assessment tests in mathematics and science, whilst NZ is currently ranked 40th place for maths and 16th place for science.
Should the government send a study group to Singapore to find out how their education system produces such excellent results?
George Lim, Remuera.
Thank you for Emily Baragwanath's article (NZ Herald, December 16) on the relevance of learning Latin, and the marvellous follow-up letter from Sandra Burgering.
Far from being "useless" and "dead", Latin has been found to be a great training ground for computer coding, mathematics equations, general logic and thinking skills, as well as opening up our minds and imagination to more wonders than can be enumerated.
Every sentence has to be correct in form. The verbs must be right for their conjugation, (there are four of them) tense, and person, as well as singular or plural. Nouns have to fit the verb with the correct declension (there are five of them) using the correct case (subject, object, etc, there are six such) and number (singular or plural again) and then the words have to be in one only allowable order.
So, it is exciting to juggle this word form to perfection as the brain whirrs away being trained for modern requirements.
It is most troubling that education movements come and go, cancelling opportunities such as this, for our children to learn while their brains are young and plastic.
It is marvellous to hear of 80-year-olds getting the point of learning Latin, but really, can't we return it again to younger school-age children?
Christine Keller Smith, Northcote Pt.
A bad year?
We must be getting soft. When I was very young in the UK, the Germans bombed us every night, there was very little to eat due to strict rationing and the power only came on occasionally.
The menfolk were absent, having gone to war, and many did not return for six years. Others did not return at all.
We endured for six long years. All of them, I might say, much worse than 2020.
David H Fisher, Howick.
Lake Rd fixed
I have the solution to the Lake Rd upgrade.
They can have the extra $53 million required to turn it into a four-lane highway by allocating all the funds AT is going to squander on the Ponsonby Rd "upgrade".
The $100 million and overruns can be safely hidden in the RLTP outside council's budget.
That way Auckland Council, North Shore and Ponsonby residents will all be happy.
David Johnson, Herne Bay.
There are an unpleasant few who make our lives a misery by riding extremely noisy motorbikes, driving loud cars with boom boxes on board and generally, going out of their way to force their noise into the community.
Can this problem not be policed or must we endure this antisocial behaviour simply because an inconsiderate few don't care a fig about others?
Time for change.
Trish Watt, Kohimarama.
Short & sweet
There is a very good reason that there is so much emphasis on culture in our education system. While the whole school community is happily occupied singing and dancing, no one notices that the children are not actually getting an education in the essential subjects, such as maths. Ashley Clarke, Beach Haven.
I question David Schnauer's contention (NZ Herald, December 18) that productive investment in NZ is constrained by a shortage of savings. If it's true that productive investment is depressed, it would be because of a lack of aggregate demand, not a savings shortage. Robert Myers, Auckland Central.
Who knew Emirates were such good sailors? Malcolm Hinton, Hamilton.
For four days TVNZ wasted an amazing opportunity to showcase greater Auckland and NZ to the world, with spectacular views of the whole country between races. Instead just mindless, fill-in studio chatter. Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
Why can't the Christmas Cup races just be postponed until a day when the winds are strong enough to sail in, rather than just being cancelled? A massive amount of taxpayers' money has gone into these events. Chris Blenkinsopp, Beach Haven.
Could we not run the Speed Skiing World Championships from the back of these America's Cup yachts as well and kill off two tournaments in one go? Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
We haven't heard much from Winston Peters of late, could it be that he's busy preparing his memoirs in support of a New Year's knighthood? Mike Cook, Clyde.
It's ironic that we worry about a takeover from China. We're safe from that, Australia will never sell assets to China. Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.