Multi-million dollar homes in New Zealand are now so common. And so are families struggling to put a meal on the table while owning a modest home is an impossible dream.
These multi-millionaires are the same people who were incensed at the suggestion of a wealth tax or even a capital gains tax. Labour, to their shame, was terrified of introducing a fair tax system in case they lost their popularity.
Very sad to see that New Zealand has become such a greedy society with such extreme inequality.
Vince West, Milford.
Pest patrol a valuable life lesson
I was interested in We're all Working on our Summer Holiday, about some high achiever's experiences. I'd like to contribute mine.
I grew up on a North Canterbury farm. About 1936 the white butterfly arrived in New Zealand. Farmers were unsure how it might affect them, so my mother offered me 3d for each dozen I caught. I soon found I could catch hundreds at sundown, sitting by the alfalfa plants in the paddock — and the price went down to 1d a hundred.
But I earned enough to buy a Shirley Temple song book, at 1/9d. And learnt that if I saved I could get the things I wanted.
Valmai Shearer, Remuera.
Pay fee upfront
It has come to my attention that virtually no one is paying the $3000 quarantine fees as they are all pleading hardship.
If the Government charged the fee on confirmation of a quarantine space this would ensure payment, reduce administration costs and quickly reduce the waiting time for people wanting to come to New Zealand and enter quarantine.
Currently, people entering quarantine are only sent the invoice once they have left the quarantine facility.
Jock MacVicar, Hauraki.
Looking at what is happening continually in other countries, particularly the UK, (or the US, with its manifest other problem) it is interesting to think through the partial lockdowns and quarantine breaches.
A complete lockdown puts everyone in the same boat, all working together to make it work, and no areas with lower restrictions. As we witnessed here, when there were differing levels of lockdown some people considered themselves more deprived, or "just wanted a little break" and stepped into the lower level nearby.
I don't think there has been a partial lockdown anywhere in the world that has been successful in reducing the virus, quite possibly due to human nature disliking discrimination, at a very basic level, as well as all the other political manifestations.
Partial lockdowns make great sense at a national economy level but when we are all in it together there is a huge shared sense of responsibility which is really what society is all about.
John Pezaro, Birkenhead.
Auckland DHB Board member Peter Davis defends the board's plan to restrict access for women seeking elective caesarean section on the basis of cost.
Given the concentration of private obstetricians practising in the area it is natural that this is where wealthier and, possibly, well-informed women will seek a caesarean. This decision smacks of envy, limiting the choice of the rich, otherwise why not simply raise prices?
The World Health Organisation has removed target caesarean rates as it could not find clinical justification for them. Evidently, neither can Davis, who should look at the costs of pelvic floor repair.
Auckland DHB's (National Women's) own website states "About one in 10 women who have had children require surgery for vaginal prolapse".
Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.
I am not sure it is necessary to have a study of why Kiwis toed the line in lockdown. As news spread about the new virus a lot of us were already wishing the powers that be would close the borders and felt frustrated that it took so long.
When it finally happened we were happy to comply with all other directives as they simply made sense. It did also help that Jacinda and Ashley were such clear and non-threatening communicators.
Anne Carroll, Henderson.
It is not so much a national disgrace that 320 people have drowned since 2009, but that so many people appear to have lost the ability to take responsibility for their own welfare and safety.
A previous article in the Herald observed that "not one single person had drowned at beaches between lifesavers' flags" (can't recall the time frame), and the next possible drowning situations are pools where parent supervision should prevail.
Dare I say that the steady march of our nanny state is as much to blame as anything — as we are beset by an ever increasing plethora of regulations that decree accidents cannot possibly happen.
Robert Burrow, Taupō.
With the latest reporting over the Christmas period of CEO salaries, the lack of empathy for the lower paid who generate that wealth is disturbing. Surely it must be time for our Government to review the rules around wealth and tax.
With outrageous salaries for the haves and the unliveable minimum wage for the have nots, rents increase above the rate of inflation as landlords pay ridiculous amounts for houses knowing the tenants will help pay for it and owners of multiple properties are unwilling to sell some until outside the taxable period.
Time for our leaders to not dither at the helm while NZ steers the wealthy in one direction and the poor in another. It's hard to believe a country once heralded for its egalitarianism has strayed so far off course.
James Archibald, Birkenhead.
Op shop revenue
Matt Nippert's Inside Story on church finances expressed in billions of dollar assets and millions in income together with 8000 paid staff, shows that big money has been, and is being extracted in the name of Christianity.
Most districts in New Zealand have their share of denominational charity and op shops, most of which generate substantial funds for churches and local charities. Unpaid volunteers create these revenues, so it would be of some interest to learn what contributions armies of paid members make to the multi million dollars of annual church revenues.
Recent Census figures show a Christian following of 37 per cent of the population and around 48 per cent claiming no religious affiliation.
Now would appear to be an opportune time for the major players in the marketing of Christianity to promote details of their active participation in the major social issues of our nation.
Why do the many denominations not seek economies of scale and combine operations. There is a limit to how many op shops can survive.
John Riley, Edgecumbe.
No test, no flight
Let's be honest, with NZ being an island nation with a natural moat, it hasn't been a difficult task to keep Covid at bay. But our "she'll be right" attitude will trip us up with these new strains that have faster rates of transmission.
It seems every other day we hear of five or six new Covid cases in managed isolation. We should initiate greater border control by demanding test results for everyone before they come to NZ. No test, no flight, no questions.
Let's manage what we can manage first.
Philip Cole, Waterview.
Some advice for the Commissioners to be appointed to run the Tauranga City Council. Hire some new, imaginative, creative and talented town planners.
The televised cricket from Mt Maunganui showed a skyline of ugly industrial high rise developments, a feature of the district as a whole.
Added to this are the second rate council-owned reserve spaces and community infrastructure.
Past developer-lead councils have short-changed ratepayers.
The misuse of ratepayer-funded depreciation reserves for the renewal of underground pipes and sewers coupled with excessive council debt looks like making it a long road back.
I shudder to think of the future rates increases needed to sort out the mess.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Short & sweet
The mad, cruel Emperor Nero famously fiddled while Rome burned. Now President Trump golfs while America descends into chaos.
Ron Hoares, Wellsford.
Voicing concern for sustainability is false posturing, so long as our economy is increasingly dependent on exchanging the eternal fruits from our land for short lifespan consumable trinkets that degrade and then need land for disposal.
Kenneth Lees, Whangārei.
Larry Tompkins ( Herald December 28) is not quite right. Little was said about the previous government because it did little to comment about. The minor players he refers to managed to keep reckless spending in check and he should not be surprised if they bounce back in 2023.
A J Petersen, Kawerau.
I wonder if politicians / bureaucrats will ever learn two basic facts about almost every infrastructure project — "it will never be cheaper than now" and "too little, too late".
Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
Can someone please explain how the proposed Penlink is to be "future proofed" or at least explain what future proofing means. The planned design still looks like a too small, two lane road that will be at peak times a very long parking area.
Jim Radich, Red Beach.