At last, someone has noticed (Simon Wilson, Canvas, December 11) that Auckland has the ideal opportunity, right at its front door to build an iconic building (at Wynyard Point). Like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (which I have visited, just to see the building and galleries - stunning), and the Sydney Opera House, Auckland could do nothing but benefit by having this piece of land dedicated to a building with style and panache, something instantly recognisable as being in Auckland.
Some years ago the then Auckland Mayor organised for citizens to meet to discuss what should be done with the Tank Farm. What boiled down out of those meetings was the idea that an iconic building should be at the most prominent part, viewed by arriving ships, and international flights, and of course the North Shore. Sadly, nothing has filtered down from those hours we spent in discussion.
My suggestion is that the design of such a building be put out to international tender, to elicit the most remarkable modern building, which will anchor Auckland and its harbour. No cake tins for rugby I say, but a statement building Auckland will be recognised for, globally, as the Opera House is to Sydney, and the Guggenheim to Bilbao.
Priscilla Taylor, Auckland.
Correspondent John Collinge (Herald, December 15) is right in that there is no alternative to capitalism (i.e. saving for reserves, trading and investment) when creating anything on the material level not for immediate consumption and for maintaining civilisation.
But as free-market liberalism has resulted in widening socio-economic polarisation into haves and have-nots, could that not be reversed by a strengthened national effort of collective and personal wealth ownership creative savings factor built into our taxation and welfare system, such as modestly has been initiated already through the NZ Super Fund and KiwiSaver?
A higher rate of income tax exclusively for productivity and incomes generating wealth ownership creation is likely to become politically more popular than increased taxes for redistribution only on widening welfare demands.
Jens Meder, Point Chevalier
John Collinge claims that there is no alternative to capitalism. Is he not aware that the Scandinavian countries and others like New Zealand have found an alternative many years ago? The only country left that still practices full-blown capitalism is the United States which suffers from a huge inequality of wealth. According to Swiss world wealth reports published annually, the US has a higher proportion of its population living in poverty than China. The recent Covid death rate per million of population in the US, which is hundreds of times worse than NZ, is mainly due to capitalism not providing medical facilities for the less wealthy. Capitalism is well and truly on the way out as a system of governing countries for the benefit of their citizens.
David Mairs, Glendowie.
The inequalities in New Zealand, whether based on race, wealth or any other metric, have been well documented.
Ultimately, Labour and National, being the two major political parties, are responsible for the ongoing problems that the country still faces. With so much of the country's "wealth", tied up in housing, that both of them have encouraged, via the tax system, maybe that is where change is needed the most.
Why have the income tax bands stayed the same for so long, not raising them to reflect inflation is just another "stealth" tax that affects the less well off the most? Why have GST on basic food items, when removing it, would benefit the poorer members of society the most? If you get taxed on earned income and unearned income (i.e.share dividends), why not on unearned capital gains (excluding the family home)?
Money is of more value to the poor in need than the rich in their plenty.
Frank Fordham, Bayview.
Once again we see an example of a group of small-minded people throwing their weight around to get what they want. St Martin's School in Christchurch seems to have done its best to adhere to the rules around gatherings under Covid restrictions by limiting attendance at its Christmas concert to 100 people. The school asked that only one person from a family attend and that vaccine proof was needed.
Then along came the grinches who decided to spoil the pleasure of others by asking what the school's legal basis was for asking that proof of vaccination be shown. The school, rather than face a confrontation, pulled the plug on audience attendance and the concert went ahead without any parents.
The group must have got a great feeling of satisfaction from their action but the ones they hurt the most were the children. Children don't understand that sort of adult pettiness and, although the concert went ahead, the excitement of having someone from their family watching was taken away from them.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
Call in McLaren
Grant Dalton has done a great job over many years, especially raising funds. But what are all the shenanigans going on about a venue? I thought, legally, the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron is the holder of the Cup, not Team NZ. Am I correct?
If so why is Team NZ/Dalton calling all the shots and the squadron in the background and seemingly on the back foot all the time? With Mercedes and Red Bull now involved with challengers and possibly Ferrari, this brings a whole new level of technology to the Cup match. A message to the squadron and Team NZ - partner up with McLaren, name Auckland as the venue, support will come in from all around the world and another successful regatta will be staged on the wonderful Hauraki Gulf before a worldwide audience.
John Mead, Waiheke Island.
We were promised that high vaccination rates and low hospitalisation would be factors in reducing lockdown controls. Although Auckland's vaccination level exceeds 90 per cent and hospitalisation rates have declined, Auckland is still at red light limitations. No rewards for the thousands who got vaccinated early. Why? Since none of the Labour Cabinet Ministers are in Auckland, they cannot appreciate how much Auckland people and businesses are suffering.
Janie Weir, Newmarket.
Phil Goff campaigned on a promise to keep annual rate rises below 2.5 per cent. However, upon being elected he immediately set about designing lots of add-on "targeted rates" – effectively breaking his promise. First it was the infamous "bed tax" ruled illegal by the courts. Then it was a number of other "targeted rates" (such as the water quality targeted rate of 5 per cent). This year his new idea is an environment levy of 2.9 per cent. So council wants to increase base rates for residential homes by 3.5 per cent, add on 2.9 per cent for the environment, add on lots more depending on where you live. On average, though, overall rates will rise more than 6 per cent this year – a far cry from the promised 2.5 per cent! In addition, council pockets 10 cents from every litre of petrol sold in the city! Does Phil not realise we all have had to tighten our belts as incomes were severely impacted by Covid measures? It's about time council started living within its means!
Lucas Bonne, Unsworth Heights.
Well done to the two young Rotorua women who after being racially abused in a Tauranga store had the courage to return and meet with management to discuss what had happened and to ask for an apology.
If [only] everyone who was treated so had the courage they had to confront the situation. This bodes well for their futures so well done.
Evelyn Ross, Fairview Heights.
Why is this so?
When the Government decided returning New Zealanders could go into home isolation from January 17, my wife and I booked fares to Melbourne to see children and grandchildren. We knew testing was needed at both ends, and realised we'd have to pay.
Fair enough, even if the cost of PCR testing seems outrageous — adding about $1000 to our total $1440 return fares.
But I'm confused at the inconsistent testing regime New Zealand has imposed on Kiwis returning from Australia. The rules say we must undertake intrusive and expensive PCR tests on both sides of the Tasman, yet more "friendly" and vastly cheaper rapid antigen tests are accepted from virtually all other countries (except for those rated "high risk") as evidence the passenger is not carrying the virus.
Why is that? Why do we accept less definitive rapid antigen entry tests (costing $20 or $30) from, say, North America, Europe and Asia, yet require high-cost and uncomfortable PCR testing for stepping across the ditch? It makes no sense at all.
Bruce Morris, Mt Albert
Short & sweet
If dairy farming is so lucrative, then why are wages so low that New Zealand has to import thousands of people from the Third World to work on dairy farms? C.C. McDowall, Rotorua.
Research conducted by the Brisbane City Council reveals that Brisbane homes in suburbs with good tree canopies, are up to seven degrees cooler than treeless areas. Let's protect Auckland's trees. Allison Kelly, Mt Roskill.
Has anybody taken into consideration the unknown amount of overstayers that are supposed to be in NZ who won't get vaccinated due to not wishing to be discovered Could be thousands. Bob Wichman, Botany.
I remember in the 80's advocates of employment contracts said we'd all be so much better off than being part of a union. The "Trickle-down effect would, in five to seven years have us ALL driving any expensive car we desired and a trip to Disneyland with the kids annually was possible I think it's rather the "Deluge Up " effect? Paul Blakeney, Waihi.
With the constant media reminders of the border checks at Uretiti and Mangataroto to stop unvaccinated Aucklanders entering Northland, can Aucklanders safely assume that the same checks will be in place to stop unvaccinated Northlanders travelling south to our city? Julia Cameron, Ponsonby.
My vote for TV personality of the year would go to the three-legged dog in the Trustpower ad. The hopeful look in its eyes as it comes to meet its kind new friend brings a lump to this throat every time.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
The Premium Debate
Earlier in 2021, me and my young family were staying at my parents in Hamilton so we could attend the Six60 concert. Midway through, we got an alert we will go to level 3. Borders were created from midnight. Next day, we all tried to leave Hamilton to get back home.. we waited over 6 hours in our car moving through the checkpoint. Checkpoints are a terrible idea for tens of thousands of cars going the borders. So if you're planning to travel, get emergency snacks, a bucket and board games to keep yourself entertained. Peter C.
It's a bad move from the government. What a mess Ardern has put us in. Separated not one anymore. Stop the checkpoints unless trained police officers. Can't trust the govt at all. Chris B.
No logic to checking northbound vehicles from Auckland, when southbound vehicles out of Northland (the least vaccinated region in NZ) are free to travel without checks. Bronwyn C.
Rather than give organisations the $450 million to help get these people vaccinated, divided up amongst those who need a jab, they would have received $900 each. Maybe that would have worked better?! Warren B.
Wake up New Zealand! This Government is destroying the country we knew and loved. This is totally unacceptable as almost every other divisive policy they are railroading through without a mandate. The NZ public are asleep at the wheel. Significant long term damage to our country and society being done on a daily basis. Stand up to this! Anthony B.
The Great Divide(s) Geoff N.
At least finally a morsel of common sense in this charade - the police are vetting checkpoint crews. The sad thing is at the end of this exercise we will have become accustomed to another bit of overt control and of loss of freedom through this government - and by stealth we will come to be grateful for what are normal democratic citizen rights - 3 waters, sensitive area land grab, commercial lease legislation, refusing to let Kiwi citizens come home, lack of consultations and refusal to disclose information etc etc Potter O.