Letter of the week: Jill Smith, Kerikeri
We are among the thousands whose overseas holidays were cancelled because of Covid, so we took off for a month to out-of-the-way spots in the North Island.
We followed our tried-and-true travel plan: Work out a route, and do homework on prices and things to see and do.
We checked out 15 accommodation places, stayed at 10 and averaged three nights/stay. Ten of the 15, without having to ask, offered either reduced rates or attractive winter packages, including meal vouchers to two local restaurants. Unsurprisingly, we spent much more than the value of the vouchers, thus spreading our dollar wider.
So why did we give the others a miss? Three had no discretion to bend on price and the front people at the others were downright rude.
And to those whose activities are well-publicised: Make it easy for customers to support your activity.
We fronted up at an info centre to buy tickets for an activity, only to be told we had to book on-line 24 hours in advance. Now we in Kiwiland are a spontaneous bunch. If one activity is not available, we'll go to another.
Our scenery is magnificent and our welcoming Kiwi hospitality is world-renowned. Time perhaps for that same hospitality to be extended to Kiwis.
The column by former finance minister Steven Joyce (Weekend Herald, July 11) relating to the prospective closure of Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter and other issues made compelling reading.
There are 2600 direct and indirect jobs at risk due to the conflict arising over concessions offered by Meridian Energy for transmission and electricity costs.
Were not the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) and the current massive debt programme designed for job creation? Why not preservation also?
If closure unfolds, the request in Southland for welfare support will, of course, be immense and far exceed the cost of any transmission concessions. Will Government-inspired pragmatism prevail or will an opportunity be lost?
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
Our Prime Minister made it very clear at the time of the mosque murders that this perpetrator would never be given the opportunity he was seeking to gain fame for himself and his evil cause and that she herself would never utter his name again.
The article "Border passes for sentencing" (Weekend Herald, July 11) not only opens the door to this man achieving the fame he craves, it also flies directly in the face of Ms Ardern's sincere vow to her people.
Publicising the generous granting of special border passes and financial help to overseas-based victims of the Christchurch Mosque shootings so that they may witness the gunman's sentencing, and announcing an extension to the Victim Assistance Scheme to help with travel arrangements for all those present in the mosques at the time of the attacks raises the question – will the general taxpaying public also be eligible to attend?
This man does not deserve public recognition of any sort. The Prime Minister's original directive was the right one.
Apart from the sentencing details, let there be no further publicity.
Joy Bell, Ellerslie.
Stream the sentencing
I nearly choked on my cornflakes while reading the Weekend Herald (July 11). There we were informed that "overseas-based victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings will get special border passes and financial help to fly into New Zealand to witness the gunman's sentencing next month".
The obvious question is: "why can't the sentencing be streamed on Zoom or some other platform so that those wishing to watch the event can do so in that way?"
I for one do not wish my taxes used in this way when we have so many New Zealanders struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent.
Graham Walker, Lynfield.
Greed and envy
Last weekend's letter by Peter Kammler (Weekend Herald, July 11) regarding the Green Party's tax policy "to fish for the uninformed envy vote" is a typical example of the greedy accusing their critics of envy and deserves a response.
The Green Party wants a fairer tax policy and to end the situation where sitting on your bum and twiddling your thumbs ("hands-off investment") makes more money than "hard-working New Zealanders" can dream of. What could be wrong with that?
Your correspondent seems to condone tax avoidance/evasion when he talks with glee about "the stampede of capital flight" being a "spectacle". We would rather like to see the flight of the capitalists to their chosen tax haven countries. There they can check out the public health and education systems and all the rest of government services. They will not like what they find. The "stampede" is rather going to be on their way back.
Since when is tax evasion/avoidance an argument against taxes? Like having no speed limits on our roads because some people are going to break them.
Hans B. Grueber, Wainui.
We have travelled through these much-troubled times led by steely pragmatism, kindness, compassion and civility. Now Judith Collins, weighed down by the couple of buckets of smug that she has always insisted upon carrying, has slowly risen to the top by default.
Quite why she assumes that her snarling, aggressive belittlements should be in any way appealing is as bemusing as her employment of the word "woke". One can only imagine that she believes it will make her appear hip and groovy. It's a bit like watching your mother dance coquettishly after enjoying a sherry too many.
Carry on Prime Minister but watch your back, she may be toothless but she can still give you a nasty suck.
Richard O'Brien, Katikati.
Jacques Cousteau theorised that by using the earth from Whatipu Knoll to extend the land on the northern side of the Manukau Harbour, thereby narrowing the entrance at the Manukau Heads, the increased flow between the two headlands would gouge the existing channel deeper and wider.
This would remove the sandbar, in the process, allowing ships of greater draught into the Manukau Harbour.
This makes a lot of sense, even more so if, as predicted by the end of this century, sea levels will rise two metres, by which time Ports of Auckland will not be coping.
Cousteau contended that such an extension could be accomplished by placing the appropriate amount of explosives on the existing knoll, which is debatable.
However, as an investment in Auckland's future, such a project deserves attention via computer modelling.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
A quick word
Todd Muller illustrated Heisenberg's uncertainty principle for political systems. The more specific a question is couched, the more vague the answer will be. Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Not only was Michelle Boag a distraction to the National Party, by sharing the lists of names of people coming back from Eastern countries, she was distributing the disease of disdain. Kanwal Grewal, Hamilton.
John Roughan's blue/red team analogy (Weekend Herald, July 11) forgot to mention that a major cheerleader for the blue team confessed to an indiscreet act behind the grandstand with not only a reserve player but also an important member of the team and had to hand in her pom-poms in disgrace. John Capener, Kawerau.
Make them pay for their own quarantine and enforce the quarantine with the military. Harden up for the sake of the team. Gavin Baker, Meadowbank.
The Health Department problems exposed by Covid-19 resulted from nine years of National's neglect and underfunding. NZ needs the National Party like it needs another Covid case. I McPherson, Birkenhead.
It is time National grew up and got on board with the five million team and do some positive thinking for a change. Wilmer G Gibson, Pakuranga.
As the person who gave us the mythical homeless man, Woodhouse was emphatic
that David Clark should resign. This is karma, surely. Reg Dempster, Albany.
Racist locals who attack Chinese Kiwis should give themselves an uppercut. Not one of the Covid-19 cases reported in New Zealand has arrived from China. Mark van Praagh, Mt Eden.
Correspondent Peter Byers (Weekend Herald, 11 July) comments: "Clark, Gluckman, Fyfe: Save the economy. Ardern: Save lives. Take your pick". Unless, perhaps, you are a minimalist, survivalist, huntin' n' shootin' type of person, there is no "pick". One doesn't work without the other. D B Smith, Napier.
A glitch of a few people out of 70,000 in isolation is a success of 99.9 per cent. Is "shambles" thus correct? Graham Wallace, Glendowie.
Mayors, local body officials, highly paid executives and Māori spokespersons wring their hands ineffectually and express concern but do nothing to resolve the water problem Their sheer ongoing incompetence is a scandal. Perhaps Jacinda could sort this out by legislative fiat? Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.
It seems that the majority of councillors who voted for a 3.5 per cent rates increase for 2020/21 have no idea what austerity means in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Submission processes to council are a joke and an insult to all ratepayers. Mate Marinovich, Oratia.
Auckland City Council believes it can continue to operate without the 500 permanent staff and 600 contractors who have been dismissed. How many of these people were actually ever required? Janie Weir, Newmarket.