Tighter lending criteria
High house prices divert resources away from productive parts of the New Zealand economy. They impede young people acquiring houses. The Government was right to enact tighter lending criteria, as part of its moves to cool the housing market.
Naturally, tighter lending leads to less business for mortgage brokers. Unsurprisingly, they have begun a campaign to have the lending criteria relaxed again. The Government has said it will reconsider the position.
At last there are meaningful signs that our housing market is slowing. It would be unfortunate indeed for the Government to lose its nerve at this point. The new restrictions are working. They need to remain in place.
David Schnauer, Milford.
The current stand-off between Nato and Russia is ominous. While it is on the other side of the world, NZ has been tragically involved in such conflicts before.
It seems the US has fairly clear principles: that sovereign nations have the right to select their alliances and to place their military power as they choose.
Russia, however, has a much stronger sense of the relationships, with a long history of its security being assured by its neighbours. It remembers the promises given to Gorbachev by European and US leaders that Nato expansion would not happen. Over the last decades Russia feels its security has been eroded by the gradual extension of Nato power nearer its borders and feels the time has come to put a stake in the ground at the Ukraine.
We need to recognise the complexity of this situation and avoid identifying friends and enemies. The current commitment to fixed positions need to move to flexibility to develop win-win agreements. This may involve outside parties, and organisations such as the OSCE (Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe), of which all relevant nations are members, should be involved. New Zealand should be seeking its participation.
Gray Southon, Tauranga.
I noted recent correspondence (NZ Herald, January 13) on the appropriation of public walkways by motorised vehicles of all descriptions, and their risk to pedestrians.
Living Streets Aotearoa is appealing the decision to allow e-scooters and the like on footpaths: I'm left wondering how far the profit motive affected the decision in favour of Auckland Council.
Also, what about making it a human rights issue, analogous to excluding the disabled and elderly from full access to public amenities like transport and buildings?
Ellie Carruthers, Eden Terrace.
Auckland councillor Greg Sayers (NZ Herald, January 14) is to be commended for exposing the truth behind the horrendous rates rises inflicted through a series of targeted add-ons to our steadily increasing annual rates demands.
I cringe every time mayor Phil Goff claims no more than an "average" rise of 3.5 per cent will be imposed knowing full well that based on the capital value of a property it means compounded on top of my already 70 per cent rise sting from his first mayoral term.
Talk of him being the next ambassador to the US gladdens my heart. It can't come soon enough. He has failed to get Auckland Council's finances and staffing extravagances under control. Queen St's makeover is a prime example of wasted money with purpose obscure.
If Greg Sayers has the courage to stand for the mayoralty this year, he will have my vote.
Coralie van Camp, Remuera.
I couldn't agree more with Greg Sayers comments on the troubling trends at Auckland Council (NZ Herald, January 14). It seems like Auckland Council feels it has an endless amount of money - just increase the rates, make the residents pay for their rubbish to be collected, put a levy on petrol, charge for water separately.
The council must have a large team dreaming up new ways to charge the people of Auckland in new inventive ways. It really is time for the Auckland Council to get back to its core values.
I am still waiting for the day when making Auckland a Super City will, if ever, save money; it should in theory but it appears to have had the opposite effect.
Geoffrey Slack, Silverdale.
Cut it out
Auckland Council has cynically added a climate change levy to our rates while at the same time actively destroying the city's dwindling urban forests. This has seen it recently mow down more than 8000 council-supplied native trees planted at a reserve near Albany, destroy an estimated 15,000 native and non-native trees at Western Springs, and selling off parks and green spaces across the city.
The council is also funding Tūpuna Maunga Authority many millions to fell around 2500 mature trees from Auckland's volcanic cones just because they are non-native. Mostly grasses, flaxes and shrubs are to be planted in their place – many of which have already died due to neglect and drought.
It appears this council's contribution to climate change is nothing more than self-congratulatory hot air that furthers global warming.
Anna Radford, Mt Albert.
Those of us in the Rodney Local Board area were not surprised to read Councillor Greg Sayers criticism (NZ Herald, January 14) of Auckland Council budgeting. It is a common occurrence in local media.
Also unfortunately, another common occurrence is criticism without concrete solutions being offered. It is all very well to criticise, on occasions with justification, but our elected representatives should also be prepared to offer constructive ideas, other than a blanket "cut council staffing", on managing the matters the budgets are aimed at.
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
Turn it down
Now past 80 and a cafe frequenter, I'm finding it more and more difficult to tolerate other patrons who, while imbibing and munching, think they can only converse by shouting at each other, or worse still, when making a telephone call, yell at their mobiles.
How about owners of cafes, and other such establishments, arming themselves with a decibel meter that they could prudently park near the offender(s)?
Over-the-top bawling would trigger a signal, perhaps a discreet, continuous bleep and red flashing light, to advise the speaker(s) to tone it down.
John Hunt, Hobsonville.
Likes and dislikes
David Andrews (Herald, January 14), might dislike the overuse of the work "like", but I wonder if there are any aspects his idiolect which cause annoyance or offence to others.
Objectively, there is no correct use of language and no incorrect use of language. All language is a collection of sounds to which we ascribe meaning.
I would argue that what is said is far more indicative of intellect than how it is said.
The only complaints about language that I accept are those that point to the textbook version of language and not the actual spoken language (to which your comment was aimed).
English does not differentiate between the pronouns for first person plural exclusive "we", and the first person inclusive "we". That is the real enemy to comprehension, not "like".
Caleb Viljoen, Hamilton East.
Blizzard of Oz
There are three reasons that came to mind when I read Paul Cheshire's letter (NZ Herald, January 14) on why we are subject to the rubbish Australian TV programmes our networks force upon us.
First, these are broadcast to make the 501s feel more at home. No, very probably not.
Second, they remind expat Aussies like myself why we left the Amber Isle for greener pastures. No, also very probably not.
Third, our TV free-to-air viewing is inundated with such crap to try to make us all sign up to pay-as-you-view and on-demand channels where the only programmes of any worth are found and for which our broadcasters demand a princely, monthly sum. Yes, very, very probably so.
Just as it is said there is no such thing as a free lunch, it appears there is also no longer such a thing as watchable free TV.
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark.
Short & sweet
The need for the global internet service, Starlink, being set up by Elon Musk, is evident more than ever in the current Tongan crisis. Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
I feel more sympathy for Johnny Depp's dogs than I do for that Serbian bloke. Dean Donoghue, Pāpāmoa Beach.
It is looking more and more likely that Djokovic is looking for a career change and my pick is that he is going for the high jump. Dave Miller, Matua.
Let's organise a protest march against the number of protests by the protest brigade. Peter Culpan, Te Atatū Peninsula.
Why should the Duke of York have to let go of anything? What ever happened to the notion of innocent until proven guilty? John L R Allum, Thames.
The figures from the annual reports (NZ Herald, January 14) show ratepayers cannot continue to bankroll such profligate spending. Drastic measures are required to save our city. Kay Hook, Royal Oak.
I have emailed Mayor Goff and councillors after reading Greg Sayers' article. No more rates hikes. Deborah Railey, Royal Oak.
The Premium Debate
It's like the days when Helen Clark wanted to regulate our light bulbs. Mainstream banks have no reason/need to puddle around in niceties of how much one spends on takeaways/coffee in the three months before submitting an application. It's totally artificial to suggest people won't change their habits after buying/settling a property. Just red tape and cost for red tape's sake. CCFA is not a good news story for Govt, no matter how they spin it. If the Government thinks public won't see through a Government-induced credit crunch, they're deluded. Rebecca R.
It's the end of endless credit line for now at least. Topping up for a new whatever when you gain extra equity is over. There's a lot of people who have great incomes and zero money, who literally live on credit. And they are clueless about how precarious their situations are. They fritter everything away on lifestyle. The banks sensibly want to question them when they want to borrow. If you are earning $250k a year and want to borrow hundreds of thousands, where are your savings? So many people have nothing, because they are shoving their earnings down their throats. Gervaise L.
Tony Alexander summed it up quite nicely a few months ago: "while overall perceptions showed a 'good willingness' to lend, amid tighter incoming loan-to-value restrictions, CCCFA changes, and rising interest rates, banks also want to ensure borrowers are prepared for higher repayments." This serves to show that the real motivation for bank behaviour is to cater to coming global economic conditions, and avoid both potential lawsuits for irresponsible borrowing and other penalties - irrespective of the other mentioned factors coming into play. Timothy T.
Locking out people from mortgages, as well as the impact of interest rate increases, will cause the housing market to stall too quickly. My bet is they will be quick to make a law change. Wayne M.
I have just been through this and it was a nightmare. A $20,000 top up to finish a house build, 30 per cent LVR and payments less than if I had to pay rent. Unbelievable microscope analysis. Ninety day statement for a $600 afterpay facility that has a zero balance or prove it's now closed was a classic example, and $10 per week for a gym membership. I have had mortgages for 30 years and never experienced anything like this. Get a cash out when you are at the supermarket for your coffee/lunches, etc. Buy booze at supermarket at the same time. No privacy at all. I was humiliated by the experience. Trudi B.