Boards support rates increase
Twenty out of the 21 local boards of Auckland Council supported the 5 per cent rate increase, understanding it is necessary to fund the $32b package of investment across the region.
We appreciated the collaborative process chaired by Cr Simpson and supported by the mayor to bring together local boards and council members from across the region and the political spectrum for unanimous support for this level of investment.
In her letter (NZ Herald, June 1), Councillor Fletcher agrees there needs to be investment but seems unwilling to accept it needs to be paid for. She neglects to mention that the five councillors who voted against the rates increase voted for the spending package based on 5 per cent and put up no amendments to reduce spending. The affordability argument ignores that Auckland will have the lowest rates increase of any urban area in NZ.
Public feedback showed strong support to invest in climate, water quality, and community infrastructure, and submissions supporting rates increases show a clear understanding this work will require funding. Local board positions reflect those views. Well done to the mayor and councillors who supported both the investment and the 5 per cent increase to deliver it.
Julie Fairey, Puketāpapa; Scott Milne, Ōrakei; Phelan Pirrie, Rodney; Kay Thomas, Whau; Cath Handley, Waiheke; Saffron Toms, Waitakere Ranges; Maria Meredith, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki; Richard Northey, Waitematā; Izzy Fordham, Aotea Great Barrier.
Consigned to history
Readers under the age of 70 will have no recollection of the polio scourge that killed and maimed forever many children throughout the world in the late 1940s and 1950s. I knew several children at my school who contracted the disease and were left permanently crippled or without the use of limbs.
It was due to the work of Dr Jonas Salk of the University of Pittsburg, who created the Salk vaccine, which was universally administered and has essentially eliminated this cruel disease. He selflessly would not allow the vaccine to be patented, as he said it belonged to everyone.
This memory is sufficient for me to have the Covid vaccine to protect myself and others. The success of the Salk vaccine is a guide as to how to diminish the pandemic that has cast havoc throughout our world. We devalue our communities and future if we choose to ignore it .
Peter Burn, Gulf Harbour.
Mind your language
The report of the deliberations of Parliament's Education Select Committee (NZ Herald, June 2) and the commentary from Audrey Young makes for disturbing reading. The Bill would have provided the basis for primary and intermediate schools to teach a second language from a list of 10 to be gazetted by the Minister. This would be in addition to Te Reo.
Labour members of the Committee have killed the Bill, notwithstanding that when it was introduced by National's Nikki Kaye, it had cross-party support. New Zealand is currently in negotiations with the European Union for a free trade agreement; our trade agreement with China is regularly updated and recent messages from the Government have encouraged major exporters not to place all their eggs in the China basket. There is no doubt that the Southeast Asia market will continue to provide growing export opportunities of value. Against this background, one would have thought that part of the plan (if there is one) would be the need to upskill our efforts in those languages that will be of use to the coming generation. The Government's approach is short-sighted and runs counter to New Zealand's need to better compete on the world stage.
Bruce Manson, Ōrewa .
A non-traffic bridge is going to be expensive to build and relatively expensive to maintain - and at great cost to the taxpayers, so how about some lateral forward thinking?
Instead of an expensive but ultimately cheapskate proposal, a more expensive but ultimately profitable solution makes far more sense, particularly as there doesn't seem to be any current proposal to toll users – more is the pity.
Make it a tourist attraction in its own right, with the cycleway supplemented by food stalls, a cafe, restaurant, coffee/ice cream outlets, toilets etc.
Decent and attractive LED lighting is a must. Maybe a step or two further with bungy, zip line(s), even a fantastic luge could be incorporated. Cable car?
All could bring in much-needed revenue, instead of just another ongoing drain on the economy.
New Zealand is not exactly renowned for good long-term planning and here is an opportunity to do something world-class.
Ray Green, Birkenhead.
Christine Rose (NZ Herald, June 7) urges Waka Kotahi/New Zealand Transport Agency to have a trial period whereby a lane of the Auckland Harbour Bridge is set aside for cyclists and walkers.
This idea should be rejected outright. The impact of taking one lane away would have major operational implications for the management of traffic on the bridge.
NZTA currently operates changes to the lane configurations at the peak flow periods each weekday morning and afternoon. Taking just one lane out of use for motor vehicles would cause this to falter.
In the weekday morning peak, it is imperative that the North Shore buses are able to return as quickly as possible after dropping off their passengers in the city.
Getting people on to buses has been a major factor in ensuring the free flow of people and freight continues across the Waitematā Harbour. Taking away one of the eight lanes would not be helpful.
Since the North Shore Busway opened there has been a major shift from the use of the private car to public transport. We certainly hope this desire to use public transport continues.
George Wood, elected member, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.
Major decisions by the current government seem now to lack any research or feasibility checks. A good example is the proposed second Auckland harbour bridge for pedestrians and cycling only.
Surely, it is the existing bridge that should be converted for pedestrian and cycling activity after a new tunnel or bridge is built for vehicular traffic and rail?
This was suggested by someone else a while back, and it is eminently sensible. The existing bridge may be unable to withstand the loadings of cars and trucks, but may be able to stand lighter loads for longer, and this should first be checked.
Claire Chambers, Parnell.
Bridge too far
The bombshell of a dedicated bike/walk bridge together with a tunnel, obviously in planning well before the Skypath plan was scotched, means that a real multi-mode second harbour bridge is unlikely for decades ahead.
The rejected ANZAC Centenary Bridge proposal in 2009 could have delivered this. A crossing north over the Meola reef area would have enabled connections with the Waterview interchange and south, the Western motorway and a diversion of through-City traffic away from central Auckland, as well as also allowing some diversification of the existing Harbour Bridge lane functions.
Is it a case once again of Think Small NZ?
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
Death in custody
The three Taranaki police officers should never have been charged with manslaughter. Indeed, they should have been given public sympathy, understanding and support from authorities.
This is a total travesty of the Justice system and needs research and revising for the sake of entirely everyone and especially for those who are trying their best to protect us from the enemies of society and good behaviour;
David de Lacey, Remuera.
So Jacinda Ardern is being criticised for being selfish by not being first in line for the jab (NZ Herald, June 7). Surely her motivation is quite the opposite.
She is not in a high-risk category (the over 65s for example), more deserving to be ahead in the queue.
Such leading by example, which she seems to be making a habit of, is making her, if she is not already, one of New Zealand's great prime ministers.
John Key's forfeiting of much of his salary to charity is another example of leading by example and New Zealanders should be thankful that we have been truly blessed by having these two outstanding leaders of such high calibre.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Many firms and organisations now have mandatory drug testing.
After attempting to drive my usual route through Henderson I am convinced that all transport planners should be tested immediately, before their weird experiments as a result of delusion-inducing substances. The main street of Henderson and Railside Ave is now slathered with slippery blue paint, edged with what looks like discarded packing cases broken up by straggly potted shrubs, that no doubt mean an army of waterers are employed to keep them alive.
The result is instead of following a natural flow from one side of Henderson to the other, albeit a few traffic lights, now there is a frustrated congested single lane instead of two, that weaves in and out of the obstacles; drivers, instead of concentrating on traffic and pedestrians around them, now have the distraction of trying to figure out how to get from A to B and dodge those objects littering the no-longer thoroughfare.
Which mail-order source do these experts buy their qualifications or mind-altering substances from?
Alan Gray, Henderson.
Short & sweet
Queens Birthday Honours for Defence personnel who recovered bodies from Whakaari/White Island. Court prosecutions for those who actually rescued people and saved lives. Chris Bullen, Whakatane.
Auckland Council lost $1.6 billion in the last financial year on derivative trading-future interest rates. Just 20 per cent of that, or $320 million, would fund the Cup. Steve Weir, Whangaparāoa.
For even considering squandering another $100 million on a bid to prevent the America's Cup going offshore, Auckland Council and the New Zealand Government are the real "auld mugs". Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
It will have almost nothing to do with transport and should probably have been announced by the Minister of Tourism. Hopefully, its $685m cost (likely to double by the time construction is complete) won't be met by motorists and truck operators through the Land Transport Fund. Jon Addison, Milford.
Like the Dominion Rd tram, this is a perfect example of announcing a project first then doing the policy development and business case afterwards. Such studies almost always manage to justify the proposal. Funny that. David Morris, Hillsborough.
An artist's impression of the proposed walk and cycle harbour bridge, pictured a slim structure, painted white - a colour often associated with an "elephant". Larry Mitchell Rothesay Bay.
To clearly demonstrate the need for a pedestrian/cycling bridge, why not give $687 million to Starship (where there is a demonstrated need for beds) and fund the bridge by public appeal? Larry Robbins, Rothesay Bay.
I was wondering the same as Josephine Ellis (NZ Herald, June 7) about Steve Braunias coming to tea if I write more letters to the editor. I also bake. Plus, I also live in Meadowbank. Andrea Dorn, Meadowbank