Spend on lunch, not packaging
There has been much debate about free school lunches. In an age when we are being asked to be more conscious of reducing waste, I am appalled at the amount of packaging used on these lunches.
There has to be a more environment-friendly way to feed hungry children that ensures the money spent goes into the quality of the food, not packaging.
In every photo I have seen published alongside free-lunch articles, there have been sandwiches wrapped in triangular soft plastics, plastic forks, plastic dishes sealed with plastic wrap, and plastic bags.
All this while I teach my grandchildren to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Sue Kurtovich, Tauranga.
Hold off on strikes
There is a lot of talk about wages and how nurses, police, teachers and essential workers did it tough in the last year. They did and deserve praise. But they got paid full wages and many had overtime, while the rest of us had to get by on 80 per cent, or less, and some lost jobs and businesses. It's not the time to be calling for large wage rises and threatening strikes.
Tony Barnett, Auckland.
Homes on wheels?
Alex Findlay's letter (Herald, May 14) on the "ghost buses" of Pukekohe alongside Richard Kean's on the giant "dinosaur buses" of Rotorua prompt me to advise them their buses are haunting the streets of North Shore. Only here these "diesel belching" buses choke our roads with more fumes as they accelerate from bus stop to speed bump to yet another speed bump, seldom moving out of low gear.
Empty double-deckers might just be a hangover of Covid to be part of the display at MOTAT, or are they the answer to emergency accommodation?
Chris Parker, Campbells Bay.
Eat your greens
Of course, tomatoes and cucumbers pushed food prices up; they are a summer vegetable. This time next year we will be blaming capsicums and eggplant. When capsicums go over $3 each, I walk past them. This is the time of year glasshouse growers finish their indoor crops and plant again for us to enjoy from spring.
Nature has plenty on offer for winter; New Zealand is highly self-sufficient on fresh vegetables and we have had great harvests of root vegetables this year, and choices of hearty greens are available.
In-season fruit now is also the way to go to save money and get the best nutrition. So rather than part with your money on imported melons for example, focus more on apples, mandarins, lemons and gold kiwifruit.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Auckland statistics show the average section price is $485,000 and the average build price $450,000. Without major structural change to both, an average house cannot be sold for less than the combined cost.
If house prices fell 40 per cent, as some commentators suggest, no new houses would be built. The net result would be a vast shortage and — hey presto! — a huge jump in prices.
Warwick Ayres, Herne Bay.
Bureaucrats drain cash
When Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a wage freeze, since amended, the alarm bells rang, a forewarning of the parlous state of Government accounts. A major cause, aside from Covid-19, the rampant cost in growth of Wellington bureaucracy. Highly paid appointees to commissions, advisory boards, working groups, all at the expense of our nurses, teachers, police, border workers and those seeking social assistance.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
NZ's Covid problem
New Zealand has a problem with Covid vaccinations compared with overseas . Countries that have had large community spread will have many people, including infants and children, with post-infection immunity. Because we have had virtually no community spread and no subsequent immunity, it is vital we have a very high vaccination rate to give herd immunity. With vaccinations not given to under 16-year-olds or to people who refuse them, about 25 per cent of the population will be unvaccinated and unprotected. In an outbreak, over a million people would be unprotected and our hospitals would not be able to cope. The vaccination age should be lowered to 5 or under and incentives offered to those reluctant to be protected by vaccination to give more effective protection to all.
Dr David de Lacey, Remuera.
The absence of recent community cases of Covid in NZ, resulting from tight border controls, gives no guarantee of this continuing. Low virus spread has led to complacency, and little thought or understanding that we have minimal community immunity, and only 11 per cent of Kiwis vaccinated so far, compared, for instance, with 51 per cent in the UK in the same period. The virus seems to be no longer uppermost in people's minds, with this ambivalence being more likely to lead to a fresh community outbreak, especially with pressure to reopen our borders for economic reasons.
Anti-vaccinators, selfishly occupied with unscientific opinions and deliberately harmful false information, add to our vulnerability. Vaccinations have saved millions from many widespread diseases. Unless 80-90 per cent of our population is vaccinated against Covid-19 we will never be safe from a serious epidemic, with second waves overseas being far more virulent. NZ must accept Covid vaccination as an urgent priority for everyone.
Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
All Blacks' future
As a volunteer rugby coach for 43 years, I don't think selling a slice of NZ Rugby is a good idea or backed by all Kiwis.
Neither deal on the table appears to recognise or seem to value the importance of the game's grassroots.
Every All Black, Super Rugby and provincial player came from a club rugby nursery run by volunteers on a shoestring budget.This situation remains as clubs are so short of cash they have to merge with traditional rivals to make ends meet. Some work, many don't. There is nothing more concerning than to see this tradition and history unravelling .
There has to be a better way, perhaps looking to the Emirates Team NZ funding model is an idea?
Certainly improving the appeal of the game from an entertainment perspective is another that will hopefully reduce stoppages and increase the time when the ball is in play.
Rugby at all levels has lost that appeal, in my view.
I support Conrad Smith's view on consulting all New Zealanders re the future ownership of the game before selling out to deals that ignore the very foundation blocks of our national game.
Clinton Jones, Muriwai Beach.
Health services for all
While I applaud Labour's bold policy of having a separate health entity for Māori, I also agree with Shane Reti that there may be competition for funding and blame if the scheme does not succeed and that health services should be based on the need of all. Colonisation brought many health issues such as diabetes, heart failure, alcoholism, tobacco, dietary changes etc but it is not only Māori who have health needs, although they suffer the most and die younger.
The problems the Government and Māori providers need urgently to deal with for all who choose to see themselves as Māori are:
Firstly, the health and wellbeing of our children, that they have adequate healthy food, affordable, dry, warm, stable housing, whānau support, equal education opportunities, career prospects, and unconditional love. If we look after the children first, they will pass this on to the next generation. Something sadly lacking at present.
Secondly, fix dysfunctional families by limiting drug, tobacco and alcohol outlets, takeaway outlets, provide a proper living wage, employment, transport, stable, permanent housing, education in coping and lifeskills such as cooking, money management etc.
Thirdly, adult and family education ensuring that families know their language and whakapapa, old cultural practices and community connections.
All New Zealanders need to change their lifestyles but I hope that with the advent of a separate Māori health entity, the providers such as Hau Ora etc are big and bold enough to be able to advocate these changes within their communities. Every dollar must count and be accounted for. It is a huge task and will need a lot of dedication.
Marie Kaire, Whāngārei.