The vanished smile
In the "bad old days" there was a large regional mental asylum close to our little UK town, with beautiful gardens. My friend's sister, Monica, who was mentally disabled, was a permanent resident there, another friend's mother worked there as a nurse, and the superintendent and his wife were my parents' friends. I knew the place quite well. Yes, there were big locked doors, jangling keys, high security, and some violent sedated patients, but Monica was always smiling and loved her companions in the "trusted" group. They enjoyed their Sunday walk through the town where residents came out to return their enthusiastic waving.
Then came the axe. Asylums were closed, and patients were moved to "the community" for care. Families couldn't cope and many ex-patients ended up on urban streets; not taking their medication. Monica went to a "sheltered" house with strangers, and immediately lost her smile. She died young.
Was that really the kindest thing we could do for these unfortunate people? Were the badly affected ones really happier with their new freedom without the safety net? I think I know which lifestyle Monica would have chosen, given the chance.
Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
Parliament's Opposition Health spokesperson, Chris Bishop, has called on the Government to provide purpose-built quarantine facilities.
These are not needed. The Government could revert to Judith Collins' pre-election policy of allowing individual property owners to provide quarantine facilities at free-market prices. Problem solved, and at no cost to the taxpayer.
Donn de Silva, Greenhithe.
The Government has been upfront about plans to replace petrol-driven vehicles with electric ones as soon as possible. It hasn't been quite so open, however, with how it intends replacing the income currently derived from the sale of petrol.
On each litre of petrol sold, 77 cents is direct taxes with a further 10 cents collected on behalf of the Auckland Region, plus 15 per cent GST on the total cost of the fuel purchased. As the sales of petrol drop steeply over the next few years, will the Government introduce Road User Charges to EV owners in the same way that it currently charges diesel vehicles or is it intending on taxing electricity usage?
C Fraser, Freemans Bay.
The Greens and Labour Government are putting the cart before the horse. The Government needs to produce an abundance of green electricity before encouraging electric vehicles.
Producing lots of electricity by burning lots of polluting imported coarse coal is not the way; even burning gas produced locally is better.
More subsidising the use of solar panels, more encouraging of wind and tidal production of electricity, needs to come first and foremost.
During this phase the processing of better longer-lasting, more environmentally friendly batteries can be produced and used.
David de Lacey, Remuera.
Fuel me once
Can someone please explain to the PM that while 15 per cent of electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, every EV effectively runs on coal and as such is less environmentally friendly than a petrol-powered car?
Lucas Bonné, Unsworth Heights.
National sees the growing pains of the Te Huia rail service as an opportunity to attack the Government (at a time when their own party is gasping for oxygen).
However, it would be profoundly easier to connect Hamilton with Britomart had successive governments not allowed international and local asset strippers to both plunder and fail to maintain this vital infrastructure. Furthermore, the failure to complete electrification is germane to this hold-up. The history of rail transport in New Zealand is convoluted and murky, with missteps by both National and Labour.
Maybe National could attract support by offering all road users a free electric Volkswagen?
Hugh Webb, Huntington.
My local bank is festooned with signs saying "We no longer accept cheques", and "We do not provide foreign currency".
I wonder how long it will be before we see "We no longer provide banking services"?
Duncan Simpson, Albany.
A woman's place
How unfair it is to women everywhere as Laurel Hubbard is selected as a New Zealand representative for the women's weightlifting.
Women, for the last century, have been campaigning for equal treatment to men, starting with Kate Shepherd and her supporters campaigning for the vote through to the present day. Now if a male decides they are not a male but a woman, they are classed as women. If that's what they want to do that's their prerogative, please do not allow them to compete in women's sports as an equal, especially if they have transitioned in their 30s.
Women do have a certain amount of testosterone but certainly not as much as men even when they transition. Perhaps a separate category would be fairer.
Annette Stewart, Greenlane.
Fred Wilson of Devonport (NZ Herald, June 21), in outlining the pending announcement of the estimators required to set up forthcoming terms of reference for this proposed task force; overlooked the appointment of a group of consultants, whom will be consulted, and give consultation on how to set up these terms of reference, so that said working party can announce that they sought consultation on setting up said terms of reference under consultation.
John Ford, Taradale.
A World Championship Test Cricket match that, due to rain and light delays, ends in a draw is surely unacceptable. The current provision for an extra two days' play does not ensure a result.
A simple provision to make up all lost time for such an important fixture as this is "a no brainer".
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
The Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero policy.
Gary F: Has the Government actually calculated the amount of energy to fast charge thousands of extra EVs? Where will the power infrastructure come from? Or is this just another pandering initiative with zero understanding of the complications to execute such a policy? This mob is a real worry.
Kyle B: Plenty of Kiwis have the same attitude to utes that the Yanks have to guns. It ain't necessarily rational, but you would be a fool of a politician to kick that hornets' nest. Enter stage left, Jacinda and her band of dreary Labourites.
Craig W: What's next? You can't own a boat unless you are a commercial fisherman? You can't own a horse unless you are a cowboy? You can't take your kids to sports outside your local area? You must submit an application to the authorities proving you need a ute for legitimate reasons? I can still remember how angry I got when Helen suggested I should fit the cheap motel special showerhead.
Ian R: A really important fact outside urban areas is that the power lines infrastructure cannot support charging of multiple EVs. I live in Marlborough and rural network power is maxed out. I would not even be able to upgrade our transformer to install one 50Kw charger, let alone two chargers for our two vehicles. Likewise, the network cannot, without significant investment, support multiple chargers in our road. I suspect most of NZ outside the urban areas is the same. Unfortunately Ardern's Cabinet and Wellington-based civil servants do not understand or possibly even care about the reality of living in rural NZ.
John T: If oil supply was rapidly diminishing, the rhetoric here would be rather different. Unfortunately in trying to hasten the uptake of electric vehicles, the Government in the process has alienated itself with owners of petrol cars. It would probably have been better to have a RUC on all vehicles (Including hybrids and EVs) than essentially a tax on new petrol/diesel imports to subsidised new EVs. Petrol and diesel vehicles are going to remain important for many years, regardless of the uptake of EVs. And EVs will have an important role in reducing the reliance on hydrocarbon fuels.
Christine W: No one seems have much of a care for the future if you heed the comments of the people about EVs. Funny how it's been hijacked by the ute brigade. Lots of Remuera tractors outside school gates at drop off and pick up. How does that work if they are tradies or farmers? Or do these guys only work from 9am to 2.45pm these days? Had a cost estimator turn up the other day, driving a Ranger. Carries a laser measuring device and a iPad - never even had work boots. He could do his job off an e-bike. Measuring for double glazing. Doesn't do anything else, no installing, etc. Your prerogative to have a ute, you obviously don't mind paying top dollar for a vehicle so pay a little more to help our offspring to live longer.
Timothy T: It's just occurred to me that most people who comment here against EV's won't be voters either - given, for all the bluster against EV's by Opposition parties, they actually agree with replacing our fleet of cars with EV's. All political parties can see the writing on the wall....that the rest of the world have started along the EV route. There's also the fact that no political party in NZ wants to emulate the poorer nations on earth and keep fossil fuel vehicles. All political parties will be siding with advanced nations and replacing our fleet of cars with EVs. National? They're all for EVs. Don't worry about that. Seymour's lot? So are they. Maori Party? Them too. And the Greens. Even NZ First would hop on board this one by now. It's just a political reality now
Martin T: A shame that owning an EV or not has raised so much polarising debate by the nature of this policy announcement. It might have been partly avoided if the Labour Government was not in such catch-up mode with the rest of the world, and if the damaging fringe benefit tax policy that encouraged purchase of large utes by many small businesses that didn't need them had not been put in place previously. I thought interest-free partial loans to help people into EVs, as in Scotland, would have been a better policy. The policy details will certainly have perverse effects like encouraging people to buy utes now to avoid the deadline. Those who got tired of waiting for government action and bought EVs without subsidy have sadly paid full price for what for many will have been a principled decision.