Time to go
Strong, healthy democracies depend on parliamentary leadership that inspires, is seen as competent, promotes a culture of cohesiveness within a political party through sound management, and clearly articulates policy to the electorate
in a manner that engages, stimulates discussion, and encourages broad societal interest in the party, its candidates, and its ideological and philosophical outlooks.
It has been clear beyond doubt for some time that Judith Collins does not possess the attributes required of a leader to be taken seriously by a sufficient portion of the electorate as credible prime ministerial material. She exudes an air of the Muldoonesque in her many acerbic utterances, appearing more as a museum relic of the past than as a leader who carries people with her.
Too many critical issues face the country for it to be able to afford weak Opposition leadership. She no doubt works hard and tirelessly, but it is time for her to step aside, and for National to elect a leader with broader competencies and a bit of real political chutzpah and punch.
Sam Clements, Hauraki.
More clarity on water
Derek Cheng's article on Ngāi Tahu's rejection of Collins' claim on water (NZ Herald, May 17) is up to his usual high standards of facts and balance, but I would like to know more.
Leaving politics out of the proposals for water management and accepting that many councils such as Auckland Council have stuffed up their Three Waters responsibilities for many years, what will the proposed co-governance model look like, and how will it work in practice?
Ngāi Tahu is right to take water ownership off the table and propose a better way to manage water. Water is publicly owned and this spirit of co-operation needs support and deserves to be worked through without political grandstanding.
I look forward to Derek Cheng's follow-up with facts and balance in future articles.
Gary Carter, Gulf Harbour.
The juxtaposition of your editorial (NZ Herald, May 13) and the lead letter to the editor by Des Hunt, has set me to thinking.
New Zealand often prides itself as a country where fairness is a high value, and we often express concern about the widening of the inequality gap between the lower paid in our society and those in the middle and upper levels of wages and salaries.
How then, have we embedded in our monetary reward process a system of "percentage" wage and salary increases? As carefully pointed out by Des Hunt, this has inevitably guaranteed an ever-widening gap between the bottom and top earners. I wonder if we are prepared as a "fair society" to adopt a "same dollar amount" across the board, when cost of living adjustments are made to wages and salaries.
Otherwise, let us abandon our pretence of a "fair society".
Patrick Frengley, Remuera.
I have read the 86-page report from the World Health Organisation, titled Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic. On reflection I wonder: what should be done now?
Action is needed. National governments need to increase vaccination.
Each country will have a team responsible for contact with the WHO. From page 63 onwards, tables clearly set out achievable actions. At national levels, health bodies need to weekly follow up with actions needed - immediately, within six months and with plans for May, 2022.
Past pandemic outbreaks have been kept quiet by some countries. The report reminder needs to be heeded: "Incentives must be created to reward early response action and recognise that precautionary and containment efforts are an invaluable protection which benefits all humanity."
Warren Johns, Remuera.
Belief in science
Dr Hylton Le Grice (NZ Herald, May 17) writes, "Anti-vaccinators, selfishly occupied with unscientific opinions and deliberately harmful false information, add to our vulnerability." Indeed. The tobacco industry executives started the "bigly" lying to the public. So successful was it, the oil industry adopted its copybook to cloud global warming - successfully for 30 years.
Despite the work by a handful of scientists to improve public understanding of science many people are now deeply suspicious of science, scientists and scientific institutions.
Learning starts at birth. If we want a population that accepts that science offers us our best view of reality then teaching its principles is a priority - right from the beginning. Instead, schools are now preoccupied with making people feel better about themselves.
Dennis N Horne, Howick.
Food or lodgings
High rents are the cause of children's poverty, you can bet on it.
The rule of thumb is that you should not spend more than one-third of your income on rent or mortgages for that matter.
Government statistics show that one in four renters in New Zealand are paying 40 per cent and over of their income on rent which translates pretty much to the one in five children arriving at school hungry.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
With more than a quarter-million of their number having by then been sent to the death camps, the weekend marked the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, when artillery, fired at point-blank range, was used to crush the heroic Jewish revolt against their brutal Nazi oppressors.
Having smuggled weapons and explosives into the ghetto, the uprising started on April 19 and ended on May 16 when the Nazis, in response to the Jewish fighters' refusal to surrender, ordered the block by block destruction of the ghetto.
A total of 13,000 Jews died, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated - with Nazi casualties being fewer than 150, about the same ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths in the attack on the Gaza ghetto currently under way.
M. Evans, Tāmaki.
Jon Addison's suggestion (NZ Herald, May 14) of turning our railways into tarmac roads dedicated to freight trucks is thought-provoking, but perhaps unnecessarily radical. Perhaps the same benefits could be achieved by requiring all truck undercarriages to be fitted with retractable rail bogeys similar to today's railway maintenance vehicles, and with rail couplings.
It might not be cheaper, but has the advantage of reducing the pollution of 40 trucks to that of two or three railway engines, and drivers could sleep en route.
Tony Molloy, Morrinsville.
I agree with Susan Lawrence (NZ Herald, May 12) about the proliferation of pōhutukawa in unsuitable situations. For a start they are very messy trees, both the flowers, leaves, and the roots are a real problem.
I think there should be guidelines listing preferred trees for more restricted spaces and these should apply to developments, urban gardens and to councils. Even here in Hobsonville Pt, which has been thoughtfully developed, there are examples of some very injudicious tree planting that can only lead to future cost.
A 3m pōhutukawa, growing alongside my neighbour's fence, has already sent its roots up into my well-tended vegetable garden. An avoidable nuisance.
There are many trees that would have been a better choice.
Liz Patel, Hobsonville Pt.
At the breakdown
Clinton Jones (NZ Herald, May 17) rightly says "Rugby needs to reduce stoppages and increase the time when the ball is in play". I too hate the often three scrum resets in rugby plus other time wasters.
I record every rugby game to fast forward through them. I watch a 40 minute half in only 20 minutes, as that is always only the time the ball is in play.
Whereas in rugby league, you get a full 40 minutes per half with the ball in play.
As Clinton says, rugby should fix it now .
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Short & sweet
If the Government really wants to reduce inequality it should reduce income tax for the lowest-paid. Nick Hamilton, Newmarket.
Is the Government seriously asking us to accept level 2.5 restrictions so we can let more tourists in? I don't agree with letting anyone in quarantine-free until all Kiwis who want to have been vaccinated. Peter Brooks, Mairangi Bay.
Clinton Jones wrote about the dire straits of grass-roots rugby funding (NZ Herald, May 17) and suggested looking at the Emirates Team NZ funding model. I guess he means the New Zealand taxpayers and Auckland ratepayers funding model. P. Harlen, Mt Maunganui.
Guy Body's cartoon (NZ Herald, May 17), his little Hamas warrior could be compared to the Covid virus, anopheles mosquito or tsetse fly. All little but equally lethal and dangerous. Wendy Wilton, Birkenhead.
I must congratulate the Warriors on the superb 400 tackles made against Parramatta. A tremendous effort indeed. All is not lost for the rest of the competition, that's to be sure.
Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
Compared to some previous National Party leaders, Judith Collins looks quite sensible. Graham Fleetwood, Botany Downs.