After recently attending the Forest and Bird Conference in Wellington I felt distraught about our ecosystems and wildlife. Eighty per cent of birds in decline, 84 per cent of reptiles, 76 per cent of freshwater fish, marine ecosystems being decimated — the list goes on. Where does it stop? It's all mainly due to human interventions and exploitations.
To quote from the conference: "Nature is seen as the raw material to our economy — it should be the other way around." The destruction of our land and oceans just seems to go on and on with extinctions happening before our eyes. Do people care? There must be a turning point, we need to rethink and do things differently.
One of the most concerning things is the vast numbers of seabirds (including penguins and albatrosses) and marine mammals which end up as fishing-industry by-catch. Never has nature needed our help as it does now.
Lynne Anderson, Napier.
Winston Peters promised to promote international live New Zealand sport matches. Winston, could you persuade Sky TV to let us Kiwis watch the semis and final of World Cup cricket? If successful, we will vote for you in 2020.
Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
Speak up, SBW
You have to admire Liam Squire's decision to put the team before himself in making himself unavailable for the All Blacks. Maybe it's time SB Williams arrived at the same decision.
His body is no longer up to the demands of top rugby and his inclusion would deprive someone more deserving. On past history, he will last 10 minutes in one game and then be reduced to carrying the water bottles.
Ray Hoy, Riverhead.
According to successive governments, "no one in Aotearoa owns the water"!
How does it happen then, that a commodity no one owns is being sold wholesale into foreign ownership?
Where is the NZ voice in this? Is our water supply so infinite that ONE bottling plant can take 70 million litres every day? It is winter and we already have a water shortage. So much has been taken to irrigate vineyards and dairying (also in foreign ownership) that it has created a shortage in many areas.
Our rivers and lakes are drying up and becoming polluted through intensive farming and fertiliser applications and yet foreign corporates are allowed to rape our aquifers. Forestry, vineyards, water bottling is mainly and increasingly mechanised and jobs promised when negotiating deals are not going to happen.
How much revenue is going to flow into a rural town with only a 4.9 per cet share in a water-bottling plant? Also, why are we allowing corporates to produce trillions of plastic water bottles when we are supposed to be reducing the use of plastic in the world?
Too much of our land, primary commodities and water is being sold. Wake up, NZ and make a stand.
Marie Kaire, Whāngārei.
Reading for Folau
Re Israel Folau's contentious social-media postings and public declaration of his strongly held Christian beliefs, I wonder if he has read the New Testament Gospels? More particularly Mathew, Chapter 6, where Christ says: "Be careful not to make a show of your religion before men; if you do, no reward awaits you in your Father's house in heaven." Looks like Israel could be in the same boat as the rest of us.
Graeme Samson, Whāngārei.
Bags not problem
I'm sure the Government is proud of stopping use of so-called "single-use" plastic bags in shops and restaurants. We all know that these have myriad uses after carrying the supermarket shopping home, so are not single-use at all.
I'm sure environmental do-gooders have their sights set on outlawing many other "single-use" bags. Before anyone thinks about doing that they must realise the real problem is the mentality of human beings in their disposal of rubbish, not the bags. Target the cause of the problem. The saying "put a fence at the top of the cliff, not an ambulance at the bottom" comes to mind.
Janet Boyle, Manly.
Plastics threat real
The next biggest threat to climate change is plastic. People are not taking it seriously enough. Plastic is not recyclable, it is reusable, but at the end it finishes up in the landfill. And more of it is being produced every year, already more than we can cope with. I have read there are special furnaces to safely burn it without polluting the atmosphere and at the same time produce electricity. If this is so we should be looking closely at it, we cannot go on polluting our country and seas.
J Longson, Kawerau.
Tax cuts missed
Against all odds, Australian Premier Scott Morrison won a further term with the promise of tax cuts and a simple message, "Australians can spend their money better than Government". In contrast, our coalition, having inherited a large surplus and a strong economy, believe state spending is a better alternative to private-sector growth. Tax relief for industrious middle-income earners should have been a priority, they should have been rewarded for their endeavours.
With the Budget surplus already earmarked for expenditure, the likelihood of future tax relief appears remote. The cuts would have injected impetus into a flagging economy at a time when business confidence has hit a 10-year low.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
Winner by any other name
The Crusaders will have to change their name now as soon we're not going to be able to count on two hands how often they've won the title.
Rangatira Park, Taupō.
I watched the "Dotard's" Fourth of July parade at Washington. Apart from the aircraft, it compared unfavourably with the wonderful choreographed military displays put on by "Little Rocket Man".
President Trump will take note and have far more rockets, tanks, and marching soldiers available next year.
Tony Goodwin, Pt Chevalier.
Matter of choice
Leighton Smith's deviously anti-End of Life Choice opinion piece "No acceptable resolution to euthanasia" (Weekend Herald) must be challenged. "Increased conflict of belief, thought and opinion" is no new claim, and could denote the ascent of "standards, principles and ethics" as easily as their "demise". How is "law taking over the space once occupied by politics" a bad thing? I want our future written Constitution to do this on several levels.
End of Life Choice isn't a "law of restriction". It's the opposite. Lord Sumption decries "the political surrender of controversial decision-making to the courts". Elsewhere he asserts the same motive in politicians' use of referenda. Hence he argues that "vote-catching" is the inevitable, best form of deliberative democracy. Go figure.
We are not obliged to model ourselves on Belgium. Oregon has had Death-with-Dignity since 1998 with nearly zero controversy. The pinnacle of hypocrisy is Sumption's assertion that "the law should continue to criminalise assistance in suicide" but simultaneously "should be broken". Having accused politicians of absolving themselves of responsibility via referenda and the courts, he excuses both courts and citizenry of theirs. By concluding "each person has to decide within his own conscience", he makes an excellent argument for End of Life Choice, without which eligible terminally-ill people only have "unassisted suicide".
Lastly, why would we expect a "universally acceptable resolution" to EOLC? Does Smith mean like our perfect laws about "drugs, marriage, abortion" and criminal justice? EOLC: Those who don't want to use it, don't need to choose it.
Wally Hicks, Kohukohu.
Cold War shivers
I feel I am living in Cold War Russia — a socialist government making and changing legislation based on little or no scientific basis and/or public consultation such as banning single-use plastic bags and banning further energy exploration in Taranaki to name two examples, and asking us to dob in Kiwis if changed legislation is not complied with. What next: People reported for criticising the unusual decisions by this Government?
John Roberts, Remuera.
Freedom of speech is not an absolute concept. It might more accurately be described as the right to express one's views or opinions, but it is not an unfettered right.
It most certainly is not freedom to say whatever you like without repercussions. For example to shout "fire" in a crowded hall when there is no fire is inexcusable.
As Israel Folau has discovered, even to express one's religious beliefs too aggressively can have unintended consequences. It was Voltaire who was reputed to have said that he might disapprove of what you said, but would defend to the death your right to say it. Like all freedoms, freedom of speech ought to be exercised responsibly, lest it become eroded.
Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.