Welcome to the new nature
Your wonderful picture of the tūī in the exotic magnolia in the Herald celebrates the spring and illustrates a difficult reality. We can’t keep to long-held ideologies of natives only and return NZ to the original state of nature. We have and have become dependent on exotic species. We have put evolution on steroids and a new nature is rapidly evolving. The tūī thrives in the urban environment on both exotic and native species and will soon move from the banned cherries to feed on the nectar of the native kowhai. I observe equal numbers of exotic and native wildlife in urban and rural areas. The huhu grub lives in the rotting exotic pine log. The white-faced heron feeds on the pest rainbow skink. Changes are all around us. It is time to celebrate all species in spring and not keep strictly to the native-only ideology. Yes, special protected areas are needed to protect our unique, vulnerable native species and biosecurity measures are necessary to protect our food and fibre industries. Urgency is needed to better acknowledge the new nature — the novel biodiversity.
Kit Howden, Mt Eden.
Anyone who believes National’s policy of allowing landlords tax deductions for mortgage interest will mean it’s passed on to renters is living on another planet. Rents have been steadily rising even for rundown damp rentals and landlords have been pocketing the proceeds. Labour has curbed the investment in houses purchased purely for rent by restricting the number of times rents can rise and the brightline extension. Under National this will all fall away giving more “sweet spots” for investers and the return to rising house prices, and even higher rentals as ordinary New Zealanders are once again cut out of home ownership.
Marie Kaire, Whangarei.
Many parts of National’s taxation plan beggar belief. The idea that part of the funding of tax cuts is from a tax on foreign buyers of homes over $2 million. We cannot predict with certainty that foreign buyers will want to, or be able to, come to New Zealand. What happens if there is another pandemic or similar global disaster? How then are the tax cuts funded? Have we learned nothing from the universities’ experiences of depending on overseas student fees to fund their operations and the dire financial situation they were in (and still are) when Covid 19 struck?
Anne Martin, Wellington.
Re: Relaxing overseas buyer housing ban. This is a retrograde proposal by National for a small tax gain. Why would you introduce more competition in an already unaffordable housing market with one of the highest prices in the world? Companies like BlackRock are making many housing markets more unaffordable worldwide. They can currently buy houses if they are building them or it’s new homes, at least adding new supply to the market. Allowing foreigners back into the market and driving up prices will lift the hurdle even higher for those struggling to buy their first homes.
Kushlan Sugathapala, Epsom.
I, too, am concerned with Watercare’s price rises. In its gifted monopolistic position, I do not see Watercare as a victim of inflation, but as a driver. It also needs to understand that it is not a business — it is a public service and probably the most important. Its services are not wants or nice-to-haves, they are fundamental needs. Should Watercare really need additional funding I suggest it approaches the council. If there are any services I expect as a ratepayer they are the supply of fresh drinking water and the safe disposal of wastewater.
P.K. Ellwood, Beach Haven.
We have heard from our politicians about all the things in New Zealand that need fixing. There is one thing that needs to be addressed urgently before we once again become a unified society that can work well together to get all the other things fixed. We are now a very cosmopolitan country with many ethnicities living under one roof. But in recent times a new non-medical virus has crept in, and spreading like wildfire so we have become a disunified society born of Government idealogical policies which threaten the very hearts of our democracy and of our free speech. Whichever political party gains power on October 14, it must address this disunity urgently and effectively, and pass new laws to avoid us slipping further down the slope.
Steve Clerk, Meadowbank.
The editorial (August 31) looks ahead to the elections, urging us to research what we want for our country, to look deeply into our social structures and acknowledge preparations required for worsening climate disasters. This, along with Jamie Morton’s important contribution to similar concerns notes the “scale of exposure to climate-related impacts” as vast. At the moment any consideration by political parties for this has gone out the door in a hurry to buy people’s wants, instead of honesty and safety. How will our planet survive further use of fossil fuels and its heat emissions filling our atmosphere where only a delicate thin layer of outer skin holds it in? How strong is this thin skin protecting us from the universe? We don’t know. Put simply what if it splits? Tears away? No one knows. This is our troubling world where fact is playing second fiddle to denial.
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Vaimoana Mase’s 14-hour wait at Waitākere’s ED makes gruelling reading. Unfortunately, it feels all too familiar. We have a health crisis combined with a doctor shortage and it needs to be addressed. This dire situation also highlights the number of gravy trains we have in our bloated public service. Priorities need to be assessed and I think our health crisis needs to place at top of the list for consideration.
E. Smith, Waitākere.
My guess is there are many billionaires and millionaires keen to find a New Zealand bolthole for their future safety amidst global climate meltdown. They could buy ALL our expensive properties once restrictions are lifted. Good for vendors here otherwise unable to achieve very high prices. Thanks, National.
B. Darragh, Auckland Central.
So Mr Luxon wants New Zealand to return to 19th century economics by facilitating foreign expropriation of land. It is a return to might over right but this time the power is superior financial resources only. His proposal is to charge a one time GST like 15 per cent on each sale to help fund tax cuts. That means the scale of the expropriation would have to be on a massive scale year after year. We can only assume that, because he wants his seven rental properties to increase more and more in value, the man is under the sway of his own cognitive bias.
David Haysom, Campbells Bay.
Motorcyclists travel on our roads with a certain impunity, (and appearance of owning the road), which makes us wonder why they are not injured more often. Please show us the statistics so we can determine if dirt bikes or weekend big bike riders are the problem with increasing injuries. Are there more bikes on or off the road? Or maybe e scooters are included? How are motorcyclists or the public supposed to have any concern with the increase of motorcycle injuries when we have already made up our minds regarding who is at fault.
Stuart Mackenzie, New Plymouth.
There is no statistical evidence for the existence of a “squeezed middle” class that is being “left behind”. National’s tax cuts appear to be aimed at their traditional better-off base. Those being left behind are the bottom 10 per cent who are really struggling and about to be hit with higher public transport costs while the upper middle class can use their tax cuts to pay for petrol with complete disregard for the effects on the planet.
Bob van Ruyssevelt, Glendene.
The price we pay for dairy products is influenced by global dairy commodity prices. So when international dairy prices go up, Kiwis have to pay international prices. However dairy prices have plummeted but we are still paying the same price in the supermarkets. Why? Are we victims of racketeering?
Virginia Phoon, Long Bay.
Short & sweet
How is it possible for a city surrounded by sea with one of the highest ownership of boats in the world not to have enough captains and crews to operate the ferry services? Russell Armitage, Hamilton.
It is all very well having a “Bill of Rights”; we need a “Bill of Responsibility”. Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell.
What about making rent tax-deductible for tenants? Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. Mark Twain. Got it right for our government too. Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
On climate change
Let’s not worry about global warming we just have to raise our houses a couple of metres, that’ll solve it! Hamish Walsh, Devonport.
I commented to my wife that there seems to be a plethora of fast food ads before, during and after our evening news on TV. She looked up from today’s Herald and said “I’ve further bad news for you then — there’s a new fried chicken chain coming from Korea”. B. Watkin, Devonport.
The Premium Debate
Win or learn. Never lose. (As seen on a tee-shirt at Nana Station, Bangkok). Murray B
It was a harsh lesson but hopefully exactly the reality check the team needed going into the Rugby World Cup. The host France will absolutely bring the heat in the opening match and the All Blacks risk another humiliation if they dont get their act together smartly. Haunui R
I still think Foster’s reluctance to take another forward (Finau or even Patrick Tuipulotu) will be egg on his face with more injuries and cards to arise. Boris B
The mid-section of the test in Auckland showed exactly what the Springboks were up to. They blew over and through the ABs. It was a virtual replay of England’s 2019 semi tactics. Jess E
Finally someone who realises the South Africans have a tough match first up against Scotland. Come on Scotland. Dave K
How the mighty have fallen. A record loss to our traditional foe is meant to be OK in pursuit of World Cup glory. Until we get knocked out. Al H
Why do the All Blacks “need” a loss? Always seems a cop-out to me. Gavin L