Time tourist operators readjusted
We took a mobile home round the South Island from October last year for three months. We found several areas continuing their previous attitude towards campervans, without regard to the market. Queenstown was one and because of that, was one we avoided.
Too many acted as if Covid wasn't happening – and we found quite a few "masterclasses of mediocrity" in both product and attitude. Others were more welcoming and those I talked to were generally watching costs but surviving. That did not stop them producing a great result with pride. We weren't rich tourists from other countries, but that didn't matter.
I have to mention one place in Akaroa with a sign outside: "To those from other parts of NZ – thanks for coming". They were busy. It doesn't take much effort, just understanding of your customers.
Until the playgrounds of the rich learn the rich aren't coming this year and reset to cater for what they can attract, they will be empty – and deservedly so.
Mike Diggins, Royal Oak
Save money, reduce debt
We should not forget that beside the countless circumstances why some are rich and some are poor, there is a basic universal reality behind it.
If among two individuals with exactly the same income, one consumes it all "hand-to-mouth" and the other practically raises his or her productivity by not immediately consuming it all and producing or saving a surplus or profit for reserves and profitable investment – then inevitably the savers and investors will become owners of wealth, whereas the consumers of all income will become a responsibility to the community from the moment their income ceases.
So, in the interest of a more promising and egalitarian future, should not one of our long-term priority policies be to raise our national and individual savings and debt repayment rates, with systematic participation in this also by our poorest and ideological opponents?
Jens Meder, Point Chevalier
Rent v income
A budgeting adviser on Waiheke Island says in the last nine years she has seen people spend a growing proportion of their salary on rent.
Throughout NZ, especially the Auckland region, where once people paid 40 per cent of their income; she said many were now paying up to 80 per cent to have a roof over their heads.
The rental housing crisis is not being addressed. Rents should be capped at 35 per cent of a person's/family income. If the Government allows the situation to grow out of control, as it has, it needs to implement a humane system and have price-controlled rental accommodation. It's now like an ingrained sickness, a lack of humanity where landlords leach their accumulating wealth off the people least able to afford it. And this is all endorsed and encouraged by the Government with no rent control in sight and increasing homelessness and food and housing insecurity.
R Riccola, Lucas Heights
Toughen up, students
Some of your letter writers have been bemoaning the fact some poor students are having to work about 20 hours a week just to be able to afford to live, and this may be in a job not related to their study.This is nothing new. I qualified as a doctor of medicine in Dunedin in 1981.
I was not supported by my parents and not living with them, so for most of the years of my six-year degree I worked, and for many of those years I worked for low wage in hospitality. I did this because I was young and had plenty of energy, and wanted a reasonable standard of living, and because I could. I fail to see what is the problem? And, of course, most jobs available to students will not be related to their field of study, but it broadens their life experience. In my opinion many of the youth of today are not tough enough, and of course that is a recurring theme from us "okay boomers"!
Dr Denise Dalziel, Westmere
Will someone remind us as to why the Hamilton-Auckland rail service was set up? Having spent nearly $100 million with massively subsidised fares, what are the criteria that will determine it is money well spent? I can't see many people getting up in the middle of the night to catch a 5.45am train from Hamilton, then not getting home again till mid-evening. What are the train crew going to do all day in Papakura before returning to Hamilton in the late afternoon?
Alan Milton, Cambridge
Hylton Le Grice questioned the logic and economics of the Climate Commission report in respect to ceasing coal and gas use. As well as the major coal developments around the world, he quoted gas distribution is expanding throughout Europe piped from Russia, Ukraine and the Far East.
According to Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre; in respect to promises to go carbon neutral by 2050, "only one country has made a serious, independent estimate of the cost: New Zealand found it would optimistically cost 16per cent of its GDP by then, equivalent to the entire current New Zealand budget."
How can we afford that?
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane
Do not ignore inflation
The Reserve Bank insists inflation is benign; an assertion derived from the Consumer Price Index, which only includes cost effects on households, plus goods and services and not house and rental increases. Can aspiring home buyers and tenants make sense of their assessments? The yardstick used by the Reserve Bank is questionable and damaging as we witness the growing social divide, a creation of rocketing house prices fuelled by loose monetary policy since the GFC and amplified by Covid-19 money printing. Sure, demand is a factor but the bulk of house-cost inflation is driven by unnecessary, historically low mortgage rates. Meaningful inflation, largely ignored is grossly understated.
PJ. Edmondson, Tauranga
So the Minister of Tourism says tourism will never be the same and tourism operators had better face it. Unbelievable. I feel for tourism operators who look to this guy for leadership, hope, aspiration and some sort of plan to rebuild their futures. This is like the chap who predicted the world would ever only need five computers. Does he really think that at no time in the future will the world want to come here in the same numbers for all that we have to offer? We need a Government who wants to push forward, can see the importance of business, rather than appealing to people's fears as a reason to sit on their hands.
Colin Nicholls, Mt Eden
Our costly country
Maybe some of the problems our tourist mecca faces are because of its very high base costs. Property prices, rents, rates, insurance and travel costs all conspire to make it an expensive place to visit for New Zealanders. Our overseas tourists were here for their trip of a lifetime and were more interested in the experience than the expense of its attractions. I'm sure the same logic applied to we Kiwis in the days when overseas travel was possible. We all complain of the high costs, but go there spending our hard-earned dollars anyway.
Costs are unlikely to ever be low enough in Queenstown to please domestic tourists but we must try and support them as best we can until overseas tourists return.
James Archibald, Birkenhead
Tourists, who needs them?
Do we really want so many international tourists? It is much nicer looking at our country without hordes of foreign tourists everywhere. It is great being able to travel to Queenstown, Mt Cook or the Tongariro area without all the crowds. If we want to make this country more difficult to access than it was prior to the pandemic, why not?
Ordinary New Zealanders may not want all those tourists.
Many companies claim that they are unable to change from foreign to local tourists, but Bruce Cotterill in Saturday's Herald shows in many cases this inability to change from tendering to wealthy overseas tourists is in fact an unwillingness to do so.
It will mean a slightly lower standard of living for us all but the freedom to see our own country will make up for that.
John Potter, Takapuna
Donald Trump claims he has been acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial. Call me pedantic, but I disagree. A majority of the Senate voted by 57 to 43 to convict. The fact that the super majority of two-thirds was not achieved, simply means that Trump has not been convicted. Not convicted by a super majority is not the same as acquittal.
Carrick Bernard, Mt Albert
Groceries could reduce in price if only the supermarkets would charge users $10 upfront for the use of trolleys which would be fully refundable on their safe return. On a walk around the block I saw eight newish discarded trolleys. The ongoing cost of this loss must impact on prices. Overseas countries have used this method for many years.
Linda Lang, Henderson
What exactly does Rod Emmerson have against David Seymour of the Act party to show David dressed as a clown in his cartoon of February 13? David is one of the snappiest dressers in Parliament and doesn't deserve to be degraded in such a way in a cartoon.
Jane Dawson, Kerikeri
Some people think that wearing or not wearing a particular clothing item shows respect. Donald Trump always wore a suit and tie for formal occasions and yet showed total disrespect for his office, the institutions of government and millions of people. Clothes don't show respect, actions do.
Howard and Joy Edwards, Coatesville