Letter of the week: Philip Brown, Masterton
I was saddened but not surprised to read of the death of Baby Royal (Weekend Herald, October 17). Oranga Tamariki would seem to be CYFS in all but
name, and having worked for that organisation, I am aware that the systemic shortcomings render it powerless to properly perform its function.
The latest tragedy highlights the way the department is controlled by a computer system. This is necessary because the workers are not sufficiently paid for properly qualified social workers to be recruited. In 2005 I was part of the union negotiating team for the Collective Agreement, with our claim being parity with hospital-based social workers. In arbitration the CYFS team actually used the tautological argument that this claim was not valid because so many of the staff were unqualified.
Pay is far from being the only problem; the lack of expertise, or even understanding of good social work practice has led to the department becoming more like a social police force than an agency involved in assisting the most vulnerable in our society. It has allowed itself to become a dumping ground for everyone else's concerns and is perceived as an ogre that people can be threatened with rather than an effective social work agency. The result is that it is overwhelmed with notifications, and finding the one that may end in tragedy is looking for a needle in a haystack.
We now have a government that seems to be genuinely committed to working towards the creation of a better society in Aotearoa and I urge it to take a long hard look at how Oranga Tamariki can play a positive role in this endeavour.
Zero tax under $40k
Now the election is over it is time to stimulate the economy. Because of the high borrowings to keep the economy running, some have suggested an increase in income taxes. Here is another idea: Nil income tax on the first $40,000.
That is, people on minimum wage would not pay any income tax. It means that a couple would have an additional $12,500 in the pockets every year. And this would make a significant difference to all people, especially those on minimum wages – even those on the average wage.
This benefits everyone, and the Prime Minister has said that Labour will govern for all New Zealanders.
But it comes at no cost to the Government coffers. The vast majority of this money would be spent, often on essentials. The Government would collect 15 per cent in GST on this money. Since money turns over seven times in a year, the Government would collect seven times 15 per cent. That is, what they lost on income tax they would collect on GST.
But, since the economy is more buoyant, there would be more jobs and fewer people collecting benefits on the dole. So the Government books would be in better shape. It sounds to me like a win:win:win situation.
Brian Taylor, Lynfield.
The eyes have it
Dr Keith Pine is my hero (Weekend Herald, October 17); an unassuming and compassionate man who stands by his word.
After traumatically losing my eye in March this year and having public health appointments for a prosthetic eye cancelled, I turned to Dr Pine who slotted me in, despite a busy schedule. I found his gentle humour comforting as he performed the procedures outlined in your article. Eyes are the window to our soul and the feeling was profound when I first saw the amazing prosthetic that had replaced my diseased eye. My husband's wordless reaction also bore testament to his artistry.
I am eternally grateful to have my eye replaced by the lead author of "Clinical Ocular Prosthetics" and find it ironic that a co-author of this book was the surgeon who removed it and prolonged my life.
I expect to see Dr Keith Pine on the Queen's Honours List 2021. He is deserving of this accolade to his valuable service.
Judy Larkin, Glenfield.
National, in its rebuilding, would do well to re-embrace social conservatism, balance restructured fiscal, economic and business policy with social and environmental policies that better reflect innate acceptance and recognition of the turbulent geopolitical and global challenges that our country will be exposed to in the decades to come.
The Opposition party's campaign was tired, and peddled the predictable: gutting the RMA; freeing up land for developers; knocking beneficiaries; flashing the imperious "personal responsibility" mantra; worshipping new roads; and playing lip service to serious, critical environmental issues. It was caustic, acid-splashing, destructive, and cynical.
A chunk of National supporters deserted it for Labour, because in the past year it was shambolically disorganised, embroiled in various leadership ego displays, and appeared grossly out of touch with the deeper, existential needs, desires, and asparations of New Zealanders in such challenging times.
National will be back. But much hard work lies ahead for it.
Sam Clements, Hauraki.
It is a tragic situation for the UK family who now wish to sail to New Zealand from Tahiti, but they have already returned to England to bury their son, before returning to their yacht. They wish to sell the yacht and will find it easier to do that here than in Tahiti.
The issues for them are completing their grieving process and financial, not avoiding cyclones.
My daughter and family are sailing back to New Zealand. They were in the Caribbean when borders closed, with the hurricane season approaching. They are now in French Polynesia, where they will safely wait out the cyclone season.
The multimillion-dollar refits for superyachts will have been planned, with contracts signed, well over a year ago. The crews (not the owners) will be permitted to accompany those yachts when they come here. The America's Cup teams and the Australian rugby team also had competition agreements signed long before the pandemic began.
Priority should be given to yachts in the Pacific cyclone zone, who are at real risk. Australia is unlikely to allow them entry, so New Zealand may be their only option.
Tony Barker, Glenfield.
Fran O'Sullivan does a good job (Weekend Herald, October 17) of explaining why we might not see the end of Trump, but not how Republicans and Trumps seize power.
The Senate gives a voter in Wyoming 70 times the power of a voter in California, and the electoral college. Put simply, Republican presidents have won the popular vote only once in 30 years.
O'Sullivan reckons we Kiwis view the States through the eyes of liberal newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times. True, many Americans do not, and will never read what Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote about Trump's America in The Times on October 15: "What's a stake here could be the future of civilisation".
Most Americans believe in their own special version of a god, who created Earth for them. Possibly, but I draw the line at "Intelligent Design".
Dennis N Horne, Howick.
A quick word
"Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country" . Become an "essential worker" and join the harvest in our Covid economic recovery. J Sye, Beach Haven.
Jacinda will not need to carry out her threat of resigning now, but she could probably make more money being an Instagram star anyhow. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Around 809,000 people in New Zealand receive the superannuation payment, at a cost of nearly $16 billion a year. Isn't it about time to bring in means testing? L H Cleverly, Mt Roskill.
The Who Won't Get Fooled Again is compulsory listening for anybody who expects anything any different under any government. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
We are all familiar with stories of the "woman behind the successful man". Thank you Clarke Gayford, for being the man behind the scenes in the extraordinary success of our Prime Minister. Kathy Torpie, Mt Roskill.
Regarding the outcome of this election, it may be worth acknowledging that generations of state-controlled education has been most effective. Peter Osborne, Titirangi.
Sincere congratulations to Prime Minister Ardern from here in the USA. I wish our president had such intelligence and foresight in handling a pandemic. I am a tad jealous of all of you New Zealanders. Dr Anousheh Mortazavi, California.
The Church of England has an endowment of $16 billion which generates approximately $2b a year in income (as of 2019). It's a mystery to me why they can't pay for their own cathedral in Christchurch. Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
Taxpayers and ratepayers have forked out millions to view the racing up close from Takapuna Beach, Narrowneck and North Head - not specks on the horizon like last time. Sort it out Grant and Brad or give us our money back. Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
If Sealord cannot afford to man ships with New Zealand crew, it should reduce the size of its fleet accordingly. Mike Smith, Warkworth.
NZ is food-sufficient, but needs self-sufficiency in labour. No more importing fishermen, fruit-pickers, doctors, machine operators, while young Kiwis aspire to be baristas. It's ridiculous. Jim Carlyle, Te Atatū Peninsula.
Is our country becoming a nation equivalent to the too-posh-to-push brigade? Now are we too posh to work in industries like horticulture, fishing, farming, nursing and caring? James Archibald, Birkenhead.
New Zealand should be completely isolated until a vaccine is found. Health before finance is the only option. Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
Whoever is actually responsible for the incompetence of the testing station management in Auckland must surely realise that lives and the future health and economic well-being of the country rest on their shoulders. Christopher Johnstone, Grey Lynn.
So, the really big question is: will National form a coalition with Judith Collins? Phil Parker, Pt Chevalier.