Apply for a rates postponement
Nobody in Auckland has to lose their home because they have not paid their rates. The same applies to some other cities as well.
All you must do is, each year, write to the council and ask for your rates to be postponed.
You are eligible for postponement if you have owned your home for at least two years and it is used only as your residence. You do not have to show hardship.
You pay interest on the amount you owe. You can postpone your rates up to 80 per cent of your home's value. When your house is sold, the rates and interest are repaid from the proceeds of the sale.
John Caldwell, Howick
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Over the top
While Megan Woods procrastinates over the complexity of user-pays quarantine, the real issue of effective contact tracing is being ignored.
World Covid case numbers continue to rise and second waves proliferate.
Kiwis will rush to book a trip home for a holiday then return overseas. Without a gold standard track-and-trace we will emulate Victoria.
Our health system's ability to cope is still limited and will be quickly overwhelmed.
Our frontline health workers deserve better. This is like a World War I charge into a withering machine gun fire. Bloody murder. Our politicians are the officers giving the orders to go over the top.
A track and trace card exists at $10 per person — cheap at the price. What is the hold-up?
Steve Russell, Hillcrest
The PM recently warned of vigilance against further Covid-19 infections leading to lockdowns again.
Obviously, testing for Covid-19 will be with us for a long time and public health experts are calling for more testing.
Why are there not more test facilities in Auckland such as the Britomart precinct, Newmarket rail precinct, Greenlane sites like Ellerslie Racecourse, Countdown carpark, the Showgrounds, Alexandra Park, or Royal Oak shopping site?
These are all busy, accessible places.
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane
Why is it just about every time an image is added to emphasise and justify the proposed "wealth tax" so beloved of the envious Green/ Labour and welfare exploiters, photos of luxury cars, grand mansions, superyachts and aeroplanes are shoved into our faces?
In essence, the threshold and definition of " the wealthy" has now been lowered to include anyone and everyone who has applied themselves through hard work and diligence to simply freehold their home or meet their financial obligations while being progressively robbed to support those who don't.
Max Wagstaff, Auckland
Value for money?
In response to Heather du Plessis-Allan's comments about privileged Kiwis overseas, with over 45,000 Covid-19 deaths here in the UK, I can't say I feel very privileged.
I'm not against the principle of cost-sharing for quarantine, and perhaps it is reasonable to suggest charging the full amount for people who leave New Zealand for a holiday.
But not all Kiwis overseas are on OE, or a holiday. Many have family abroad. Individuals are faced with conflicting demands and responsibilities and the costs involved will only make such decisions all the more complex.
Flights back to NZ are much more expensive now. Add $6000 for a couple faced with quarantine and it could be extremely difficult for many citizens to return to their own country.
The $380 million quarantine bill the Government are paying is a huge amount. But, perhaps it should be seen as good value for money considering it has kept Kiwis safe and allowed New Zealand to get back to a way of life the rest of us can only be envious of.
Martin Owen, United Kingdom
I thought it very generous of the PM to hand the details of Andrew Fallon's indiscretion to the Leader of the Opposition. This was done without any fuss, without prompting or cynically handing potentially very damaging material to media, to further her own party's cause in the upcoming election, by exposing unbefitting behaviour by one of her opponents.
I can't help but wonder how this scenario would have played out had the Opposition been handed this information by a mother concerned about a Government MP's actions.
Kindness, courtesy, transparency, truth and goodwill in all dealings are what we need in New Zealand's leaders.
It's what we have in our current Government, one respected around the world for its consideration of its country's citizens' health and welfare, first and foremost. Why would we want to change?
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark
Judith Collins titled her autobiography Pull no Punches, meaning make sure you hit hard and do real physical damage to the other person, but she told a Taranaki audience last week she preferred "Take no Prisoners", meaning kill every last one of the enemy, even if defenceless, the famous adage of Lawrence of Arabia in his cruellest moment of savagery.
She is (NZ Herald, January 18) the National Party's "Nuclear Option", as if we now accept that it is permissible to incinerate thousands of civilians as a legitimate act of war, everything our 1987 Act of Parliament was designed to mitigate.
If she is to become the leader of my country, where am I to seek asylum in a world crazed with displaying might as right, politically, commercially and militarily? Australia? Britain? The United States? Brazil? India?
Kindness is a better path, even if it costs more money immediately.
Peter Wills, Waiheke Island
Mythology abounds re the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.
It does not guarantee any of the features of New Zealand Superannuation, such as its level, the age of eligibility, how it is adjusted for inflation and wages, residency requirement and lack of a means test. Nor will it be any help for the next 30 years.
Under current settings nothing trickles out of this fund until 2050. By then, Baby Boomers will be aged 85 to 105 so it doesn't have much at all to do with paying for the generosity to that generation.
In the current crisis when many working-age families face severe economic hardship it is very questionable to tax them to contribute $ 2 billion a year to this fund. That's like saving for a rainy day when the roof is collapsing and the kids are hungry.
Beware of National's reasons to stop contributions however; they are keener on lowering tax than spending the saved money on poverty prevention, welfare reform and social housing.
Susan St John, Retirement Policy and Research Centre, University of Auckland
I think the idea to charge our countrymen for detention upon return to New Zealand is a bad idea. A better idea is to reduce the cost and time of quarantine.
If people test negative for Covid-19 on arrival they should be allowed to self-isolate with no cost for the government and taxpayer. The very few who do test positive should be under observation and mandatory quarantine for two weeks. This would reduce the quarantine capacity required and therefore the cost by over 90 per cent without increasing the risk for New Zealand.
The current arrangement is perceived by many to be overzealous and is neither required, nor sustainable.
When we consider these things we need to be empathetic and inclusive and consider how we would like to be treated when returning to New Zealand.
Frank Olsson, Freemans Bay
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The Chinese ambassador has said we will get along fine provided we butt out of their domestic affairs.
That's fair enough, but we should always speak out about international behaviour we find abhorrent without necessarily identifying the offending country or countries.
If the cap fits.
Graham Astley, Epsom
Short & sweet
I read that some magazines will be published again soon after the
Covid-19 restrictions. Hopefully old fashioned sexist titles like Woman's Weekly and Woman's Day will disappear. Gender-neutral alternatives could be used such as: Weekly Magazine, and Awesome Day.
Doetie Keizer, Riverton.
Now that Sonny Bill Williams isn't playing for the Wolfpack maybe he might consider joining the Warriors. I'm sure they'd welcome him with open arms.
Rex Head, Papatoetoe
On NZ First
I see NZ First is seeking advice from two men who helped with Boris Johnson's Leave the EU Campaign. As we know his Brexit campaign was riddled with misinformation, so it will be interesting to see what these two add to NZ First's election campaign.
Alan Milton, Cambridge
Thirteen MPs have left or are leaving National. Four people have left quarantine. Which is the greater shambles?
Dave McIver, Bayview
I find it quite amusing that a lot of people, including some media, suggest that the Prime Minister saved our country from Covid. I would have thought that the medical profession kept Covid at bay.
A J Petersen, Kawerau