Letter of the week: Ross Harvey, Remuera
With the current situation that the Auckland Council finds itself regarding the financial shortfall from its revenue quarters, it is time to review its decision regarding the Ports
of Auckland ownership.
Following on from the Ports of Tauranga model, the Auckland Council could sell off 50 per cent of the port to private interests, introducing commercial disciplines to the port.
In so doing, the council would be in a much more advantageous financial position than it finds itself in now, where the only way out that it can see is to increase rates to the poor suffering ratepayers who are experiencing their own financial issues.
If this were to be handled correctly, the council could increase current revenue, receive a substantial amount of money for the shareholding sold to relieve the Auckland ratepayers of their burden and expose the PoA to rigorous financial disciplines.
To my mind, the only stumbling block to this outcome is the issue of financial support given to the Labour-backed council by unions involved in Auckland industries.
• Ports of Auckland has to move, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
• Auckland port decision to be made in first half of next year
• Ports of Auckland drops interim dividend; profit falls
• Premium - Major study says Ports of Auckland should close, Northport be developed
Is Winston Peters now part of the Australian Coalition Government as well? Or are all those saying our Government should already open the transtasman bubble forgetting something?
There is a decision also required by the Australian Government and the Australian states, which have closed borders between several of them.
The Queensland government recently said it is not likely it will open its NSW border anytime soon.
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
Air New Zealand cannot have it both ways in this Covid crisis. It cannot deny refunds on tickets under these rarest of circumstances when someone decides travel is not safe. Conversely, it cannot allow credit on flights deferred for up to 12 months, and then charge an extra fee if its costs rise.
Of course, if you get your refund and then rebook, the risk then does belong to the customer.
But it seems Air New Zealand, and not its customers, has a bob each way on this one, especially when the rescue package has been paid by its customers.
John Ford, Taradale.
The Urban Dictionary describes a ning nong as someone who does something stupid and causes a nuisance to others. This is an accurate but mild and polite description of the two who went bush on a multi-day trip in Kahurangi National Park during Covid level 3 in direct defiance of the rules, immediately got lost, walked in circles, injured themselves, accidentally burnt their socks, and failed to maintain a constant fire to generate smoke. They also failed to carry a PLB, or even a simple GPS although they probably had one on their smartphones. To rub salt in the taxpayer wound, Search and Rescue then praises them for being well-equipped and doing the right things. One could get the impression SAR enjoy the thrill of the hunt. This is not hide and seek. It is a ridiculous waste of public money when this country can ill afford it.
Peter Gatley, Tamahere.
Paved with gold
We've received notice that our street is to have footpath repairs and the road resurfaced.
The path and road are perfectly fine, they do not need fixing or resurfacing, the current condition will last several years.
With council facing a multimillion-dollar deficit, I would have thought projects like this could easily be cancelled.
I could do a better job at managing council's spend than the mayor, CFO and CEO. They have no idea on how to save money.
Rick Vine, Ponsonby.
Margaret Cruickshank was the first female doctor in New Zealand. She practised in Waimate, South Canterbury. She died in the influenza pandemic of 1918. In 2007 the Ministry of Health named a pandemic preparedness exercise "Exercise Cruickshank" in recognition of her work during that period.
Danna Glendining, Taupo.
The 2008 stock market crash exposed New Zealand businesses that hadn't saved for a rainy day. Similarly, the coronavirus lockdown is exposing those who didn't and are now crying poor.
There are two fundamental government-assisted flaws here. The Government, in allowing banks to pay what amounts to zero interest on savings, discouraged all businesses from saving. Even worse, those that didn't put money aside are now being rewarded by government handouts. What message is that giving to businesses starting up? "She's right mate it'll all come out in the wash". This is what New Zealand governments throughout history have been plagued with.
It was such a government practice of handouts that nearly destroyed Maoridom.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Open the books
I, along with many other Aucklanders I am sure, am underwhelmed by the post-lockdown re-opening of the Auckland Council libraries. As a correspondent pointed out last week Council management has had six weeks to plan and prepare for timely resumption of services. Businesses small and large were raring to go back to work as soon as Level 2 commenced. In contrast the libraries required an additional week to get ready and even then only 31 out 55 libraries (56 per cent, or just over half) opened on Wednesday May 20, with resulting inevitable congestion; the rest "will follow after Queens Birthday weekend". I hope this actually means that the remaining 24 libraries will open on Tuesday June 2, and particularly, that we do not find this has been an opportunity for the council to decide that some libraries will stay closed for good.
Tony Devitt, Avondale.
Due to their over-reliance on tired old buzzwords, politicians and social commentators are perhaps subliminally preceding them with more adjectives. Now we have not only "totally unacceptable" but also "totally and utterly unacceptable".
Do you think this is, um, acceptable?
John Norris, Whangamata.
A quick word
Am I the only one wondering if Todd Muller, Chris Luxton, and Scott Morrison were triplets separated at birth? Doug Hannan, Mount Maunganui.
It makes absolutely no sense to talk about opening borders while we delay movement to level one. What matters now is getting to level one as soon as possible. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
Shovel-ready: Governmental drivel that actually means a project is unconsented and could be six months to many years from seeing any physical work and in many cases never will. Barry Waldon, Bethlehem.
Bill Birch was right - Winston is not a team player. Time he went. Sylvia Burch, Kerikeri.
If everyone in New Zealand stopped running the tap continuously when they brushed their teeth, we could conserve thousands of litres of water. Jacqui Ross, Massey.
In my view, Auckland Museum is far more interesting than Te Papa. Yet we, the Auckland ratepayers, have to keep it going. Would that be the case if Te Papa was in Auckland?Pamela Russell, Orakei.
Todd Muller says he expects to be Prime Minister after September's election. This brings to mind one of the memorable quotes from the movie The Castle: "Tell him he's dreaming!" Peter Culpan, Te Atatu Peninsula.
I believe Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye will make a far more effective Opposition team and wish them well in those posts, which I hope they hold for a very long time. Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark
Kindness and sincere caring is not about empty words and photos. R. Wilson, Glenfield.
Aucklanders need relief and are not able to meet the despotic demands of the council in an extinguishing economy and with many ratepayers unemployed and businesses facing bankruptcy. D M de Lacey, Remuera.
Poor Todd Muller. Dealing with the stream of MPs going for a leak must be driving him around the bend. Dean Donoghue, Papamoa Beach.