Letter of the week: C. Williams, Mt Albert
Day after day, the media tells us how house prices are soaring yet again and real estate seems to be being actively touted as an acceptable means
of wealth creation.
How does this reflect on us as a society when it seems that we find it acceptable for some people to make an extremely comfortable living off the backs of others less fortunate and [go without] their basic right to have a warm, safe, stable roof over their heads?
Rather a sad indictment of us as a nation of supposedly "caring" people.
After many years as a residential property manager, every day brings me closer to the conclusion that rental properties, for the most part, should be in the hands of governments, local bodies and social agencies rather than private individuals with motives that are profit-driven.
We should not see the provision of housing as a money-making endeavour for some, rather as something that everyone should be able to afford.
While there are a lot of excellent landlords out there, for them it is still a business and they are in it to make money which is always going to be the bottom line - making a living from providing a basic right for others is never going to bode well for a large part of any society.
The social costs and implications are so vast when something as basic as housing is virtually out of reach for so many that if we are to have any hope of a more equal society then housing is the very first issue that we should be addressing.
We can only hope that Finance Minister Grant Robertson reads and takes to heart the insightful advice of Stephen Joyce (Weekend Herald, November 14), "It's housing for the haves and no relief in sight for the have-nots".
Robertson's boss has adopted a frowny dismissive response to inflated house prices. We expect them both to develop constructive, affordable housing policy solutions.
After all, Labour campaigned and promised much to address and resolve these issues.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Stephen Joyce (Weekend Herald, November 14) rightly castigates the Government for its head-in-the-sand attitude to the current housing bubble, conveniently forgetting John Key's similar response during the last bubble.
He is also right to point to low interest rates as a driver (rather than supply), but ignores the real underlying issue which is an unfair tax system that taxes income and KiwiSaver investments but not property assets, thereby incenting investors to view housing as a tax-free investment vehicle rather than a home.
And he uses highly selective statistics to claim that it is not due to extra demand from immigration. Yes, there has been a net gain of only 2500 people since April, but this was after six months of record net gains of 65,000 people as New Zealanders rushed back before the borders were closed.
These people, having found their feet, and/or a job, are likely to have recently entered the property market alongside "mom and pop" investors chasing tax-free returns, creating what is clearly a demand-led housing bubble.
Nigel Little, Mt Eden.
Stranger than fiction
I was surprised to read in Canvas (Weekend Herald, Novermber 14) the book review of Monsters in the Garden: An Anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy. New Zealand has not presented itself as a favourable climate for speculative and fantastic fiction, in spite of being the site of one of the genre's earlier satiric pieces, Erewhon.
I myself write such fiction - there is a story of mine on the Australian website AntipodeanSF about the tragedy that strikes when the CEO of Love Thy Neighbour Guns Ltd, Hullu, East Texas, discovers that the man in the mirror hates him. I write for an Australian website because nobody in New Zealand's got the nerve (or money) to go
up against the NZ literary establishment with a speculative/fantasy fiction magazine.
I think the problem with the literary establishment is itself a lack of nerve - R.A.K. Mason pointed out the absurdity in "Old Memories of Earth" and "Sonnet of Brotherhood".
I think a good part of the incentive to write speculative and fantastic fiction is a sense of
incongruity - here we are, Pākehā, Pasifika ... and New Zealand is full of such incongruity.
Wesley Parish, Tauranga.
I totally agree with Justine Adams (Weekend Herald, November 14). Anything that requires a little work has to be put in the too-hard basket.
Everybody receiving the Jobseekers' benefit should be made to research working conditions during the Great Depression. In 1932, there were 45,100 men under Scheme 5 for relief employment. A single man received "sustenance" payment of 14 shillings a week = $71 on 2009 values. A married man with three children received about $183 in 2009 figures.
Women stayed at home to look after children, and existed on what income they could get from doing housework, etc. Clothes were often made from sugar bags and lined with flour bags.
Relief work consisted of being sent to work camps, usually in very remote areas, with the work consisting of digging ditches, etc, the only tools being shovels.
Another job was pulling chain harrows by hand.
At that time, one in six people were dying before the age of 20.
What a lot we have to be thankful for these days.
Ayleen Riesterer, Te Kauwhata.
You reveal (Weekend Herald, November 14) that the NZ teen terrorist attack plan predated and was not connected to the mosque massacre. This exposes the deeper problem of increasing violence in New Zealand and the world that is not race-based nor anti-Islam.
One of the major causes is "cultural conditioning" promoting gun culture, militarism, warfare and "violence as the norm" in "entertainment" through mainstream media.
People have been led to believe it is okay to shoot, kill and commit mass murder on screens for everyone to watch, on the pretext of "free speech" which includes pornography and human degradation. This naturally produces many psychologically disturbed and violent individuals.
There should be public outrage to stop mass indoctrination of violence through TV, videos, computer gaming and mobile phones.
Government allows corporate programmers free rein to produce this stuff 24/7, knowing it results in rising costs for health, police and prisons, etc.
If we want to reduce mayhem and murder in the community, then it must be dramatically reduced on our screens. Over importation and easy access to firearms, along with excessive screen violence, is conducive to horrific crimes and a sick society. We can stop this.
Laurie Ross, Glen Eden.
A quick word
Winston Peters never did make it into the Pike River Mine did he? And there was so much hope. Janet Boyle, Ōrewa.
Auckland is now to have a grandiose piece of public statuary celebrating a shameful occasion, and ruining a beautiful little waterside park, rather than a quiet commemoration of the dead. C.K. Stead, Parnell.
There is no particular reason why people who chose to take a sightseeing trip on an aeroplane should be remembered by the public. Bruce Robertson, Westmere.
The Waitemata Local Board's decision will be judged accordingly, and remembered forever. Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
To mandate an inconsistency in mask-wearing between those disembarking trains at Britomart and those doing the same at Wellington Central Station is unfair and illogical. Brian McDonnell, Grey Lynn.
When Aucklanders went on trips to the rest of NZ in September they encountered nil mask wearing and emulated the local custom. Hipkins needs to make it mandatory everywhere. Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Re: pan being a synonym for global (Weekend Herald, November 14). Dictionaries show the prefix pan to mean all, or of everything. Global pandemic is perfectly acceptable. Roy Harris, Papakura.
When Emmerson started his one-man crusade against Seymour, Act was polling about 1 per cent. With more of this "support" from Emmerson, they'll soon be the largest party in Parliament. M.A. Pollock, Mt Eden.
Leonardo da Vinci would have loved the YouTube videos of the Antipodean fly-boats we see each morning on our computers. Stop quarrelling about that lousy $3 million and give us northerners a nice series of fly-races in up-coming winter months. Rene Strijland, The Netherlands.
NZ Rugby took a risk selecting Foster with no success as head coach and now face the reality of that situation. Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
Together with methamphetamine and MMP, All Black player rotation has been the biggest scourge on NZ society for the last two decades. Charlie Haddrell, Greenlane.
Not sure how often the All Whites have beaten the Argentinian football team, but Foster and the boys should be well embarrassed. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Sixty-three million voters hired Donald Trump. Four years later, seventy-nine million fired him. Lloyd McIntosh, West Harbour.
Watching Donald Trump on TV claiming he has won the election brings back memories of "Baghdad Bob". Wayne Carpenter, Glen Eden.
The new boat is very impressive but is the publicity a ploy to ask for more money from taxpayers? Hing Yu, Pakuranga Heights.