Sorrowed by mistreatment
As a senior mental health professional (now retired), I am horrified at the shared experience of Joan Bellingham (NZ Herald, September 23) at the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.
Like her, I was also a student nurse in 1970 and, while we were at that time totally powerless against a very patriarchal medical profession, I can categorically assure Joan and others that what she declares happened to her would never have happened at Oakley - later Carrington - in Auckland.
Yes, those of us who were not heterosexual were firmly in the closet then, as the only safe place to be, but never would any person have been prescribed ECT for being gay.
Whoever was responsible for keeping her locked up, inappropriately medicated and shocked, should be identified (if still alive) and brought to justice.
There were, over those years, many cases of people incarcerated for far too long, but we didn't have a sophisticated community mental health system or long-acting medications.
I became a nursing tutor and later a community mental health nurse and was in the field of psychiatry for 45 years.
What I can report is that things gradually improved, thank God.
I am very, very sorry that Joan had her life ruined by her psychiatric experience. It's hard not to feel thoroughly ashamed, just having been part of that system.
Althea Hill, Thames.
Out of Auckland
I would like to commend Colin Nicholls (NZ Herald, September 23) for his excellent suggestion that we change the point of entry into NZ from Auckland to elsewhere.
Not only is Auckland the economic engine of New Zealand, it is also vastly more populous and with open borders at both ends - making transit for people seeking to go from further south to Northland challenging at higher Covid levels.
My suggestion would be that we send returnees to Queenstown which is both well equipped with hotels and places to stay, and an airport and runway designed to accommodate larger international aircraft.
Joanne Harland, Mt Eden.
Dushko Bogunovich (NZ Herald, September 23) writes of a railway "spine" to cater for a linear Auckland. I agree, but I do not think we should be building on the very fertile soils of Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe. That should be preserved for food production.
Instead, I suggest developing the northwest for housing from Kumeu to Kaukapakapa, then continuing a railway spine along the Waitoki Valley to Silverdale creating a giant loop. The spine could also cater for other strategic links, such as Avondale to Onehunga and the airport, before connecting to Wiri.
There would still be scope for densification on the city isthmus using light rail on the arterial Sandringham, Dominion, Mt Eden and Manukau roads, with even one to Remuera via Parnell. The latter service could extend to the Eastern suburbs.
What we have now are a few grandiose point-to-point projects that do not provide much connectivity.
What we need is a plan with a goal to provide better connectivity throughout the region and beyond and to work toward that goal incrementally as we can afford, as long as cost is not an excuse for under-investment.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Taking a toll
All the recent agonising over the cost of badly needed second harbour crossing ignores the successful model of the current harbour bridge. It was built on the agreement that it would be tolled - paid for by the users.
It worked very successfully. The traffic flowed, the revenue was collected, the total cost repaid and, after some government resistance, the tolls abolished.
This time we won't need queues at tollgates as the revenue would be collected electronically - as happens in Sydney's harbour tunnels.
We've waited long enough. Let's start digging.
Dr John Reynolds, Torbay.
Stephen Bryson (NZ Herald, September 23) writes that more people providing rental property would "drive rents higher and higher" and that property investors are a curse that need to be eliminated. His thinking is completely wrong as it puts the interests of home buyers above that of renters.
Co-leader of the Green party, Marama Davidson, also thinks like Bryson and said in Parliament that she hoped recent law changes would encourage people out of providing rental property.
However, private rental providers supply 85 per cent of homes for tenants. They do so cheaper than the state, social housing providers and Build to Rent developers.
With not enough rental properties, tenants are finding it hard to secure appropriate accommodation. Forcing people out of providing rental property makes it worse. We are not the problem; we are part of the solution to the rental crisis in New Zealand.
There is a considerable amount of misinformation on the rental market. Another contributor, Susan Grimsdell (NZ Herald, September 23) , is wrong saying when benefits go up, rent goes up.
Rent control is the last thing that tenants need right now. Per rental property, more taxpayer money is spent on state and social housing than private rentals.
Andrew King, president, NZPIF.
Wages v rent
A letter from Michael Smythe (NZ Herald, September 23) declares a business is not viable if it cannot pay a living wage. True, but it's the cost of living for the employee that is the problem. It appears the "take-home" pay for 40 hours on a minimum wage is $623.70, or $1247.40 for a couple. The average rent in Auckland for a three-bedroom house is $600/week, leaving one earner with $23 to pay for a week's transport to work.
There is a disconnect between the cost of rent and the wage received. Using Smythe's reasoning, if owning rental accommodation is not viable without the $2 billion subsidy from taxpayers mentioned in Susan Grimsdell's letter (NZ Herald, September 23), then landlords should be investing their capital elsewhere. I'd like a representative group of landlords to be given the chance to explain their costs and, if the margins are poor, further study by an investigative journalist might reveal why.
Dawn Evans, Coromandel.
B. Darragh (NZ Herald, September 24) parrots the old socialist mantra that we will be better off if we beggar the rich to "help" the poor.
Wrong. We need more rich people, more multimillionaires and billionaires because inequality is a symptom of a dynamic, successful economy.
We need more companies like Rocket Lab, Xero, Vista, Buckley Systems, A2 Milk, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Pushpay, Mainfreight and the like. Businesses that have been built from start-up to international success. With it they have made their founders extremely rich. And that is as it should be.
They have created jobs by the hundreds of thousands. They bring in precious overseas earnings that allow the rest of us to enjoy the good things those funds buy.
We will not succeed as a nation if we sit on our backsides and wait for someone else to pay the bills.
If the Greens' bottom line of a punitive wealth tax is agreed to by the Labour Party, desperate to buy its way back into power as it did last time, those highly successful entrepreneurs will simply up sticks and go to countries that value success.
Who then will create the wealth to pay the poor?
David Morris, Hillsborough.
So farmers are calling for at least 150 experienced shearers from overseas to be given special access to enter New Zealand, so that sheep are shorn by the time summer's heat arrives.
As this is an animal welfare issue, I sincerely hope our Government grants the necessary visas to allow entry. If they can do it for the film industry, then how about the animals?
Ginny Alpe, Mt Albert.
The suggestion from NZ strawberry growers that they must have foreign pickers, has some major ramifications.
Foreigners are wanted because locals won't do such hard work for such low pay: that much is clear. But, in the world of Covid, how do foreign workers fly here safely and, more importantly, how do they return safely to their Pacific homes where there is a risk of taking Covid with them?
Are they to be incarcerated on berry farms for the duration of their contracts, for their own safety unable to mix into the wider NZ community?
I wonder who pays to meet their needs for extended stays due lockdowns, illness, or the threat of taking Covid home to an unprotected place that cannot manage a disease outbreak.
Barbara Callaghan, Kohimarama.
What a travesty of a debate on TV1 on Monday night.
The moderator did not seem to know how to run a debate, as he failed to keep order and to ensure both the participants were fairly heard.
The camera set-up allowed Judith Collins to make faces and gestures in the background as Jacinda Ardern was speaking, yet gave clear shots of Judith speaking without Jacinda in the background.
Why are advertisements not cancelled for the duration of such an important debate?
I hope TV3 can do better.
B N Scott, Blockhouse Bay.
Short & sweet
Sorry Shoreites, no sympathy at all from me for your temporary delays. Here in the east, we've had over a decade of traffic delays and chaos in getting to the CBD, with only the inept and technically flawed AMETI promised. Ross Nielsen, Half Moon Bay.
Rogernomics didn't dismantle night classes (NZ Herald, September 23). It was Anne Tolley under John Key's Government who stopped it and put $50m into private schools. That was not an improvement in society. Greg Bracewell. Pukekawa.
No Government has built, nor can they build, a country on welfare and taxes. Jim Radich, Red Beach.
India being the hotbed of Covid-19 cases, the New Zealand Government should put a stop to all repatriation flights out of India. Keep New Zealand safe. Mahendra Kumar, Otahuhu.
The relentless reductions in interest rates have now reached the point of doing more harm than good. Gary Andrews, Mt Maunganui.
If we scrap Twyford's crazy rapid rail system and sky path the funds from these projects would go a long way towards the cost of a harbour tunnel. The harbour bridge is already in a frail state without hanging more weight on it. Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Watching the TVNZ 1 debate reminded me of Martin Luther King's words to judge them on "the content of their character". Christina Dicamillo, Remuera.