RMA reform nightmares
Poor Eugenie Sage must find it difficult to sleep at night (NZ Herald, June 29).
She wrestles with the need for warm dry housing to solve the housing crisis while fretting about the urgent need to reduce climate pollution and the need to protect and restore nature.
The interminable overhaul of the RMA conflicts her further, as her formula will certainly make things worse by replacing one law with three others.
She hopes to limit the influence of property developers and to increase the influence of Māori interests and give more power to local communities.
Her stated wish is to build more homes while demanding an evidence-driven, science-based process that meets the values of citizens assemblies, Māori and increased recognition of the Environment Court. A new system that directs decision-makers to remove planning hurdles seems to be a forlorn hope.
The RMA may muddy the waters for developers' plans but Eugenie's recipe promises a quagmire that will dash the hopes of anyone seeking to gain a consent to do almost anything.
George Williams, Whangamatā.
Stop at source
While it doesn't go far enough or fast enough, it is heartening to finally see the Government move to reduce our waste creation.
What's utterly incomprehensible is that waste creation and the growth of the vile recycling industry was ever allowed to happen, the costs socialised while profits were privatised.
Whoever, except those who've never done the disgusting hands-on job of handling others' rubbish, ever thought it was dignified to have to sort through waste in council-run recycling centres instead of stopping all the rubbish at source?
What's interesting to see is how fast industry and big retailers like supermarkets can move to make changes when they want to appeal to customer demands.
Good riddance to rubbish and the vile industry of recycling.
Judith A Gillies, Ponsonby.
We need to have a referendum at the next election, to change the parliamentary and local government terms to five years. If the majority agree then it could be applied for the next and subsequent terms.
Our current terms are not long enough to allow for a government to institute rational policy and revise important legislation such as the Resource Management Act. The current three-year term results in a rush of often dubious new policy in the first year; a panic to produce results in the second year; followed by political spin in the final year, in preparation for the upcoming election.
The reality is, that the bureaucratic process is too slow to allow for good policy to be prepared and implemented within a three-year term. If we don't increase the term we are unlikely to get meaningful change.
The common concern about lengthening the parliamentary term is that it is difficult to vote out a bad government. The current term of three years, regardless of the party in power, is not serving us well either.
Rod Young, Kerikeri.
Auckland Council and the Government are proposing more high-rise apartments to provide affordable housing for a growing population. We need more apartments but where is the planning for the parks and open space and associated amenities that a more crowded city needs?
Development needs to be planned around playgrounds, schools, community centres, maraes, community gardens and recreation facilities close to where people live.
Such easily accessed amenities also reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on private vehicle use. Even a large protected tree in a green pocket park can provide health benefits and joy to those living in crowded spaces.
Planning over the last few decades has neglected these amenity spaces in the existing urban areas of Auckland.
The council is even planning to sell parks in the belief we have too many. This may be based around some sort of broad open space plan, but it has not been communicated let alone understood by the public. Unless it does there will be more legal and community protests from citizens who need parks and the amenities they provide.
It is time for a broad discussion and process to engage citizens on how our city develops.
Kit Howden, Mt Eden.
A leaked video from a whistleblower (NZ Herald, June 30) shows the violent restraining of youth in care that Oranga Tamariki staff members felt was necessary at one of their facilities recently. An inquiry is under way to look into this.
It's a damnable pity that Grainne Moss was still not in charge - then all the do-gooders and experts could rise up yet again to demand her removal.
Who to blame now? Surely not the new chief executive?
Bill Scott, Ohope Beach.
I got a text to register for a jab. I was in South Island so thought I would wait till I got back.
The link now says that the "password reset link has expired". I can't get back in, no assistance on government websites. Why not, and why has it expired?
Rod McMahon, Birkenhead.
Last week, the pro-democracy newspaper the Apple Daily was forced to close by the Chinese Government.
The founder of the newspaper, Jimmy Lai, has been detained for being a bastion for freedom and freedom of speech in Hong Kong.
This week marks one hundred years since the formation of the Communist Party in China. There is nothing to celebrate and everything to be concerned about with the ever-widening indoctrination and militarisation of their citizens.
Steve Lincoln, Botany Downs.
So, I read from Jeff Hayward's letter (NZ Herald, June 28) that AT will still be receiving more diesel buses through to July 2025.
Point of order, says Mark Hannan, AT PR boss, in his letter (NZ Herald, June 30); he wishes to "correct" Mr Hayward, and say instead that no more diesel buses "will be bought" from July 1, 2021.
Curiously elliptical wording, "will be bought", and a remarkably sudden cut-off date.
The obvious supplemental question to Mr Hannan, is how many diesel-belchers are already on order (i.e. have already been bought), and when will they stop arriving?
Could it be that they are both right, but Mr Hayward is arguably more correct in that new AT diesel buses remain in the pipeline and will be progressively delivered over the next four years?
Barrie Graham, Remuera.
In reply to Alison Feeney's letter (NZ Herald, June 30) and her comment, "so many near-empty buses driving around, including double-decker buses", the only way to change Auckland driving habits is by using the carrot and stick.
Make all types of public transport free and frequent; penalise drivers who wish to drive into the CBD; and provide free park and ride areas on the outskirts of Auckland, as is done in many overseas cities.
Eric Strickett, Henderson.
My family have been fishing the Hauraki Gulf for the past 40 years and we have never shirked our responsibility to put back undersize snapper, hapuku, crayfish, scallops or what have you.
I have yet to meet a recreational fisherman who doesn't do the same, which glaringly points to commercial fishermen and the inspectors who supposedly monitor them.
To punish responsible recreational fishermen, as now is bound to happen due to the incompetency to monitor both commercial fishermen and a few errant recreational fishermen, is an indictment on a failed system.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Short & sweet
Those people who have nothing to do but whine about everything and anything need to take note that New Zealand does not control the production or the delivery of the vaccine. Greg Cave, Sunnyvale.
Given it seems desirable to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19, would it help if we were described as "the herd of 5 million" rather than "the team of 5 million", or would this contribute to an escalation in our atmospheric pollution? John Olesen, St Heliers.
To all those people who say we must learn to live with Covid-19, I say I am prepared to live with it, I just do not wish to die from it. Carrick Bernard, Mt Albert.
National needs to sort itself out or Labour will sleepwalk to the next election. Steve Horne, Raglan.
Here's a solution to the America's Cup problem: the Black Caps give $101m of their $220m World Test Championship prize money to Emirates Team NZ. Robert Clarke, Albany.
How many cotton buds would it take to compensate for the amount of plastic consumed in one house build? It makes you wonder what sort of people are running the country. Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
The best thing about Auckland is driving out of the place. That is if the roads aren't blocked with parked or idling cars. Graham Fleetwood, Botany Downs.
The Premium Debate
As soon as we find ourselves thinking twice about saying what we think or believe about anything, out of fear of recrimination, then we no longer have a free society. That's what this proposed "law" is. Richard W
Like a lot of things, there's a great deal of hysteria over this. It has been poorly handled by Jacinda Ardern and Kris Faafoi. But this is hardly legislation yet. Ardern has called for input from the Opposition parties, which sounds sensible. But they don't want to play grown up because this is a great thing to bash the Government over. I would rather they all got together and make it workable, decent legislation. My guess is it will end up simply increasing the penalties that exist in the current statutes and it won't bring about the end of civilisation. Like the smacking laws, the police will probably rarely use it. Those who expect the police to kick doors down and arrest people for telling an off joke may be disappointed. Ross W
Too much vetting. This is not good for society. If my words are worthless, all I have left is my testosterone. And that won't work out well for anyone. Keryn D
"Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like but, if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage," said Sir Winston Churchill. If this law is passed, we will no longer have free speech in this country, it really is that simple. Good intentions do not necessarily make good laws - or governments for that matter. Jason L
It is difficult to determine whether the proposed law will target the consequences of hate speech - that is incitement to action against a group on the basis of hatred - or hatred per se. Hatred is a state of mind and only becomes a problem when manifested in action against a group. If hatred as a state of mind is the target, we are moving into thought crimes. In the UK, the hate speech laws have a specific exception relating to discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or beliefs. Given that freedom of expression developed in the context of freedom to express religious belief (and practice it), it seems that the UK approach recognises this as well as the importance of freedom of conscience and belief. David H