How to cease crossed centreline carnage
The best way to stop the continuing carnage on New Zealand's rural roads is to urgently install median barriers. If we allow vehicles to hurtle toward each other at
100km/h separated by just a strip of paint, then further multiple fatality crashes are inevitable. My understanding is that the cheese cutter style of barriers, whilst not ideal, would be the quickest and least expensive. Also, they take up the least space in the middle of the road. In my opinion, the road transport authorities need to identify the 20 worst crash black spots and then the Government should authorise immediate barrier implementation. Nothing will save lives quicker than this.
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay
It must be heart-breaking for the surviving families and friends of head-on crash victims, to realise that a lane departure warning system (a simple beeping sound) could well have avoided the crash near Atiamuri. If both of the collided cars were late-model vehicles, which such warning systems installed, none of the police, ambulance and fire crew would have been confronted with this hell of a carnage.
Of course, we have to keep in mind, that many of our nation's employees have trouble upgrading their vehicles as it is, let alone being able to afford a late-model version. The ideal scenario, where all cars on our roads will be fitted with such technology, seems to be a long time into the future. Until then, we may have to concentrate better and prepare to react super-fast when other people's mistakes are being noticed. Unnecessary travel avoidance may also be an option.
René Blezer, Taupo
Horrendous though it is, let us not have a draconian knee jerk reaction from the Government because of the recent two multiple death accidents. In each case it was no doubt only one offending driver. Let's not keep the whole class in to punish just one offender.
Adrian Wilson, Northcote
What a great idea from David Stevenson. Jacinda could set an excellent example to her citizens by banning all government air travel below the level of Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and Trade Minister.
It is individual decisions that need to be encouraged. What if all our citizens stopped travelling unnecessarily, and donated the money instead to charities for those in need.
Valmai Shearer, Remuera
Auckland Transport (AT) proposes to remove 34 car parks, install 11 pedestrian crossings with raised speed tables and a roundabout in Mission Bay. When coupled with AT's proposed new 30km/h speed limit, this will create a bottleneck in Mission Bay and amplify traffic congestion along Tamaki Drive.
Losing more carparks will compromise local businesses and the many people who visit Mission Bay. Inadequate public transport linking Mission Bay to most areas of Auckland, particularly at night, should dictate AT's priority is to provide more car parks, not remove them.
AT's ill-thought out proposed changes to the infrastructure of Mission Bay and St Heliers are opposite to the needs of these communities. Accidents will not be reduced and traffic problems will not be solved unless AT actually accepts that each area of Auckland has unique requirements and that blanket restrictions, such as 30km/h limits, will not always rectify an area's problems or produce the same desired solutions for all areas.
AT's new traffic management and road safety plan is completely over the top and their refusal to listen to community concerns is arrogant. Aucklanders have had absolutely enough.
W Mountfort, Mission Bay
Minister of Justice Andrew Little (NZ Herald, April 29) defends our right to challenge the socially and culturally dominant. That's great, although we surely need to be able to freely discuss and challenge all systems and ideas that are promoted, no matter who by or how un-PC it is. That's how we maintain a healthy, fair and prosperous society.
While New Zealand does not yet officially suppress free speech, an unofficial system is well entrenched in all levels of government, education and mass media. Unquestioning endorsement of selective ideology is required from state employees. Peaceful speaking events have been cancelled for "security" reasons. Many facts relating to the way we are governed or our taxes are spent are simply not reported on. It seems that the public are to be kept in the dark so they won't question the appropriateness of systems that promote representatives of a non-dominant culture into positions of authority. This approach does nothing to ensure long term goodwill or to prevent corruption from festering.
Fiona Mackenzie, Whangaparaoa
Expecting households to fill out census returns online was never going to work. Apart from the non computer users, there are thousands who just cannot be bothered. Having worked as a census enumerator in the past, I know how difficult it has been to get some households to complete returns and often several calls were needed to some addresses. However, the tried and true system worked and I could see no reason to change it!
Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill
The platform forms Facebook, Twitter and others have developed can be for the good or curse of our community.
Europe, led by Germany and others, has been working for some years to monitor and discipline the platforms to stop "stealing" private information and selling that information to large marketing, political and other parties - usually without the knowledge of the users.
This "illegal" collection and sale of personal information has enabled social media companies to gain enormous profits and political influence.
Now, I see that our leader is going to France to put more pressure on this problem.
It would seem that it would have been prudent to wait until the G20 meeting in June when there will be more exposure including those countries that have been "doing the spade work" for some considerable time.
Robert Walker, Howick
Yes, June Brooke (NZ Herald, April 30) has got it right when she states Folau's list covers everyone she knows, as we all have fallen short of God's standards. Unfortunately she failed to read on and learn that forgiveness is available to all through Jesus and that is what Easter we have just celebrated is all about.
Alison McGill, Blockhouse Bay
Inequality and tax
In response to correspondents who have questioned the role of government in addressing the issue of inequality in New Zealand, the following points should be considered:
There is a clear difference between wealth (assets) that may be acquired without work and the income from which may not be taxed, and income (earnings from labour) which is taxed. The well off can hire accountants to minimise the tax they pay.
When inequality has increased as it has in the past three to four decades and is seen to be both high and unfair there are costly adverse effects on society. A sense of hopelessness leads to increased suicide, teenage pregnancy and mental illness, and anger results in increased violence and crime. Studies show that this inequality also leads to reduced economic growth.
Over this time incomes have fallen compared to the cost of living especially at the lower end of the scale leading to inability to save for a rainy day and greater reliance on government subsidies – in essence subsidising companies that fail to pay their employees a living wage. Such companies are profiting at the taxpayer's expense. It is definitely the role of government to develop policies that ensure an adequate income for its citizens as hard work will not change this situation for those in low-paid and insecure employment.
Karla Rix-Trott, Raglan
A number of your correspondents are arguing for changes to the taxation system that will readjust the tax burden and "tax high incomes out of existence".
Ignoring for the moment that right now just 11 per cent of New Zealand taxpayers pay almost 50 per cent of PAYE income tax, history shows that very high income tax rates are actually self-defeating.
Back in the 1960s the UK had high income tax rates plus a supertax. Consequentially, successful writers, actors and entrepreneurs simply moved out of the country and became tax exiles. You cannot prevent people from leaving.
Surely it is better for the IRD to get 30 per cent of something rather than 99 per cent of nothing.
Peter Lewis, Forrest Hill
Short & Sweet
Roads do not kill people - bad driving on our national highways results in the appalling road toll we have in NZ.
Angela Cook, Mt Eden
Please choose to suffer, if you wish, and give the rest of us the same right to choose.
Randel Case, Bucklands Beach
Statistics New Zealand has failed to do its job. Does anyone lose their job? The penalty for the taxpayer is a $26m bill.
Neil Hatfull, Warkworth
Contrary to the belief of the younger crowd, not everyone is computer-savvy or owns one. And they seemed to forget that retirement villages existed.
Pamela Russell, Orakei
Sometimes, doing things by people, on paper, is the best way.
John Ford, Taradale
The idea of underground rail to the airport sounds a great idea. The only problem is we won't have the income from a CGT to help pay for it.
Gavin Baker, Glendowie
It's surprising that, by being blindsided by Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, Theresa May may be the PM who destroys the UK Conservative Party. The current circus is truly grotesque.
Neville Cameron, Taranto, Italy