As we shall reap
Not a day goes by when we don't hear the screams from fruit growers wanting the Government to provide them with hoards of "cheap wage" peasants to harvest their high-value export
Imagine for a moment that New Zealand was actually an advanced industrial society and not the low-wage, low-productivity peasant economy that it actually is.
In such a society, fruit-picking robots would be available, leased by New Zealand-based technology companies to growers for the picking season to harvest their crops daily as they reach optimum picking condition.
But instead, we live in a society that "invests" for tax avoidance purposes most of its capital in the pointless activity of buying and selling grossly overvalued houses to each other, and heaven forbid that any of us pay even a jot of tax from that activity.
Hence, a decreased supply of "productive capital" to develop robots and other extremely useful and productive technology advances?
As Forrest Gump said: "Stupid is as stupid does."
Graeme Samson, Whangārei.
It's a gas
The article by Shane Ellison (NZ Herald, November 17) does not discuss the most important single factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport: the bang for the buck. It is well established that electric cars are one of the most expensive ways of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. Costs in excess of $200 - $1000 per tonne have been reported.
The Government currently prices carbon dioxide emissions at $32 per tonne so any solution with a higher cost per tonne of reduction should be discarded in favour of lower-cost options.
In New Zealand, it is highly probable that the lowest cost option is to switch Huntly Power Station and many dairy companies from burning coal to burning gas. All that is needed is to encourage gas exploration and, in the South Island, develop the shale gas already known to exist. As fracking has been going on in New Zealand for 40 years and had been cleared by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the only problem is to abandon the ban on gas.
Exploiting remaining hydropower potential would also reduce carbon dioxide at a much lower cost than electric cars.
Bryan Leyland, Pt Chevalier.
The reported claim by a driver (NZ Herald, November 17) that Harbour Bridge elements somehow detached and damaged her car doesn't ring true. More likely is that unsecured items fell off the tray of a truck or ute and were thrown up by the rear wheels of a following vehicle.
This is what happened to me about 25 years ago in heavy traffic along the Southern Motorway. My eye caught something flung up from the rear wheel of a truck ahead of me in another lane. I lost sight of it for a split second and then there was an ear-splitting crash as this object smashed into my windscreen at head level. The object was a very large iron shackle of the type used to secure heavy machinery on transporters.
I have the invention of laminated-glass windscreens to thank for saving my life as my windscreen held together despite being stoved in as far as the steering wheel.
I would like to know how much checking for loose objects on the trays of trucks is undertaken by the traffic police.
Warwick Grey, Epsom.
The "loss" suffered by the Auckland Council on derivative contracts (NZ Herald, November 16) amounts to the foregone opportunity of benefiting from lower interest rates.
Hedging in this way protects organisations from the downside when interest rates move unfavourably, but also prevents them from taking advantage if interest rates move favourably. That is the price of conservative hedging. It is easy to see with hindsight what would have been a better strategy. It's much more difficult when looking forward.
If I had known when I bought my house 25 years ago that it would still be intact and standing today, I wouldn't have wasted all that money on insurance premiums.
Rowan Hill, Mt Eden.
Derek Cheng (NZ Herald, November 17) is right to note the reactive nature of many of the Government's decisions on Covid-19, although it is also worth noting that many of the decisions were taken in the run-up to a general election.
Nevertheless, this is a general problem in New Zealand public policymaking – an extreme event is often required to move the dial in a direction long advocated.
It took a massacre in Christchurch to prompt gun law reform 25 years after a report advocating these measures, and an explosion at the Pike River coal mine, causing 29 deaths, to prompt health and safety strengthening, although farmers are still largely exempt.
Today, thousands of children are behind in dental appointments in Auckland, at least 2000 await treatment, often involving general anaesthesia. Most, if not all, have severe tooth decay and are from disadvantaged families.
Yet, successive governments have failed to act on reducing the substantial added sugar in the drinks. Is this event extreme enough to prompt a public policy shift?
Peter Davis, Emeritus Professor in Population Health and Social Science, University of Auckland.
How many All Blacks-Argentina match viewers took a look in the background at the magnificent truly rectangular stadium in the west of Sydney?
At their expense, let cricket and union carry on at Eden Park if they wish but it's over time to build a real stadium down the waterfront.
Last century, Carlaw Park was the obvious venue but no one could blame the cash-strapped league for their amazing investment, which now holds up the game in perpetuity.
Eden Park could go the same way but no one is going anywhere until a new stadium is built.
Rob Smith, Ōtāhuhu.
I am hoping Michael Wood, in his new Transport Minister role, very soon increases the minuscule $80 plus points for using a non-hands-free mobile phone while driving.
It has been flatly refused by his predecessor Julie Anne Genter for the past three years and even by Rodney Hide 12 years ago.
Fingers crossed it happens before the Christmas road toll begins.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi
Having enjoyed so much rugby in my life, both playing and viewing, at 83, from my observations of what has been written and seen, it's clear that after many years helping maintain the All Blacks that Ian Foster, nice chap that he is, is not the man for the job as coach of the finest team in rugby. Never have so many world-class players lost in the way the All Blacks lost last weekend.
I think Ian Foster is an honourable chap and he needs to do the right thing - walk away and leave the job for the likes of Scott "Razor" Robertson. Never was it more obvious. No more waiting for more losses and before the damage sticks.
The All Blacks deserve better.
Ken Shelvey, Pauanui.
For Evans' sake
Celebrity chef Pete Evans is a blithering idiot. Some of his claims and statements defy belief and fly in the face of common sense. However, every single one of us should be outraged at bookstores removing his books. This is nothing short of censorship driven by hysteria. Who has the right to tell anyone they cannot read a book? The books by Pete Evans do not inspire hate or violence, which should be the sole factor on censorship.
This is what we have come to. A willing public meekly accepting someone else's decision on what they can and can't read. A mandate that should you depart from the narrative, you will be silenced. The actions of many a tyrant throughout history. For heaven's sake, just put it in the fiction stand and be done with it.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
You were lucky
S. Hansen's letter (NZ herald, November 17), detailing her hectic and badly paid workload as a youth, reminds me of the classic Four Yorkshiremen sketch from the ancient BBC comedy At Last the 1948 Show. "We used to get up at 4am, half an hour before we went to bed, drank a cup o' cold gravel, worked 79 hours a day down a coal mine for tuppence a year..."
Jeff Stone, New Plymouth.
Short & sweet
Someone should ask the Chinese authorities where the virus - supposedly found on frozen NZ beef - originally came from. Michael McKerrow, St Heliers.
Could a property transfer levy, of say 1, 2 or even 5 per cent be introduced and the money raised allocated to a fund similar to ACC, dedicated to building homes and apartments? Peter Thomas, Hamilton.
In the section of the supplement titled Thermal Attractions ... We're Naturally Hot it is stated the Pink and White Terraces "have sunk to the bottom of Lake Tarawera". They are, in fact, submerged (not sunk to the bottom of) under Lake Rotomahana. Jeffrey Langford, Belmont.
The ABs could try eliminating late-charging, face-slapping, catch-dropping, and
not least when they cross the line, self-aggrandisement and trumpery. Eion Field, Hamilton.
Tries: All Blacks, 2; Pumas, 1. Penalties: All Blacks, 1; Pumas, 6. Remember Don Clark?David Bentham, Browns Bay.
In true Erebus fashion, a monumental failure in responsible decision making was displayed at the Waitematā Local Board meeting in not seeking a decision for the siting of the proposed memorial which would be acceptable to both parties. Terry Cammell, Silverdale.
Being emotional and shedding a few tears after a famous win over the All Blacks is a sign of happiness and is very good for your health. Gary Stewart, Foxton Beach.
In New Zealand, poor diction starts at the top, with the Prime Minister's own patikly nodisibul. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.