Moneyed by misery
What kind of society is this that is happy to line the pockets of shareholders at the expense of people, especially growing children, who increasingly go without fruit and vegetables and basic foods, these being out of reach for the general population due to increasing high cost? A 12 per cent increase in the cost of food in March. Do “shareholders” have no conscience? When rich investors see increasing profit, where is their sense of morality and common good? Isn’t a lot enough? Why more and more money (in the form of shareholders’ continued, immoral profits at the expense of people’s well-being) not enough? What is wrong with our gatekeeping Government that it refuses to rejig the capitalist model and put ceilings on say rents and food so the general population most of who are not shareholders in companies, can be safe and fed?
Rita Riccola, Albany.
A few contributors have called for the removal of capitalism. For over 50 per cent of my life, I lived in New Zealand under a socialist government. The government owned nearly all our infrastructure; power production and distribution, communications, intercity public transport, air transport, and mail services. Citizens enjoyed free medical care, dental care to age 16, and free education including tertiary. Banks did not provide mortgages; most came from government sources or solicitors’ trust accounts. The downside was high levels of taxation and social security contributions; import licensing for cars and materials for manufacturing, and limited overseas travel. The New Zealand dollar exchange rate was fixed by the government. The Muldoon Government decided to proceed with “Think Big” projects without funding, other than borrowing heavily. The result was New Zealand staring down the barrel of bankruptcy, opening the opportunity for a complete economic change, ergo Rogernomics, which required public assets to be sold off to the private sector to pay down some of the debt. We appear to be heavily indebted andt the Government has nothing left to sell except a lot of promises. What next?
Dick Ayes, Auckland Central.
It seems to me that the use of public money by politicians amounts to almost a scandal. In fact, not almost, it is. I am fed up with reading that we have a critical shortage of nurses which has resulted in half of Starship Hospital ICU beds being empty, yet politicians see fit to give away $15 million to so-called climate change projects in the Solomons. No doubt we will see an RNZAF 757 jet, fully loaded with politicians and their cohorts all bound for a cozy time in London courtesy of the taxpayer to watch the Coronation. That’s fine if you can afford it but first of all, pay hard-working people like our nurses the money they deserve.
Paul Beck, West Harbour.
Kirsty Wynn’s article “A survivor’s guide” (NZ Herald, April 19) offers some useful information for people trying to minimise costs. While not mentioned in the article, most of these suggestions will also help reduce individuals’ and families’ carbon footprints, addressing the other and more important issue of protecting the environment for future generations. New Zealand, being a wealthy country by international standards, is able to provide good food and housing to those who cannot afford it by appropriate redistribution of the country’s wealth. There are many options for this, but it is largely a matter for government.
David Tyler, Beach Haven.
As a regular viewer of broadcast TV, it has been the commercial breaks that have kept my eyes peeled of late. The flurry of adverts proclaiming a great discount here, a better discount there have bombarded us for years, yet the best discounts in town, hands down, don’t appear to have yet engaged their own advertising campaign - this being the judiciary with its unending bouquets of kindness for criminals come sentencing. The most recent - a violent and terrifying daytime smash-and-grab robbery of a jewellery store in Royal Oak which netted the villains some $200,000 in booty, has, unsurprisingly, seen the lead bandit from that bunch of amateur buccaneers handed down a massively reduced sentence from a starting point of some six and a half years in jail - discounted by Judge Sharp by some 70 per cent incredibly - to a cozy 12 months of home detention. I half expect to see ad breaks along the lines of: “The Courthouse, the Courthouse, where everybody gets a bargain.” As NZ sinks even further into the socialist quicksand, is it any wonder this country is failing in every conceivable way?
Peter Cook, Lynfield.
Once again, as is standard practice for any offender, mitigating factors have been put forward to reduce sentences. The offenders were before the court for an aggravated burglary carried out in broad daylight. Disguised and armed with hammers, they entered a jewellery store, smashed display cabinets and stole an estimated $200,000 of jewellery (NZ Herald, April 19). What is becoming very clear is that most of the growing number of young perpetrators of robberies, ram raids, assaults and violence of every kind are very forthcoming when detailing the abuse they’ve suffered in their life, with the aim of getting reduced sentences. Time and time again they talk of being abused by a parent, lack of any parental support and guidance and family dysfunction. What is not clear, however, is with all the disclosures made as mitigating factors, are any of these adults being held to account? Surely they should be before the courts for disclosed abuse, failing to provide the necessities of life, including making sure their children attend school.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
Bruce Kay (NZ Herald, April 19) asks why New Zealand society has altered so much in terms of increased violence. Drugs and alcohol must head the list but what about the human carnage so readily available on our screens, as opposed to the dwindling numbers of feel-good productions which help to elevate common decency? Furthermore, we are bombarded with advertisers telling us what to purchase in order to enhance our so-called, better lifestyles. Could it possibly be that we are already on the road to la-la land? Yes, we do need more serious debate.
John Norris, Whangamatā.
I agree with National’s recently announced agricultural policy to reduce the amount of red tape that farmers are having to endure. However, the plan to re-introduce live animal exports is a step backward, made by those politicians who have extremely short memories. I will not be voting National, having done so all my life, and I would imagine there will be several thousand more in the same boat. Voters, that is, not cows.
Richard Telford, Lucas Heights.
David Howard (NZ Herald, April 19) writes the New Zealand government should advise President Xi of China to accept the Two-China Policy as advocated by the West. Those who read China’s policy will know it will be not only a futile effort but an unfriendly attitude towards China. No political leader in China now and past could survive if they were to accept the Two-China Policy as it is against the wish and pride of the Chinese people. Historically, Taiwan is a part of China and the United Nations, including the US, has recognised it. China considers it a non-negotiable issue.
Andrew Yap, Mt Wellington.
I am bemused by the belief that reducing class sizes in our school will solve problems. Around 25 per class or teacher seems to be the ideal. I have seven class photos from my primary/intermediate years, from 1950 to 1958, and the average number of pupils in those photos is 39. My strongest memory is of my last year at Peachgrove Intermediate in Hamilton when there were 43 in the class. I believe discipline is the key. Back then when Mr Fletcher opened his mouth, 43 other mouths closed. I also think today too many children are not well enough prepared to enter school when they turn 5. I don’t have current personal experience but understand some children start school today with very limited vocabularies and some even without adequate toilet training. The way children progress through school also seems to me to be a failure as they march through the years from 1 to 13 without a pause, regardless of their achievement. No child in NZ should reach school leaving age virtually illiterate and with almost zero numeracy skills.
Murray Reid, Cambridge.
Short & sweet
My wife recently spent two days in Auckland Hospital - a visit that included the emergency department and one of the wards. The standard of care she received, the kindness and efficiency shown by all the hospital’s staff - even the food - was outstanding and exceptional. Ewart Barnsley, Kohimarama.
Last year,“telling a teacher to f*** off was not gross misconduct”; you reported expulsion from high school was too severe a consequence. But now you report that a man has just been sent to prison for calling someone “worthless”, “fat”, “piss-weak” and “violently disgusting” in a message? Crikey. Sarah Frost, Onehunga.
Thank goodness Mayor Brown has brought some sense to AT and, after two years of time-wasting, the contentious plan to eliminate kerbside parking has been dropped. Linda Beck, West Harbour.
How long will the washing machine that is Three Waters go on in its spin cycle? Probably until October. Ian Doube, Rotorua.
If you are likely to be brought before the court for armed robbery it would be wise to be a drug and/or alcohol addict, and be capable of writing an apology letter. I’m not sure what crime you need to commit to be sent to prison. J. P. Kania, Long Bay.
Christopher Luxon has announced that for every new agriculture regulation National introduces they will remove two. Does he realise that, by these mathematics, there will come a time when there will be no regulations left? Greg Cave, Sunnyvale.
The Premium Debate
There has been so much money wasted on unnecessary and unmandated restructures, renaming of government departments, cultural advisors, consultants for any and everything, whilst all the while there has been a decline in pretty near everything. Cost of living, housing, health, rising crime, education system and inflation have all gone the wrong way. New Zealanders are far worse off than they were 5 years ago and yet, for some inexplicable reason, there are still those who support Labour. I am seriously considering emigrating. Patrick F.
You and me both Patrick, the trouble is Australia is about to go down the same woke/socialist path. Ross P.
Don’t let us delay you, Patrick. To be seriously considering emigration you are clearly over the 50 per cent threshold of decision. Go do it. The problem you face is that you need to find a nation where cost of living, housing, health, rising crime, education system, inflation aren’t all going the wrong way. Good luck with that utopian mission. As for your querulous comment about Labour supporters, there’s as many wondering what on earth attracts people to National and Act. Those just seem less querulous but are no less valid. Bear in mind also - in this new land you will find - that the citizens will not appreciate a newly arrived migrant with an opinion negative to their new host nation. So fitting in will be important. Adapting and adopting will be critical behaviours to develop. All of which is necessary to consider before deciding to be at odds with the country you’re already a citizen of. “Decide in haste. Repent at leisure” is not intended to be a humorous fact. Thomas D.
I recently moved to Australia. I can confirm all the same things starting to happen but, for now, it’s still better. Federico G.
If all the people who “threatened” to emigrate actually did it instead of just talking about it that would fix our housing shortage overnight. Just do it. Ken E.