Letter of the week, Laurie Ross, Glen Eden
Bravo! Simon Wilson for bravery and brilliance in "Why I'm afraid" (Weekend Herald, October 31).
On climate crisis he presents practical answers to stop importing petrol-guzzler, carbon-spewing vehicles and stop chopping down mature urban trees that sequester carbon.
Auckland Council and the Government agree on climate policy principles but do not implement dramatic changes required, because multinational corporations hold the power. In Covid-19 lockdown, the government acts swiftly, though it disrupts commercialism, to protect the health of the people.
Wilson drops the bombshell: "Neoliberalism does not work…" Truth exposed at last. "The theory of political economy that says governments should balance their books, cut taxes and services, and above all get out of the way of private enterprise has run rampant through the world for the past 40 years."
He quotes Milton Friedman that business has "no responsibility beyond making a profit" which only works if the government enforces regulations protecting people and the environment.
Wilson says, "it is not failure of personal ethics or political leadership" but lack of courage to change the global financial system and moral bankruptcy.
Market freedom without responsibility for adverse consequences on humanity and the Earth must cease. NZ can rebuild the economy to serve social and environmental values for well-being.
Not so afraid
It was interesting to read two printers-ink-guzzling pages (Weekend Herald, October 31). With presumably two more to come this week, I suppose the advertising by those neo-liberal capitalists pays for this excess.
I doubt there is a new car for sale in New Zealand that cannot achieve 30 miles per gallon, if the driver desires. The term gas-guzzler is provocative and obsolete.
Perhaps we should swap to electric cars, powered largely by lithium batteries mined in countries which allow children employment in extraction. What could we expect of environmental standards and energy use in those countries? We could follow the example of Norway and buy electric cars while maintaining its terms of trade by exporting North Sea oil. And how will that alloyed metal be treated when those batteries die?
Or we could invest in hydrogen-powered vehicles and save the emissions to water our tomato plants.
If the issue in Avondale is 40 trees, I'm sure Avondale College could plant 240 trees to provide shade for student's lunchtimes and food for birds. More people who could have lived in Canal Rd will commute petrol-guzzling and time-wasting miles to work.
Dave Nevin, Whangārei.
Last Saturday's paper (Weekend Herald, October 31) quotes a report that girls did better in single-sex schools. It also cites an academic's observation that young men from single-sex schools gained NCEA qualifications, University Entrance and NZ scholarships in greater proportion than co-eds. But isn't that like judging half-painted pictures?
My first four years of secondary education (years nine through 12 in "today-speak") were at Warkworth District High School, roll about 200. Year 12, we numbered just 20 – girls outnumbering us boys three to one. Year 13 was at Auckland Grammar.
My UE marks – though a pass – weren't good enough to get into the top form where pupils sat scholarship.
I started near the middle of my form and moved up a few places during the year. Next I started a four-year bachelor of engineering degree; four years later I had it – with honours. I have the impression that mine was rather better than the typical tertiary performance of guys from prestigious single-sex schools.
I would like to see a longitudinal study on at least to the end of the formal education process and preferably a few years into subsequent full-time work.
Lindsey Roke, Pakuranga Heights.
Your editorial (Weekend Herald, October 31) states that the referenda were presented to each as an individual choice, with the majority decision deemed to be the outcome. However, it appears that the left disagree.
Another article in the same issue, shows that the left have certainly not accepted the will of the people. Nandor Tanczos says "there is a strong mandate for change".
The liberal left's Chloe Swarbrick says "a big enough swing to make it a yes result was possible".
The left-overs Helen Clark says "the Minister of Justice should infer there is an appetite for making decriminalisation a reality".
It seems the left only accept the will of the people if the people agree with them.
Kevin Murphy, Bayview.
I was the instigator of the Erebus National Memorial from early 2016, motivated by pastoral support for Erebus families.
The advocacy group we formed had no involvement in the subsequent funding, choice of site or design work. Yet we were impressed by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's thorough consultation with all identifiable Erebus families. Research included the Auckland location, Parnell site, Te Paerangi Ataata-Sky Song chosen design, as well as receiving Ngāti Whātua support and blessing of the site. The Dove-Myer Robinson public park is eminently suitable as it is centrally located, easily accessible and already a place of remembering, with other memorials.
The chosen location utilises a steep bank while preserving maximum green space and nearby trees - a stone's throw from Mechanic's Bay where the first flying boats landed in 1937 linking New Zealand to the outside world and where TEAL/Air New Zealand had their headquarters for many years. From the Erebus memorial site, navigation poles in the harbour from early flying days are still visible.
Along with many Erebus families who have contacted me, I am astounded at the temerity of a group announcing inferior alternative sites for the Erebus National Memorial. I continue to be optimistic that the local board will show moral leadership and courage.
Rev. Dr Richard Waugh, Howick.
We were stunned to hear the story of Pene Pati - of the Sole Mio opera group - stranded in London through no fault of his own.
After losing his opera contract suddenly as Germany went into lockdown, en route home - he was denied entry to New Zealand as our 6260 managed isolation places were all booked out.
It appears he was about to board his last flight home when he heard about our "voucher system" and is now trapped for six weeks in locked-down London.
With the hundreds of empty hotels at the moment – and Christmas approaching – we desperately need a contingency plan to free up tens of thousands of quarantine spaces for returning Kiwis, so they can be with their loved ones.
Would Jacinda Ardern be okay with leaving Dame Kiri Te Kanawa or Dame Malvina Major stranded on the streets of London to "fend for themselves"?
Why is our Government so ill-prepared for this blindingly obvious scenario - which is firstly, a humanitarian responsibility and secondly, a viable employment and economic solution?
John Clark, Glen Eden.
A quick word
Rod Emmerson's View (Weekend Herald, October 31) was incredibly powerful. The beautiful work of art and the one word, "Finally", paid enormous tribute to the strong, courageous woman Lecretia Seales was. Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
If Biden is elected as expected, he's unlikely to see out his four-year term, obvious to the most casual observer of his decline. Wilson can put his hope in Kamala Harris and friends. Frankly, I fear that more. June Kearney, West Harbour.
Simon Wilson's epic overview of democracy's demons omitted the supreme happiness of Scandinavian citizens. Their pre-eminent distinguishing feature: robust social services thanks to a 58 per cent top tax rate. Jim Carlyle, Te Atatū Peninsula.
Please pass on my thanks to Simon Wilson. What an amazing, insightful article. Well done. Don Hoult, Tauranga.
Strength to your writing Simon, for the good of us all. Peter Malcolm, Tauranga.
Never mind, say the opponents to cannabis reform, the police have discretion to charge an offender or give them a free pass. If there's a more slippery slope to corruption given this discretion, I'd like to hear about it. John Devereux, Johnsonville.
The boomers want the right to die their way but care little for their grandkids who will risk gang contact for a drug less harmful than alcohol. Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
A vote for legalisation of cannabis would have signalled that society condones it as we do alcohol and tobacco, with all their attendant harms. Decriminalise it and let those with the urge and green fingers get on with it. Cam Calder, Devonport.
With the re-emergence of the Bain murders: another shame on Judith Collins is the challenge of the Canadian judge, who could see through the needless political obstruction. Yvonne Sutton, Northcote.
I hope Jacinda Ardern et al will consider Winston Churchill's comment when setting economic goals: "For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself by the handle." Jackie McCabe, Kaitaia.
An old American saying, "Time wounds all heels". Murray Dear, Hamilton.
All of Trump's unmasked rallies with low, or no distancing, will show their lethal results in the coming weeks. Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
Fun is one thing, noise pollution and disregard for others another. When will this country grow up? Max Wagstaff, Glendowie.
I challenge a representative from one of the authorities responsible for this idiocy to publish a letter in this newspaper, explaining to the general populace exactly why they will not ban the sale of fireworks. Geraldine Taylor, Remuera.