The sale of state housing is a national shame. New Zealand was seen as a world leader in the provision of state houses. They were, like railway houses, good solid homes. We have lived in them in different parts of New Zealand. For successive governments to have sold these homes to developers to destroy, pull down, allow to fall into disrepair and to this day remain empty, has been criminal.
On large sections new houses should have been added at the back and front to create more homes.
The correlation between poor health and poor housing, is well documented. Winter is here; each day we are reading terrible stories of deprivation and hopelessness. The current Government is trying, but sadly due to nine years of neglect it is not fast enough.
The hospitals are crowded with sick children and people living in poor conditions.
When are we going to call this a crisis? For that is what it is. The Army and Navy should be working on our own home-grown disaster, getting people housed. Every empty hall and building should have people living in them to help with this problem. We do not need more reports, but more quick action.
Heather and Jerry Tanguay, Glen Eden.
Meals on wheels
I agree with the ban on using cellphones when driving. However, there are other dangerous distractions to driving. On Thursday I was followed up the Southern Motorway by a woman in an Audi. She was eating with a spoon, from something obviously perched on her lap. This continued for several minutes, after which she proceeded to check her teeth in the driving mirror, using her fingers to clean them.
Admittedly the traffic was at its usual crawling pace, and sometimes we were stationary, though several times she got perilously close to my rear bumper. I was glad when she finally changed lanes and was no longer behind me, but tailgating a van instead. We need to be alert when driving, and eating a meal with a spoon while driving does not seem to me to be responsible.
Anne Clarihew, Mt Wellington.
Teachers should settle
The teachers need to realise they are not the only ones with urgent needs. There are many other urgent causes that are also in need of extra funding and help from the Government. I believe the Government has now listened to them and tried to meet as many of their needs as their funds can afford. Also, a number of other initiatives announced in the "Wellbeing Budget" will have ongoing benefits for teachers when it comes to the classroom and they need to realise this.
People are getting fed up with the teachers' uncompromising attitude. If the union does not settle with the Government this week, its deregistration should be considered because it is holding the Government to ransom with these continued wants and strikes.
Margaret Hills, Tauranga.
I was gobsmacked by a claim made in the Herald that baby boomers are responsible for climate change. Didn't the global trend towards ever more expensive and elaborate civilisations energised by burning fossil fuels start centuries ago, well before population growth rates in Western nations began to "boom" about the end of World War II? And doesn't the theorising that made a god of economic growth — always really a way of defending gross inequalities in income in developed and developing nations rather than a rational way of planning for the future — have to bear some responsibility for the difficulties we are in? Many boomers opposed the god of growth, for instance by founding and backing the Green political parties; others had no option but to do what they could to survive.
Perhaps some boomers who do bear responsibility for failure to check the accelerating greenhouse-gas emission rates that now endanger us all would include, for instance, employees of fossil-fuel companies like the American oil giants that decided to mount a deliberate misinformation campaign against the science — and scientists — of climate change, modelling their campaign on the success of cigarette companies which, for quite some time, defended their profits by attacking the science that linked smoking to cancer.
There are sincere Kiwis still refusing to believe in climate change who are victims of that campaign, even if they do not know it. But such people would be a handful of the mass of baby boomers. More useful statistics about who is responsible for global warming show that rich nations are much more responsible than poor ones, and within nations, that rich people are much more responsible than poor people.
Rose Lovell-Smith, Mt Roskill.
Mike Hosking's latest offering ("Teachers' plea puts Hipkins to the test", June 6) typically indulges in shallow statements when he proclaims unions "provide a crappy service with little result". For some, like migrant workers being exploited unscrupulously and those unfairly treated or dismissed, unions provide a lifeline to ending the abuse and, ultimately, justice.
Mr Hosking really should enrol in some Politics and Economics courses at a tertiary institution in order to be introduced to the concepts of critical thinking, how to develop an argument, and objectivity.
Craig Clark, Remuera.
Anyone for tennis?
If you enjoy the referee's constant whistle, line-umpire interventions and multiple TMO investigations, you would have just loved the Blues and Reds game on Friday night.
For the rest of us, though, we should have switched to the tennis.
These days match officials and the rule book are destroying the game we used to enjoy watching.
Graham Astley, Epsom.
The recent Government announcement of $1 billion for KiwiRail will not mean much to most people when many areas like Taupo either do not have a rail line or a passenger-train service.
For rail to be relevant, the Government and KiwiRail need to provide lines and passenger services to all regions to help reduce the high number of large heavy trucks on our roads and enable people to actually travel on the rail system we all own.
A. Brown, Taupō.
So, June Krebs doesn't like the greeting "How do you do"? What's the alternative if you want to appear a nice, friendly person — say "It's a nice/terrible day"? (They already know that). Or "You look nice today"? (That might be a lie). Perhaps, "Have a nice day"? That sounds like a command you can't obey. Anyway, why can't you say "How are you"? They might get the sympathy they deserve.
Ailsa Martin-Buss, Glen Innes.
I've always thought that dogs were the most loyal creatures on earth; stories you read of them lying next to their comatose owner, for example, are just heartbreaking.
But then there's my good friend, Brett, a Warriors supporter ...
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
The clamour to reduce speed limits is based on a misconception. The speed limit is just that — a speed LIMIT.
It's not an invitation to drivers to travel at the maximum permitted speed (generally 100km/h on the open road) for their entire journey, regardless of the road configuration and condition.
Jack Waters, Taupō.
The Herald feature outlining the plight of an Edgecumbe family of seven living in a tent with special-needs children presents a harrowing image and adds to the list of so many Kiwis desperate for rental housing. Little wonder accommodation is scarce; the coalition in their wisdom tipping the scales firmly in favour of tenants with a predictable outcome. Regulatory changes, responsibility of compliance and a perception the market has run the course appear daunting as many owners capitulate and seek the haven of alternative investment.
Owning rental property since the 60s was not without stress, and progressive maintenance was often laborious. For the long-term investor it is never easy. No doubt Housing NZ will "pick up the pieces" and hopefully meet the shortfall.
P.J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
In past years, Australia and South Africa have been forced to drop a Super Rugby team because of poor performances. The Reds-Blues game was a bottom-dwellers' playoff as the Sunwolves will not be in the competition next year. The Reds prevailed. It is time for NZR to consider the future of the Blues franchise. A decade of under-performance of players due to poor player identification and development, poor coaching appointments and mismanagement by the Blues board must be of concern to NZR. The old saying that New Zealand rugby is strong when Auckland is strong has long since been proven to be the stuff of fantasy. One wonders how long NZR will persist with this embarrassing franchise before acting to rectify it.
Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.