Letter of the week: Patrick Houlahan, Titirangi
I can understand the sentiments behind the drive to remove various colonial-era statues from our towns and cities.
But merely taking down monuments to Cook, Grey et al will do nothing to address the serious issues we face as a nation.
In health, education, justice and welfare, New Zealand suffers from high levels of systemic racism. This is easily documented. One simple example is the decile system, where better-resourced schools in deciles 7-10 have vastly fewer Māori or Pasifika students, than poorer resources schools from deciles 1-3.
We seem to be very tolerant of this systemic racism. The reason is that the system is set up to favour middle-class Pākehā, who happen to be in charge of all of these systems, and therefore resist any change to the status quo.
An honest conversation about the experiences of minorities in New Zealand is long overdue. One can only hope that the distraction of the statues does not blind us to the far deeper and more uncomfortable conversation that needs to occur.
It is time.
Hats off to the timely and comprehensive story "Empty classes: Foreign student crisis" (Weekend Herald, June 13). Both the benefits international students bring and the issues faced deserve further comment.
With no international tourism, export education is now the only major export industry, bringing in both foreign exchange and GST and the greatest provider of jobs (46,600 in 2018). Not only in education - much of the $5.1 billion foreign students inject boosts retail, hospitality and tourism. Struggling businesses in these sectors, unlike universities, cannot look to taxpayer funding increases for salvation. Offshore campuses, however, collect no GST and create few local jobs.
Since a transtasman tourism bubble is being explored, it is notable that several East Asian nations now have Covid-19 transmission rates equal or superior to Australia. If students from these countries are to be quarantined, and technology is used cleverly, do we really need the four-star facilities the Education Minister advocates? With students lacking local connections, and at risk of instant visa cancellation, incentives to comply would far outweigh temptations to break the rules.
I believe international students are even more important to Aotearoa than the article suggests, and the obstacles faced are more surmountable.
Stephen Bayldon, Mt Roskill.
J. Livingstone writes that the police who killed George Floyd are also "indirectly responsible for death and injury resulting from the demonstrations and violent rioting their actions have incited" (Weekend Herald, June 13).
"Incitement" happens when you say or do something intending that some other thing will result. That's not what happened here: however bad they are, those cops didn't intend to cause violent riots.
If the demonstrators and rioters are not insane, they are responsible for their own actions, just like the rest of us. The modern aversion to accountability is both pathetic and dangerous.
Gavan O'Farrell, Lower Hutt.
Fran O'Sullivan criticises the Prime Minister (Weekend Herald, June 13) for not responding to business at the speed that business has become accustomed to. With countries closing their borders due to the pandemic, businesses will need to modify their neoliberal approach for survival. Policy needs to be planned for the longer term rather than a short-term fast fix to impress investors
K. S. Agar, Onehunga.
The current controversy about the removal of statues relating to the New Zealand Wars reveals another reason why history should be properly taught in our schools. The article (Weekend Herald, June 13) explains that Captain Hamilton led the 43rd Regiment at Gate Pa. He did not. The 43rd was led by Lt Colonel Henry Booth; Hamilton was a Naval officer and Captain of the HMS Esk, who led the reserves section of the Naval Brigade. Both Booth and Hamilton were killed at Gate Pa.
While I am no fan of statues generally, army and naval officers served in New Zealand at the request of Governor Grey and the colonial government. The real culprits were many British settlers, the Colonial Government and Governor George Grey who forced war on to the Māori people and if anything should be removed, it is the statues commemorating them.
A better approach could be to redress the balance by erecting statues of Māori leaders like Rewi Maniapoto and Henare Taratoa. After all, they were defending their country, and Taratoa fell at the battle of Te Ranga two months after Gate Pa.
Ian Barton, Pukekohe.
Alan Jenner expresses concern (Weekend Herald, June 13) that legalisation of assisted suicide might be expanded from applying to medical conditions leading to "unbearable suffering" to include mental illness and disabilities as it has in the Netherlands.
I wish to point out that mental illness and disabilities are medical conditions and can also cause "unbearable suffering".
Karla Rix-Trott, Raglan.
Anna Leask's article (Weekend Herald, June 13) on the wrongly accused Arthur Thomas tells how the police review team (after almost four years of work) concluded that Thomas' firearm most likely fired the fatal bullets.
But that police claim is not true, because the Thomas rifle produced heavy scoring on bullets fired through it, and this heavy scoring did not appear on the bullets that killed the murdered couple.
That fact was recorded in the notes of the police scientific witness, Dr Donald Nelson. The police knew about this, as Dr Nelson's evidence to the Royal Commission reveals.
Stuart Macfarlane, Remuera.
Correspondent Ericsson List (Weekend Herald, June 13) writes: "Hang in there Air New Zealand, non- refundable means exactly what it says".
We purchased a Tasman saver fare which was a non-refundable, Auckland Brisbane return for $280 per person. Looking at the fare breakdown, I see the fare portion for two was $149.26. The balance of $410.74 is made up of taxes, surcharges, government and airport costs which is collected by Air New Zealand on behalf of these agencies. This money is not transferred to these agencies until the travel is completed.
Using or retaining other people's money for your own purposes is fraud or is it not?
Perhaps a lawyer or the police could enlighten your readers.
J. Dare, Auckland Central.
A quick word
Watercare has one job. That is to keep Auckland's water flowing. It is failing miserably. Mayor Goff. Stop protecting, and lead. Helen Acraman, Te Atatu Peninsula.
I have just received my first election leaflet of the season. I think I will keep a careful record of all such deliveries and give my votes to the candidate and party who inflict the smallest amount of such material on me. John Mihaljevic, Te Atatu South.
These mindless acts are indeed creating and fostering separatism. Thank you Winston Peters. Ali Campbell, Athenree.
Do we remove our whole history from view, just because we can't stomach our past? What a luxury it would be to wipe the slate clean every time we get offended. Maaka McCandless, Awana.
Removing historical statues in terms of hiding past injustices is the equivalent of sweeping dust under the carpet, and with similar consequences. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Every injustice should be abhorrent, not just the ones most televised. Fiona Helleur, Silverdale.
There is no denying the brutality of a small group of police who triggered this, were clearly wrong and possibly frustrated by the mandates placed on all of us: but what has transpired is equally barbaric, primitive and animalistic. Max Wagstaff, Glendowie.
The slogan "Black Lives Matter" is missing a single word to prevent rebuttals of "All Lives Matter" that attempt to downplay or deny the issue. The word is "too". Morgan L. Owens, Manurewa.
We could make carbon dioxide illegal tomorrow - but it will still be there. And so will cannabis. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
Resisting arrest rapidly escalates into violence. If there is a gun at play in the scenario then the situation is even more likely to escalate into a very dangerous situation. Robbie Ancel, Sunnynook.
One of the few upsides of the lockdown was the supply of Mr Chips in our supermarkets. Now we have gone back to a semblance of normalcy, those chips have sadly vanished. Please mister, give us some Mr Chips chips, mister. Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
Discuss and learn history by all means but it is not the present generation's right to desecrate our past. Reg Dempster, Albany.
There is a statue of Sir Edmund Hillary in Ōrewa. Should I be worried? L H Cleverly, Mt Roskill.