Super Fund housing
How is it that the Cullen fund, designed to improve the quality of life in later years, does not have investments in housing? The fund added over 10 billion to its investments last year.
New Zealand is in desperate need of affordable housing. Around 50 per cent of retirees do not own their home - a serious gap in the quality of retirement.
The Government and the Super Fund should facilitate the construction of many permanent accommodation blocks of around 100 units each around New Zealand.
As well as satisfying a desperate shortage of housing in general, on completion some of these units could also be made available to investors and social housing groups to purchase with or without the land which could be leased long term at realistic rentals.
New Zealand's housing would be greatly improved by including this type of accommodation in the housing stock.
James Lawry, Rotorua.
Neville Cameron (NZ Herald, January 24) may think successive governments have failed by not imposing a Capital Gains Tax. That this Government sensibly decided it wasn't practical, speaks volumes.
The rise in house prices isn't as simple as buying a house 30 years ago for $200,000 and selling it today for $1,000,000. It isn't a straight gain of $800k.
A simple play with the figures suggests that if the purchaser put down a deposit of $50k and borrowed the balance over a 30 year term, that house at an average interest paid of just under 10 per cent, would have cost the buyer nearer $400k. If our own house is anything to go by, add expenditure on maintenance and improvements totalling about another $200k (out of tax paid income and paying the government GST) then factor in the inflation at about 100 per cent, another $200k, and that real gain isn't that big at all.
It is difficult to buy a house, it always has been, but there are multiple factors that have pushed up the prices. The current one is increasing costs of raw materials and labour, which also affects the costs of older properties, as unlike cars, they don't depreciate.
Ray Green, Birkenhead.
Several correspondents have written over the last little while that we don't have a capital gains tax.
We do, on dwellings that are not your primary home. It is not called a capital gains tax, rather income tax on any capital gain which is made under the "Bright Line" test. At the highest point, 39 per cent, it is the highest effective capital gains tax in the Western world.
This tax has an unintended consequence in that it adds considerably to house price inflation. If a vendor can see that they face a tax of, say, $78k if they sell a secondary dwelling for $1.2m ($0.2m profit) then they will list it at $1.28m or more, and wait.
Geoff Levick, Kumeū.
The inevitable outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant has thrown a major spanner into the Government's economic coffers. The budgetary allocation to support the initial Covid support and recovery plan was a massive $69.1 billion.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has reported that only $4b remains in the fund to fight the ongoing economic damage of Omicron, which could over time be comparable to the $65b already spent.
The fact is that there was never a fund but rather a budgetary allocation that has effectively been funded from increased overseas debt.
With increasing signs of a slowing economy, embedded out of control inflation and the need to increase interest rates, the Minister of Finance has good reason to have lost his gloss as the economic reality sets in.
We should all brace for a very rough ride.
Bruce Eliott, St Heliers.
Congratulations must be due to Matthew Hooton. He has finally written a column that doesn't contain the words, "this incompetent Government" (NZ Herald, January 21). Rather, he praises the Prime Minister's key decisions over the last two years as helping us get through this virus better than most other countries.
If Matthew Hooton can say that, then Jacinda Ardern must be doing something right.
An elderly friend, a long-standing political pundit, said to me that most people with any sense can see that our Prime Minister is working harder than any other prime minister in our recent history, and that her Government is doing what all responsible governments should be doing - protecting the people.
Paul Judge, Hamilton.
Call to arms
Hardly time to catch one's breath after Sunday's announcement that the country was going to red alert than the Opposition Leader began his tirade against the Government - and what they haven't paid attention to in his opinion, and what they should have done, etc, etc.
It would be beneficial to hear him and the other Opposition MPs for once get behind what the Government is doing to try and keep us as safe as possible.
Margaret Wyatt, Mātua.
Isolating the enemy
No other countries are enforcing a possible 24-day isolation period for Covid patients and close family contacts.
We can't survive if we and many other businesses are forced to shut down for that length of time.
Death by isolation, not death by Covid, that's a different headline.
Lesley Baillie, Murrays Bay.
No care given
Why do we give a tuppenny damn about what so-called commentators like Piers Morgan think of the way our Government manages the health issues we face with Omicron? Or whether he thinks our Prime Minister is foolish to postpone her wedding?
I have siblings currently residing in Britain, I know where they would rather be, and it isn't under the blundering leadership of Boris.
Rosemary MacKenzie, Rotorua.
Mayor Phil Goff called Auckland Transport "bloody arrogant" over removing kerbside parking without consultation with residents, as reported in NZ Herald in December.
The problem for Goff is Auckland Transport is a Council Controlled Organisation and the Mayor and Council appoint 50 per cent or more of AT directors, and also have two AT liaison councillors, Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore and Councillor Chris Darby.
Instead of publicly calling his own people "bloody arrogant", he would be best to take a lesson or two from private enterprise on how to manage subsidiary companies.
If he cannot make progress with Auckland Transport, there is not much hope for us lowly ratepayers who help pay the costs of Auckland Transport.
We need new thinking and ability on Auckland Council to create good working relations with all the organisations council funds with our rates.
David Hay, Lynfield.
A sporting chance
What a change to the Sports pages in the past 10 days. I have read about sportswomen in golf, tennis, netball, cricket, running, surfing and snowboarding. More women's sport, including photos, in one week than has been featured in a month.
I do hope this will be a permanent change.
Vic Watson, Parnell
Short & sweet
N95 & KN95 masks are the best to combat Omicron and local pharmacies are selling them for $11.95 each. The Government needs to step in and help - this is the most practical thing to do. Jessie Dickson, Pakuranga.
Reading Sara Dalton's article (NZH, Jan. 24) about the horrific number of medical staff in Australia getting sick with Covid, I couldn't help wondering how many were former NZers who had deserted this country for "better pay and conditions". John Capener, Kawerau.
We've been ordered to stand-to to repel the Omicron invasion, so – fix bayonets! Jack Waters, Taupō
When I hear Chris Luxon barking at every passing car, I wonder if Simon Bridges has returned, but with a severe haircut. Roger Laybourn, Hamilton.
The inability of this Govt to address the daily arrival of travellers preloaded with Omicron is not only distressing but bewildering. Surely, testing can be improved in transit? John Reece, Papatoetoe.
Is there a vaccine for totalitarianism or is it incurable? Garry Wycherley, Awakino.
The Premium Debate
It's time for businesses that have been forced to adopt a permissive attitude to unvaccinated staff working offsite to consider replacing unvaccinated staff. It is becoming apparent unvaccinated employees are an extreme liability and can not be counted on to fulfil their requirements of the roles. The Government needs to do its part by dramatically increasing MIQ spaces for new skilled migrant workers and fast-tracking their applications. George A.
You are missing half a heart if you do not feel sympathy for small business. Especially tourism and hospo. The other nightmare that can never be overlooked are the businesses (and families) who are victims to the pointless and heartless MIQ charade. Mark C.
I don't know about the hospitals but I do know the supermarkets are doing their best to keep the supply chain intact. Of course, 24-day quarantine will put a spanner in those works. Anna S.
Living in Melbourne, I can tell you that it is not as bad as it is painted. Sure we have lots of cases, probably three times more than what is being reported because most people now don't bother reporting. Most symptoms last around three days and in most cases, symptoms are very mild. Most people are now just getting on with life, shops are open, work is still happening pubs and restaurants and cafes are all operating. Sometimes short-staffed but no different to a general cold and flu season. Isolation is now just seven days here in Australia as it will be in NZ. Andrew L.
Agree with you that most people are trying to get on with life, but as someone with multiple customer-facing businesses (hospitality) in Melbourne, it's been a complete logistical and financial nightmare. Often up to 50 per cent of our staff off sick or isolating due to being a close contact. The only solace is that it's across all industries, so everyone is in the same leaky boat. New Zealand has no choice but to reduce the isolation period to seven days maximum, otherwise whole sectors will be shut down completely. Gian F.