Pain at the pump
New Zealanders and Aucklanders in particular (extra 10 cents per litre) are paying over $3 a litre for petrol.
In these tough times, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern needs to be kind, and lower the tax take of 52 per cent petrol tax for her team of 5 million.
A 52 per cent tax is too greedy and it needs to be lowered.
Basic needs for living are going up in price every day, from food, rent, interest on mortgages, and much more. Enough is enough.
Beneficiaries, pensioners, and wage earners are not keeping pace with the costs.
Tom Reynolds, St Heliers.
Further to Wednesday's editorial (NZ Herald, February 23) regarding mandates, businesses wanted the Government to mandate rather than suggest what to do to avoid the lengthy legal battles that would have ensued.
Even some writers in your own paper were suggesting this as the best way to avoid a very messy and expensive period of litigation while Covid-19 marched on into the community.
Maybe if the Government could take advice from people other than those in their own wee bubble of like thinking we could have had earlier vaccinations, boosters, RAT kits, and a better idea of the criteria for easing the mandates.
The Government appears cloth-eared to any suggestions that don't come from within its own limited, narrow vision think tank.
Surely within our team of five million, which includes some of our brightest and most capable business people, there are some worth listening to and learning from?
James Archibald, Birkenhead.
I can't believe that so many people have nothing better to do than trample around in mud, rotting hay and excrement, shouting at police.
The goal of the original protesters has been achieved, as the Government has released the plan to remove mandates when Omicron has peaked.
Those who are left are thugs and bullies with a different agenda who interfere with Wellington residents going to work, school, or recreation. This makes the protest hypocritical. If they are really protesting about freedom to choose they must allow everyone the same freedom.
There are numerous businesses, agriculture, or care enterprises that are in dire need of workers. Surely these idiots desecrating our national monument would be better utilised going to help instead of being set upon destruction.
Gloria Manson, Unsworth Heights.
As an ex-WWII serviceman, I am appalled to learn that the memorial in Parliament grounds has been desecrated by the mob demanding "freedom".
Many of my generation died to ensure that the protesters remained free.
It is to the lifelong shame of those involved that they showed such disrespect to the nation's dead.
J. Binsley, Parnell.
The freedom protest at Parliament could end violently with street battles and clashes between police and peaceful protesting families.
Or the Government could apologise for the stress, grief, pain, and suffering wreaked on innocent law-abiding New Zealanders exercising their constitutional democratic right to refuse an undesired medical treatment offered them. They could be offered their pay, jobs, and careers back if they want them.
How it ends will define, not only the New Zealand we live in, but the Ardern legacy. Will it be truly one of "kindness"?
Dave Stanton, Geraldine.
In a bind
We are in the unfortunate situation to be involved in both hospitality and tourism, with both closed for a considerable period.
We leased our 40-year-old restaurant only to have it go into liquidation almost immediately three years ago.
We are intending to reopen ourselves. But we have had to wait on bureaucratic delays. We are hesitant to reopen as we have no trading history, therefore no subsidy.
With our tourism project, we have not been able to start up again mainly due to "bureaucracy gone mad". It doesn't bode well for us without help to risk start-up again.
Peter White, Birkenhead.
After Russia's economic collapse in the 1990s, I adopted sisters from Velikye Luki, a city west of Moscow destroyed eight times in its history. The largest buildings appeared to be the orphanages, everything razed to the ground in WWII, leaving only the river and ruins.
The park features remnants of ancient walls, a WWII tank, and a statue of a Russian soldier next to an eternal flame.
Having suffered WWI and WWII losses of tens of millions of people from attacks from Europe, and during the Cold War endured US cruise missiles based in Britain and Europe directed towards its people, it's no surprise that Putin demands that Western countries honour their promise not to absorb East European countries right on Russia's border into Nato. Russia inevitably perceives this as threatening.
A visit to Velikye Luki by western leaders may clarify security perspectives.
Frances Palmer, Titirangi.
Lack of concern
Is it a coincidence that at a time when many Western democracies are beset with confusion and self-doubt as they grapple with multiple challenges - Covid, climate change, pollution and emissions, rising national debt, inflation, trade, and so on - the two main totalitarian powers (China and Russia) are increasing their presence and influence, seemingly without any such concerns?
B. Watkin, Devonport.
Autistic and with natural immunity, I scoffed at "so-called experts". I was educated after all.
I was totally on board and refused my beautiful child all vaccines.
Then 20 years later, I watched in horror at the devastation caused by measles in Samoa. Among them were beautiful babies and children - dying from a preventable disease.
My expert anti-vax "research" exploded in my face.
My, by now adult, offspring got vaccinated.
Experts are "so-called" because they are, in fact, experts.
An embarrassing and regrettable journey down the rabbit hole.
Sam Cunningham, Henderson.
One of the more civil anti-vaccine mandate protesters explained to a reporter that they weren't going "until we get what we want".
It's not their basic human right to dictate terms of employment or to go to restaurants that need vaccine passes.
I don't think it's the anti-masker's basic human right to go to a store without a mask. The store is private property.
It's too bad Trevor Mallard's music didn't include "You can't always get what you want".
Catherine Baty, Shelly Park.
We rarely go out now, owing to Covid-19, unless it is to shop for food, visit a doctor, etc. Today reluctantly, I went on a rare visit and was appalled at the arrogance of some people who refuse to use the Covid tracer, wear masks or keep their distance.
Do these people think that they know more than science?
Of course, if they contract Covid it will not be their fault, it will be the Government.
Eric Bennett, Red Beach.
Kept in reserve
The selling of Auckland Council reserves for housing projects is absolutely ludicrous. There is an infill housing boom happening in the city.
New developments have barely a blade of grass on them. Open, green spaces and small areas of native bush in neighbourhoods are now even more important, as areas for recreation, carbon sequestration, habitats for threatened native species, and so on.
I know the council and local boards are challenged in terms of their budgets, but over the long term, green spaces are of much greater value to the city as environmental assets than the quick bucks that will go into council coffers.
Matt Elliott, Birkdale.
Short & sweet
The US tried economic sanctions to halt Japanese aggression in 1941. How did that work out? C. C. McDowall, Rotorua.
It is time to think about why both Russia and China are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. After all, an overhaul of the United Nations is long overdue. Reiko Tsukui, Lynfield.
Ukraine wishes to pursue a democratic future which Putin seeks to extinguish.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
Biden can threaten with words but Putin ain't Blinken. Dennis Horne, Howick.
The dangerous naivety displayed by too many protesters in Wellington is now clear: they team up with fascists, nutjobs, and a range of the disaffected and antisocial and then want police to protect them from each other. It really is time to go home. Stan Jones, Hamilton.
Politicians are being urged to listen to the protesters. If the protesters' placards and their behaviour reflect what they wish to communicate, it's no wonder their wishes are not being met. Dick Ayres, Auckland Central.
I worked in international tourism, the loss of which has cost me my job, my business, and my income, but I stand with the Government and their focus on the greater good. D B Hill, Freeman's Bay.
The Premium Debate
Pity the young voter. They've finally got out from under the thumb of mum and dad, only to find they have the nanny state telling them what to do. Anna S.
A real good analysis, Thomas. I suspect any shift (if there has been one?) will be short-lived. As a National Party member, I think the party is still very lost and doesn't know what it stands for. Luxon and his leadership team, apart from Simon Bridges, seem very Labour-lite to me. Where is the party of enterprise, personal freedom, and self-reliance?Stephen G.
What's going on? They've realised they're the ones who'll have to pay for Labour's continued spending and fiscal irresponsibility. Keryn D.
Over the last few years, Labour has enjoyed the popularity of Jacinda Ardern. If National did absolutely nothing, initiative-wise, through to the next election, the distance between the two main parties, would narrow anyway. That also covers whatever Labour might do meantime. It is the way of things. The next election will be closely fought. What will play against Labour is non-delivery on many fronts, whereas National can appeal to voters in highlighting this lack of performance. Democracy is always strengthened by competition. Labour is up against it now. and will be aware of that. Geoff P.
The spin from Labour only worked for so long. Intelligent people only need to open the front door, the newspaper, or talk to their contemporaries overseas to know they are getting sold a massive sausage under Labour. Mark C.
There's an old expression that goes "when poverty comes through the door, love goes out the window". If you can't buy a house, the price of everything is heading north, you're paying more interest on your debt, you have an administration that would love to tax you even more, and you can't come and go as you please, worrying about climate change or child poverty seems so much less important. Ray S.