Letter of the week
Choosing Taylor Swift as Time’s person of the year probably was the right choice. It does raise the question — who else would have qualified as person of the year? The simple answer to that there has been no outstanding individual, politician, business person or even activist who would have qualified as person of the year.
Even activists have become predictable, boring and uninspiring.
The only “person” who qualifies for person of the year in the world and even New Zealand is AI — or every person around the world who has been trying to make the best of their life. Maybe in 2024 we will see some people who step up, who have aspirations for the future and perhaps, unlike Taylor Swift, are able to move on from failed relationships of the past.
Chris Kaelin, Te Awamutu.
Some questions for Govt
The Government is steadfast in its claim that it will treat all New Zealanders equally. This undoubtedly laudable goal is impossible of success in any historically unequal society. One is tempted to query whether the coalition aims, in its convoluted way, ultimately to abolish Articles 1 and 11 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi which acknowledge both settlers’ and Māori rights, respectively, to govern, as well as to hold land according to their laws and customs. And is it the aim of the Government to retain Article 111 of the Treaty in an effort to convince the populace that this Article is the source, in Te Tiriti, of an equality, in effect economically ephemeral, thereby justifying the status quo, inequality? This, because Article 111 does no more than extend to both Māori and settlers the rights and duties of citizenship.
Elisabeth Garrett, St Heliers.
A petty move
The new Government is looking to remove te reo from a number of situations including from department names, and bonuses for civil servants who speak it. Coming from a suburb with less than 20 per cent Pakeha ethnicity, I am deeply saddened by such a petty, niggling move. Māori is one of only two official languages in New Zealand. I sincerely hope that the other official language, spoken by even fewer people, New Zealand sign language, is not next in its sights.
Alan Johnson, Papatoetoe.
Are we clean and green?
Reversing climate-sensitive laws that have taken years to build, we can no longer pretend to be a clean, green or 100% Pure New Zealand. That monicker will need to change. And systematically marginalising Māori goes even further in redefining the country as a tourist destination by eliminating our one unique selling point. Yet tourism is a sector in which Māori are deeply invested: witness Ngai Tahu. In the Government’s haste to rescue the economy, did it actually consider the impact on tourism?
DB Hill, Auckland.
The big sewerage line collapse in Parnell is a warning of what will continue to happen in the future due to over-intensification of housing and no upgrades to services.
In Takapuna, most of the infrastructure structure is at least 50 years old and they are cramming in houses like there is no tomorrow. As an example, just around the corner where previously two houses stood they have now been replaced by nine units and not far away they are building a 550-unit complex where nothing stood. How is the sewerage and drainage system supposed to cope?
Auckland needs to stand back and take a serious look at housing intensification before our services collapse .
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Improving our numeracy skills
What an excellent article from Michael Johnston (NZ Herald, December 7) highlighting (again and with data) the decline in our literary and numeracy. What is most astonishing is that other countries have recognised a similar decline and taken steps to turn that around – while our ministry doggedly stays with the current pathway. And we stopped learning our times tables in the early 2000s – replacing rote learning with a “strategy” approach.
I’d like to know what split-second strategy will tell me that 9 x 6 equals 54? The new Government recognises the need for change so let’s hope it looks to other similar countries where corrected curriculums have been implemented and turn this decline around.
Nick Rowe, Greenlane.
Don’t ban patches
The push to ban the public display of gang patches is a populist and meaningless sop to a self-generated moral panic. The sight of a gang member does me no harm at all. If you are intimidated, try walking up to the patched member and saying hello; you’ll be surprised at the response.
Many other things – the black-clad followers of a self-appointed bishop, street-marching and chanting “Enough is enough!” spring to mind – cause me profound unease, but I would strongly defend their right to be seen in public. Gas-guzzling Remuera tractors; anti-Māori bumper stickers; the very sight of David Warner; all offend the hell out of me, but let them. By all means crack down on gang crime, the cause of great social ill, but making gang members’ dress code illegal is several bridges too far.
Peter Calder, Westmere.
Unhappy in themselves?
Your editorial (NZ Herald, December 6) “Tackling the toxic side of sports fandom” reminded me of Chris Rattue’s opinion piece (NZ Herald, November 20) in the same vein. Chris was looking for an explanation as to why these abusers do what they do and says an “empirical study” could be interesting. These toxic people have a sense of entitlement, and when they don’t get the results they crave they “hurl their toys out of the cot”.
I think that the people who abuse referees and other public figures must be very unhappy with their own lives. Instead of confronting their own issues they would rather be a coward and lash out anonymously at a referee or other public figure. Only an unhappy, warped person would make death threats against someone’s family. The TMO, Tom Foley, has had people wishing his children dead and Wayne Barnes tried to brush off the vitriol, but now both men are retiring. If this culture of scapegoating and abuse continues no one will want to be a referee or sporting official. Sport itself will be the loser.
Diane Anderson, Sunnynook.
A quick word
It seems personal responsibility is a thing of the past in New Zealand and this has been well demonstrated by some of the recent reactions to the Coalition Government’s plans to introduce compulsory smoking. Especially in respect to Māori and Pasifika who are, apparently, to be force-fed tobacco products.
Phil Chitty, Albany.
Regarding Pisa tests, try them yourself by looking up Pisa mathematics past questions in Google.
Keith Duggan, Browns Bay.
I’d love to see the research that shows best practice bike infrastructure would return 10-25 times the costs involved (NZ Herald letters, December 7). With the cost of our cycleways here in Auckland that must include the elixir of life for all cyclists.
James Archibald, Birkenhead.
Tory Whanau has displayed courage in admitting she has a drinking problem and leaving herself open to judgment and censure from the entire country. Before the pitchforks come out, we should remember that the drinking culture in Aotearoa is as natural as breathing and is normalised in daily life. Alcohol advertising is pervasive and readily accepted as what we must do to have fun and be accepted socially. Tory has adamantly stated that her problem with alcohol won’t impede her ability to do her job, so let’s peek out from our glasshouses and give her a chance to prove that.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
The old coach has gone and the team now dances to the new coach’s tune. The rules of the game have not changed. The Opposition is still as formidable as ever and high performance expectations are through the roof. And so it is for Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. Get with the programme Andrew ... or on yer bike.
Larry. N. Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Will Auckland Transport stop running buses that are not wanted? I often see buses running empty and sometimes there are buses that just have one or two people in them. AT must know by now when buses are needed and when they run empty. A huge amount of our rates money goes to subsidise AT and it needs to be more cost-effective as there is a limit to how much money we can afford to pay in rates.
Arthur Moore, Pakuranga.
With apologies to Monty Python, and with the goal of more inclusivity and good humour, perhaps the new Government could establish a Ministry of Silly Hats.
Chris Lonsdale, New Plymouth.
With the media reporting on all the various politicians calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, could they please add my name also. It will have the same impact on the situation.
L Mallon, Te Atatū.