The Government has stated councils will have shares in their Three Waters services entity allocated on a population basis and the shareholdings will be "non-financial".
How then will the non-financial shareholdings be described in the water services entities' annual reports and financial statements?
The Water Services Entities Bill goes a lot further. The shares cannot, for any reason, be sold or transferred.
Clause 166 of the Bill says each owner cannot receive any dividend, give any water services entity any support, capital, loans or credit and the owners cannot give guarantees, securities or indemnities.
Thus the councils will lose assets with book values in the billions of dollars and will end up with a replacement "shareholding" in a water services entity that cannot have any financial value attached and cannot be sold or used in any way.
The so-called shares cannot carry voting rights in proportion to the councils' respective shareholdings. In the new constitutions, it looks very much like one vote per Council.
The "shares" will simply be a couple of meaningless lines on a piece of paper. How is that "ownership"?
J C Aubrey, Hamilton.
I see from your editorial (NZ Herald, July 27) that the Government claims that "councils will own the new water entities on behalf of their communities".
But the test is: who owns the water assets? If you own assets you can borrow against them. Councils will no longer be able to borrow against their water assets.
That's because the Water Services Entities bill will have stripped them of their water assets, forcing councils to hand them over to the new "water entities" so the new owners can borrow the estimated $185 billion to fund their work.
It's all about owning the pipes and water infrastructure. The endless wrangling about co-governance of the new entities is a deliberate red herring.
Pauline Doyle, Napier.
Oh dear. One's worst fears about Three Waters are realised when one reads the advertisements for the chief executives (NZ Herald, July 27).
There are seven skills listed and not one says anything at all about hydraulic engineering.
Surely if Three Waters is going to achieve anything, the head needs to be a highly qualified and experienced engineer who actually knows something about water?
Denys Oldham, Devonport.
We need an emergency backstop loan scheme for recent borrowers who will suddenly find themselves underwater as their interest rates double. This is not only to avoid the heartbreak of them losing what they have spent years saving for, but also to prevent a collapse in property prices caused by a glut of mortgagee sales.
Banks were helpful during the lockdowns, allowing borrowers to pay interest-only, or to stop payments altogether, for a few months while things settled down. Banks will need to step up to that plate again. That might need to be combined with a government-backed scheme that does not leave banks unfairly out of pocket.
To those who would wail that a taxpayer-funded support scheme would be a waste of "their" tax money, I would say that I would gladly see that risk spread among all of us at minimal cost if it means that people can stay in their homes, and property prices remain more stable.
Jeremy Hall, Hauraki.
I have just been talking to a cousin in British Columbia, Canada.
Things are not good there: inflation is sky high, the cost of food is through the roof, likewise, the cost of petrol.
Doctors and nurses are at breaking point and crime is rampant. Businesses are closing because of lack of staff.
The population is baying for government blood.
I just thought you might want to know.
Julie Pearce, Matamata.
Shackled by tax
It's always interesting to see how other countries perceive New Zealand.
I see in a recent publication on corporate tax rates in the Daily Telegraph, New Zealand comes third highest in a list of 19 developed nations.
We are third behind Germany and Japan in being the highest-taxed in the corporate area.
Even the UK, with the tax rates the highest in 70 years, has less corporate tax than New Zealand.
High tax inhibits investment and prevents job growth.
Tax rates should be reduced as soon as possible.
Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
As opposed to
Rosemary Balme (NZ Herald, July 27) is quite correct in her assertion that, as Leader of the Opposition, Christopher Luxon should be (and is) finding faults in the Labour Government's decisions.
However, as Leader of the Opposition, it is not his responsibility to give "workable, well thought-out solutions"; he is not the "de facto " Government.
Luxon will get plenty of opportunities to put his solutions into practice after next year's election. Until then, however, it is the responsibility of this Government to come up with the solutions. Unfortunately, that is something that has so far managed to very successfully eluded them.
Philip Lenton, Somerville.
Regarding the letter "school scruffiness" from Anna Murphy (NZ Herald, July 28), I travel by train on the Western line in Auckland and I would say it depends on what school students go to.
In my opinion, nearly all students are tidy and well mannered - a credit to themselves, schools and parents. Sure they can be noisy but that's to be expected, having been inside classrooms most of the day.
To all students travelling on the Western line, I say, "you are a great group of young adults".
Eric Strickett, Henderson.
How can banning braids and dreadlocks in some schools be "straight racist"? Neither of these hairstyles is originally from Aotearoa, so could only apply to people whose origins are from countries where this is their cultural norm. That could possibly be racist in some circumstances but not for more than a few pupils.
Banning Sikh turbans and Muslim headscarves would be against religious freedom but not racist.
It's time to stop using this inflammatory word unless it is really describing racism.
James Archibald, Birkenhead.
Increasing lawlessness, ram raids, nightly shootings - all punished by an endless supply of wet bus tickets. On the other hand, every day we have to put up with outsourced services, mostly over a poor phone line, and the other person speaking barely understandable English.
Combine the two, and you have the silver bullet (pun intended): Outsource our prisons. Countries like Indonesia and the Philippines would gladly take our violent offenders for a while, and get some income from it. For us, it would be cheaper than running our own prisons, so that money could go into our overstretched health system.
As a bonus, repeat offending would be zero. If our laws do not allow outsourcing, change the stupid law.
K H Peter Kammler, Warkworth.
It is now well known that the All Blacks struggle to get out of the starting blocks and get their game together in the first 20 minutes. This has been happening for a number of years.
I put this down to the effort they make performing the haka. This raises an adrenaline level conducive to such a performance which is not the adrenaline type required to contest a game of rugby.
So they have to lose the haka adrenaline and build an energy level and attitude to contest the game. Clearly, this takes about 20 minutes.
If rugby is the ultimate goal, then the solution is obvious.
Trevor Smith, Takapuna.
Short & sweet
Christopher Luxon's Te Puke/Hawaiian account in the media has rings of future President Nixon and his infamous Checkers Speech. Paul Blakeney, Waihi.
Shock! Horror! "Rich, bald man takes family on holiday to Hawaii - National Party staffer fails to date caption Facebook posts." Is this news or is it a beat-up? Pat Taylor, Bethlehem.
At least Christopher Luxon said "sorry" for supposedly misleading the public as to his recent whereabouts. I don't recall a single government minister using this word during the last five years. Duncan Simpson, Hobsonville Pt.
Grant Robertson obviously fancies himself as a comedian, judging by his attempts at humour in Parliament. Guess it's always good to have a back-stop but I don't fancy his chances. Glennys Adams, Oneroa.
I suggest we stop referring to the major parties not in government as the "Opposition", and instead call them the "alternative". Then they wouldn't have to oppose something they actually agree with just on principle. Morgan L. Owens, Manurewa.
If you sign up to attend a school, you then abide by their rules on clothing, length of hair, etc. Do not waste the school's time by complaining. P. Salvador, Hobsonville.
The NRL has demonstrated a truly unique code of ethics. While it is acceptable to drink alcohol, gamble, and exhibit homophobic tendencies, it is unacceptable to vape. Alan Johnson, Papatoetoe.
The Premium Debate
Thousands could miss out on $350 cost of living payments
Why's it the IRD's problem? If people don't want the money that's okay. It saves the taxpayers. Anaru B.
What a waste of time for 700 staff to administer when a simple change to the tax bands would have done the job. You have to wonder about the thinking of the decision-makers. Bruce V.
Thinking? I think you are being generous, Bruce. Not much thinking going on within the decision-makers. That's what amplified the mess we find ourselves in. Richard N.
Surprise... surprise. Rush, rush. Unintended consequences, again. Cindy S.
Sort out the cost of living. That's the core issue. Stop band-aiding everything by payments of this type. If so many people are needing this support, we clearly have a cost of living and quality of life crisis in New Zealand but the Government's mentality is "let's just pay them out, pat ourselves on the back and move on". Do we even have a middle class anymore? Jon G.
Taking more from hard-working taxpayers... Adrian K.
...And giving it back to a very large portion of taxpayers. Matthew B.