The call for urgent planning for a second Auckland Harbour crossing has been going on for a very long time. The first politician to seriously push for this was former East Coast Bays MP Gary
Knapp in the early 80s. I carried on raising the urgent need as a North Shore City councillor between 1997 and 2007.
Almost decades on, the need is more urgent today and the damage to the harbour bridge, and the probability the four central lanes may be closed for weeks, should hammer the point home that the time for action is now.
The bridge does not have an indefinite life-span. The point at issue is the strategic vulnerability of relying on one ageing and already inadequate transport route. Auckland and, in particular, the Shore are far too reliant on a single harbour crossing.
Urgent decisions need to be made now, a preferred option agreed upon and public consultation begun.
Gary Holmes, Rothesay Bay.
If a million-dollar developer is given resource consent to build a multimillion-dollar building, this should include a provision that the company provide a safe walkway either on the pavement or on the road to protect pedestrians.
So often trucks damage the pavement so much it is extremely dangerous to the public.
With the number of apartment buildings being erected, I would like to suggest that the Auckland Council look closely at this issue before charges are laid against the council.
Mary Bell, Remuera.
Wage increase ludicrous
The Labour Party must be financially frantically forlorn to put up wages at this economically severely stressed time. Businesses are struggling to stay solvent. To put up their expenses is ludicrous.
Businesses will have the following choices: put up prices if possible, sack staff and or go into receivership. All are fatal for employment, inflation and the poor pensioners on fixed incomes as prices, especially for food, increase. This is a recipe for an economic debacle.
D M de Lacey, Remuera.
Dump carbon tax
Labour's promised tax increase at the top end and National's plan of across-the-board tax reductions are two sides of the same ideological coin. Labour must be seen to tax the rich, National must be seen as the party of lower taxes. Neither plan will do anything to dig the New Zealand economy out of the deep Covid-induced hole. A much bolder and more effective strategy would be to dump the ruinously expensive virtue signalling of the Zero Carbon Act. Judith Collins is known to strenuously oppose the Act but she has flunked the opportunity to move on it. So much for "Crusher" Collins.
Brian O'Neill, Chatswood.
It's all about the economy
I'm looking forward to the debate this week to help me cast my vote.
I want to hear from the party that recognises this election is about the economy. It's not about health or Covid. Whichever group wins will have to manage health. That's just a reality.
What's needed now is a plan to create jobs and customers.
The majority of NZ employers are small businesses, not corporates or government departments.
So let's hear the detail for enabling businesses to stop getting wage subsidies and start generating opportunities.
Here's one: mandate every Government department and every business with revenue over $20m to pay suppliers within 14 days of receipt of undisputed invoice.
Paul Monks, Tauranga.
Focus on the unemployed
Tax cuts now for those already in good jobs, when the Government is already borrowing at an unprecedented pace to keep the ship afloat? This sounds quite irresponsible. It is the 20 per cent or so who are either unemployed or in the process of losing their jobs that need attention. This is also the group that has the highest spending propensity and would channel the money directly into support of business and commerce. We need to focus on getting the unemployed into meaningful employment and assist those about to lose their jobs into a more secure earnings situation.
Frank Olsson, Freemans Bay.
West just as bad
Those who suggest using the Western Ring Route as an alternative to the harbour bridge have obviously never sat in rush hour traffic on the Northwestern Motorway. Failure to double up and electrify the rail tunnel to Waitakere and a massive increase in house building in Whenuapai, Kumeu and Huapai is already overloading SH16. I find it hard to believe that it is beyond the abilities of engineers to repair the bridge in two or three days.
Bob van Ruyssevelt, Glendene.
For years now governments, Transit NZ and the Auckland Council will not agree to build a second harbour crossing for the North Shore residents. Now the bridge may not be fully operational for weeks.
The 300,000-plus residents of the North Shore now will have their lives affected — commuting to work will be impossible, use of the Northern Express buses is tricky due to the limited parking and the connection buses do not suit all.
Deliveries including food, medical supplies for all of the businesses on the North Shore will now be delayed as the trucks and couriers will not be able to get to the North Shore in a timely manner.
Life for us on the North Shore in the next few weeks or months is grim.
Lesley Baillie, Murrays Bay.
Shock awaits voters
There is no such thing as a free lunch and voters who are inclined to vote for their wallets rather than their future will get a shock when reality day arrives. Remember the last tax cuts by National and to help pay for them GST went up 2.5 per cent.
Also imagine on March 31, 2022, when you get a wage cut in the guise of taxes returning to normal how your budget will be thrown into chaos. In the meantime there will be a tightening of belts for government services such as health, education and police.
Under Labour, teachers and nurses received wage rises and the basic wage was lifted after being denied by National for nine years.
The inequity of the handout can only be described as disgraceful and despite the best spin is without a doubt a political enticement without conscience.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Public works disaster
There is something terribly wrong with public works projects in this country. As a business owner mildly affected by the City Link project I have been visited by multiple "consultants" spouting useless platitudes about the effects of that project and no doubt costing ratepayers millions for their pointless consulting.
Now we find it is going to take weeks or even months to fix a single bridge girder. We must be regarded as a joke around the world. If it was a Chinese bridge I doubt it would have taken 24 hours to source and fabricate the required girder. One piece of steel, a few welds, galvanising and 20 bolts. What a joke.
No doubt there are a few dozen "consultants" clipping the ticket on this minor works requirement as well.
Craig Meldrum, Auckland.
Tax benefits of private schools
In his letter on Saturday, Peter Malcolm objected to government money going to private schools.
Perhaps he should acknowledge that the Government gets more from GST on private school fees than it contributes to these schools.
It takes significant taxes from the teachers, assuming the high salary he mentioned is common.
Therefore people of his mind-set should ask the Government to encourage private schools so the Government would have even more taxes.
Brian Taylor, Lynfield.
Escapes in perspective
Let's put the number of escapees from managed isolation in proportion.
Out of 45,000-plus returnees one could count on two hands the number of escapes. That equates to a miniscule percentage. I think the Government has done a magnificent job considering the speed in which it was forced to move.They have acknowledged the few mistakes and moved quickly to rectify them.
Marie Kaire, Whangarei.
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