With the cannabis vote now on hold for another time, it is interesting to look back over the weeks leading up to the vote. There was, it seemed, a lot of emotion
and little fact in the presentation of information on both sides of the argument. Hardly surprising as people's fears and anxieties over "free" access conjured images of smoking places, drugged young people and little responsibilities of self ownership for health. It was at times a passionate argument and personal.
But should it have been? We of the Boomer generation should be able to recall vivid pictures or memories of smelling sweet joints at many festivals and functions in the 60s. We should remember watching on television Robert Stack and his Untouchables fighting crime in Chicago's 1930s prohibition era. It was real life dramatised where alcohol was banned and gang warfare boomed. The dangers of prohibiting something many people wanted showed how quickly crime goes underground and takes over. Continuing this environment or changing it was the choice, but the concern over legalising it created images of more harm than good and the fear it would behave like the alcohol industry where barons use any method they can to sell, especially to the young. It's no wonder we puzzled over the question.
Nevertheless, it was good to see an increase in the numbers for cannabis control. A recognition that whatever the dangers, better to protect than punish. Time is what it probably needs.
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
On behalf of the combined gangs of New Zealand I would like to say a big thank you for your votes.
When news came out there was to be a cannabis referendum some of our lads were a nervous wreck; our own smoking went up heaps.
Of course, the big concern was we would lose contact with our customers and miss the chance to get them on to the addictive stuff where the real money is. But all turned out well, so thanks again New Zealand.
Vince West, Milford.
New Zealand has voted no to cannabis, plain and simple. We as a nation have made an informed choice, and that is the essence of democracy. There is no one to blame. Of course the Green Party will be disappointed, but it was not to be. There is enough harm from drugs, and the last thing we needed was an endorsement to say cannabis was okay, but this was clearly a "yeah, nah" moment in our history.
John Ford, Napier
A bit Green
Chloe Swarbrick's immaturity began to show when she assumed that Labour would need the Greens to form a coalition and was dictating terms that Labour would have to meet to make that happen.
The wealth tax was a case in point and now she is criticising Jacinda Ardern for previously not announcing her stance on the cannabis referendum. It is all very well having courage of your convictions but there are more ways the one to skin a cat.
Swarbrick is a good addition to Parliament but she will learn that diplomacy
also has its part in achieving one's goals. In other words Chloe should first engage the brain before putting the mouth in gear.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
It is reported that a 22-year-old has been deported to New Zealand for punching his wife despite having only lived here for his first five months. You can't really blame the Australian system in that all they want to do is get rid of people who break the law and are classed as foreigners but surely the case could be made that such a person is much more a product of Australia than of New Zealand, having lived there virtually all of his life. If we can't change the system then I believe we should treat law-breaking Australians here in exactly the same way. Send them home.
Paul Beck, West Harbour.
There have been a few readers and a few articles that the Labour majority has been delivered by National swing voters, voting tactically to keep out the Greens. Implying that the Labour government should implement National-lite policies.
Labour should bear in mind that their voters expect more progressive Labour policies, now that the handbrake is gone. Labour voters can swing too, if their expectations are not met, especially Maori, Pacific and those on low incomes, to the more progressive Maori Party and the Greens.
Kushlan Sugathapala, Epsom.
We have priced our young people and grandchildren out of the housing market and no attempts have been made by successive Governments to correct this.
Forty-odd years ago four times salary got you into a house and now it is something like 11 times.
Sections and land is too expensive and only Government intervention can correct it.
The Government needs to simply buy farm land adjacent to all cities and towns in New Zealand under the Public Works Act. You should pay rural land price and the only tears will be "land bankers" who hoped to make a killing. It would send a clear signal to land bankers that their land is simply worth rural land price.
Then the Government simply needs to tender out the land for subdivision, (not all of it at once but as demand requires it) to put in the roads, footpaths, sewerage, water, power, fibre cabling etc. Lots of jobs immediately created.
The Government should then recoup all the costs but not be in it to make a profit.
Then ask competent housing companies like G. J. Gardiner to name one of many, how many sections would you like to build on and pay the Government for the sections when you sell the house. This would mean the building companies could get building en masse and lower costs on the volume they build. Look at the jobs they would create; isn't that what the Government wants and needs right now?
Eventually the supply/demand curve would turn to more supply than demand and prices would stabilise. New Zealanders would "get the message" that buying properties for capital gain was not going to be a winner like it has been. They would turn their money to more productive investments benefiting the whole country.
Tom Reynolds, St Heliers.
We are now experiencing a major surge in residential house prices. Unless we are prepared to see a whole generation of New Zealanders priced out of the market and renting all their lives, we need to change the way houses are financed. Young New Zealand couples buying their first house should be able to take out 20 or 30-year mortgages where they are required to pay interest only, principal repayments being discretionary as they can afford them. At the very least this would allow them to get over the hurdle of going from two mouths on two incomes to three or more mouths on one income as they start their families. Also principal paid back should be able to be used to pay the interest providing a mortgage holiday if needed. If we don't get the present generation into their own homes then we are going to create enormous social problems when the current generation retire and are still renting.
If you divide the average yearly price inflation rate into 72, it gives you the number of years for houses to double in value. If New Zealand houses increase on average by 5 per cent per year then the house will double in value in 14 years, providing young New Zealanders with hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and setting them up for a comfortable retirement.
We ignore this at our peril.
Wayne Carpenter, Glen Eden.
Man the pumps
Does the Auckland Council suggest using a hose or buckets when the tinder dry North Shore fireworks addicts begin to terrorise the nesting tui? I suppose the bellbirds seen in Birkenhead and Devonport will also take wing, deserting offspring as the high-pitched whistling terrifies them off the nest. A chance to colonise the mainland lost.
Will we be fined for dampening the undergrowth? The bush is dry as a board. Perhaps the new minister for the environment could make it a priority to end this annual ritual or will no nanny state Ardern prevail over commonsense? I remember Ardern still wanted to run the anniversary remembrance of the mosque massacre at the height of Covid imports until the right side of her brain capitulated to the left just a few days before.
Just a few days to Guy Fawkes in a 100-year drought. Perhaps the weather forecast of no rain only the odd shower is still to be ignored. Fireworks carry on for months and are a real pain not just for pet owners but trying to sleep in high humidity with someone lighting crackers throughout the night.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Short & sweet
On UK nurses
It's nice that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has nominated Kiwi nurse Jenny McGee for a Pride of Britain award for her care while he was hospitalised with Covid-19. I hope he will do the same for every other British nurse who has been trying to save less well known viral patients yet losing 45,000 or more. Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
On PM's objectives
Jacinda, it's jobs, jobs, jobs; poverty, poverty, poverty; houses, houses, houses. Hit those three important objectives hard and early and you'll be rewarded with another three years in power in 2023. Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
On cannabis vote
I no more care about the PM's vote for cannabis use than what she has for breakfast. Only the aimless do otherwise. Kenneth Lees, Whangarei.
On voting strategy
So much for those who would normally vote National but this year voted Labour to keep the Greens out of government. That didn't work did it? Janet Boyle, Orewa.
Today many groups of children knocked on the door to receive their lollies. Most of them just stood there, eyeing my bowl full of goodies, so I asked them: What are you going to tell me? They all answered: Please. Bless their souls. If this is the next generation of Kiwis, we are in good hands. Nadia Bailo-Piglia, Hobsonville Pt.