Sometimes, understandably, the judgment of people in grief becomes distorted. When I was president of our museum council an old soldier demanded passionately that we write the names of his platoon, all dead, on
the external wall. (which has no names, just theatres of war.) Nothing would convince him.
If I had died on Erebus I would not want to be remembered by a huge controversial concrete structure placed to spoil one of Auckland's small green contemplative places , overlooking water. A plaque listing names would be appropriate, and thought-provoking.
It is not too late for public out-cry to stop this completely inappropriate proposal, so destructive of Auckland's natural beauty.
Harold Coop, Remuera.
(Past President, Auckland War Memorial Museum council.)
National Party President Peter Goodfellow has accused Jacinda Ardern of tyranny during the big lockdown. John Key thinks National lost the election because of leaks. This kind of talk suggests that National does not understand that voters simply like what Ardern is doing.
Voters think she is smart, strong, kind and highly respected overseas. Voters liked her handling of the mosque attacks and her gun buyback. Voters liked New Zealand's handling of Covid-19 and are pleased we did not follow the example set by Sweden and the US.
National's climate change denying is not helping either. Promises to allow dairy farmers to pollute rivers and horticulturists to import cheap labour from overseas are not sitting well with voters. National's Finance Minister cannot even add!
National has out-of-date ideas that will keep them out of government, which is exactly where they belong.
John Caldwell, Howick.
It is probably not so much of food being expensive at the supermarkets, it is more an issue of what we are spending our money on.
Firstly, there is the aisle of fizzy drinks, both sides, all colours of the rainbow, sugar assured. Then the next aisle is chippies, plenty on offer here too, different flavours, shapes, and packet sizes. Followed by the confectionery and biscuit aisle; the range here would put any memory genius to the test.
Boycott these aisles and odds on you will probably save yourself a lot of coin, not to mention do your body a favour at the same time.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if we all walked past these aisles, I mean I've not heard of anyone dying without their fizzy, chippie or choccy fix for the day, and the supermarkets wouldn't know what to do with themselves if we did stop buying this over-marketed, over-packaged, and over-priced junk food.
Glenn Forsyth. Taupō.
Freedom camping solution
It's hard not to agree with Stuart Nash's observations about freedom campers and his desire for rentals to them to be self-contained. No doubt the bulk of these campers are fine, but there are always rotten apples.
One can understand the dismay of locals who find unsightly detritus after a group has departed. To add insult to injury, local councils are apparently having to strike higher rates for constituents to pay for needed infrastructure of portaloos and rubbish collections while the local cafe, grocery shop or tourist operator are the actual beneficiaries of campers' spending.
Might not a possible solution be for freedom campers to only use camping grounds. And how about schools near tourist attractions like white water rafting or bungee jumping, where there may not be a camping ground nearby, set up their grounds with needed infrastructure for freedom campers. Schools would welcome the extra funds. A win-win situation for local communities and campers.
Diana Walford, Greenlane.
Freedom campers necessary
I read with some concern Stuart Nash's comments about freedom campers.
In January, while on holiday at Cooks Beach Coromandel, I used to go down and chat to freedom campers who used the local allocated park for overnight stays. Almost all were from Europe.
Before I left Cooks beach after a 10 day stay, I strolled down to see how things were at the freedom campsite.
As far as rubbish was concerned after 10 days, I found one lolly paper and a 10-cent piece.
Stuart Nash needs to understand tourist recovery will first come from a large number of low-end spenders' like freedom campers. Not from the few high-end spenders that he seems to think will be the only people who can assist the tourist recovery.
Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
Find a crisis
Simon Wilson asks what we're supposed to think about Minister Stuart Nash including backpackers and tourist vans in his announcements on rich-list tourism. Here's a possible answer. In the planning huddle, the advisers caution it would be hard to sell a policy that focused just on wealthy tourists. The answer is to find a crisis to distract public attention. It so happens that some campervans lack toilets. Everyone can be properly outraged at waste dumped around the country and the debate would swirl. Mix backpackers into the freedom campers issue, however illogical, and the resulting muddle would help the new policy to survive.
David Cooke, Pt Chevalier.
John Roughan on housing on Saturday - a brilliant summation but ... so many unanswered questions were posed. Collins has stated she would return the bright line test for capital gains to two years exacerbating the frenzy; conveniently ignored. Why is house price inflation not part of the Reserve Bank governor's mandate? The so-called biggest investment you ever make is excluded. Why? Who pays for the printed money - $128 billion? Has any Reserve Bank governor ever had so much influence on Kiwi lives and been given unquestioned power ever before? Who decides the future path of this country; is this democracy failing?
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
The BNZ bank has announced that are going to close another 37 branches, thus denying personal service to many of their customers, many of whom are elderly and unable to cope with online systems or carry out complicated banking duties using ATM machines, which from my personal experience even the bank's staff have difficulty using. The other banks are all closing branches as well claiming this is what their customers want them to do. That, of course, is nonsense and it is obvious the banks are all trying to increase their profit margins which are already 50 per cent higher in NZ than what the same banks parent companies are achieving in Australia. It should be a condition of obtaining and maintaining a banking licence in NZ that a sufficient number of branches must be maintained in order to ensure that all of their customers have reasonable access to personal service.
David Mairs, Glendowie.
Living in the city, we have little concept of work down on the farm, or in the orchard. I for one had no idea how dependent the country is on overseas workers, especially at harvest time. The pandemic has emphasised the critical nature of this dependence, and the choke point that is due to limited ability to quarantine workers. It is disappointing to see a fruitful harvest under threat. Why is that we cannot train local New Zealanders to operate some of this complex machinery? The pay, one presumes is commensurate with the technical ability. That has to be of some incentive, so where does one go to receive the necessary technical training. Sixty years younger, I would love to learn how to drive a combine harvester.
Tony Goodwin, Pt Chevalier.
For hundreds of years China was tormented and bullied by the colonial powers. Britain provoked wars so that opium grown in India could be sold to millions of addicts in China. Territory was stolen. Hong Kong was owned by Britain for about 100 years. Shanghai was controlled by the British and the French until they were evicted by Japan. Russia also stole large areas of land from China. After the communists won the Civil War in 1949, the US went into denial and tried to obstruct Chinese interests for decades. In time, the US came to its senses and relations were restored. I am not an apologist for the human rights abuses which occur in China. And I feel that it is wrong to punish the Uighurs for wanting to retain their culture. All that said, the US needs to indulge in serious soul-searching before they escalate hostilities against China.
Johann Nordberg, Paeroa.