The housing shortage we are facing has taken a long time to develop, over a decade. The shortage is part of the reason houses are now so expensive.
There is no quick solution because the building industry does not have capacity to further increase supply. More materials, more machinery and more skilled workers are needed for that to happen. However supply has been ramped up to record levels. Sections are not really in short supply, there are thousands of new and infill sites available and properties are now changing hands all over the city to be redeveloped with more dwellings than before and suitable sites are being sold like hot cakes. Help is on the way.
Selwyn Irwin, Glen Eden.
Kiwis coming home
I was shocked and disappointed by the article by Cecilia Robinson advocating that the government abandons to their fate Kiwis still overseas, who want to come home.
I don't think this is in the spirit of a true New Zealander. She has obviously not stopped to consider the plight of those of us still trying to get home.
I myself was due to return on Christmas Day. I was informed that my flight was cancelled an hour after the automatic check in.
I had sent all my warm clothes and shoes off to the shipping agent the day before. Now I am living in a house empty of furniture except a single bed and an old sofa. The living room has no curtains and a concrete floor. I am over 70. I am not sleeping well and have had "Covid dreams". I have rebooked to return in March. Thankfully I have wonderful neighbours looking after my house. I wouldn't want Cecilia Robinson as a neighbour. I can cope with my situation but I know there are many New Zealanders of all ages, young families too, who are much worse off situationally, financially and mentally than myself. The author of that article mentions the mental health and isolation of the people in New Zealand without mentioning, and clearly not considering, the plight right now of those of us still abroad.
John Millais, Kawau Island.
Talking sense on border
Finally someone is talking sense! Cecilia Robinson is absolutely correct in her comment in Saturday's Herald.
It is without question now time for the Government to make the very difficult decision but eminently sensible approach to close our borders.
This will allow us to strengthen our border management against the increased transmissibility of these new strains of Covid 19.
If the new strains of Covid-19 get past our borders and into the health system and community of the Team of 5 million it will be catastrophic.
NZ seems to have been lulled into a sense of complacency but there will be a severe backlash if the new strains get in and we see community deaths and the Government will be held responsible.
Kerre McIvor's comment on her own family's experience was equally relevant and outlined the difficulties around this whole global situation.
Everyone's situation is different, however as Cecilia said "we need to put the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the few".
Robyn Brown, Mt Albert.
Bias in media
Your columnist John Roughan nails it with his piece (Weekend Herald, January 23) about the part the news media plays in polarising views. Many of us have watched with dismay over many years the growing bias in the mainstream media and its spread from opinion pieces to investigative articles and to the news itself.
Far too many people these days preach diversity but not diversity of opinion. They decry racism but use it mainly to shut down any rational debate. They use science, which is never settled, like a religious dogma. Let's see news articles that concentrate on the facts and don't leave obvious questions unanswered. Let's see investigative journalism which doesn't leave out the inconvenient elements. Let's see a variety of well written opinion pieces from across the spectrum.
Stan Rinaldi, Hamilton.
John Roughan's column of January 23 was full of valuable insights, but he seems to have misread the economic and cultural dynamic of today's United States.
Let's go back to 1980. Two powerful political thinkers faced each other across the Pacific. One was conservative and pragmatic. Deng Xiaoping wanted to make China great again. The pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square (1989) would be brutally swept aside.
The other was a radical, committed to the demented ideology of Ayn Rand. Alan Greenspan didn't need to be elected to political office, because Reagan, and the next three presidents, enthusiastically applied his toxic advice.
The result: 150,000 affluent American households now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million households. Many Americans are baffled. They are constantly told that "the System" is working for them, but their standard of living continues to deteriorate. The "rational" explanations of the "elite" have failed, and so millions of these "forgotten" people have embraced irrationality.
Arch Thomson, Mt Wellington.
I agree with Steve Matheson's letter (NZ Herald, January 12) and the subsequent letters from others regarding New Zealand's population growth, and the call for a rethink. In the past 20 odd years, our population has increased by one million, which is a 25 per cent increase. To my knowledge, this 25 per cent increase has been carried out by both Labour and National with no debate, no discussion, and no policy announcement.
Perpetual population growth is not a sensible or sustainable economic policy yet there is almost no questioning of it.
Our greatest advantage is our small population and isolation (as the current pandemic has shown) and it would be good to actually see a political party show some leadership on this issue and at the very least have some public discussion.
Derek Alston, West Melton.
Two-pronged Covid strategy
When Covid started and PM Jacinda Ardern issued our elimination strategy it was, and has been proven to be, a huge success. However, at that early stage no one knew if lockdowns were going to be the answer. Vaccines were the only other path out of the pandemic.
I remember many times Ardern was asked about procuring vaccines for NZ and she just deflected the questions. We really should have a two-pronged strategy. Israel with a similar size population to us did just that, even paying over the asking price for the vaccine and now has almost half its population vaccinated.
We are just a whisker away from another outbreak given how rapidly the new strains can spread and still we get the same weak excuses.
Dr Alan Papert, Queenstown.
Contributor Gary Wycherley states (Herald January 20) the American empire is in irreversible decline. Really? Covid-19 denied Donald Trump a second presidential term, his isolationist, protectionist policies questioned.
The Biden administration will engage in global inclusion and revisit the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which, together with China's participation, could create a formidable trade bloc assisting millions.
Truth and transparency will be restored and democracy ensured the rejection of a fraudulent leader, a luxury lost to many nations deprived of common law and freedom of expression.
Have no fear, US dominance will remain intact.
The Auckland to Kumeu/Huapai highway is overloaded now and with continuing development in Whenuapai, Hobsonville, Kumeu/Huapai and now Taupaki it will soon become an absolute nightmare. "Rapid Rail" apart from being pie in the sky is not the answer to anything. More bus lanes and, better still, a proper busway along the NW motorway will help but the suburban electrified rail network needs to be extended to at least Huapai and eventually Helensville.
This holiday period rail shut down should have been used to lower the floor of the Swanson tunnel to allow for electrification. A second tunnel needs to be driven as soon as possible.
Bob van Ruyssevelt, Glendene.