Queen St and CBD a disgrace
It was great to read in Saturday's Weekend Herald a group of prominent and intelligent people have formed the "Save the Queen Street committee" to challenge the council's disgraceful and hideous treatment of Queen St.
It is not only Queen St that is a disgrace, it is the CBD generally where traffic lanes have been reduced and replaced by expensive cycle lanes, many of which are not justified by their use.
Also disgraceful are urban residential streets which are dirty and untidy, kerbside gutters and stormwater drains full of leaves and never cleaned and which overflow in the wet weather, footpaths not maintained or repaired or replaced, grass that never gets cut, etc etc.
Where are the councillors? Probably happy with their six-figure salaries, but you never hear a squeak from them. They have allowed Auckland Transport, with their anti-car policies, to reduce traffic lanes on important routes which, rather than helping, are creating congestion and making it worse all over the city.
Ken Graham, Greenlane.
Capital gains maths faulty
The Herald's business section on Saturday, April 3 includes a piece by Troy Bowker, of Caniwi Capital.
Bowker outlines several criticisms of the recent housing tax changes, one of which is that a taxable capital gain of $100,000 after 9.9 years of 3 per cent inflation, is really a capital gain of only $65,000 due to the erosion of the purchasing power of money. He claims this means a $39,000 tax impost on the gain represents a real tax rate of 60 per cent, not 39 per cent.
The argument is based on some dubious logic. Firstly, the buying power of $100,000 after 9.9 years of 3 per cent inflation is reduced to about $74,000, not $65,000. Secondly, if it is appropriate to apply an inflation adjustment to the capital gain, surely it is appropriate to apply the same adjustment to the tax charge.
Bowker's argument rests on the fact the $100,000 profit will not be received by the investor until after 9.9 years. That is true, but by the same logic, nor will the tax bill. Applying the same inflation adjustment to the tax bill turns $39,000 into $29,000, which is 39 per cent of $74,000. Bowker's calculation includes both some faulty maths and the selective application of a hypothetical inflation rate to the gross profit only.
Rowan Hill, Mt Eden.
Reserve Bank free reign
Recent Government initiatives to cool the housing market appear misplaced, new taxes targeting investors belated as many owners have long since moved on due to stringent changes to property law. Little wonder so many seeking rental accommodation are resident in motels.
A major cause of house price inflation, lax monetary policy stemming from a Government mandate to the RBNZ to stimulate the economy. We are paying an exorbitant social price for permitting the Reserve Bank free reign.
A Tauranga dwelling I own was rented last week, inquiries unprecedented, a market compromised.
Peter Edmondson, Tauranga.
Nicholas Jones' article on diabetic eye screening illustrates the acute and tragic consequences of uncontrolled blood glucose levels. I have lived with type one diabetes for 24 years.
Unlike sufferers of other auto-immune diseases, or cancers, or debilitating degenerative illnesses, diabetics are fortunate in that the negative effects of their condition can be prevented or at least largely mitigated through basic healthy lifestyle choices: low or moderate carbohydrate meals, regular exercise, regular self-monitoring of their blood glucose levels. In other words, effective diabetes treatment is largely a matter of sensible, daily self-regulation.
It is fiscally irresponsible and immoral to create ever-increasing cost-pressures on DHBs and taxpayers associated with diabetic monitoring and treatment. Such resources would be better directed toward other illnesses that cannot be ameliorated by a jog and a salad.
Ben Sanders, Hauraki.
Project punishes good drivers
I wish to add my criticism of the Onehunga low-traffic project. It creates a half-hour delay in traffic congestion on Church St. This will not make people less car dependent as there is no viable public transport alternative for time efficient east-west travel.
It's hard to see how sitting in traffic an extra half hour will lower carbon emissions. The object should be to get people to their destination as quickly as possible.
If there are safety issues in some streets, then surely putting up speed cameras would be a solution. There are no streets safe from reckless drivers. This project simply punishes good drivers who need cars to get to and from work in the shortest possible time.
Heavy traffic in suburban streets usually occurs during peak hours when residents are also travelling home from work. Making transport across the city more difficult does not reinforce the "livable city" mantra.
Migrant slave labour culture
Another case of migrants being exploited has hit the news. This time a concrete company.
How many of these cases must be uncovered before either Immigration NZ or the Labour Inspectorate, part of MBIE, are held to account. Many of the offending employers are from countries where exploitation of workers is rife. What are our authorities doing to combat this problem, or why are these migrants allowed to be brought into NZ without the proper checks and follow-ups?
Our government agencies are facilitating a slave labour culture in NZ by not doing their duty. Furthermore, these companies can undercut hard-working NZ companies which cannot compete with the wage costs.
John Little, Milford.
Praise for heath system, workers
This Easter I feel totally blessed. Not by any mythical deity but by the reality that is New Zealand.
At the beginning of the holiday, following a night of fever and vomiting, it was determined I should go into hospital for more intensive treatment. My family rushed me there and for four hours I sat waiting for a bed to become available. During this time and later I was attended to by Aimee, Laura, Kane, Kennally, Jessica, Elaine, Leanora, Jess, Cassandra and members of St John - a diverse group of ethnicity and no doubt religion but bound by the commonality of compassion.
Twenty four hours later, minus some blood and fluid for sampling but full of liquid and medication intravenously administered, X-rayed, ECG and Covid-19 tested, I was deemed well enough to be released and returned to family care. I have nothing but the utmost respect and praise for those I encountered and whilst our public health system may not be perfect it could be a lot, lot worse. I proffer my sincere thanks to all concerned and feel blessed to be a Kiwi.
Alan Thomas, Silverdale
Daylight saving farce
Here we go again. The now totally unnecessary farce of turning the clocks back.
For some folk, it may go without a hitch, relishing the "extra hour" in the morning, sleeping like a log and no awful jet lag. For many however, just one hour shift in time can cause bodily distress for weeks. Worse than flogging yourself on a long-haul flight! Just when the end is in sight, it's time to do it all over again and put them forward. In post war times, absolutely totally unnecessary. The simple fact is we rise with the sun and retire with sundown. Totally logical and not rocket science.
Surely this needs debate in Parliament or some up and coming newbie MP to propose the abolition of daylight saving and put an end to six months of misery twice a year. Any takers?
Sharon Jameson, Cambridge.
Ditch Manukau port idea
Just when the idea of moving the Port to the Manukau harbour seemed dead and buried, the Government pays an Australian outfit to write a report that shows the Manukau is a good idea! Really?
Our ports are on NZ's east coast for a good reason - it offers safe anchorage before berthing. Just think of the ships anchored off the East Coast Bays waiting safely until they can dock. There is NO safe anchorage on the West Coast.
Also after going to Manukau ships would have to go round North Cape or through Cook Strait to service our other ports at great expense in fuel and time.
The entrance to Manukau will require a long channel with constant maintenance. If a ship broaches in the channel it will close the Port indefinitely, and probably break up before tugs can arrive. It is likely ship owners will refuse to service the Port. Just think of the recent Suez Canal incident, and this was in calm water and a gentle sandbank.
Manukau Port fans (the Mayor, and Cabinet) should go to the South Head lighthouse when it is blowing from the SW at 30+ knots. It is spectacular and very dangerous. In some places "mother nature" is best left alone. The Manukau Heads is one of them.
Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
Police brutality and smacking legislation
Few would agree that police pushing an unarmed youth to the ground is good. However, before we jump on the bandwagon of police brutality, let us take a minute to think.
In 2007, the anti-smacking bill was introduced.
That's 14 years ago and that means a generation of young people have grown up with the knowledge that discipline is at the most a wet bus ticket. Schools have recently asked for protection from students who abuse and even hit teachers who know any retaliation will mean dismissal or a prison sentence.
The police face a minority who know the rules and push their luck. Verdict: police could do better, but who deserves our support? The police or some belligerent undisciplined youths.
We reap what we sow.
Reg Dempster, Albany.