Rules around tourists
Most people believe that we need to restrict future tourists visiting our country, but there are many problems in doing so. This could be done by ballot, but this would entail a bureaucracy to make decisions as to who can come and then someone would have to decide whether a visitor who calls on family, or comes here mainly for business, is a tourist or not. The other way to select tourists is to allow them in after paying a prohibitively high fee, which would mean tourists to New Zealand will only be wealthy ones, stopping all others. Such a high fee could stop families and backpackers from coming here.
Sarah Bennett (Saturday's Herald Canvas) makes a lot of excellent points with her view on the Environment Commissioner's tourism report.
However, one thing that both she and the Commissioner skirt over is the current $35 entrance fee charged to all tourists other than Australians and Pacific Islanders. If this fee is greatly increased, to say $350, it wouldn't stop many tourists at all. But it would provide a good deal of money to allow DoC to improve access and also to properly finance local councils to provide facilities and properly police freedom campers, both of local and of overseas origin.
Together with booths allowing the number of daily tourists on pressure points such as the Milford Road, Mt Cook and the Tongariro Crossing (and fees should be charged for non-New Zealanders), tourist numbers in these areas could be limited which will solve many of the problems that we have struck with overseas tourist pressure.
Many overseas countries are suffering from over-tourism in some areas and are also taking measures to prevent it.
Jet engines and Air NZ
Fran O'Sullivan queried the shifting sands of the Air NZ/Saudi Arabia jet engine kerfuffle.
Did someone in high places jump before realising that in the Yemen conflict, the Saudis has nine other Gulf State and Middle East countries on its side, as well as being supported by the UK and US Navy? And before realising that we have almost half a billion dollars annual trade with Saudi alone.
Are we to re-examine our dealings, Air NZ or other, with all these countries as well?
I read with disbelief Dr Selvaraj's letter referring to Dilworth School as a "national disgrace". The abuse and "cover up" I read in the papers was shocking and saddening to read. However, brave people coming forward to talk of their abusive treatment has happened in many schools and institutions and does not constitute a reason to close Dilworth.
Needs do change and while there are no longer war widows needing to educate their sons there are still many families with needy children!! Some single parent families, some with both parents.
There is no "jostling for attention". Applications are in writing, financial situations are disclosed and interviews with both children and parent(s) follow. After which a child may be offered one of the limited places.
Our four grandsons received a great education at Dilworth and have gone on to be great citizens. A Lance Corporal in the Army, a science graduate working in healthcare, a sixth year med student and the youngest hoping to join the police force.
We can not speak highly enough of the staff and teachers. "Support has been ongoing, family and educational development" never in doubt.
Close the doors? I don't think so.
More houses needed
When columnists from the left (Chloe Swarbick) right (Matthew Hooton) and centre (Brian Fallow) are all saying that poverty will not be mitigated, let alone eradicated while the current high levels of homelessness or inadequate housing persist one has to worry. And to a greater or lesser extent they agree that Labour is not doing enough to fix it.
For all Finance Minister Grant Robertson's talk of complexity, the problem is Labour's stated objective of merely slowing the rise in house prices... which are increasingly out of step with average annual earnings. Affordable housing for first-home buyers should not be the priority. It should be getting people out of motels, garages, cars etc into warm, dry homes. It requires a massive increase in the number of new dwellings: state houses, community houses, commercial residential developments, iwi trusts etc.
A long-term commitment by this Government to do that, will give confidence to builders to take on apprentices and plan for the long haul.
Bob van Ruyssevelt
Vaccinate the Pacific
I would like to see our Government guarantee the 350,000-odd residents of the Cook Islands, Tonga, Western Samoa, Niue and Tokelau the Covid vaccine as soon as they become available to New Zealanders.
That would be an aid programme worth supporting.
Health issues from obesity
After reading letters to the editor - July 4, 2019, June 16, 2019, and October 3, 2019 regarding obesity in New Zealand there appears that even when orthopaedic surgeons raise the issues of the excessive number of knee operations due to morbid obesity clogging up the hospitals, along with the future explosion of diabetes that both the Government and the New Zealand public accept this major health issue as the norm now.
A couple of years ago I was waiting in pre-prep for an urgent spinal stenosis operation and the nurses apologised for the long delays as the surgeon and a team of staff were trying to "close" on the previous patient who was overly obese, and they were struggling to control the extreme fat. I was on a table for an extra hour wondering how my surgeon was going to be able to perform my serious operation after working so hard late in that evening.
When does the Government realise that both the orthopaedic surgeons and hospitals will not be able to cope with the huge increase of diabetes related conditions, orthopaedic operations, and stomach surgery?
The medical profession is already busting at the seams with Covid, therefore where is this Government's campaign to help them drastically reduce the overweight issue?
Step up, Australia
I would like to respond to Heather du Plessis-Allan's article in the February 21 Herald on Sunday. Our PM Jacinda was not playing to her voters. Australia had made it clear they do not want the woman returning to Australia. Scott Morrison said Australia's security is his first priority, which is fair enough, but that doesn't excuse the Australians' less than transparent handling of this situation, or relieve it of responsibility.
It is obvious the woman has more links to Australia than New Zealand. She moved to Australia at the age of 6. She used her Australian passport to travel. She speaks with an Australian accent. She was radicalised while in Australia. Take some responsibility Australia. It's your responsibility not New Zealand's. Jacinda is angry and rightfully so.
With the impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, the Biden administration can proceed to heal a battered economy and confront the ravages of Covid-19 which Trump failed to do. At a tumultuous time in US. history, Joseph Biden, despite his years willingly stepped up to halt the destruction of democratic principles and the denigration of common law.
Were there ever two presidential adversaries with such contrasting personalities? The Republican Party will likely split and reform as a mainstream, centre- right movement committed to the democratic process, the autocratic Trump faction with a radical base, isolated. Trump's euphoria since the senate acquittal could be short lived as multiple lawsuits confront him, his problems may just be unfolding.
The Texas power and water infrastructure breakdown is instructive for us. The estimate of catch-up spending required in the United States (US $3 trillion) converts to $10,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
On a comparable per capita basis, our bill to catch up with our power, water and roading assets backlog spending would amount to $50 billion.
It is to be hoped that this worst case scenario never eventuates in our country.
Green Party MPs' actions
When the actions of a political party or one of its MPs draws unfavourable response from the public, the standard tactic is to cause a diversion. Is it coincidence that Golriz Ghahraman has made a song and dance about Air NZ at the same time fellow MP Ricardo Mendez March, who had left NZ during Covid restrictions, returned from Mexico, fortuitously on the same flight as his partner who is here for a six-month stay with a view to residency, while citizens are waiting months for MIQ spaces.