Fuming at traffic queues
While we are all being prompted to combat climate change, Auckland Council appears to be doing the opposite with roading changes that are snarling up traffic in town centres such as
Henderson, Onehunga and Pukekohe.
These changes are having bifurcated negative effects for our climate. Within the town centre the travel delays cause more fuel burn by more slowly moving cars and, perhaps ironically, public transport buses. Conversely, the frustration caused by the chaos is simultaneously incentivising others to drive further afield to do their shopping. In the case of Henderson, this appears to benefit Westgate and New Lynn. If these changes are intended to drive people from their cars, then this substitution of shopping effect will more than offset any reduction in town-centre traffic.
Climate is not the only area negatively impacted as these changes are killing Main Street shopping. Challenged by Covid and facing fierce competition from online and Mall shopping, the last thing these struggling retailers need are artificial disincentives to using their respective town centres. "Save Our Stores" posters are now common in these areas.
For both climate and business reasons, the council should reconsider these changes.
Peter Jansen, Henderson.
Given that Auckland Transport is signing off the Regional Transport Plan and has ignored the 6000 public submissions on concerns that it is not doing enough about the climate crisis, I hope it has an insurance policy to cover property damage from sea-level rise, and extreme storms, and the multiple insurance claims that result from this inaction, and gross negligence.
As a double-decker bus passed me this morning with two people aboard, and the road was at gridlock with cars - one thinks something has to change. Aucklanders can all help through driving fewer kilometres and using public transport or cycling and walking. We are all in this together and need to take action now, but Auckland Transport has the ability and the responsibility for turning this around and facilitating change.
Alison Feeney, Remuera.
Simon Wilson shames Auckland Transport (NZ Herald, June 28) for its lack of ambition in reducing Auckland's carbon emissions. Indeed, the RLTP's goal of reducing them by 1 per cent makes a mockery of the council's recent declaration of a climate emergency.
But Wilson is wrong in arguing that climate action in cities is about "less driving". It is actually about less of any mobility that involves motorised transport. After all - what about all those trucks and vans, apparently so vital to Auckland's present economy?
The only radical solution to our excessive transport emissions is to reduce the overall demand. Diversifying the supply - such as having more public transport and EVs - only changes the type of our impact on nature.
We must profoundly change the economy of our city and the lifestyle of its citizens which now rest on extravagant mobility encouraged by cheap vehicles and fuel, and free-for-all roads. This calls for hefty price increases of all elements of the transport system. These painful interventions are far beyond AT's mandate. Somebody higher up than the AT board should be ashamed for not telling us as it is: we must live, work, shop and socialise locally.
Dushko Bogunovich, adjunct professor, Auckland University.
I would like to correct a couple of points in Jeff Hayward's letter (NZ Herald, June 28) about diesel buses in Auckland.
Auckland Transport has committed to accelerating the transition to zero-emissions buses; no more diesel buses will be bought from this week, July 1, 2021 - not 2025, as Mr Hayward said.
AT now has 33 zero-emissions buses in operation and is in commercial discussions with a number of bus operators to deploy more electric buses in the next 2-3 years. This includes the necessary electricity network upgrades with high voltage connections to bus depots.
Mark Hannan, media relations manager, Auckland Transport.
How refreshing to read another letter of an efficient, friendly and free Covid vaccination. I completely endorse correspondent Lucy Lamb's (NZ Herald, June 28) views and can say that our experience in Tauranga was a stress-free, almost pleasant one.
Well done to all concerned.
Geoff Gripton, Ōmokoroa.
That was an excellent article (NZ Herald, June 28) by Professor Ananish Chandhuri regarding how long before we can safely open our borders.
In other words: How many of our lives and how much of our freedom of expression should we sacrifice on the altar of safety and security?
When will our scientific advisors finally come to the conclusion that nature will never allow us to eliminate influenza; this current virus; and others that will follow?
When will we understand that we must learn to live with this virus as we have with countless others?
P. C .Sewell, Campbells Bay.
Spread the word
Margarine is defined in the dictionary as "imitation butter". One visual difference is that it is sold in a plastic container.
Shouldn't it be possible to wrap it in block form as butter is done? That could remove a huge amount of plastic from our waste.
Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
The recently launched rebranding of NZ Post looks terrible and now makes the organisation and the service it provides unrecognisable.
There was nothing wrong with the well-established envelope logo and red colour scheme, which have been distinctly associated with NZ Post for decades.
The Government should be questioning the appropriateness of spending $15m on an unnecessary rebranding exercise while this financially struggling State-owned enterprise continues to receive taxpayer-funded financial support.
I'm sure most taxpayers would rather see this sort of money go towards keeping more PostShops open, which NZ Post has been closing in increasing numbers.
Isaac Broome, Pukekohe.
I think the letter (NZ Herald, June 28) regarding Theresa Gattung is wide of the mark. Telecom was split from the Post Office in the late 1980s and Theresa was appointed to her role at Telecom after Rob Deane in the 1990s and, as far as I know, was never near the Post Office.
Instead of throwing stones, we should be taking our hats off for giving $2.5 million to assist women in the business world.
Gordon Kay, Lynfield.
That's nice for the K Rd cyclist (NZ Herald, June 28) that their ride is now "much safer and more enjoyable".
Getting my ancient bones off the bus there at stop number 7130 was neither safe nor enjoyable.
Seeing only grey footpath, I nearly stepped into collision with a speeding cyclist.
On June 11, I phoned Auckland Council to report the safety issue and ask that the area be completed in bike lane pink paint, pronto. It has not been acknowledged.
Got a spare tin of paint, Mr Mayor? I reckon I could tape a paintbrush to the end of my walking stick and get the job done to alert fellow pedestrians to be aware of a hazard.
Mary Cornford, Pt Chevalier.
I was interested to see the article "Vaping - at 10" (NZ Herald, June 25).
While reported youth vaping anecdotes are deeply concerning and unacceptable, they're not supported by any significant empirical evidence to date.
After examining a survey of over 27,000 secondary school students, University of Auckland researchers last year found that only 0.8 per cent of 14 and 15-year-olds who had never smoked were regular vapers. Researchers subsequently confirmed there was no youth vaping epidemic in New Zealand.
Last year's Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act axed all vaping advertising and made youth access much harder. It also ensures tougher regulations around flavours, packaging, promotions, and displays.
Without doubt, the Government now needs to get really tough at point-of-sale. If any retailer breaks the law and sells vaping products to minors under 18, the book must be thrown at them.
Nancy Loucas, co-director of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy.
Short & sweet
Why are we still using landfill instead of burning and creating environmental issues? Many countries are burning safely and recycling the energy burned. It is more efficient and safer.
Chris Toh, Greenhithe.
As Helen Clark's administration endeavoured to abolish certain types of light bulbs, Jacinda Ardern's administration is trying to phase out plastic products. Mike Baker, Tauranga.
Regarding the recent comments about calling women "ladies". It's high time men stopped saying "you guys" when talking to a group of men and women P. Harlen, Mt Maunganui.
I would like to see any amendments to the adoption law include the right of the adopted child to access medical history of both birth families. Pat Dennerly, Pinehill.
Do buses get fined $150 when they drive in our lane? Chris Gratham, Epsom.
On hate laws
Audrey Young is wrong in suggesting that the PM doesn't understand the proposed hate laws. She and her colleagues know exactly what they mean. That is the scary thing.
Chris Todd, Stanmore Bay
Part of our success over Covid-19 is the fact we don't all live in apartments and high-density cellblocks. Even in our cities we mostly all live in a house on our own plot of land. Separated from neighbours. But that's not the liking of the ideologically-driven planners who think for some reason we should be just like Denmark or someplace. Heaven help us. Russel P
Totally unnecessary ideological nonsense in a city of 1.5 million not 15 million. A solution looking for a problem. Ray S
Finally! Let all the NIMBYs move to the country. Let the city catch up with every other major city in the world by building up. This has long been the primary reason for exorbitant housing costs in Auckland (and Wellington). Piet V
Building more houses, apartments, or whatever people want to live/dwell in is only feasible after infrastructure is budgeted for and created to allow for an influx of people. That means sewerage, roads, schools, hospitals, shopping centres, water and wastewater - all those inconvenient things the government seems to forget are actually required. Otherwise Auckland will become a third world ghetto with constant gridlock. What's the bet there's no budget or vision for any of these things happening? Leigh H
So really, the days of consulting with residents and communities about how they see the future of Auckland are gone. The removal of rules for minimum off-street parking is crazy. This will lead to huge problems as like it or not most people do own vehicles, so if residential developments do not provide parking where will cars be parked? In the case of business areas just how will those with disabilities obtain access to business premises? Margaret M
Love to hear it. For anyone complaining about this, what's your solution for building the homes that we need for people to live in? If people want to build on their own property, and people want to buy the apartments, who are we to say they aren't? Let people do what they want, to do otherwise, is government getting too big? Paul S
Sounds like pretty much the first thing the Government have got right about the housing crisis - increase supply rather than tinker with demand! I'm all for it! Yes In My Backyard! James S