Auckland Transport (AT) seems hellbent on placing an ever increasing array of obstacles in front of motorists, all designed to congest and frustrate drivers to the point where they'll willingly flee to public transport options or to the burgeoning cycleways. It would appear much of the inspiration comes from viewing initiatives from overseas cities. I have just returned from time in the UK and in Russia and it would appear there is one or two initiatives AT has overlooked. I was most impressed and noted the efficient ways motorists move around busy cities and, in particular, through traffic-light-controlled intersections. In the case of the UK, an orange light signals the light is about to go green and well as to red. In St Petersburg, all light phases have a countdown clock on them - similar to some pedestrian crossings here - so you know exactly when the light is about to go green.
With most motorists in Auckland semi asleep or distracted/texting while heading the column waiting at the lights - commonly only two or three cars get through. Being car four or five in Auckland is no fun. No wonder they run red lights. Come on AT, how about thinking about the motorists who actually pay your salaries and doing something to support them - go have another look at the UK and Russia.
Brett Hewson, Parnell.
Reading of the $3 million sale to a developer of the former council administration building on land worth in excess of $50m (NZ Herald, July 4) brings to mind Panuku's attempt to sell off Westpark Marina in West Harbour behind closed doors, to the leaseholder and developer Empire Capital, for between $2-5m to build up to 250 waterfront apartments. The fact that the marina is protected by the West Harbour Empowering Act solely as a "boat harbour" for marine purposes, and is a public asset owned by the council, did not deter council planners from changing the marina to a "precinct" to permit residential development in conflict with that Act - a legal issue yet to be resolved.
So it is not surprising the building sale has gone ahead without conditions being fulfilled. Where public assets are on the block, "where there's a will there's a way" it seems.
June Kearney, West Harbour Residents Group.
Once again, Monday morning, AT showed not only their ineptitude, but their total contempt for Auckland motorists (NZ Herald, July 8). With the bottom end of Nelson St closed - the main artery from two main motorways to the bottom end of the city - you would think changes to traffic light phasing might have been in order as a minimum. Much better would have been four strategically placed pointsmen to move traffic much faster through the major intersections. Once again, AT had gone AWOL.
John Little, Milford.
Your correspondent Peter Clapshaw's strictures on the limitations of the right to free speech are misplaced (NZ Herald, July 8). Appropriate restraints already exist in law. Some one falsely shouting "fire" in a hall could be prosecuted for creating a public disturbance. Or, to cite a less frivolous example, someone broadcasting lies about an individual can be sued for defamation.
Enforcing such laws need not impinge on the ability of anyone to express their opinion on political or social issues that are the occasion of public debate. But the sanction applied against Israel Folau - and the proposed new laws against "hate speech" - clearly do.
Terry Coggan, Mt Wellington.
Shame on Steve Hansen for denigrating women as his means of getting what he wants at all cost, in this instance Sevu Reece (NZ Herald, July 6). And well done Chris Rattue (NZ Herald, July 7) for standing up for all those vulnerable women in our society nationally and internationally, who have been badly treated by men they have put their trust in and been let down by.
Listening to Hansen, mumbling as he usually does, in a televised broadcast, he stated knowingly he had been a policemen, so inferred he knew what he was talking about. Well Steve, we are fully aware of what many in the police force were like during your time. Women have spoken up about that abuse too.
The rugby union has often put itself at odds with the general wellbeing of society at large. It has the distasteful way of setting itself above and beyond any reproach and this latest outburst only adds to the superior attitude of those controlling the game.
With many of the players over the years having to confess to misbehaviour and brutal bullying, I'm surprised nothing has been learned.
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
I agree with Steve Hansen that domestic violence is not a gender thing (NZ Herald, July 6). While the incidence of domestic violence reported is weighted in numbers of males assaulting females, it is not a true record. Many males would be too embarrassed to report physical assault on them by females. Many males put up with mental assault or misdemeanours foisted upon them by their partners or wives and simply snap after a time. Males are not sure that if they put in a complaint against a female that they would be believed or taken seriously, especially if there was a size difference.
While I have great sympathy for all women caught up in domestic violence and I support Women's Refuge and I have not been a stranger to it myself, it is far too prevalent in NZ. Women (and men) in domestic violent situations need to have the courage to stand up and report the first time it occurs as it does not stop there. All perpetrators involved in domestic violence should be called to account.
Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
John Roughan, thank you for asking (NZ Herald, July 8), the plastic bag ban has not affected me at all. I am still using the same jute shopping bags I was using before the ban. If we use the online shopping facility, the paper bags are very useful for craft and serve as a reminder of my youth when I delivered groceries by bicycle in bags of the same design (I never really understood why we got rid of them).
Lyall Dawson, Sandringham.
How outrageous for poor John Roughan that he has to carry a bag in his car because he can no longer buy a single-use plastic one (NZ Herald, July 8). Yes, this means he might have to plan ahead, yes it might be less convenient but yes, it makes a difference. I've carried a cloth bag for years and I know I've used many fewer plastic bags because of it. To compare this simple yet effective form of activism to Stalinist Russia is both laughable and dangerous. Roughan, Mike Hosking (endlessly whining about bike lanes) and Mark Richardson (practically everything he says) represent a group of blokes for whom any inconvenience is unthinkable. They deserve to have everything they want, whenever they want it. That's the way it's been all their lives - why change now? The answer, of course, is if the planet is going to survive we all have to change. I'd ask other baby-boomer men to give those who represent them so poorly the hard word, become part of the solution or kindly shut up.
Leanne Pooley, Westmere.
There seems to be a rise in the "you have to speak English" brigade. Mark Latham ranted in these terms on the BBC recently and now Boris Johnson has joined in. They appear to have no idea of what the mastery of English entails, particularly for older learners. English is a great language but poses many challenges both of pronunciation and meaning. Sure, young children will "pick it up" as they would Russian or Cantonese. For adults such an expectation is far more daunting.
The only people who think it is easy to "pick up" English are monolingual users of English. Being bilingual or multilingual is regarded by some as an aberration rather than being celebrated.
Of course the real agenda here is the anti-immigrant one.
Barbara Matthews, Onehunga.
If there is any region in the country that should have a railway, it is Taupō.
This region has extensive plantation forests and forestry-related industries, but despite rail being ideally suited for the transportation of forestry-related traffic such as logs, Taupō has still yet to be connected to the rail system.
With the Government's tree-planting programme and focus on reducing carbon emissions and improving road safety, investigation needs to be made into establishing a rail link to Taupō to help reduce the high number of large heavy trucks on the roads in this region and to establish a new passenger service from Auckland.
Isaac Broome, Pukekohe.
Short & Sweet
Great news today. We could be drinking filtered Taupō sewerage from the Waikato River until August. Bob Wichman, Botany.
It's there for anyone to read: "Life Cycle Assessment of grocery carrier bags", Ministry of Environment and Food, Denmark, February 2018. This particular ban, well-intended or otherwise, looks like an "own goal" to me. B Watkin, Devonport.
If I am shopping and receive my purchases in a plastic bag with a handle and dob in the shopkeeper that person can be fined $100,000. But if I am using my cellphone while driving I can be fined $80. Stop this madness. Jim Radich, Hillsborough.
Statistics show berm parking is safer than road parking, but doesn't produce any revenue for AT. Randel Case, Bucklands Beach.
We all like the idea of freedom of speech but most of us know when it pays just to keep our views to ourselves, unlike Israel Folau and the UK Ambassador to the US. Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill.
Would Israel Folau be so condemned if he said "everyone born with brown eyes will go to the land of goblins unless they repent to Mordor for having brown eyes"? Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
Don't buy fruit or vegetables at the mainstream supermarkets; they are expensive compared to actual fruit and vegetable shops. Buy what is seasonal and on special. Jennifer Birch, Greenlane.