Quid pro quo
My limited grasp of economics may be the reason I can't grasp how $1 billion worth of "bubbly" Australian tourism can benefit New Zealand if we inspire the export of $1 billion
worth of Kiwis in their direction?
The net profit to New Zealand of a transtasman bubble may even be of negative value?
The other big loser of bursting to make a bubble will be our fragile atmosphere which is enjoying the Covid reprieve from plane traffic.
Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
Geoff Prickett writes (NZ Herald, April 7) that landlords have had it too good for too long. He cites that borrowing to invest in shares, bonds, gold or Bitcoin is not entitled to tax deductibility on interest payments, so nor should landlords be able to claim.
Except that profits on shares, bonds gold or Bitcoin are not taxed on capital gains, nor constrained by a 10-year time period within which they have to pay capital gains tax on profits.
An exception is for "traders" in those assets rather than an investor.
The message from this Government is "landlords get out" and - in many cases - they will, rather than raise rents, and cause hardship.
The 12 per cent of landlords without mortgage interest costs can retain lower rent charges; mortgagors paying tax on "income" which is paid to the bank as interest, cannot. When even the IRD is opposed to the new "system" and with no Treasury reporting, expect the obvious outcome.
June Kearney, West Harbour.
Support for Prebble
The comment by Sylvia Burch (NZ Herald, April 6) about Richard Prebble as an ex-MP is misplaced.
I entered Parliament for the first time in 1975 as did Richard Prebble. I won a fairly safe Labour seat, Waitematā, for National, and Richard won a safe Labour seat, Auckland Central, for Labour.
We often disagreed with each other's views at that time. He entered Parliament as a firm left-winger. His experience led him to become a right-winger in old fashioned parlance.
Along with Roger Douglas and co and Don Brash at the Reserve Bank, New Zealand was dragged into the 20th century and prepared for the 21st century. Richard Prebble and Roger Douglas formed a new right-wing party. They were courageous and bold.
Richard's recent article on the need to reduce immigration is very pertinent and I - as an immigrant in 1960 when net immigration was about 3000 - support his view.
Dail Jones, Stanmore Bay.
Herald correspondent Sylvia Burch (NZ Herald, April 6) suggests, "the "wisdom" of former politicians Richard Prebble and Stephen Joyce is no longer needed, they were unimpressive in their day and their thoughts now are irrelevant.
With a current Government administration comprising many newcomers, a perspective of past experience expressed by two former influential politicians with long-standing service is exactly what the country requires in this turbulent era of Covid-19.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
With regards to the 91-year-old waiting hours for an ambulance (NZ Herald, April 5), I am astounded this critical emergency service is not fully funded.
While I appreciate it is a Central Government responsibility, perhaps a levy on our rates could be imposed similar to the Fire Service levy included on our insurance premiums.
I would far rather pay for this than funding an excessive number of councillors on a junket to attend a conference.
Our family is quite happy to pay $90 per annum to belong to St John and I am sure if this amount was levied across all ratepayers, the funding problem would be largely solved.
A J Dickason, East Tāmaki Heights.
I am honestly puzzled as to why the Auckland Council has purchased both a hydrogen-fuelled ($1.75m) bus and electric buses.
It is suggested an environmental impact and efficiency comparison between the two transport modes is facilitated by the diverse purchase, but could not the same have been achieved by engaging a Masters engineering student to do a comparative study based on the thousands of electric and hydrogen buses already operating internationally?
Ninety-five per cent of all hydrogen, globally, is produced when superheated steam is blasted through methane-producing hydrogen and CO2, at only 65 per cent efficiency; the process itself defeats the objective. And, yes, hydrogen can be generated by electrolysis. As this process is also relatively inefficient (20 per cent loss), one may have well directed that same electricity straight to electric buses, or some other green transport, e.g. light rail.
A student could also study the relative "carbon offsets" of various transport investments compared to other green investments e.g. subsidising solar panel installation.
We need to be much smarter on estimating our returns on green investments before committing the funding.
Dr Mike Schmidt, Sunny Hills.
Simon Wilson (NZ Herald, April 1) asks whether Auckland's new light rail and/or light metro should be interoperable with Auckland's railway system. The evidence for interoperability is compelling.
In the 1980s, Newcastle in the UK built a 50km light metro system for £265 million and in the 1990s Manchester built a 30km light rail system for £145 million.
The remarkably low costs of the popular systems, both now poised for significant expansion, was because the systems were built to be interoperable with Britain's rail network, so much of the existing infrastructure could be utilised.
Interoperable light rail to Kumeu, built for many billions, could continue to Huapai, Waimauku and Helensville for the cost of electrifying the existing railway line. Interoperable light metro to the airport, costing many billions, could be extended to Wiri for hundreds of millions, allowing popular services to be run from Pukekohe via Manurewa, Airport, Onehunga, Avondale and Henderson to Helensville. Et cetera.
If the CRL is shut by derailment, flooding or another reason, light rail and light metro trains could be deployed across all lines to maintain services including through the CBD.
Costs are minimised and resilience is maximised by having one interoperable system.
Will McKenzie, Sandringham.
Sooner or later, all boaties using close in-shore anchorages (eg: Oneroa, Waiheke) must be compelled to have sewage holding tanks on their boats. Currently there is no such requirement. The vast majority of boats have marine toilets which pump out directly into the sea.
Boating activity around Waiheke is growing at an explosive rate. It surprises me that these two large dots have not been joined, and that there is not a swell of environmental concern already.
A marina might provide a number of services for itinerant boats as well as those berthed on site, and a pump-out service could actually be very important one day when people wake up to the problem.
Barb Callaghan, Kohimarama.
Here's a twist on the old philosophy question of when a tree falls in a forest does anybody hear it. When a Plunket Shield cricketer scores a century, does anybody clap it?
With the end of daylight saving has come the end of the domestic cricket season. Watching red ball cricket at Eden Park's outer oval, beginning in October but with a large gap in the schedule until finishing this week, has been the sporting highlight of my summer.
Sitting in the empty old stand watching our top male red-ball cricketers' exploits - fighting centuries, a hat-trick, great catches - has been an absolute delight, especially as the country's largest city continues to be ignored when it comes to test cricket.
The Plunket Shield cricket competition remains firmly rooted in sporting tradition and the young men maintaining that and giving their utmost for their provinces are important figures in our sporting landscape. The Black Caps would not be in the final of the World Test Championship if our domestic competition wasn't made up of quality, competitive players. Their efforts deserve much more applause than they receive. I thank them for the enjoyment they have given me and my young son this season.
Matt Elliott, Birkdale.
Short & sweet
Considering two million investors in 2020 never had their airfares refunded when Covid-19 hit, it might be wise to pay the fare with a post-dated cheque. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
So the travel bubble with Australia opens on April 19, but why ignore the Pacific Islands and in particular the Cook Islands which is actually a part of New Zealand? Mike Baker, Tauranga.
If the average citizen can travel between countries, why can't the mighty Warriors and their opponents? Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
Wonderful news that we have the announcement of a transtasman bubble, just a pity that we do not have the gold standard track and trace we were promised a year ago - we will just have to hope for lots more of our "dumb luck". Randal Lockie, Rothesay Bay.
Let's hope that arriving flights have a wide degree of separation at the terminals, where despite pre-flight testing, people from other countries still turn up with Covid. Dave Spiers, Henderson.
Expect a flood of 501s after the 19th. Brian Cuthbert, Whangaparaoa.
The Government's light rail proposal now makes the City Rail Link just another big hole to throw money into. Well done. As if there are not enough big holes to throw money into. Adrian Wilson, Northcote.