Boyd Swinburn's article (NZ Herald, May 3) indicates the lengths companies will go to in lobbying for unrestricted sales of their products no matter how damaging to the health of their
customers or to our planet.
This is not a problem that can be solved by a nanny state, as shown by the response of the vested interests involved.
Rather it is a problem of the way capitalism is practised and administered in NZ.
Embodied in the NZ Companies Act is the requirement for directors to act in the best interests of the company on pain of five years in prison or a $200,000 fine.
They are obliged by law to try and make as much money as possible without regard to the community or the environment.
By contrast, in the UK, company directors have the same obligation but must have regard to, among other things, the community and the environment.
So, if we are going to have any chance of getting companies in NZ to act with any decency, we could start by adding a few provisos to Section 131 of the Companies Act.
Maurice Robertson, Torbay
Labour is committed to no more taxes, meaning no sugar tax.
In UK, just the announcement of a sugar tax for added sugar over 5 per cent, a year prior to implementation, caused companies to take drastic measures to reduce sugar content - Ribena reduced sugar content by 50 per cent.
What we need is a sugar reduction incentive - if there is less than 5 per cent sugar content in a previously sugar-loaded product, the company receives a tax credit.
Logic is that this incentive will reduce the health budget many times, in terms of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.
Tony Falkenstein, chief Executive, Just Life Group Limited
The article by Isaac Davison (NZ Herald, May 3) highlights the issues of homelessness within the Auckland central residential areas. Recently, I became aware that the Auckland Police are preparing to relocate their central depot to the foot of College Hill, and I understand work is already underway. Is there any way that their building on the corner of Vincent Street and Cook Street could not be reformatted internally to provide accommodation for large numbers of those people in urgent need of accommodation? Surely the property could be transferred from one ministry to another without incurring major impact upon the national budget, and the cost of reformatting could well be covered by the savings from taking these unfortunate citizens of the streets. I believe this building already contains commercial kitchens which would be ideal for preparing meals for residents and I'm sure there are large areas suitable for social relaxation and even facilities for mental and medical services should they be required. It could be a quick fix.
Dick Ayres, Auckland Central
I find myself in complete agreement with the views expressed by John Christiansen (NZ Herald, May 3).
I have the misfortune to walk down Queen Street every Saturday morning and the area is an utter disgrace, resembling as it does a third world eyesore. The pavements are filthy and are strewn with cigarette ends, tin cans, paper and the remains of people's dinner. Shame on the Mayor and his merry band of councillors who are happily ensconced in their ivory tower and thus are oblivious to what the people who pay their obscene salaries have to put up with.
Sid Felman, Mount Eden
I am sure, like me, most people are fed up with reading about and then living with the consequences of so many appallingly bad decisions made right across the board by Auckland Transport. Seeing what is happening in St Heliers at the moment (NZ Herald, May 6) sadly once again proves that they have not listened to the local rate payers or changed any of their so-called processes to arrive at these decisions. It is a carbon copy of what many of us have witnessed in dealing with AT in regards to changes to Redoubt Road going back more than a decade. When the Mayor, Auckland Councillors and Local Board members are also complaining about AT can someone please explain to me why therefore they are still not brought into line. So much for council control. They have lost it.
Annabel Haddrell, Manukau
In this country we allow investors to buy up existing houses to rent out, then allow them to write off all mortgage payments plus the cost of repairs or improvements against tax accruing on the rental income stream from this investment property. We do this as they are presumed to be running a business in spite of the fact that they employ no one and produce nothing.
This situation should be reversed to allow first-home, live-in buyers to make mortgage payments tax deductible against wages and restrict investors to being able to make these tax deductions on new builds only. That way investors are producing something - another home - and allows young first-home-buyer families to possibly afford a home of their own.
David F Little, Whangārei
Congratulations to the Herald and Andrea Fox for providing an informative series of backgrounders on the future of Fonterra as the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act comes up for review (NZ Herald, May 1, 3 & 4).
The series would have benefited by drawing on another Herald contributor, Brian Gaynor, whose piece on a little-known Irish dairy company, Kerry, draws a sharp contrast with Fonterra.
Kerry started as a small cooperative, but within a decade and more it has vastly outstripped Fonterra in value, sales and margins because it took the far-sighted decision that Fonterra should have done 10 years ago - to move incrementally from a cooperative to a company structure.
Fonterra is a creature of statute, and saw was Telecom. If the previous Labour government had left the structure of Telecom to its shareholders we would still be stuck with a lumbering semi-monopoly, rather than the two commercially savvy companies that we now have in Chorus and Spark.
Peter Davis, Mt Eden
Teachers really matter (NZ Herald, May 3), their needs are top of my list. But so do doctors, nurses, midwives, social and mental health workers and police matter. At this point in time, teachers are not the only public servants asking (striking) for higher salaries and/or greater numbers. Can they please accept a two- or three-step response to their very valid demands? This new Government is having to address so many employment and wage issues, among myriad other expensive problems. Every day another group is crying out for more, desperately needed funding. It can't fix everything immediately. Give them more time. A second term of this Government will see continued improvements to pay and working conditions - or more industrial action, I suppose.
B Darragh, Auckland Central
Before spending more money on urging people to take care on roads, we should all listen to Matt Heath (NZ Herald, May 6). A very sensible intelligent man, but a crazy teenager, as so many of us were. There will always be idiots on the roads, and there will always be people who make mistakes. Who hasn't. The way to reduce the road toll is to follow Sweden's example where serious crashes dropped by 90 per cent when median barriers were installed. It costs money but crashes cost more, not to speak of the emotional cost. There is only one answer – make roads safer. All the expensive campaigns urging people to drive carefully are largely useless. Ask Matt Heath.
Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central
Short & Sweet
I chuckled on reading a Melbourne newspaper last week where a columnist wrote: "I would honestly expect to see a significant number of ballot papers on election day, May 18, where protesting voters draw an extra box and add in Jacinda Ardern. That's how much people admire her."
Sarah Beck, Devonport
On the Vatican
Tony Molloy (NZH, May 3) advises "the unimaginable wealth of the Vatican lies in the fact that it is the symbolic headquarters of the faith that built western civilisation". It is also the faith that assisted by smuggling out Nazis after WWII. I think I will stick to being a civilised heathen.
Debi Buxton, Taupo
On the US Attorney General
Perter Newfield, Takapuna
The Government says it wants to legislate against cars in favour of cyclists because of the increasing two-wheel road toll. The first step should be to eyesight test all cyclists because a lot of them seem to be colour blind and don't know the difference between green and red traffic lights.
A J Petersen, Kawerau
Even though Joe Biden looks like he could only do eight weeks in office and not eight years, Trump needs to play the ball and not the man, otherwise he's going to bring a whole lot of negativity and disservice to his party and he'll only have himself to blame.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō
On road toll
There is a very simple road safety message for everyone behind the wheel. Driving is a full-time occupation.
Chris Bullen, Whakatāne
I always thought that they should have brought back Buck but never, in my wildest of dreams, John Campbell.
Reg Dempster, Albany