One of the standard criticisms of Universal Basic Income is that it is paid to everyone, including the super-wealthy (billionaire Graeme Hart is routinely cited as a hypothetical example of such profligacy).
Simon Wilson used that argument (NZ Herald, July 3, where he compared UBI unfavourably to the Greens' preference for a Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI). "A UBI is a basic payment to everyone, and its main failing is that the people who need it don't get enough while those who don't need it get too much".
Really? The billionaire actually would not be a net UBI recipient in any sensible UBI regime. Yes, like everyone else deemed eligible, he would qualify but in practice he would (and most certainly should) pay several millions of UBI equivalents back to the state in tax. I don't know what Hart's fiscal arrangements are, and I suspect he wouldn't like me to know, but if he doesn't return millions of dollars to Inland Revenue, that is not a fault attributable to UBI. It is the fault of our current system of taxation. Moreover, if he chooses to minimise his tax liability by becoming a citizen or resident of another country, that should make him ineligible for a New Zealand UBI in the first place.
Michael Goldsmith, Hamilton.
Congratulations to Dr Alan Papert for saying what many of us think (NZ Herald, July 3). Like him, I would be forced to leave New Zealand under the Greens' tax regime. Two additional points, however.
The targeted 6 per cent already pay 42 per cent of the income tax in New Zealand. Please explain exactly why we should pay more – because we got an education and worked hard?
Secondly, if you really want to increase the tax take, the best way to do it is increase the number of people in the top bracket. Apply the collective brains of this country to the problem of growing the income of New Zealanders.
Handouts do not solve poverty, they only increase dependency.
Rob Erskine, Remuera.
As convincing as the rationale behind investing multi-millions of public dollars in the America's Cup is - the jobs created; the skills and expertise developed; the infrastructure built; and the returns in value to Auckland and the country - imagine the hue and cry if, instead of a rich man's sport that was being subsidised, it was being spent to provide all those good outcomes for people at the other end of the spectrum. Let alone the noise we'd hear if there was then any suggestion of financial impropriety.
M. Evans, Tamaki.
Meet the change
I liked Joe Pihema's opinion piece (NZ Herald, July 3) very much. I regret that Auckland is reduced to requiring water from the Waikato, and I am grateful for the generous spirit which has been shown towards us Aucklanders.
I am even more grateful to him for naming climate change as a cause of the long drought in Auckland. Politicians and media personalities seem to carefully avoid the words "climate change." But compared with the Auckland I visited in the 1970s, with its regular afternoon rains through the summer, heralded often by a clap or two of thunder, pelting down in fat heavy drops, leaving the gutters gurgling and streets and gardens refreshed and gleaming in the returning sunshine, today's Auckland is dull, dry and dirty. My mother, who as a high school student shifted with her family to Auckland from Dunedin in the 1930s, took some time to learn to never leave for school in the morning without her raincoat.
Climate change is real and more dangerous to our future than Covid-19 could ever be. It's time politicians had the courage to address the problem by purposeful education, public consultation, and direct regulation - instead of trying another carbon trading scheme, then watching as emissions continue to rise.
Rose Lovell-Smith, Mt Roskill.
Kylee Guy has spent all these years trying to find out who killed her husband; even with the help of private investigators and public funding from various sources this is still not finished.
This case, as well as several others, depends largely on circumstantial evidence: Thomas, Bain, Watson, to name some, all controversial.
The police say "we present in court the most likely defendant that fits the evidence we present". Note, the police present only the evidence that suits their investigation.
The defence lawyers, at the defendant's expense, have to employ private investigators to find the very evidence the police are withholding!
The police say it is up to the jury to find the defendant guilty or not guilty. And the judge to pronounce the sentence.
After many years of unsuccessful appeals, the chances of finding enough evidence to catch a killer or free a convicted person are remote. Memories have faded; some critical people have died.
Sadly for Kylee Guy and her children, her chances of closure are remote. And the police will just say again, we did our job.
Eric Strickett, Henderson.
Re: Winston Peters and the nixing of Auckland's light rail option (NZ Herald, July 2).
The task of getting passengers to the airport, as opposed to a street-cluttering and vote-catching one-road transport system, is much better served, at 15 per cent of the cost, by the Puhinui spur line, which would also provide passengers arriving from outside Auckland with a seamless service.
Peters joins several correspondents of late who have pleaded for "a common-sense nationwide rail passenger service", and he suggests a few possible services on the existing network.
I would press for the completion of the North Island circuit by building the connection between Taneatua and Gisborne, along with rebuilding the Gisborne-Napier link. This would substantially increase connectivity and commerce options for the people of the East Coast, and provide strategic alternatives for all of New Zealand.
There would also be substantial benefits in a Napier-Taupo line, relatively inexpensive as it seems 80 per cent of it would be on flat land. From Taupo, a short link north to Rotorua and another west to link with the Main Trunk line and the New Plymouth line at Taumarunui, would reduce the number of cars, freight and logging trucks on roads.
Heavy rail is very much a transport system of the future. How much stimulus will our post-Covid economy need?
Tony Molloy, Morrinsville.
Israel's plan to annex Palestinian land in the fertile Jordan Valley of the West Bank and incarcerate all who live there into the equivalent of Bantustans is outrageous.
For decades, international inaction and complicity have enabled Israel to violate laws of belligerent occupation, advance its colonisation of the occupied Palestinian territory and impose a discriminatory (apartheid) regime with impunity.
By annexation of Palestinian land and defiant contravention of international law, Israel compels the Labour-NZF Coalition Government to not only condemn it, but also take significant action.
Winston Peters has registered "serious concern", but a much more emphatic message must be delivered - such as the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Aotearoa-NZ.
Janfrie Wakim, Epsom.
That's a wrap
Trying to lead an environmentally sustainable life, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the opinions, information and packaging options.
Plant-based plastics, compostable packaging, reusable straws, beeswax wraps. Sometimes the overload of information can cause confusion, and us to lose heart in our efforts.
In truth doing the right thing has not changed in 40 years. It remains as simple as reduce, reuse, recycle.
No matter what resource we are concerned about, waste less and you have got it right.
Andrea Kelly, Kelston.
Short & sweet
We would love to pour some readies into the local economy, but very low bank interest rates mean our discretionary purse is absent. Gary Andrews, Mt Maunganui.
On Am Cup
Having seen some of the figures quoted in The New Zealand Herald, I hope we don't win the America's Cup again because we obviously can't afford to. Alison Davies, Waiuku.
Why not get back to grassroots racing, with monohulls, and no contact with the shore? Real racing, real boats, and sailing skills to win, not software. Many more teams are bound to enter if it is a true regatta. S P McMonagle, Greenhithe.
Listening to a Watercare radio advert, I wonder if Watercare sees the irony of telling customers that "now is the time to act" when it should have acted many months ago. Philip Dawn, St Heliers.
Thanks to Joe Pihema for his article (NZ Herald, July 3). It added some sense and clarity to the issue of Tāmaki Makaurau water, or lack thereof. Colleen McMurchy, Epsom.
John Allum (NZ Herald, July 3) quite correctly states there will be confusion with all the speed limit variances in Auckland City. How easy it will be now for the authorities to dish out speeding fines to confused drivers. Janet Boyle, Orewa.
Todd Muller's recent comment that if the present government policy on borders and the economy does not change, "we'll be on our knees" made me think: I'd much rather be on my knees than dead. Charles Hadfield, Glendowie.
Homeless man dresses as woman to escape quarantine. G Spencer, Pukekohe.