I read Ali Shakir's opinion piece (NZ Herald, September 28) with sadness. A good man arrived in a safe harbour from the evils of Saddam Hussein's regime and slowly discovers that democracies
are human, fallible, imperfect? And decides that they are not worth supporting?
One of the responsibilities required of citizens in a democracy is involvement. You only have to look at the current plight of the US where half of the people do not vote to realise this. No the system is not perfect but it is much better to be in a civil society than a brutal dictatorship, but it has responsibilities too.
Alan Hay, St Heliers.
READ MORE: Ali Shakir: Sorry Jacinda, I'm going passive
In answer to Ali Shakir (NZ Herald, September 28) here are my observations.
I too am an immigrant, but of over 75 years standing. However, I consider myself still unqualified to pass summary judgment on New Zealand's political scene.
Thus your 12 years is only the start of your apprenticeship. Rather you should continue your experience and studies of New Zealand history.
New Zealand is a diminutive country with a small pool of able administrators. When our Prime Minister came to power, she had a tremendous task.
First, Labour had to be saved, then she had to overcome the years of cutbacks and decimated infrastructure that started with Rogernomics, Muldoon and others.
Yes, she promised much, but dogged by circumstances, e.g. mosque massacres, White Island eruption, Covid-19 pandemic, etc.
She is no magician but, through superb effort, she held it together for us.
Therefore, rather than negatively opting out, it would be better to reconsider and vote wisely after closer study of the situations, both here and beyond our shores
E. W. Doe, Epsom.
While I enjoyed his eloquent writing, I cannot agree with Ali Shakir's logic (NZ Herald, September 28). His justification for leaving his ballot blank this year is flawed.
Neither Jacinda Ardern, nor her party, is filled with "a great sense of accomplishment". In her campaign opening speech each acknowledgement of progress to date was followed by "but there is still much to do". "Let's keep moving" is hardly the slogan of a party resting on its laurels.
Ardern's refreshingly positive and collaborative approach should be the norm in a civilised world. New Zealanders now have an opportunity to strengthen her mandate and show the world we value such leadership. Why flout our democratic right – and responsibility – by choosing not to vote? It makes no sense.
Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
'She'll be right'
Sure, with our finely balanced advisorial political system changes are slow and hard-fought which can be frustrating for people who want to see faster results. Not voting won't change this and could result in any gains made being lost.
Ali Shakir (NZ Herald, September 28) has adopted at least a couple of "Kiwi" characteristics, namely how to deal with tall poppies and a "she'll be right mate" attitude.
Maybe he thinks that on current polling his vote won't be important or maybe he doesn't really care. If, say, Labour support drops to 42 per cent, National gets to 36 per cent and ACT 10 per cent, the Greens would have to cross the 5 per cent threshold for a Labour Coalition to hold power and this may not happen. This would result in the most radical right-wing government that New Zealand has seen for decades. Goodbye new gun laws, Healthy Homes Policy, liberal immigration policies, anti-hate speech regulations and so on.
Actually Ali, you should not just get active, you should get angry at any thought of this happening.
Graeme Hadfield, Coromandel.
All species living on the closed system in 2020 that is Planet Earth, have faced a dramatic halt to what they've grown to accept over many centuries as normal, by not only the pandemic but also by the extreme natural challenges now increasingly threatening our combined wellbeing and survival.
New Zealand has shown the world recently that leadership, tapping into the inherited social potentials all humans are born with, leads to caring and consideration for others when fostered, combating the effects of Covid-19, and overcoming the human instincts of greed and selfishness that are spreading through the industrial, business and monetary worlds, with their effects on the natural world.
So I really question whether the critical challenges for New Zealand today require us to work, not as parties, but combining together to share, identify and work towards the new unfolding challenges facing planet earth and also our own wellbeing.
Hugh Hughes, Mt Maunganui.
The TV election debates format needs a refresh. I remain a fan of the excellent televised debate from Armidale Town Hall during Australia's 2016 election.
While live with stated positions from the candidate, prepared questions delivered from the floor as well as by video and email were allowed.
What made it a format that shed more light than heat was the feedback from around Australia, running in real time underneath. After 20 minutes or so a developing consensus could literally be seen, especially from country Australia, about concerns rarely addressed by Canberra (for example, "Good on you, Armidale, we agree – we need better access to hospital care too"). Another excellent innovation was that follow-ups were allowed – and question-askers were asked whether they were satisfied with answers.
Steve Liddle, Napier.
On August 14, 2018, a major bridge in Genoa collapsed killing 43 people. A new bridge designed by leading Italian architect Renzo Piano, was opened on August 5, 2020, just two years later.
I know that the Auckland geography is different from that of Genoa but Transport Minister Twyford said recently that it would take 10 years to design a new harbour bridge or crossing and five years to build it. Given the history of New Zealand infrastructure, these times are probably underestimates, and there are no signs of planning beginning.
When is someone going to make a start? Cost may be an issue but the economic cost in the event of an even more serious and lengthy shutdown are frightening.
Alan Milton, Cambridge.
One of the most troubling things about your Mood of the Boardroom (NZ Herald, September 28) is that your business leaders do not seem to understand how a real leader should work.
I would have thought that our top business people would have known the hallmark of great leadership is being able to delegate, and being able to bring in expertise from other areas when you need to - areas where Jacinda Ardern has shown her mettle.
The other troubling thing is that you have highlighted a pictorial comparison with National's new Leader Judith Collins against that of Labour's Jacinda Ardern, apparently showing NZ business leaders giving Collins higher marks for courage, economic and political management and a vision for Aotearoa New Zealand. This is very odd.
Especially since Collins has been in her job only a few weeks, and has not had the chance to show us if she has any real leadership skills at all.
Jenny Kirk, Whangārei.
So, our Prime Minister has decided to rid us of the scourge of single-use plastic. Commendable, however, I want to know why the ultimate single-use plastic product, the disposable nappy, has not been included in this list.
The average person would be unlikely to use, over a lifetime, an equal amount of cotton buds and apple stickers as one child would use disposable nappies over the course of one year. I would suggest this is more virtue-signalling from this government.
Linda Dawn, Mt Eden.
Tuari Potiki's story, as told to Elisabeth Easther (NZ Herald, September 30) is a seriously good piece of journalism.
I will be voting "yes" in the referendum and I have seen first-hand the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
Addiction is a complex issue. The treatment of addiction is where more of our resources and energy should be going.
Marian Turner, Parnell
Short & sweet
The Government can spend my taxpayer dollars much better than I can? Yeah right. Mike Baker, Tauranga.
Forget capital gains tax - too controversial in an election and difficult to implement. Why not a fixed cost stamp duty on every real estate transaction, both buying and selling documents? Easy to administer and fair to everyone. Carol Wiltshire, Greenlane.
The owners of Tiwai Pt could solve their problem by buying the Manapouri dam and associated transmission lines. I suspect they would prefer another handout from the state. Yet another example of "socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor". C.C. McDowall, Rotorua.
NZ has deaths from bad synthetic cannabis. Clearly, quality control, purchase limits, age restrictions and so on would be better, plus a tax-take instead of gang profits. So I'm voting yes, but still won't try it. Jim Carlyle. Te Te Atatū Peninsula.
If we don't use our vote for whatever party, we don't deserve a chance to criticise what government is elected and what that government does. Bruce Kay, Hillsborough.
I agree with the essence of Ali Shakir's opinion article but not the conclusion. It is always a privilege and a duty to vote. Patrick Strang, Hamilton.
Water is New Zealand's equivalent to gold or oil. For further Government revenue-gathering, surely it is time to re-visit taxing all water exports - heavily. Carol Wiltshire, Greenlane.