Wage block retrograde and illogical
Finance Minister Grant Robertson's strange call for teachers, nurses and police to offer up their right to a three-yearly negotiation for an increase in salary so those on lower salaries
can "catch up" is illogical and downright degrading.
Past governments have set up this predicament when implementing the soul-destroying Employment Contracts Act, taking away negotiating rights thereby insuring workers salaries [remain] low.
No one needs reminding how important our police and nursing fraternity have been throughout the past year, nor the support teachers gave parents and children.
We need to continue employing high-quality people in these professions and stagnating salaries is a retrograde move.
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
The purpose of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991 was to deliberately weaken organised labour. Employers - who usually hold all the power, especially in contract "negotiations" - were thrilled to no longer have any effective power held by the employees and the result has been de-unionisation and a deterioration of income especially for employees in the unskilled areas. Service workers, agricultural and horticultural workers to name a few.
Employers enter one-on-one negotiations with a take-it-or-leave strategy. They seek employees and manage the employment process as they see fit. They benefit from a divide-and-conquer situation with no minimum standards to be concerned about.
Organised labour uses the only tool available; to reduce or restrict the services of labour. That provides a balance to the otherwise unfettered unreasonable employer.
Personal grievance claims are just another area where the state correctly gives labour, at the individual level, the power to challenge the otherwise non-listening or unfair employer.
The free market system can only work if there is reasonable equality of bargaining power.
Collective agreements will go some way to assisting employees to achieve a reasonable level of pay and conditions in the workforce.
Dennis Pahl, Tauranga.
I see that Australia's treasurer wants to "open Australia's borders to bring back migrants and speed up the economic recovery". It's more true to say that the treasurer wants open borders because he thinks it will speed up the recovery, which is a very different thing.
Unfortunately he is dead wrong, and his approach will cost Australian lives. India just tried what he's pushing for, and the tragic results speak for themselves.
Just in case India is some sort of outlier whose story won't apply to Australia, we have another country we can check in the coming weeks. Last week, Spain ended its lockdown, despite its daily figure yesterday (adjusted to match NZ's population) of 600 new cases and four deaths.
Let's see if Spain's end-of-lockdown street parties will cause what I fear is to come next.
Jeremy Hall, Hauraki.
We recently returned from a four-day visit to Brisbane to visit a sick relative.
We thought our track and trace in NZ superior to Queensland.
Like all things in Australia, there are federal regulations and then there are state ones. The state track and trace app looked very similar to ours. There were very few QR codes displayed in businesses and very few people scanning those available.
The bluetooth federal app would not accept NZ mobile numbers
There have been three bubble breaches, in Perth, Brisbane and now Sydney. The separation between green and red zones at airports is by temporary barriers. The breach at Brisbane was not systemic but human error.
Although well thought-out precautions are in place, we also took extra personal measures. The future of travel might be dependent on "plan for the best but assume the worst".
Peter Simpson, Mairangi Bay.
The plan for vaccinating all New Zealanders has been clearly laid out (we are slightly ahead of schedule). Those in high-risk categories are being given appointments for vaccination. The chaos at some vaccination centres is caused by people walking in without an appointment and demanding priority over those who are in a higher risk category than themselves.
The constant criticism of our virus protection plan denigrates the health workers, contact tracers, border staff and vaccinators, all of whom are doing their best to protect us as the expanding pandemic ravages almost every other country in the world.
Instead of criticism, we should be expressing gratitude to all of those who are doing their best to protect us and give us a near-normal life.
Tony Barker, Glenfield.
According to need
Peter Davis (NZ Herald, May 10) writes that in the 1930s our welfare state system, including health services, was designed to operate on the principle that people in need should be served according to their requirements, regardless of ethnicity and economic status.
The recent decision to give Maori preference for access to health services is therefore exactly opposite to that long-standing protocol concerning ethnicity, with Dr Davis sadly trying to justify the new situation with contradictory logic.
The historic position is of course the only correct one.
Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
I was aghast to learn (NZ Herald, May 10) of the contents of the free school lunch boxes being handed out to south Auckland schoolchildren.
We have some of the best chefs and dietitians in the world, but pretzels and pizza bread are the best we can come up with? The intention is splendid but the delivery would seem to be sadly lacking.
Imagine a system where a healthy lunch was available in all schools, free to those in need; where life skills and counselling were offered after school hours, not only to children but to parents; where after school care and activities were free; where clothing and shoes were recycled.
School premises are a huge resource already in place and parents a huge cost-free resource to call upon.
With some creative thinking the issues of poverty, obesity, dental, physical and mental health, drug awareness, parenting skills and even family budgeting could be addressed at the top of the cliff.
Let's start taking child poverty seriously. Throwing money at parents is not the solution. Education is.
Carolyn Campbell, Herne Bay.
I would like to express my disappointment in the amount of smoking in very recent movies/streaming series from Netflix and other makers of movies et al.
We put up with it through the early years 40s/50s/60s when it was thought it was cool, but then I thought we became enlightened over the damage smoking can do.
It seems movie-makers still think its okay to have lots of people fagging away in movies and series, such as The Queen's Gambit on Netflix.
I know it's set in the 50s and 60s but do they really have all smoke? What's wrong with not smoking? Also if an actor is smoking, they seem to be made to chain smoke, i.e. lighting one straight after the old one. As an ex-smoker I find it a big turnoff. Also why do a lot of settings have a haze as though it's been a smoking room? This whole smoking cigarettes in movies, etc, is a big turnoff.
Ian Summerfield, New Plymouth.
I would hope all Birkenhead residents are angered at the news (NZ Herald, May 10) of the wilful massacre of a large protected pōhutukawa in their suburb.
I would hope all Aucklanders who value our urban trees are looking for better ways to prevent the continuing loss of our so-called "protected" trees. We all know fines rarely have any real impact on those who take action into their own hands and remove trees that are "protected". Education about the multi-values trees bring to our society has no impact on a developer keen to extract the highest return from a property.
Perhaps it's time to introduce the moratorium method, where removal of a protected tree results in the area being locked down, unavailable for any use for a specified number of years. This would introduce a punishment that really fits the crime.
M.Carol Scott, Birkenhead.
Not a fan
Pōhutukawa trees look great for about 6-8 weeks around Christmas time and January when they are out in glorious red flowers but the roots spread forever and they stuff up many drains and underground power lines.
Several years ago we had to have a huge pōhutukawa chopped down because its roots ruined the drains of four different houses. The branches also become very brittle with age.
This is the 21st century, we are supposedly so much smarter now, but I've noticed many pōhutukawa trees still being planted in new housing estates.
They should be left alone on the coastlines where they belong and look great.
Susan Lawrence, Meadowbank.
Short & sweet
Co-operation between NZ and France involving the Christchurch Call is welcoming and will serve as a positive step forward towards world peace and harmony. Haven't we come a long way since July 10, 1985? Steve Hoeft, Pt Chevalier.
This week marked the 76th anniversary of the Red Army destroying Nazi Fascism, at a cost of 27 million lives, a sacrifice which Ernest Hemingway described as "a debt that lovers of freedom could never repay". M. Evans, Tāmaki .
China is still classified as a developing country and two-thirds of China still has to be fully developed. Countries like NZ will just have to accept this change in the world order and maintain good relations with all countries. David Mairs, Glendowie.
The PM and the Minister of Finance both say that what they announced is not a pay freeze, as people can still move up progression bands. This is just being exceptionally convenient with the truth. Mike Baker, Tauranga.
Let's hope a sea elephant doesn't need a burial at sea at the taxpayers' expense. P. Salvador, Hobsonville.
The four people at Countdown in Dunedin who went to the aid of a shopper being attacked with a knife must be recognised at the next New Zealand Awards for their selfless bravery. Murray Hunter, Titirangi
We're burning more coal than ever. The UK has pledged to reduce emissions by 78 per cent of 1990 levels by 2035. NZ? Effectively 11 per cent. Even bogey-man China reckons net zero by 2060. Dennis N Horne, Howick.