Warning sounds for Ardern
The demise of the Morrison Government will sound an ominous warning to ours. A leader out of touch, the beginnings of a recession and the cost of living crisis describes Jacinda Ardern's election year circumstances, which by November can only have worsened.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Greening the city
It's awesome to see the central library now has a green garden on its roof. As Mayor Phil Goff says, this sets an example to property owners in the central city. There seem to be mixed messages going on though — I am not sure that roof gardens (with their ongoing maintenance requirements) are going to offset the large numbers of trees that are allowed to be chopped down in the central city on a daily basis through lack of protection to allow developments to proceed. Green architecture admittedly softens the landscape but city dwellers deserve more than this and everyone deserves to be able to view trees from their balconies and be in walking distance of a decent park with real mature trees and native birds.
Alison Feeney, Remuera .
The conflict in Ukraine and the effect it's having on supplies, fertiliser and now grain should concern everyone, including New Zealanders. In the past, Canterbury and Otago were successful producers of grain, clover and other small seeds.
As a small dairy farmer and risking the ire of our southern counterparts, perhaps it's time to rethink the value of these large farms. A partial return to arable farming could likely have benefits — not only a lesser demand on water but possibly fertiliser and labour.
Alan Penney, Silverdale.
Left in tricky position
China's latest talks with Kiribati and another nation come after Beijing agreed on a deal with Solomons. This latest development has shocked the US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific from Australia and New Zealand to Japan. However, NZ risks speaking with a "forked tongue" when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says "New Zealand is gravely concerned about the possible militarisation of the Pacific, following a decision by the Solomon Islands to form a Security partnership with China", but is still happy to engage directly with China knowing we were signatory to a joint Defence Agreement in 2019 and China's Belt & Road Initiative. This growing relationship saw NZ celebrating its free trade pact with China touted by Beijing "as an exemplar of firsts with Western countries". Has NZ positioned itself between a rock and a hard place?
Richard Buddle, Karaka.
Airfares make the eyes water
Prior to Covid-19 lockdown you could fly to Brisbane return economy for approximately $700, sometimes even cheaper. When the borders relaxed a few months ago the fares had jumped to approximately $1000. If you try to book now, the same package is $1400 . Now that's what I call inflation, or is it just a case of our national airline price gouging?
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Short on targets
I was impressed with David Cunliffe's opinion on Budget 2022 (Weekend Herald, May 21), especially the missing productivity gain and value creation needed. However, there is a fourth point missing from Grant Robertson's Budget — there are no measurements targeted for the desired outcomes.
How will anyone in the future know if this huge spend of money has been successful? Will those in urgent need of health services be better off and if so, how long will it take for these improvements to eliminate the backlog on waiting lists? Budget 2022 has delivered a Māori Health Authority to presumably achieve better outcomes for Māori Health. What are they? This Labour Government is big on announcements and PR but not on holding itself accountable to measured outcomes.
Gary Carter, Gulf Harbour.
I found Bruce Cotterill's article on the decline of our education system (Weekend Herald, May 21) very thought-provoking. It also took me way back to my own early school days. I was initially considered to be a slow learner, but all that changed under the influence of one teacher over two years. Fresh from teacher training college, he took over our small class of 21 and connected with us like a favourite uncle.
Not only did our collective learning curve ramp up, we mostly enjoyed our lessons.
Education is surely the bedrock of our society and every child unequivocally deserves a quality education. Already l feel the shadows of the encroaching naysayers — how can we reduce class sizes, attract more teachers, find additional funding etc. The first lesson is to change your priorities. There are both budding teachers and underused premises out there; church halls, theatres, even multi-cinemas all with some spare daytime capacity. A more single-minded and dynamic approach will surely benefit us all.
John Norris, Whangamatā.
Heed warning from Douglas
A piece submitted by former Labour Party finance minister Sir Roger Douglas (NZ Herald, May 14) stated, "We must face up to the worsening economic and social problems besetting NZ." Instead, Finance Minister Grant Robertson optimistically suggests, "We have record low unemployment," "inflation pressures are largely due to global events," and "we still have a strong economy".
All these claims are questionable.
Douglas was a respected minister in the 1984 Lange administration which initiated a reform process that saved NZ from the brink of ruin, those reforms intact today; his words should be heeded.
PJ Edmondson, Tauranga.
Eat your veges
It is disappointing and frustrating that we keep tipping money into our health sector. Can people not use their noggin that what we put in our gob, and our young children's mouths, is what matters. Ditch fizzy drinks altogether, limit junk food to minimal amounts that you know you can work off with exercise at least, start your morning with a healthy breakfast, snack on fruit and nuts during the day, and get those fresh veges in for dinner. Come on New Zealand, prevention is better than cure. Yes, we need to make produce affordable; we do grow a tonne of it and removing GST would help. That tax lost would be roughly $420m, but that pales in comparison to the recent drop of $11b. In the meantime, "fresh is best": buy in-season, shop around, and take advantage of specials. Plenty of apples, kiwifruit, mandarins, and lemons about leading into winter. And highly nutritious potatoes, carrots, onions, kumara, and cruciferous vegetables available — all NZ made. For a little country we toe the line on a lot of things, healthy eating should be one of them.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Not the ticket
I live in Mellons Bay. If I want to go to Auckland's CBD I walk to the nearest bus station, catch a bus to the train link in Panmure and travel by train. The journey will take 1 hour and 7 minutes. If I take a taxi, taking in waiting time, it takes 29 minutes. If I go by car it's 19 minutes. In other words, if I take public transport it will take three times longer. And the Government thinks they can get commuters living 14km or maybe even closer, which is the majority of Aucklanders, into public transport ... Not on your nelly! Once EVs are well established, which they will be by the time the network is finished in another ten years or more, it will cost next to nothing getting there and they will be the death knell for public transport. That is why the council is frantically building houses without parking, so motorists will have no other option. Sheer and unadulterated lunacy .
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Same old drum
Christopher Luxon would scrap the property tax if he has leadership next year. Typical National policy. For thousands of ordinary Kiwis even a modest house is a pipe dream, forcing them to reside in extremely expensive, often rundown, rentals by the wealthy property investors such as Luxon who owns seven properties with no mortgage in sight. Is that what we want in great leadership?
Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
NZ on Air must front up
There has been a huge backlash to the approval by NZ on Air to fund $200,000 towards the Chloe Swarbrick documentary. Public figures and politicians have added their disapproval as well. NZ on Air is publicly funded and accountable, yet continues to refuse to answer pertinent questions. Who can hold NZ on Air accountable?
Rita Riccola, Albany.
Short & sweet
I wonder how many dinkum Aussie league followers cringe with embarrassment at the parochial referee's decisions that seem always to go against the Warriors? Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
On Budget 2022
This is the sort of budget you get when a governing Cabinet sits around the caucus table and say collectively "hey did you guys see how the polls are trending?" Roger Bale, Pukekawa.
I could not believe my ears that 81 per cent of New Zealanders are now receiving a Government benefit. That is a statistic to be ashamed of, not proud to proclaim. Kathryn McIntyre, Whangārei.
On family feuds
Re: "Divvying family funds: What's fair" (Weekend Herald, May 21). Well, what's yours is mine and what's mine is my own; that's what happens when money is involved. Reg Dempster, Albany.
On 'squeezed middles'
I've just realised what the term "squeezed middle" means: The tightening trouser belts of the fat cats who benefit most from investments and shares most of us cannot even dream of. Time for a fiscal diet to ease the pressure. Norm Murray, Browns Bay.
The Premium Debate
Labour loves the periphery as they avoid the core realities, as they simply have no experience and are unqualified in every portfolio. Starting from the top. Anthony C.
Robertson had the gall to claim the cost of living payment was not a last-minute decision. Treasury's comments prove him otherwise. An example of government spin and obfuscation. Christine M.
They said they were looking into it for months. I think he's right despite the conspiracy theorists. Frank P.
They can't deny it was last minute since Ardern was still denying there was a cost of living crisis in March, just two months ago. Sue J.
I don't like Aussie's chances with Albo. My exit strategy if NZ Labour wins 2023 just went down in flames. Albo appears to be another Ardern. Kim B.
Hasn't this Government proven for the last seven years that it all it does is cobble things together? John M.
Seven years? If only. Hopefully, we will get at least another four-and-a-half. Steve M.
All Robertson has done is kick some inflation down the road a few months. Which is economically stupid but politically even stupider. Grant H.
"Kicking it down the road". That has been one of the National Party's principles for quite some time. It is the only option when strict austerity is being practiced. Alexander M.