Wastewater debacles adding up
Another broken sewer pipe spills it into Wellington streets.
Our beaches in Auckland continue to carry health warnings occasioned by our inadequate wastewater system.
Both Wellington and Auckland ratepayers should be asking their councils (and their auditors) to explain where the multi millions of rates dollars collected over the last two decades have gone. Rates specifically intended to pay for wastewater renewals and upgrades.
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Republicans show colours
If, for whatever specious or fabricated reason the Republican members of the Senate allow Donald Trump to escape impeachment, they will have demonstrated one thing to the American public very loud and very clear, namely that the Republican Party considers that a Republican President is above the law and can do whatever he or she likes with impunity. Perhaps more seriously, they will have shown that the Republican Party has a total disregard for the majority of Americans and is fully prepared to discard democracy in favour of a dictatorship established if necessary by armed force. Clearly, in future, Americans should think twice before voting Republican.
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
Blame Labour for house prices
As Duncan Grieve points out (NZ Herald, January 26) from a base of 100 in 2001, NZ house prices now sit over four times higher. That's a 400 per cent plus increase in the past 20 years. But only one third of that increase, from 190 to 300 points, occurred under a National Government between 2008 and 2017. The other two-thirds increase occurred on Labour's watch under Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern.
"Labour will fix the housing crisis" — don't make me laugh.
John Denton, Napier.
Idea to solve housing crisis
Maybe one solution to the housing crisis would be to make only one dwelling, the house one actually resides in, free from mortgage restrictions and eligible for domestic borrowing terms. All other housing could be treated as commercial. The investment house, the bach, the rentals, the Airbnb etc. Interest rates and lending criteria could then be at commercial rates and conditions including rates and insurance. That way they could shoulder the true cost to the economy and allow genuine home owners a chance to climb on to the property ladder. It might even damp down the insane house prices people are being asked to pay at the moment. It could even change attitudes to how the asset rich leverage their wealth to acquire even more "tax-free" properties.
And properties run commercially pay tax!
James Archibald, Birkenhead.
Special treatment wanted
The comment by Molly Codyre (NZ Herald, January 27) made jabs at our heart strings. "Stripped of legal/human rights, bearing the brunt of Covid, costs of tests and flights, criticism of respected epidemiologists" included but absolutely no responsibility for her family's decisions.
If her family was "desperate" then desperate precautions would have been taken: quarantine. Her argument collapses when you consider everyone else is put at risk as transmission while immunity is still possible. Kiwis were repeatedly warned to return home and not to go overseas.
Those of us who exercised our "legal rights" to vote, elected Jacinda Ardern — keeping us safe from Covid was the top priority. The Opposition would charge for MIQ and wanted pre-testing of Kiwis.
Essentially she wants the right to cheap short trips home and special treatment for her family because of bad luck choices which have consequences.
The £245 test price is nothing compared to the price of our lives and jobs; it is an unrealistic, selfish, jump the queue attitude, the exact opposite of what kept us safe. It continues to keep us safe. We have lives and jobs we value too.
Losing money should never be plea-bargained with others lives such as as our MIQ workers. They get priority.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Pre-flight testing a crock
Molly Codyre highlights that pre-flight Covid testing for returning New Zealanders was always a crock. Someone is only likely to be positive two days prior to symptoms and a test will return a false negative in up to 20 per cent of people with active virus. It can remain positive for weeks after recovery. It is expensive, difficult to get at short notice and no more sensible than temperature and symptom checks pre-flight, masking, separation and day zero testing on arrival home.
Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.
Bus service issues
Thank you Auckland Transport for axing Glen Eden and Titirangi Express buses. Now it takes almost twice as long to get to and from the CBD. On top of that, bus fares are about to increase.
What a great way to encourage people to take public transport and reduce road congestion.
First world problem, third world service.
Vanessa Kuran, Kelston.
Bowing to petrolheads
Pollution, much of it from private vehicles, is destroying our planet. Politicians in New Zealand talk about this and do nothing.
Public transport is not used because cars are cheap, fuel is cheaper than bottled water and car parking on roads mostly free. Third party insurance not mandatory and car rego cheap as chips. Meanwhile the Government bows down to the demand from petrolheads for ever more roads to be built. I presume getting back into power and staying popular is the only criteria.
Vince West, Milford.
Pay attention to NZ, not US
Just why Alistaire Hall (NZ Herald January 27) thinks it such a travesty that Judith Collins didn't watch the US Presidential inauguration is beyond my comprehension. As is this country's total fixation with American politics when a bit more attention to NZ politics and policies might go some way toward sorting out the myriad of problems this country faces. Collins would have been better off reading Superwoman comics than watching Biden's inauguration.
Graham Fleetwood, Botany Downs
Banging head against wall
A good column by Chloe Swarbrick (NZ Herald, January 27) who like the American first amendment believes in the right to free expression and free association. However, it is one thing having a belief but it is another to get it out there. People like Chloe through her efforts in life have now got a voice for us all to hear. Unfortunately for the multitudes this is much more difficult as the avenues are much more narrow. This paper, like all others, offers some space to have one's opinions given air but due to constraints this is limited. It is only at election time that one can truly make one's opinions felt. The rest of the time is like banging one's head against a brick wall.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Ex-Labour people run council
I concur with Gary Gotleib's letter regarding name recognition in local politics.
We appear to have failed Labour party politicians running Auckland Council solely due to name recognition, not competence, this even filters down to local boards. It would appear my youthful contemporaries are more invested in politics in other countries such as the US, than they are in local body elections. A timely reminder that happiness begins at home.
Gerry Hetet, Parnell.
Step forward for dyslexic kids
Our primary school years' experience for our dyslexic son was both traumatic and soul-destroying. Trying to get answers, help and support for our son was the equivalent of walking through a minefield. It was like going to war, fighting for your child's right to be taught in a way he learns. It was mentally draining for us all and heart-breaking. My son changed personality. He went from a leader to a follower as his confidence plummeted.
He felt reading recovery was a punishment.
Unless you have walked in our shoes you can't understand how hard this journey it for parents and children. How your see you son or daughter stressed, hurt and getting damaged by a system that is not designed for their learning needs. Our role as a parent is to protect our child, fix and take away any pain. Instead these challenges left me feeling that I had met my child down.
These decodeable readers are a step in the right direction and will aid children's reading experiences.
Sonya Brooks, Kennedy's Bush
Short & sweet
On Auckland Council
Auckland Council says how strapped they are for money, especially after Covid, yet they take out a whole front page advertisement in the Herald advertising the upcoming long weekend.
Fred Jones, Te Atatū Peninsula.
NZ teachers already teach phonics, phonemic awareness and many other strategies but few would attribute to these the total answer to print literacy.
Barbara Matthews, Onehunga.
Yes, property investors are on par with weapon dealers. The concept of them being able to borrow money to buy houses to rent out is plain wrong. NZ needs to keep the price of houses reasonable and allowing wealthy people to buy extra houses forces the price up for owner-occupiers.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel
On QR codes
I've just read a set of instructions which are supposed to make "scanning QR codes easier than ever". But to a rusty 95-year-old mind it's beyond comprehension, so I've given up trying.
Not everyone has a "smart" phone. The assumption we all scan is not good enough. Supply pen and paper. Simple. Luckily I can trace my own footsteps and remember where I have been!
Margaret Dyer, Taupō
On Oranga Tamariki
If people were responsible about having children, we wouldn't need Oranga Tamariki. No more sad cases of child abuse.
SP McMonagle, Greenhithe