Waterfront gained or lost?
Now that relocation of the port of Auckland is being discussed, are we smart enough to create world-beating public spaces along the waterfront?
Or will we block up the harbour again but this time with apartments, other commercial buildings or, heaven help us, a new stadium?
If relocation is to be approved it should go with top priority being given to having imaginative world-quality public access right along the harbour edge.
In which case, many of the Ports of Auckland monstrosities like the recent parking building, cement silo etc will need to be demolished.
Having a comprehensive total outcome for Auckland should be built into the costs being discussed. It is not just about new railways and wharves elsewhere.
Bruce Anderson, St Heliers Bay.
• Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says moving Auckland's port is a question of when, not if
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• Proposal to rid Ports of Auckland of cars to create public waterfront space
Walls and bridges
It's 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's also 15 years since the International Court of Justice declared Israel's wall on Palestinian land illegal. Planned to extend 810km, it is 8m high in some parts, it's twice the height and five times the length of Berlin's wall. Morocco has built a massive one, 2700km long, 3m high with bunkers, fences and landmines throughout and there's the Trump wall under construction on the US-Mexico border.
Walls are monumental policy failures which shield governments and corporations enabling, facilitating and profiting from their construction and growing visible and invisible walls of injustice.
A world without walls is what the celebrations in Berlin attest and what humanity needs.
Janfrie Wakim, Epsom.
While we all have sympathy for the thousands of Australians affected by the huge bush fires in Australia, the fact remains so many people and tour operators build in the Australian gum forests.
The leaves of those trees are always emitting vapour which is highly inflammable, in fact this vapour causes the blue colour in the air through out the Blue Mountains.
In its natural state, these forests catch fire regularly and the vapour causes those fires to jump big distances to other trees whose leaves are highly inflammable
These fires are caused by lightning strikes. These fires are the gum trees' natural way of regenerating. By regularly putting out small fires, the litter under those trees builds up until we have those catastrophic fires
The only way to overcome this is to move all people out of those areas and have a much smaller controlled burn off every year. Otherwise those huge fires will continue with loss of life, injuries and the destruction of homes and businesses.
Eric Strickett, Henderson.
What a pity the Mt Albert tree controversy has become a conflict between residents and Māori. The real culprit is the last National government, which, in 2013, prevented local authorities from having tree protection policies for urban areas.
Auckland's tree coverage is 18 per cent - compared to Vienna (56 per cent), Brisbane (49 per cent), New York (36 per cent), Seoul (33 per cent), Mumbai (30 per cent), Jakarta (26 per cent) and Shanghai (24 per cent). And we are going backwards, 61ha of tree canopy has been lost from the Waitemata Local Board area since 2009.
Most other countries have policies that value trees as a community asset. These policies are taken seriously and the penalties handed out are in some recent cases have been significant: NZ$275k in the UK, NZ$325k in Australia, NZ$500k in Spain, NZ$850k in the USA and NZ$2.5 million in Canada.
In New Zealand, the National government ensured there can be no strategy for tree protection in Auckland or any other city. In urban areas it is impossible and the effective maximum penalty in rural areas is $300. It is time the law was changed.
Colin Beardon, Waiheke Island.
Many Mt Albert residents are upset with the unwarranted removal of so many trees from the top of our mountain.
The first time we ourselves were aware of the changes to take place was a letter drop from the Maunga Authority announcing the start work dates and the use of helicopters to remove the larger, older trees that are not able to be removed safely by machinery.
Suburb-wide consultation would have increased people's awareness to the proposed changes to the mountain and in turn provide residents with the opportunity to voice their concerns.
In such times of climate change and environmental impacts from humanity, why would it have ever been a good idea to remove trees?
By all means plant more – native and exotics, to provide shelter, shade and protection.
Mt Albert is one of the few maunga that still have trees on their summits and it is not a dry, barren, inhospitable place and we will endeavour to keep it as a green urban example to the rest of Auckland city.
Simone Ross, Mt Albert.
The Mt Albert trees - exotic or not - are very precious. They must be protected to prevent the same situation that happened in Newmarket Park 10 years ago, when one politician on a single visit saw an old TV that someone had rolled into the native bush that covered the huge hillside in the park.
The result: Removal of the entire bird-filled bush, to be replaced with long weedy grass, struggling small shallow-rooted trees, and the disappearance of the local resident users who had lost their much-loved and much-used local gem.
Pamela Russell, Orakei.
In spite of the headline about funding glitches, it was great to see the delighted smile on the face of Rayray Connor on your front page (NZ Herald, November 12). I don't imagine she cares exactly how her new home was funded, the main thing is she will now have a home, something she never thought would happen.
Labour has clearly made huge progress in rebuilding the social housing sector. Instead of selling state housing, as National did, Labour is building them by the thousand.
Meanwhile, National wants to return to its policy of returning social housing to the private sector - look where that got us!
V M Fergusson, Mt Eden.
I haven't generally agreed with Richard Prebble, but I was very impressed by his piece about "sky cabs". Something like this down Dominion Rd would be a no-brainer.
Driving along the Northern motorway, I considered the existing "busway", that apparently is lauded as a great idea. But, to me, it's a stupid idea - because it is actually a two-lane highway, complete with huge fly-overs, that is occupied by the occasional bus; costing countless millions. What a waste.
Here's a suggestion: Install a sky cab overhead track over the existing roads, stopping at the existing "stations", and use the busway for two more motorway lanes.
R A Beer, Whangaparaoa
Rugby and equity
I have really enjoyed reading the insightful comments of your World Cup writers, on challenges that urgently need to be addressed for the ongoing wellbeing of rugby in NZ. It has been very obvious that some of these rugby issues provide a helpful insight into wider equity problems in NZ schools, that have rightly created so much debate.
The story of gifted athlete Kieran Read, who abandoned his scholarship at an elite school to return and excel from a community base, gives valuable insights, while the speech from Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi gives a timely reminder on the vital importance of opportunity for all.
As the rugby writers wisely point out, this means putting policies in place that do not advantage the few at the expense of the many. Concentration of elites occurs naturally and for obvious reasons, while establishing systems and policies that genuinely serve the wider good is very difficult – and always contested.
Ann Dunphy, Parnell.
I was intrigued to see that Winston Peter's generation is described as the "silent" one (NZ Herald, November 12). I can't help but wonder that if a number of his generation had been a little less silent while others were waging war and inventing ever more lethal ways of killing each other, us baby boomers wouldn't have been the first generation to be born to live, even today, under the ever present threat of annihilation by nuclear weapons, either by accident or intent. I'm sure every generation has sobering questions of the one which preceded it. It seems the questions now are becoming more urgent, more quickly and need addressing more immediately.
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark.
I question some of the reasoning being used in the analysis of the wealth gap between so-called boomers and others. A true comparison could only be made if the generational wealth gap was looked at historically. What was it in the 70s or 80s or 90s? In terms of my own situation, I am 69. When I was in my thirties my parents had a far greater wealth than I did both in terms of income and assets. I never expected to better off than them as I knew I needed years of earning to be in the same situation. In terms of housing, my parents owned a house when they were 15 years younger than I was when I owned my own house. Three of my children are mortgage free and are in their late thirties or early forties. I was 59 when I became mortgage free. I think a lot of the analysis being made in terms of generational asset wealth is flawed. This poor thinking is creating an unnecessary generational division. And to reinforce my position I never inherited any material wealth from my parents. I inherited good values.
Mark Beale, Wattle Downs.
New Zealand's post-war baby boom peaked in 1961, not 1964. So 1961 is a more logical cut off point between the Boomers and Generation X than the randomly chosen 1964. That, and the fact that I was born in 1964 and I do not like being lumped in with people such as Prince Charles and anti-Vietnam War protesters.
C C McDowall, Rotorua.
Short and sweet
The Scots threatened to sue. The English wouldn't wear their medals. Now an Irishman whinges about steroids. Insinuation is not evidence. Petulance is for losers. C G Marnewick, Bucklands Beach.
Good on all of you, people of Mt Albert, you have our backing, to the hilt. Rod Kane, Henderson.
Now is not a good time to cut mature trees down, as birds are nesting their young. Jenny Cousteau, Snells Beach.
The destruction of 345 trees because they are not native is municipal vandalism. Denys Oldham, Devonport.
The removal of exotic trees from Mt Albert is being paid for by Auckland ratepayers and against their wishes. Arthur Moore, Pakuranga.
How high is five storeys in Santa metres? Dean Donoghue, Papamoa Beach
It is a sad irony that, as we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so many of our kin in Britain would make the English Channel again the historic "wall", shutting off the continent of Europe. Peter Stead, Huapai.
Vision NZ would be wise to see Specsavers before it starts its campaign. Do New Zealanders really want no places of worship other than churches? Kanwal Grewal, Hamilton.