Redistribute social equity
I believe the swing voters have given the Labour Party a mandate to forge a middle way.
Kiwis are compassionate, tolerant people who support social justice, social equity, fair play.
A simple, uncomplicated annual wealth tax would encompass those values and avoid the complications and cash flow issues of a capital gains tax.
StatsNZ and the Reserve Bank, dependent on methodology, estimate the net wealth of all NZ households combined to be about $2000 billion ($2 trillion).
A wealth tax of one tenth of 1 per cent could raise $2 billion per annum.
Approximately 5 per cent of people have a negative net worth, a further 25 per cent have near to zero net worth. Therefore, no wealth tax for almost one in three.
The top 20 per cent have approximately 70 per cent of the net wealth, so would pay 70 per cent of this tax.
It needs to be simple all-encompassing, ultimately everything is owned by someone. So trusts, charities, churches, iwi, all should contribute.
Keep in mind in 2018, individual median net worth was estimated at $138,000 for Pakeha, $29,000 for Māori and less for Pasifika - cause for whakamā, and justification for this minor redistribution.
William Robert Friend, Mt Maunganui.
I agree with Greg Gilpin (NZ Herald, October 23) that it is a disgrace that the Erebus tragedy has not been memorialised in the 40 years since the disaster.
The position taken by the Save Robbie's Park group is not that there shouldn't be a memorial to the victims Greg helped recover, but they deserve a memorial specifically designed for them, which does not desecrate an existing memorial.
Sir Dove-Myer Robinson was my father. As a family we were not consulted or even informed when the Ministry of Culture and Heritage decided the Erebus memorial should go in his park. I am at a loss to understand why the Erebus families should have priority over this park, when it is already dedicated to another person?
The two solutions the Friends of Erebus have come up with are far better. Better for Auckland to have a new park, and better for the families, who have requested a quiet place of reflection. DMR Park is anything but quiet and has no physical or symbolic connection to Erebus. The Herd Rd proposal in particular would preserve forever the fantastic view over the Manukau.
The Erebus moment needs to be more than just a steel and glass construction, it needs emotional and spiritual relevance as well.
Heather Levack, Hillsborough.
GST is an iniquitous tax and has been since day one.
This is ably explained by Gabrielle Beran's letter (NZ Herald October 23).
We need a movement to remove GST from family essentials, books, groceries, vegetables and children's clothing to make life more equitable for those raising families and particularly those on lesser incomes. Who will take up this challenge?
Tom Hutchinson, One Tree Pt.
Your correspondent, tax professional Gabrielle Beran (NZ Herald, October 23) is correct, in that the lower-paid pay a higher proportion of their income in GST on essentials than the better off. Simple arithmetic.
However, when VAT was introduced in the UK, they made a real meal of it, with so many exemptions that it was a total nightmare for many businesses.
NZ learned from that and made it very simplistic, but the basic tax bracket for the lower paid was lifted to compensate for paying the GST on essentials. Proposals to exclude certain items on the grounds of either essentials on the one hand, or bad for your health on the other, create a massive range of opinions.
The high natural sugar content and acids in fruit juices are just as damaging to teeth as fizzy drinks. How are chips from a takeaway deemed worthy of GST, but a raw potato turned into chips at home not?
Take a few seconds out to consider the nightmare of a small shopkeeper, say a bakery, having to sell bread with no GST, and doughnuts with GST, yet both are manufactured from the same ingredients.
For GST to be fair, the basic tax breaks have to be adjusted annually, so that the lower-paid's GST on essentials, is from tax-free income. A $1000 mobile phone and monthly plan is not an essential.
Ray Green, Birkenhead.
Watercare chair Margaret Devlin (NZ Herald, October 23) saying that the dry summer caused this water shortage is a cop-out. The Watercare 2019 Annual Report states that during 2018/19 there was 25 per cent less rainfall than usual – the writing was on the wall.
Solutions are one, or more, of the following:
Either a large bore which taps into the North Shore aquifer (mentioned by ex-North Shore mayor, Paul Kitchener in a Herald letter as being massive).
Or pump from the Waikato River to the Hunua dams during winter if levels are too low in, say, early July. This was an option in 1993 when Auckland last had a water crisis.
Auckland's water crisis has attracted the most letters to the Herald of any topic apart from Covid-19 recently but no-one has mentioned a key fact, which is that the summer flow is only 138m3/second whereas the maximum in winter is 1870m3/s.
Three hundred million litres per day equates to less than 0.2 per cent of the winter flow and would provide adequacy for any dry summer. Capacity to increase to 500mld should be incorporated.
Or build more dams. The tragedy is that the cost of the treatment, pumps and pipework could easily have been paid for as part of infrastructure growth charges over the past 27 years and avoided many businesses suffering because of restrictions.
Bruce Phythian, Parnell.
Supply and demand
The chair of Watercare (NZ Herald, October 23) is disingenuous at the very least.
After the last water shortage in the 1990s, Auckland got access to Waikato River water. Since then, Auckland's population has nearly doubled. Available water supply has not changed.
Relying on rain year-on-year proved inadequate back then; nothing has changed since. Failure to increase water storage clearly rests with Auckland Council and Watercare management. Nature is not to blame.
Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
On the list
Further to the usual concerns expressed about the negative aspects of MMP, it is disquieting to note that, with their existence having for many years depended on those cups of tea, the ACT party now has other MPs to keep David Seymour company.
The latest advantage offered them by MMP is that their deputy leader gained the princessly total of 678 votes in her electorate. And she's an MP. And the deputy leader of a party.
I support the aims of MMP, but this sort of situation is ludicrous.
Judy Lawry, Golflands.
The APO returned with a magnificent concert, and we also got an encore. Well done.
However, the enthusiastic audience filled three-quarters of the Town Hall, with no social distancing, and I noted only 12 face masks being worn.
If we want the freedom to stay in the level that allows such concerts, should not wearing of face masks be highly recommended for future events?
Rosemary Cobb, Takapuna.
Congratulations to Grant Robertson, for "grasping the nettle" or "poisoned chalice" of Auckland light rail.
I arrived in Auckland in 1963, aged 36, and listened to Auckland Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson advocating for light rail What a brilliant idea, particularly as the "powers that be" had just replaced the trams with stinking buses.
Alas, after 57 years (yes, I am now in my 93rd year), we are still waiting.
All power to your elbow, Mr Robertson.
Peter Cooper, Ellerslie.
Matthew Hooton (NZ Herald, October 23) perceptively concludes that, given the National Party's current inward-focused structure, "surgery" is needed to restore "the democracy of members".
Which public institution allows challenge to only half its board annually and then requires the board to approve applicants for the position? Officials are able, and seem entitled, to gerrymander the outcome of candidate selections.
The goal should be the selection of all party officials annually by members. Hopefully, those elected will have the mana and respect of the public and then, by due process, supervise members democratically to select candidates for Parliament for presentation to voters. As Hooton says, this should improve membership, keep incumbents on their toes, be more representative of the people and help prevent the selection of seemingly self-entitled young dim-wits now no longer MPs.
Political structures should not encourage a career path - but instead foster community service by the proven.
With institutional loyalty and no disrespect to officials, party members not dependent on politics often have a clearer, more objective understanding of the current climate and public groundswell.
John Collinge, St Mary's Bay.
Short & sweet
We now have 13 MPs who identify as LGBTQI+, this is rather an over-representation as only 3.5 per cent of the population identify as this. Neville Cameron, Coromandel.
Brent Cooper's letter re: Leighton Smith (NZ Herald, October 3) made me come out in a wide grin, I would like to add that I will celebrate by opening my bottle of Leighton's Port when Trump is no longer President. Hopefully I don't have to wait until 2024. Mike Crosby, Papakura.
Well, the pre-flight testing really worked well with the fisherfolk from Russia. We await further constructive measures for border control from Ms Collins. Stan Jones, Hamilton.
Chris Leitch (NZ Herald, October 22) is totally correct. The "hands-off" right-wing, "'free market profit motive" approach in Western economies of the past 30 years has generated major dysfunction in a less just and equitable nation, and its inhabitants. Ian Marshall, Birkenhead
One way of increasing Covid-19 QR Code use is for the hospitality sector to provide the code on menus or at tables and waitstaff request scanning before taking orders. Christopher Johnstone, Grey Lynn.
We do not need a virus to wipe out the population. We have enough idiots on the road to do that. Pim Venecourt, Pāpāmoa.
With the great news that Scott Dixon has won his sixth Indycar Championship, now must be the time for the Halberg Award judges to finally concede that this man is a worthy recipient. Criss Olsen, Tauranga.