Any government that thinks it's a good idea to run a complete air base with 13 airplanes has, in my mind, lost the plot.
The obvious options are to move all aircraft to Ohakea air base apart from some helicopters to be based at Ardmore, close by the SAS base.
My understanding is that the Orion replacements are slated to be based at Ohakea even if it means lengthening the runway, although in the current configuration an A380 can use Ohakea.
Sell the Whenuapai air base to a private consortium so commercial flights can service the North Shore community.
For those currently living near Whenuapai I can't imagine the noise footprint of an A320 or ATR would be anything like that of the air force's 757s or even Hercules. I would imagine there would be surplus land that can be used for housing.
If no buyer can be found for Whenuapai air base the Government should sell it for housing and at least some of the funds used to improve housing for airforce staff at Ohakea and Woodbourne.
Andrew Lister, Howick.
Freeing up hospital beds
Peter Davis outlined in the Herald how best to confront the financial shortfalls and the growing demands being faced by the state health sector.
His suggestions on cutting cost and reducing bureaucracy are commendable but nothing in his assessment of these issues draws attention for the need to encourage the growth of private health facilities and hospitals which would do much to alleviate the mounting financial burden and ease the demand on the state.
The reintroduction of tax relief for personal health protection is timely, encouraging independency for many more New Zealanders for their health protection needs, freeing up beds in state hospitals as a result.
The state cannot go it alone.
Govern by committee
After what has been happening over the last couple of years, do we even need a prime minister? The country can be run by committees — called Prime Committees.
Jenny Petersen, Kawerau.
Not before time the media has ventured beyond statistics adding both a human and an inhuman face to certain domestic property flipping by those without vested interest in community benefit (Weekend Herald).
Stark anecdotal evidence is far more compelling than would be belated and costly Government Commission reports upon the same realities going in circles. It is now up to public pressure.
National should abandon fruitless and destructive character assassination attempts upon our hard-working Prime Minister to gain cheap political capital. Instead tackle real issues — even if that hazards significant future party political donations from questionable sources in the process.
The saying "we are all in this together" should not be confined to socialist philosophy.
David M. Stevenson, Howick.
I was impressed with Simon Wilson's first article about his experience of prostate cancer early last year. Since then, I have enjoyed reading his carefully researched and reasoned articles on a range of issues.
A few months ago, his analysis of the complexities of funding expensive end-of-life cancer drugs contrasted with the superficial opinions of Mike Hosking in that same issue.
Wilson's latest reflection on his journey with prostate cancer is a superb balance of personal experience and a nuanced review of relevant medical literature.
He avoids the knee-jerk advice of many broadcasters and celebrities which urges all men to go and get tested, and acknowledges that early diagnosis may do more harm than good.
I hope this time Hosking resists the urge to pretend to know better by promoting a simplistic populist view.
Dr Greg Judkins, Royal Oak.
Now that all the predatory political point-scoring and media blood lust has begun to subside we should focus on the core issue: How can we create an alternative process for victims who do not want their experience of sexual abuse to be processed through our adversarial judicial system?
In many cases victims want abusers to confront what they have done, wake up to their attitudes and behaviour, and never do it to anyone else.
Entering into a polarised "he said / she said" contest of legal wits is often too daunting to contemplate. Maybe a professionally mediated process based on the truth and reconciliation model should be made available as an option.
Michael Smythe, Northcote Point.
Mixed use air base
Apart from Ron Mark's objection on the grounds of security of air force assets there is absolutely no reason why Whenuapai could not be used for domestic flights, and even that objection doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
I suggest he looks at Williamtown which is an RAAF fighter base just north of Newcastle, NSW. Domestic and transtasman flights operate from there, as do the RAAF's FA18 supersonic fighters, and soon the F35 Raptor.
If you can mix domestic flights with those you certainly can operate civil aircraft amongst a few clapped out Hercules and Orions.
H Griffiths, Whitianga.
The Government has announced there will be a new register established for "every firearm legally held in New Zealand".
I assume that this will be followed closely by a register for every illegally held firearm in the country.
John Walsh, Auckland.
My son parked his car in Queen St to drop items off at a business. An Auckland Transport parking warden issued two tickets, only 40 seconds apart. Total fine is $220. Our letter of appeal was ignored and now we will have to pay both fines as they referred this to Baycorp.
Accepting he could have parked in a building and made several delivery trips to business premises, the council is revenue collecting by issuing two tickets in under one minute.
Presumably the warden has KPIs to meet by any means. Where are the ethics and morality in this?
Merilyn McAuslin, Mt Eden.
Honours for Labour
Your correspondent D.B. Leslie wrote cynically about former National leaders accepting a knighthood after the National Government restored them. The Helen Clark Government abolished knighthoods and it is amazing that two senior ministers of that same Cabinet now have the titles Sir Michael and Dame Annette.
One would have thought they'd have been the last people to accept the honours.
R. van Pelt, Mt Roskill.
Govt taking advice
Mike Hosking seems to be displaying "brain fade" in giving advice to the Government about taking advice.
Has he forgotten Novopay? In August 2012, National in power, Ministers Joyce, Parata and English gave Novopay the go-ahead, against strong advice that it was far from ready. Disaster followed.
"Housing Crisis? What Housing Crisis?" said John Key, in spite of all the advice everyone else was providing that there was one.
Then there was advice, through reports and government agencies, on issues of alcohol abuse — ignored; on mental health issues — ignored; on Building Industry training and apprenticeships issues — ignored; on regulating the fishing industry — ignored. All these among many others.
Which accounts for all the damage to our nation, our society, and our way of life, that this government has to correct and repair.
Clyde Scott, Birkenhead.
Lack of productivity
Last week I listened to an address from Sir Don McKinnon when our lack of productivity as a nation was given as a reason New Zealand has fallen badly in the world standard of living statistics.
Given we are world leaders in tourism, farming and forestry the lack of processed goods and manufacturing for world markets must surely be a contributing reason for this.
Why are we not addressing this, considering this lack of productivity has also been given by many politicians as the reason for the decline in our living standards for years. Successive governments must be responsible for our position in these world standards.
This issue must be identified and detailed solutions found with government direction leading the response. Leaving our nation's future to private enterprise is not an option.
Jim Lawry, Rotorua.
What the coalition government is now doing to farmers, regarding water issues, entirely proves the influence and power of the Greens, most of whom are what I would call convenient Greenies — they are green when it's convenient to be so but still fly overseas and drive vehicles.
Mike Baker, Tauranga.