Hello and welcome to New Zealand's Herald: Let's Talk, our new feature on the Herald site which offers you the chance to comment on today's news and views.
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Politics? Business? Taxes? We're happy to let you debate them all. All you have to do to offer a comment is to click into the live blog immediately below and follow the prompts. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com
Tailgaters are dangerous
For those drivers somewhat tired of the obligatory delays northbound on SH1 each morning, can I implore people to acknowledge the importance of leaving a safe distance and not tailgating. There is almost one accident a day now which appears wholly attributable to someone tailgating, the act of which now seems almost mandatory. Guess what, you won't get there any faster by being glued to the car in front.
As a bike rider, the stakes are considerably higher and I am fed up with inconsiderate drivers believing that they can stop in a space 3m long. You can't. But you can kill someone in 3m very easily indeed.
Ken Duffin, Papakura.
Almost faster than the proverbial speeding bullet, Parliament enacted a new law this week. Equally speedy was the time it took for Rugby Australia to distance itself from yet another round of Israel Folau's comments. I really think they can rest assured we realise the said comments are not necessarily the view of Rugby Australia. Give us a break.
Colleen Wright, Botany Downs.
Why is the Queen not stepping in and slapping the British Government around? Months ago she should have threatened to sack all the MPs if they wouldn't stop squabbling over Brexit. QEII is their head of state and needs to start acting like one. Or has her position become so diluted that she is only there to cut ribbons and wave to tourists?
Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
The End of Life Choice Bill has been badly mismanaged. Asking for submissions from the public is flawed as this gets opinions only from a non-representative minority who think strongly enough to write or appear.
Any vote in Parliament, that allows MPs to follow their own conscience is obviously undemocratic. The only way to find out and give the country what the majority wants is to put it to a referendum, including the questions of criteria that are being debated. And the result must be binding on the Government to avoid MPs' bias.
Rex Beer, Manly.
Maggie Barry and the hospice institution appear to be of one mind regarding any form of euthanasia. Palliative care repeats their mantra that they do not hasten death nor prolong life, even when the person in their care requests this intervention. Maggie has said the "vulnerable elderly ... deserve dignity and our respect in their final years", but joins the palliative institution in working to rule regarding ownership of a life.
I share Maggie's Catholic upbringing. I respect hospice, of which I have personal experiences. But I know for sure that my life-or-death decisions have precedence over the dogmas of any institution or religion.
John O'Neill, Dargaville.
The New Zealand Government did the right thing for its people by promptly banning semi-automatic weapons after it was discovered the alleged gunman who massacred 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch and injured scores of others had legally acquired his semi-automatic guns.
A sane society learns from its mistake. New Zealand has done that. It has realised it is wrong and dangerous to allow citizens to have access to such high-powered firearms. The public good is served with this gun reform law, New Zealand's political leaders have acted responsibly in safeguarding the wellbeing of its citizens. They are to be applauded for their progressive action.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield.
Objection to toys
On the day the Arms Amendment Bill passed into law I was shocked to find my local $2 shop selling exact replica semi-automatic and assault rifles in three sizes. The response from the manager was a disappointing, "They are only toys". I replaced my intended purchases and left the shop. I will follow up with the local business association.
Caroline Bree, Grey Lynn.
Turtles do breed here
Last week we watched as the nest of a red-eared slider turtle was dug up and from amongst the eggs crawled a baby turtle. We had reported the nest, laid on Christmas Day on the bank of a Tauranga wetland reserve, to the regional council. Waikato University scientist Dr Nick Ling took away the eggs and the hatchling to be sexed, along with the temperature probe which had been recording during the incubation period. Turtle nests like this have already hatched in Northland and on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Dr Mark Feldman's tirade about the proposed turtle ban is wrong on every count. These turtles can and do live and breed in our wetlands, and, as the climate warms, it seems very likely they will flourish. And he is wrong to say they won't become a serious risk to freshwater resources and biodiversity. Red-eared slider turtles aren't listed amongst the hundred worst invasive species in the world for nothing.
Nor do turtles always make "ideal pets". They are very cute when they are tiny but a red-slider turtle grows as big as a dinner plate and can live for 50 years. Few pet owners want to look after them for that long.
We congratulate the Auckland Biosecurity team for getting on to this issue so quickly. New Zealand is awash with the many ill-advised introductions of the past. We don't need more. A ban on the sale of turtles is a very good idea.
Ann and Basil Graeme, Tauranga.
Why can't some of Shane Jones' slush fund be used to build a permanent bridge over the Waiho River? What better use for a regional investment?
A J Petersen, Kawerau.
Wise heads ignored
Having left Auckland several years ago I cannot help but groan as our over-promising and under-delivering minister Phil Twyford continues to make ill-informed and extravagant rail and transportation policy decisions. Of course it is all part of a grand vision, like KiwiBuild. He would be well advised to heed the sound advice of Mike Lee who chaired the Auckland Regional Council transportation committee over many years. Mike Lee and Christine Fletcher, who made the fine decision for Britomart, are both knowledgeable people who steered the decisions to purchase the rail corridor, the upgrade of the DMU trains, the interim SA trains and the early work on rail electrification with Elena Trout as rail project manager. Is it too much to hope the minister will seek advice from these qualified people whose experience is second to none?
David Hallett, Mount Maunganui.
The once sleepy seaside village of St Heliers is no longer. Auckland Transport in coming days will get some very strong messages that this now vibrant, bustling shopping and business hub is not going to be pushed around by a bunch of bureaucrats hell bent on implementing a new traffic management and road safety plan that is completely over the top.
At the heart of the issue is the addition of 12 raised zebra crossings that will cause the elimination of 40 car parks mainly along Tamaki Drive. Such is the popularity of St Heliers that any reduction in car parking is a travesty and the complete opposite to the infrastructure needs of the village. Hopefully AT will listen, learn and understand the needs of the community and a suitable compromise is reached.
Bruce Eliott, St Heliers.