Summer break shift a win-win

Moving the summer holidays back to start in the last week of January is a perfect solution to the missed sunny weather. The tax year finishes on March 31, so why can't the school year finish on an Anniversary Day holiday on the Friday of the third week of January? Exams and the marking of them could continue till then. Christmas can have a one or two-day statutory holiday as can New Year, apart from that, it is work as usual.

I've noticed Christmas stress is increased because everyone is trying to finish work projects in time. This plan would alleviate that problem too.

Janine McKenna-Woodley, Orakei.

The 'real' Uncle Tom

Gareth Morgan clearly hasn't read Harriet Beecher Stowe's world-famous book Uncle Tom's Cabin before quoting it. Uncle Tom is the proud black male slave who stands loyal to his fellow blacks, defies his master's order to whip the other slaves, and stakes his own life protecting the two black women attempting to avoid white man's domination. What a fine compliment Garth Morgan paid to Winston Peters.


Max Cryer, Mt. Eden.

Stressed Principals

The Herald would have us believe we need to feel sorry for school principals. People starting a new business would laugh at those hours and they don't have the guaranteed generous fortnightly income for a greater source of stress than what is a fairly basic and well-heeled administrative role. Those climbing the executive ladder in large companies would have similar stress levels but without the guarantees of a lifetime secure income. So stressed principals (if they exist), get a life.

Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.

Summit road closures

I wish to add my voice to those correspondents objecting to the proposed closure to cars of Auckland's spectacular summits. As a senior citizen, I find the decision an act of discrimination against the elderly and infirm who are physically unable to make the gruelling trek up to the hilltops. The stunning views from the summits are some of the great treasures of Auckland which give huge enjoyment to locals and visitors alike. Arbitrarily taking these away from those unable to climb seems to me the mean and heartless exercise of a newly acquired power over the majority of Auckland citizens.

Cherry Hankin, St Heliers.

Cars blight the cones

Ken Graham and Leigh Marshall are outraged that the Maunga Authority has, out of respect for the cultural and spiritual values of Auckland's maunga, opted to keep cars off the summits of a number of them. From the point of view of this pakeha Aucklander, good job.

The authority's application of cultural values is no threat to anyone. And our historic cones are far more pleasant and naturally splendid places without being blighted by car parking and the traffic it inevitably generates.

Ross Inglis, Eden Terrace.

Rodeos should be banned

It is long overdue that rodeos are banned in this country. The recent video footage shown on TVNZ's 1 News was horrifying, with an extremely young calf being roped by its back legs and viciously pulled off its feet and slammed into the ground. The look of fear in its eyes was obvious evidence of the cruelty inflicted on it. A horse lost its footing due to the extreme way it was ridden and fell to the ground with its neck bent backwards. I wondered if this was the horse reported to have broken its neck in a recent rodeo?

A rodeo representative then claimed the footage was "inconclusive" and that Safe was "not credible". What planet is that guy from? How anyone can find this "entertaining" is beyond belief. This is a cruel and outdated event that should be immediately banned.

Margaret Anderson, Auckland Central.

Paying for separation

It seems to me if a developer wants to cut up some land into sections he has to get water, sewage and stormwater to and from the new sections. The price of this work gets added on to the price of the sections. It appears the properties causing most of the sewage overflow into the harbour want the rest of the Auckland ratepayers to pay for them to get the sewage and stormwater separated.

Why not just levy the offending properties which often are on the top of the list for most expensive suburbs in Auckland? Over 100 years it would be less than a $1000 a year. Job done.

Hugh Chapman, Hingaia.

Intercity terminal

The intercity bus terminus at SkyCity is rather dingy and not ideally located. Many buses arrive and depart at periods of peak traffic which makes for stress and delays when meeting or dropping off passengers.

It is a nightmare to find up to 30 minutes of parking nearby in order to help passengers with luggage or mobility problems, so a suburban location with adequate parking does have merit.

Nor is SkyCity handy to many other buses, trains and ferries. This suggests Britomart or somewhere on Quay St would be much more convenient.

Ian Dally, Henderson.

Gloomy view

Rachel Stewart's worldview is so dire and misanthropic it beggars belief but her latest meandering through her dark and gloomy mindset gives us the possibility of "having to punch a Nazi" soon, in New Zealand and a gleeful prophecy of civil war breaking out in America.

NZ does not need this fearmongering and depressive negativity about almost everything. And yes, readers can always skip over it and many do.

June Kearney, West Harbour.

Unaccountable agencies

Had Watercare been run by a publicly elected board responsible to ratepayers, the debacle of Auckland's waste water affecting the harbour would have become a political issue long before now. Ratepayers were never given a choice between polluted beaches or an early start to work to prevent such events. Instead we have had forced upon us a Local Government Act that allows bureaucrats to dictate to ratepayers where and when their money is to be spent, rather than the other way around.

Further, much is carried out under a cloak of secrecy that is only exposed when there is a massive failure or a fait accompli. Witness the attempt by Ports of Auckland Ltd to construct a wharf out into the harbour.

This style of central planning by publicly unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats who alone decide how public money is spent is more akin to a communist state and has no place in a modern day democracy.

Neal McCarthy, Auckland Central.

Developers should pay

Bernard Orsman's article in Tuesday's Herald made interesting but worrying reading. It is unforgivable that the council lets development go ahead knowing the stormwater systems are inadequate.

Having land on the edge of the rapidly developing Flatbush area, we are unable to subdivide. We are told the stormwater and sewage system in the area is already overloaded and yet dozens of new houses are still springing up almost daily.

The developers appear to have so much influence over the council in all aspects of planning. Should they not be made to contribute more to the cost of the infrastructure?

Annabel Haddrell, Manukau.

Booking risk

Why complain that an "Airline charges family $248 to change names"? If you want a "flexible" fare, enabling you to change dates, times, names, Jetstar offers it at additional cost. It's right there in your face when you book.

It's tough when you get sick, or your house burns down, or your car gets stolen but if you don't like risk, don't take risks.

D. B. Smith, Napier.

Asleep in custody

Have we lost all sense of proportion in dealing with offending teenagers? What was a 14-year-old girl doing in the street at 4.20am? The report says she was arrested and charged in relation to an assault and robbery in the Wellington CBD along with several other youths who were then transported by police to their homes (at taxpayers' expense). The report also says the police rang the girl's mother between 7 and 8.30am asking her to pick her up, but the mother rang back at about 3pm asking where her daughter was.

The daughter had fallen asleep in the interview room and she was "immediately" taken home.

In my opinion there are no grounds for Police Association president Chris Cahill to say that "it simply isn't good enough" for a 14-year-old girl to be kept in a locked room for that time. Surely, it depends on the circumstances and in this case it seems to me totally warranted.

Robert Scolige, Hamilton.