Hello and welcome to New Zealand's Herald: Let's Talk, the feature on the Herald site which offers you the chance to comment on today's news and views.

We want to hear your opinions - and help answer your questions - on anything from the big issues of the day.

Politics? Business? Taxes? The news that two million Kiwis have a police alert on their names? The story behind NZ nurse Louisa Akavi being held by Islamic State? Tiger Woods' win at The Masters? 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 letters@nzherald.co.nz

To get you warmed up, here's a selection of letters to the editor from today's Herald. Do you agree with our correspondents? Or are your hackles raised? Well, have your say! (Please note comments will be moderated before publication. Comments may be edited, abridged or discarded.)


Ditch ramp signals for road tolls

Mike Hosking is correct that people do love their cars and this can be seen with record numbers of new registrations and Auckland's traffic congestion getting steadily worse every day.

If the Government and Auckland Council really want to address Auckland's traffic congestion and have people seriously consider alternatives to using cars, the congestion-causing on-ramp signals on the motorways should be replaced with tolling.

Tolling would create a fairer user-pays system which would provide more funding to pay for much-needed transport projects and to improve public transport to a standard which makes it more attractive than using a car on Auckland's congested roads.
R Anderson, Pukekohe.

Excessive penalties

Like many others, I applaud most of the regulations controlling anything from dog licences to pharmaceuticals and not least firearms. But can someone please explain why regulations fall so heavily on anything to do with fish, oysters and apparently, crustaceans.

To incur a $62,000 fine and be banned from earning a livelihood for three years — as recently imposed for illegally catching 200kg of crayfish — any other miscreant would have to commit a truly heinous crime.

This does appear somewhat excessive given how lenient recent penalties have been for manslaughter, massive fraud and, of late, non-payment of dog fines.
Robert Burrow, Taupō.

Eden Park's future

The discussion over the future of Eden Park centres around a 10- to 15-year horizon.

That time would signal the intention of a high intensity entertainment and sports usage to allow those who live there now to plan their own move elsewhere. As an incentive, a high density change to the Unitary Plan would assist residents financially. Just do it.


D Reid, Cockle Bay.

City-wide view

John Tamihere's campaign launch on sports facilities would have been better with even the slightest attention to the north, east and south of the city.

Garry Law, Auckland.

Taxing the well-off

Rocket Lab's Peter Beck asks "why are we taxing a low wage economy further?" The answer is that we cannot suck any more tax from the pockets of low-paid workers so we have to fund new houses and the needs of the health and education sectors etc by taxing the more well-off with new sources of revenue such as a more comprehensive capital gains tax.

This will not affect start-ups as it does not become payable until well down the road. The owners of billion-dollar companies routinely tell us their search for growth is not about money but about the challenges, so will be happy to pay a proportion of their gains in a CGT.

Bob van Ruyssevelt, Glendene.

Doomed sinners

Israel Folau's list of the doomed is incomplete. The Bible teaches that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's standards, and unless we repent of our sins we are all destined for hell.

J E Martin, Cambridge.

Jesus' condemnations

Peter Armstrong's hyperbolic claim that Christianity is becoming "public enemy number one" needs to be challenged, for he has completely misread the Bible's New Testament. Jesus spoke and exemplified dramatically original messages of love, forgiveness, redemption, inclusiveness, non-materialism, non-revenge, new life.

He was involved mainly with society's less fortunate. His few condemnations were reserved for those who abuse positions of power.

David Blaker, Three Kings.

Danger of Garand rifle

Your correspondent, Edward Hamilton ( April 11) described the American Garand rifle as a historic weapon. That rifle was the standard issue for American troops and for some, possibly all, British commando units. With the number made, I am sure there are quite a few still floating around; any still in good working order would still be a very dangerous weapon.

This is a semi-automatic rifle. The magazine contained only seven rounds in a clip, fed in from the top. As soon as the last round was fired the clip ejected, ready for another clip, it took only a few seconds to reload by a trained person. The Government is right to get rid of them.
J Longson, Kawerau.

Questions for the PM

Audrey Young in her Saturday columns (April 13 and 6) has nothing but praise for the Prime Minister. This has come about because of Christchurch shootings.

Maybe in her next few columns she would question the Prime Minister's handling of and promises made at election time of Kiwibuild, child poverty, homeless numbers, light rail, Shane Jones, strikes by junior doctors, teachers etc, so-called confrontation by Winston Peters to the Turkish President. The list goes on.

Maybe she could confront the performance of the Prime Minister on the multiple issues facing New Zealand.
Mahendra Kumar, Ōtāhuhu.

Euthanasia's Trojan horse

Leighton Smith has done what I would expect all MPs to do — examine both sides of the euthanasia issue.

He is clearly sympathetic to the pleas of those who fear they may lose control at the end of their lives and become a burden to others.

And yet he comes down clearly on the side of rejecting David Seymour's bill. This is because whatever form such a law might take now, in 20 years it would be very different.
Smith also says that any form of the law would be a foot in the door, as has clearly happened overseas. I agree with him that Seymour's law would be a Trojan horse with unintended dangerous consequences for our society.
Bert Jackson, Hamilton.

Braunias on the button

In Saturday's Herald, Steve Braunias wrote his funniest, tongue-in-cheek piece ever. He summed up human beings succinctly.

We are all the same, no matter what land, colour or religion. We all think and speak what we have been taught from an early age by parents, religion or schools. Luckily about a third of all adults do think beyond the square, laugh at the diehards, live an unconcerned, open life and show us how ridiculous most of us think, behave and act.
Susan Lawrence, Kohimarama.

Valorise properties

For a capital gains tax to be fair, the Government should valorise (evaluate) all properties prior to the introduction of the CGT (fix a date of the valorisation, say September 1, 2020) and use those prices to work out the capital gains by subtracting the valorised price from the sale price. Taxing this difference would be fair rather than taxing the difference of purchase or building, maybe 60 years ago when the price of that property may have been $50,000 only, against his sale price of a $1 million if he sold today.

This method called "indexing" is applied in many countries.

Sunil Saxena, Manurewa.

Designate footpaths

Like a lot of sunsetters I have a bucket list, some of frightening proportions but none as heart-thumpingly, adrenalin-pumping as walking on the right-hand footpath from the CBD to Parnell.

Bicycles and scooters abound, whizzing around me and coming close behind me while on the opposite footpath, a shared pedestrian/cycle path and beside it a cycle lane built for purpose at great expense remain hauntingly free of any activity whatsoever.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if one footpath was designated pedestrians only and the other cycles and scooters.
Elaine Lunken, Parnell.

Downtown mayhem

An amateur managing the current downtown project would have seen merit in the installation of "temporary" or even permanent pedestrian overbridges or overpasses at several traffic choke points downtown at the ferry terminal and lower Albert St intersections that are now awash with plastic road cones and causing severe congestion, even for those using the buses and highly touted public transport system.

Prior to the project, I recall some council or AT officials travelled, at our expense, to several overseas cities to evaluate how real experts with experience solve the problem of fluid dynamics of people and traffic intermingling to apply a simple solution to a problem in the busiest part of the CBD of our major city.

Doesn't seem much was learned, if the congestion is anything to go by, as the budget for the project blows out along with the frustration of Aucklanders.
Max Wagstaff, Auckland.