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.

The big talker of the day so far is the announcement due today about the Government's Capital Gains Tax plans. What are your thoughts on the CGT?

What about other matters of politics? Business? Sport? 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.)

Yvette Williams was a Kiwi to be proud of

It is fitting that tributes should pour in for Yvette Williams who with Edmund Hillary was a post-World War II icon. I put their achievements together as equals for putting New Zealand on the international stage and lifting us out of the post-war depression, giving us something seriously to be proud of.

Yvette set the stage for Murray Halberg, Peter Snell and John Walker's achievements soon to follow, and more than any other athlete in the realms of sport, made all New Zealand men for the first time, and I was one of them, make us so very, very proud of our women.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.

On poll

Simon Bridges should stay as leader as he will be an enormous Labour Party asset at the next election.

Murray Hunter, Titirangi.

Scared to attend

The representatives of Auckland Transport couldn't show at the residents' meeting on Monday night because they were scared of being attacked by locals.

Of the 600 who turned out to protest, more than half were over 60, and many like me are in their 80s. AT are not scared of kids on e-scooters, but terrified of elderlies on walkers?

What rubbish. The plan to upgrade St Heliers crossings is unnecessary, and will destroy the heart of the village. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Rob Elliott, Kohimarama.


Birkenhead too

I am wondering who makes decisions about which village or suburban streets to carve up and change for the worse. I am thinking of the designs for St Heliers. This village functions excellently, there are few accidents and everybody gets a parking space. AT's decision to place 12 crossings and eliminate more than 40 car parks is poor. Cannot the council think of more important areas to spend our rates?

Birkenhead is a shopping centre that has been despoiled recently, with the loss of seven mature palm trees, motorcycle and car parks and shaded seating. No aesthetic thought has gone into the planning. It makes me angry when the people who live in an area or village have their views trampled on.
Chris Blenkinsopp, Beach Haven.

Australasia's worst

Your correspondent Dr Spencer is correct. Designed to deliberately increase congestion, Auckland Transport's continuing changes to our roads are idealistic, anti-car nonsense. In Australian cities, increases in public transport and roading are seen as equally important.

Auckland is the most congested city in Australasia, where distances, terrain, and often poor weather demands the use of motor vehicles. We need a total reversal of AT's out of control, dogmatic, disastrous policies. Positive action is urgently needed.

Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.

Julian Assange

Is there no respect in the Herald or defence of whisteblowers and journalists who expose grievous human rights crimes and corruption? Late in December, United Nations human rights experts repeated their 2015 ruling that the UK immediately allow Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder editor, to walk free from Ecuador's embassy in London where he was held over six years, fearing arrest extradition to the US if he left. The UK refused to comply with this decision. The Swedish sex charges were found to be invalid by Swedish prosecutors years ago.

Assange is being persecuted by US and UK authorities for revealing US war crimes, torture, and civilian casualties in US-led wars, and human rights abuse and corruption worldwide. Recently senior judge Christoph Flügge resigned from the UN's International Criminal Court, claiming the US had threatened judges after efforts to examine the conduct of US soldiers in Afghanistan. Where will we be without international law?
Kay Weir, Wellington.

Problems not understood

Peter Gluckman's comments on Monday are highly relevant and need careful consideration. The world faces major threats from not only global warming but population growth, pollution, food supplies, resources etc. These are set out in Julian Cribb's book, Surviving the 21st Century, which should be read.

It sets out in detail the threats to the survival of homo sapiens. These measures will prove difficult for politicians because of ill informed public. Only by informed debate can we hope to survive.

John G. Smith, RD Papakura.

On crusades

Your correspondent Teuila Fautai forgets to mention there were two sides involved in the crusades and each committed savage crimes in the name of their religion. Would Teuila be as offended if the Crusaders had been called the Saracens?

Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.

Kiwi drivers

I regularly drive overseas and realise New Zealand has the worst drivers in the world — rude, aggressive, impatient, entitled. The high road toll is simply a reflection of a nation of untrained drivers who are never held to account. The speed limit is a joke. We give a driver's licence to anyone who can memorise 25 questions. Defensive driving courses are a threatened species.

Do you know how to lower the road toll? Make defensive driver training mandatory, and have severe penalties for even small traffic infringements. This happens overseas and, wonder of wonders, fewer people die on the roads.
Jules Riding, Whangārei.

Poor instruction

Overseas visitors often comment on New Zealanders' lack of driving skills. In particular, they say we tend to tailgate and drive arrogantly. Why are we such inept drivers? Maybe it is because professional driving instructors and examiners do not place enough emphasis on keeping safe distances, signalling and road courtesy.

Barry Nesdale, Bethlehem.

Shane Jones

I have never been a fan of Shane Jones, but I watched an interview on Q+A. His vision for our provinces was a revelation.

We all know we have lost control of our forests as they have been sold to overseas companies. This has pushed the price of building up and taken away the advantage we once had with a renewable resource. The plan to plant trees on land better suited for forestry and in areas of low job opportunities is a long-term goal that will benefit future generations.

The only disappointing thing about the interview was the person interviewing Jones. Why do people concentrate on personality rather than content? It has been a long time since we have seen someone who has a vision for this country and who is actually implementing it.
J. Hansen, Hastings.