Ardern's support

Full marks to the Herald for publishing details of Jacinda's inner circle of close political friends and advisers. There seems to be one name missing, that of Helen Clark.
That said, I must admit that on reading the article various descriptive words came to mind - very left wing, inexperienced (except for the administrative staff who have been there before), ideologues, and lacking in finance, business and management experience and acumen. I shuddered and felt a cold chill running up my spine, re-read the article and the chill got colder - A bad omen ? A
harbinger of doom? Of course not as bad as that, but I was left wondering what might be round the corner and what path we might be treading. Thanks to the Herald for exercising my mind.
Steve Clerk, Meadowbank.

Ihumātao land dispute

Greg Smith's excellent article gave information about recent events in relation to the Ihumātao land dispute. The Volcanic Cones Society has an honourable perspective for protecting the volcano.
Two issues omitted from Smith's article need to be addressed. The first is the acknowledgement of the tāngata whenua. The truth about how the Wallace family had the opportunity to buy the land is not told. In the mid-1800's, military acting on behalf of the crown grabbed the land and forced the people off their land which forced a move to the Waikato. Soldiers burnt their waka and destroyed their kāinga (village) and highly productive gardens. This land was later sold to colonial families of the day and has since been on sold, in this case to Fletchers.
The second issue is the blind-eye turned to the buying of stolen property, which is a crime in Aotearoa. If I purchased stolen property I would rightfully be prosecuted and have those items confiscated. Sanctioning a powerful company to buy stolen property, when it is illegal for the common folk to do so is a hypocritical abuse of power.
The honest solution is to return the land to the tāngata whenua from whom it was stolen.
Merilyn McAuslin, Mt Eden.

CCO review

It is a myth perpetrated by Auckland Council and CCOs and accepted by many ratepayers that CCOs are a law unto themselves.
In your editorial you rightly say that CCO board members can be removed if not meeting Council expectations. You say that the time to review CCOs was yesterday. But I say it was the day before yesterday.
The correct starting point is for the council to clearly establish in measurable terms what it wants for the huge sums of ratepayers money it is handing over to the CCOs. Having done that it needs to find and select board members who are qualified to deliver on the Council expectations. They also need to have regular reviews with their appointees. It is no use turning around complaining about CCOs if the Council isn't absolutely clear what it wants in the first place, doesn't make the right appointments and doesn't monitor what appointees are doing to get the measurable results it wants.
The considerable number of complaints (big and small) about AT comes down to council mismanagement which has allowed AT's arrogance to become acceptable.
Bruce Anderson, St Heliers.

Cannabis law

Regarding all the hoo-ha about recreational cannabis turning New Zealand into a country of "stoners"; those who want to smoke, already do, whether illegally or not. Those who don't want to smoke, won't start even if the law says they can. I don't think much will change.
Chris Blenkinsopp, Beach Haven.


Health services

The Herald has done the country an incredible service in the series on cancer diagnosis and treatment . However, I believe this just the tip of the iceberg .
There are three basic problems. First, the medical profession have essentially exempted themselves from any financial liability for their failures, which are picked up by ACC and all of us who contribute to this fund. Say what you will about the American practice of suing - it certainly makes the medical profession face up to their potential liabilities.
Second, it is absurd that a country as small as New Zealand has so many DHBs with their consequent bureaucratic inefficiencies. French medical care (thought by many to be the best) and the US Medicare system seem to operate very effectively with one national administration, why can't we?
Third, although Pharmac is lauded for its ability to extract blood from pharmaceutical companies the down side is Kiwis frequently do not get the most efficacious medications because they are under patent protection and are not available as cheap generics. Plenty of examples of this are evident in the drugs available outside New Zealand for treating infections, depression, schizophrenia, hypotension and arteriosclerosis, to name a few of the afflictions with which I am familiar. Only God knows how many Kiwis have died from a lack of access to the most effective medications, but I do know of at least one – my brother.
Ericson List, Papamoa Beach.

Plant food

Alan Gautier paints the idea of replacing meat with vegetables as a massive load of extra work, but appears to be operating under two misapprehensions large enough that I suspect him of satire.
He apparently thinks that meat animals teleport themselves to consumers and arrive in a convenient ready to eat form; apparently meat and milk doesn't already arrive in tins and plastic containers, but that they would need to should they be made from plants. The fact is that animals too need to be processed and packaged and transported, and usually need
quite a bit more work done to them than plants require.
Also, animals do not live on air and sunlight. It's plants that do that. Animals live on plants. An animal needs 10 kilograms of plant crops to be grown and fed to it for it to synthesise one kilogram of meat. Growing plants to feed animals to feed humans has a middle step that throws away 90 per cent of a farm's productivity.
Morgan L Owens, Manurewa.

Head injuries

It was interesting to read about the head injuries sustained while playing sport . A few years ago, I was commanded to play the gentleman's game of soccer, as it was known then, rather than the thuggish game of rugby.
Unfortunately, no one instructed me on the finer points of the game, so when the ball came my way from above, the effect of a sodden leather ball on a stationary seven-year-old's head had the same effect as a pile driver.
This resulted in a rapid switching of sporting codes with less battering of extremities but many bruises in my quest for fame. I've sometimes pondered whether that almighty thump on my head on my soccer debut had any effect on me, which could be noticed at least by some others in later years.
Ted Partridge, Mangere.

Mall rescue

I wish to thank all the kind people who rescued and helped my husband and I on Thursday, last, at Milford mall.
We got the walker stuck in the escalator, it kept on moving and we both fell. As we're both 90 years of age, we couldn't get up.
So many people helped us. One lovely lady (an Australian on holiday with her pregnant daughter, just one week from baby's arrival) stayed with me until the ambulance arrived. Also the kind security guard who brought a warm blanket and chair for me.
Also much thanks to the ambulance staff and all the staff at North Shore Hospital for the wonderful treatment and kindness.
Odette James, Hibiscus Coast

Blues cues

It is always easy to criticise a losing side so the Blues are the ones on the block again. For a start, a side that spends so much time in the opposition half must be doing something right and for the opposition to be penalised so many times illegalities are the name of defence.
Perhaps the discussion should be about the rules and the administration of them?
Ma'a Nonu looked to have scored but no TMO. Twice the Blues rumbled over the line with the referee not in good position but decides no try without TMO.
The Beauden Barrett intercept, was he onside? The Hurricanes decided
better to concede a penalty rather than a try, hence the scrum farce under their posts,
Leon MacDonald has this side playing well they just need the rub of the green to get a result.
Reg Dempster, Albany.

Population growth

Thank you for giving Letter of the Week status to Brian Main's comments on the world's unsustainable population growth.
While New Zealand is currently attracting positive world attention, it could be timely to announce, and adhere to, an intention to greatly reduce our immigration numbers. Not only would this be a powerful way to focus on our own impact on Climate Change, it could be a tiny step towards other countries attempting to address their own population issues. This concept of growth, without regard to consequences, is no longer acceptable. Anywhere.
Dianne Blumhardt McKinnon, Morrinsville.

Short & Sweet


I just read your editorial about CCOs . Spot on.
John Clements, Orewa.
On Archie

What's the betting Archie becomes Archie bald if those Windsor genes kick in?
Dean Donoghue, Papamoa Beach.
On population

We worry about leaving a devastated world to our children and grandchildren. The problem is that they are the problem. There are far too many people on the planet already.
Richard Kean, Ngongotaha.
On Mallard

In the house of barnyard noises ... The duck is king.
Larry Mitchell Rothesay Bay.
On Body

A brilliant cartoon from Body. There is one difference between the Chinese who understand the art of war and Trump who has no idea of how to make a deal!
Rod Lyons, Muriwai.

Someone needs to teach Guy Body the art of setting up a chessboard: dark square in the bottom left hand corner, white queen to the left of the white king.
Raymond Coventry, Farm Cove.
On videos

The news that Jacinda "inadvertently " watched the 17-minute Christchurch video brings to mind morals protector Patricia Bartlett being offended after watching hours of porn.
Greg Moir, Kerikeri.
On halfback

Could Steve Hanson and co please let us, the great unwashed, into the secret as to why Brad Webber is not in the All Black squad?
Jock MacVicar, Hauraki