Bullying blights lives of all involved

It is astounding that, in 200 years of schooling, teachers have not managed to eliminate bullying (NZ Herald, May 13). Parents have a legal requirement to send their children to school, school boards and teachers should have a strict legal requirement to keep those children free from physical, mental and emotional harm.
Children should be taught respect for people, animals, the environment and for the property of others. Respect should be taught to infants at home and in daycare right through primary until the end of high school. It should be taught with
as much diligence and time allowance as is given to English or maths.

Abused adults protect themselves via police and lawyers. Why is there an expectation that young people, who are not worldly wise, take care of themselves when they are being so damaged?
Why are teachers and school boards so blasé about the biggest problem there has ever been or will ever be in schools? Bullying costs lives. When someone is being belittled, degraded, harassed and/or physically abused, maths and tech drawing have absolutely no relevance whatsoever for the victim or for his/her family. It is a problem with huge repercussions in the homes of victims, a problem which will blight the future lives of both victims and perpetrators.
Glen McKenzie, Avondale.

Population growth

It is excellent that we are finally having a conversation about the "P" word. There has been great reluctance to discuss population for fear of a "one child" policy, forced sterilisation or some terrible government anti-family programme. Finally we learn that recent population growth is due to net migration and not New Zealand's birth rate. The
Ministry of Immigration has complete control over future population growth. Rates of immigration are set by regulation with the government of the day in complete control. With "wellbeing" as our new standard rather than GDP growth, it makes sense to consider a steady-state target for New Zealand's population. Five million is the logical number we should be aiming for. Do we want keep increasing population until we lose all our beautiful sea views and un-touched beaches? Do we want all our prime vegetable-growing land covered with houses so we have to eat greenhouse food? Let's discuss the five million population target.
John Caldwell, Howick.

Christchurch Call

Considering the vast number of people blasting their way off to Paris from all corners of the globe for this social media summit, I wonder why they didn't just conduct it via the handy platform of social media. Prudent businesses wisely utilise that in place of expensive conferences. In this case, it would be a massive saving in time, travel expenses as well as the resultant hot air emissions.
Colleen Wright, Botany Downs.



The programme, Educators , has been reviewed as "a dark, hilarious take on the brutal existence of a teacher".
This show can only be seen as hilarious by someone who has no idea how seriously teachers take their job.
The actors are clearly playing their roles with no real experience of life in a school these days and so they mock and denigrate educators and school staff. It is particularly distressing to have this demeaningly negative portrayal of our hardworking teachers at a time when they are trying to get a pay rise for their increasing workload, their increasing responsibilities, and their dedication to the teaching profession. The teachers I know take their jobs seriously; they are professional and well organised, they care about their students, they prepare for their classes, they work long hours supporting their students and communicating with families and outside agencies. They also give their time to cultural and sporting activities.
The actors and director of Educators might think they are being clever ad-libbing but it is not amusing seeing teachers being portrayed as feckless individuals. Real NZ teachers are worthy of our respect and deserve to be better paid for the work they do.
Penny Bradley, Titirangi.

Teacher strikes

After nine years of gloating about never spending money, we are supposed to listen without reaching for the bucket to Nikki Kaye and Simon Bridges jumping on the bandwagon to media, demanding teachers deserve more money.
This Government is offering more than was ever offered or apparently anywhere near even asked during the entire National Party rule.
We all want teachers to be paid better but for the National Party to be gloating over the strikes and the teachers to not explain why they didn't ever strike like this during the previous nine years seriously tests my sympathy. I am sure many of them voted National as well. Perhaps they would like to explain, why so vociferous now, why not before?
Sam Cunningham, Henderson.

New cycleway

I have just had the pleasure of biking the new - not quite fully opened or completed - walk/cycle-way along Te Auaunga Awa (Oakley Creek). This is a truly outstanding piece of work: from vision and concept through planning, design and execution.
Some residents of Mt Roskill may have been grumbling about the long and disruptive construction of the Richardson Rd underpass but, now completed, this links a continuous chain of walkways from Great North Rd, Waterview, across the very impressive bridge over Oakley Creek, through to New North Rd, Alan Wood Reserve Park, over the elegant arched suspension bridge near the motorway tunnel, and now through the recently completed Underwood and Walmsley parks section to Mt Roskill War Memorial Park and May Rd, a distance of some 6km but with numerous access/exit points along the way.
The whole project is an exemplar of habitat restoration, conservation, naturalisation, community collaboration, landscaping, planting, architecture, engineering, construction and workmanship. Oakley Creek has been completely revitalised, now running clear and fresh.
There is an innovative play area for children, incorporating traditional Māori play artifacts and numerous other family-friendly features.
This is a community facility that all Aucklanders can be proud of.
Chris Chadwick, Mt Albert.

Reserve Bank

Herald columnists John Roughan and Liam Dann raise legitimate concerns, that all New Zealanders need to be worried about. The Coalition Government, selecting and appointing a committee, to add biased voice to the cash rate that the Reserve Bank sets, that affects everyone in NZ. This is just blatant political interference and manipulation of the worse kind. How can anyone have faith in what the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Adrian Orr, has to say in future? He should resign in protest but don't hold your breath!
John Oliver, Remuera.

Driver training

I've been listening to this mumbling from police for decades. Thousands die on our roads. No one cares, no one has the balls to suggest the drivers are at fault. No one ever mentions driver training. We spend billions on safer cars and safer roads, but zero on driver training.
Overseas countries train their drivers (40 hours of defensive driving lessons in Germany) but in New Zealand, we get people to memorise 25 questions, then give them a licence to kill. We have weak penalties for breaking any traffic law, unlike Australia which has harsh penalties. The Aussies have a lower road toll than us.
But still no one cares - or dares suggest the aggressive, entitled, driving ethos in New Zealand is the killer.
Jules Riding, Whangārei.

Bill Shorten

In an otherwise straightforward article (NZ Herald, May 13) about the impact on Westpac of the rulings of the Banking Royal Commission in Australia, the Herald's business writer Christopher Niesche has a paragraph without context about Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, in which he calls him "the most left-leaning alternative prime minister in decades".
Is this true, or is it the kind of pre-election image-shaping manufactured by political opponents and by hostile sections of the Australian press?
In an item a year ago in the respected The Conversation by a professor of history titled "Miss-red: why Bill Shorten is not a socialist", Shorten was termed "a garden-variety centre-left leader". Professor Bongiorno of the Australian National University argued that Australia had been touched lightly by the Global Financial Crisis, and this had removed populists of the left and right that have afflicted European, British and American politics. He concluded "there are no Jeremy Corbyns lurking in the Labor caucus room".
Rather than demonising Bill Shorten we should see in him a potential constructive partner and count ourselves lucky that New Zealand has enjoyed stable, moderate, reforming governments since the turbulence of the 1990s.
Peter Davis, Mt Eden.

Dangerous dogs

It is a good thing that the Government sees fit to limit lethal weapons. Allowing people with a dog that has proven dangerous - and bitten a nurse - to continue to keep it is wrong. It should be mandatory that the dog be destroyed. Our hospitals report dog bites as a major source of work.
It's time the Government made the destruction of both unregistered and dangerous dogs a matter of urgency. People are more important than dogs.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel.

Short & Sweet

On Tip Top

I'm certainly Trumpeting the Tip Top sale with a debt of $800m - it's more than a Memphis Meltdown and, while it's been a Rocky Road, the Joy Bar must now be resonating!

Robyn Speller, St Heliers.

Tip Top has been sold to a foreign company. Let us see how long it takes them to close the factory and move production to Australia.
C C McDowall, Rotorua.
On bullies
Clearly the bar for defining bullying is far too low. Some young children don't even know the difference between teasing and bullying. "I'm the king of the castle, you're the dirty rascal!"
C Johnstone, Grey Lynn.
On climate
During its long history the globe has suffered severe ice ages and heat waves - so could someone please tell me exactly when the climate started changing for the worse?
Jasmine Archer, Windsor Park.
On spending
The Coalition Government constantly announces new spending initiatives but, other than increasing the Auckland petrol tax, has announced no new initiatives to pay for its spending commitments. When will it run out of cash?
Mike Baker, Tauranga.
On Air NZ
Well done Mr Luxton. Freezing your $4.6m per annum salary for 12 months whilst our airline goes through a tough patch is truly a remarkable sacrifice.
Chester Rendell, Paihia.
The Stanford Plaza can take a run and jump. Capitalism is predicated on risk. Surely the hotel has that other bastion of capitalism, insurance, to cover unseen circumstances?
Juliet Leigh, Pt Chevalier.