Won't get fueled again
It seems ironic that Phil Goff is proud that the council has purchased 20 environmentally friendly EVs (NZ Herald, June 24) but, at the same time, promotes all the benefits of the regional fuel tax. As Goff knows, EVs pay no petrol tax. The benefits of the regional fuel tax are paid for by the dirty fuel users the council is so against. Don't you think, Phil, that EVs should be paying their share of roading and public transport costs?
As more vehicles become EVs, the council and the government are going to have serious revenue problems.
Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
Has anybody else had the problems I have, as an ordinary taxpayer, trying to get information or help from our Inland Revenue Department?
Now everything is computerised, Big Brother says we do not need to make an annual return. In the past, I have been able to do everything manually, claim the expenses of my financial advisers against my tax bill, and get a small refund. This year IRD claims that as it knows everything, I do not need to do anything.
It does not send out an IR3 form unless you write rude letters, and it gets revenge by not sending out a Tax Guide.
If you ring, the answering machine asks a lot of questions about you and then says, "Sorry, we are too busy", and hangs up!
If you try looking up the website, even if one has a MyIRD, it is difficult to find what you want. The "search keywords" does not produce the answers one is looking for.
As a taxpayer, and ex-public servant, I think it is now one of the worst departments I have had to deal with. I have wasted ages on the phone, or unsuccessfully looking through the website, and there isn't a street office so one cannot visit in person.
I have two master's degrees and have played useful roles in society for many years, so I do not think I am as stupid as the IRD succeeds in making me feel.
Letters: Eastcliffe Retirement Village, fuel tax, end of life choice and trucks
Letters: Oranga Tamariki, Welfare, Lizzie Marvelly and Israel Folau
Letters: Brian Gaynor, babies, self defence, e-scooters and Kane Williamson
David Speary, Northcote.
Weighted blankets (NZ Herald, July 1), raised a nostalgic chuckle in our house today. Back in the day our bed covers were well weighted and "one's self" sometimes felt as though an elephant was in bed with you.
First came the unbleached calico sheets (cheaper and lasted longer than posh cotton ones), turned sides to middle when they wore thin. In winter, it was a pair of proper sturdy flannelette ones. On top of this went a pair of heavy 100 per cent wool blankets in a cheerful coloured check made at the Kaiapoi Woollen Mills. An extra woollen blanket was permitted in the frosty weather – this wasn't an Auckland winter. On top went the eiderdown, a feather-filled creation covered in shiny down-proof paisley material, heavily quilted with pockets that could be refilled with feathers if necessary.
Funnily enough, as kids we never seemed to be overly concerned about sleep. It was something you did after reading for a while with the light on and then under the pile of bedcovers with a torch.
Continental blankets (remember them in the 1970s?), and then the duvet, revolutionised bed covers and bed making for ever. Sweet dreams, whatever you fancy tucking up with.
Aileen Hart, Havelock North.
The forest fire disasters that have arisen from the planting of eucalyptus and pine trees in Portugal, Spain and Greece should serve as a warning to New Zealand of planting too many pine forests. They ignite far more readily and spread tinder sparks far quicker than our indigenous forests, an important consideration, particularly up north with the rapid increase in heat waves.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
It is now halfway through the year and, according to my reckoning, the Auckland train network has so far been totally or partially out of action for a staggering 26 days (NZ Herald, June 25). This figure does not include failures due to accidents.
As the strategy of AT is to funnel all their bus passengers to the nearest railway station, this means that when the network is closed, the Auckland transport system is largely paralysed. The euphemistically named Rail Bus is little more than a token service and not a practical nor realistic replacement.
The posters plastered around the empty stations justify the cancellations because "important improvements" need to be made. Can AT then give us any assurance that there won't be such shutdowns, equivalent to one day a week, in perpetuity? After all, if only the "important improvements" are being dealt with at present when will the "unimportant ones" be attended to? If this carry on is allowed to persist even after the City Rail Link has become operational, then it would be a logistical and financial disgrace. As John Roughan recently warned (NZ Herald, June 17), the CRL will inevitably be a heavy cost to the economy and we all know the price will be a good deal more than the current estimates.
Nigel Shaw, Clover Park.
So John Roughan (NZ Herald, July 1) worries that the End of Life Choice Bill will make some people feel like a burden and therefore want to end their lives.
Does he think this is not happening every day already? And is it not up to us all to try to allay their concerns?
Those of us who have seen our elderly, in pain, terminally ill loved ones choose between suicide and starvation to end it all would far rather they had had a peaceful, painless option if they so chose.
Feeling like a burden is always going to be part of the human condition.
Having to die in pain should not be.
Jane Dent, Herne Bay.
John Roughan puts his finger precisely on the chief concern I have about the End of Life Choice Bill (NZ Herald, July 1). No "safeguard" in the world will stop some, particularly among those who feel they are a burden, believing that they have an obligation to choose euthanasia. This is chilling. And it is very hard to see the logic of restricting this choice to the terminally ill surviving in years to come. In contrast, the logic of improving access to good palliative care is compelling.
Stephen Howie, Lucas Heights.
Ride to nowhere
Mayor Goff's grand Eastern Busway, funded by the regional petrol tax, is a complete waste of ratepayers' money. Many homes have been removed along Pakuranga Highway for what? A dedicated bus lane from Pakuranga Plaza to the Panmure Railway Station. Later, this will be extended to Botany Town Centre, a journey three quarters of which is an industrial and commercial precinct.
There is no parking at either the plaza or Botany so where will the passengers come from? The new busway goes nowhere near the heavily populated areas of Howick, Bucklands Beach, and the greater part of Pakuranga.
Auckland Transport has heavily reduced the bus routes in these areas, forcing many commuters to walk 15 minutes, often in inclement weather, to the nearest main road where they may catch a bus which runs only to the Panmure Station where they must wait and board a train to the city. There are no longer any buses which take you direct to the city.
The Eastern Busway should be called the South Eastern Busway, or perhaps, Goff's Folly.
Trevor Elwin, Half Moon Bay.
For those of you who have not yet come to terms with no plastic, please get moving. You do not want to be remembered as the generation who did nothing.
Truly it is so easy once you get cracking. i.e. shopping bags always in car boot, if one should forget to take them into store, merely throw everything into the trolley. All so simple and, I promise, it becomes second nature. Don't let us become known as the generation who did nothing to halt this appalling error of plastic bags.
Judith Bouwman, Torbay.
Short & Sweet
With so many people in the US already spending so much time trying to get elected or re-elected in 16 months time who is, in fact, running the states and the country?
Mike Wells, Kawerau.
The only message I got from Friday's Democratic debate (sic) was that all the contestants wanted to go to the loo at the same time.
John Clements, Orewa .
The continual expression of right-wing columnist du Plessis-Allan to try and undermine the leader of the Labour Party and government Jacinda Ardern is rather tiresome.
Susan McLaren, Titirangi.
The extra fuel tax is a burden for us all but when people say "it's not easy to make ends meet" it would be good to challenge them how much of their purse is going on cigarettes and drugs, excessive alcohol and gambling, and junk food.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Paid parental leave of $585 per week for nearly six months. I hope these lucky parents think long and hard about the two generations before whose taxes are paying for this wonderful bonus.
Linda Lang, Henderson.
I've noticed that in photo captions the Herald invariably follows the "man and wife" style. I am a woman and would like to believe I exist as a person first, supplement second.
R France, Devonport.
Perhaps the CEOs of our telcos and banks would like to, once a week call their own 0800 number and see how they like the service they provide?
Robert Bicker, Gulf Harbour.