Tackle our housing crisis first
The Business Advisory Council is saying we have an infrastructure crisis. Far more crippling though is our housing crisis — the still growing number of homeless and the lack of affordable accommodation for renters and buyers.
The continuing high immigration needed to cover labour shortages in so many sectors is making it worse.
So, any skilled construction labour force we can muster should first be building places for people to live, not roads to drive on.
This is proving to be a very big ask, as KiwiBuild has shown.
Apart from capacity constraints, we are in the grips of climate change, so we need to prioritise low-emission rail and public transport, ahead of major roading projects that encourage more vehicles. But very top of our to-do list must be housing.
As beautiful and visionary as Scandinavia's Oresund Bridge is as an infrastructure model, it is not relevant to our current top need — housing.
B Darragh, Eden Crescent.
My deepest sympathy to New Zealanders who are needlessly suffering.
I have been using medicinal cannabis in the form of a tincture, just a few drops under the tongue morning and night.
I suffer from nerve damage to my feet, and while this does not compare to the degree of suffering you are enduring, this still severely impacts my quality of life.
In Denver, Colorado, I buy a 50/50 CBD/THC tincture which alleviates a lot of my pain. In Colorado they do not sell any THC free tinctures, as it is understood that the THC is necessary to carry the CBD through your body.
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In New Zealand I can buy CBD only through a doctor who is prescribing it. For me it is better than nothing, but very inferior to the product I can buy in the USA. I cannot get Sativex (which has THC) here without a specialist signing off on it, which they won't do.
Next year we will be able to buy medicinal cannabis in New Zealand, but unless the specialists are cut out of the loop, it will still not be truly available.
It seems that New Zealand is afraid that people may get high on these medicinal products. This does not seem to happen when it is taken in this form, and I have been told that I certainly would not fail a drug test in Colorado.
I have been prescribed all kinds of pain relief (opioids) which have scientifically proven side effects as I have discovered. For me the side effects are worse than the pain. I experience no side effects on the cannabis.
David Lord, Te Pahu.
Most agree that possession of marijuana for personal use should not be a criminal offence, and there is widespread support for medicinal use. But in a country figuring so highly in all the worst statistics of mental health, alcohol binging, suicide, addiction and road deaths, should we be so keen to throw a psychoactive drug into the mix?
As New Zealand tries to reduce smoking rates — legalising may well send a message that this is a safe drug — remember most people that use cannabis don't use filters.
So far it is only legal in four countries and even then there are strict regulations — wouldn't it be better to decriminalise it and see whether use increases and make sure our testing regimes are up to par?
A quick internet search brings up many deleterious effects — altered senses, changes in mood, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem-solving, impaired memory and, with high usage: hallucinations, delusions and psychosis. Many experience paranoia and depression.
Also, marijuana stays in the system much longer than most drugs — a first time user may test positive for up to four days, a frequent user up to 10 days, and a heavy user one to two months — these are the people who might be driving the school bus, chopping down trees and treating you in the emergency ward.
When this goes for referendum next year, let's hope all voters will be empowered with all the knowledge and the latest research to allow them to make a truly informed choice, and pray that we are not just treating future generations as guinea pigs in a drug experiment.
John Clark, Glen Eden.
Gun owners respect
To all the gun owners who've handed in their guns, thank you. To Nathan Dougherty (NZH July 14) who gave up his Rutger Mini-14 because "it was the right thing to do", thank you. Respect, aroha, thank you.
Lori Dale, Opotiki.
It was always envisaged the Hobsonville Pt bomb site and historic buildings would become a historic reserve under the Reserves Act 1977. Just get on with it.
Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
Correspondent B. Robson writes about the "animal" Hamuera Tierney who viciously attacked Dutch tourists when in their campervan in Northland and says we are a nation of mongrels.
While I totally agree there are mongrels — just watch Police Ten 7 — I don't think his description is relevant to the majority of law-abiding New Zealanders.
Linda Lang, Henderson.
Council caused delay
Simon Wilson suggests a strategy of delay by those who oppose Takapuna carpark development.
Auckland Council caused the delay by turning the issue of development of this flat open space in Takapuna's heart into a peculiar debate about a town square rather than accept in 2017 that residents and the local board wanted to preserve the entire space for the wellbeing of the growing population of Takapuna into the future.
Susan Wann, Milford.
Oranga Tamariki does not uplift infants because they are Māori.
They uplift infants and vulnerable children of any race, colour, creed because they are deemed to be at high risk of abuse or neglect.
Pamela Putland, Papakura.
Urban development link
Fran O'Sullivan hits the nail on the head by suggesting that linking Auckland well with Tauranga, Hamilton and Whangarei with "first-class infrastructure" would create a city-region able to compete on the global market for investment and talent.
Some of us have argued the case for an upper North Island urban regional strategy for more than 20 years.
It has fallen on deaf ears mainly due to successive governments ignoring the importance of regions and spatial planning in the modern economy, while successive Auckland councils blinded themselves with the "compact city" delusion.
We can only hope that Phil Twyford, the Minister for Urban Development — now free of the distracting Housing portfolio — will grasp this historic opportunity and direct the soon-to-be Urban Development Authority to tackle this long overdue project.
Dr Dushko Bogunovich, Pt Chevalier.
Where's the dam?
Interesting to note Auckland may be heading into a water crisis as low rainfall means low reservoir levels as we look toward summer.
I have a 1978 "NZ Topographical Map" which shows the "Lower Mangatawhiri Dam Under Construction" in the Hunua Ranges.
As far as I am aware that dam never eventuated. Maybe it is time to dust off the plans?
Murray Reid, Cambridge.
To those lamenting the decline in English language standards I add the demise of those beautiful words numerous, many, and several — replaced by the catch-all "multiple". Is this the evolution of a language or just another creeping Americanism?
Greg Moir, Kerikeri.
Mobiles for elderly
The idea of a simplified mobile phone sounds great. I'm looking forward to the next version that only does phone calls. That's all my elderly father needs when he is out and about. Big number keys and speed-dial would be perfect.
Chris Thompson, Rothesay Bay.
Petrol tax loss
Bearing in mind that Government and local body taxes and levies account for more than half the cost of a litre of petrol, what will the situation be in, say, 10 years' time if people change to electric vehicles, which now outnumber petrol ones?
Money flowing into Government and Council coffers would be greatly reduced. My guess is a levy would quickly be put on to electricity to compensate and result in extra cost every time a householder turned on an electric light. I can't see that going down at all well.
H.E.H Perkins, Botany Downs.
Have the nimbies stopped to think about what will replace Whenuapai airfield?
Perhaps industrial complexes, high density housing and bumper to bumper traffic at what once was Hobsonville airfield.
Peter Culpan, Te Atatu Peninsula.