Bad driving and bad road design will not be fixed by on-ramp traffic lights.
As an analogy, imagine if, between 7am and 10am, and again between 3.30pm and 7pm you were not allowed to flush your toilet because the infrastructure couldn't handle it. Like the antiquated ripple power controls of yesteryear, what if every Auckland home toilet had a light that only came on once every 20 minutes for 5 seconds. If the light wasn't on, you could not flush. One would have to let the "pile" back up.
That is exactly how ridiculous our traffic controls are.
Perhaps fewer phases per cycle, green lights longer than 4 seconds on Auckland arterial roads, and drivers who actually accelerate through a traffic light rather than ooze through so the next car gets a yellow. And, how about a huge tax levied on businesses for each employee scheduled to start between 7.30am and 9.30am or finish between 4pm and 7pm?
For a supposedly 24-hour city, Auckland has a rush hour worse than cities 10 times its size. And it is only because of stupid driving and bad planning.
Mike Binis, Henderson.
Car rego anomaly
If registration is such an effective crime prevention and control measure, how is it that after 100 years or so of car registration, still, everyday, cars are stolen and disappear forever with no one held to account?
Despite every legitimate car owner being required to register his/her car since almost the inception of car ownership this has not prevented the criminal use of cars. Registration of the car to the owner would certainly steer the authorities towards the true owner of the burnt-out wreck, but not the criminal that stole it.
Isn't the reality that registration is a twofold measure, a tax on the honest citizen and a sop to the unthinking electorate to buy votes?
Greg Keenan, Waipapa.
Letters: Economy, criminal deportees, EV cars and Ihumātao
Letters: Vaccination, deportation perspective, appalling driving and Queen St paper
Letters: Heather du Plessis-Allan, death, cricket and tunnel vision
Tower and sea level
The proposal to built a 39-storey tower on Auckland's waterfront is astonishing — astonishing because the map of the waterfront showing the areas expected to be underwater by 2050 includes this site.
Climate scientists, meteorologists, geologists and others who produced this map for publication in NZ Geographic have predicted a rise in sea levels and extreme storm surges that will affect a long stretch of the existing waterfront. Do planners not consult these academics? Are they not advised of the areas likely to be flooded? Or will the proposed building have its lower levels designed for the tide to wash under?
Jacqueline Walker, Parnell.
Living in space
Where did Jamie Morton get the notion that "50 years ago Kiwis ... could never have conceived that their tiny country ... would have its own place in space?" I'm sure he made it up.
In fact the 60s and 70s were times of great, if not excessive, optimism. We imagined that by the end of the century we would be living on the moon, we would have flying cars, personal space travel, a personal jetpack, and a dog named Astro. Every kid wanted to be an astronaut.
We grew up with futuristic TV programmes such as Stingray, Thunderbirds, Joe 90, UFO, Space 1999, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Doctor Who, My Favorite Martian, and, most futuristic, The Jetsons. The documentary series Beyond 2000 ran for 15 years. Even non-science fiction TV such as I Dream of Jeannie had a space element.
The reason why the low budget cheesy Star Trek became a cult classic was because it fitted the zeitgeist. A dystopian series would not have worked.
Fifty years ago it would have been inconceivable that New Zealand would not have its own place in space.
Tony Cooper, Mt Albert.
Great to hear confirmation that the Government will soon re-introduce licensing of all civilian firearms. Gun lobbyists have responded by calling for greater emphasis on gangs and criminals rather than "law-abiding" gun owners. This is deliberate mis-direction, ignoring the fact that most gun deaths and injuries in New Zealand are caused by law-abiding gun owners rather than by gangs.
New Zealand is awash with guns, but since gun licensing was abandoned in 1983 nobody knows exactly how many and who has them.
With fully cross-linked registers of both guns and owners police will be able to immediately verify that a firearm is either illegal or illegally possessed. Unlicensed weapons should be immediately forfeit. Police will be able to hoover up illegal weapons because they will no longer have to prove that a particular gun was used in a specific crime.
Cars and their owners are licensed, so why not guns?
Graeme Easte, Mount Albert.
The Ministry of Transport states that around 30 road deaths per year could be avoided if people were wearing seatbelts.
While most people would agree that driving while under the influence of anything is not acceptable, the police already have a process to blood test drivers who are believed to be intoxicated. It remains unclear about how many lives this would actually save.
I would suggest we're not focusing on the thing which would conclusively save the most lives — educating all people to wear seatbelts.
Ray Calver, Grey Lynn.
According to the Ministry of Health about 500 people die every year from flu in New Zealand, but they don't seem to have any statistics about the number of children dying from measles. The ministry website refers to a 2011 outbreak in which 595 got measles, but it seems there were no deaths. Any searches into the number of deaths seems to only turn up various dangers, but no statistics. Should the wording used by the ministry and the media not be changed? Instead of reporting that 595 were infected should we not say that 595 people were naturally immunised? If we admit that only people that haven't been immunised can get measles, then an outbreak shouldn't be feared, and attention should be given to teaching parents what to do in the event. The Herald should share the responsibility of getting the word out and toning down the narrative.
Paul Vermaak, Beach Haven.
Losing rugby players
Graham Henry's thoughts over the weekend were spot on. We are slowly but surely going to be a nation that watches rugby and only the top elite players will participate.
In the North Harbour area the drop-off of participation of boys that leave their clubs and go to high school is staggering.
The one grade that is relatively healthy in Harbour is the under 85kg grade. Sir Graham's idea that NZ Rugby should put more resources into this grade is correct, however I wouldn't hold my breath.
One other way to try to arrest the player decline is for the clubs to keep players for another two years so they can play weight/age-grade rugby.
That way club coaches could chase them up at the start of the season to get them along to register.
It would also see good young coaches and parents stay with their rugby clubs for another two years to enjoy the atmosphere that exists at rugby clubs on a Saturday morning.
Clubs in the Harbour area know how to administer junior rugby. Keep it going for two more years. If something is not done it will be too late.
Peter Hogg, Whenuapai.
Super City envy of many
John Roughan is right when he reminds us that Auckland's business community lobbied for a single city. But we need to remember that the idea went through a full Royal Commission, so many interests had a say and we have a structure that is the envy of many in Australasia — despite Roughan's hankering for the past delights of conservative politicians running the city.
One has only to look at public transport in Wellington to see what we narrowly missed. An unreformed structure with multiple levels and local bodies, and with politicians in various hands-on roles, has delivered a network that has Wellingtonians in uproar. AT is a dream in comparison.
Auckland has some massive projects on the go — Interceptor, City Rail Link, America's Cup, to name a few. Do we really think politicians could run what are in effect major businesses?
Peter Davis, Kingsland.
Short & sweet
Your correspondent Glen Stanton wonders why our government doesn't price a car registration beyond the means of the average person. He then goes on to answer his own question when using Singapore as an example. In Singapore, car registration is so expensive, only the rich and famous drive cars. Sorry Glen, but our roads have been paid for by everyone for the use of everyone, not just the rich and famous. Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
The true test of ineptness is when a leader of a ruling party cannot distinguish between his opposition criticising his leadership or his country. Trump failed that test. Axel Hansen, Auckland Central.
The proposed date restrictions for dogs on beaches is not well thought out. Proposed date restrictions are set to end on March 1 when the best swimming in Auckland is March and into April. D Reid, Cockle Bay.
John Roughan's opinion piece on Monday was spot on. I've spoken to many people who live in my area and we all think the same: Goff and crew have to go. Susan Lawrence, Kohimarama.