Aged care premiums
It is heartening to see the care "industry" cash cow of complex premiums and "add-ons" being investigated (NZ Herald, August 20). Why has it taken so long and why is this occurring departmentally, regionally and piecemeal rather than nationally?
Despite our elderly paying taxes all their lives, our government has long relegated the care of our vulnerable elderly to others. This includes planning and transparency of costs. For the many who self-fund rest-home level care, the costs are upwards of $100,000 a year in Auckland. Indications are that such care need is to double in the next decade.
Like our current crisis of teachers, nurses and housing; let's brace for the usual "surprise" of under-resourcing and chaotic response.
Now that corporations have created an industry in the care of our elderly, they play the commercial strategy of overly complex options to bamboozle and confound those paying. Many in making such decisions are sadly in crisis and end up throwing their life savings and working-life legacies at it.
On a human level, my aunt was paying extra for a "ensuite" toilet. It ended up having two doors and being shared with a man on the other side. It had no locks and no privacy - a good little earner at $7280 a year for a WC and a hose with a showerhead.
Russell Hoban, Ponsonby.
I was an area supervisor for the previous three Census undertakings. My job, along with other supervisors, was to employ, train, and manage some 20 Census collectors to distribute and collect the individual and household census papers. As a supervisor, I was called upon to deal with people who either did not want to initially accept the Census papers, or to complete and hand them in. The objective was to strive for maximum coverage and return.
In the last Census exercise, recruitment was handled by an external agency who had no understanding of, or appreciation in the Census process. They did not appear interested in anyone who had prior experience and they were keen to let anyone know that this Census would be conducted very differently this time. One suggestion was that maybe there would be things like barbecues at which the public would be invited so the Census word could be spread amongst the populous. I was looking forward to the steak. But they didn't want old soldiers.
The employment agency, made up of bright young things, did not conceive of the notion that not everyone has a computer or even cell phone, let alone inclination.
The shambles of the Census results are a natural consequence of institutional ignorance.
Robert MacKenzie, Waiuku.
Peter Clapshaw's concern (NZ Herald, August 19) about the buy-back of MSSAs (military style semi-automatic firearms) failing is misplaced. Far from "modest support" by gun-owners, by early August the number of MSSAs surrendered or purchased exceeded 10,000. In 2018 the number of registered MSSAs was 14,878, though police estimate that the true number in circulation is probably nearer 20,000 and perhaps many more – nobody knows exactly.
It was never suggested that this long overdue process would be easy but the amnesty and buy-back scheme has several more months to run so hopefully many more of these weapons will be recovered. After the scheme ends in December, any one retaining an MSSA will be consciously breaking the law and their weapons liable to seizure without compensation, so there is a strong incentive for owners to comply.
By Christmas we should have recovered most MSSAs, but I expect it will take years to remove the last of these weapons from circulation. One of the biggest obstacles is deliberate obstruction by a minority of irresponsible gun-owners, despite their claim to be law-abiding.
Graeme Easte, Mt Albert.
Your port is the heart of Auckland. In partnership with the airport, it is the life blood of a city envied throughout the world. Your food and furniture come through the port, your family and friends come through the airport.
Politicians, environmentalists and occupiers of recently built tower blocks nearby may not think it is a "pretty" sight, but then a highly visible, beating heart probably isn't. Alternatives such as the Manukau Harbour are non-starters, with or without a canal costing billions and a dangerous and very shallow bar at the entrance. The larger ships coming into Auckland need and get 10 plus metres of water depth with minimal dredging. Everywhere else within 50km is either too shallow or too exposed to the weather.
The obvious economic solution to the so-called problem, is to enclose the container landing areas on the wharves, so the containers can be landed unseen onto trains connected to the adjacent railway modified to move cars and containers rapidly to existing inland "ports". No need for trucks in the city. No need to waste more of the taxpayers money on legacy dreams. Just a vibrant city admired throughout the world.
Rob Wightman, Rothesay Bay.
In his book "A Conversation with My Country", Alan Duff fully explains the problem. Most prisoners are in there because of the mix of welfare reliance, bad parenting and the associated pitiful education standards. Sure we need good in-prison rehabilitation and care on release, but greater community/iwi and government efforts must be directed at the causes. Stop the rot at conception and improve lifestyles, parenting standards, childhood experiences and employability. There are too many outstanding, successful, good and honest Māori for the problem to be an ethnicity issue.
Fiona Mackenzie, Whangaparaoa.
If an e-scooter is classified as a motor vehicle in the United Kingdom, why is it not here? In the UK, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter on the footpath and riders doing so can be fined and have points deducted from their license. The same should apply here. They are powered vehicles, albeit environmentally friendly, and should only be allowed on the road or in cycle lanes.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland Central.
In the 1970s I had the privilege of visiting the city of Munich. I remember being impressed when I walked up one of the main streets, which had a great, vibrant character.
I noticed that vehicles were only allowed to drive across it.
There was no traffic permitted along the street; that was for pedestrians, shops, cafes, leafy areas with seating, etc.
Possibly delivery trucks were permitted at certain early hours, but I'm not sure.
May I suggest that a similar restriction for Queen St would be a step in the right direction ... it's resurrection even?
B Watkin, Devonport.
I am impressed that your cartoonist Emmerson is not only an expert on climate change, but also now on building harbour bridges. His efforts, with those of your columnist, Simon Wilson, to get the current Mayor re-elected are becoming just a little too partisan. Perhaps Emmerson could explain where he gets his information from to imply that John Tamihere has shot himself in the foot by pledging to provide Aucklanders with a new harbour bridge, or is he just parroting Goff. My understanding is that the replacement plan has been vetted by qualified engineers and will cost significantly less than the council's plans to bring tourists in from the airport on light rail, down Dominion Road.
M A Pollock, Mount Eden.
Fonterra has a market cap of approximately half that of A2 milk today. A2 has flourished while Fonterra, with a virtual monopoly employing 2.5 employees to every one farmer shareholder, certainly has not.
Now imagine all of the approximately six million New Zealand dairy cow herds, currently predominantly supplying Fonterra, converting fully to A2 cows, including all of its cows in the loss-making Chinese battery farms, currently for sale?
We could then market our entire dairy industry to the world as fully A2 sourced? Our income goes up on likely reduced cow numbers as well.
Who knows, such a deal may even enlist the obviously very competent A2 board and management to lend a hand and may just be able to point the Big F in the right direction and shed a few layers superfluous management fat.
Fonterra needs to buy its milk at the lowest price possible whereas the shareholders (the farmers) want to receive the highest price possible. That's the quandary of a cooperative structure.
Now, if that new A2 milk all flowed in the same direction at anything like the premium A2 enjoys today, how could we as a supplier and a country not enjoy a lift across the board?
Just a thought from a chap who doesn't own one cow today.
John Yates, Birkenhead.
Short & Sweet
Letters: Reading, prisoners, obesity, the Holocaust and Simon Wilson
Letters: Port location, John Maynard Keynes, Westgate, rugby and HL Mencken
Letters: Food labelling, Eden Park, guns and value of rail
The wolf in sheep's clothing fleecing New Zealanders at the pump is in fact the Coalition Government.
Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
Congratulations to Auckland Volcanic Society's spokesperson G L Smith on his insightful article (NZ Herald, August 20). We live in hope.
Natalie Taplin, Māngere Bridge.
It is difficult to imagine how merely granting them the vote would augment the seemingly maximum degree of advocacy already being afforded to prisoners by the current government.
Jane Livingstone, Remuera.
Why can't we put some nurses in the local schools to vaccinate unvaccinated children, with parental permission?
Julia Vanstone, Pukekohe.
Damien O'Connor is on the money, suggesting Fonterra executives should take pay cuts for their incompetence but he should look inside the glasshouse and implement cuts to the rabble that is this Government.
Stephen Major, Tairua.
Simon Bridges struggles to recognise multiple factors influencing complex outcomes such as petrol prices and housing. Maybe that's why National was so hands off for nine years.
David Patterson, Porirua.
That the Ministry of Education is updating the Ready to Read series is to be welcomed as a realisation of the success of these books in the pattern of learning to read in a changing world.
Diana Burslem, Hillsborough.