On December 8, 2017, I sent an email to the top executives of Federated Farmers expressing my concern at their apparent lack of action regarding the sad financial state of Fonterra.
As the hard-working farmers' elected representatives, I expected more action from them in regard to addressing Fonterra's financial woes and the obscene remuneration package of their chief executive.
It did it not even receive the courtesy of a reply.
That same week, I read Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers' national vice-president reported to have said: "I will be keeping an eye on Fonterra's management bl**dy bonuses next year". Well, if he did what did he do about it? It would appear that it had absolutely zero effect.
It is only now nearly two years later that the top executives at Fonterra have seen it necessary to implement a pay freeze of their top staff.
There have been questions asked as to why the farmers have not been actively protesting in the streets but you have to ask why we have not heard more from their national body representing them. Let's hope that the latest round of financial results from Fonterra due this week do not result in more doom and gloom. Otherwise watch out Fonterra – those farmers will not remain silent forever.
David Williams, Thames.
Your correspondent Gary Arnold (NZ Herald, September 10) mentions "possible flight paths". These are actual flight paths and have been for decades. The runway directions have not, nor will not, change.
The residents of most of the North Shore and Rodney will surely rather a shorter commute for domestic travel. The NIMBY brigade purchased property in this area knowing full well the type of activities carried out at Whenuapai. Will they be like the residents around Western Springs (speedway and concerts) and Eden Park (rugby) and call for these activities to be stopped?
Auckland needs another commercial airport, especially if there is a major incident at Auckland International.
Dennis White, Hobsonville.
I could not agree more with the comments from your contributor J Leighton (NZ Herald, September 10) about the doom merchants advertising funeral insurance on television.
Having faced almost a year of intensive cancer treatment, operations and radiation and now facing a challenging future, the last thing I need to be reminded of is that we need to have a "heart to heart about kicking the bucket".
I contacted one of the companies advertising these services and I have to say the response seemed to be "couldn't care less".
We have almost worn out the mute button on our remote!
Colin Watson, Green Lane.
Recently declassified US documents show the CIA spent billions on secret arms smuggling to the Mujahideen as far back as 1980. That later lit the fire from which emerged the Taliban.
Negotiations in Geneva finally ended the Soviet conflict in Afghanistan, but the Mujahideen were not part of the agreement. Now the US seems to be repeating the same mistake by withdrawing from peace talks with the Taliban.
The latest revelations about our GCSB and its involvement in disseminating material obtained under torture, no questions asked, confirms that we remain a submissive Five Eyes partner. Despicable methods lead to tragic outcomes.
In the first six months of this year, according to a UN report, the US allies and the Afghan forces were linked to more civilian deaths in Afghanistan than the Taliban.
New Zealand should withdraw its remaining defence personnel from Afghanistan and Iraq and promote peace negotiations instead.
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert.
The NZ Army spends money every year running advertising campaigns to attract recruits. They only accept NZ (or Commonwealth) citizens or permanent NZ residents (those who may have lived the previous five years in NZ, Australia, Canada, the UK and also the USA).
I can understand historical reasons behind NZ accepting only candidates born or having lived in a Commonwealth country, but why are those requirements waived for US citizens and not for candidates born in other European countries (since UK is still part of the EU)?
Are US candidates (simply for being born there) more worthy of security clearance or better prepared than their European counterparts, regardless of individual merits? It could be perceived as a discriminatory and unfair criterion. I fail to see the logic in rejecting valid European candidates when nowadays there are myriad ways to run background checks on anyone and to easily and reliably exchange security information between countries.
Perhaps it is time to open a debate and modernise those potentially unfair NZ Army criteria to align them with current times, an area which NZ could pioneer as it has historically done in fields like human rights, social equality or environmental protection, to name a few.
Xavier Vidal, Shelly Park.
My mother, the late Whaea Rhea (Ritete) Wilson was a Māori language and cultural educator. Punished for speaking her native tongue as a young girl, she courageously reconnected with te reo in the mid 1970s. It totally transformed her life. She immersed herself in the Te Ataarangi method then taught at the Waikato Polytechnic. From there, she taught at the Hoani Waititi school with Dr Peter Sharples until her passing in 1995.
My mother never spoke Māori at home yet was known as a wonderful orator in whaikōrero. There are a few theories on why she didn't teach us but the truth will remain a mystery.
I studied Māori language at Waikato University. Once I finished my studies I quickly realised that there is nearly no Māori communication in the marketplace. There is at specific Māori events and gatherings but not on an everyday basis. I live in the Far North where there are plenty of Māori but still not a lot of te reo spoken on the street.
Overcome the fears of making mistakes and have a go. What's the worse that could happen? Everyone has a good laugh.
Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangonui.
There has been talk recently, including from Steve Hansen, regarding a lack of support for Pacific Islands' rugby. This discussion should not just be about players. Where are the opportunities for referees from those countries? Look at the officials' panel for this year's RWC, the global showcase of the sport. The appointees are from England (6), France (5), New Zealand (4), Australia and South Africa (2), Wales, Ireland, Argentina and Japan (1). It is great to see our Ben O'Keeffe (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua), among them.
There is greater ethnic variety in the referees appointed to Sevens tournaments but where are the opportunities for referees from the Pacific Islands to gain further experience, perhaps in our domestic or Super Rugby competitions?
We delight in the play of Fijians, Samoans and Tongans when they are wearing the black jersey but there should be concerted local efforts from New Zealand Rugby to encourage Pacific peoples to take up the whistle.
The game, if it is to be one of equity, sorely needs them.
Matt Elliott, Birkdale.
K Rd cycleway
Narrowing Karangahape Rd is a mistake.
The cycleway between the footpath and the bus is a recipe for passenger injury. I am a paraplegic and use public buses regularly. To take a bus already involves an element of risk, inconvenience for fellow passengers and additional heavy work for bus drivers.
I get on with my electric wheelchair, others who struggle to get on or off a bus include the blind, the deaf, people with walking frames and those pushing prams.
I have been transported by ambulances to Auckland hospital twice in the past eight weeks via Karangahape Rd. Without the narrowing, the skill and patience of these first responders is tested by the constrictions and the behaviour of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians along the road. My fear is the ability of essential services to provide their current services may be put at risk.
Did Auckland Transport and the Waitemata Local Board engage with St Johns and The New Zealand Fire Service and their unions for their opinions before embarking on these dubious improvements to such a main thoroughfare?
It is not too late to cease. Alternative routes for cyclists are available. Public safety and the best access for emergency services should be paramount.
Gerry Hill, Ponsonby.
Barbara Grace (NZ Herald, September 11) said "nine years of National in charge with so little to show for it and much to be ashamed". But they did many good things.
One thing I really appreciate - even now, every day, driving to work - is Sir John Key changing the give way rule on corners so that cars turning left now have right of way over cars turning right.
Before the law change, on a four-lane highway, if turning left you had to guess if the ones turning right would wait for the cars behind you in the other lane that were going straight ahead. No problem now.
There are so many other great things National did in those nine years but sorry I have sudden brain fade.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Short & Sweet
Letters: Diamonds, climate change, slave labour, Watercare and Paula Bennett
Letters: Measles, climate change, Whenuapai, Hong Kong and Robert Mugabe
Letters: Hydrogen hype, rail upgrade, RWC and climate change
From my research it would seem at least three sides at the Rugby World Cup will be wearing jerseys bearing the Canterbury Clothing logo. I take it they are aware that the logo shows three kiwis, so presumably they are supporting the All Blacks?
Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill.
It's obvious from the writings of Mike Hosking that he hasn't had one of Jacinda Ardern's hugs that others seem to enjoy.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
I reckon a city of 1-2 million does not need two airports. Maybe we ought to concentrate on getting better traffic flows throughout the region.
Stu McMonagle, Greenhithe.
The coalition would be better advised and make better use of taxpayers' money in debate and question time if they posed the question to Opposition members: "What do you then suggest?"
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
We totally agree with J Leighton (NZ Herald, September 10). The flippant way the ads treat death is both annoying and depressing. We just hit the mute button.
V Hall, Whangaparaoa
< < On synthetics
A friend of mine in Canada reports that the deaths of young people there from using synthetic drugs is so significant that they have changed the life-expectancy tables. John L R Allum, Thames.
And the winners with the most profit are the real estate agents who sold the properties in the first place, the hosts, the inspectors and the tradies. Karola Wheeler, West Harbour.
• Correction: On September 5, the NZ Herald published a letter which stated Auckland City is insolvent. The Herald accepts this is not the case.