To look tough on crime, governments increase penalties, create new crimes and make it harder to get bail.
The English Common Law system we use was carefully built up, crafted and altered to fit modern times. However, New Zealand has no protections such as an upper house, or constitution. The party in power encompasses both the executive and the legislature.
Hard cases make bad law, and many urgent and recent changes have been driven by hard cases. Defences, such as provocation, built up over hundreds of years are near instantly removed.
We need a proper criminal law committee the Government cannot just instantly override. The law society needs to push for these protections.
Our law is making it increasingly difficult to defend the innocent, driven by victim-based ideologies. Many protections of the innocent have been removed.
At plea bargaining and sentence indications, the summary agreed to is often the high point of the prosecution case. People found not guilty after months or years in custody, receive no compensation.
In the past decade, criminal conviction numbers haven't dramatically changed but we have three times as many in prison. One third are on remand.
No matter how fairly our judges apply our laws, if the laws themselves are unjust, then justice cannot be done.
Ted Johnston, criminal barrister, Manukau.
There is an old saying that says "stick to your knitting", or something like that. What happened to Spark Sport over the weekend (NZ Herald, September 21) is exactly what happened to Telstra when it set about streaming the Football World Cup in Australia.
Once upon a time, as the fairy tale goes, they were both successful telephone companies. Is there a message there?
Phil Chitty, Albany.
So the Acting Prime Minister is "demanding answers" about the problems encountered with the live streaming of the RWC.
The way I see it, this is a company providing a product that has failed. Like any good company should, Spark has then taken the appropriate steps by communicating fully, refunding their customers and working to fix the problem. End of story.
This is not an issue that warrants government attention. Surely there are far more pressing matters such as roads, housing, health and education for the Government to focus on.
I certainly hope we don't see another taxpayer-funded inquiry set up to investigate the spoiling of Winston Peter's Saturday night entertainment.
Sue Kurtovich, Tauranga.
Can we please have accurate times published for the kick-off of all matches from now on? I'm guessing most people, like me, want to watch the actual game. Not an hour of preamble, advertising and speculation.
New Zealand vs South Africa was widely advertised as a 9.45pm match. In actual fact, it never started until 10.45pm. To me, this was highly annoying and an insult to people's intelligence.
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.
The claim in Cameron Burrows' opinion piece (NZ Herald, September 18) says the low-user electricity tariff disadvantages high-consuming poor folk. That falsehood is copied from Electricity Networks Association's campaign of misinformation.
The electricity industry propaganda avoids recognising that the low-user electricity tariffs (30c/day fixed) typically charge 6c/kWh more for the variable component of that tariff, compared with high user tariffs (e.g. $1.75/day + GST). Funding electricity distribution comes mostly from the variable charge not the daily rate. Half of domestic consumers are on the low-user tariff and pay their fair share of distribution costs through a higher variable rate.
The electricity industry focuses only on maximising its income by encouraging consumption of its "product", even where that aim conflicts with energy efficiency and conservation, or social and environmental objectives. The electricity industry is strongly lobbying the Government to scrap the low-user regime, which favours domestic PV and sustainability, because it doesn't suit their commercial objectives.
The fixed tariff component of domestic electricity supply should just cover the cost of metering and billing (e.g. 10c/day), with all other costs being covered in the variable per kWh rate. Abolishing the low fixed charge regime would be a step in completely the wrong direction.
Steve Goldthorpe, convenor, Sustainable Energy Forum.
It's not surprising Lindsay Roke (NZ Herald, September 19) is vexed about power pricing and average consumption data. Much confusion can be blamed on regulations which force retailers to offer either a "low" 30- cents-a-day fixed charge or standard (e.g. $2 a day) fixed charge to residential consumers.
This requirement - based on so-called "low" annual consumption of 8000 kWh, well in excess of the 7100 kWh average - doubles the already high number of tariffs in the market, and misrepresents the true cost of generating power.
Lines companies wholeheartedly support retailers in wanting the low fixed-charge regulations removed - and quickly.
In addition, the low fixed-charge creates a $170 million cross-subsidy - meaning larger households pay more than they should for retailers and networks' fixed costs, and effectively subsidise the costs paid by low users.
With energy affordability a real concern, particularly for those low-income, large households in energy hardship, is it fair they should be expected to cover the difference in the full cost of providing network access to low users?
Removing the low fixed-charge will reduce the cost of electricity for these families.
Removal is vital to ensuring we have a reliable, modern, and sustainable electricity system.
Graeme Peters, chief executive, Electricity Networks Association
In reply to the writer (NZ Herald, September 20) questioning the need for school lunches and asking: "Is the reason large families? If so. Parents could be taught about contraception."
Contraception is freely available to all adults and teenagers in this country so why does the taxpayer have to fund another hand-out to irresponsible people breeding unnecessarily?
In Spain, the welfare is available for two children only, and up to the age of 3. From then on, it's up to your own resources, not the taxpayers. Therefore children are wanted, loved, clothed, educated and fed. Surprise.
Christina Cairns, Matakana.
I see that the United Nations intends to de-platform from the climate discussions shortly to be held in New York countries that hold approaches with which said United Nations disagrees. Amongst those recalcitrants are Japan, Australia, United States, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Just to compound the felony, China and India, two of the biggest coal-burners, will be invited to speak. It is easy to get matters passed when the opposition is barred from speaking.
G N Kendall, Rothesay Bay.
The fishing industry has mounted an aggressive advertising campaign to claim that they are not responsible for the deaths of Hector's and Maui dolphins.
All reputable scientific bodies have established that 95 per cent of the deaths of these dolphins are caused by set netting and trawl fishing in the areas they frequent.
Set netting and trawl fishing must be banned out to the 100m depth contour in these areas if we are to have any chance of saving these dolphins.
More sustainable fishing methods need to be developed.
Margaret Gwynn, Napier.
Pania Newton delivered a 50,000 sign petition on Ihumātao to the Beehive. She has mobilised New Zealanders worldwide to action the modern way: Getting the public to visit the camp at Ihumātao; interacting on Facebook, and marching to the PM's electorate office for the unjust treatment of a site, rich in history and culture values.
The Kate Sheppard petition was 20,000 - a great woman. There seem to be no public outcry with the Government buying her home from private ownership.
I urge the Government and Auckland Council to cough up and buy the land back, it should never have been rezoned to residential.
Nicky Auld, Manurewa.
Letters: School lunch, climate change, Spark coverage and Ihumātao
Letters: Erebus memorial, house flipping, history, Ihumātao and Lizzie Marvelly
Letters: Free lunches, monetarism, heroes, Kiwibank and Tuia 250
As at a few days ago, seven people have died in the US from vaping-linked causes. With smoking cigarettes it invariably takes a number of years before the smoking-related diseases develop, yet with vaping it appears that people can die within a very short time after becoming addicted to it.
There has been a lot of misinformation circulated concerning vaping, such as "it can help cigarette smokers quit" and that "vaping is less harmful than smoking" – which is like saying that being run over by a car is less harmful than being run over by a bus.
Evidence suggests many young people, who were non-smokers, have taken up the vaping addiction. From the number of retail outlets peddling the vaping drug that have sprung up all over Auckland, and no doubt all over New Zealand, it has become big business.
One attraction of vaping is that it is much cheaper than smoking cigarettes, which is because vaping does not attract the same taxes as cigarettes.
Over 20 countries have banned vaping outright which a number of others have severely restricted its use.
It is about time our politicians took this deadly addiction seriously and take appropriated action to protect the health of our young people.
Brian Alderson, Glen Eden.
Short & Sweet
Congratulations to Spark Sport for modernising the way we watch sport, admittedly in my case with a new TV and fast broadband. It was so cool controlling the game from my iPhone, the quality was excellent, the commentary refreshing and the setup simple (and I'm over 60).
Stephen Moore, St Heliers.
I advise people to cancel Spark and watch the game an hour later like I did. It's the same score with no hiccups and disappointments. Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangonui.
I watched three Saturday RWC matches on Spark Sport, no problems all good. Competition in this media will enhance customer viewing in the end. Reg Dempster, Albany.
Is Brad Webber entitled to claim the unemployment benefit while on tour with the All Blacks? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
What did you guys do, hold a contest in the newsroom on who could create the biggest superlatives? It's only the opening of the tournament. Leave some in the gas tank for later.
Albert Kabili, Campbells Bay.
Dear World - Please refrain from doing anything out of the ordinary for the next 6 weeks that may clog our newspapers; we have the Rugby World Cup to worry about down here. Thank you. Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.
I just have to get this off my chest. Some 55 years ago as a young man, I attended a party dressed up as a North American Indian. Like Justin Trudeau, I realise now how insensitive I was and apologise. Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill.
How gracious of Mark Thomas to step down from his Remuera mansion, and visit Dominion Rd and Eden Terrace to "experience a bit of urban life". I hope he enjoyed himself, and experienced how the other half have to live. Heather Stonestreet, Lynfield.