Estranged in a strange land
It is important for migrants seeking to bring their elderly parents to New Zealand (NZ Herald, October 8) to realise sadly that family dislocation, and loss of intimate contact with loved ones, is an inherent part of leaving their home country for another land, a key factor in making the hard decision to go.
Estimates have one million Kiwis living outside New Zealand, the second highest diaspora in the OECD, by percentage of population, second only to Ireland, according to Massey University's Paul Spoonley.
Thousands of New Zealand families have children living overseas. Many older Kiwi parents are missing the close affection and support of their children, and bonding with grandchildren in far away places.
It came home to me recently when an old friend died, and his two daughters were living in Dubai.
My son and family live permanently in America, and I have been able to visit annually to see my grandchildren in recent years.
Many seniors cannot afford to do this and grow older away from their family and their support.
Unfortunately starting a new life means the cutting of old roots. Both old and new Kiwis must share this sad reality.
Bill Rayner, Devonport.
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The Government has just announced a massive surplus (NZ Herald, October 9). The reason is fairly obvious; we are being over-taxed.
If the Government wants to stimulate the economy, instead of planning on negative interest rates give us a tax cut. This would put real money in the pockets of ordinary people who will spend it and stimulate growth. This is a much better plan than taking interest rates to zero, which creates money by putting our young people even deeper in debt. And the first tax cut should be to stop taxing savings as our retired people suffer every time interest rates go down.
I bet most Kiwis would prefer a tax cut to a government spending spree, half of which will no doubt be a total waste of money.
Derek Wallwork, Takapuna.
I was interested to hear about the latest Nobel medicine prize awarded to three scientists researching the ability of the body to adapt to changes in oxygen levels.
In fact, I think Nature deserves a Nobel Prize as "she" designed the leaf and green flora to effortlessly create oxygen that keeps us alive.
I think too little is mentioned about our atmospheric oxygen levels dropping dangerously below 15 per cent of air. If so ... all other riches we have become meaningless.
Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
Bang a drum
What gives the bang-a-drum-and-hum brigade the right to disrupt people going about their daily lives in Wellington? They rejoice in hearing their own voices of protest. Do this lot do anything practical to clean up their streets and beaches? They blame but offer no solutions. Their arrogance is displayed when they cry "you haven't seen anything yet".
We have the privilege of living next to pristine beaches. My wife and I care for our environment by picking up plastic off these beaches, we recycle, live in a tiny home and support local initiatives to care for our town and local surroundings.
Actions always speaks louder than words. Credibility comes from what we do. Let's use our energy and time to do something constructive and positive in the world around us.
Steve Horne, Raglan.
I am pleased to see the proposal to build a seven-storey high-rise at Mission Bay has been denied resource consent (NZ Herald, October 8).
Such a development would have ruined the special character and irreplaceable charm and atmosphere of the local waterfront. Such a decision almost restores some faith in Auckland Council!
Henry Hawkins, Māngere.
True science hears all propositions and allows them to be openly contested. This leads to "truth" evolving as more information is analysed in the light of day. So it's concerning to have a university academic (NZ Herald, October 8) suggest that free speech must be contained within universities.
History demonstrates that when the ruling elite, the media or those with guns decide what ideology is and isn't acceptable for students to hear or is to be allowed in public discussion, then that society will fail.
I hope free speech is allowed back in New Zealand before that happens here.
Fiona Mackenzie, Stanmore Bay.
Bernard Orsman's story (NZ Herald, October 8) shows the rorts are still going on within these un-controlled organisations.
A large pic of Panuku's Roger MacDonald smiling - who wouldn't be smiling with a $80,000 salary increase, more than I expect some of his underlings receive annually?
Then another smiling face of Watercare's Raveen Jaduram. With an annual salary of $775,000, who wouldn't have a Lotto wining smile?
What do these guys do with all this money?
Then we have the most un-controlled organisation of them all, Ports of Auckland. This organisation runs rough shod over everybody and everything. Why is a five-storey parking building required for used cars? The sooner Winston Peters and his mate, the Prince of the Provinces, moves the port operation to Marsden Point the better.
I sincerely hope the new council members will bring these un-controlled organisations under control.
John Mead, Waiheke Island.
I read about pay increases for the chiefs at Panuku (NZ Herald, October 8).
As a life-long resident of Auckland - 70-plus years - I was horrified to read the article. It has made me revisit my election papers to make sure none of these so-called executives and associated clan are elected by me.
It says in the article that these chiefs are paid a bonus on Key Performance Indicators, (KPIs).
Well, I, and I am sure a lot of other fellow Aucklanders, would like to know what their KPIs are, as I don't see much evidence around Auckland, just a huge amount of money wasted in the wrong areas.
Ian Langley, Albany.
The Mt Erebus disaster memorial proposed for the Parnell Rose Gardens has been labelled a monstrosity by a number of critics, yet has been praised inexplicably by some candidates hoping for reinstatement to positions of council influence after the elections.
What I would like to know is, who would stand to make a fortune building such a blight on that beautiful landscape?
Coralie van Camp, Remuera.
I wonder if those calling for the testing of illegal drugs at events with no consequence also support the testing of other illicit products? Perhaps homemade guns or bombs could be tested by police without consequence to make sure they are safe for the user? Or maybe the Department of Conservation could set up a testing programme to make sure the kererū illegally caught is safe to eat?
I understand the desire to protect people from themselves. However the reality is, for those who take illicit drugs, make homemade bombs or eat protected birds, the potential consequences are pretty irrelevant. If they were relevant, they wouldn't do these things in the first place.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
Letters: Northport, Kiwibank, cannabis, Australian deportees and rugby
Letters: Power bill discounts, larrikins, Ports of Auckland, elections, Brexit and Bill Rowling
Letters: Climate protest, modern thinking, crime and Muldoon's legacy
Yes, Peter Lewis, there is a workable sequence for the resolution of tenancy disputes under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (NZ Herald, October 8). However, it is not due to a lack of education or knowledge by tenants of their rights and obligations in tenancy law. It is due to the complete absence of security of tenure under this Act.
Yes, tenants can claim "retaliatory action" if their requests/complaints for maintenance are ignored but all a landlord needs to do is wait for a couple of months and then issue them with a 90-day notice of termination. This act does not require a reason to be given for such a notice and this is the flaw in our tenancy legislation.
For some reason the then Minister of Housing (in 1985/6), Phil Goff, chose not to include a reason in the act. This means that tenants are in a constant state on insecurity in the private rental sector.
It is not because of lack of education but because of the imbalance against tenants in this act. In our experience tenants are very familiar with the legislation but equally familiar (or more so) with their lack of power and their insecure situation. It's time this changed.
Angela Maynard, coordinator, Tenants' Protection Association (Auckland).
In Tuesday's Herald I read that generations of Kiwis were taught that James Cook discovered New Zealand. Which generations were these?
At Ponsonby School in the 1940s I was taught that Cook arrived in 1769 and that Abel Tasman had come in 1642 with his ships, the Zeehan and the Heemskerk, but had left hastily after the locals killed four of his men.
I learned that a large Māori migration had taken place around 1350, from a place they knew as Hawaiki, and that Kupe may have reached our shores about 400 years earlier.
Apart from Kupe's arrival, these seem to be the facts we know today.
Alan Tomlinson, Herne Bay.
Short & sweet
When are the climate protesters going to take on the big three: Russia, China and India? Without these countries on board they are really wasting their time. Don't just pick on the easy targets.
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
The grotesquely overpaid chumps running Auckland's CCOs are laughing all the way to the bank.
Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
It is little wonder local body voting is so poor. Ratepayers have little if any transparency on what is actually going on and it would appear those with council don't have much either. Brett Hewson, Parnell.
The billions of dollars necessary to complete the move to Northland does seem a very risky investment since we all know that worldwide economies are much more likely to stagnate, rather than expand. René Blezer, Taupō.
Ogden Nash wrote: "I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree. Perhaps unless the billboards fall, I'll never see a tree at all." Selwyn Lang, Remuera.
With the majority of the major parties campaigning on environmental issues and plastic waste, how can the hundreds - if not thousands - of signs made from corflute or similar be justified? Steve Taylor, Helensville.
One way to solve our roading and housing problems is to halt for five years the 70,000 immigrants and their relations arriving each year. Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
Liquor licensing laws have been relaxed for the duration of the Rugby World Cup. Evidently, we love our rugby so much we have to be drunk to watch it. Alan Jenkinson, St Heliers.