Watching sessions of parliament over the last few days, I am still recovering from the shock. We somehow imagine an elite of citizens is looking after the affairs of our nation in an intelligent and civilised manner. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You witness a bullying environment. I recommend you do not allow your children to watch parliament in action.
The script is as follows: The left side tries to prove that the people on the right side are dummies. And vice versa. Once in a while the official head master orders one of these politicians to apologise for bad behaviour.
You could call the whole performance a kind of kindergarten. But this really is no role model for a kindergarten.
It is largely a waste of time of highly paid representatives of our society trying to solve problems in a manner which would never be allowed in any decent private organisation. No surprise therefore, that the outcomes are pitiful.
The little they accomplish could be done in 10 per cent of the time. In the end, it is truly astonishing that there are still people out there voting for these politicians.
Hans Geese, Whangaparaoa.
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The article on the conviction of a man for sexually violating a boy (NZ Herald, October 16) reveals all that is wrong and broken in how society views and deals with childhood trauma.
The article down-plays the sex offence as "brief and opportunistic", despite the damage caused being long-lasting and severe. Neuro-imaging and scientific studies of trauma victims proves trauma affects the way the brain functions, causes a decrease in meaning and pleasure in life and increases the risk of addiction, suicide, cancer and other chronic illness.
The Courts have erred by allowing the man to hide behind his status as a "business owner and family man" and calling him "truly remorseful" instead of what he is – a sex offender who cowardly denied his involvement and would have avoided punishment entirely were it not for the victim putting himself at risk to capture his confession on tape.
The human response to psychological trauma is one of the most important public health problems in the world today. It's time to wake up and take action against the serious damage these perpetrators cause. Allowing this offender to continue living as normal after a mere 12-month hiatus-at-home must be the low point we now rise up from.
M Watson, Auckland.
Karl van der Water (Letters, October 16) suggests that a waste-to-energy plant, like the scheme envisaged for Meremere in the 1990s, would be a better way of dealing with Auckland's waste than the proposed Dome Valley landfill. I disagree.
I studied the proposed Meremere plant in detail at the time. I identified four fundamental flaws with that ill-conceived scheme. The RMA did its job of effectively preventing a white elephant being built.
Waste-to-energy plants are expensive. To do a good, clean job of destroying all contaminants in waste is very difficult. To make money from co-products is almost impossible. To get a useful energy output requires a good energy input requiring plastics, paper, cardboard and green waste to be burned rather than recycled.
In contrast, burying waste remaining after extraction of recyclables in a well-engineered landfill is a sensible solution for a low population density country.
The Dome Valley landfill proposal will soon be subject to public scrutiny. That will give the
opportunity for the principled opponents of the scheme to use the RMA to ensure that consent is only granted on conditions of excellent environmental performance; including landfill gas capture, leachate capture and processing, etc.
Steve Goldthorpe, Warkworth.
While there is the usual moan about the poor turnout for the local body elections, the method of voting gets most of the blame.
As I read through the booklet about each candidate I found every one had the same story. They had - in their own words - all done great things. They were all passionate about doing their best for the city. None mentioned anything specific. With everyone the same, making a choice was difficult, if not useless. Why bother? All the power is in the hands of the unelected CCOs.
I would have liked to have someone say where they stood on issues such as the Dominion Rd tramway, Chamberlain and Eden parks, stopping CCO bosses rewarding themselves with bonuses, etc. I got no further information in my letterbox nor do I have time to research each candidate online.
As for making voting easy, why not have collection boxes in supermarkets or such easily accessible places where people regularly go? There were booths there to enrol so why not for dropping off voting papers?
I have a Post Shop nearby so I voted but I felt little better than a blind man ticking boxes at random since I know so little of what my choices will do.
P Belsham, Mt Albert.
Thank goodness the Lotto jackpot was struck this week. It is irresponsible to let it keep growing until it hits $50 million.
Some businesses may not notice a decline in trade when it gets high but those in the food industry, especially growers of fresh produce, certainly feel the effects of lower values at the markets because this is the first commodity which suffers from reduced purchasing.
For example, the household can't take money from the rent, power or petrol kitty; these bills are rigid, but they can skimp on food to buy an extra Lotto ticket or two, and they do.
You only have to notice how the millions add on more rapidly when the jackpot gets to $30m-plus, as opposed to under $10m, to realise how spending on Lotto gets more frantic.
To acknowledge and protect families that can't curb their gambling on Lotto tickets and avoid this waste of cash going to a dream rather than necessities, the Lotto maximum should be set at $20m, not $50m.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
The economics commentators say inflation at 1.5 per cent is too low and below the midpoint of the target. Something needs to be done. Maybe just adjust the target. The target before was 0 to 3 per cent so the current rate would be bang on. We don't have to stick with Michael Cullen's revision 17 years ago.
Last millennium, prices rose 1000 times. This millennium, with price stability, the plan is consumer prices will rise a billion times. Asset prices are expected to rise a billion times faster than that.
It's madness to attempt control of tradable prices. We might consider controlling the non-tradable prices which rose 3.2 per cent, already high.
Last week the fiscal surplus was reported. More nonsense spouted. There's little reason to measure this. It has no consequence for the economic performance of a country with a fiat currency. The Government's debt is denominated in NZD. If that debt is a big problem, the Government can pay it off next week. It can print off as many NZ dollars as it likes. The one that controls us and is a worry is the household debt.
Bill Mackey, Bayswater.
Regarding the debate over whether rugby is a sport worthy of world championship status, rugby has had eight world final contests, so I have compared rugby's eight to football's last eight.
Eight finals means 16 possible finalists. Over the last eight contests, football had 10 different finalists, a 5:8 ratio. A healthy, worldwide sport.
But in all those eight finals, rugby can count only five finalists. Only five out of 16 possible, a less than 1:3 ratio. Clearly, big frogs in a small pond, and not a valid world champs.
Japan needs to win this one for the good of rugby. If the All Blacks win yet again, the proof of "big frog in a small pond" accusation destroys rugby's global credibility.
John Elliott, Hamilton.
Glitter ceilings were all the rage in the 70s and 80s until people found out the paint mixture included asbestos and to remove them - as many amateurs unknowingly attempted to do - was putting one's life at risk.
Many of these ceilings still exist and pose a health risk for their occupants far greater than P labs.
To make matters worse, many affected properties were bought by unsuspecting new immigrant investors for renting. The only checks that would ensure their removal of the offending "popcorn ceiling" was by property managers who were themselves new immigrants unaware of the health hazard such houses posed.
The lives of many innocent renters may now be in the hands of real estate agents and politicians who are deemed, rightly or wrongly, the less trustworthy members of our society.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Short & sweet
Andrew Tichbon is right on the money. The Kurds should have their own state, as should Palestine.
Letters: House deposits, elections, executive bonuses, Syria and Shane Jones
Letters: Kurds, bonuses, voting, vegetables, God and Jacinda Ardern
Letters: Values, rapid transit, debt, traffic, recycling and sugar tax
S P McMonagle, Greenhithe.
Will the newly elected council complete a review of paths and constructively improve this Auckland commodity?
Evelyn Kaye Gilbert, Takapuna.
Those who seem to believe in bestowing immunity from criticism upon our current PM on account of her gender are themselves indulging in the sexism they suspect in others.
Jane Margaret Livingstone, Remuera.
Cliff Ginders suggests medical insurance should be mandatory for visitors to New Zealand. By the same token, medical insurance should be mandatory for all Kiwis travelling abroad.
Jonathan Jepson, Torbay.
The only way we will house all of the people is with low-cost prefabs and stop immigration for a period of time to allow us to house our own people.
Tom O'Toole, Taumarunui.
What is the point of Andrew Saville presenting the TV1 Sports News at a pedestrian crossing in Japan when other rugby commentators have been there since the start?
Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
A government's popularity on the Colmar Brunton poll is inversely proportional to the price of petrol.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Boris de Pfeffel Johnson's Brexit leaves Northern Ireland both in the EU and in the UK. Like Schroedinger's cat - alive and dead until you open the box and look.
Dennis N Horne, Howick.