Tax burden too heavy
Many young New Zealanders are finding life stressful and seeking work abroad to pay off student debt or save enough to buy a first home, for which they are in competition with property speculators. We have increasing poverty and the highest youth suicide rate in the western world. All these are the result of the inequality created by our changes to the tax system.
In the 1950s and 60s boom times, the top tax rates in both the UK and US were 90 per cent. These are now 45 per cent and 37 per cent. NZ is more extreme than even the US - from a top tax rate of 90 per cent, then 66 per cent for many years, to 33 per cent now.
In the UK, the first NZ$25,500 of income is tax free while all income is taxed in NZ. Australia allows the first NZ$19,500 of earnings to be tax free and has a top tax rate of 45 per cent (for income over NZ$193,000).
Here we have reduced taxes for the wealthy 5 per cent, at the expense of 95 per cent of New Zealanders. Equality is a core human value that we seem to have lost touch with. All New Zealanders should be ashamed of our divided society.
We could be leading the way, or at the very least catch up with Australia. Perhaps for a start; a tax rate of 45 per cent for Kiwis with an annual income over $500,000?
Allan Jackson, Arch Hill.
• 'Government starting to listen' - Business NZ welcomes tax changes
• Government introduces a tax incentive scheme for small business to encourage investment
• Warnings over proposed tax changes to KiwiSaver
• National floats company tax cut, recommits to higher pension age
Would an international rugby coach play someone on debut for a world cup final? Hell no.
So why are we, as rugby fans, being subjected to the broadcast equivalent by having Spark Sport deliver our live rugby for this quadrennial international showpiece of our sport? It's a question that is probably best put to the Minister of Broadcasting Kris Faafoi or perhaps the Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson, who, no doubt will watch it live while visiting Japan on "important business".
The streaming issues have been well documented and need no further comment. Of equal concern is the quality of the commentary team, which was obviously hastily convened. It is sorely lacking in personality, colour and questionable rugby broadcast experience. The only bouquet being Jon Preston's technical analysis.
The level of advertising we are having to stomach is unjust given the high subscription rate for the World Cup package.
This broadcast experience is a shame given all the stakeholders including the teams and the host nation are doing their best to deliver a memorable tournament.
Six years of this for our cricket dismays me. Back to the future for my cricket experience, which will undoubtedly be delivered via radio.
Tak Tothill, Rotorua.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I take out of " Fat silent as stigma rife " (NZ Herald, October 21) is that New Zealand does indeed face a severe skills shortage dwarfing all prior skills shortages that have been proclaimed from the rooftops by businesspeople crying in the wilderness.
It's that niggling little skills shortage that most management face every morning in their mirror when it stares back at them. It takes the form of an inability to think outside rigidly defined categories, an inability to empathise with those whose circumstances differ, and also constitutes an inability to solve problems as opposed to an ability to cause them.
How much time and money is wasted on mismanagement?
Wesley Parish, Tauranga.
TV turn off
I find it ironic that the very raison d'être of television is causing its demise.
Advertising has reached such tiresome levels that I have entirely switched off on mainstream TV. Exceptions are the news and The Project (I love Kanoa and Josh).
There have been some great ads over the years but I'm tired of watching ordinary ones and sitting through even more ordinary programmes in anticipation.
With the advent of online streaming, TV revenue is dying. The Government will subsidise TV1 but not TV3.
I bet MediaWorks would love to introduce Fox News to the equation. They've tested the water with the AM show but haven't gone the whole hog. Could Duncan Garner become TV3's Sean Hannity?
Perhaps we should just end all TV so people learn how to socialise again. Does anyone remember how to play cards?
Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.
More nonsense from the "out of control" Auckland Transport, with harsh reductions in speed limits for the city (NZ Herald, October 22). Yet another agonising revenue-producing decision, with this time the inevitable inability to travel that slowly without being fined.
A careful personal trial of these ridiculously low speeds show they will be largely unworkable.
This is all part of Auckland Transport's lunatic "anti car" campaign. People in Auckland use cars, because of inclement weather with frequent rain, hilly terrain, and the spread-out nature of the city.
Simon Bridges is quite correct to criticise the proposals. Auckland residents should immediately take his lead and rise up to vehemently oppose this dictatorial nonsense.
Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
I fully agree with your correspondent R Anderson's call (NZ Herald, October 21) for a re-think on the proposed light rail project.
With the estimated cost of this project now blowing out to an eye-watering $6 billion, there are better, heavy rail, alternatives which the Government and newly elected Auckland Council should look into, such as a line between Manukau and the airport.
Train services could also easily be extended to Kumeu or Helensville in conjunction with the major upgrade of the North Auckland rail line recently announced by the Government, which would provide long-suffering residents in the north-west a decent alternative to contending with some of the worst traffic congestion in Auckland on SH16 - and much sooner than the ridiculous proposal for a tram to Kumeu which could take a decade or more to eventuate at the current rate of progress.
G Sinclair, Taupaki.
I wish to commend Sir Michael Cullen on his bravery (NZ Herald, October 17) in exposing that the Government's surplus is only on paper and not in cash. I hope they do not resort to borrowing more money to squander.
If only Sir Michael Cullen could be persuaded to return as finance minister and review the interest rate, even if only for the pensioners to enable them to continue to afford to live in their own homes.
B Young, Tauranga.
One wonders who actually makes the decisions at Pharmac or how, when and why.
As an example, a decision was made to provide the vaccine Zostavax for those aged between 66 and 80 for the prevention of shingles. The vaccine is available for those aged 81 and above but one has to pay for it.
Just in case Pharmac is not aware: An octogenarian generally has less, not more, money and still feels pain. This is not the only medical benefit not available to persons of that group. One wonders when compulsory euthanasia will be made obligatory after three scores years and twenty.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Whilst people may think that the recent Qantas flight from New York to Sydney was the longest commercial flight time (NZ Herald, October 21), it is far short of the time taken by the airship, Graf Zeppelin on the Germany to Tokyo sector of its round-the-world flight.
This took place in August, 1929. The 11,743 km journey took nearly 102 hours, compared to the nearly 20-hour Qantas flight. It carried several notable people on the passenger list.
David Clemow, Papakura.
There is a recent video clip of Donald Trump at a political rally in which he describes how he has always been greedy for money (as though this were a good thing) and now he is greedy for money for America. This helps explain his transactional, values-free and knowledge-free approach to trade and geopolitics.
He spends 4 per cent of GDP on the military but prefers it to be spent on hardware to increase the manufacturing output rather than "endless" wars. He withdraws troops from northern Syria but sends them to Saudi Arabia because they are "paying for it". He is happy to sell billions of dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, setting aside moral inconveniences such as the death of Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.
Climate change is a hoax because dealing with it will cost money. He dismantles Obama-era environment protections that are expensive. Bilateral trade deals are preferable because he can leverage the power of America. He has gutted the State Department and prefers not to spend on soft diplomacy or foreign aid, let alone the global institutions which have gone a long way to ensuring peace and prosperity in the 75 years since World War II.
In short, he has transformed Reagan's shining city on the hill into an illiberal democracy where world leaders must pretend to admire him to further the interests of their own country or the world at large.
Christine Hillier, Remuera.
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Short & sweet
More dumb ideas from bureaucrats with nothing to do but think stupid ideas and strangle the city. We don't go through Christchurch any more because of the 30km/h limits. i>Ian Brown, Rangiora.
Andrew Judd's colonial ancestors might have "murdered and plundered" as he says (NZ Herald, October 21). Mine did not. They were all decent, hard-working and fair citizens. Bruce Moon, Nelson.
Claire Dale (NZ Herald, October 21) suggests e-scooters should be "confined to roads, like bicycles are" Really? If she were to visit Orewa she would find many cyclists, riding on the footpath, often without helmets. John Riley, Orewa.
Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria without mapping a peaceful exit, a homeland for the Kurds and a plan to keep ISIS under control is quite appalling and must be condemned. Steve Lincoln, Botany Downs.
Adverbs and adjectives can be used to reveal the truth, albeit unintentionally. "I'm seriously sorry" (Peters) actually means, nah, not sorry at all. And, "I'm incredibly surprised and disappointed" (Ardern), means, nah, I expected that. C G Marnewick, Bucklands Beach.
What is the NZ Government doing to hold these juggernaut social platforms accountable for mining (and monetising) users' private information? Rita Riccola, Lucas Heights.
As great a performance as the AII Blacks put on against Ireland , the English will be greatly encouraged by the poor performance at scrum time. It is great to have mobile props but they must still be able to scrum. Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Years ago it was usual for everyone, children included, to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks were occasional. Nowadays, eating on and off when you feel like it seems to be the norm. No wonder food is wasted. Pamela Russell, Orakei.