Let wisdom be guide in judge picks
Has the liberal left of politics penetrated our judicial system? One has to wonder when our Chief Justice pulls the gender card and the social ethnic card to support more women in the judiciary and more ethnically diverse people there also.
Surely wisdom and integrity must be at the top of the list of qualities required of judges. Judges interpret the law passed by Parliament in a non-partisan way. This calls for high levels of wisdom, integrity and trust. Certainly, these qualities can found in male and female and in ethnic groups including Māori and Pasifika.
But to select judges on gender and ethnicity first is a travesty of common sense. It is putting the cart before the horse. First, seek wise people from either gender and from different socio-economic groups. Let wisdom be the guide.
Ian George, Howick.
I had a good laugh at Phil Twyford saying the Northwestern Motorway is like a parking lot at rush hour: he should try the trip from Waimauku to the city. The parking lot often extends past Kumeu.
Priority should be to widen State Highway 16 from Waimauku to the motorway to four lanes. In the past 10 years there have been more than 240 accidents along SH16 between Waimauku and Brigham Creek, resulting in at least nine deaths, 30 serious injuries and 54 minor injuries. Without immediate safety intervention 40 more deaths and serious injuries are predicted on SH16 in the next decade. Well over 30,000 vehicles a day use this route with the new housing areas increasing vehicle numbers daily. The new Amazon Lord of the Rings series being filmed at Kumeu will also add to the congestion over the next few years.
I recently started a petition urging the Government to provide immediate funding to remedy this serious situation. To sign the petition please search Google for "SH16 petition Lindsay".
Lindsay Andrews, Kumeu.
Sky City fire hold-ups
It has been three weeks since the fire at the Sky City convention centre — why do we still have Nelson St lanes coned off?
Who at AT is prepared to put their head above the parapet and take responsibility to get traffic flowing in the CBD?
Quentin Miller, Te Atatu.
Ōwairaka tree protest
For seven days a small group of protesters have been blocking access to the public carpark on Ōwairaka (Mt Albert). As a past resident of Mt Albert and a long-time user of the mountain (I run or walk our dog there every day), I have had to find parking away from the entrance.
Apart from the small inconvenience of having to walk a bit further, there are increasing issues around safety, as walkers, children and dogs negotiate the now dangerously clogged Summit Drive.
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But there are far more dangerous issues at play here. I have been watching and listening to the spokespeople for the protesters and there are some striking commonalities among them. They are almost exclusively Pākēhā and all of a similar age. I sense a group experiencing the gradual erosion of entitlement.
Since the Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA) took guardianship of Ōwairaka, I have seen many positive changes. They have removed all non-service vehicles from the maunga and begun the natural restoration of the maunga's ecosystem by planting hundreds of native shrubs.
The TMA, the legal guardians of 14 maunga across Tāmaki Makaurau, are the best and only people to make decisions around the kaitiakitanga of our maunga.
At the heart of it, this is a Treaty issue. The guardianship of the maunga has been returned to its rightful owners.
It saddens me deeply that in 2019 there are pockets of society that still live in their privileged thought prisons. We have come some way in honouring the Treaty of Waitangi as a nation, but clearly some of us still have a long way to go.
Shaun Perry, New Windsor.
Councillor Efeso Collins should be ashamed playing the "cultural insensitivity" card against those protesting the mass felling of trees on Ōwairaka. Is he suggesting only the likes of those at Ihumātao are allowed to protest?
It is obvious from the outcry over the unelected Tūpuna Maunga Authority's plans that this was very poorly notified.
Council is bound by Treaty settlement to comply with the TMA. There has been no mention of ratepayer cost to clear then replant every mountain in Auckland.
People can't understand the logic of felling hundreds of trees before smaller natives have grown. Children are taught these principles at school.
Its disappointing the TMA's plans weren't presented more effectively. It seems a good long-term vision. It's a shame they have taken an undiplomatic approach and that their vision is steeped in dogma rather than common sense.
As we wait decades for native trees to grow on bare maunga we may wonder if this small group given authority to push their vision upon all Aucklanders could not have done better.
Andrew Seal , Mt Albert.
Duke's TV interview
Memo to: Prince Andrew. "Explaining is losing".
Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
It is surprising to see one of your weekend columnists still making the mistaken analogy from 30 years ago, between education delivery and national distribution of standardised products — as in supermarkets and petrol stations. A far more accurate comparison is the complex challenges faced by NZ Rugby, urgently needing to make decisions that will ensure the game's future in our country.
NZ's long-term problems with educational equity are indisputable, as is the truth that other societies have public educational systems that produce better outcomes. In Canada and Finland, for example, the wish expressed in Saturday's editorial for families to access quality education in local high schools is a reality.
Given that we see fairness as a paramount value, NZ can surely learn from other locations to make careful policy choices that improve the current situation, seeking to provide the best opportunities for all children of Aotearoa.
Ann Dunphy, Parnell.
Last week, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Tauranga. Taking our dog for walks through parks was a delight. Living in Albany, I had forgotten what non-Ventia maintained grass looks like. It was neat and unsuitable for making silage.
Similarly the walking tracks were well maintained, unlike the shambolic state of the walking track that follows Lucas Creek downstream from Wharf Rd.
Attempting to cut costs is commendable, but perhaps mayor Goff and company could find their way to allocating more funds to that part of the council responsible for parks and reserves maintenance, rather than just accepting the lowest quote to do a very bad job.Richard Telford, Lucas Heights.Equal opportunityJohn Roughan is relieved education may have escaped the principle of making everyone equal, since that can only be achieved if you "help the weak by holding back the strong".
Equal opportunity is essential, but we have to be careful about engineering equal outcomes. Indeed, the only way to really ensure an equal outcome is by killing everyone (remember Mao and Stalin). Even if we were born in identical circumstances, our first breaths and thoughts would take us in different directions. We should remember this is a good thing: we are unique individuals.
And we will die under the oppressive sameness some wish to impose on us.
Gavan O'Farrell, Lower Hutt.
Government intervention is urgently needed to tackle this crisis. A 15 per cent tax on sugar drinks and all fast food could be a great Christmas present benefiting all.
The simultaneous removal of the 15 per cent GST on fresh fruit and vegetables can be the icing on the cake. I voted for Jacinda and am a huge fan of how she has portrayed our country on the international stage as compassionate and caring. However, her reluctance to implement these simple strategies that would immediately improve the lives of so many leave me perplexed.Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.Trump home truthsHow does the US President answer his young son when that boy asks his father "How has your day been, Dad?"
That young boy is 13.
Lyndsay Morgan, Omokoroa.
With the legalising of cannabis, will the Government also bow when a lobby group fires up the way the alcohol, tobacco, junk foods and sugar producers have it scared to take effective action?
All Governments have backed off from regulating against large corporate manufacturers of substances that cause bodily harm and create massive medical budget expense for the tax payer.
Leave responsibility to the consumer, they bleat. Which party will be brave enough to regulate legalised cannabis?
The coalition Government has been brave enough to regulate gun ownership but scared to tackle fats, sugars and alcohol, the main contributors to obesity.
Kick the guns but kowtow to the sugar. Strange illogic methinks.
Marie Kaire, Whangārei.