Hands off the port
For central government to wrest control from Auckland Council, 100 per cent owner of the port company and land, would be an unprecedented interference in the legal right of the council to run its own affairs on behalf of ratepayers (NZ Herald, November 18).
The Government rightly steps in when local bodies show themselves incapable of governing their affairs, but that is not the case here. This is not what one would expect in a Western democracy.
Then, removal of the port to Whangārei would cost thousands of jobs, often jobs held by the least well off in our society. It makes no sense for the distribution point for goods to be so remote from our biggest centres.
And for what? To turn the heart of the Auckland economy into a party space.
As a former regional councillor I supported the Auckland Regional Council paying millions to return the port company and (with others) waterfront land to public ownership: much of this is yet to be developed – e.g. the public park at Wynyard Quarter. Yes, the cars could be taken off the wharf, in fact, the cars shouldn't be coming in if we are serious about a climate emergency.
Central government seems always to be jealous of Auckland, but it needs to be told to manage its own affairs and leave Auckland's to Aucklanders.
Sandra Coney, Titirangi.
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Perhaps the port needs to move, perhaps not. One of the major triggers for such a move is that a large chunk of the available area is used for the temporary storage of used and new cars. Move the cars immediately after they arrive and much of the capacity problem goes away. Reconstituting the rail link from the port to South Auckland would reduce current congestion on our road network and be far cheaper than upgrading the link from Northland.
Moving to Northport flies in the face of common sense. The current Northland rail link needs not upgrading but replacement. The single tracks are old and most tunnels inadequate for container movement. And moving New Zealand's major port even further from the freight's main market both in and out may make sense to Shane Jones but I suspect to nobody else.
The medium-term solution for Auckland is a business relationship with Tauranga on what freight goes where.
Long term, yes a move might be justified as ships get larger and wharf length and depth becomes a major problem, but Northland looks like a politically expedient solution for our current coalition government.
Don Bunting, Freemans Bay.
With regard to Steven Bryce's comments (NZ Herald, November 15) about rail and the Ports of Auckland (PoA), currently PoA returns a profit of $8 million on assets of $6 billion and it cannot cope with 40 per cent of Auckland's imports and a similar amount of exports. It has now run out of room to expand and will just continue to become less efficient. It creates a lot of unwanted traffic in an already congested city and is an eyesore which could be developed into something quite magical for Auckland.
Bryce also has the view that rail is uneconomical. However, rail is very economical and is the mode that transports 700-800, 20ft equivalent containers every day, very cheaply and unnoticed by motorists both ways between Auckland and Tauranga Port. KiwiRail as a company is efficient and quite profitable, as are some road transport companies, but if accounting for below-wheel infrastructure costs were the same for road and rail, KiwiRail would "appear" to make a profit like road transport does.
Although $10b seems a big number, this will be spent over time and now is the time to invest in infrastructure due to climate change imperatives, our increasing population and as money is so cheap currently.
The port needs to move.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Correspondent Judy McGregor (NZ Herald, November 18), demands gender equality in boardrooms. Not a mention of the basic requirements for company directors - experience, knowledge and qualifications.
By all means have a majority of females, if they have these requirements but selection by gender has no place.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera
The government proposes to extend state powers under the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill (NZ Herald, November 15). The proposed legislation has been justly condemned by the Privacy Commissioner as a threat to the principles of due process.
At issue is the integrity of our criminal justice system, which is based on the concept of "innocent until proven guilty". Control orders can be imposed on a low standard of proof of guilt namely: "the balance of probabilities". There are provisions for the control orders to be imposed without any prior notification and for the information on which the decision was taken to be kept secret. All very Kafkaesque.
When Privacy Commissioner Edwards presented his submission to the Select Committee he reminded the MPs that our courts sometimes make mistakes and he cited names such as Teina Pora and David Doherty. Lawyers and campaigners finally put things right for these blameless individuals, but withheld evidence makes such a process near impossible.
We already have a criminal justice system robust enough to deal with those who threaten violence or carry out violent acts. Control orders take us down a path towards an authoritarian "big brother knows best" society. Shame on our politicians for rushing this draconian legislation through.
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert.
Many people have written letters, expressing concern about the proposed and imminent felling of 345 mature non-native trees growing on the maunga Ōwairaka-Mt Albert.
The people of Auckland need to know that, despite community protest, the felling of mature non-native trees has already occurred on three of 14 Auckland mountains, Pigeon Mountain, Mt Wellington and Māngere, and is planned for the remaining 11.
Native species saplings recently planted on Ōwairaka-Mt Albert have either died or are looking quite stressed.
Penelope Hammond, Mt Albert.
It is not surprising that house prices are on the rise again, given that net immigration is still running at approximately 55,000 per annum and new house building is constrained by resource consent delays and available land.
Is it any wonder that owners with homes for sale are taking the opportunity to get higher prices? This factor plus the present government's efforts to decimate the private rental market have priced new home buyers and renters out of the market despite current lower interest rates, which may well evaporate following the Reserve Bank decision to hold the OCR at its present level.
Garry Larsen, St Heliers.
Over recent days SkyCabs has been promoted as a "revolutionary" and "world-leading" technology which should be adopted as a public transport solution for Auckland. But this is not a new idea - I first witnessed Hugh Chapman's pitch for his dinky sky cab system nearly 20 years ago when he was regularly presenting to committees of the Auckland City Council and Auckland Regional Council.
Despite his enthusiasm, Chapman's concept has never been picked up in Auckland – or anywhere else – chiefly because it is not a mass transit system and relies on unproven technology and nobody wants to risk major investment in something that has never even been trialled. His pretty images are artists' impressions – he cannot produce photographs of his proposal as there is no example anywhere of a working system or even a prototype.
The SkyCabs website claims that there are 30 major cities around the world showing interest in their concept but then admits that they "are waiting to see the first proven system to introduce to their cities". Meanwhile, there are nearly 400 light-rail systems operating around the world, with dozens of cities now expanding their existing light rail networks or actually building new systems.
Graeme Easte, Mount Albert.
With the ongoing inquiry into abuse of children in state care, I need to give a shout out to all the care givers out there. I was put into state care in 1979 and I could not be more grateful for the wonderful people who dedicated their lives to care for me. Yes, it was less than ideal. Yes, there were practices that today would be considered draconian and, yes, I had injustices. However, in my eight years as a ward of the state, I was never abused by my care givers. Despite my lack of gratitude at the time, if it wasn't for these dedicated and devoted people, I shudder at how I could have turned out.
So here's to all the Aunt Peggys, Aunt Lornas, Uncle Leos and Uncle Waynes out there. Thank you all so much. You are the unrecognised heroes of our society.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
Short & sweet
Letters: Judicial system, Ōwairaka, education, parks and health
Letters: Cancer survival, rugby writers, Erebus memorial, Lizzie Marvelly and Simon Bridges
It seems that many people think of it as a mild childhood illness that could be prevented by "measles parties" and have no idea of its seriousness. Margaret Bongard, Grey Lynn.
Even from kilometres away you can see the tree stumps and the almost total lack of trees. It's a green desert and will look like this for many years. Peter Cowley, Mt Roskill.
I do hope someone from Auckland Council has apologised to the "vandal" who attempted to remove one lone and fairly unattractive pine tree on Maugakeikei-One Tree Hill, some years ago. Eva Tamura, Glen Eden.
The best solution to this asset bubble is for it to burst and prices come back to reality, which in the case of houses is probably 50 per cent below current levels. Jeremy King, Taupō.
If we are all going forward why is nobody getting anywhere? Should I double up or double down? Murray Clapshaw, Muriwai Beach.
Thanks to publicity commemorating the 90th anniversary of the museum, which still has many, many items sourced by Thomas Cheeseman on display, his name will be more widely known again. Matt Elliott, Birkdale.
Does the no show by Jacinda Ardern at the airport to meet the monarch-in-waiting Prince Charles and Camilla indicate a move away from Great Britain and a shift towards the Pacific rim? Graham Fleetwood, Mellons Bay.
A merger of TVNZ and RNZ. Ha! A collision of cultures. Oil and water, chalk and cheese. Yeah, nah. Larry Mitchell Rothesay Bay.