In last weekend's Herald on Sunday, in the article written by Catherine Masters, OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan states: "Ponsonby and Grey Lynn had gone from down-at-heel working class and bohemian suburbs to ... ".

I really do take offence at that statement, as I was brought up in Norfolk St, Ponsonby, in a house exactly like those shown in the article's photograph. Our house, owned by my grandparents, was a well-kept and tidy property with a lovely garden and mown lawns. Both my parents were teachers with my mother being the infant mistress at an Auckland school. The neighbours all had nice properties and far from being "down-at-heel", all had jobs of various kinds. My Auntie Jean, who was a registered nurse, lived in the next street in a house also owned by my grandparents.

Class distinction has never had any place in Aotearoa, and I really wish that all media personnel would remove the words "working class", "middle class", etc, from their vocabulary.
James Cameron, Howick
Handling crises

Steve Braunias in his article on December 28 compares Jacinda Ardern's ability at handling crises in 2019 with that of John Key who, he states was "rubbish in a crisis".

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He has obviously forgotten that, after the Christchurch earthquake John Key was widely praised both locally and internationally for his capable and efficient handling of the aftermath of the earthquake.

The impact of this major event was met financially at considerable cost due to the strength of the economy at that time because of the capable management of the Key government.

Finally a male Prime Minister cannot be expected to spend time hugging the victims as the public would not consider this to be a "good look". Instead what Key did was to efficiently manage the whole Christchurch disaster in a calm and capable manner over a period of many years. The scale of that crisis far outweighed any other in New Zealand in the present century.
Jeremy Kay, Pukekohe
Modern Slavery

Of course the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ought to be allowed to stand back or resign their positions.

Whatever one thinks of a hereditary monarchy, no one should be prevented from leaving a job. When a person is compelled to occupy a job against their will, with no control of the conditions of employment, it is not duty, it is called slavery.

No one can be legally held in slavery, even if their gran is the head of state of several nations. Give the couple their freedom and let them go and be happy.
John Anderson, Hillsborough
History repeating

About 74 years ago another American divorcee was causing havoc within the Royal House of Windsor.
Slightly different circumstances, with no crown involved this time, but the similarities are obvious.
Margaret Wyatt, Tauranga
Gauntlet thrown

Perhaps the Queen should respond to the gauntlet thrown down by stripping the Duchess of Sussex of her title.

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I don't imaging Meghan would be quite so self satisfied living life as Mrs Wales.
Dave Murray, Grey Lynn
Innocent lives lost

Regarding the escalating tit for tat between the US and Iran, we have been inundated with experts offering political analyses and telling us what strategies need to be implemented to avoid further conflict in an area of the world where international diplomacy is sometimes achieved by good luck rather than skilful negotiation. While all the chest thumping and "my missile is bigger than yours" is going on, can we please remember the 176 innocent lives lost in what appears to be an errant Iranian missile attack.

Tragically, there will always be civilian casualties in any conflict, but globally the message needs to be sent that hubris and an excess of ego are not justifiable rationales for going to war.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie