Move highway to higher ground
There is no doubt about climate change which has occurred ever since the planet had an atmosphere and a climate. There has always been change. And there is no doubt that human activities have exacerbated this to a crisis point.
So the global accord to implement measures to limit global warming to less than 2C makes sense and needs immediate implementation. But what about our preparation for a time when sea levels are many metres higher?
We continue to build infrastructure without consideration for this changed and changing world. In New Zealand, State Highway One needs to be 20 metres above sea level from Kaitaia to Invercargill (not as it is in many places close to our current sea level – witness the new section of the Southern Motorway that is just a few metres above the high tide mark); Auckland Airport's new number two runway needs to be 20m above sea level too; and all vital infrastructure needs to be built with the climate change reality in mind.
We need to act now.
Peter Hillary, Epsom.
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Donald Trump throws the nuclear agreement with Iran out the window and deals with the resulting reactions by having Iran's top general, Qasem Soleimani, assassinated. Nervous trigger-happy Iranian military personnel take out a Ukraine airliner by accident.
Bush fires cause devastation and death across Australia. Floods and tornadoes tear across other areas in the world.
Meghan manipulates Harry into believing the press is out to get her and consequently disrespects the Queen, after grabbing all the usual perks as part of the "Firm", by informing Harry's grandmother through same press of their intention to have a new lifestyle of sometime royals and sometime private persons.
That seems to be the order of importance of world news currently.
How very, very sad that most of these tragic stories have been caused by human failings and error.
Coralie van Camp, Remuera.
As N. North highlights in their letter (NZ Herald, January 10), the terrible scenes we see unfolding across Australia, are a timely reminder of the increasing danger posed by wildfires.
While New Zealand's climate and vegetation is different we also need to prepare for more extreme weather conditions. Please always check if it's safe before you light a fire and consider how to reduce the risk of starting a fire when working in the outdoors. The checkitsalright.nz website has a huge amount of practical information on how to assess and reduce fire risk, information on fire permits and on restricted or prohibited fire seasons.
New Zealanders can feel confident that Fire and Emergency New Zealand is prepared for the big emergencies that we will surely face in times to come, and that we are working hard to make sure we have the resources on hand to provide that support. But, we know, every summer out-of-control fires destroy the homes of our native wildlife — and our environment. Please take the time to check.
Steve Turek, Fire and Emergency NZ.
Bravo for your editorial (NZ Herald, January 10) calling on the Government to take action on housing affordability.
The editorial didn't mention two of the main drivers of house prices: Land supply restrictions and population growth via migration targets.
Both are matters that government can influence, but appears unwilling to do so.
Brian Richards, Khandallah.
The Iraqi Parliament has voted unanimously that the American military is no longer a guest of the country and must leave forthwith. In response, the United States Government says America is a force for good in the Middle East and wants to be "a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous and stable Iraq".
But hold on. The Iraqi representatives, with one voice, have told the Americans they are no longer welcome as guests in their country.
That sounds pretty simple. Time to go.
Some guests can really outstay their welcome, can't they?
David Aston, Milford.
Last week, correspondent John Bradley (NZ Herald, January 10) asked me to reconsider my conscience after a letter giving tentative support to the US for assassinating Qasem Soleimani.
I have indeed done so following the Iranian assassination of 176 innocent passengers on an Ukrainian airliner. My conscience is now much clearer.
Sadly in this world today: unless the USA fights back on our behalf - the likes of Putin, Kim, Xu and now Iran - will take over from democracy: invariably by force.
Robert Burrow, Taupo.
Correspondent Bob Wichman (NZ Herald, January 13) has stated that the Iranian government must pay the price for mistakenly shooting down an Ukrainian airliner with the loss of 160 lives, and everyone would agree with him.
However mistakes like this have happened before. In 1988, the US Navy cruiser USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner flying over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people. For a long time, the US Government refused to apologise, but eventually did so and, eight years later, agreed to pay compensation to the victim's families.
Airlines are always going to be at risk when they fly in war zones so perhaps they should be prevented from doing so in future.
David Mairs, Glendowie.
Having shown we can cope with the return to paperbags rather than single use plastic bags, isn't it time to get rid of single use bottles as well?
Generations before us safely drank milk and soft drinks out of glass bottles and water out of the tap. Why are we incapable of doing the same?
Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
Hope for 2020
I believe our Prime Minister is correct in saying that 2019 was an extremely turbulent year, particularly for those New Zealanders and visitors who had their lives taken away too soon; while the rest of our country has mourned for them the loved ones who have been left to suffer their terrible losses. It has been something of a challenge to all of us around the country.
Let's all hope and pray that 2020 will be totally different and peaceful. What we must all do is simple enough; we must follow our safety rules, no matter what we are doing; we must look after ourselves, as well as our relatives' and neighbours' welfare; and we must focus on what we are doing, continuing to work together and not against each other.
We all now live in the modern era of technology and science, let's all pray that one day soon we find a cure for cancer which has taken so many lives without regard for age or gender.
Tom Stephens, New Plymouth.
It was good to see Steve Liddle's piece (NZ Herald, January 13) on youth participation in politics, and I agree this is essential if we want our democracy to survive. However I was surprised he didn't go on to argue for a lowering of the voting age to sixteen. This seems like a logical conclusion to what he was suggesting.
Surely the best way to involve the young in politics, before they become distracted by the imperatives of the outside world, is to engage them early, and that means before they leave school.
When I was teaching, I found that many 14-16 year olds were keen to discuss the Big Questions that politics aims to address. This can surely be done in conjunction with an improved curriculum which includes a better knowledge of the history of our country, and the issues we currently face.
This year's election is going to decide if we are going to continue in a progressive direction, or not. For the sake of our youth and their future, we must vote with them in mind. But after that, we need to give them a vote of their own. Before Women's Suffrage men used to claim they voted on women's behalf, and look where that got us.
V M Fergusson, Mt Eden.
Letters: Air horror, fossil fuels, wage facts and 'God help Harry'
Letters: Haircut, royals, Matthew Hooton, boomers and Iran
Challenge for all
The message in Monday's article by Steve Liddle (NZ Herald, January 13) and elsewhere: We'll need to rely on our young people (born in this century) to clean up the mess we've made. Education is the key. Come on, kids. No one is too small to make a difference.
To which our teenagers might respond: How dare you? Why don't you put more effort into cleaning up the mess yourselves?
No one is too old or too rich to set a good example.
Arch Thomson, Mt Wellington.
Short & sweet
Why are we all being driven nuts by the constant repetition of the ad - as often as twice in the same ad break, featuring the cranky old dame who shouts "Wait! - What?" Enough already. Please Trivago, new year, new ad. Renton Brown, Pukekohe.
Trivago equals mute. Grant Spencer, Pukekohe.
Interesting article in Sideswipe about a school banning backpacks because the packs carried by older, and presumably taller, students were hitting smaller pupils in the "halls". No mention of where the packs carried by smaller pupils were possibly hitting the taller. John Capener, Kawerau.
Stop calling the royal antics around Harry a crisis. Having the silver spoon yanked from your mouth when you have million dollar bank accounts can hardly be called a crisis. Pim Venecourt, Papamoa.
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.
No British monarch has refused a law voted in by Parliament in 300 years, yet the family get to be lavishly supported by Brit taxpayers simply by being born or married into it. Andrew Tichbon, Greenbay.
Full credit to the executives at Auckland Transport for planning ahead: The $268 million budget under-spend is obviously money set aside to fund their next pay rise. Jon Addison, Milford.
Is it really too much to expect our highly paid newsreaders to set a good example with beautifully spoken English language with the same resonant, rounded vowels as Māori? R Howell, Onehunga.