Lesson in futility
Regarding the story by Jason Walls on how much the government spent trying to recruit teachers from overseas (NZ Herald, January 20) and the leaders of teachers' unions calling on the government to train the teachers in New Zealand and not to bring them from overseas.
Meanwhile, data released by Inland Revenue showed more than 100,000 people with student loans living overseas and 72,000 of them had not met their repayment obligations. These borrowers owe the government more than $3.4 billion.
I wondered how many of the defaulters would have been trained to be teachers?
If there are teachers among the defaulters, then you have a strange situation in which the government provided loans to New Zealanders to train to be teachers but, having completed their training, they have gone overseas leaving the government to recruit teachers from overseas.
Philip N Rama, Auckland Central.
• Teacher shortage: One in six Auckland schools starting year with vacancies
• Schools hiring 'teachers of last resort' to avoid staff shortages
• Teacher shortage: Taxpayers pay $10,000 for each overseas teacher to fill gaps in schools
• Teacher shortage: Young Kiwis going teaching again to fill classroom gaps
Yesterday's disgraceful letter from Auckland Transport's Shane Ellison (NZ Herald, January 20) was a perfect example of the way transport in this city is going to hell in a handcart.
His statement "micro-mobility is here to stay and we are getting on with incorporating this new mode into our transport equation" is pure public relations gobbledygook.
Translated, it means: "We're going to continue to allow morons and hooligans on e-scooters to injure, maim and possibly kill pedestrians on an increasing basis, and there's nothing you can do to stop us."
On reflection, the word "disgraceful" doesn't do justice to their total lack of care and concern.
Tony Potter, Remuera.
Appetite for destruction
David Cormack writes , "Fossil fuel companies ... have ploughed on, continuing to feed an oil-dependant planet as their reckless pursuit of profit comes at the expense of the very planet we live on".
Well, hell. These companies don't exist to stockpile lakes of oil and mountains of coal. Their products produce the energy and materials the we consume voraciously and with a heroin-like addictiveness.
We all desire a better future for our children - but what are we prepared to give up, or put down, right now, in order to slow the pace of change?
Start reducing your own environmental impact. Starting a compost bin with real garbage would be a much better solution than spouting it.
I do not deny climate change and I do think it's a critical problem, but not an end point, nuclear war, fatalistic one - humans have a capacity to solve complex problems, this is just one more to solve in a veritable universe of them.
Here's the problem we can solve tomorrow - the companies that produce the goods and emissions would not produce them if there was no demand for them.
In an election year, cast your vote as you see fit. But use your wallet to change the world.
Ben Dugdale, Carterton.
I am absolutely disgusted that hundreds of thousands of Bay of Plenty people had to go through the stress of a false tsunami alarm (NZ Herald, January 21).
It must have been realised by those "experts" that it was a false alarm and they could have been on the radio and TV within a few minutes and informed many who turned them on to get news.
Instead, many vulnerable people left home unnecessarily, and all were left in great worry as to what was happening. There is no sensible phone number on the Civil Defence site to phone to find out (it has the local council number only).
As there had been no earthquake, I took the chance that it was a false alarm and stayed home.
This now leaves us in the position that if we do not get a text we run the risk of putting our lives in danger by staying put.
Garth Bagnall, Mt Maunganui.
If we are to have a super city, we need super management and that isn't happening yet.
We are supposed to get streets cleaned regularly but that doesn't happen. Every time the heavy rains come, there are blocked drains all over the city. We are supposed to have street weeds sprayed regularly, but again that doesn't happen.
Privet trees are now in full bloom around the city, on council land, private land and some
on railway-owned land. They are easy to see for most of us but the council bio-security team has great trouble finding them. We citizens are supposed to notify council bio-security of privet and they are supposed to take care of them. They don't, and the same outcrops in the same locations flower freely year in and year out.
Property owners have responsibilities too.
Critically absent in our city is a "property maintenance code". Other major cities around the world require property owners to meet a property maintenance code and non compliance can result in expensive penalties.
A community preservation department promotes and maintains standards to preserve and enhance the quality of life and public safety.
We are talking here about grass verge maintenance, trees obstructing footpaths, graffiti removal, abandoned shopping carts, illegal parking and so on.
Auckland Council, get with it and smarten up.
Graham Astley, Epsom.
I agree completely with Sean Molloy's comments (NZ Herald, January 20) on The Leys Institute Library.
Work should start right now to bring it up to earthquake standards - not lock it up and leave it until the vandals move in and next we have a fire.
Auckland doesn't have a lot left when it comes to historic buildings, and this one is unique.
M J Thomson, Ponsonby.
Get with it
There are still people writing to the Herald complaining about e-scooters. I assume they are baby boomers (I am a boomer too).
These complainers need to realise that we are living in the future and have to embrace any form of transport that doesn't use fossil fuels.
One correspondent actually said "we got along fine without e-scooters". I should remind him we also got along fine without cell phones (dangerous while used when driving), the internet (which is used to lie and scam people), extremely fast cars and many dangerous sports. But we don't ban any of them.
Do we seriously want to live in a nanny state? For goodness sake boomers, live a little, take a risk.
Diane Anderson, Sunnynook.
Could the recently interpreted 1200-year-old runestone (c. 800AD) be foretelling the Medieval Warm Period and the following Little Ice Age?
After all it, was carved at the end of the Dark Ages Cold Period, which itself followed the Roman Warm Period. Both of these would have been in the Viking collective memory.
Dr Brian Giles, Hauraki.
I am following the discussion on religion in state schools in the NZ Herald with great interest.
We live in a time when we readily find ourselves in touch with people who practise one (or more) of the major world faiths.
It therefore seems logical to encourage religious literacy through the public education system, both primary and secondary, so we all can better understand how various faiths and beliefs influence not only people's lives, but the life of societies, nations and world affairs.
Such an enterprise, which I consider is sorely needed, would require deep and accurate analysis of the origins, essence, beliefs, ethics and practices of each major faith, and the impact each has had in history, and is having in current national and international relationships.
I suggest that such studies include: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism. I would Also include Marxism and Atheism. I recognise each faith has multiple expressions.
As we begin to appreciate others' traditions, we may be surprised how much the human family, and the family of faiths, hold in common.
Bishop Bruce Gilberd, Tairua.
China has refused to take trash from the west (recyclable that is). Now Malaysia is joining that bandwagon
Does this also mean that these countries will cease their exports of plastic packaging to the west, or indeed any country?
Or is this the limit of self-righteousness?
Gerald McCully, Forrest Hill.
Letters: E-scooters, tsunami alerts, Taiwan, student loans, the Leys Institute and Hayden Marshall Inman
Letters: Iranian tragedy, broken country, shaving costs, wages and Max Ritchie
With respect to the removal of the concession granted by the Department of Conservation to Gannet Beach Adventures permitting this companies' access to the Reserve at Cape Kidnappers.
The fact that the Hastings District Council has allowed the reopening of the beach to the public, under the safeguards of warning notices drawing attention to the possible hazards involved from the unstable cliff face, any member of the public can now traverse this "public road" on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, four-wheeled vehicle or on horseback.
But not Gannet Beach Adventures. Because it is the only regulated concessionaire active in accessing the gannet colonies via the beach it is prohibited from carrying out its, up till now, lawful business of transporting tourists by tractor-hauled trailers to view the gannet colonies during the October to April season.
The owner of Gannet Beach Adventures has always been fully conscious of the fragility of the cliff face and, I would venture to suggest, knows better than anyone what the risks are and where the danger lies when traversing the beach.
I find it completely unjust that Gannet Beach Adventures is denied access whilst any member of the public can sally forth under the safety net of the hazard warning signs installed at Clifton.
Richard Waterer, Havelock North.
Short & sweet
Wouldn't issuing fake plane tickets and itineraries for six months to customers (NZ Herald, January 21) amount to long-term fraud? If so, shouldn't the culprits be charged accordingly? Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Sorry John Ford, Trump got in courtesy of the Electoral College system. Trump lost the public vote. Tony Kaye, Hamilton.
It is hard to see why the National Party is alarmed by the theft of some computers from its Epsom office. They gave away all of Epsom years ago. Alan Tomlinson, Herne Bay.
Guy Body's latest effort blames the taxpayer for the decrepit state of our health system. That's like blaming donors for not enough blood. Rod Kane, Henderson.
If for no other reason, I love millennials and Jacinda and Greta and others because of the effect they have on gentlemen of a certain age. Richard Irwin, Te Atatu South.
Most pedestrians come with built-in e-scooter protection equipment. Despite their gradual degradation over the years, by judicious use of my eyes and ears, I have avoided collisions with e-scooters, bicycles, pushchairs, skateboards, shopping trolleys and many other pedestrian hazards. Lyall Dawson, Sandringham.
When Shane Ellison sees someone on an e-scooter he sees a commuter "incorporating a new mode into a transport equation". Most of us see the great majority of users riding a grown up toy for a temporary bit of fun. J D Gardner, Rothesay Bay.