Anyone reading the story about the severe physical beating of the 4-year-old in Flaxmere (NZ Herald, February 10) can have a lot of sympathy for Oranga Tamariki over the unfair criticism it receives.
Where was the whānau support for this little boy? Some children just need to be removed from home and whānau.
I applaud all the dedicated staff at Oranga Tamariki for the very fine and caring way they carry out their duties. It must be heartbreaking at times.
Katherine Swift, Kohimarama.
Three more MPs have announced their impending retirement before this year's election (NZ Herald, February 12). They join a growing list, with 10 set to retire before the year is out.
With the average tenure for an MP being approximately two terms, and with such a large number of current senior MPs set to leave, we are left to ask if we should be concerned about a lack of continuity or experience in Parliament.
Across just two elections (2014 and 2017), just over half of Parliament had been turned over. This constant rate of change means that Parliament is virtually replaced completely every four or five elections.
Many may view this as a healthy trend against government stagnation but this turnover does raise questions about the importance of continuity of experience. One only need look at this government and see the apparent lack of experience on their front-bench. The PM is still referred to as inexperienced by some.
Naturally MPs need to be regularly replaced with fresh faces so that they can become the criticism lightning rod, but when you are shedding MPs that carry experience you end up with a long-term issue with the future of governments not having a Cabinet with the "know-how" to manage their responsibilities and deliver on their election mandates.
Morgan Kemp, Wellington.
With the current frenzy of money for motorways and roading, I think the small outer townships are being forgotten.
The smaller hamlets of Te Hana, Wellsford and Helensville all share the commonality of possessing unsealed roads within each town. Te Hana has Coronation St; Wellsford has McGillivray Rd; Helensville has the longer and more densely populated Mangakura Rd. These do nothing to enhance the urban context.
Only a more "successful" town gets the focus of Auckland Transport - such as Matakana - in road-sealing priority.
The streets named are not peripheral or rural. They are within each township. Surely it is time to get rid of the lack of decent road surfaces and create some local pride, less atmosphere of "downmarket".
Kerry Aberhart, Port Albert.
The withdrawn proposal to relegate Concert FM to the AM frequencies (NZ Herald, February 12) can be described only as idiotic.
It appeared to be the brainchild of bean-counters who know the price of everything and the value of nothing and who display no awareness of, or sympathy for, the richness of classical music, world music and jazz.
The argument that it does not attract Māori, Pasifika or the young is as disingenuous as it is misleading. Kiri te Kanawa does not come from Alpha Centauri. Nor do the Samoan Sol3 Mio. Such an argument is also an insult to the thousands of Asian NZ children who learn classical music instruments to an advanced level, and to the parents who support them.
The young (who stream much of their music anyway) already have access to many radio stations that provide every variety of the music that they enjoy.
Concert FM is a taonga. It must not be wantonly destroyed in the necessary changes being made to public broadcasting in our country.
Leo Kelly, Stanley Point.
Don't you think we should leave the changes to our anthem's lyrics and rhythm alone, until we have grown up - big enough to not let our egos (or a particular leading political party's ego) interfere with its relevance?
We have proven to be too immature to design and make decisions that would genuinely reflect our nation's past, present and future's identity.
An anthem is not a reflection of individual ego or legacy, nor the result of a desire to be noted as of importance.
Once we have grown-up enough to have put our egos and cultural differences firmly locked away in a cupboard, once trend and fashion-preferences have made place for respect for the past and longer-term ideas for sustainability and excitement for our future, only then should we let the most amazing new anthem emerge, possibly arising out of a collaboration of artistic, inspirational and musical talent, of which we have so much in our blessed country.
We eventually realised the importance of all of the above, when we wasted more than $10 million of tax payers' contributions towards a flag design that never made it. Just as well.
Surely, M Donne-Lee (NZ Herald, February 11) should go back a little further in history to Genesis 12, where, on their arrival, the Jews' God gave the Canaanites' land to them to become Israel.
The Canaanites seemed to lose out, but I find no record of a civilised resolution of the land problem that immediately arises.
Bill Macky, Bayswater.
Humans are not the most important thing on the planet, it is viruses. If one got rid of all the humans life would still continue on. Get rid of all the viruses, however and life would peter out.
Viruses are essential for transferring new genetic material to organisms, helping them to adapt to a changing environment and saving them from becoming inbred.
Long ago, before there were any females and males, dividing in two did not provide any diversity and so viruses saved the day by changing genetic makeup and ensured evolution occurred.
There is a danger in treating viruses as something to be feared. It is better to get a virus when it has a 2 per cent mortality rate and gain immunity than to wait for when it has a 20 per cent mortality rate.
It is unfortunate that nature demands a sacrifice but the odds are then in our favour for human survival.
If we fail to give the positive side of viruses it can only lead to panic and disaster.
Rainga Wade, Kihikihi.
Sadly the disgraceful behaviour that A Forsyth abominates (NZ Herald, February 12) is not unique to Mission Bay. Down this way, such abuse is endemic. Almost without exception, the trash carries the advertising of two fast-food chains with letters from the mid-alphabet range, or are cans, sometimes not fully consumed, of the "energy" variety. Frequently there are rubbish bins within a few steps' distance.
Another reflection of poor parental upbringing, and diminished standards?
David Lee, Papamoa.
Auckland Airport's old 3.6km concrete runway could be the cause of a massive international aircraft landing disaster with lumps of concrete breaking away, and with no viable alternative runway for the largest planes to land safely and take off again in an emergency.
The government needs to most urgently extend Hamilton Airport's asphalt runway from 2.1km to at least 3km.
When Hamilton can handle the largest planes, Auckland can then replace concrete slabs to a higher standard where up to 360 tonnes of aircraft now thumps down in the same place with every landing.
Ron Goodwin, Stanmore Bay.
In reference to B Darragh's letter (NZ Herald, February 10), my intention is not to defend Trump but rather to educate those who might hold similar views that leaders of a country should concentrate on social and environmental issues and not on economic issues.
Sadly, through ignorance and/or ideology, too many people believe that economic issues are of little relevance.
Whether a family, a business or a country, the relevant economics must take priority so that social issues are able to be addressed. At worst, the two should at least go hand in hand.
Remember that it is the people at the bottom of the scale who suffer most in a poor economy.
Steve Clerk, Meadowbank.
This season something is working well for the Blues. The coach, cemented into his second season, has control of his selections and preferences. Two of the new loose forwards have performed very well. He now has two world-class number eights; Ioane an ideal tight-loose player and Sotutu, the new player, ideal in a looser game. His other loosie played a fantastic game in his first appearance against the Chiefs.
The Blues loose-head prop is equal to any front-row prop in the world and with his recovery from illness will make life very difficult for any number of opposition props.
The major threats in the NZ game are clearly the Crusaders and the Chiefs. This Blues side is even better than last year's one which in their first game beat the Crusaders in every aspect of the game, except the scoreboard. By this time next week Scott Robertson may just wish he'd got the AB coaching job.
I really hope the Blues supporters will turn out this weekend – the disappointments of the past 15 or so years may just be wiped away in one 80-minute spell.
John Rush, Mamaku.
Short & sweet
Malcolm Rewa terrified me and spoiled my Christmas Eves for many years thereafter. Keep him in jail. Name withheld.
We shipped water from Fiordland in the past. Why not from Fiordland to Northland? If drought/storms are to be the norm we are perfectly placed for this emergency backup.
John O'Neill, Dargaville.
If Trump is defeated in the next presidential election he can run again later. The maximum is two terms but they don't have to be consecutive. President Cleveland did it nonconsecutively about 130 years ago. Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
I thought I had exhausted my repertoire of invective in describing Donald Trump but now add vindictive. Alan Thomas, Silverdale.
Recent events in the US political system clearly indicate that the Republican party and the Democratic party are both afraid American voters are going to interfere in the 2020 election. M. Evans, Tamaki.
Hallelujah to Bruce Logan (NZ Herald, February 10) and his excellent reasons for keeping the national anthem unchanged. Belinda Freeman, Hamilton.
That was an incredible turnaround for the Black Caps, 3-0 in the 50-over series. Awesome to watch this comeback after the T20 games. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.