One of the visions that has me excited for a New Zealand post-Covid-19 is Sir Stephen Tindall's proposal for New Zealand developing a green data centre industry (NZ Herald, May 20).
I'm 30 now and all my life people have been debating over what we do about climate change and the need to diversify the NZ economy away from dairy.
We all complain about the problems of big data and the conduct of these companies, but the reality that Covid-19 has shown us is that data is here to stay and is only going to become a more significant part of everyone's lives across the world.
We don't need to fuel our online meetings, TV streaming or our social media through burning climate polluting coal overseas, which is the current status quo.
Instead we can power it with our own renewable energy and turn that natural resource into an export market positioning NZ as a low-carbon data centre for the Asia-Pacific region.
Lance Cash, Taupō.
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Pump it up
We are told that RMA requirements limit the amount of water that can be pumped from the Waikato. Yesterday the flow in the Waikato was 192 m3/s and it seems Watercare was not allowed to pump its full flow of less than two m3/s. Would taking an extra 0.5 m3/s or so from the Waikato create an environmental disaster?
I asked Watercare how much more water could be pumped to Auckland if the RMA restrictions were removed. Instead of answering my question the "communications advisor" responded by describing all the wonderful things they were doing. I finally got an answer "… Watercare is unable to access additional water … without breaching resource consents." Which is what I knew already.
It would seem that there is no way that Watercare will let the public know how much more could be pumped but for obviously stupid RMA requirements.
We are now in an emergency situation. The CEO of Watercare should order the pumps and treatment plant to run flat out and say "sue and be damned".
Bryan Leyland, Pt Chevalier.
Re the latest advertising/threat campaign over saving water by Watercare. If Watercare offered meaningful discounts to households who made water use reductions there would be much more buy-in and maybe even support for Watercare. But they charge the maximum fee for the standard compulsory network and no matter how much water you save it makes very little difference to the amount you pay.
I live part-time on Great Barrier. We decided a dry summer was coming last November and installed a second big tank and filled it. We are totally on our own out there and if we use too much we run dry. So you make sure you don't. Every drop counts.
If we could look at the indicators (i.e. a dry winter and spring ) and see a significant drought coming, then why couldn't Watercare and its CEO?
Why can't they offer decent savings to customers who cut down on use instead of threatening people with fines late in the piece when the situation is desperate?
June Brookes, Glendowie.
It is apparent that the CEO of Watercare, Raveen Jaduran, has never heard of global warming or climate change, as Watercare has done nothing or very little to secure Auckland's water supply in the event of a drought.
A Watercare spokesperson stated last week that Watercare did not expect the need to increase the water supply for Auckland until 2028 and that was due to the anticipated increase in population.
What are Mayor Phil Goff and Auckland's 25 Members of Parliament doing to sort this mess out?
B Young, Hobsonville
Since leaving the UK in about 1970 I have lived in countries with little or no natural water: Singapore, Bermuda and parts of Iran and Australia. This has taught me to be aware of water consumption. Singapore imports water from Malaysia, treats it then exports the surplus back to Johor. They also run desalination plants. In Bermuda, houses catch their own rainwater in tanks underneath. When that runs out, householders buy water from owners of larger buildings which use little, such as banks and shops.
New Zealand is fortunate to have vast quantities available but I still get very annoyed when I see taps left running. The first thing some people do when they enter their kitchen to prepare food is turn the taps on and let the water pour down the drain. Or keep the tap on when shaving or cleaning teeth. Metering and charging for water above a basic allowance is a good way of training.
Surely piping water into Auckland's reservoirs from our springs would be cheaper than building expensive, power-hungry desalination plants. We allow foreign nationals to export vast quantities of our spring water for virtually nothing, could we not offset the piping cost by charging for the export of our water?
Richard Kean, Ngongotaha.
Covid-19 has gifted us a collective opportunity. Before this, our climate change response seemed mired in the theoretical.
Now we can see what might be achievable. For instance, the lockdown lessons from many witness reports of more fish entering quieter bays has been confirmed by a recent study of the effects of aural disturbance on marine life. Is it time to consider limiting noise from boat engines in marine parks? I've got friends that do very well from kayak fishing- so much less invasive. Then there is the relatively tiny fraction of the population we might call marine joyriders using speed boats and jet skis. An outright ban in marine parks would seem simple, effective and appropriate.
Simple carbon-free, family-friendly recreational pursuits were a phenomenon commentated on during the lockdown. Growing up I loved seeing fish in the waves while bodysurfing. A cohabitation experience with nature rather than an incursion. Why can't we push back against rampant "free market" consumerism and put our lockdown lessons into law? Do we need to even keep selling jet skis? Why can't we reshape ourselves for the better?
Wayne Parsonson, Kaitaia.
Graham Astley (NZ Herald, May 19) says it is not a good idea to antagonise China and for now we must park our wishes to protest, among other things, China's poor human rights record. Would he like to tell that to the Uighur people who are being ethnically cleansed and who desperately need the world to help them? They haven't got the luxury of "parking" their plight. Is trade more valuable than human rights? If we back down to bullying now, we will always back down.
J Leighton, Devonport.
I fully endorse the letter from J Gibbs (NZ Herald, May 20) recommending the Government buy or lease campervans to house the homeless.
Can I propose one further step? With so many people losing jobs and so many orchardists unable to find fruit pickers, the Government could lease these mobile homes to workers who would drive from area to area where they are needed. Orchardists would be happy to have their fruit gathered, people would be happy to have work and the campervan industry would benefit from some income.
Linley Jones, Half Moon Bay.
In this age of jargon, abbreviated names and acronyms, it is surprising that an acronym for "social distancing" as applied to the Covid-19 rules has not been generated.
I suggest that a suitable acronym could be SOD, which could be used verbally or in texting. So a reminder to maintain a distance of 2 metres could be SOD2. Keep your distance or move back:SODoff. Short and to the point?
Robin McGrath, Forrest Hill.
The Government is seriously considering an additional public holiday between Queens Birthday and Labour Day. This would certainly provide a much-needed boost for tourism. However, it would also require struggling retailers and restauranteurs to pay staff time and a half on the day, and a day in lieu. That's the last thing they need right now.
Why don't we get creative about other ways to boost tourism during that period? For example, a lot of us cancelled planned annual leave during lockdown. We'd love to use it for a long weekend away, but have children at school. A "school only" Monday holiday would allow families to arrange travel at no long-term cost to employers.
Longer trips could be made in the July school holidays. But most working couples have to take leave on different weeks to cover two weeks' childcare. How about subsidising existing school holiday programmes and providing additional ones, so leave can be taken simultaneously? Teachers could put in a day each to make up for their Monday off.
These are just two ideas. Getting through straightened times will require not only the boldness of our pioneering forebears, but also their ingenuity.
Stephen Bayldon, Mt Roskill.
Letters: Greed and kindness, school buses, China and Watercare
Short & sweet
China expecting acknowledgement of its great power, underlines a political conundrum. Surely subservience is at odds with our own national pride. John Norris, Whangamata.
If it has taken the National Party this long to wake up to the fact Simon Bridges is a political liability and needs to go, it doesn't bode well for their ability to govern the country. Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
National should imitate Labour by pairing a personable female leader with a faceless male deputy and combat "Jacindamania" with "Nikkiphoria". Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
Auckland has been held to ransom for seven-plus years while bureaucrats procrastinated and fence-sat. Ken Phillips, Henderson.
Further to Reg Dempster's hagiography of Jacinda Ardern (NZ Herald, May 20), can beatification by the Vatican be far behind? Jonathan Jepson, Torbay.
Let's say the cost of a new-build three-bedroom house with land is one million dollars, and, instead of a cycleway across the Harbour Bridge, we could provide housing for 360 families. What do we think? M Thomson, Ponsonby.
MP Matt King evidently feels that our prime minister hatches the rules herself, and not upon the advice of an experienced medical and social panel of experts. What's his problem? Chauvinism, jealousy? Mary Stephens, Te Awamutu.