Security costs need a rethink
Recently, the NZ Government announced $1.7 billion for NZ's Defence Force. The annual military budget is $4 billion+; $20 billion is tagged for equipment; hefty pay increases were reported in 2019.
Ron Mark is seeking extra funds to compensate for risks and damages of military service including being maimed, killed or mentally broken; absence from whanau; and readjustment issues, including substance abuse and family violence.
NZ's forces receive free services including counselling, dental care, generous allowances.
Health workers combating a pandemic which risked New Zealanders' lives and livelihoods, have no equivalent benefits, despite risks to their health and lives.
Given the human toll, despite no military threats to NZ, will we re-examine "security" considering all 21st century threats to life? Capacity to address future pandemics, earthquakes, rising seas, etc is finite. How can government foster genuine security for NZ and the world in ways which neither harm us nor collaborate to threaten others? This needs wide debate.
NZ's military recruitment rose recently, though a most urgent "security" need is housing. New Government support for civilian trade training offers potential for civilian redeployment and is largely free of risks which rightly concern NZ's Defence Minister.
Frances Palmer, Titirangi.
If people want to protest about racial prejudice in America or elsewhere they should be allowed to express their opinion the way they did in New Zealand and much of the outside world.
We all know that the Covid-19 rules are not based on facts but on opinions, and we all sense that we are now in the territory of over-caution.
I am proud that the call was made that it is more important to express disgust at racial prejudice than following recommendations down to the "t" at every occasion.
I commend New Zealand and the police to again have made the right human call – I am proud to be a Kiwi.
Frank Olsson, Freemans Bay.
"Civilisation is but a thin veneer stretched across the passions of the human heart. And civilisation doesn't just happen; we have to make it happen."
This quote by Bill Moyers, respected American journalist and political commentator is one that seems to have been lost from memory by the American people.
Peter Culpan, Te Atatu Peninsula.
How often have we all watched successive captains of the All Blacks, the Black Caps or the dominant Crusaders, quietly encourage their teams to hold their nerve and stick to the plan and then go on to win important victories in the last five minutes or the last over of the game?
That is all our "captain" Ashley Bloomfield, is asking us to do. It's what Kiwis are good at.
S. Turner, Greenlane.
Am Cup expense
Few Aucklanders who caught a glimpse of the Team NZ craft skimming like a large bird over the surface of the Gulf would fail to be impressed. The America's Cup pre-Covid-19 was shaping up to be a visual event not seen before.
But now it is a different world. The biggest worldwide financial crisis in 100 years, an unprecedented pandemic with a death rate, matching that of WWII, that is far from over, and is leaving no country untouched. More Aucklanders are going hungry and face uncertain futures.
Auckland Council is facing a $500 million shortfall in its income, but is still budgeting $49 million to support the America's Cup. It will close loos, remove rubbish bins and leave the streets filthy to pay for it. And denying Auckland ratepayers basic services they expect and deserve.
Auckland Council and its mayor are sleepwalking into this event. It's time to wake up and pull financial support. The ardent supporters also need to take a reality check and read, understand and accept Juliet Gerard's wise words (NZ Herald, June 1).
With just 15,000 deaths worldwide, Japan wisely cancelled the Olympic Games. Now, with 25 times more deaths worldwide, Auckland is still hell-bent on hosting this international event. It is not worth the risk for minimal payback.
Michael Rush, Auckland Central.
'By and large'
On the Mike Hosking Breakfast show, our Prime Minister commented that, in her view, "by and large the economy is back".
Acknowledged as an effective communicator, our Prime Minister has, in less than 10 words, summarised why the response from this Government to the economic disaster currently unfolding in New Zealand will unfortunately continue to be hopelessly inadequate.
Paul Byrnes, Takapuna.
Only in America
The motives of most people joining the justice for George Floyd march are laudable and the execution peaceful. Therein we can identify an important difference between New Zealand and an America where, for the same cause and objectives, great injustices are committed, looting, destruction, injury, and loss of life.
Within the NZ marches, there were signs advocating civil disobedience and some of the speakers used aggressive rhetoric. But we are not America.
Sometimes, particularly as our newsfeeds are syndicated from the US, we could believe we are part of a system struggling with broken political realities and social issues. But we are not America.
Unlike the US, New Zealanders have stayed the course towards reconciliation. We do not want to undo the work of decades due to words of animosity spoken unwisely, calls for haste or a deliberate hijacking of valid concerns by those of another agenda. Our police are better trained and less prone to excess. Our community spirit is obviously very different. We are not America.
Do we want to adopt American-style politics that generate hysteria and civil disobedience? Or remain on a peaceful course towards reconciliation? We can see the effects of the former choice.
Dr Mike Schmidt, Pakuranga.
Schooled by Fins
Peter Dunne extolling the virtues of early preschool learning centres (NZ Herald, June 3) and how important they are in the child's development ignores Finland's exceptional educational system.
Finland is ranked number one in the world by a country mile, having 93 per cent of secondary school students graduate - and where children start school at the age of 7.
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
It's disingenuous of right-wing politicians such as David Seymour and company to rail against the unfairness of protestors escaping meeting number laws while at the same time they have been pro level 1 for weeks.
Either the social distancing laws are not necessary or they are.
Also, it leaves doubt as to whether they are against the message.
Are they pro-law and order or anti the protesters or just falling into negativism because they have no fresh ideas?
It's probably a fair dose of politicians pleading for media exposure; watch me, see me, hear me mouthing party mantra - it's election time.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
If Auckland Council is looking for cost savings it should stop running trains after 9pm, as very few people use the late services and it would enable more maintenance work to be carried out on the tracks at night.
Poorly used bus services, such as in Pukekohe, should also be withdrawn and replaced with an on-demand AT Local Rideshare service instead, which would provide a more appropriate service level at less cost to ratepayers.
R Anderson, Pukekohe.
Letters: US protests, park planning, America's Cup and Belmont road woes
Letters: Economy, armed response, water shortage and Covid 19
Short & sweet
Thousands of Kiwis risked their lives for one day of protest. George Floyd risked his life every day - because he was black. Peter Beyer, Sandringham.
In 1960 I travelled in America and experienced racism and discrimination. Sixty years later and nothing has changed. Jack Patrick, Maraetai.
What about the lives of doctors, nurses and other New Zealanders who may have to deal with Covid-19 as a result of minimal social distancing at Monday's protest rally? Their lives don't matter? Elizabeth Walker, Grey Lynn.
Different standards seem to apply when it appears there are to be no repercussions.
Surely this is far more of a risk than a politician enjoying a bike ride in the countryside. Linda Lang, Henderson.
Let's have a mass meeting with no social distancing for demanding level 1. Flouting the law being the new normal. Pim Venecourt, Papamoa.
Surely it's about time there was a protest to protest against all the protests. Brian Currie, Lynfield.
The fewer guns we have in New Zealand society the better, and that goes for police just as much as it does for civilians. John Deyell, Ellerslie.
MP Matt King's criticism of Jacinda Ardern's failure to social distance just goes to show that a saint is not always appreciated in their own country. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.