As the spillover of the Black Lives Matter movement extends to New Zealand, and statues are removed or threatened with destruction, it is time to take stock, draw a deep breath, and remember we have something very special here.
For sure there are aspects of our past which both Pākehā and Māori may not be proud of, but they are nothing to compare with many other nations forged from warfare over centuries, many conquered and reconquered several times. Many parts of the world are still in conflict. We have been peaceful for more than 150 years.
Philosophers over the centuries have frequently described history as a chronicle of human errors and crimes. However described, history is the past, actions and events that cannot be undone.
All that is needed in the present is to accept that those actions are in the past, understand them, learn from them, resolve not to repeat them, and move forward not back.
We have so much to be proud of in New Zealand. Let's keep it that way.
Murray Vereker-Bindon, Hamilton.
Central Auckland, other than downtown, appears to be dying. No amount of excitement over Commercial Bay or the CRL can escape the fact the city has a dwindling population, daytime or otherwise.
Thousands of CBD workers are now encouraged to continue to work from home, and companies are realising their expensive and slick offices are not at all critical to productivity and are exiting in numbers.
The vast tracts of office space empty and continuing to empty must be repurposed as soon as possible. For many younger people and couples, the opportunity for first-home ownership in the CBD is massive, but Auckland Council needs to act to enable improvements for residential purpose.
Many buildings could be converted simply and cheaply into studio apartments, needing only minor adjustments. This would enable a generation of young people to own their first property, vastly cheaper than in the suburbs. Untenanted offices make a city appear dead.
With companies exiting their offices, usually expensive car park leases will become oversupplied. Not everyone needs or wants to own a car or car park.
Follow the lead of vibrant world cities with mobile young populations living in the city.
Vanessa Lewis, Ponsonby.
Value for money
The Watercare-drought issue has provoked relentless criticism and anger from both technical experts and concerned ratepayers, and the common theme of this criticism has been that Watercare management has been incompetent while at the same time pocketing massive salaries. The news that Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduran is the highest earner in Auckland Council has particularly angered critics of Watercare's poor performance. So the question needs to be asked, how do the top brass of Watercare get these magnificently paid jobs despite lacking the necessary skills to operate competently? With a bit of sleuthing I discovered that Auckland Council's "Appointments, Performance Review and Value for Money" committee (APRVM) chooses the winners for these (and other) positions. The ridiculous contradiction between the "Value for Money" part of APRVM's title does not seem to have occurred to these counsellors, but it surely will to Watercare's critics.
M.Carol Scott, Birkenhead.
During Covid-19, the Government was able to make emergency, unprecedented laws. Why not the same with the water situation to enable them to draw as much water as necessary from the Waikato?
Let's stop mucking around and implement it under emergency powers.
Darren Masters, Panmure.
Correspondent K. H. Peter Kammler (NZ Herald, June 29) might be right in that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) might not be a true measure of economic success.
Then perhaps the most reliable measure of economic success is the profit or surplus of income over consumption expenditure?
Is it not undoubtedly so on the personal economic success level?
Jens Meder, Pt Chevalier.
Dreams of growth
Thank goodness Winston Peters and NZ First put paid to the plan for light rail to the airport. It was just about the stupidest idea that the overpaid "planners" at Auckland Council have ever come up with.
Phil Goff says that the growth of the city will be inhibited because light rail isn't going ahead. How can he be dreaming of growth when Watercare doesn't seem to be able to provide drinking water for the people who already live here?
Jennifer Paxton, St Heliers.
Once again I'm scratching my head to understand how a government official gets let off without conviction, and gets permanent name suppression, because of his job.
I'm sick of seeing sportspeople, entertainers, politicians et al get away with no consequence for their actions let alone justice for their victims. You could bet your house on the colour of their skin, size of their pay packet and sense of importance.
Andrew Lysaght, Mangere Bridge.
We would all accept that blunders were made at the border and our Prime Minister acknowledges this and has taken very positive steps to rectify gaps in protocols.
No government has ever experienced the current situation and we should all recognise
that the steps taken have proven to be very successful.
Many people, including myself, think David Clark should be gone. Jacinda Ardern, to her credit, is pragmatic and believes it is more productive to resolves issues rather than kill off the so-called guilty.
No doubt Judith Collins would appreciate that stance.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
It is scandalous that the Government still refuses to fully fund our only essential ambulance service whilst currently throwing money around in every direction.
The St John ambulance service provides comfort and hope to people in need who have no other alternative. They also save many lives.
It is a stain on New Zealand that such a movement has to consider laying off staff and making collections from the public in order to continue their good work.
Fran Jones, Thames.
There is much media debate about statues and street names and the individuals
who are held up as role models for us today. I suggest another place name may
require some revisiting.
I live in the suburb of Grey Lynn in Auckland. I have been researching the leading role that George Grey played in the aggression against Taranaki and Waikato communities in the 1860s, which brought death and dispossession to thousands of Maori.
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Documents reveal that Grey was not above exaggeration and outright lying in accounts to his superiors in order to gain the result he desired.
I believe this disqualifies Grey as a person who deserves respect. Perhaps now is the time to start a conversation about renaming the suburb to something more appropriate. How about the suburb of Meola as a replacement?
Darryl White, Grey Lynn.
I am delighted about the successful NZ/Aus bid to host the FIFA World Cup for women. The most important thing for us to do to facilitate female participation in sport (and appropriate reward) is to stop using the male default.
The constant reference in multiple sports to "the women's game" is offensive.
The sport is the same whether it is played by women or men.
We have so much to thank the fabulous women pioneers fighting for equity in tennis for; that sport now has equal prize money and tennis is qualified equally as either men's or women's.
If we want to talk about women's football, rugby, basketball, etc we must also qualify the same sport as men's when it is played by a male team.
Make sport fair for all.
Julie Jones, Grey Lynn.
Short & sweet
Detection delayed is protection denied. J. Livingstone, Remuera.
I don't mind people refusing to be tested, but surely we also have the right to deny them entry; deny them infecting us; deny them forcing another lockdown; deny them deliberately killing us? Randel Case, Buckland Beach.
Ninety-two people gave invalid phone numbers when they left isolation and 71 people have refused a test after their 14-day, all expenses paid, junket. We really have become a naive and soft country. Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.
Would they prefer to wait for a Hercules to pick them up and then stay in army barracks for a fortnight living on baked beans? Jim Stanborough, St Johns.
On Queen St
Auckland Council's ideology is killing Queen St. Helen Acraman, Te Atatu Peninsula.
During a pandemic is a stupid time to lose paramedics but important to maintain your bungy jumping capacity. There is no better time for the public to contemplate health priorities than now. Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
A cottage in my street, half-owned by Auckland Council, has been empty and habitable for the best part of a year. It would bring in the council about $350,000 but it's not on the market, just sitting vacant. The fact that it would cover only two executive salaries probably means it's just petty cash, not worth worrying about. Peter Lange, Mt Eden.
Does Raveen Jaduram, Watercare CEO, have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) I wonder?
Janet Boyle, Orewa.