Is this Labour Government transformational? It's not looking much like it.
The latest tax plans are a woefully inadequate tweak that confirms how timid this Government is about tackling the wealth/poverty gap, even as it rides towards a comfortable re-election.
On top of the feeble backdown on the capital gains tax because it could not get coalition support, it now uses the pandemic as an excuse not to implement those "transformational" things it knows it must do to address our shocking poverty levels.
We need drastic political change to challenge the complacent assumption that more tax is the greatest evil. Why won't we learn from the Scandinavian model? High taxes, yes. Happiest and fairest societies? Yes.
We may always wonder whether our taxes are spent wisely, but if this Labour Government will not take the lead to save our country from continuing social inequalities, then who will? If not now, when?
Petrus van der Schaaf, Te Arai Pt.
With house prices rising due to extra cash that would have been spent on overseas travel by the wealthier population and rocketing demand from 45,000 returning Kiwi, plus those still to return, those at the bottom and middle wage scales have even less chance now of purchasing an affordable home.
House purchasing is reaching out to even remote parts of NZ, such as Greymouth and the Far North, pushing those previously affordable prices even higher.
Labour needs an aggressive policy to allow the more affluent to build, giving scope for more jobs in that industry but at the same time creating a balance of enabling those on lower salaries the opportunity to own their own homes.
After the last pandemic in 1918-19, a Depression followed and it was Labour who put poor people into housing under Savage and Fraser.
With more apprentices (lower wages) in building, houses could be built more cheaply and factory-built modular houses could be the norm.
Housing or lack of it is by far the biggest factor in holding up production caused by poor transient educational opportunities, poor health issues, high income-to-rent ratios, etc.
Fix housing, fix New Zealand.
Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
Shake the tree
Congratulations to Simon Wilson for his excellent piece (NZ Herald, September 11) "Magical money tree blooms for wealthy".
The article is straight-out fact and clearly explained the consequences of the Government's financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In summary, he says extra Government borrowing, and very important it is, is not a problem and the least of our worries should be about paying it back. Try MMT: Modern Monetary Theory.
Secondly, the wealthy are the ones who are benefiting from the extra money in circulation - just look at share prices and the price of houses - but the poor are not and in fact inequality is growing from an already parlous position.
Please Government: read, listen and do something serious about the poor. Having kids in families without" bread on the table" is terrible in New Zealand and we should be ashamed.
Peter Malcolm, Tauranga.
Test of faith
What worrying times we live in, with fundamentalist congregations flouting the law in the belief that their brand of God will protect them from their own stupidity and lawlessness. These fundamentalists might just as well try crossing motorways on foot to prove their faith.
The only problem is that they would probably kill the good people who swerved to avoid them. They would no doubt blame that on the motorists' lack of faith.
Hugh Webb, Hamilton.
I am saddened by the death of Dr Joe Williams (NZ Herald, September 14) who helped many eczema sufferers for whom conventional treatment was ineffective.
His patients with severe eczema will be devastated but they have another option - Dr Richard Aron also prescribes a customised compound cream, although different in its components from the cream Dr Williams prescribed.
It is perplexing and frustrating that many other doctors and dermatologists are unwilling to consider these compounding treatments for severe eczema sufferers when they have been successful and life-changing for thousands of patients.
Elizabeth Browne, Birkdale.
In reporting on the prosecution of a member of the public who has broken the rules on closure of Waitākere Ranges, (NZ Herald, September 8) according to Mayor Phil Goff, in the Council's survey reported in 2018, around 20 per cent of kauri trees were shown to have kauri dieback.
This statement is misinformation extrapolated from the 2017 report on which the closure of the Ranges was based. Some activists, who passionately wanted the forest closed, manipulated the information to whip concern and public support for closure.
The 20 per cent figure refers to kauri zones where, primarily by visual interpretation, it was shown that 20 per cent of the zones showed evidence of kauri dieback.
Pressure groups and all mainstream media outlets have persisted in perpetuating this confusion between zones and individual trees, and the alarming and exaggerated conclusion which has been used by Auckland Council to justify widespread and prolonged closure of Waitākere walking and tramping tracks.
Subsequent analysis of information from Auckland Council also shows that the report did not provide evidence that humans spread the disease, and a peer review by Massey University gave the report a fail.
Pat La Roche, Piha.
Like J Davison (NZ Herald, September 10), we also have a vehicle with the speedo in the centre of the dash - our LVD motorhome.
From the driver's position, accurate reading of the speedo is impossible. Fitting a HUD
(heads-up-display) provides the accurate speed, digitally on the screen right in front of the driver.
Problem solved, until VTNZ failed our WOF renewal. Why? The transparent reflector of the HUD is classed as a "label", and no label may be fixed to the windscreen further than 100mm from the edge of the glass.
NZTA confirmed it is illegal to fit an after-market HUD using a clear reflective patch, which is classed as a label.
This regulation needs to be changed as it makes no sense and thwarts a very practical and accurate solution to avoiding difficulty in complying with speed restrictions.
S Slade, Ōhope.
As a sailor of 50 years' pedigree, I may be able to state that the America's Cup is not a good look as far as greening the planet or curbing climate change.
Bringing a competing yacht from the US last week by air freight is an extravagant use of fossil fuel for a competition that used to rely on boats being able to cross the Atlantic safely under sail.
Now these high-tech, carbon-fibre thoroughbreds hardly touch the water as they skim with only two thin blades immersed.
Maybe there could be a "New Zealand Cup" to regress sailing back to ye olde wood, canvas and Stockholm tar days of yore with boats that must be made in the host country?
Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
Short & sweet
In her article (NZ Herald, September 10) condemning the brutal business of live exports, Lynn Charlton asks "Is money the only thing that matters, and not ethics?" The answer, sad to say, is "yes". Anne Martin, Helensville.
Letters: Commonwealth, bio-hazard masks, supporting local business and cat poo
Letters: Watercare, bus lanes and sports reporting
Legislation banning single-use plastic bags, and steps to educate and change attitudes to the use of plastic straws, etc, has all been undone. Covid-19 has ensured our once-beautiful planet will be buried in the collateral detritus of the virus. Elena Inta, Henderson.
So Auckland Council staff are going to get a 1.3 pay increase and an extra day off. This includes the rich listers. Are rates going to increase because of this? Arthur Moore, Pakuranga.
What is the point of passing laws to enable Covid regulations if this Government refuses to enforce them? Where are the arrests and prosecutions in Mt Roskill? Richard England, Northcote
If Trump wins again, it will not be because of a failure of democracy. It will be a failure of the Left to provide a viable and attractive alternative. Alex Findlay, Pukekohe.
The organisers of the rally are still alive. So am I. But I am grateful. Peter Baran, Te Atatū South.
You have to admit that National is consistent. Every time there is an election, whether they are in power or in the Opposition, National will always promise to "get tough on crime". John Neave, Hamilton.
Why as a nation are we pussy-footing about the wearing of masks in indoor public places? Taiwan has shown the world how its self-disciplined citizens have achieved such an impressive outcome. Graeme McIntosh, Whangapāraoa.