Australian banks

Consumer NZ's latest survey confirms the widespread suspicions of bank customers that we're being overcharged, are often pushed into products we don't want and yet again our New Zealand banks outperform the four Australian-owned banks by a good margin.

Although not covered in the survey, we also know the Australian banks who enjoy the "default status" with Kiwisaver have not been great performers, nor have they made a concerted effort to make sure that their Kiwisaver clients are on the right plan for their circumstances. Far too many are left to languish on the default conservative plans.

The four Australian-owned banks are extremely profitable and ship something like $4.5 billion out of New Zealand to Australia each year. This is more that our whole new rail network cost...every year! The strange thing is, that we have the solution in our own hands; we can easily change banks to a New Zealand bank and help stem the massive drain of money leaving our country. So easy to do. If roles were reversed and we dominated the Australian banking industry, do you think that the Australian public would stick with us? Yeah right! Australians tend to be far more loyal to their country than us.
Bill Mathews, St Mary's Bay

Screen time

In response to the World Health Organisation's guidelines for screen time (

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), it is acknowledged that the American Pediatric Association shifted away from evidence-based guidelines when developing their own, and more towards setting guidelines parents may find more achievable that won't make them feel guilty.

"It just seems like there's going to be more of a mismatch between what experts say … and what it feels like to be a parent in the real world every day," they note.
Well I'm parenting in the real world every day, and I would rather know what's in the best interest of my child than have some organisation decide to spare my feelings. It's great the WHO are making evidence-based recommendations, and parenting convenience aside, it may also help to challenge strong marketing parents receive from companies and even education facilities that young children need screens and EdTech to compete in the 21st century.
Angela Scott, Grey Lynn

Fairer taxation

There is going to be ongoing debate on the subject of taxation, now the Government has backed down on the extreme version of CGT recommended by the Cullen review team.

There is no question there is need for change; low incomes should not be taxed at all, the top tax rates are triggered at an inappropriately low level and too many sources of wealth creation are not taxed.

We live in a free enterprise environment which provides the opportunity for educated, hard-working and innovative people to do well. They are the lucky ones quite often because of the family environment into which they were born.

Incomes under $25,000 per year should be tax-free, significant adjustments need to be made to the trigger points for higher tax rates and the existing tax laws should be strictly observed and administered.

Obscenely high incomes also need addressing, no one earns over $1 million a year, these salaries are given often for completely the wrong reasons. The best way of addressing this abuse of authority is to tax these high incomes out of existence.

Everyone in our society has an obligation to make sure our "system" works, it is fair and kind to all. Successive governments in New Zealand have all failed to address the shortcomings in our "free enterprise" model that currently benefit too few. Time is not on our side, our diminished public service is often completely misguided or too bureaucratic and politicians are too concerned about the next election.
We need our business and community leaders to stand up, many can see the big picture. Communities depend on good people doing good things! What are we waiting for?
Murray Higgs, Parnell

De-toxify thyself

There is much talk about the need for supplements and detoxification in a bid to create a healthy body. But why do this when we have specific organs designed to maintain wellness? Two kidneys, a liver, and the bowel do a good job to eliminate toxins and waste from the body.

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It is just adding confusion to the system to starve it from a balanced diet. The body is wonderfully put together and shouldn't need a lot of money spent on it for keeping things in check. Rather, it is all about "everything in moderation" and "maintaining a healthy lifestyle" that will keep us tip-top.
Margaret Dyer, Taupo

It cannot be very effective security for a man to be able to steal 11 guns from the Palmerston North police station (NZ Herald, April 26).

There should be an internal inquiry into gun security. They may have been more secure in the hands of the responsible person who handed them in. With thousands of now illegal guns due to be forfeited to police custody, some better method of security must surely be quickly put in place. Need for some long-term planning, something of which we New Zealanders are not great at!
Marie Kaire, Whangārei

Capital gains tax

Matthew Hooton argues (

) National has no ammunition to win the next election now Ardern has scuttled CGT.

If National floated an extensive and fair CGT that balanced the tax system, and explained it properly, it could win the next election.

Few people understand complex issues, but all understand dollars in their pockets. If CGT were properly instituted then income tax on lower incomes could be reduced and tax on small savings abolished. It's a question of designing it so the majority win, and campaigning.

Democracy was meant to avoid tyranny by the powerful. If we cannot elect governments whose priority is to govern, then democracy too has failed us.
Dennis N Horne, Howick

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Council inertia

Bill Boyle's letter (

) hits the nail on the head and we ratepayers deserve better. Over many years I have reported problems around my area that have never been fixed or resolved.

A lot of these problems are ones that could be fixed with little cost but seem to get lost in the system. There seems to be no one in council responsible to resolve these issues or make sure their contractors do the jobs to a good standard.
Barry Wood, Cockle Bay

Folau and hate speech

I think that Brian Rudman (

) must be the only person left in NZ with any common sense.

The best and most sensible way to deal with Israel Folau is to ignore him or laugh at him. As for his list of those doomed to go to hell – it sounds like one "hell" of a party as everyone I know will probably be there. Including me.

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It's time we as a society and especially the media collectively exercised some common sense and refused to be so predictably offended at every stupid statement made by idiots like this. It gives them a prominence they don't deserve.
June Brookes, Glendowie

Opinion writer Brian Rudman offers insightful commentary in "Leave Israel Folau out of hate speech heat" (NZ Herald, April 24), persuasively arguing that managing antique religious views through legislation not only threatens our free-speech tradition, but risks supporting desired martyrdom, fame and attention.

Hateful interpretations also damage religious movements. Another silent majority are Christians offended by myopic hate-fuelled ignorant interpretations of the likes of Folau and Tamaki and horrified by the damage done to their faith streams.

Jesus' most ardent followers are repeatedly referred to as the publicani: the customs collectors of the treasury (publicum). They were the single most morally hated socio-cultural group of their time. The moral indignation and religious hatred towards them reads similar to that regularly placed on LGBTQI+ peoples. Yet they were Jesus' favoured dinner guests, and his most loyal supporters. He called them His family. It was the righteous Pharisees that got his woes.

New legislation is necessary to reflect levels of threat. In mid-2017, Westcity Bible Baptist Church pastor Logan Robertson posted online: "I'm not against them getting married because the Bible doesn't mention homo marriage…as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss...not homo marriage but homo death." No legal challenge occurred.
Russell Hoban, Ponsonby

End of life choice

Patricia Butler (

), drawing on dubious "evidence", concludes that MPs will vote for the "End of Life Choice" bill.

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On the contrary, the vast majority of foreign jurisdictions that have considered these types of regimes have rejected them. Why? The risk to public safety.
Our MPs know that good law-making is not based on whimsical polls. They will heed the 39,159 submitters to the Justice Select Committee who made the choice to engage in our due democratic process.

They will heed the conclusion of the committee (report of April 9) which was "unable to agree that the bill be passed", and which identified that "about 90 per cent" of submitters were opposed to the bill.
There is vast evidence of wrongful deaths in overseas jurisdictions under similar regimes.
Our MPs know that even one wrongful death is one too many, and will rightly reject this bill.
Kevin McCormick, Botany Downs

Rail link

The D J Goris letter (

) is the most sensible suggestion for decades.

If in the 50s they could drive a sewerage tunnel from Okahu Bay to Mangere, and in the 90s a tunnel for electricity cables from the CBD to Penrose, big enough for a vehicle, then really how difficult would it be to drive a tunnel from Mt Eden to the airport?

This underground line would naturally serve all the suburbs en route, and would save further road congestion as these areas of Auckland become more populated. As for the cost. All costs are ultimately wages: employing people who otherwise might be unemployed, if we do not invest in such projects.
Clark James, New Lynn

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Short & Sweet

On council

Auckland City Council's expenditure is a third more than Brisbane's for less services. When will someone sort out this woeful wrought and gross inefficiency and reduce our repugnant rates?

David de Lacey, Remuera

On Notre Dame

It'd be good if the Vatican would share some if its unimaginable wealth to help restore Notre Dame.

Annemarie McCambridge, Browns Bay

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Mm, one can't help wondering if the rebuilding of Notre Dame will be completed before the Southern motorway.
C Taylor, Waiuku
On Sri Lanka
Will Prince William be stopping off in Sri Lanka on the way back home to commiserate with their Christian community after their horrific losses ?
Jock MacVicar, Hauraki
On kauri
The Waitakere Ranges is a spiritual place, cathartic and grounding; I do not believe that any other city in the world has closed a park this big to its people for reasons that cannot be proven.
Min Lo, Remuera
On going forward
Speaking of cringey verbal trends like "going forward" and "space", I am already over "across", as in "our reporter is across this story". Can't stupid expressions be banned?
A Albiston, Kohimarama
On Emmerson
Congratulations to Rod Emmerson for his brilliant Anzac Day cartoon (NZ Herald, April 25). It said everything that needed to be said.
Andrew DuFresne, Port Waikato