Curbing berm parking
For a smart little country, sometimes we can be somewhat stupid. What is this confusion over local councils and parking on the grass?
Let's go back to why there are kerbstones in the first place: To prevent wheels from going over it.
Crossing over a soft, gravel shoulder? No worries. Driving over a level gutter onto the berm? Go ahead. But the whole reason for a step kerb is to block wheels from going off the road.
Hence, the solution is incredibly simple, and parking on berms is not the issue. Wheels should not go over a kerb, ever, anywhere. If a local council wants to allow parking on the grass, install level gutters. If not, enforce a kerb rule, that's why they are there.
Mike Binis, Henderson.
Given the number of people who are found dead every year some time after they die, it's odd that the press treats it as news. It is a fact of life that people who are alone, such as those who are widowed, live in isolation and no one is really interested in them and seeing if they are still alive.
If I died and no one heard the dog barking, it would be a lot more than five days before anyone noticed. I am a widow, living alone. Almost all the phonecalls I have are fake number hang-up ones. I have had two people visit me this year. I can go for weeks without human contact; as a widow with no family, I am an invisible non-person.
The Bible verses about true religion being visiting the widows and orphans in their affliction seem to have been removed from the versions owned by the Christians (sic) whom I know. One told me the reason for people not taking the time to ring me to see if I am all right is because people lead very busy lives. Too busy to make a five-minute phonecall. Too busy to care if someone's about to kill themselves. Too busy to care if they do.
I will be one of those who is found dead weeks after they die. It's not a pleasant thought, but it's so probable as to be the reality. Will the people who have turned their backs on me as they have on others feel any guilt or remorse if it makes the news? I doubt it.
A Sherwood, Huntly.
Letters: Watercare, tax returns, dignified death and the All Blacks
Pain at the pump
On a recent road trip I paid $1.78 a litre for diesel in Murchison, and $1.22 a litre in Rotorua. Fifty-six cents difference!
By comparison, the Auckland fuel tax amount of 11 cents a litre is pretty insignificant.
Despite the tax here, a lot of New Zealand pays more than we do.
Dave Spiers, Henderson.
Your article entitled "research bodies dragging down universities" by Colin Harvey (NZ Herald, July 5) is timely. The article points out that the compartmentalising of research is a problem, but of course this is driven by the competitive funding model we now have and resources are jealously guarded. What also needs to be known is that it is seriously affecting the quality of the research. Colin Harvey will be aware of the recent publicity about the agricultural modelling tool, Overseer, which was originally developed by a national research body as a farm systems tool and now is used as a method in assessing resource consents. The science is seriously flawed and dated, and cannot possibly address the realities of complex systems modelling, and prediction, of multiple scenarios with tipping points, thresholds, etc, the inherent stochasticity, and the accumulation of errors.
This is just one instance of the unique New Zealand problem that your columnist addresses but it could potentially have serious effects on judgements being made currently on our environment and sustainability.
Graeme Wake, Professor Emeritus, Massey University.
I am very impressed with the power of the press. In Thursday morning's Herald there was an article entitled: "No end in sight for Auckland water shortage".
That mythical woman up in the sky must have read this article and turned the tap on.
It rained all day Thursday and a bit more this morning (Friday).
Obviously this mythical woman not only exists, but she must read the Herald!
Rod Hunter, Te Aroha.
The opinion piece by Douglas Fairgray on "how urban land values are derived", states one side of an argument over which the economics profession is at least divided.
Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford is to be commended for having accepted evidence-based arguments rather than hidden-agenda ones. All the cities which have maintained the historically normal house price median multiple of 3, have demand-driven conversion of cheap rural land to urban use.
The deniers claim that urban land values at any one location are simply "whatever people will pay". But this argument dishonestly ignores the evidence that just like goods and services, land for urban use can be priced competitively; or end consumers can be gouged the maximum they can stand, for what is essentially a necessity. Economists used to call this "monopoly rent".
Unaffordable housing markets around the world vary considerably in their "multiplier" between local incomes and land prices; using median-multiple-3 cities as a benchmark, land prices in unaffordable cities can be tens, hundreds, or thousands of times "too high". Denser cities have higher housing-unit prices, not lower ones, because the land-value multiplier always inflates exponentially faster than housing units are added.
Philip G. Hayward, Naenae.
Unlike Mr Bredenbeck (NZ Herald, July 4) I am not too concerned about the pronunciation of colander as it is a little-used word. But the continuing mispronunciation of the word data, on the airwaves and elsewhere, as "dahta" is very irritating. Data is the plural of datum, pronounced "daytum," so it follows that data is pronounced "dayta."
Derek Smith, Auckland Central.
Max Cryer suggests that John Key established the "idiosyncratic" pronunciation of the plural of "woman" as, well, "woman". I never understood anything John Key uttered, so will take Mr Cryer's word for this postulation. American TV presenters have no problem with the correct pronunciation but many NZ commentators and politicians do. What a pity Mr Key and the rest were not taught this simple trick, as I was in the third form by my French teacher: "Three wimmin went swimmin".
Peter King, Devonport.
Axle to grind
A recent letter suggested that the addition of an axle to allow trucks to increase in weight from 44 to 50 tonnes produced the same load footprint. On an ideal, flat and perfect road surface it does. But that's not what damages our roads. Damage is caused on wet roads by each tyre forcing water into tiny cracks in the surface. This extremely powerful hydraulic shock quickly enlarges cracks and ultimately creates craters. Each extra axle creates four extra hydraulic pulses and that's just one truck.
The trucks on our little roads are just too heavy and that's because a useful railway system was not constructed in the first place.
Richard Kean, Ngongotaha.
Do the plans to clean up our beaches include Hobson Bay? It will soon be a hundred years since the Eastern rail line and Tamaki Drive cut off the yellow sand beach that lined Shore Rd from the cleansing effect of wave movement to be replaced by the run off from the roads of Remuera, Newmarket and Parnell.
Since then we have been developing a swamp within a mile of Queen St.
At the same time, Orakei Basin received the same treatment but tidal gates meant that a lake being flushed once a week was formed to be used for water sports. If Hobson Bay had received the same control it would today be a marine sports area large and clean enough to contain Olympic courses.
It is not too late to flush and retain what is left to that purpose. Full enclosure and control gates beneath the railway would prevent further deterioration and a reduction in present pollution.
At the same time, it would provide protection from the higher tides expected from global warming that already today flood Portland Rd and Shore Drive.
J Binsley, Parnell.
Short & Sweet
To solve the traffic problem, make it easy for buses and hard for cars. P Skipworth, St Johns.
If mayor Goff supports the berm fines I know who'll I'll vote for in the mayoral election and it won't be him. Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
So, if the berm belongs to the council, why aren't they mowing their highly valued land? Are they seeking extra revenue to cover salaries? Mary Tallon, Morningside.
Auckland Transport's reasons for wanting to ban parking on berms seem analogous to saying that because parking on mountains can be problematic they want to ban parking on molehills. Bob Pearson, Totara Vale.
I can't help thinking the black uniform for NZ Cricket has done its dash. Black is fine for the All Blacks but a summer game should have a lightness about it. Anyone agree? Tony Ward, Mission Bay.
Yellow hard hats and hi-vis vests should be mandatory to all those who dare enter the CBD. Brian Cuthbert, Army Bay.
One gets the feeling that Scott "Razor" Robertson will turn up to the All Blacks coach job interview just to choose the colour of his new company car. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Will somebody please remind Steve Hansen he is a rugby coach and not a psychologist. Tina Myles, Stonefields.