First rabbits, now the council is "gunning" for cats (Chronicle, Feb 28). Makes you wonder if they have got it in for our furry friends. And how do you come up with an arbitrary figure of four?
We are already over-regulated in this country with new laws/bylaws/rules etc being added every day. You can't do this, you can't do that, ad nauseam.
Anyway, getting back to the cats, limiting numbers per household is not going to solve any perceived problems with felines. This proposed bylaw will just penalise the responsible cat owners who ensure their pets are desexed and well fed. The number of cats they have does not cause a problem, whereas the irresponsible owner who doesn't bother to desex or properly care for his/her animal is the problem.
One answer to the issue of unwanted kittens is for the council to offer subsidised desexing of (no, not the owner) cats.
Down the track we can most likely look forward to compulsory microchipping/registration of our cats. More revenue for the council coffers. Meow.
Council and risk
"How much risk should council take?" was the title of John Watson's opinion piece (February 27) about council spending. Your question was: "What do you think?" My answer? Practically nil!
In describing the financial gymnastics councils perform in an effort to predict the effects of interest rate fluctuations on their borrowing, John Watson exposed a huge elephant-in-the-room assumption. Sadly, it's the belief that councils must be debt-funded, with rates calculated for repayment with interest. True, there is the Local Government Funding Agency set up by Treasury to facilitate such borrowing on the debt markets — but there is no actual legislation giving the private financial sector exclusive rights to profit from public expenditure.
There would be no need to agonise over interest rate swaps and other hedging tricks were government to recognise its sovereign duty to finance essential infrastructures per our Reserve Bank's credit facility. With no interest charges, councils could plan well ahead and without further rate rises. Savings could then be available for the nice-to-haves (a velodrome roof?) — given public approval, of course.
John Watson's thinking may be still in the neo-liberal camp but he has done your readers a service by calling attention to a matter of which few are aware.
HEATHER MARION SMITH
Values aren't prices
Today's headline (March 2), "House values rise" is untrue. The value of a house is in its ability to provide shelter and security for the occupants.
"House prices rise" would be true, and very sad. Who needs hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in a building?
We can never own the soil, yet some greedy people are prospering off the misfortune of others, those who haven't bought their own piece of paradise.
Capital gains tax? Bring it on, and tax relief for anyone trying to build smaller homes.
As a white New Zealander, Rob Rattenbury's "white privilege" opinion piece certainly does make me feel quite sad for a number of reasons. New Zealand society, as a whole, needs to recognise this racism from all parts of our multicultural society.
When I was much younger, around 20 years ago, I applied for a job with a Maori art gallery (I have since gone on to have a successful career in the heritage sector). The person who answered the phone sounded Maori and, within a few seconds, couldn't have sounded less interested in me, going so far as sighing loudly when she heard I wanted to apply and giving me an address that turned out not to exist.
When I tried to call to clarify the address, the phone would just ring before going to a full voicemail box.
Again, I think this is something we, as a nation, need to accept and then try to correct.
Welwyn Garden City, UK