Kite surfing needs rules for safety

I was witness to the event where the unfortunate Jan King was injured by the out-of-control kite surfer. I commend her humility and hope she recovers soon. However I disagree that it was a "freak accident". It was totally avoidable.

The kite surfer was operating his craft way too close to the shore line, only metres away, which I considered highly dangerous especially with a strong onshore wind. What if he had hit a child?

Motorised craft have to be going slower than 5 knots inside the marked buoys. These wind-powered spears should be under the same rules. Shame the kite surfer was not named.

David Harper, Northcote.


Stop growing

While sitting in motorway traffic having left Te Atatu at 3pm and taken over two hours to get to Manurewa, I hear on the radio news about the problems preventing building more houses in Auckland.

The item talks about the shortage of building space, the need for infill housing, to open more state-owned land for development and to go up with multi-storey buildings. Hello? With all these thousands of new houses where is the infrastructure? We can not cope with the traffic now. Another 10,000 houses means up to 20,000 more cars.

Until something is done to alleviate the gridlock - no more cars. We should be making it harder to build in Auckland and encouraging new housing in areas where larger populations are needed.

Geoff Smith, Te Atatu.

School assault

While we argue about water rights and Afghanistan, the news footage of a girl at an Ashburton school stomping on the head of another girl indicates that we have more serious things to worry about. This was sickening and very disturbing, but who will do anything about it? Nobody, I fear, and certainly not our politicians.

Barry Mora, Orakei.

Regain control

What is happening in our schools? Why is there so much hatred and anger with our young girls? Parents, you totally have to step up and take back control of your teens. Teachers, you have to petition your school boards or the Government to get control back and be able to discipline your students as you see fit without threats from pupils or parents for doing your job.

Joce Matthews, New Plymouth.


Political aim

I am not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but having heard a radio interview with bookseller and critic Doris Mousdale about Nicky Hager's new book, I have been forced to think about becoming one. She said that considering the complicated logistics in arranging for a book launch, she was surprised when an unsolicited consignment of his book arrived at her store with an embargo planned to coincide with John Key's valedictory speech in Parliament. She wondered if the launch would have been delayed if Key had chosen to step down nearer the next election.

Would she sell the book? "Of course," she said, "it is not my job to be a censor."

Rob Elliott, Kohimarama.

War law

The issue of civilian deaths in Afghanistan is covered by the International Humanitarian Law of War. In the 1998 International Criminal Court Statute, the following constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts: "Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects ... which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated."

The test for proportionality is very simple - would you be willing to risk the life of your own child in order to gain this military advantage?

Joanna Santa Barbara, RD Motueka.

Humane eggs

While it is commendable that Countdown has established a target of 2025 to change its ways, customers are still completely at the mercy of these big producers in the interim. So despite all the packaging hinting at happy hens is it really true that enough of these chickens don't yet exist? Customers are tired of dishonesty and just want the freshest, most humanely produced eggs. If flash restaurants can get them why can't the public?

Mary Tallon, Western Springs.

Dental glut

Already we have a surplus of law graduates, now the University of Otago is building a new, larger dental school. Dental graduates are unable to find work now, already we have an oversupply.

Law Graduates can often find employment in other fields. A dental degree does not lead to other occupations, it is highly unique. These young people who choose dentistry in the future will give five years to full-time study and pay over $80,000 in fees to become unemployed. Who is responsible?

Craig Fraser, St Heliers.

Australian rugby numbers

The supposed Australian rugby player number you published is fake news. The figure of 55,000 players has been concocted from a Roy Morgan survey with a sample of only 14,000 people. The accurate Australian Sports Commission's total of 199,000, published in December 2016 is nothing like the Herald's report.

The Morgan claim has also been ridiculed by the Australian Rugby Union. The Queensland Rugby Union, for example, has 33,000 female players, let alone its male players. That would leave the country's other state unions to "provide" the remaining 22,000 male and female players in the ridiculous Morgan claim. The motives of whoever provided this figure need to be investigated. Meanwhile, a correction and apology are required, please.

Paul Verdon, rugby historian, Torbay.

Military disgrace

Thank you for your investigation how the New Zealand force was provided with totally inadequate equipment for their deployment in Afghanistan. How often have we seen politicians sending young people off to fight, poorly supported and equipped? History is full of these tragic stories and yet politicians never take the blame. It is almost unbelievable that the serious shortcomings in your report could have happened in New Zealand and in the 21st century.

Nicky Hager would have done a much greater service if he had investigated this issue and how the Government and the Ministry of Defence performed so badly rather than his scratching around for half-baked evidence to try and discredit the NZ Defence Force in Afghanistan.

Russell Armitage, Hamilton.

Milking sheep

I refer to your article, "Waikino sheep milk in strong demand", referring to the investors from Shanghai who have joined with New Zealand ownership to breed sheep for milking up to 600 litres per ewe. Demand doesn't make this decision humane. Sheep, like cows, will have to produce a baby to produce milk. They will have the lambs taken from them and be milked artificially until their milk supply wanes and they are sent to slaughter.

Promotional tools will not disguise the cruelty always involved in animal exploitation, especially when the Chinese are involved. The cattle they abuse produce 10 times more milk than they naturally feed to their calves, causing very painful laminitis, a foot condition due to the weight of the milk, mastitis, strained ligaments in their stretched udders and hip dysplasia again due to the weight.

Humans have no need of any milk products after being weaned and can live kinder, healthier and more sustainably without it. Cruelty-free vegan food is available in supermarkets and delicious recipes are on the internet and in libraries.

Diane Cornelius, South Australia.

Beware of China

Premier Li, in his article, talked about "upholding world peace and regional stability" and the "diversity of the world civilisation". This has a hollow ring. One is reminded of China's brutal incursion into Northern Vietnam in 1979 in which Chinese soldiers mercilessly destroyed schools and hospitals as they withdrew, an estimated 10,000 Vietnamese civilians were killed, and its invasion of Tibet in 1950 which forced the Dalai Lama into exile.

More than 100 Tibetan monks and nuns have immolated themselves to protest Chinese rule since 2009 but Beijing turned a deaf ear. And more recently it claimed virtually all of the waters and islands in the South China Sea without clear historical evidence.

Do these actions uphold or disrupt world peace? Value or destroy diversity? Rhetorical nicety can be misleading and we must keep our eyes wide open. It is difficult to imagine a physical invasion of New Zealand but an economic invasion is possible. Trade talks must not lead to us becoming economic slaves in future.

Sao Trinh, Glendowie.