Wine box rule: are they tiddly?

How absurd is this new council rule? Countdown stores always kept empty wine boxes outside for people to use again rather than plastic bags. Far easier and safer if you need to park on the road at home and carry the wine down a drive to the house. Now the stores have been told by the council the empty boxes must be only in the wine area where there is maybe room for a dozen.

The manager at Countdown Lynfield where I shop has just rung me to confirm it is unlikely I can get free wine boxes now. The reason appears only to be that wine is being advertised on the box.

All supermarkets will be affected by this enforced rule. Has the Auckland council gone mad? This will greatly increase the use of plastic bags for no good reason.

Murray Hunter, Titirangi.


Rubbish collections

It appears in Auckland we are going to have a further rubbish collection for food waste added to the many current collections. Each rubbish day now we have separate trucks collecting red bags, yellow bags, green bins, red bins and fortnightly the bins with yellow lids. As each truck runs both up and down the road that is either six or eight truck passes each week. If another collection is added that will be an incredible 10 passes along the road.

The cost of all that is huge. Five separate trucks all covering the same road, some with extra helpers because they cannot reach the bins because of parked cars and all followed by a line of blocked cars and buses. Could we not have just one collection on each street? Spending just a little of the huge sums wasted on expensive trucks driving around and sorting the rubbish at the collection point would make better sense.

Roger Russell, Castor Bay.

Use Sonny Bill

It's a shame our Prime Minister weighed in on the Sonny Bill Williams bank logo debate, joining the rest of the mundane public opinions out there. He was our Finance Minister so I would have thought his response may have been a bit more educated than that. SBW is not the first sportsman to do this, nor will he be the last, but since he is such a worldwide social media giant, why not see if he is interested in making a difference to something a little bigger than sticky tape on a jersey?

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, flanked by Yazidi victim Nadia Murad, is doing everything she can to have the UN probe Islamic State crimes. What would happen if SBW flanked Amal on the other side, getting a message out to these young jihadists that he, a devout Muslim, was a driven schoolboy, a successful sports star of several codes, clothing model and face of merchandising, husband, and now a father to a young family?

What if this really did make a difference? It just might, and it may very well take a whole generation of Muslims out of the equation, away from violence, and show these young men and boys that there is more to life than being a militant, or even a martyr for that matter. Would SBW give up some of his precious time for this, or would he want to charge some interest?

Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.

When John Clarke saved a pool

John Clarke was a fine citizen of both Anzac countries. His contribution was greater than of an entertainer, actor or comedian. His name is treasured by the folk of Richmond, Melbourne. The one-term Kennett Government was set on closing the local swimming pool. They drained it. John was incensed.


Melbourne, like Auckland, is short of public pools. This penny-pinching decision motivated him into action. On his radio show he urged the good folk of Richmond to come to the pool and populate it with living bodies. Three thousand people turned up on the Sunday and the pool was overflowing with people.

The Kennett government was forced to retreat from this decision, the pool was saved and the government was gone after one term.

Gerry Hill, Ponsonby.

Lost in translation

About two decades ago we had the privilege of being on tour in China and being escorted by a diminutive lady with an excellent command of the English language. We thought that the acquiring of some New Zealand slang expressions might be both interesting and helpful to her. She had no difficulty with the pronunciation of "Get in behind" but she and we enjoyed her attempts to achieve both the volume and the tone of voice necessary to make the phrase useful in dealing with recalcitrant tour groups.

John Strevens, Remuera.

Holmes too

Despite Graeme Lay hearing John Clarke at a London party lampooning Peter Kelly, Steve Braunias is correct when he says Paul Holmes did a Peter Kelly impersonation on stage in a review that toured the country. I do know this. I was in the show. (Holmes was a brilliant comic stage performer, part of his career that gets forgotten.)

Roger Hall, Takapuna.

Special needs

Thank you Deborah Hill Cone for an insightful article. Once I had this boy in my class, so different he was in his own world. He arranged numbers all around the room. All day he would sequence them, upon every surface, along the window sills, through the computer keyboards. He also liked to dance to The Nutcracker Suite and I showed him how to programme the CD player so that he could rejoice in the music. He danced while the other children worked.

He was indeed, very special. He was sensitive to sound and temperature. His perception of the world was different from the rest of us. He may have become a Mozart or an Andy Warhol. Or maybe an Einstein or a Newton because of his obsessive interests and difficulty in socialising and communicating.

He screamed and threw things around the room when he was frustrated. I learnt a great deal from that child. Children like this responded well to the visual and action based therapy provided by Ideas Service, as it met their unique needs.

There are many families who deal with the exhausting reality of autism. These families need help. Sometimes they just need an hour to sleep, regroup or have time out to reflect. How cruel to withdraw that support.

Judy Raymond, Royal Oak.

Clamping 'extortion'

You get sick and tired of reading about how life in New Zealand has changed recently and usually not for the better. Wheel clampers are a prime example where, in all likelihood, those with a limited education are suddenly given power to go and fleece good citizens for so-called dubious parking acts. A major fraud crime will net you only a home detention sentence yet these thugs can hit you up for $150 for parking in an area where parking signs cannot even be read. It's extortion and it's time it was stopped.

Paul Beck, West Harbour.

Disingenuous plans

National politicians are being disingenuous in meddling with our Reserve Bank's interest rate policy. In effect, they want to off-load responsibility for unemployment to the Reserve Bank, probably because they're afraid of the words "taxes" and "deficits" - the fiscal tools that best reduce joblessness.

Central bank interest rate policy has a weak impact on employment at the best of times, and is virtually useless in these times of near-zero interest rates. Our national politicians need to man up and acknowledge that if unemployment becomes a problem, it's their responsibility to use fiscal policy to deal with it.

Robert Myers, Auckland Central.

Syrian solution

As hysteria dies down over alleged gas attacks by Assad and the overhasty response of Trump, it is time to look at the way forward. It now seems unlikely the Syrian Government perpetrated the attacks, as (a) it had no chemical stocks according to the UN, and (b) the terrorists did and do have supplies, a fact admitted by the US Government.

So, Russia, Iran, America and allies should now unite behind the Syrian Government to remove all terrorists as well as their arsenals and reinstate a secular state over all Syria. Richard Woolley, Birkenhead.

Beggars on Queen St

It is depressing and irritating to see groups of apparently well fed and aggressive beggars on Queen St. A very poor image for tourists.Why are they not moved on? Begging should not be necessary in our welfare state. Almost everyone seems to have a backpack and a cellphone. An ordinary shopping expedition turns into an obstacle race in surroundings which have become quite unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

Peter Clapshaw, Parnell.