Sometimes it’s good to remember to good days and be grateful for what we have, and have had. Photo / Dean Purcell, File
As things stand
The majority of New Zealanders today were born after the end of WWII. We have experienced a way of life that can probably not be matched at any time in human history.
Thanks to improvements in healthcare, our life expectancy is greater than ever. We are used to shops full of goods from overseas as well as New Zealand. A large number of us (myself included) have been lucky enough to buy a new car when we wanted and travel overseas regularly for pleasure and to visit friends and relatives. I realise not everyone has been this fortunate.
When my ancestors left the UK, it was in the full knowledge that they would never see their loved ones again. The pandemic has put us in a similar position, maybe for some time. I have a son in London and a sister in Australia whom I haven’t seen since before the pandemic.
Hard as it may be, I place the welfare of the community ahead of what I would like and I have little sympathy for those who expect a magic wand to be waved so that they can have their way.
Greg Cave, Sunnyvale.
I am so disappointed to find that New Zealand, despite the teacher shortage, persists in treating foreign teachers with qualifications as unsuitable for employment. My heart goes to Mazlinah binte Haji Mohamad Noor (NZ Herald, July 19) to have applied for more than 200 teaching jobs with no more success than I had 20 years ago.
The proposed reasons given for the discrimination included a “toxic mix of institutional bias, Islamophobia and unconscious bias”. How could a country like New Zealand allow this kind of prejudice?
Twenty years ago, I had to give up my career as teacher when I married a New Zealand man. My British teacher’s qualification and working as a qualified teacher both in America and England was worthless. My work in New Zealand consisted of menial work.
If New Zealand needs to find more teachers, why not ask the person folding towels in the hospital laundry, or the cleaner on the night shift working in Auckland offices?
There are many qualified teachers doing menial jobs like I have done throughout New Zealand.
Caroline Mabry, Glen Eden.
What an incredibly inspiring story of Patrick Lam, the award-winning baker (NZ Herald, July 20).
His story of overcoming incredible hardship in Cambodia and later in Vietnam (growing up for 14 years in a refugee camp must have been hard) to win through to owning three bakeries in New Zealand is an inspiration to us all. Yes, it took a lot of hard work, but why not work hard when you have nothing better to do and can see the goal of happiness and success at the end of it all? And his caring so well for his children will ensure that his happiness continues for many years hence.
I am just sorry that he does not have a pie shop in Auckland so that I could go and buy a pie and maybe have the chance to shake his hand.
Bruce Robertson, Westmere.
Commentator John Gascoigne (NZ Herald, July 20) is right in that higher earnings are achievable through increased (profitable) productivity and exports.
But – apart from working longer and harder if possible – it is clear that increasing productivity and exports require a higher rate of capital savings for profitable investment and debt repayments.
So – for “exporting ourselves into a better future”, would not the primary requirement be to raise our national and personal savings rates, as modestly initiated already through the NZ Super Fund and KiwiSaver ?
Even a fixed income service provider can raise his/her productivity by saving or creating a surplus for useful investments
Jens Meder, Pt Chevalier.
The Three Waters amalgamation plan is a good idea gone too far. Entirely foreseeable consequences have been pointed out by many councils. They want central government to increase funding proportions so all can afford infrastructure, while retaining local control.
As correspondent Thomas Coughlan pointed out in January, councils in OECD European countries get up to 40 per cent of infrastructure centrally funded. That allows those finding it politically impossible to raise rates more than 5 per cent, to factor in infrastructure costs – and is some return for taxes they pay.
“Sweeteners” involve the same flawed strategy offered to schools to opt in to “bulk funding” of salaries. While arguments then said change would allow for greater local-suitable decision-making, the effect was similar – ignoring how mechanisms of decision-making are more restricted by inequity’s real cause: inadequate funding.
While Three Waters offer benefits of a socialist-style great leap forward, this scheme needs to allow local decision-making. In Hawke’s Bay, we would love to follow Gisborne’s enlightened “no untreated water in the harbour”, achieved in 2020. Wairoa’s mayor Craig Little is on the money when he says the real issue is too tight a tap on the central government flow.
Steve Liddle, Napier.
I was very disappointed to hear the comment from a farmer in the South Island about “supporting latte-drinking people in Ponsonby”. Having been brought up in Ponsonby in the 1950s, things have changed and I don’t drink latte or live in Ponsonby anymore.
We all live in and love this country and we all have a role to play, being a farmer; latte-drinker; whatever. It doesn’t matter or make you any more important than anyone else.
Take your grievances out on the people running this country whether it is local or national, not on perceived grievances with latte-drinking people in Ponsonby.
Stephen Rod, Forrest Hill.
Flows both ways
I see the Government has lots to spend on advertising, outlining the good things it perceives about the proposed “Three Waters” Government-centralised water control.
I presume the Government will also give the same amount it is spending on this advertising programme to those councils and people who oppose this Labour plan.
Then we would have a fair deal going for them as well.
Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
Further to Marie Kaire’s letter on living in poverty (NZ Herald July 20) and her suggestion that politicians and CEOs should try living on government benefits for one month.
In the 1980s several serious, fly-on-the-wall, TV programmes in England did just that.
Members of Parliament Ian Duncan Smith and Mathew Parris readily agreed to take part. As a result more than 25 million TV viewers watched them fail to last even the first week.
John Norris, Whangamatā.
A big thank you to Simon Wilson for writing a well-balanced opinion piece about the No Farmers, No Food demonstration.
I have lived in New Zealand for over 60 years, travel around in a motorhome (LPG) drive an electric car, eat as much locally food grown as I can, and wake up every morning to a dawn chorus of real birds.
But are they native birds? No. Are the trees that I see on the farmlands of Karaka native trees? No. Do the plants that I eat originate from New Zealand? No, apart from a native spinach.
Everywhere I look, I see a landscape modified by humans that is rapidly falling apart.
Most farmers know this. Vegetable production in Franklin is changing rapidly towards hydroponics. Farms in southern Hawke’s Bay are drying up as we speak. The braided rivers of the South Island are in a sorry state.
Get back to basics everyone. The sun is in the sky, put up some solar panels.
The cycleways are there for people to ride or walk. Grow some vegetables. Make some compost. But hurry up and acknowledge climate change. And get going on the water reforms, the standard of drinking water throughout NZ small towns is dreadful.
Mary Wark, Karaka.
In the mid-1970s there were approximately 1 billion cattle in the world and this has remained relatively constant and is approximately the same number today.
In the same time, cars have increased from an estimated 350 million to 1.4 billion and the world’s population has increased from 3.8 billion to 7.9 billion.
If you want the world’s farmers to help slow global warming, ask them, but certainly don’t blame them.
Tim Harrison, Remuera.
Your correspondent Alan Brennan (NZ Herald, July 20) writes, “if you listen to Mike Hosking, you will think we live in a Third World country run by a bunch of morons”. When I did fifth form economics, I learned that a Third World country has an economy based on agriculture and a first world country had an economy based on manufacturing. As agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of NZ’s exports and 12 per cent of our GDP, I’ll let readers work out which category we fall into.
As to the morons? We are 123rd in the world for vaccine roll-out, with a government hell-bent on destroying our economy to reduce global emission by 0.0001 per cent and spending nearly a billion dollars on a bridge that will be used by 2300 people. Draw your own conclusion on that measure as well.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
Short & sweet
While trees are being decimated all over Auckland with no plan from the authorities to do anything about it, it is great to see some generous planting on Quay St, an area previously devoid of any nature. Charlie Haddrell, Greenlane.
Reasoned, logical and generous in spirit, Simon Wilson is a pleasure to read. More please. Garry Bond, Hastings.
Elizabeth Easther’s moving story (NZ Herald, July 20) about Patrick Lam, New Zealand’s most awarded pie maker, highlights how journalism can connect us to people with such different life experiences. Lynn Riding, Maunu.
The story about baker Patrick Lam should serve as a model to all of what hard work and determination can achieve. Paul Beck, West Harbour.
Patrick Lam is an absolute inspiration and a wonderful New Zealander. Morna Neumann, Hauraki.
So the British Government has lifted all restrictions while Covid 19, the unseen enemy, is still on the attack. It seems rather like turning on all the lights during an air-raid. Peter Baran, Te Atatū South.
Nurses deserve every cent they are bargaining for. In fact, they should get the same as List MPs. Rex Head, Papatoetoe.
The premium debate
Numerous countries holding Olympic Games have found out they are not as beneficial as economists have projected. Didn’t the last Lions rugby tour also not fulfil expectations? Garry B
Who would have guessed? I know, everyone. Let’s have a regatta where only the rich can come in and we’ll hand over hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to fund an elitist sport where the teams are owned by billionaires. Mark Y
This is hardly surprising. These major sporting events have always been sold as beneficial to the local economy. But we know this is seldom true, particularly a fringe and elitist sport like the America’s Cup. I’m pleased that the cup is heading offshore, will save us all money, and let the multi-millionaires fund a sport which only a very few can afford to take part in. Greg S
Finally, now can we stop throwing tax and rates money at it? Let the rich boys pay for their own boat race. Robert H
If you have been down to the Auckland waterfront there has been a huge gain in amenity. This is where most of the council expenditure went. Sure, an economist, by tying it to the America’s Cup, would say it was a loss. But Auckland has gained a permanent amenity, that literally millions of people will enjoy in coming decades. Wayne M
John C: If the superyachts and their millionaires had been allowed in, the deficit would have been much lower. Each yacht was worth about $1m to the local economy. Covid would not have been a problem as they would have been isolated on the trip over.
Luckily there was the America’s Cup to place most of the blame on, otherwise poor old Granny Wilson from Eketāhuna probably would have been blamed for living too long and claiming her pension. Maybe the truth is more in the mind-boggling amount of money thrown around by this government on questionable ventures. Shall we list them? Alan S
Gosh. And all that wasteful expense bringing the country enjoyment in difficult times could have paid a deposit on a cycle lane over the bridge. When will we get our priorities right? Charlotte L