Letters: Cost of Living, German Recovery, Three Waters and John Roughan
Basic groceries are hard for families to afford amid inflation and the current cost of living crisis. Photo / Provided
Letter of the week: Mary Hearn, Glendowie
It’s no surprise that the cost of living is the biggest issue for New Zealanders (Weekend Herald, November 5). Government tax credits for childcare are a positive
first step, but it needs to be more transformational, as promised. Workers need to carefully re-evaluate tax thresholds and the GST. New Zealand has the second highest GST in the world and other countries have food exemptions. Currently, 80% of taxpayers earn between $0 and $70,000. People in the $48,000 to $70,000 bracket pay a 30% tax rate and, if eligible for “Working for Families”, receive less in real terms because these tax credits do not have not been adjusted for inflation. About 80 percent pay a third or more of their income for rent. In some areas, more than half is spent on rent. Anecdotal evidence suggests this new “working poor” is showing up at food banks. Letting this income group keep more of their income will not fuel inflationary pressure. It will simply allow them to feed their families and pay their electricity bills, and maybe even buy new school shoes for their children.
I refer to the excellent first article in the “Rebuilding Better” series (Weekend Herald, November 5) by Liam Dann. Oliver Hartwich’s argument about the causes of the success of the West German economy after World War II seems somewhat misleading. West Germany was occupied by the Allied Powers after the war for several years and to that extent can only be considered a centralized economy (which is what its liberals considered to be). In addition, he received millions of dollars under the American Marshall Plan. In stark contrast, Attlee Britain also saw much of its infrastructure destroyed, was saddled with huge debt, and received no financial aid. While West Germany’s success is to be lauded, it cannot be the poster child of modern neoliberal economics, which did not even exist as a working system in the era.
Alan Glover, Waiuku.
Two hard baskets
Liam Dann’s article “Where to Go Now?” (Weekend Herald, Nov. 5) did a great job of exploring the “big questions” about how to “build a better nation” after the pandemic. Reading the answers of the experts, two questions stand out as being particularly acute and critical. As economist Cameron Bagrie puts it, “the most important thing right now is the job market” due to an “immigration reset… [which is] literally suffocating New Zealand”. In the longer term, Bagrie notes that declining academic performance is “a bomb that will literally explode over the next 20 years.” We cannot even begin to build a better New Zealand without urgently and boldly tackling these two fundamental issues.
Stephen Bayldon, Mount Roskill.
In his op-ed on free speech and potential hate speech legislation, Bruce Cotterill cites Jacinda Ardern’s speech at the United Nations: Free Speech Values We Value So Much”. He then complains that two paragraphs later the Prime Minister backed off from that position when she asks “how do we tackle climate change, if people don’t believe in it?” Cotterill writes, “The implication was clear, these unbelievers must be shut down.” But the interpretation is entirely Cotterill’s. It conveniently skips the previous paragraph in which Ardern unequivocally states “I can’t tell you today what the answer to this challenge is.” His only implicit solution comes later: “Diplomacy, dialogue, working together on solutions that do not undermine human rights but strengthen them”. This is not the dangerous diatribe that Cotterill and right-wing commentators overseas have tried to portray. Newsweek took a different stance, observing that much of the negative commentary “obviously misrepresents both the content and the sentiment of [PM Ardern’s] speech”.
Quartier Roy, Freemans Bay.
This is the ticket
John Roughan is right (Weekend Herald, November 5) on bus drivers. Low pay and unreasonable hours with the added insult of driving empty buses led to a recruitment crisis. The purchase of “behemoth” machines, including double-decker monsters, likely discarded elsewhere by more savvy transport planners, compounded the problem. Thirty years ago, Copenhagen and Switzerland used minibuses to transport passengers during off-peak hours, reducing fuel consumption and road damage, reducing congestion on main roads and encouraging drivers to leave their cars behind. home. The service was punctual and reliable. Sell these huge empty buses to the first bidders and upgrade the system to a smarter, leaner service where everyone wins.
Mary Tallon, Hauraki.
Need versus want
John Roughan and Wayne Brown (Weekend Herald, November 5) are both wrong when they say AT’s job is to give people what they want. People want to get out of their front door in a car and get to work, the store or the theater and park nearby. But this is not always possible. What people will accept is public transport that is reliable, clean and gets them where they want to go in a reasonable time. Then the roads will be available for deliveries and the inevitable car trips. This is the challenge for AT.
Bob van Ruyssevelt, Glendene.
Fast and Furious
Seniors have been in the news lately, losing precious life savings to scammers. There will be many more who will be ashamed to admit it. The central problem is both the lack of mastery of technology and education. The tech race with all its platforms and complexity has gone many times too fast, with the rules changing every week, with no regard for those left behind. I compare it to the motor racing audition scene in the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious. We are in a similar race with a lot of their deep, serious consequences. The incessant password requirement is, on its own, painful. This is not an acceptable situation. We are not Wall St, corporate looters or special forces. Why are there no community seminars to try to solve this problem?
Andrew Shirtcliffe, Newmarket.
Three Waters has become embroiled with insinuations about bureaucratic gravy trains, taxpayers’ money being thrown down the drain and buckets of reports clogging Auckland’s already stormy waters. Turn off the tap now before we all get sunk.
Mary Tallon, Hauraki.
A quick word
Compare the incidence of fires in our native evergreen forest with pine and consider another reason why some of He Waka Eke Noa’s recommendations should have been given more careful consideration. Stuart Mackenzie, Ohura.
Unbelievable. The cabinet of one of the most divisive and disruptive governments New Zealand has ever seen scores well above average at 67.5% (WH, November 5). Mike Newland, Matakana.
I think Audrey Young was a bit harsh (WH, November 5) but collectively the ministers could have scored a little closer to the magic “out of 100” because I guess that’s the mark she gave them . Murray Brown, Hamilton East.
Perhaps the Midterms showed that more Republicans see Trump as the malignant narcissist he is. Maybe there is a God after all. Gary Ferguson, Epsom.
An illuminating, and probably chilling, article by Bruce Cotterill, in particular Neil Oliver’s quote “for any politician to declare himself to be the sole source of truth is nothing less than dangerous”. Ian Doube, Rotorua
In recent court proceedings, Donald Trump has invoked the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times. Are there supporters who trust this peddler and charlatan? Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Congratulations to the brave Black Ferns for making it to the Rugby World Cup Final. A superb performance. Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
“Pyrotechnic stupidity”. Your editorial (WH, November 5) has it figured out in one. Every year I hope someone will finally gird up their loins and ban everything but public displays, please. J. Wallis, Blockhouse Bay.
Thank you for your editorial, “Last Call for Fireworks Sales” (WH, November 5). For many years I have had loud bangs in my local park starting at 10pm. Tony Ward, Eastern Suburbs.
I gave up my firearms license but at this time of year I can buy as many explosives as I want without ID. Peter Dodd, Chatswood.
All this gnashing of teeth trying to make things safer for schoolchildren by lowering speed limits defies belief. Slowing down a few seconds to allow our children to be safer is not going to cause the New Zealand trade to collapse. Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
The last decade was about leaky houses. This time it’s potholes. Tiong Ang, Mount Roskill.
Commuters using the Auckland Southern, Eastern and Onehunga rail lines: 8,000. Projected repair cost over the next three years: $330 million. At $41,250 per commuter, why not buy each of them a Tesla instead? John Denton, Eskdale.
School children could return to their studies and stop acting like goats if teachers, principals and TV news readers stopped calling them children. Wendy Newton, Birkdale.