Queen Street was once the golden mile for shopping. Photo / Herald file
Queen St and CBD a shame
It was great to read in the Weekend Herald on Saturday that a group of prominent and intelligent people formed the Save the Queen Street Committee to challenge the shameful and vile treatment of Queen St. by the council.
It’s not just Queen Street that is a shame, but the CBD in general, where lanes have been reduced and replaced with expensive bike lanes, many of which are not justified by their use.
Also shameful are urban residential streets that are dirty and untidy, gutters and storm sewers full of leaves that have never been cleaned and that overflow in wet weather, sidewalks that are not maintained or repaired or replaced, grass that is never cut, etc., etc.
Where are the councilors? Probably happy with their six figure salaries, but you never hear a squeak from them. With their anti-car policy, they have allowed Auckland Transport to reduce the number of lanes on key routes, which does not help but leads to congestion and worsen the situation across the city.
Ken Graham, Greenlane.
Capital gains math flawed
The Herald’s division on Saturday April 3rd includes a piece by Troy Bowker of Caniwi Capital.
Bowker outlined several criticisms of the recent housing tax changes. One of them is that a taxable capital gain of $ 100,000 after 9.9 years of inflation of 3 percent due to the erosion of the purchasing power of money is actually a capital gain of only $ 65,000. He claims this means that a $ 39,000 tax markup on profits represents a real tax rate of 60 percent, not 39 percent.
The argument is based on a dubious logic. First, after 9.9 years of inflation, the purchasing power of $ 100,000 will be reduced from 3 percent to about $ 74,000, rather than $ 65,000. Second, if it is appropriate to apply an inflation adjustment to capital gains, it is certainly appropriate to apply the same adjustment to the tax burden.
Bowker’s argument is based on the fact that the investor will only receive the profit of $ 100,000 after 9.9 years. That is true, but following the same logic, the tax bill will still be. If the same inflation adjustment is applied to the tax charge, $ 39,000 becomes $ 29,000, which is 39 percent of $ 74,000. Bowker’s calculation involves both some erroneous calculations and the selective application of a hypothetical inflation rate to gross profit only.
Rowan Hill, Mt. Eden.
Reserve bank free reign
Recent government initiatives to cool the property market seem out of place. New taxes for investors are late as many owners have long since moved on due to severe changes in real estate law. No wonder so many who are looking for rental accommodation live in motels.
A major cause of house price inflation is the loose monetary policy resulting from a government mandate to the RBNZ to stimulate the economy. We are paying an exorbitant social price to give the Reserve Bank a free hand.
A Tauranga apartment I own was rented last week, requests unprecedented, a market compromised.
Peter Edmondson, Tauranga.
Nicholas Jones’ article on diabetic eye screening highlights the acute and tragic consequences of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. I have lived with type 1 diabetes for 24 years.
In contrast to patients with other autoimmune diseases or cancers or debilitating degenerative diseases, diabetics are fortunate that the negative effects of their condition can be prevented or at least largely mitigated by making basic decisions about a healthy lifestyle: low or moderate carbohydrate meals, regular exercise, regular self-monitoring of their blood sugar levels . In other words, effective diabetes management is largely a matter of sensible daily self-regulation.
It is fiscally irresponsible and immoral to create ever increasing cost pressures on DHBs and taxpayers associated with the monitoring and treatment of diabetics. Such resources would be better directed towards other diseases that jogging and salad cannot alleviate.
Ben Sanders, Hauraki.
Project punishes good drivers
I would like to add my criticism of the low-traffic Onehunga project. This results in a half hour delay in traffic jams on Church Street. This does not make people less dependent on cars, as there is no viable alternative to public transport for time-efficient east-west travel.
It’s hard to see how an extra half an hour in traffic reduces CO2 emissions. The aim should be to get people to their destination as quickly as possible.
If there are safety issues on some streets, putting up speed cameras would certainly be a solution. There are no roads that are safe from reckless drivers. This project simply penalizes good drivers who need cars to get to and from work in no time.
Heavy traffic on suburban streets usually occurs during rush hour when residents are also traveling home from work. Increasing transport through the city does not reinforce the “liveable city” mantra.
Slave labor culture of migrants
Another case of migrant exploitation hit the news. This time a specific company.
How many of these cases need to be exposed before Immigration NZ or the labor inspectorate which is part of MBIE are held accountable. Many of the abusive employers come from countries where worker exploitation is widespread. What are our authorities doing to combat this problem or why are these migrants allowed to be brought into New Zealand without proper controls and follow-up?
Our government agencies promote a slave labor culture in New Zealand by failing to do their duty. Additionally, these companies can undercut hard-working New Zealand companies that cannot compete on labor costs.
John Little, Milford.
Praise to the health system, workers
I feel totally blessed this Easter. Not some mythical deity, but the reality of New Zealand.
At the beginning of the vacation, after a night of fever and vomiting, it was decided that I should go to the hospital for more intensive treatment. My family took me there and I waited four hours for a bed to become available. During that time and later, I was cared for by Aimee, Laura, Kane, Kennally, Jessica, Elaine, Leanora, Jess, Cassandra, and members of St. John – a diverse group of races and no doubt religions, but tied to the commonality of compassion are.
Twenty-four hours later, minus some blood and fluid for sampling, but full of fluid and medication given intravenously, x-ray, EKG, and Covid-19 testing, I was considered good enough to be released and returned to family care . I have nothing but the utmost respect and praise for those I have encountered, and while our public health system may not be perfect, it could be much, much worse. I sincerely thank everyone involved and feel blessed to be a kiwi.
Alan Thomas, Silverdale
Here we go again. The now completely unnecessary farce of turning back the clock.
For some people, it may go smoothly, enjoying the “extra hour” in the morning, sleeping like a log, and avoiding terrible jet lag. For many, however, just an hour’s time difference can cause weeks of physical strain. Worse than whipping yourself on a long haul flight! Just when the end is in sight, it is time to do it all over again and bring it forward. Absolutely unnecessary in post-war times. The simple fact is that we rise with the sun and retire at sunset. Completely logical and not rocket science.
This certainly needs a debate in Parliament or an aspiring MP to propose the abolition of summer time and end the six-month misery twice a year. Any customers?
Sharon Jameson, Cambridge.
Trench Manukau harbor idea
Just when the idea of moving the port to Manukau port seemed dead and buried, the government paid an Australian team to write a report that showed Manukau was a good idea! “Really?”
Our ports are on New Zealand’s east coast for good reason – they provide a safe anchorage before docking. Just think of the ships anchored off the East Coast Bays, waiting safely to dock. There is no safe anchorage on the west coast.
Even after the voyage to Manukau, ships would have to circumnavigate the North Cape or the Cook Strait in order to service our other ports with great expenditure of fuel and time.
The entrance to Manukau requires a long canal with constant maintenance. When a ship enters the canal, it closes the port indefinitely and is likely to disintegrate before tugs can arrive. It is likely that shipowners will refuse to operate the port. Just think of the recent Suez Canal incident which was in calm water and a gentle sandbar.
Manukau Harbor fans (Mayor and Cabinet) should head to the South Head Lighthouse if it is blowing at more than 30 knots from the southwest. It’s spectacular and very dangerous. In some places, “Mother Nature” is best left alone. The Manukau Heads are one of them.
Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
Police brutality and smacking legislation
Few would agree that it is good for the police to push an unarmed youth to the ground. Before we jump on the police brutality train, though, let’s take a minute to think about it.
In 2007 the anti-smacking law was introduced.
That was 14 years ago, and that means a generation of young people grew up knowing that discipline is at most a wet bus ticket. Schools recently asked for protection from students who abuse and even beat teachers, who know that retaliation will mean dismissal or imprisonment.
The police face a minority who know the rules and shove their luck. Conclusion: the police could do better, but who deserves our support? The police or some belligerent, undisciplined youth.
We reap what we sow.
Reg Dempster, Albany.