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Turning water into gold
The threat of a nuclear holocaust looms closer to becoming a reality with every passing day as North Korea's unstable leader displays irrational bravado by rattling his nuclear sabres.

It is obvious that if such a war did erupt then North Korea would be wiped off the map, but we must also consider the possible aftermath of a radiation-saturated atmosphere, when rainwater from our skies may well become undrinkable.

What would then become the most precious commodity on the planet? Why, the pure water contained in underground aquifers protected by nature from contamination by any nuclear fallout, of course.

In such a catastrophic event the availability of untainted water would determine whether one lived or died, becoming more valuable than any amount of silver or gold, and yet we give it away and send it off to foreign countries without any thought for the future.

It is time for politicians to pass legislation protecting our most valuable asset. The survival of our nation might well be at stake.

Mitch Morgan
Kaipara

 

School sales
Bill English’s boast that Whangarei Boys’ High School will get $50 million private/public funding to upgrade its school is completely abhorrent. Our taxes would pay rental to the private investor!

In a presentation in the 1990s, Roger Douglas said that Act’s policy was to sell our schools, and return dividends to shareholders. Is English's boast a backdoor approach to achieve this? The latest asset sales will be schools?

Our taxes pay for education, health etc. Allowing private enterprise – corporatons for example – to enter the education sphere will increase burgeoning overseas debt with shareholder dividends being paid to these external investors.

It is a national shame that government has allowed our schools to become so run down that it considers it necessary to take “investment” from corporations. Is National’s next step to allocate coupons to students, to pay schools for their education, as was Act’s policy also?

Douglas admitted that poorer schools that could not return sufficient profit to investors could be closed, but that would be okay as students would be given taxi chits to go to schools that were still open.

Education is not a political football. We need to maintain control over it, not some corporation!

Beverley Aldridge
Maungaturoto

 

Kaipara not a corporation
If you have some understanding of the infrastructural needs of the next generation and put that understanding alongside the actions of our local politicians you quickly end up in a state of despair.

Kaipara’s elected Council seem to believe that if the district is run as if it were a corporation, every problem would go away.

For corporations, the driving philosophy is that those who do the work should get lower wages and higher workloads while the management should take less responsibility with more rewards. KDC has the most expensive management overhead in the whole country, in relation to ratepayer base, but how are the results?

Litigation against the former CEO and against the ratepayers has been lost and the only way that a total loss was prevented was by changing the law retrospectively. In the action against the former CEO was no evidence presented to the court. Also, when the Mangawhai ratepayer organisation tried, on many occasions, to negotiate a settlement, KDC took the view that it was not necessary to settle the dispute by negotiation.

The highly touted and acclaimed debt reduction program under the commissioners turned out to be only a massive road maintenance reduction program.

The town planners ignored their own policy, let the developers subdivide in old fashioned grid fashion and failed to create a walkway network plan. And now, the new draft for a walking and cycling strategy shows no long-term view at all. Even the so-called priorities show no committed funding options.

This is hardly the kind of delivery of outcomes we should expect from the country’s best paid local body management.

Corporations are not obliged to exhibit public transparency. But we can and should expect transparency from the management of our councils. When KDC was seeking to appoint a development engineer, I applied for the role myself. I am a qualified engineer and town planner with 20 years’ experience in this field and I am an affiliated member of a professional town planning association. With my application, I sent my CV and contact details of subdividers I have worked for. I have never previously seen any council work so fast. Within 24 hours I was told that unfortunately I did not have the necessary qualifications, nor the skills, nor the experience required for this job.

Everyone can have his own opinion and we know from the big political picture that such decisions do not have to be based on qualifications and competence. In a corporation, it is okay to have a “jobs for the boys” policy, but public bodies such as councils should, in my opinion, choose their employees on merit and with transparency.

I don’t think that our next CEO should be an accountant. Running Councils as if they were corporations is not the right way. The day-to-day business is one part, and that activity should be conducted in an efficient and business-like way. But the Council and its managers should act in the long-term public interest, for the next generation, and beyond.

Corporations seek to establish a unique point of difference for themselves, and if they can they try to achieve a monopoly position. But when a Council uses its statutory power to create a monopoly on infrastructure projects efficiency goes out the window. Let us remember that the so-called EcoCare wastewater plant was built to bring the water quality of our estuary to a high standard.
But the finally-released habour water quality research shows what everyone with a bit of common sense has known a long time ago and what is the real basis of the rate strike protest with all the trouble that sucked up so much energy: $60 million thoughtlessness spent on the basis of manipulated facts! A fraction of this spent to support the farmers fencing and planting to keep the streams clean and we would have done a far better job.

Christian Simon
Mangawhai

 

Rentals are a business
It is ethically wrong for any MP who has a business to be able to vote on issues in that business sector. They must exclude themselves from any debate.

The IRD treats rentals as a business. Four hundred rentals are owned by MPs. When there is talk of a standard needing to be met for rentals, or a capital gains tax being imposed, but not on the family home, there is scaremongering from National MPs that it will increase the rentals. They should know, as it is reported, that MPs own 400 rentals. There is a clear perception of self-interest in their statements and decision-making.

We know of many people who have been buying up housing stock, owning many rentals, all of which are being paid for by the renters by way of rent. Their initial investment usually comes from a mortgage from a bank, and the calculated rental includes the mortgage repayment and deposit repayment. There is no point in the argument that people have a choice of whether they will pay these exorbitant rents or not, as they have to live somewhere. This causes overcrowding and consequent health problems in sub-standard housing with every family contributing towards this exorbitant rent.

For MPs who have rental businesses to be allowed to speak on rental housing issues is a conflict of interest. The Ombudsman needs to investigate this conflict of interest, particularly when statements made by MPs may have affected the election results. To expect these MPs to speak for the people – the renters – would be like a turkey voting for an early Christmas!!

Kathleen Pattinson/Beverley Aldridge
Otamatea Grey Power

 

We are all New Zealanders
Tariana Turia need look no further than herself and co-leaders to see why the Maori Party is considered irrelevant by Maori. On her co-watch with the National Party she, too, is responsible for the increase in poverty and homelessness of many Maori.

Many of the 45,000 homeless, and many of the 150,000 children living in poverty, will be Maori. Many of those who have committed suicide, feeling hopeless and helpless, will be Maori. I would suggest that the statistics would show that Maori are represented disproportionately in all those categories, all on her watch.

Whilst promoting separatism (apartheid) in NZ she has become a Dame Companion of the NZ Order of Merit, from the very institution she vociferously opposes. The Waitangi Tribunal payouts, for which she claims success, have not trickled down to the Maori-on-the-street, and poor, disadvantaged Maori are still dependent on the institutions that our “one people” social development provides.

On this morning’s TV, she is still promoting apartheid. There is NO indigenous race in NZ. Up until the 1960s, we were all “boat people”, just having arrived at different times. Research, including that of John Dudley Aldworth in his book Forbidden History, has produced evidence that the Patupariehe people arrived in200 BC, the Waitaha people 550 AD and the Moriori 1100 AD, and some descendants of those early immigrants are still alive today, despite the holocaust and genocide perpetrated on their races.

For NZ to continue to progress, we must acknowledge each of our ‘races’ with dignity, respect and equality. We are all New Zealanders.

Anna Broad
Kaipara


 
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