Letters to the Editor
OPINION: Sue Kedgley raises some valid points (Scrapping trolley buses foolhardy, April 21). But as good as they sound, they are expensive. The deferred maintenance and upgrade costs are horrendous, with some estimates well over $60 million (and that is only to upgrade the current limited network) plus the annual operating costs (which are significantly more than for standard buses). Skirting over these costs belies the fact that the tab must be met by taxpayers, ratepayers and bus users. We need to move to a low-emission fleet, but this can't be at the expense of increased bus fares. If we follow the Greens' approach we will end up with the world's greenest bus fleet and no passengers.
OPINION: Wellington jaywalkers are to blame for more than 80 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians in the central city. Not paying attention is a major driver behind the crashes. However, I think the real driver behind the stats is the fact we have high foot traffic very close to vehicle traffic. There is no margin of error if someone walks out onto the street by mistake. The key to reducing crashes is to try and keep the route pedestrians take separate from the routes vehicles take. Let's pedestrianise the golden mile. Reconfigure our bus services so we have the following: buses that service the northern and western suburbs will depart and terminate from Wellington Station. The southern suburbs will be serviced from a hub on the corner of Courtenay and Taranaki streets (outside Les Mills). And a hub at the end of Courtenay Place will service the eastern suburbs.
OPINION: So Christchurch has again been flooded, people are living in sub- standard housing and have been for three years, and others are forced to pay exorbitant rents to landlords who are simply profiteering (which is akin to looting). Surely it is time to say ''enough''. It cannot be that hard to house people properly in times of disaster. These people should not have to face another winter in Third World conditions.
OPINION: Mark Reason has got it right this time. We really are crazy allocating such a high proportion of our sports funding to the so- called elite, based on the warm fuzzy feeling we get when they achieve. All kids need the benefit of assistance, not just the short- lived result from the favoured few. When we do spend up large on facilities, we make the geographical error of siting the venues in the most expensive place in New Zealand, which means we spend more of the allocated fund for paying the high rentals for the venue and the sportspeople who are obliged to train at these places.
OPINION: Yawn. Yet another cyclist basher (Letters, April 19) calls for ACC levies - which most of the 1.5 million people who ride bikes already pay. What next - a tax on shoe leather?
OPINION: Surely the whole point of holidays is to provide rejuvenation, recreation and a break from the busy humdrum workaday life.
OPINION: I have just spent a very enjoyable four weeks in Wairarapa helping to pick the seasonal grape crop. You have a beautiful region, the most courteous and considerate drivers that I, as a cyclist, have come across for a while, lots of interesting people and places, and enough wineries and vineyards to keep any wine lover happy. I was impressed with the quality of the crop - pity about the poor weather. It reminded me a bit of Germany, and I wonder if anyone has given thought to setting up the odd co-operative winery.
OPINION: A New Zealand citizen is killed - murdered, to be more precise - by a US drone attack in Yemen, and our esteemed prime minister responds: ''I think they are legitimate, at certain times, where countries are trying to contend with very dangerous situations and they are trying to deal with those terrorists without putting their own people in harm's way, adding ''we need our intelligence agencies to track our people, that there are New Zealanders who go and put themselves in harm's way have all been proven to be correct''.
OPINION: Charlie Mitchell (April 17) reports republicans have come out losers from the current royal tour.
OPINION: Genesis Energy is now listed on the stock market and within hours 31 million shares sold - obviously people/institutions taking a quick profit. I applied for 10,000 shares and was only allocated 2500 along with others I know. So much for John Key saying he wanted ordinary New Zealanders owning shares. Quite clearly big institutions have got the lion's share and small investors the crumbs.
OPINION: I refer to Synthetic cannabis a health time bomb, April 16, which expressed the extreme dangers of the material.
OPINION: So now the royal tour is completed, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son have flown off to Oz.
OPINION: Super Rugby isn't going to be able to revive itself until it starts treating the fans with some respect. Good Friday would have been the perfect opportunity with people struggling for things to do to stage the Blues-Hurricanes game at 2.30pm.
OPINION: At last new speed cameras (The Dominion Post, April 16) that will distinguish between vehicles that are allowed to travel at 100kmh and heavy trucks that have a 90kmh speed limit.
OPINION: This paper has recently featured many column centimetres, plus photographs, of news relating to a visit by a young couple (plus child) from the United Kingdom.
OPINION: It's true that few would look to the former Soviet bloc countries for examples of how to hold elections that are free and fair, but it is relevant that the Crimea has effectively been Russian territory since 1777 - 336 years. Texas, on the other hand, did not become part of the United States until 1845 - only 169 years, yet few would claim it is not part of the Union.
OPINION: Professor Richard Shaw asks (The Dominion Post, April 16): ''Has democracy taken a dive?'' and says we need to start asking some fundamental questions about the reasons for low voter turnout at elections. The answer is yes, democracy in New Zealand has taken a dive, and part of the reason is clear. A quarter of a century ago both main political parties abandoned the West European ''values'' system of communications in favour of the American ''business'' model.
OPINION: So the police are to enforce the 90kmh speed limit. This will lead to increased frustration on the open roads, with more drivers searching for opportunities to overtake. As it can be expected that this new level of enforcement will also mean that the 100kmh limit for overtaking vehicles will be enforced more vigorously, drivers will have to be careful to perform the overtaking operation very gradually, even though that means spending longer on the wrong side of the road.
OPINION: I find this demonising of Mark Dunajtschik, re: this Harcourts Building, appalling. It is unfortunate that people can interfere with other people's property, ie, Heritage NZ (formerly the Historic Places Trust) and individuals without any reciprocal responsibility. At least these people should have the decency to stump up with sufficient money to enable Dunajtschik to be able to dispose of the building at a sufficient value equating to what he could have obtained before this interference. This is only fair. Let these people find some courage and decency, let them stump up the money, let them respect other people's rights, let them respect Dunajtschik and stop demonising him. He has rights too.
OPINION: Although I campaigned for, and supported, MMP, I was amazed by how many people were hoodwinked into believing that MMP would bring about better- behaved politicians. MMP was about reforming the electoral system to ensure Parliament more accurately represented the votes cast by those who bothered to vote. It was never intended, nor designed, to change the way that Parliament did its business. MMP has done exactly what it was intended to do.