Letters: Queen st shambles, CBD embarrassment, Britain’s shames, Five Eyes fantasy

Time to sort out Queen St shambles

To Viv Beck, Heart of the City: What a sorry state affairs has developed in Queen St. I have been following the saga in the Herald during the past few months. I live on Waiheke and avoid every possible reason to come into the city but occasionally I have to. During those odd visits over the past few years the congestion on Quay St, for a very important seawall rebuild, Albert St and the bottom of Queen St due to the CRL and latterly Queen St during the trial, causes me to get back on the ferry as quickly as I can.

I understood your organisation was set up to deal with promoting the city centre, advocating for your members and staging events which in turn promote the city centre.
So why are youjoining force with Save Queen Street to sue Auckland Council, the organisation that collects a special rate that funds your organisation?
You have to return to the grass roots of your organisation.

The most sense I have read about the saga was in Simon Wilson’s story in the NZ Herald, April 23.Such practical ideas if people would “get off their bums” and put them into practice. Save Queen Street should be using the skills of their architectural members to formulate ideas to “bring to the table” for discussion, maybe modification and then implication.

My heart goes out to Chris Upton with his $230,000 annual rates bill. He has to sell a huge number of flat whites to deal with that overhead. Who is his greedy landlord ?
Why develop Heart of the City into a protest organisation? In my opinion protests have had very limited success in achieving anything.
I suggest you organise for all parties in the argument to assemble in one room and start “banging some heads together”. Maybe Heather Simpson could be the moderator?
John Mead, Waiheke.

CBD embarrassment

On a recent evening we went into the city to attend a family get together. Having lived in Auckland for more decades than I care to recall, I thought I knew my way round the CBD streets well.
How wrong I was! As soon as we got off the motorway we were faced with a jumble of signage, confusing lines and crisscrossing bus lanes which started and stopped as if at will. There was a no right turn here, no left turn there, no entry, one way streets and short phasing traffic lights.
What in previous years was a simple task to get to a specific CBD destination has become a nightmare of illogical planning. As for Queen St, all the criticisms are well founded.
The Council-owned Victoria St carpark is a disgrace. The pedestrian entry was dirty, shabby and littered with rubbish. Even the lift was filthy. It was not surprising then to note that CBD street pavements were untidy with litter with the homeless sitting in doorways.

Now I understand why the Save the Queen Street action group are about to legally challenge the Auckland Council. I wish them very success. Auckland City CBD is certainly an embarrassment.
Bruce B Owen, Bombay.

Protect freedoms
As I attended the Dawn Serviceyesterday morning I was reminded of the sacrifices our young men and women made in two world wars to protect our freedoms.
I note that these are slowly being eroded by our politicians with the latest being our freedom of speech with the proposed hate speech legislation.
As our dawn service wound up, the line from our national anthem seemed very poignant “God defend our free land”. Let us continue to fight for our freedoms.
Michael Sommerville, Beachlands.

Britain’s shames
The British Parliament, stirred up by Tory MP Bob Seely, wants to shame our Prime Minister. They should sense their own historical shames.
On the Five Eyes issue, their righteous indignation is misdirected. It is an intelligence gathering and sharing organisation, not a sub-branch of the United Nations. It should not be used to twist the arms of its member countries. New Zealand has expressed its concerns over human rights issues in other ways.
How might China have turned out if Britain (through military force in the Opium Wars) had not defied the Qing Dynasty’s wish to keep its people free of opium addiction?
Additionally, their incompetent handling of Covid management (along with the USA, India and other countries) has put the whole world at risk by creating a climate in which the virus has had plenty of bodies to mutate in.
Britain taught Australia about transportation of criminals. Now the Australians are doing it in violation the rights of New Zealanders who were brought up (lifelong) in Australia.
Hugh Webb, Hamilton.

Reject self-service
I get a good response from supermarket staff when I raise the thorny subject of self-serving checkouts. The connection between cutting hours, sabotaging security of employment and this practice is real to them despite feeling powerless in challenging it.
Customersneed to stop this anti-worker modus operandi while employers and shareholders clap their hands in glee and chalk up the profit margin.
Paul Protheroe, Manurewa.

Battery headache
With all the focus upon getting rid of petrol driven vehicles, I wonder if the Government has given any thought about how we are going to deal with dumping very large car batteries — moving from one solution to another headache?
Few buyers will relish paying a great deal of money to replace defunct batteries, diminishing the ability of many motorists to own a car unless theyare able to write off the expense against a business account to purchase a new one.
Jackie McCabe, Kaitaia.

Five Eyes fantasy
Fran O’Sullivan was right on the money with her Five Eyes article on Saturday. Five Eyes has never been other than an intelligence collecting and sharing agreement.
The idea that it becomes a Big White Boys police force is a fantasy particularly attractive to Brits wondering what to do now that they no longer have to take instructions from foreigners in Brussels.
But now they have Mahuta and Ardern. The horror, the horror.
David Kisler, Freemans Bay.

Thanks for Covid work
For onewatching and listening to the news here and in Australia the word negativity comes to mind. One understands that the job of the media is to not only to present the news but also ask the questions most of us want answered.
However in the current environment the pressure on those in control must be immense and it’s been like this since February 2020.
It’s not going to let up either so let usgive it up for those doing their very best for all of us. They include our PM and her Ministers, front line workers and special mention for those in health who have led us through one of the most tenuous times in living memory.
Reg Dempster, Albany.

Reinstate deductibility
The announced restructure of healthcare in an endeavour to rein in costs misses one salient point. State dominance will still ensure the appetite for health funding remains insatiable unless recognition is acknowledged that state health services require the growing support of private accident and emergency clinics and hospitals which do much to ease the financial burden placed on state medical treatment and the provision of beds.
To assist, the reinstatement of tax deductibility for personal health insurance costs is suggested to encourage individual responsibility for health needs which does much to cut waiting lists and free up beds in public hospitals, support is key.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.

Unfriended cobbers
Once upon a time (in fact until 1981) New Zealanders and Australians could visit each other’s countries passport-free.
Now, as their Alexander Downer tweeted about us: “Used to be our best mates. Not now”.
Daresay these days there are 501 reasons why not.
Chris Kiwi, Mt Albert.

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