The Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway – is population growth the key to making infrastructure projects more affordable?
“New Zealand is the most expensive country in the world to build new infrastructure [in].” So says the man who has spent several years and many hundreds of millions trying to drive a
train tunnel from Britomart to K Road and beyond.
Publicly available statistics tell us our total population is around 5.123 million people, of which 343,000 are under 14 and 842,000 are over 65. The public sector soaks up nearly half a million people from our potential workforce. Then we have the armed forces, NZ Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand – you get the picture. Where are the workers to satisfy our desire for “First-World” infrastructure, and how does our country generate sufficient funds to pay for it?
In a land of five million people, there isn’t enough of either. Despite the much-vaunted “punching above our weight” tagline, our status is that of the world’s largest Pacific Island nation.
Either we import more people and more infrastructure to support their personal needs so they can get on with supporting all our aspirational wants, or we learn to live within our means.
Nigel Meek, Raglan.
It appears we not only have a new government – we also save a new set of correspondents. Carolyn Moynihan’s letter of the week (NZ Herald, December 2) about personal responsibility hits the spot.
K H Peter Kammler, Warkworth.
Reversing a trend
Excellent article by Matthew Hooton (NZ Herald, December 1) on how the public service has renounced its core purpose under sustained political pressure over the last 20 years. However, reversing this trend may require more than a few new ministers and some ritual sackings at the top, because the behaviours are now so entrenched. Instead, a new approach to recruiting and developing our future public leaders is required. Ideally, this should include private sector experience and secondments in both directions to get the best from the talent pool available. In the meantime, Christopher Luxon and his team have some huge challenges ahead, and should be given the freedom to succeed or fail as Hooton suggests.
Duncan Simpson, Hobsonville Point.
Obfuscation, not finesse
Where Matthew Hooton saw “political finesse” in Christopher Luxon’s handling of Winston Peters’ comments on supposed bribery of the media, I saw only obfuscation and a telling unwillingness to censure a rogue deputy for wilfully spreading misinformation. Asked for his own opinions on the matter, Luxon avoided answering directly and was content to stoke unfounded suspicion of the media by saying “reality doesn’t matter”, only the “perception” of bribery. (David Seymour made the same flawed point but did so with more nuance, and told us clearly he does not believe the media was in any sense bribed by the Public Interest Journalism Fund.) If a vague, unquantifiable “perception” of bribery is enough for Luxon to write off a policy (whatever the reality of its application and impact), he should turn the same logic on his own policy platform – large chunks of which many of us perceive to have been unduly influenced by the real estate and tobacco lobbies.
Roy Ward, Freemans Bay.
Garbage plan rubbished
Is Auckland looking for the title of NZ’s smelliest city? My food collection bin had an awful smell – the food was all wrapped in the bags supplied, but upon opening the bin, it was full of maggots. I’m sure as the weather gets warmer this will happen more often. But it looks like Auckland Council wants to add to the aroma by suggesting fortnightly rubbish collections. We live in a warm climate, so items do go very off, and very quickly.The food collection bins must be very attractive to vermin.
Geoffrey Slack, Silverdale.
Fix it, mayor!
What’s all of this rubbish about fortnightly organic collections? Come on, Brownie, fix this before Auckland’s streets become the Third World of the South Pacific!
Reece Jones, Waimauku.
Get serious on texting
I had started walking across the crossing in Helensville’s main street when a car suddenly accelerated out of a parking space, driving towards me. The driver was looking down at his phone and going too fast for me to get his number plate. Had I been less agile and unable to take evasive action, I would have ended up in the same situation as little Sapphire Wakefield, tragically fighting for her life in hospital. Time to get tough on texting drivers.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
What a laugh
James Roque (NZ Herald, November 30) wrote eloquently about the need for comedy to be government-funded. Does he not watch Parliament on TV??
Garry Wycherley, Awakino.