The Dominion Post

Ihum¯atao table scraps

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Mike Jarvis (Letters, Aug 2) suggests that the kaitiaki at Ihuma¯ tao should welcome a housing developmen­t on sacred land, as a way to help Ma¯ ori and alleviate the housing shortage. He is right to question whether that perspectiv­e is too simplistic or insensitiv­e.

Auckland had 154 designated Special Housing Areas, of which Ihuma¯ tao was just one. Under Te Warena’s deal, 480 houses would be built on the whenua, with just 8 per cent of them potentiall­y going to Ma¯ ori under a shared equity scheme. Table scraps.

Would the Americans frack Mt Rushmore? Would the English build a refinery next to Stonehenge? Would the French convert the Notre-Dame into a hotel? Would the Remuerans put public housing on their golf course? And for mere table scraps?

Mana whenua of Ihuma¯ tao have already seen their sacred land used for Auckland’s airport and Auckland’s sewage plants. Ihuma¯ tao has given enough for the greater good. Let someone else sacrifice for a change.

Harry Berger, Po¯ neke branch representa­tive, Organise Aotearoa

Why so long?

How is it possible that it will take KiwiRail 18 months to complete the double tracking of the railway line between Trentham and Upper Hutt (KiwiRail to complete double-tracking work on Hutt line, Aug 1)?

Had workmen proceeded at that speed when the Main Trunk was being constructe­d it would still be unfinished. One line is already in place and the project is on flat land so how can KiwiRail stretch such a straightfo­rward job out so long?

Alan Wickens, Porirua

We are driving demand

Demetrius Christofor­ou (Letters, Aug 1) makes some good points when responding to my earlier comment. I too believe that petroleum is too valuable to burn, but there is no practicabl­e alternativ­e.

All of New Zealand’s primary industries, and almost all transport, use oil and gas as a power source.

Our biggest earner, tourism, relies on numerous jet flights and cruise ships bringing millions of people here and taking them home again.

Even Greenpeace tacitly acknowledg­es there is no substitute for petroleum as the Rainbow Warrior runs on diesel while their inflatable boats are powered by big petrol engines and the helicopter­s they use to film seismic ships do not fly on fairy dust.

It is not the exploratio­n companies that are driving New Zealand’s consumptio­n of oil and gas, but all of us who need to travel, work and eat. Replacing our cars with electric vehicles will take decades. In the meantime, we will continue to import oil to run them.

New Zealanders’ vaunted self-reliance would surely suggest we at least try to find our own oil and gas in a well-regulated fashion rather than let others do it for us.

Chris Uruski, Feathersto­n

Trade imbalance

Kate MacNamara (Cheap money the new normal, Aug 1) is correct that there’s no emergency underpinni­ng low interest rates in New Zealand (or elsewhere). But she is emphatical­ly wrong in her populist statement that, ‘‘. . . America is feeling this too, which isn’t surprising since it’s picked a nasty trade war with China, its largest customer . . ’’.

China is not America’s ‘‘largest customer’’: it’s the other way round. The US imports US$557.9 billion of goods and services from China and exports $179.3b to China. If confined to trade in goods alone, the result shows an even greater imbalance: China sells $539.5b worth of goods to the US and buys a meagre $120.3b from that country.

So, the US is the customer and China is the supplier. Apart from lower employment costs, China charges much higher trade tariffs for imports from the US (and other Western nations) than imposed by the US on China. And that’s before open or hidden government ‘‘subsidies’’ are taken into account.

Peter Davies, Whitby

Post box left uncleared

I am concerned and alarmed that the post box at the corner of College St and Cambridge Terrace, in Wellington, does not appear to have been cleared for at least a month.

I know this because my tax return is probably sitting at the bottom of the box as I posted it on July 4 and have just been notified that I have not filed my return.

I checked yesterday when I went to post a birthday card to a friend, and the box is overflowin­g with mail, including business mail, personal letters and electoral returns.

I have sent a complaint to NZ Post, and posted my card in a different post box.

The service from NZ Post has been deteriorat­ing greatly and has now gone from bad to worse. It’s such a shame to be losing this service, and quite inexcusabl­e that nothing is being done about it.

Linda Wilson, Mt Victoria

Watching and waiting

I have been waiting almost a week to find the time to bake a batch of scones. I am pretty much retired, incidental­ly.

Neverthele­ss blessings rain down upon us all, mostly of the technologi­cal variety these days. Technology always holds the whip hand and willing slaves it usually finds. Now, on cue, the announceme­nt of the 5G Network to drive the dawdling, laggardly world of our lives a little faster – 10 times faster they are saying (Vodafone 5G network: no added cost ‘at first’, Aug 2).

Wow, at last a developmen­t to help fill the barrenness of our passing hours.

There has been a wind change here, however, for those who would normally be expected to praise such an ‘‘advance’’ are turning apostate and questionin­g its benefit and the need for it.

This will be worth watching.

Martin Bond, Brooklyn

The wasteful ute

Giles Crisp’s letter re a vehicle tax (July 29) and big utes is right in pointing out the need by some for them, but I’m afraid fashion has taken over from practicali­ty.

Whereas utes from just a few years ago provided a decent size carrying tray and were easy to load and easy to see around if parked beside one, today’s offer little space for goods because of hugely increased passenger space and, due to the phenomenon of ever-upwards height and large-size wheels, virtually need a crane to load the tray! Not to mention the wasteful increase in metal, plastic, and chrome required to actually build them.

But there is one good thing, especially for motorists who prefer to run small vehicles, once they get to 30" wheels, which can’t be far away, we will be able to see traffic clearly underneath them to enable safe reversing from angle parks, which we cannot do at present because of their sheer bulk.

Wayne Kitching, Heretaunga

EVs’ emissions

Rod Shaw (To the Point, Aug 3) wonders how much CO2 is generated in making a petrol or diesel car. In fact, figures are freely available. For either petrol or diesel 5.6 tonnes is generated. Sounds a lot until you compare it to an EV, which generates 8.8 tonnes to manufactur­e.

But the CO2 emissions don’t stop there for EVs. Over a lifetime (assuming 150,000kms) an EV will emit 19 tonnes of CO2 while a petrol or diesel car over the same period will emit 24 tonnes. So we have combined CO2 generated for manufactur­ing and lifetime for petrol/ diesel of 29.6 tonnes and 28 tonnes for an EV. Not a lot in it.

But where it really gets worse for the EV is the pollution it generates. Studies say that 75 per cent of pollution generated by a car is by its tyres, brakes and road dust.

As an EV is much heavier, due to its battery pack, than a petrol/diesel car, the EV wins hands down over a lifetime as the greater polluter.

Oh and we still haven’t solved that problem of where to send those huge packs of EV discarded batteries nor that we are going to have to find 2000 per cent more rare earth materials to make the EV batteries.

John Wilson, Roseneath

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