Let’s have ‘Pakeha’ in Census
It is Census time again and New Zealanders who identify themselves as Pakeha are once again ignored in the current format. They have only two options: ‘‘New Zealand European’’ or ‘‘Other’’.
Those who do not consider they are Europeans of any kind are denied the opportunity to describe their ethnicity accurately, in an official language of New Zealand. They may acknowledge the European ancestry of their forebears but do not consider that their ethnicity.
In 1996, the relevant category was ‘‘NZ European or Pakeha’’, but the ‘‘Pakeha’’ option has been removed from all Censuses since, apparently because some people objected to the expression Pakeha.
Surely it is unfair to deny those who identify with the term on the basis that other people do not feel comfortable with it. Recent research has indicated we are moving past those days anyway.
At the last Census, about 15,000 Pakeha New Zealanders checked the ‘‘Other’’ box and wrote in ‘‘Pakeha’’. Perhaps if more do so this time, the authorities will get the message and in future include a ‘‘Pakeha’’ or ‘‘NZ European or Pakeha’’ option, as so many other surveys do.
My recent statement from Watercare included a wastewater charge of $35.81. I was abroad for all but seven days of the billing period, and neighbours watered my garden during my absence.
I have appealed to Watercare over the anomaly of this charge and offered a solution — that the wastewater charge should be based on average use over the winter months of June, July and August.
There are only two in my home and I have no problem with paying a charge for the water we use. For the recent billing period, during which we were at home for only seven days, our usage was in the high four-person daily consumption.
Watercare advises that the one-sizefits-all policy was approved by the mayor, so it will not consider my solution. Its solution is for me to connect a meter to my outside tap at a cost of $459.16 and pay a wastewater charge on 100 per cent of my water use.
At a time when councils have adopted a user-pays policy for many services that were previously free or had a nominal fee, it is ridiculous that this policy applies only to Watercare and councils, not to homeowners.
A Herald article on the draft unitary plan says that ‘‘shoebox’’ apartments in Auckland could come back. So what will change?
Over many decades, members of Auckland councils have ‘‘permitted’’ Auckland, which must have been on one of the most beautiful sites in the world, to slowly become the most unimaginative area of city architecture anywhere in the world.
They cannot blame developers. Developers build what councils ‘‘permit’’ them to build.
Some councils have permitted developers to rebuild city centres as they were originally built centuries ago before they were blasted flat by bombs or earthquakes.
What have our developers been permitted to build? Shoeboxes and other forms of unsightly architectural horrors. On such a beautiful site.
Councillors and bureaucrats blame the rules and laws. Who makes the rules and laws?
We have emphatically shown when buying houses that most of us prefer to live in separate houses with our own small piece of land.
However, the Auckland Council bureaucracy, aided and abetted by Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, arrogantly thinks it knows better and that we must be re-educated and forced to comply.
While tub-thumping about decrepit ‘‘heritage’’ buildings that must be saved, trees and other minor cultural matters, the council in one stroke thumbs its nose at ratepayers by deliberately setting out to destroy our way of living, the mainstay of our culture.
We are to be forced to live in high-rise jungles, potential slums, magnets of crime and violence, all the things our forebears fled from when they migrated here.
Ferry for Wynyard
I agree with columnist Brian Rudman on the issue of new office developments in the Wynyard Quarter.
It will be impossible for the number of people who will be working in the office complexes envisaged by the waterfront agency to be able to use the traditional transport method of one person, one car to get to work.
I work in the quarter, and it just will not be possible to use the already clogged roads to spill an additional couple of thousand vehicles on to Fanshawe St. And where are they going to park? Each new building means a parking lot is lost.
The bus stop outside Air New Zealand will not cope. And anyway, it is then a 15-minute hike to the new ASB building.
A railway station then? Not for another 30 years, says the Government. But surely a simple and overlooked way would be a ferry station.
The downtown ferry station, the busiest, is designed to shovel people into the city centre. It is no good if you work in the quarter. So how about a new ferry station at the Wynyard Quarter?
One hundred years ago, Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line to produce his Model T cars. Less than a year later, he doubled the basic pay rate to US$5 a day, reduced the working day from nine to eight hours, and introduced three shifts a day instead of two.
With twice the income and more jobs, more workers could afford Ford cars. Within a year, annual labour turnover fell from 370 per cent to 16 per cent.
Productivity soared. By 1919, Ford had reduced the model T price from $800 to $350. By 1927, 15 million Model Ts had been sold. The auto revolution had begun.
Announcing the 1914 package, Ford said he believed in making 20,000 men prosperous and contented, ‘‘rather than making slave-drivers millionaires’’.
The combination of policies did, of course, make Ford a billionaire. But they also changed the face of society, developed a soon-wealthy middle class, spurred the freeway revolution and created suburbia.
magazine still ranks his decision to double his workers’ wages as first in ‘‘the greatest business decisions of all time’’.
Contrary to the views of Karran Harper Royal, an education activist from New Orleans, charter schools were received with overwhelming support in that city, and help account for huge improvements in pupil performance (up 24 per cent) compared with pre-Hurricane Katrina results.
United States charter schools are set up in the worst-performing schools’ socioeconomic areas, not affluent ones. Examples of charter schools, such as the American Indian Public Charter School and Success and Charter Network schools, receive less funding and perform far better.
Something needed to change in the US because schools’ performance had not improved for 40 years, yet the cost of education had trebled (adjusted for inflation).
Charter schools here should be debated on the merits and facts for New Zealand, not unfounded hysteria about the US system.
Crime against tourists
The robbery on Mt Eden-Maungawhau involving a firearm raises the level of crime in one of our main tourist park locations.
More than 600,000 tourists a year visit Maungawhau, and more needs to be done at this and other popular venues to make them safe. I have seen the distress tourists face when their cars are broken into. Occasionally, volunteers find property abandoned by these thieves.
In the past few weeks, three pohutukawa trees were cut down by vandals. These trees were helping stabilise the old quarry and the summit area.
Greater discussion is needed between the Auckland Council, the police, volunteers and other agencies to make tourist locations safer. It cannot all be left to the police.
Why can’t there be mobile electronic surveillance? Where is the report on the ranger service that was to be reported back to the council in 2011? Do we just accept that this crime is the way large cities develop?
As in other countries, there are alternatives, such as electronic surveillance and a professional ranger service helping the police.
The argument that the use of calculators means that a basic knowledge of tables and mental arithmetic is not now needed is flawed.
As a secondary school mathematics teacher, I found that students had no appreciation of the relative size of numbers. They would obtain an unrealistic answer to a problem, but because they used a calculator, it had to be right.
If they approximated the numbers involved and did a quick mental calculation they would know what order of magnitude to expect of the answer and be aware of the absurdity of their result.
I believe there is a time (about 7 years of age) when, dare I say it, primary pupils are conducive to rote learning of tables.
If this opportunity is missed it is very hard to recover lost ground.