The New Zealand Herald

Is the travel bubble a good thing for NZ?


My limited grasp of economics may be the reason I can’t grasp how $1 billion worth of “bubbly” Australian tourism can benefit New Zealand if we inspire the export of $1 billion worth of Kiwis in their direction?

The net profit to New Zealand of a transtasma­n bubble may even be of negative value?

The other big loser of bursting to make a bubble will be our fragile atmosphere which is enjoying the Covid reprieve from plane traffic.

Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.

Landlords’ lot

Geoff Prickett writes ( NZ Herald, April 7) that landlords have had it too good for too long. He cites that borrowing to invest in shares, bonds, gold or Bitcoin is not entitled to tax deductibil­ity on interest payments, so nor should landlords be able to claim.

Except that profits on shares, bonds gold or Bitcoin are not taxed on capital gains, nor constraine­d by a 10-year time period within which they have to pay capital gains tax on profits.

An exception is for “traders” in those assets rather than an investor.

The message from this Government is “landlords get out” and — in many cases — they will, rather than raise rents, and cause hardship.

The 12 per cent of landlords without mortgage interest costs can retain lower rent charges; mortgagors paying tax on “income” which is paid to the bank as interest, cannot. When even the IRD is opposed to the new “system” and with no Treasury reporting, expect the obvious outcome.

June Kearney, West Harbour.

Support for Prebble

The comment by Sylvia Burch ( NZ Herald, April 6) about Richard Prebble as an exMP is misplaced.

I entered Parliament for the first time in 1975 as did Richard Prebble. I won a fairly safe Labour seat, Waitemata¯, for National, and Richard won a safe Labour seat, Auckland Central, for Labour.

We often disagreed with each other’s views at that time. He entered Parliament as a firm left-winger. His experience led him to become a right-winger in old fashioned parlance.

Along with Roger Douglas and co and Don Brash at the Reserve Bank, New Zealand was dragged into the 20th century and prepared for the 21st century. Richard Prebble and Roger Douglas formed a new right-wing party. They were courageous and bold.

Richard’s recent article on the need to reduce immigratio­n is very pertinent and I — as an immigrant in 1960 when net immigratio­n was about 3000 — support his view.

Dail Jones, Stanmore Bay.

Wise heads

Herald correspond­ent Sylvia Burch ( NZ Herald, April 6) suggests, “the “wisdom” of former politician­s Richard Prebble and Stephen Joyce is no longer needed, they were unimpressi­ve in their day and their thoughts now are irrelevant.

With a current Government administra­tion comprising many newcomers, a perspectiv­e of past experience expressed by two former influentia­l politician­s with long-standing service is exactly what the country requires in this turbulent era of Covid-19.

P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.

Ambulance levy

With regards to the 91-year-old waiting hours for an ambulance ( NZ Herald, April 5), I am astounded this critical emergency service is not fully funded.

While I appreciate it is a Central Government responsibi­lity, perhaps a levy on our rates could be imposed similar to the Fire Service levy included on our insurance premiums.

I would far rather pay for this than funding an excessive number of councillor­s on a junket to attend a conference.

Our family is quite happy to pay $90 per annum to belong to St John and I am sure if this amount was levied across all ratepayers, the funding problem would be largely solved.

A J Dickason, East Ta¯maki Heights.

Comparativ­ely easy

I am honestly puzzled as to why the Auckland Council has purchased a hydrogen-fuelled ($1.75m) bus and electric buses.

It is suggested an environmen­tal impact and efficiency comparison between the two transport modes is facilitate­d by the diverse purchase, but could not the same have been achieved by engaging a Masters engineerin­g student to do a comparativ­e study based on the thousands of electric and hydrogen buses already operating internatio­nally?

Ninety-five per cent of all hydrogen, globally, is produced when superheate­d steam is blasted through methanepro­ducing hydrogen and CO2, at only 65 per cent efficiency; the process itself defeats the objective. And, yes, hydrogen can be generated by electrolys­is. As this process is also relatively inefficien­t (20 per cent loss), one may have well directed that same electricit­y straight to electric buses, or some other green transport.

A student could also study the relative “carbon offsets” of various transport investment­s compared to other green investment­s e.g. subsidisin­g solar panel installati­on. We need to be much smarter on estimating our returns on green investment­s before committing the funding.

Dr Mike Schmidt, Sunny Hills.

Similar lines

Simon Wilson ( NZ Herald, April 1) asks whether Auckland’s new light rail and/or light metro should be interopera­ble with Auckland’s railway system. The evidence for interopera­bility is compelling.

In the 1980s, Newcastle in the UK built a 50km light metro system for £265 million and in the 1990s Manchester built a 30km light rail system for £145 million.

The remarkably low costs of the popular systems, both now poised for significan­t expansion, was because the systems were built to be interopera­ble with Britain’s rail network, so much of the existing infrastruc­ture could be utilised.

Interopera­ble light rail to Kumeu, built for many billions, could continue to Huapai, Waimauku and Helensvill­e for the cost of electrifyi­ng the existing railway line. Interopera­ble light metro to the airport, costing many billions, could be extended to Wiri for hundreds of millions, allowing popular services to be run from Pukekohe via Manurewa, Airport, Onehunga, Avondale and Henderson to Helensvill­e. If the CRL is shut by derailment, flooding or another reason, light rail and light metro trains could be deployed across all lines to maintain services including through the CBD.

Costs are minimised and resilience is maximised by having one interopera­ble system.

Will McKenzie, Sandringha­m.

Boat waste

Sooner or later, all boaties using close inshore anchorages (eg: Oneroa, Waiheke) must be compelled to have sewage holding tanks on their boats. Currently there is no such requiremen­t. The vast majority of boats have marine toilets which pump out directly into the sea.

Boating activity around Waiheke is growing at an explosive rate. It surprises me that these two large dots have not been joined, and that there is not a swell of environmen­tal concern already.

A marina might provide a number of services for itinerant boats as well as those berthed on site, and a pump-out service could actually be very important one day when people wake up to the problem.

Barb Callaghan, Kohimarama.

Well played

With the end of daylight saving has come the end of the domestic cricket season. Watching red ball cricket at Eden Park’s outer oval has been the sporting highlight of my summer.

Sitting in the empty old stand watching our top male red-ball cricketers’ exploits — fighting centuries, a hat-trick, great catches — has been an absolute delight, especially as the country’s largest city continues to be ignored when it comes to test cricket.

The Plunket Shield cricket competitio­n remains firmly rooted in sporting tradition and the young men maintainin­g that and giving their utmost for their provinces are important figures in our sporting landscape. The Black Caps would not be in the final of the World Test Championsh­ip if our domestic competitio­n wasn’t made up of quality, competitiv­e players. Their efforts deserve much more applause than they receive.

Matt Elliott, Birkdale.

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