There does not seem to be any real will to wear masks or adhere to social distancing by many Aucklanders other than when forced to on public transport.

It is proven that masks are another good safeguard in the fight against the virus so why aren't we wearing them in crowded places like malls and supermarkets? Too many think we are bulletproof and that the virus doesn't exist where we are. Constant reminders by health officials and the Prime Minister seem to fall on deaf ears. It is often difficult to keep a 2m distance but not to wear a mask. Other countries have had similar problems and that is why mask wearing has been made mandatory.

In Victoria, Australia, for instance, masks must be worn in public. It makes sense that their mandatory use be introduced in public malls, shops, supermarkets etc. Too bad if people complain, our health and economy are at stake.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Look at all options

Your editorial claimed that "the private sector proposal to produce and distribute five million Bluetooth-enabled cards" would cost $100 million. How do you know for sure? The Government Rules of Sourcing require an open-market tender process for expenditure above $100,000.


It may well be that there is, for example, a smartphone alternative available using GPS that is cheaper and more effective than the lanyard option. An open-market tender would be open to all international technology companies and may identify other options that the Government could trial after selecting a short list.

Like searching for a vaccine, the answer is only going to come by looking at all national and international options, not just one or two selected by government officials in Wellington.
Jim Stanborough, St Johns.
Covid scare tactics

An article on Saturday by Natalie Akoorie was headlined "New Zealand ranked second- safest Covid country in the World". It was based on information from the Deep Knowledge Group who base analysis on "transcendent knowledge and power". This apparently required the consideration of many esoteric factors like social acceptance of quarantine and the co-operative levels between national and local governments. If you select enough parameters you can shuffle results to get any outcome you desire.
The basis for ranking how countries have fared in fighting Covid are best measured by relating symptomatic cases and deaths related to the total population. Using information on the Worldometer site, also used by the Financial Times and New York Times, shows a different outcome. New Zealand rates 52nd in the world for symptomatic cases and 54th for deaths. While we have done remarkably well, we need to keep our heads and not utilise poor information to make ourselves feel good.
Roger Russell, Campbells Bay
Keeping perspective

Without wishing to diminish the two recent deaths from Covid it is important to keep things in perspective. The averaged world mortality is around 0.02 per cent. The two NZ deaths are infrequent and dwarfed by accidents and suicides in today's Herald, to say nothing of the daily obituaries. Further good medical care including steroid therapies can reduce mortality.

Current elimination policy is based on scare tactics and we need to move on but keep sensible things like border control and case detection/quarantine but to reserve lockdowns for the vulnerable, both mandated and voluntary. Whatever the original justification, total lockdown disrupts the economy, education, business, recreation of most of the population to protect less than 80 per cent. It also increases misery and anxiety unnecessarily.
John Werry MD.
Different voices needed

In response to Audrey Young's assertion that Labour's first choice would be to govern alone: I hope not. While Covid-19 remains our key focus, necessarily, what is of greater long-term concern is climate change. And to address that, having the Greens on board would be a great help. Hopefully enough left-leaning voters feel confident Labour will "win" (get to form the next Government), can forgive Shaw for the Green School fiasco, and will party-vote Green to ensure a 5 per cent outcome — in order that more radical policies are at least on the table. Generally speaking, we need as many different voices in Parliament and in government as possible. It's not meant to be a two-horse race.
Barbara Darragh, Auckland Central.
Last-minute question

Can anyone explain why the Government deems that new alert levels will begin at 1 minute to midnight on a given day? As soon as the projected return to level 1 was announced, the media, bless them, said this would be on September 16, neglecting to also report that it was just the last minute of September 16 and to all intents and purposes the new level would begin on September 17. Surely it would be just as accurate and offer less room for confusion if the new level began at 00.01 on the designated day so there can be no room for confusion. But perhaps I am missing something blindingly obvious?
Christopher Johnstone, Grey Lynn.

Green promise


Simon Wilson's instructive exposition on why we should care about the fate of James Shaw (Friday, September 4) reveals the extent of the influence the Green Party has had on the re-establishment of a New Zealand we can again all be proud of.

Not the sham of "NZ the fast-follower" (the egregious "do-nothing" position our previous National government shamefully put us in) that we professed to the world for a decade, in major international issues such as climate-change. Wilson also details Green wins, such as programmes to combat family and sexual violence, a vast increase in funding for our Conservation department (guardians and maintainers of our most major tourism assets), and leading parliamentary action on reducing poverty, among many others.

These are not the wacky, off-the-planet Green legislative initiatives, predicted to come from them in the past by all and sundry, most vigorously Winston Peters.

So where in all this is the "unacceptable" Green Party that he has always denigrated and rejected? It's not this one, it appears, under James Shaw and Marama Davidson. However, Shaw has shown seriously bad judgment, and is now wearing it. But Wilson is right. With Shaw as co-leader, the Greens have been truly effective in giving credible meaning to the "wellbeing" promised by this Labour-led coalition Government — unlike NZ First, who have consistently blocked the best of the long-term change initiatives — in particular, capital gains tax and subsidising electric vehicles. So let's be careful what we wish for.
Clyde Scott, Birkenhead.
Shipwreck misery

What an unimaginably terrifying and painful death for the 6000 New Zealand dairy cows who drowned when the Gulf Livestock 1 sank in a typhoon near Japan.

Trapped in their metal prison, their frantic attempts to escape would have been hopeless. But there would never have been a happy ending for these hapless females viewed solely as "breeding stock". They would have likely spent their lives inside grim sheds and forced to give birth year after year.
Their beloved calves would have been repeatedly taken from them and when they were deemed "old" they would likely have met a hideously cruel death because animal-welfare laws are non-existent in China. Live export, whether for slaughter or breeding, will always inevitably result in massive animal suffering.
Jenny Moxham, Victoria.
Wasted privilege


The mindless vandals who are destroying Labour Party billboards in the Rodney area, to date at least 14, should think before they act. It took working people hundreds of years of struggle to gain the right to be represented in government and to be allowed to vote. Before then only the rich landowners and powerful businessmen made the laws and governed to their own advantage. Smashing down a billboard shows only ignorance and intolerance of others' views. Our democratic freedom to think, speak and vote as we choose is precious and should be protected by all.

Many countries still do not have the "One man, one vote" rule that we take for granted in New Zealand. We should celebrate our freedom and be on guard against those who try to take our democratic rights away from us.
Anne Smith, Warkworth.
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