Peace should pay dividends
The sudden cessation of war in Afghanistan should generate a budgetary "peace dividend" in the Five Eyes (FVEY) and EU countries.
Fiscal resources tagged for future military expenditures for Afghanistan can now be reallocated to peacetime uses.
The natural, indeed compelling, use of peace dividends would be for environmental protection.
Of course this requires actual reductions in military expenditures/activities coupled with equivalent increases in expenditures for protecting/improving the environment.
We should once again punch above our weight and engender discussions among the FVEY and EU countries on identifying peace dividends and reallocating them to improving the environment.
Robert Myers, Auckland Central.
My heart goes out to the victims and to all New Zealanders.
I get a sense that the terrorist attack in the Auckland supermarket in which six people were injured, three critically, has parallels with the Sydney Lindt Cafe siege and terrorist attack by lone gunman Man Haron Monis on December 15-16, 2014 in which four were injured and three died, including the perpetrator.
In both cases, it seems the system failed society. Although the perpetrator was on the police radar as a violent potential terrorist, the system (the law and human rights regime, etc) allowed him to walk freely on the streets.
There is something fundamentally wrong in that. The system needs to change to protect innocent law-abiding citizens.
Rajend Naidu, Sydney, NSW.
Failure to legislate
All our thoughts are with the victims and their family/whānau during these terrible days.
The simple point is this Government did not legislate to stop this. It had all the power in the world to do that and had specific information of a very high-risk offender posing the most serious of risk to an indeterminate class.
Instead, it sat on its hands. Now it seeks to "duck and dive" out of this.
Let's call it what it is – gross incompetence by this Government.
This Government needs to stand up and be accountable.
Adina Thorn, St Heliers.
When persons apply for refugee status, should one of the requirements be a vigorous assessment of their mental conditions? Obviously, they do usually come from countries where their lives could have been stressful.
This latest situation reminds me of the woman from Africa who attacked pilots on a plane and said she would do it again if she had the opportunity.
Sue Gallahar, Māngere East.
We cannot defend moral outrage at Australia for transporting non-citizen troublemakers before social harm is perpetrated, when our approach is to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in keeping a potential offender in police crosshairs and then summarily executing him the moment he commits the expected social harm.
Ian Brady, Titirangi.
The family of the 23-year-old male, who escaped from the Ellerslie quarantine facility and made his way home to Ōtāhuhu, suddenly found itself in an awful situation but they did the right thing. The police were called and he was returned to quarantine.
The distressed mother has since apologised to the public for her son's actions.
The ugly side of what staff at a MIQ facility have to deal with was demonstrated by the disgusting tirade of abuse aimed at staff by a woman who was upset about a pizza. Furthermore, she says she has no regrets and would do it all again.
I think we all need to spare a thought for the staff in these quarantine facilities at such a difficult time.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
May I add my voice to those who worry about MIQ facilities being located in Auckland itself, rather than outside the city?
Our current experience with Delta and the resulting disruptions illustrate the issue pretty well.
Even the ancients knew that it was unwise to place ill and possibly contagious people amongst or near everyone else.
The Greek physician, Hippocrates (460 - 377 BC), located his famous medical centre (Asclepieion) 5km away from the main town of Kos.
He obviously knew a thing or two; I think I know what he'd advise today.
B. Watkin, Devonport.
This time last year we should have started building a MIQ Centre, which is designed for purpose: secure and serviced by medical staff.
A friend suggested Whenuapai Air Force Base, with an established security fence, manned by armed soldiers. That should deter all except the very stupid.
The expertise of a medical team servicing the MIQ Centre is crucial to success, the only group with the necessary skill sets.
All visitors to New Zealand should land at Whenuapai and serve their isolation period, with no exemptions for rich listers, running off to Queenstown and their bomb shelters in their private jets.
Time to get building. In the short term, use the campervan method at the Whenuapai Base. After all, it is spring, heading into summer. Each camper van should come with an exercycle, to take care of the need for exercise.
Meanwhile, use some of this "wage subsidy" to give the real essential workers a pay increase: supermarket staff, petrol station workers and most definitely all people working in hospitals and rest homes.
Malcolm Haig, Cambridge.
Don't be fooled by the complaints in the UK Times about Australia's lockdowns (NZ Herald, September 3). People here are envious of the success of New Zealand and Australia in controlling Covid.
Polls show two-thirds of our population want stricter measures if cases continue to rise. We have had over 130,000 dead, a million with long Covid and still, at the present rate, 7000 are dying every 10 weeks.
The vaccines are losing efficiency and we run the risk of producing more dangerous mutations.
Keep yourselves safe and we wish we had policies as effective as yours.
Greg Philo, Glasgow.
Michael Barnett (NZ Herald, September 3) writes, "business owners in lockdown... still had to pay rent rates power and other overheads" and asks the Government to sort out their problems.
These are just business to business squabbles and businesses should be able to sort it out without mother stepping in.
Business is already one of our biggest beneficiary groups and should be learning to stand on its own two feet.
Mark Nixon, Remuera.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of positivity at the moment in Aotearoa. The stress of level four lockdown, an individual spewing hate-filled ideology through a knife attack in West Auckland, and a very selfish and silly young man deliberately disregarding the safety of others.
There are probably more egregious things going on out there in the world, but because New Zealand has remained relatively unscathed from the world's catastrophes, it felt heart-wrenching nevertheless.
Maybe naively, I believe in the power of small graces. Things that redeem the human spirit. So I made a modest donation to the Starship Foundation.
It's not a lot, it won't change the world, but it made me feel I was helping to counter all the negativity out there at the moment. I would urge anyone who is able, to make a donation big or small, to their favourite charity. I promise you, it will make you feel a whole lot better.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
Matt Robson claims, (NZ Herald, September 3), "the United States has been an interventionist power and will continue to be one but decidedly not for liberal or humanitarian reasons". Try telling that to the millions liberated from Nazi bondage in 1944 or to those Germans assisted during the "Berlin airlift" following WWII.
In addition, the support given Japan in their post-war recovery, all initiatives of US foreign policy. Also Australia, New Zealand, both threatened by imperial Japan in 1942, our freedom secured by US military presence.
Take note, without exception it is the US in the vanguard in assisting nations in dire need of humanitarian aid, their intentions honourable. We indeed have short memories.
P J Edmondson, Tauranga.
Recently released data says that the number of people earning $200,000 plus and collecting New Zealand superannuation has increased to 7860 in the 2019/20 year. By my calculations, this is a cost to the taxpayer of about $200 million per annum,
funds that could go to much more needy causes, such as child poverty, that are crying out for funding.
Yet, as a nation, we are too scared to address this gross inequality. We need to make the hard calls and stop pandering to the pathetic arguments and entitlement mentality that are proffered when this subject is raised.
Jeremy King, Taupō.
Creating a whole new entity to look after water, while dismantling the current status quo will be a costly concern.
Local councils do have skills, some expertise here, as well as infrastructure that has to be maintained. Why not have a higher body that integrates the water affairs of councils to knowledge (i.e. best practise), projects and water quality standards?
This will still enable economies of scale and council projects can still be screened to ensure that the interests of the region concerned are served.
This means the best of both worlds: integration with expertise, while maintaining the myriad resources in these councils. It will then not need to be a large organisation.
Steve Lincoln, Botany Downs.
Short & sweet
The global price for crude oil is pretty good right now and so is the New Zealand dollar. Why then, are we paying $2.43 per litre? Brent Marshall, Whangaparāoa.
I for one am grateful that BNZ supplies a choice of music while waiting for an answer. The other day I listened to it for 29 minutes. Roger Hall, Takapuna.
It took click-it-or-ticket to convince us all to wear seat belts. I wonder if mask-it-or-casket might work? Paul Evans-McLeod, Te Rapa.
On Te Pou
I've often thought commonsense is dead but Shane Te Pou's thoughtful, balanced, non-judgmental, optimistic view of life (NZ Herald, September 2) reassures me that it is still alive. Anne Martin, Helensville.
5G is both good and evil. Social media is a net harm. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
Jordie Barrett's red card for accidentally kicking Marika Korobete in the face shows we need a third colour - a 20-minute orange card. Tim Dare, Onewhero.
The Premium Debate
The problem for the devoted complainers here, is that in about two months we will have vaccinated as much as anyone else, and higher than many. We will also have successfully used a lockdown to eliminate Delta. We therefore surge past Aussie. We won't have Covid in the community and we will have all the options to open up on our own terms. We have started behind but we are vaccinating faster than anyone ever now. We will still be the best. Ross W.
I think you're underestimating how many won't get their jabs, because they are uneducated, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers or sitting on the fence. Vaccination rates will decline soon, I'm worried we won't hit 70 per cent. Donna S.
Does anyone else see all this as "last minute", "rush", "panic" from a Government that has had more than 18 months to prepare? Next it will be ICU beds, ventilators, oxygen supplies, doctors and nurses. What have they been working on? Robert N.
Getting the vaccine in Tauranga was a breeze, very impressed. But they had shut all the small clinics, so I had to travel way outside my area to get a jab. A nurse told me 1000 a day was their target. The population in Tauranga and surrounding areas is 130,000. You do the maths, it's too slow. Stuart W.
"The silver lining of the Delta outbreak is that so many people are getting vaccinated." Largely because people have dropped their complacency, adopted self-responsibility, and stopped complaining about vaccination rates and the nanny state. At one time they were happy to sit back and wait for the nanny state to contact them. Not any more. Timothy T.