Aged care visitors
The voices of those locked down in rest homes are silenced. The rationale voiced by the Prime Minister and echoed by aged care facilities is that everyone is being kept safe.
In contrast, leading charities in the UK have made representations from their recent
experience that the continued separation of residents and family has had damaging consequences especially for those with dementia.
Family carers are essential members of the care and support networks of residents and have a role in mitigating such harm and optimising quality of life. The challenge of balancing social contact with infection control is urgent.
Family members tasked with being the advocate, voice and memory of those unable to live at home any longer, ought to have the same access to rest homes and Covid-19 testing as those who staff them. In the meantime the harmful impact of the lockdown on residents who have contributed to New Zealand's development over long lifetimes continues, and is disregarded.
Margaret McLean, St Johns.
The correspondence on seasons, which are natural phenomena, still argues about the calendar, which is an artificial construct.
The argument should be based on the natural phenomena of the equinoxes and solstices; approximately the 21st of September, December, March and June, which would form a more logical start to each of the "four seasons".
Martin Ball, Kelston.
Matthew Hooton (NZ Herald, September 4) argues that "Green voters tend to have done very well out of capitalism". He claims a correlation between Green voting and the wealthier suburbs.
In fact, the primary correlation is with education. Green voters tend to be better educated and the better educated have higher incomes. In turn, they can afford to live in the more expensive suburbs.
David Nicholson, Wellington.
A woman's place
Matthew Hooton's departure from the Herald to support the campaign of the now-forgotten former leader of the National Party came as a disappointment and a surprise. His return to the newspaper was welcomed for his deep insights into the machinations of our political parties. At least until today (NZ Herald, September 4), when I was disappointed to see that even he finds it difficult to shed the prejudice that half our population is faced with every day.
I'm sure that many "Remuera doctors" do not have "wives" because they are not the male version he assumes them to be.
Tom Chignell, Mt Eden.
Dial it back
A letter (NZ Herald, August 31) stated that "the average car speedo isn't that accurate" and, while this may have been true in the days of old mechanical speedos, the modern speedo in a modern car is actually very accurate.
I think the problem here is the layout of the actual dial because if you consider the dial to be a clock, the zero speed is about 7pm and the 100k is around 11 or 12 o'clock. The rest is the speedo dial, two-thirds of it, is not used - or shouldn't be.
This means that the numbers must be very close together and the difference between 90 and 100 is only about five millimetres.
I don't think even the best drivers in the world can consistently navigate a car around our twisty country roads while concentrating on actually keeping the car on the road, and watch a small needle in a five-millimetre gap. Not easy on a country road.
Probably the best option is to ease off a bit and wait for a straight stretch.
After all, it's not the speedo, it's you.
Al Weeks, Ōrewa.
I disagree with Neal McCarthy on port ownership (NZ Herald, September 3) as it is based on the business assumption that a council service should produce a profit. The fact that POAL does not pay a dividend is immaterial. That money is spent building a multi-storey car parking building that will be redundant in a couple of years does not alter the fact that the control should lie with the elected representatives chosen by the city ratepayers, not business managers.
No company should be permitted to function without regard for its effect on citizens and environment.
POAL is not the only body that should be returned to elected representative control. Auckland Transport [which] makes a "profit" by providing parking in the centre of the CBD, making it possible for commuters to reject public transport, is an example of the "profit at any price" principle of the business model.
The result of the policy is an obvious instance of uncontrolled planning that receives little popular support but proceeds regardless, with citizens having no control over how rates are spent.
J. Billingsley, Parnell.
I applaud the initiative of Judith Collins and her team for proposing meaningful financial support to expectant mothers.
New Zealand, in common with other affluent countries is experiencing birth rates below replacement rates. With increasing longevity and with more people requiring hospital and rest home care, the demand for support services is markedly increasing. At the moment we can rely on a steady stream of migrants to close the gaps. We cannot count on this lasting forever, and an initiative to increase local resources is most timely.
I look forward to Mrs Collins and her team proposing other initiatives which will improve the future wellbeing of New Zealanders .
Ivan Erceg, Ōrewa.
Initially I was interested to see that the National Party was going to do something useful to help parents with new babies -$3000 would help a lot with the expensive set-up a new baby requires.
Cots, pushchairs, car seats, clothing, nappies, sterilisers and the rest. It might even stretch to a new outfit for a new mum, sick of pregnancy shape and not yet able to return to her normal clothes. Maybe a bus ticket for grandparents to come and help in those first few tricky weeks.
However, the money is not for the parents to spend as they need. It is a credit that must be spent on private child services. Most of these are available free now anyway.
I suppose a select few will be delighted for a few weeks' free nannying.
This policy will do nothing to help the families who need it most. Thank goodness for Labour's Best Start and extended Paid Parental Leave.
Anne Collins, Ōhope.
Like Matt Vickers (NZ Herald, September 4), I've noticed the fear, uncertainty and doubt tactics being deployed through New Zealand by the lobby against assisted dying. And there's another, slightly different but equally deceptive tactic: the false dichotomy.
One example is the suggestion that legalised assisted dying and good palliative care are mutually exclusive, so we must choose between them. What nonsense. We can and should have both, just as other countries do.
Palliative Care Australia commissioned an arms-length investigation into the potential adverse impact on itself of assisted dying ahead of the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act being passed. The study found, "if anything, in jurisdictions where assisted dying is available, the palliative care sector has further advanced".
Another example positions our vote as a matter of "life or death". It is not. To be eligible a person must already be dying plus be in advanced and irreversible physical decline plus be experiencing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved. It is a question of voting to continue the status quo of suffering deaths or to allow terminally ill people who qualify the option of a peaceful death if they want it.
Ann David, Waikanae.
Matt Vickers claims those opposing the End of Life Choice Act are using tactics of arousing "fear, uncertainty and doubt". He greatly misrepresents us. Let's each side give the other credit for grappling sincerely with complex and painful issues.
There are in fact serious problems with the Act – too many for one letter to describe.
The crucial six-months-to-live criterion ignores the fact that fully a quarter of these diagnoses prove wrong. People may well be euthanised who would actually have lived for years and found meaningful life again.
The criterion of "unbearable suffering" is completely undefined, open to being stretched by the minority who want very liberal euthanasia laws. Deaths could follow in circumstances well beyond what most voters are expecting.
Vickers recommends reading the Government's website for "neutral" information. But this has only a summary of the Act which doesn't examine its shortcomings. For instance the protections are grossly inadequate against vulnerable elderly people being influenced into seeking euthanasia. Doctors, who are neither detectives nor mind-readers, are merely required to "do their best" to discover these pressures. But these can be family secrets hidden from outsiders, and doctors can't even talk to relatives whom their patients don't allow.
Bert Jackson, Hamilton.
So the NZ Government has consigned nearly 6000 cows to a watery grave after a great deal of suffering on a long ocean journey in heavy seas. The suffering of both sheep and cattle has been well documented over the years in these "live export" consignments. Unfortunately, so many animals die on the journey or are so sick they are euthanised so turn out to be "dead exports".
Why does NZ continue to send live animals anywhere, given the suffering and mortality rate, let alone to countries where animal welfare is nonexistent on arrival? It is an abhorrent practice.
Whilst the loss of human life is tragic, humans have voices, whereas animals don't.
They are not a commodity with a number tagged to their ears, but animals that feel fear and seasickness, just as we do.
I would like to see the political parties state what their policies are around 'live exports' before the election so that voters can take this into account before casting their vote.
L. Braithwaite, Coatesville.
Sort & sweet
If landlords can't afford to keep their tenants home warm and dry, they shouldn't be landlords. Do the right thing here. Jennice Murray, Whenuapai.
With regards to Malaysia's claim of a 3.96 per cent death rate, I'm sceptical and would advise taking it with a pinch of salt. This is from an ex-pat Malaysian. Ean Aw, Howick.
If Trump's bombast, lies and racism give him a second term in a landslide as Dr Papert (NZ Herald, September 4) predicts, then US democracy is a mockery. Geoff Barlow, Remuera.
On Gulf Livestock 1
The Government has announced a temporary suspension of live exports. But this horror must never be allowed to happen again. Paul Judge, Hamilton.
Based on the current pattern, I predict the next move will be to Level 1.75 for Auckland and 1.25 for the rest of the country. Duncan Simpson, Albany.
Now that mask-wearing is more the norm, people in shopping malls without them are beginning to look naked. Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
To those who harp on about encouraging natural herd immunity: you first. Dennis N Horne, Howick