Boosters needed for protection
There is clear evidence from observational reports in Israel and the US that immunity wanes after the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. A recent study from Kaiser Permamante in California from 3.4 million electronic records showed the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant fell from 93 per cent at one month to 53 per cent four months later.
A recent gold standard randomised trial of a third booster in 10,000 patients who had been given double vaccines, showed the booster achieved 95.6 per cent protection against getting Covid (five cases versus 109 cases) and preliminary data shows that hospitalisations were reduced by a third.
Israel, the US and UK have begun giving boosters. New South Wales has begun booster doses to all over 18 year olds.
There is the real possibility that when we achieve 90 per cent vaccination rates of all eligible individuals over 12 years of age that, at four months, our community protection will fall to 45.7 per cent.
There are no shortages of vaccine doses and it beggars belief we have not also started vaccinating all New Zealanders with the same priority as before for the elderly, frontline workers, nurses and doctors.
Professor Harvey White, Green Lane Cardiovascular Service, Auckland City Hospital.
Manna from heaven
Banks, insurers and investors with around US$130 trillion or 40 per cent of the world's capital at their disposal pledged on Wednesday at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow to put reducing climate change at the centre of their corporate focus.
It is important that people understand the ramifications of this pledge from COP26. World governments will allocate trillions of dollars from banks, insurers, pension funds and other financial institutions over future decades.
A quick glance at economic history will confirm the outcome of so much free money being splashed around. It is a windfall from heaven for all opportunists. And yet there is no guarantee of any change to climate emissions.
With Russia and China opting out of any long-term commitment, it is impossible to calculate any reliable forecasts with even a minute amount of certainty.
This has to be the most stupendous global capitalisation scheme ever devised. I can feel the heat from the hand rubbing already.
Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangonui.
It was pleasing to see the story (NZ Herald, October 27) about the Laura Fergusson Trust's alliance with Autism NZ to expand early-childhood assessment, diagnosis and family support for a wider range of neurological and developmental disabilities.
It's a transformational model that enables 60 per cent of these children to lead a normal life.
The trust remains faithful to the ideals, values and wishes of its visionary founders Lady Caughey and Lady Fergusson. The soon-to-be-finalised sale of the Greenlane property enables a sustainable, relevant service model that responds to dramatic changes in disability support.
Residential rehabilitation services have proven unsustainable under policy and funding settings for at least 10 years. In addition, government policy and the disabled community have favoured independent living within a person's own community or home for at least 20 years.
Entering our second 50 years, we have aligned with transformation in disability support. This was well illustrated on Friday when the Government announced its single-agency disability system transformation, placing service models in the hands of the disabled community.
We are excited about the opportunities and look forward to working with the new ministry and the wider disability community to delivering meaningful outcomes and enabling good lives.
Chris O'Brien, Chair, Laura Fergusson Trust.
Please can we stop trying to be world leaders and start following the rest of the free world?
I watch a lot of tennis and sport and notice that crowds and no masks is the way the USA and virtually all of Europe is functioning now. So I looked up a few of the European government websites to see what restrictions they are living under - and find the only rule they have for large events etc is a vaccine certificate or a negative test or a proof of antibodies. So clear and easily followed and no divisiveness. Everyone can participate.
Our Covid rules stretch for pages and, even as we get to 90 per cent, they are still divisive.
Margaret Turner, Milford.
How happy I was to hear that the little 4-year-old who was abducted in Australia has been found safe and well. What a relief.
I just pray that this incident will not affect her in any way, it must have been traumatic for her.
I am sure we all are feeling relieved and happy that her parents received good news.
Jan Ellin, Milford.
Why is this Government so vague and evasive when questioned on the issuing of vaccination certificates? Since last April, they have disregarded concerned citizens who have been writing to this paper on the urgency for the early printing of these certificates.
I only hope that when they are finally available they are of top quality, similar to the NZ drivers licence.
To stop easy counterfeiting, photos should also be included. The Automobile Association already has cameras in offices so it would be a logical distributor, using a government
register for confirmation of the applicants' two vaccinations.
For travel, concerts, sporting events, restaurants etc, we need these before Christmas.
I. S. Thomas, Cambridge.
It is disturbing to hear school principals are having some teachers present dodgy claims, stating medical conditions prevent them being vaccinated. Obviously, those whose claims are genuine are few.
Those who have objections to vaccination, either from fear or belief in the "right" to choose, and will lie and cheat to save their jobs, do not have the moral principles to be teaching our children.
Once schools open, by law attendance is required. There will be vulnerable young children, too young to be vaccinated yet, who already have health problems. Will parents be allowed to know who the recalcitrant teachers are? Probably not. Many parents, already anxious, will be even more worried about the safety of their little ones.
To have a teaching certificate a teacher must demonstrate competency and be a law-abiding citizen. It will be interesting to hear the certificating body's position on those conniving to break the lawful requirement designed to protect the children they teach.
P. Belsham, Mt Albert.
Stretch of water
Nanaia Mahuta is right about one thing. Yes, something needed to change after Havelock North residents got poisoned in 2016.
An arms-length water regulator is what we need – not a takeover of our water supplies.
For nearly 20 years, water assessors repeatedly told Hastings District Council to raise the bore heads above ground level. Unfortunately, engineers at HDC ignored the water regulators at the District Health Board.
Contaminated water got into Havelock North's two bores in 1998, making 80 people ill.
Pauline Doyle, Napier.
Off the rails
Michael Wood (NZ Herald, November 3) fails to point out the major drawback of light rail in that you have to make two journeys to or from the airport because passengers have to get themselves and their bags to it from home (or the reverse when they have arrived back in Auckland).
Light rail is very vulnerable: accidents, power outages or industrial action and the whole system goes down. Where would passengers be then?
Building it will disrupt traffic for many years, tie up a huge workforce, and use billions of taxpayers' money.
Two billion dollars (out of the proposed nine to 14) would provide a fleet of over a thousand shuttle buses. These would take people door to door, so no need to get on and off the light rail.
The number of buses required could be adjusted to seasonal or holiday requirements and they could be diverted anywhere.
Shuttle buses would get many cars off the road and save several billions of dollars.
Roger Hall, Takapuna.
Auckland City Council encourages building new housing with little or no off-street parking.
Auckland Transport seeks to prohibit on-street parking.
How does our mayor reconcile his Council's inconsistent policies? Is his policy to ban his ratepayers from owning cars?
Mark Winger, Sandringham.
Removing car parks
We are told that the new parking strategy is aimed "to cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions".
Auckland Transport would have much more success if it demolished its own parking buildings in the CBD - Victoria St East, Fanshawe St, etc - and Auckland Council acted to reduce the availability of privately owned commuter parking in the central city.
That would clean the air and remove the need to build a new bridge.
John Billingsley, Parnell.
Ideology over sense
Why are we seeing increasing illogical suggestions by officials and policymakers that are not based in reality but on ideological thinking?
If Auckland had an efficient transport system, the idea of removing parking from many arterial routes and streets might make sense; however we don't. This is not a European city that made transport a priority decades ago in their planning stages who run enviable transport systems designed to have fewer cars on the road.
Auckland Council saw fit to fill the city with apartment blocks and now wants to penalise city-dwellers with no parking spots.
These unrealistic suggestions have to stop and some actual planning for improved, efficient, reliable transport services start.
R Riccola, Lucas Heights.
Short & sweet
How are dentists able to be working - not for urgent treatment, just regular checkups -but not hairdressers? D. Cook, Torbay.
Gangs are so often targets of pereki/brickbats but well done to the leaders for producing a video urging their members to "get the jab". Anthony Mercer, Howick.
Those who object to Auckland Council's plans to eliminate on-street parking need to accept that a road - every road - is a public thoroughfare, not a private car park. John Mihaljevic, Henderson.
The bat beat all the feathered birds with the highest number of votes. This has similarities in sport, where "inclusiveness" trumps "fairness". Peter Jamieson, Titirangi.
While people are complaining about the cost of food and blaming the supermarkets, what about the whacking 15 per cent tax the Government takes? J Longson, Kawerau.
So Chris Hipkins says now we might get an "allocated time" to leave Auckland. Is he serious? Richard Murray, Henderson.
On 3 Waters
Raw sewage in Wellington streets; Aucklanders having to conserve water for months on end; the Waikato River authority sits on an application for water use for over seven years. Thank goodness for Nanaia Mahuta. A. J. Forster, Mt Eden.
The Premium Debate
It wouldn't be a Labour government if it wasn't taxing the higher income workers out there. Jacqui Q.
Having worked all over the world in the offshore oil industry, and thus been taxed in many, many countries, I say that NZ definitely has a relatively low personal tax regime. In general, we are, relative to the nations we like to compare ourselves to, low wage and low tax. This is largely due to our low productivity. What to do to counter this? Cutting government spending would be near the bottom of my to-do list. Alexander M.
Guessing they will lean towards taxing more as financial responsibly isn't a concept this Government has grasped yet. They have received this advice and are still pushing ahead with the light rail link, which is a vanity project and $10-30 billion we cannot afford. It is not going to boost productivity nor is it responsible given the situation NZ is in. Someone is going to have to clean up this financial mess. Emma C.
The sad thing is that the middle class will be paying the majority of it. Expect to pay more on existing or even new taxes. Rob W.
And yet multiple countries have started instituting changes for the wealthy to pay more than they do. Eventually, the populace identifies injustices, which then moves to resentment, which then moves to demands that something be done. Whether the wealthy are asked to pay more now, or whether we wait for the populace, it's going to happen. Timothy T.
What is more frustrating is that there has been a lot of aimless (or preventable) spending - this Government finds it very easy to spend other people's hard-earned money. It feels does feel like there has been a lack of respect for where it comes from. Anne T.
The value of NZ's housing stock has grown beyond $1.5 trillion (yes, trillion). Maybe we could start taxing some of this completely unearned wealth so that we can invest in a decent society? Steve E.
I will leave this country before I am made to swallow more tax increases resulting from Labour failing to prioritise and deliver vaccines before this last lockdown. Their only response was to lock up our economy and now, as a higher earner, I will be asked to shoulder more of that burden. Rachel H.
Treasury tells us nothing we didn't already know or provide anything that isn't already being done. Even if income tax rates aren't changing, tax loopholes are being closed (ala new Property Tax Laws) progressively, which will raise the effective tax rate for some. The Government has proved once again to be an excellent steward of the Crown coffers with budget deficits & core debt well under forecast for the period ended September 2021. They've got this. Rick F.