Barriers to screening
Your article (NZ Herald, April 7) about Kiri Allan's diagnosis of cervical cancer, says cervical screening is free. In some locations and for some priority women, there are programmes offering free smears
but the bulk of women pay a normal GP fee for a screen.
This has been a barrier for the programme as many women have other priorities for household income. Let's hope the Labour Government now makes screening free and implements the promised HPV screening programme. This has been recommended by various expert groups but has been languishing because there has been no budget allocation for the work needed, including a new register.
Since its inception in 1990, the National Cervical Screening Programme has reduced the incidence of cervical cancer by 50 per cent and deaths by about 60 per cent. Despite these achievements, there remain unacceptable inequities.
Māori women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 2.3 times more likely to die compared with European/Other women. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Māori women aged 25–44 years.
Advocates for women's health expect to see this remedied in the May Budget. Implementation of the HPV programme (with self-testing) and free screening are urgently needed to save New Zealand women's lives.
Sandra Coney, Cartwright Collective, Auckland.
After the promises and programme for the Covid-19 vaccination of our whole population, it seems the Government has failed miserably, with very few having yet received the vaccine.
Furthermore, the nonsensical opposition from the minority group who oppose vaccination as a concept, and badly influence others, should be vehemently criticised.
With childhood vaccinations in this country totally funded by the taxpayer, imagine a world before such immunisations took place. Hundreds of people paralyzed by the poliomyelitis virus, many serious diseases and deaths from measles, mumps, tetanus, rubella, diphtheria, influenza, and more. We live in a new world, where most have no concept of such diseases.
With a sensible and thoughtful approach, everyone should agree to Covid-19 vaccination for the good of New Zealand in so many ways.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
The gravy train of privilege is excused as leading from the front - district health boards have a lot to answer for.
Who is kidding who? The "little prick" doesn't hurt, has been proven safe by millions worldwide and provides protection. Wearing armour is not leadership.
The frontline is still underpaid and not fully vaccinated. Doctors, nurses and paramedics - not administrative incompetents - deserve the vaccine first. The DHB leadership, who left frontline staff without PPE a year ago, now cannot find a "needle in a haystack" except for themselves.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Supports of Auckland
I fully support Michael Barnett's article (NZ Herald, April 7) regarding the Ports Of Auckland. There are too many fingers in this pie, like rail and roads, etc.
The prime position that Ports of Auckland occupies is being challenged by people who have ulterior motives.
Land value for property development, stadiums, suggestions by politicians to feather their own nests, such as North Port and Tauranga.
The present CEO has made great progress even though he has had little support from Auckland Council.
Given support by Auckland Council and major users, the port will survive where it is and I believe there should always be a port of the current magnitude to supply Auckland's needs.
Gordon Rodgers, St Heliers.
I understand correspondent Geoff Prickett's support for the removal of tax deductibility for residential property investors (NZ Herald, April 7). But two of his supporting arguments are themselves - in his words - "spurious nonsense".
Firstly, he assumes that rental prices are determined solely by demand - "all that the market can and will pay". Basic economic theory tells us that market prices are set at the point where the demand curve meets the supply curve. The cost of supply is an important factor in this equation.
Secondly, although he claims borrowing to invest in other assets has "never been entitled to tax deductibility", for income-earning assets such as shares, the opposite is true - interest has always been deductible.
Today, more than ever, we all need to remind ourselves of the human tendency to make false assumptions that justify preconceived opinions. As science historian Robert Proctor put it: "We live in a world of radical ignorance, and the marvel is that any truth cuts through the noise"
Stephen Bayldon, Mt Roskill.
Correspondent Geoff Prickett (NZ Herald, April 7) rightly praises the present Government's "gumption" in making some overdue changes to "restore sanity and fairness" to the housing market. In answer to his question "now, what next?", how about a long-overdue empty dwelling tax?
The number of homes owned by overseas speculators, who are content to reap the untaxed capital gains they're earning, without the hassle of renting, is not insignificant.
There are ample overseas examples where this tax has been successfully introduced to free up housing for local inhabitants or generate significant tax revenue if the owners decide to continue ownership.
I am puzzled why this sensible policy has been mentioned neither by your columnists nor any politicians of any stripe.
Doug Hannan, Mt Maunganui.
I was very disappointed to see Teuila Fuatai resort to negative stereotypes (NZ Herald, April 7). I am sure that the Karens of this world embrace a wide range of traits as do people otherwise named. Some may be unhelpful or lacking a practical ability, but most, myself included, are capable and resourceful.
I, therefore, resent the implication that our name somehow labels us as flibbertigibbets.
Karen Letica, Snells Beach.
My brother is a Kiwi living and working in a country supposedly in some disarray, Hong Kong. He is not regarded "high risk" of contracting Covid, as he's in his 50's. He has already had both vaccine shots.
My mother, however, is aged 89, living in an aged care facility in NZ. I find it disturbing she has yet to receive her first vaccine shot.
Something is very wrong with the rollout "down under".
Graeme West, Sydney, Australia.
Judith Collins' stated belief that the role of the Opposition is to criticise everything the Government does, reveals a worrying lack of understanding of how the democratic process is intended to work.
Unthinking criticism is as unhelpful as unthinking support.
The role of a constructive Opposition is to challenge decision-making to ensure the best possible result for the benefit of the whole country.
Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
Banks are closing branches around the country at an alarming rate, while still making millions of dollars. To counteract the loss of contact with a teller at the counter, it's obvious that more telephone operators are required to enable the banking business to maintain a reasonable standard of service.
Alternatively, in this modern age, surely mechanisms can be put into place that will enable somebody from the bank to call the customer back within a reasonable period of time, or do we have to put up with continually being treated in such a contemptuous way by often being compelled to listen to endless inane music while we wait and wait before we can deal with a real person.
Isn't it time for the banks to start appreciating their customers?
Peter Judge, Taupō.
Who dropped who?
Mike Hosking's public rejection of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern from his radio show (NZ Herald, April 8) is like a bad teen movie where the guy knows the girl has already made moves to dump him so he tries to save face by appearing to dump her first.
It's just petulance on Hosking's part as our Prime Minister has many other media avenues to communicate through and needs him like a hole in the head.
Coralie van Camp, Remuera.
Short & sweet
Air hygiene is set to become the most important public health measure this century - and New Zealand has missed the opportunity to be a world leader. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
It sounds like Mike Hosking wants to run the country, and the National Party needs a new leader. Voila. David Lawrence, Hawera.
The PM no longer needs to put up with the hectoring and browbeating Mike employs when he interviews anyone who does not subscribe to his particular blinkered view of politics. Jennifer Ma'u, Hamilton.
How about a game of Guess Who? Swollen head; running at the mouth; delusions of grandeur; a radio host. Reg Dempster, Albany.
It seems pretty obvious from comments emanating from orchardists that the first skill the RSE workers would bring with them, and which local candidates for work lack, is the ability to show up for work in the morning. Why are we not surprised? Peter Newfield, Takapuna.
The hunger strike woman and the man who demand their rights to not have a test, infringe the rights of 5 million people to stay healthy and Covid-free. Julia Cameron, Ponsonby.
Why would Auckland District Health Boardmembers have the Covid vaccine before some frontline health staff? This is egotistical, arrogant behaviour. Janet Boyle, Ōrewa.