Voting for change
In 1993 New Zealanders voted in a referendum to change their voting system from the traditional first past the post (FPP) method to mixed-member proportional representation (MMP). The origins of reform lay
in the breakdown of public trust and confidence in politicians, parliament and the simple certainties of the old two-party system. Although MMP has allowed for more diversity and democratic ability, I believe it is time to investigate a voting system that is more suited to the specific needs of modern New Zealand.
Switzerland has a system that could be more appropriate. It allows for more direct democracy and puts authority in the hands of the people, especially at town and village level. New Zealand has a unique Treaty that could benefit from such a system.
I urge people to look at new options. Switzerland may just have some answers. It is not perfect. No system is. But I believe it will be a more relevant structure than the outdated dinosaur we have at present.
It has been nearly thirty years under MMP. I believe we can do better.
Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangonui.
I have supported the Government efforts to control Covid and desire not to come down hard on people who get the virus and being able to trace all contacts. In essence their softly, softly approach had been the right one.
However, there seems to be a lot of people around who don't give a damn or are just plain slow learners and think this is a game to play with a deadly disease.
With Covid spreading fast, I think it's time for prosecutions to show we are not joking and it's not a game. Those who feel different just out of bloody-mindedness need to be taught a hard lesson.
Such naysayers and the unwilling, are holding the country to ransom by their pigheaded don't-give-a-damn attitude. The longer they play silly games, the longer the rest of us remain locked down.
I would think, with over 153,000 signatures collected on a recent petition against the Tamaki protest, the majority agree with me.
A. J. MacKenzie, Rotorua.
Is Judith Collins (NZ Herald, October 11) certain that the Prime Minister has not appeared at press conferences when the Covid news is bad?
Throughout this time I have had quite the opposite impression. If Jacinda is going to be on it's often, "oh no, does this mean bad news"?
This applies especially to the several unscheduled, later in the evening, announcements. If the PM will be the one with the news, then it must be bad.
Judy Lawry, Golflands.
One lesson we have been taught by Covid is that anything going via the capital becomes stalled in bureaucracy. The vaccine rollout rate; the MIQ shambles; the alternative testing arrangements. All have the fingerprints of a slow-moving public service all over them.
Surely, this is a warning against plans by this administration to centralise the health service and partially centralise the distribution and discharge of our water supplies.
Trevor Stevens, Pukekohe.
The world is no longer plagued by smallpox or polio. Our children are no longer threatened by mumps. The winter flu is no longer the threat it once was. How? Vaccinations.
We can control, if not eliminate, the threat of Covid-19 if we all get vaccinated. Get on the vax wagon, protect yourself, your family, and the rest of us from this deadly virus.
Vince Ashworth, Morrinsville.
Allies and friends
Since the 1970s, China has not once gone to war. Conversely, the US has not spent even one day at peace.
Former President Jimmy Carter recently noted that, in its 242-year history, America has enjoyed only 16 years of peace. Making it, as he wrote, "the most warlike nation in the history of the world".
In my judgement, New Zealand would be well-advised not to get involved with any spats between China and Taiwan. We should take a leaf out of the Switzerland playbook and adopt a neutral stance. If we rush in to be war buddies with the USA then China will punish NZ with punitive trade tariffs like they have done with Australia. Our exports to China, milk powder, butter, cheese, meat and wood products are worth $200 billion a year. It is simply not worth the risk of ruining our economy.
Aotearoa NZ can be 100 per cent in control of our own foreign policy. We can remain friends with our traditional allies, the USA, UK and Australia and also with new friends including China. It will be challenging at times but imperative for our country's future prosperity.
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.
Diplomacy and conflict
I believe that NZ Government has managed the balance between nations well in retaining good relations with China and all other countries.
The sensible way forward with international relations is to promote dialogue and co-operation in the interests of peace and prosperity.
Dividing the world up into us and them is the wrong way forward and can only increase the risk for conflict. Those who think and claim that war is inevitable are doing humanity a disservice. War is never a good solution.
The, by far, biggest military spender among nations is the US at three times the spend of China and more than the aggregate of the 10 other biggest spenders in the world. Excess military power is arguably a threat to peace, no matter who possesses it.
Frank Olsson, Freemans Bay.
Last week, a senior US military commentator stated the US cannot defend Taiwan and China knows it.
The situation now is that the US naval and air forces would be quickly eliminated if they tried to defend Taiwan and Taiwan would be like Afghanistan and fall within a week.
It is a much more sensible policy to pursue a peaceful reintegration of Taiwan back into China because the US is not going to risk its own cities and start any nuclear war against China.
Therefore, New Zealand's current policy is the most sensible one.
David Mairs, Glendowie.
Since this latest outbreak of Delta, which originated from a returnee from Australia during the travel bubble, I notice a silence from all those people who thought opening the borders was the correct thing to do and should have been done earlier.
I hope a degree of caution is forthcoming before we think about following this idea again.
It looks like the Australian Prime Minister will be happy to export cases around the world shortly, and I'm sure a lot will want to come here, with dire consequences.
Sue Gallahar, Mangere East.
With unchallengeable evidence of serious cumulative brain damage to those playing senior rugby (NZ Herald, October 9), perhaps the best evidence of all concerning this serious neurological impairment, is that former elite players who presently administer the game, are refuting scientific advice to alter the game's rules.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
Between the lines
In the last two years, the opinion articles and in-depth reports from the NZ Herald have been of particular importance.
I just hope that government ministers get a copy and read the content. Information channels such as yours become a default opposition presence when there is a gap in required leadership.
The NZ Herald is filling the void well.
Anne Wilding, Ōrewa.
Short & sweet
Surely those who have been in the MIQ lobby a number of unsuccessful times should be given priority for the draw, ahead of those who are entering for the first time. Danna Glendining, Taupō.
When "empty vessels make the most noise" the result is an unresolved housing crisis and MMP. Kenneth Lees, Whangārei.
Bit of irony there in the gangs' concern about the vaccine ingredients, given the reliability of their own merchandise. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
The weekly supermarket shop has increased during lockdown. Where is Ruth Richardson with her supermarket trolley comparison when you need her? Randal Lockie, Rothesay Bay.
Who else thinks "Vigil" would be better with sub-titles? Alan Jermaine, Northcote.
Correspondent Roger Hall's suggestion (NZ Herald, October 12) to raise tax on alcohol will have Government mandarins running the numbers but I can already smell the whiskey on the breath of the gangs. Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.
The Premium Debate
I will not be voting Labour again if they have anything close to the abysmal last week they just had. It is not fair on the thousands of businesses that still are begging for some clarity for their planning and quite frankly it's appalling no one in NZ knows a plan other than "get to 90 per cent". Philip H.
There is zero leadership right now. Covid is coming and numbers will increase significantly over the next few weeks. But vaccinations have significantly reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death. So, prime minister, be honest with the public. Let them know that they don't need to be scared, just to vaccinate. Give them a plan, with dates and vaccination rates. Darren B.
I believe the Government is out of touch with Aucklanders in many respects, and that they also underestimate the level of rage many people feel, which is palpable up here now and is simmering just beneath the surface. Claire C.
This country's response was average at best. We mumbled our way through with luck, not good management, and the fact that we have a 2000km moat, only four international airports and a relatively low population density. We had 18 months to get the plan sorted for when it breached our border and this Government wasted time and money on self-congratulations. In fact, I think the response has been poor. Chris W.
We should be at Level 4 while we get vaccinated (which would take at least until the end of October); by dropping levels before that happened (as we did two weeks ago) cases will go through the roof and unnecessary deaths will occur. Ninety per cent double vaccination is not only possible but necessary. NSW is proving it - they are on track to achieve 90 per cent over the next few weeks, although they too are relaxing restrictions before that goal is reached, so they'll be back in the cactus soon as well. Jeremy H.
The Government lost its way much earlier, at least when they initiated the delay of the vaccine by six months. Last week's "plan", or "road map" does not deserve either name: Our daughter's year 5 primary school problem-solving class would have come up with a way more detailed plan within 1/2 hour brainstorming session. Alexander G.
I find it fascinating that people need someone to blame for anything that does not go their way. Anger, frustration, bitterness, all foaming like a tide. Sadly, these emotions cloud our judgement. I am just grateful we live in NZ and there have been so few deaths from Covid. Talking to my GP, he commented that we have been spoilt. He has family in Britain and their lockdowns have been longer and harder, something we have been spared. We have had freedom. Now it is time to get vaccinated and move on. Sandra H.
There does not seem to be a single country where the populace approves of the way their government is handling Covid - whatever has been/is being done the "other side" is attacking the actions as being too late, out of touch and so on. Some days in government, you just cannot win. John H.