Don't mention the C word
Christmas 2021 is shaping up to be a memorable one. Along with the usual dramas that happen during the festive season there are new considerations to be taken into account, and some of them are still as clear as mud. The long-awaited traffic light system will be operating unless there is a sudden upsurge in Covid cases or Omicron has arrived and we go into a sudden lockdown. The My Vaccine Pass will be needed in some places and not others, unvaccinated people will be banned from some establishments and not others, masks will be mandatory in some situations and, of course, there's record-keeping and scanning to contend with.
If conversations about Covid along with religion, politics and money are banned from family celebrations there's a chance all could go well.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
Living at an airport
I don't understand why helicopters are allowed to come and go to private properties within suburban Auckland. Limiting them to coastal properties makes no difference. They still approach low and slow. The sound carries deafeningly over water.
We have a few near neighbours with consents to fly helicopters in and out of their properties.
Most days in summer I feel like I live at an airport, especially when the jet fuel fumes waft through the house.
Auckland Council does not seem to consider the cumulative effects of granting consents to all those who request it. Can they explain why they think it's necessary to disrupt the lives of so many for the benefit of so few?
Kate Lawless, Herne Bay.
Jim Bolger and John Key have every right to speak out about their disappointment with the turmoil their National Party is in and who they think should lead. What is so hard to understand though, is their criticism of poverty levels today, showing a complete denial of their own contribution in its cause. In 1991 Jim Bolger stood alongside his Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson, supporting her call for $20 per week to be taken from welfare recipients, a lot of money at the time, which left women with young children scrambling to make ends meet. What John Key did for our country, apart from wooing us, was to spend a decade paying back money borrowed to cover rebuilding Christchurch, with little investment toward maintaining Health and Education facilities. They also ignored an obvious growing poverty level within our country, which has passed into the hands of this Government to deal with.
Do they really believe we forget these things?
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Taxed into poverty
There has been discussion in the media recently about the increasing wealth disparity in New Zealand. Much of it has focused on taxing the wealthy. But, here is another perspective: People on low incomes have not been compensated for the introduction of GST, nor for either increase to 12.5 per cent then 15 per cent. Nor for the multiple levy increases since then. Hence, we are taxing poor people deeper into poverty.
In my opinion, people on minimum wage should not pay any income tax. They pay enough in GST and levies. That would be nil income tax on the first $50,000. Every couple, each earning $50,000 or more would be better off by $12,500 every year. And people on minimum wage would find it very useful for food and housing.
Brian Taylor, Lynfield.
Our health managers during this Covid pandemic have appeared slow. They were late in ordering vaccines; slow establishing the vaccination programme; late targeting minority vaccination groups; and very slow implementing saliva testing.
They allowed an unfortunate MIQ system to continue without improvement for far too long.
The country has paid steeply for these delays - a longer lockdown, billions of extra government subsidies to business, and personal distress from MIQ inadequacies, being just three.
Have our health workers speeded up their approach? Your article (NZ Herald, November 29) suggests not.
NZ is expected to approve vaccinations for children 5-11 years, by April 2022. In another five months. Too late to vaccinate most kids before the infectious 2022 winter period.
Use of the vaccine for children was approved by the US Federal Drug Administration on October 29, 2021 "...after a thorough... evaluation of the data that included input from independent experts... who overwhelmingly voted in favour..."
Medsafe in NZ is not going to reject what the FDA has consented. Approval here is a formality.
Health officials need to show urgency. We need vaccinations for NZ children available before the 2022 school year begins. Dr Bloomfield: please crack the whip.
David Schnauer, Milford.
I feel extremely aggrieved with our Prime Minister. In the announcement on the traffic light system, Jacinda Ardern thanked New Zealand as a whole on working so hard in the battle against Delta.
She did not, specifically, thank Auckland. What a surprising and extremely disappointing omission.
We in Auckland have been through so very much to keep ourselves and the rest of New Zealand safe.
A kind reader from Katikati wrote last week acknowledging our efforts and thanked us. The Prime Minister needs to take a leaf out of her book.
Andrea Dorn, Meadowbank.
Our great police force must be under immense pressure. Not only are they stretched thin by having to do border patrol duties but they are being swamped by serious crime.
Just this morning we have a police officer run down, a fatal shooting with three officers wounded and shots being fired in a residential area.
The criminal element appear to have gone mad. Where are all these guns coming from?
It's time the Prime Minister made good on the promise to get more police on the beat Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
All remember Erebus
As the 42nd anniversary passed, with little acknowledgement it would seem, I find this constant squabble over a memorial tiresome.
The Erebus crash affected every one of us at that time. We all knew a neighbour; a relative; a cousin; or worked with someone who was a cousin or a relative of someone on that fateful flight. All of us live nationwide, not many of us live in Parnell.
I am disgusted that this argument over where a memorial should go continues to cloud the real issue.
It is time to stop the nonsense and remember that we all have a memory of this tragic day in our history, we will always remember it no matter where any memorial squabbled over, ends up.
John Ford, Taradale.
Lock and stock
More guns for police only leads to more criminals using guns.
Parliament has already legislated to outlaw assault weapons. So let New Zealand be a world leader once again - ban all guns in New Zealand.
Our "No. 8 wire mentality" will soon produce alternatives for vets and farmers.
Sure hunters will have their sport sacrificed - but alternatives can be used, and alternative methods developed to eradicate all our noxious pests (already touted by 2050).
No guns - no more deaths from these lethal weapons.
Allan Sendles, Remuera.
Follow your noes
Your correspondent Ron Jackson (NZ Herald, November 30) castigates National for not introducing a capital gains tax. However, Labour has been in power for four years and have also failed to do so. Why?
As the old song says, "Whatever's good for me, sir, I never will oppose. When all my ayes are sold out, why then I'll sell my noes."
Ray Gilbert, Pāpāmoa Beach.
I totally agree with Bernhard Sporli (NZ Herald, November 29). I felt as though my privacy had been invaded when we received the Voices for Freedom mail drop.
These people have obviously more money than brains, as it went straight into our recycle bin where it at least will do no damage to the environment.
A. Harrison, Northcote.
Short & sweet
It should have named been named Omygod. Sivaswamy Mohanakrishnan, Mt Roskill.
I hope the coronavirus mutants got the message from the WHO that only up to 24 variants are allowed. Kimberley Kemp, Remuera.
Does the Government really need to bring in the social unemployment insurance benefit when we already have the unemployment benefit? L H Cleverly, Mt Roskill.
On red light
If we have had a "world-leading response" (to quote the PM) to the vaccine and Auckland is one of the world's highest vaccinated cities, why are we "red"? Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell.
Surely gatherings at home should be for up to 10 people, not 100, regardless of the size of the house? Otherwise it makes a mockery of everything else. E. Barclay, Takapuna.
Where are the lockdowns at traffic light red? The emperor's invisible clothes would do a better job of offering protection from Covid-19. Bradley Mihaljevich, Titirangi.
Has anyone else noticed how Christopher Luxon looks like Robert Muldoon from certain angles? Neal Henderson, Bucklands Beach.
The Premium Debate
Will the world come to a halt every time there is a new Covid variant? We have to learn to live with it. Cautious, yes, but not panicking. Countries like SA complaining about being let down by rich countries should look at themselves and stop blaming the rest of the world. Corruption within governments of billions of dollars is the main reason for being poor. The estimated damage caused in SA with the Zuma protests is 5-10 billion dollars. That could've made a huge dent in their medical department and buying of vaccine. Take some responsibility Africa and stop pointing fingers. Francios N.
This could be the light at the end of the tunnel we are all hoping for….. a highly transmissible, extremely contagious, but mild dose, a much less fatal strain, that supplants previous Delta version, becomes dominant and is treatable ….. and allows mankind to renormalise. Gordon L.
There is always the real possibility of immune escape where vaccines are not effective in dealing with new variants. Let's hope our current vaccines will be sufficient. Brian H.
This variant is punching above its weight in terms of publicity and reaction. Matthew D.
I don't buy it. No one has died, it's contagious but not bad. All the evidence so far indicates symptoms are mild. The WHO is covering itself after letting the world down so badly at the beginning of the pandemic. They are also trying to put pressure on the wealthy West to share the vaccine. This is the WHO meddling in politics to cover itself. We need to stay calm. No one will buy into lockdowns or lockouts anymore. That ship has sailed. Mark C.
I'm amazed that you can write "all the evidence so far indicates symptoms are mild" given that much of the evidence and research has not yet been published and the variant has only been around for a limited time. And the point about sharing the vaccine is so that the whole world can manage the virus without pockets of it around the world mutating into new and more dangerous variants. Grayson R.
I'm trying not to be "alarmed" as several indicators are that symptoms are not severe and almost nil. Long Covid sounds a lot like Epstein-Barr, a virus that stays dormant and reactivates under stress, but our best defence is still an imperfect vaccine. Elsa O.