Knock knock, who's there?
Your article on the Papatoetoe student whose family members have become the succeeding cases of Covid-19 told us: "The 10-day delay to reach the final handful of students has been labelled 'frustrating' by Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins." On Friday, after the further addition of a sibling's work at a fast-food restaurant to the Covid contact list, we are told by multiple news services that the Prime Minister is "frustrated".
I too am frustrated. Frustrated that the contact tracers - now apparently working under the direct scrutiny of an Associate Minister of Health whose self-proclaimed expertise is so admired by her political colleagues that she was invited with much fanfare to review the contact tracing system last year - took 10 days to contact this family. Frustrated that they made multiple phone calls, sent text messages, wrote letters and eventually even went as far as knocking on the door to contact them.
I work in a South Auckland health environment. It is not Remuera, Thorndon or Fendalton. Phone calls, text messages and letters do not necessarily cut it here.
This was an economic and health, emergency. Surely the knock on the door should have been made on day two or three, not left until day 10?
Ross Boswell, Auckland Central.
MIQ shall inherit
We expect better than the nightmare unfolding in South Auckland.
Stop playing Russian Roulette, stop procrastinating. Take action on the prudent advice of our fine epidemiologists and other health professionals and put MIQ in proper facilities, not hotels.
Covid-19 is cunning, clever and cruel. It is never kind, okay?
Sussi Stephens, Ōrewa.
Jacinda Ardern's kindness doesn't seem to extend to not sacrificing hundreds of small business owners' livelihoods and futures while uttering platitudes and drivel so as not to hurt the feelings of the arrogant, vain moron who has triggered this latest "lockdown".
It is because "he is young", she says. Give us all a break.
A team of five million, what a hollow joke.
Unless he is terminally stupid and has been living under a rock for the last 12 months, the idiot knew exactly what he was doing and knew what was expected of him, in fact demanded, but deliberately flipped the bird to all of us for his own gratification.
The fool should be arrested and held in a cell, not in a MIQ hotel.
Max Wagstaff, Auckland Central.
Must be done
I'm sure there will be many people in Aotearoa who will be feeling lockdown fatigue and frustration. Questions and recriminations will be flying around about the best solutions to control this complex and insidious virus. The PM and her Government have done a masterful job in balancing public safety whilst mitigating economic catastrophe, and New Zealand has been kept relatively safe because of it. However, it is naïve, in light of empirical knowledge gained over the past year, to believe that people "will do the right thing". It was reported (Weekend Herald, February 27) that there is a legal control available, a Section 70 order, to prevent people from behaving like what they intrinsically are, human, and by extension fallible in co-operating with isolation requests. The PM must decisively take action and implement this legislation to control these clusters and contract tracing must now be mandatory. Relying on human nature to do the "should" instead of the "must" will inevitably lead to further outbreaks, and consequently the price New Zealanders pay could be too high.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
The Auckland Council Recovery Budget is out for public consultation for those with the stamina to wade through it.
With the council and its allied organisations now employing more than 3000 staff currently earning $100,000 or more, it's not surprising that the document reflects the size of this massive bureaucracy.
However, it basically ignores the two key issues ratepayers are most likely to identify with: city leadership, and how we pay for everything.
On the first count, we will have to wait until the next local body elections and hope we have a more inspiring range of choices than was the case last time.
On financing, it is clear we will not get to where we need to be by tinkering with rates (targeted or otherwise) and increasing dog licence fees.
Surely it is time to return Ports of Auckland to a mixed ownership model, and to consider a phased sell down of at least part of the council's $2 billion stake in Auckland International Airport.
Reliance on dividends from these and similar investments has been a distraction to the efficient running of core council functions, as well as a contributor to the present financial bind.
We could go further and look at privatising Auckland Water, and perhaps even Auckland Transport, but they may be bridges too far in the short term.
Either way, it is time for a new approach and new thinking commensurate with the amount of cloth available to be cut.
Duncan Simpson, Albany
Housing made easy
My father told me inflation was caused by too much money chasing too few goods. Constraining the money supply won't build new houses.
Not enough houses are being built and they are ridiculously expensive. Two- and three-storey houses cost much more per square metre than single-storey houses.
Misguided town planners have rationed land by imposing urban boundaries. This has driven up the price of land and made land banking seriously profitable. We need to extend the urban boundaries into areas where the land has little agricultural value.
Financing the infrastructure to supply the houses is a problem only because councils are in debt up to their eyeballs. If land prices drop by $200,000 per section, there will be money available for infrastructure.
The final step is to reduce the bureaucratic overkill.
This would produce a dramatic reduction in house prices and let people live and telecommute in a pleasant environment where their children can play safely and learn about plants, insects, birds and the like. It would also reduce the chainsaw massacre of our leafy green suburbs.
Bryan Leyland, Pt Chevalier.
Michael Barnett could not have spoken a truer word when he stated that "Auckland waits until there is a problem and then decides to fix it" (NZ Herald, February 26). This applies to the whole of government and councils throughout New Zealand (look at Wellington's water pipe problem; child poverty; housing).
There is no one brave enough to implement forward planning.
Our forefathers had forward planning but we are now in the generation of spending on wants, not needs, and no savings for a rainy day.
Marie Kaire, Whāngārei.
So it has been decreed that the harbour bridge cannot safely tolerate any additional weight.
This is a relief because, now, instead of spending umpteen million dollars on a "nice-to-have" Northern Pathway which will add tonnes of extra weight to the bridge, that money can be properly spent on essential infrastructure items such as the wastewater and stormwater systems, potable water reticulation and other things too many to mention.
Perhaps providence has a way of guiding outcomes in the right direction.
Robin McGrath, Forrest Hill.
The Otago study finding that sufferers paying for their own hip and knee replacements were "costing public millions" because "2 per cent need follow up attention" is fake logic beyond belief (NZ Herald, February 25).
The correct logic is that such self-funders are saving public health hundreds of millions, and they are paying it because our public health system is chronically underfunded.
What a crack-pot world we are now in where an actual medical doctor publishes such inverted logic as if she is exposing some kind of great rort.
If you win a new car and it gets a puncture on the way home, do you whine, "oh my God this terrible car is costing me money"? An ungrateful idiot might.
Jim Carlyle, Te Atatū Peninsula.
Who would offer US$500,000 (NZ Herald, February 26) for the return of two stolen dogs? Only somebody who is ridiculously rich and, well, Gaga, surely.
But wait a minute: maybe the lady is so outraged by the suffering of her dog walker, a friend, who even now lies in hospital with four bullet holes in him, that she is determined to bring the culprits to book. But no, the reward is offered "no questions asked".
Never mind her painfully perforated friend, she just wants her doggies back. And to what better use could one put half a million dollars these days?
Ron Hoares, Wellsford.
Short & sweet
On night classes
Night classes offered us the ability to lift our knowledge and understanding through re-learning subject areas ignored during our schooling. Professions opened up to us and improved our lives. Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Auckland's ageing harbour bridge can't take any more strengthening and traffic restrictions are threatened. Has anyone told the Government, currently planning to tack on an extensive cycle and pedestrian path? John Kania, Long Bay.
Trusting people to obey "stay at home" instructions was never a good idea without some sort of check to see that they actually do it. Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
Why is the KFC worker and other members who defied isolation requirements, placing members of the community at significant risk, not being prosecuted? I get prosecuted for driving in a bus lane as a visitor. Darryl Higgins, St Mary's Bay.
When will people realise isolation means isolation? Janet Boyle, Ōrewa.
Is breaking Covid restrictions a discretionary activity? Stuart Mackenzie, Ōhura.
It would be interesting to know how a 21-year-old male can be sick enough with "flu-like symptoms" to go to his GP and take a Covid test and yet well enough afterwards to go to the gym. Peter Newfield, Takapuna.
Over 27 penalties in an 80-minute game, plus TMO stoppages, in the Blues-Hurricanes match is ridiculous. Referees should put their whistles away; or change the rules. Bruce Tubb, Belmont.