Step up tracing
The Government's Covid app is touted as being the crucial element in contact tracing which will prevent a "Victoria" type outbreak in community transmission.
I am appalled at the number of commercial shops, both large and small, who do not display the Covid QR code.
Dr Bloomfield's comments this week on the current miniscule use of this app is also deeply concerning.
Surely, the Government could mandate, at a minimum, that all shops open to the public must display this code, and then follow this up with surveillance and penalties.
If the facts demonstrate that the public are not bothered to use such a vital tool, then urgent Government action is required. This means either a vastly increased public information campaign to address this potentially catastrophic flaw or the Government must purchase the best available tracing app from overseas which will work with technology rather than personal input.
The alarm bells are ringing...loud and clear.
Peter Donnelly, West Harbour.
The PM has foreshadowed local lockdowns when, as she clearly expects, Covid spreads here as in Melbourne and elsewhere.
Isn't it time therefore to shift quarantine facilities to areas that are either remote or have low populations so that the business and commercial hubs that our limping economy relies upon do not become out of bounds infection hot spots?
P Raine, Devonport.
Everyday I wake up grateful that I am living in New Zealand and fearful for family and friends in the "home country".
I am grateful that a strong coalition government has led us, and continues to lead us through a very risky situation with such determination and care, despite screams from the opposition that the lockdown had been attempted too late and then that it went on for too long.
The economy is spoken about as though it is an abstract being just floating above our heads, not connected at all to humans and our health and well being.
I shudder to think what would have happened if the other lot had been in charge when Covid hit. No doubt they would have followed the example of other "right" friends and look at the pickle they are all in now.
It seems that the more outwardly forceful the leader, the worse the outcome and, as usual, the most vulnerable people pay the price for their posturing.
Thank you team of 5 million for putting the safety of everyone first and thank you Winston Peters for choosing to go into coalition with Labour and the Greens.
We dodged more than a bullet.
Michelle Hesketh, Grey Lynn.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says: "At the time we consulted with Aucklanders, we didn't know about the extra $224 million we needed to find for the city's water infrastructure."
That is disingenuous at best.
Apparently consent to take more water from the Waikato River has been on the table for at least seven years, Even then, bureaucrats knew there was not enough filtration and pumping capacity to use that extra if granted and did nothing.
They all now seem to be playing the innocence card.
I believe the water taken from the Waikato River is near its final voyage to the sea. How that affects the river ecosystem and communities from lake to sea as is claimed to justify the extortion is beyond me and many others, I suspect.
Finally, all business rates should be at least 15 per cent higher than residential, as businesses can claim the GST component. The householder cannot.
Most businesses are heavier users of council assets and infrastructure than most residential users and should pay the same amount, at least. Plus the GST of course.
Covid-19 is being used as an excuse to cover incompetence and to extort even more from ratepayers who have seen increases in rates, council staff and salaries combined with a commensurate drop in the quality and number of services from the so-called "Super City".
Graham Hansen, Howick.
We are told the economic crisis from this pandemic is the worst we have faced in 100 years. Is this then really the time for Auckland Council to respond by hiking rates on already and increasingly stressed out households and cutting staff during a climate where finding a new job is fast becoming as difficult as discovering a unicorn in the wild?
Is this a case of Auckland Council having squandered money over many years and now being found out?
Geoff Senescall, Freeman's Bay.
What a blast of professional reality in Capt. Hibberdine's recent letter (NZ Herald, July 14), based on three decades of working the Manukau Bar, as a Manukau Harbour pilot, and a thorough knowledge of the harbour's constant dangers – above and below its surface.
Other readers have noted the crucial issue of insurance and the huge challenge of establishing and operating the port. Two further points:
The Manukau is a daylight-only port, unlike Auckland which is 24/7. Even if able to do so, shipowners would be reluctant to allow their ships to enter at night-time.
How would rescue services operate, should an accident occur at the harbour's remote entranceway or bar?
There may be a number of relocation options – the Manukau is not one of them.
Brian Byrne, St Heliers.
The felling of dozens of century-old native trees in Canal Rd, Avondale, is legalised vandalism.
This sorry sight is testament to the urgent need to change the RMA and restore some protection to trees. Failing that, we will continue to watch them disappear under concrete as developers take all.
These trees were planted generations ago by someone who, unlike most of his contemporaries, recognised the magnificence of native species and created an arboretum for posterity. In recent years Auckland Council had included them in the designated "green corridor" from the Waitākeres to the city, to encourage native birds to return to urban areas. Until last week they were still standing in their mature glory. A few remain, thanks to a group of vigilant protestors who have so far managed to delay the inevitable.
Auckland Council has been aware this privately owned land was for sale and the trees were doomed unless it stepped in. It could have bought the site last year as a community asset, a park or a botanical garden. Instead it stood by and thumbed a nose at the value of heritage.
Brenda Walker, Titirangi.
Due to his age this cowardly mosque killer will likely spend the next 30-40 years in a high-security prison at a cost to New Zealand taxpayers of no less than $100k and probably more like $150k per year, without considering inflation.
It seems only fair he is deported back to Australia and they can pay for his incarceration rather than us.
Why should we pay roughly $5 million-$6m for his care over the course of his lifetime?
He should be returned to where he grew up and developed his unacceptable behaviour.
Brent Marshall, Arkles Bay.
Jobs for deportees
The latest group of deportees have arrived after being confined in one of those scandalous Australian lock-ups for months on end. Upon arrival in this country, they have again been shut away in isolation for a couple of weeks, later to be released after it's assured they are free of Covid-19.
These people aren't necessarily here by choice and no doubt aren't very welcome anyway, but surely among them there are some who, given the chance, would be ready to start afresh among the community by undertaking something that will give them the satisfaction of doing something productive.
Many of our farmers, horticulturalists and orchardists are virtually screaming for workers. Several of these potential employers also offer accommodation along with the job. Would it be too much of a risk to give one or two of these guys the chance of a better life in this country?
Peter Judge, Taupō.
Short & sweet
The question is who will the new leader be post-September? Peter McCrea, Ōmokoroa.
In spite of Judith Collins' efforts to moderate her image, it is clear that the National Party has taken a step to the unscrupulous "hard right". Panthera pardus retains its spots for life. Hugh Blomfield, Russell.
Smart cultures, with thinking party leaders, have in the past worked together in times like this. Imagine if reality got past ego. Sue Yan, Grey Lynn.
Anyone else deserting the ship? Who's left to bail it out? Will Captain Collins go down with it come September? Tony Kaye, Hamilton.
I hope National, under Judith Collins and the Act Party, are honest enough to run a fair, kind and leak-free election campaign throughout a Covid-19 pandemic, which needs to taken into consideration. Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
Auckland Council shows as much readiness to listen to the feedback of ratepayers as China does to the citizens of Hong Kong. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
Could the police in unmarked cars add one more thing to their high-risk list? Tailgating. Tanya Fitzpatrick, Mt Wellington.
Rather than a glorified autobiography, Johnny Depp should write a book about the dangers of drug and alcohol dependency. Coming from him, it would be a great platform. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.