'Enjoy your normality'
Last Friday in Sydney I went to a funeral in a face mask for the first time. It wasn't a death caused by Covid-19, but a death ruined by Covid. Without seeing
our sadness how could his family see how loved he was?
The funeral was stripped of the comfort of the living: we stayed the recommended 1.5m away from each other, watching each other weep. No hand squeezes, no warm hands supporting the backs of the mourners, no physical comfort at all.
I am sure lockdown was hard for many of you. New Zealand's economy, like most (all?) economies, is suffering. But please enjoy the benefits of your normality. The rest of the world wishes it was us.
C. Preston-Thomas (expat Kiwi), Sydney.
In all the megaphone blasts around the Government's decision on quarantine payments, a couple of crucial things have been overlooked. Citizenship is a two-way process. Citizens work, pay tax and obey laws. In return, governments supply public goods, protect citizens and uphold laws.
Sometimes governments have to step up and go further, especially in times of civil strife or a pandemic. No one would condemn a government for repatriating its people from dangerous war zones. The same goes for those caught up in Covid-19 times. No doubt, some like myself, would happily pay the cost of quarantine. Others may not be able to.
I'm wondering if a penniless Heather du Plessis Allan or Mike Hosking would decline a government paying their quarantine bill if the situation arose.
The other point overlooked is an accounting one: Those returning to New Zealand, even if on holiday, don't live in bubbles. They travel; they consume goods and services; they contribute to GDP. In many cases, significant numbers of those entering the country will easily spend in excess of $3000 as my bank statement sadly reveals at the end of another stay in Auckland.
Politicians who appear to want to protect the taxpayer should remember where taxes come from. Citizens. Both permanent and temporary.
Michael Ayers, London.
Once again we have the cry to relax the boundaries for skilled workers to come in. When we brought in all of the supposed skilled workers during the last National government's reign, we were told they were absolutely essential as we didn't have the people with those skills in the country.
We now have the same cry going out and this time I would like to know, will we make the same mistake as the last time, place no conditions on them for when they arrive? It must be conditional that they have to have a least one New Zealander working with them to learn that skill. How many new apprentices did we have during the National Party period as a result of these people being here? Zero. And now here we are again.
Don't make the same mistake twice. The corporates in this country are among the best at discouraging apprenticeships and are very quick at getting rid of apprentices when they decide they need to cut back, it would be more productive to lop the top off sometimes.
Tom O'Toole, Taumarunui.
Covid fire sale
Whenever a managed isolation problem occurs, we are reminded there is no rule book; which is incredible and stated with the confidence and assurance only politicians can garner. Admittedly we are on a steep learning curve and have been lucky so far, but not testing workers regularly at Covid facilities that have no symptoms is patently stupid. Experts tell us symptomless carriers have been detected.
Get onto our top epidemiologists to make a rule book before John Key lets every Tom, Dick and Harry in to buy up God's Own at the Covid fire sale. I presume Key still votes for National and agrees all those students he wants to come in can afford to pay for their quarantine? How long will it take Judith Collins to realise Key is diametrically opposed to her election policy?
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Bolthole for the rich
John Key proposes to allow entry and presumably citizenship into New Zealand for wealthy Americans, in other words, using this country as a bolthole. We should remember that when in power he opened the country to all and sundry and virtually sold the country to the open world. That's one major reason why so young people are now unable to afford a first house, the infrastructure is severely strained and why so many genuine New Zealanders are now tenants in their own country.
Paul Beck, West Harbour.
Allow me to help Axel Hansen, who takes climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger to task. The Oxford dictionary online defines climate denier: "A person who rejects the proposition that climate change caused by human activity is occurring." The American Physical Society states: "The evidence is incontrovertible."
Let me explain some physics. As CO2 is added to the atmosphere, the level at which heat is radiated to space rises, where the temperature is lower. According to the Stefan-Bolzmann Law, radiation is related to the fourth power of the temperature, so to radiate the same heat, the temperature must rise. Note the air at that level is very dry. So, for any given amount of energy from the Sun, which depends on the Sun's output and Earth's orbit, tilt, wobble (Milankovitch cycles), it is not water vapour that governs Earth's temperature. It is carbon dioxide.
Dennis N Horne, Howick.
Exploiting a shortage
Re the Disaster for Landlords letter that talks of "private landlords who have put their hard-earned savings into property". This is highly ingenuous. The competition among private landlords who have leveraged equity in their house(s) with low interest rates has increased house prices dramatically. They have exploited a housing shortage and created an affordability crisis for first-home buyers, particularly those with young families. The rich have been getting richer at the expense of renters. It's way past time for this to stop.
Stewart Halliwell, Tawharanui.
What's the plan?
I guess I should not be surprised in the current climate that the Prime Minister's media groupies have failed to ask her the most important question, one that is relevant to every New Zealander. What is the Government's plan if, as seems increasingly likely an effective Covid-19 vaccine is not developed now or ever. Once the rest of the world starts re-opening, as is already slowly happening, what is this Government's strategy for rejoining the international community of nations? It seems to me the Prime Minister's plan at present is keep her fingers crossed behind her back and if all else fails, turn New Zealand into the North Korea of the South Pacific.
M A Pollock, Mount Eden.
A means to control
Two excellent letters (Herald August 6), one from Lucy Lamb and the other by Frances Palmer, and linked together in their contempt for the continuation of our worldwide obsession for nuclear weapons.
Lamb looks at the flagrant disregard of money spent by countries towards having the best armoury at the expense of their people, and Palmer pushing for an international alliance against the obscenities of these destructive devices.
These are war weapons and like war they are used as a means to control, use and abuse. They are a weapon to defeat and maim the enemy. We know through two major world wars that it takes only a tantrum or two by a leader to send the world's young towards death and destruction. These weapons can annihilate the whole world. What power, but what for? There would be little left of a country, or a planet, if this spilled into war.
Most of us will not survive, so we instead become victims of this muscle-flexing behaviour. It's no wonder our young are interested in designing rockets that head out into space, and those flush with money to burn seek to find a new way of living on an untainted planet.
Right now we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic so far claiming the lives of about 700,000 people. If we look at the leaders who have shown the greatest concern for their people and who have used strategies as best as they could to keep their countries safe, we are looking at mainly women-led governments. Is there a strong message here that cries out for a gender handover?
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
A quick word
I would love to read some of the temperature records from 600 million years ago that Axel Hansen refers to. Please tell me where are they located Axel so I can access them and have a read. Hopefully, they are in the English language!
Ian Williamson, Bucklands Beach.
On Covid app
I have a Samsung 5 (less than 5 years old) and I can't download the tracing app. If the Government wants everyone to be able to be tracked they should look at another way of contract tracing. Not everyone can afford to buy a new phone.
Anne-Marie Fishburn, Long Bay.
If Winston Peters and Shane Jones are unemployed on September 20, 2020, I suggest they become college lecturers in the art of English vocabulary and elocution. They have been baffling brains for decades!
Gordon Clout, Taupō.
A question for the media: is there any kind of community other than "tight-knit"?
B Harvey, Kohimarama.
On election policies
Jacinda Ardern has announced she will not be announcing policies before the election. Most people need more than a smiley face to vote for.
H Robertson, St Heliers.
On opening borders
Slowly, slowly, we should find an innovative ways of opening our country to the rest of the world. We cannot afford to shut our country for ever. Of course I am worried about my health like others. But what I like to say is this, "health and wealth goes hand in hand".
Mohammed Yakub, Māngere east.
On isolation escapees
How selfish and uncaring could one be to risk starting another virus epidemic by deliberately escaping managed isolation. These people don't know how lucky they are to be here, and the least they could do is to follow the rules.
Pamela Russell, Orakei.
On US election
The options for president of the United States of America appear to be a choice between two senile old men. How has a formerly great nation come to this?
G.M. Campbell, Hamilton.