It would be fair to say the questions asked by Heather du Plessis-Allan and Kerre McIvor are legitimate and necessary to ensure the Government is held to account.
Yes there should be a plan but as we have seen in NSW, even the best of them can fall apart rapidly.
Heather wants to know rightly what's the plan when herd immunity is reached. Well the UK will answer that when their restrictions are lifted in a week's time.
Previous high immigration levels did put an extra strain on housing but that is not the real reason for high prices, now it's down to the fact housing is the best current financial return. One can understand business wanting the borders to open for tourists and workers but wrong decisions in that area could be more destructive than now.
For a number of reasons we have not been subjected to the real wrath of the virus which has kept our economy moving and death rates extremely low and this tends to give us a false sense of security. We must move forward at some stage and there should be a plan — but one is glad somebody else has to make those difficult decisions.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
It's a good plan
Fran O'Sullivan asks Jacinda to show her the Covid Plan.
Well Fran, it goes like this: Go hard and early and save thousands of Kiwi lives and our economy. Support heroic front liners at the border and in Health. Successfully repatriate 150,000 New Zealanders with only a dozen border breaches over 18 months. Order enough of the gold standard Pfizer vaccines to inoculate us all by the end of this year.
Have no community transmission for 140 days and counting. Be rated by Standard and Poors as No1 in the world for economic recovery. Don't play guinea pigs with our vulnerable Kiwis like the UK gamble of living (and dying) with Covid.
It's a good plan and 75 per cent of Kiwis support it. Thanks Jacinda and all those at the frontline protecting us.
Roger Laybourn, Hamilton.
Personally, I'm happy for Government to wait for the results of the "grand experiment" going on in various countries around the world, supposedly safely "opening up" in the face of an ongoing pandemic. Many countries are now seeing a rapid uptick in cases, especially in unvaccinated and younger groups.
While the rate of deaths may have declined, Covid-19 is still a serious disease, with long-term health impacts for many of the so-called "recovered". As NZ gets vaccinated, we'll need a phased roll back of restrictions to properly manage what is still a major public health threat.
I don't think anyone yet knows what the "new normal" is for a rapidly-evolving virus. Vague plans without specific dated decision points, such as Australia has announced, are simply wish-lists.
Peter Wharton, Pt Chevalier.
Science won the day
The dire situation arising in New South Wales strongly reinforces the actions our Government took over the Covid outbreak last year. Bill Bowtell, a health policy consultant, berates the NSW Government claiming "politics got over the science".
When looking across the Tasman we ought to be grateful that the cries of the National Party and the influence of big business to "open up" were ignored.Science won the day. Our health won the day.
Some of Auckland's restaurateurs are right now applying pressure for immigrant labour to be allowed in and the Government is thankfully resisting their calls. NSW now finds itself having to enforce stricter and longer lockdowns as the virus explodes around the state. According to Bowtell, they are at last "getting real".Thank heavens we did.
Diana Walford, Greenlane.
It was an interesting lead article in Saturday's Herald. The research confirmed what many people have been aware of for many years: Too many families have to move too often and this disrupts the development of children.
Here are three ideas for solving this: Shared ownership. People buy part of a home with the Government owning the other portion. The deposit is the same as getting into a rental; that is 5 to 6 weeks rent. (More if people have the money). They then take out a mortgage with the outgoings being the same as rent would cost them. (More if they can afford it). Every five years the people have the option of increasing their portion, based on the current value of the home. Assuming 50% ownership, with the same money the Government can assist twice as many people as providing social housing.
Nil income tax on the first $50,000. This would put an additional $12,500 every year into a household where both parents are working full time. That alone would enable the family to borrow $150,000 to $200,000. Also, people on minimum income should not pay income tax. These people have not been compensated for GST nor the myriad of increases in levies over the years. We are currently taxing poor people deeper into poverty.
Have an annual tax on investment property (commercial, residential & industrial) to enable reduced income taxes. Among the many benefits to this, more houses become available for home owners as investing in them becomes less attractive and people on middle income can afford to own a home.
Brian Taylor, Lynfield.
Tax empty properties
Houses going up a furious rate, every street corner seems to have a high rise, lots of infill housing and new estates blossoming. Add to this a huge reduction in immigration.
And we have a major housing shortage? I think not, properties are being bought by investors kept empty and used instead of bank term deposits.
Why have money in the bank at 1 per cent when property can return 10 per cent or more in capital gain?
A hefty tax on property empty 3 months or more would soon fix the homeless problem.
Vince West, Milford.
Sugar action next?
It is indeed pleasing to see folic acid is to be mandatory in bakers' flour to avoid Spina bifida and other NVD related problems but two separate issues surprised me after extensive reading.
I do not know the actual numbers of children affected with spina bifida/NVD, but the NZ incidence is apparently less than 1 in 2000 births.
As is often the case with many medical conditions today NVD consequences can be virtually eliminated by diet. The body's requirement for folate can be satisfied with relatively modest portions of folate rich fruit and vegetables, invariably far in excess of the folic acid mandated for by the many slices of bread a mother would need to attain a safe vitamin B9 level.
The folate rich vegetables include some of the cheapest which are also high in other invaluable vitamins such as C, K and iron.
It is also suggested Spina bifida may be hereditary — a salutary warning for some.
Maybe more education would be a far more elegant solution to Spina bifida/NVD and many other medical conditions ?
It is I suppose unsurprising that the Government can in a matter of months mandate the addition of folic acid to flour whilst ignoring other truly serious medical legislation. Think about the terrifying rise in of diabetes here due predominantly to excess sugar and lack of exercise.
Robert Burrow, Taupō.
Double the sentence
After three recent separate attacks on police on duty, one requiring hospital treatment there is a very simple solution to stop these attacks. Just pass a new law urgently. Once the judge has announced the sentence, if the victim is a police officer on duty, the sentence is doubled.
This is the only way to stop people thinking twice on their safety on duty before they sign up for training to enter our dreadfully understaffed police force.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
Light rail folly
Thank goodness the Herald and John Roughan have finally said it: Light rail to the airport is a joke.
The planners are not giving us any chance to tell them we prefer a train connection linking the airport to the excellent existing fast rail network at Puhinui. Heavy rail is mentioned only to say the Government has ruled it out. And I can't find any consultation document online at all.
If they build this new route, who will use it? Even now, fast train to Puhinui and the dedicated bus service from there to the airport will offer most people the most direct, speedy journey.
Rae Storey, Remuera.
Short & sweet
On popular PM
No matter how badly Jacinda and her party continue to perform her popularity just seems to get better. Is it just a reflection of a complete lack of effective opposition? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
On Fiji rugby
Would Fiji have won if they had the same training and game time together as the All Blacks? Bruce Tubb, Takapuna
Auckland motorists are paying an extra 11 cents a litre for petrol for roadways .Are they going to be paying for the cyclists' bridge? Arthur Moore, Pakuranga.
On Queen St
If cars are removed from Queen St how will AT get customers for their parking building in Victoria St East and how will their light trams get to Britomart? J. Billingsley, Parnell.
Could Jacinda Ardern use her communication skill to explain the meaning of open, honest and transparent and when her Government has exhibited these characteristics? Gavin Baker, Glendowie.
Steve Braunias ( Herald July 10) certainly took the pissicatto out of politicians. With Audrey Young, Hosking and Braunias on the job, we have a banquet of riches. Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
The premium debate
Let's hope this exodus can breathe increased economic life into these alternative centres. One of our weaknesses is our over reliance on Auckland as an economic hub. Elsa O
Great to see people taking the initiative rather than expecting the socialist nanny state to solve their Auckland rent or house problems for them. With remote working you can work anywhere in the country. Richard C
Moved to NZ in early 2000 and love it but we have seriously started to consider Aussie as a better option recently for its affordability and cost of living. Adrian K
Auckland has too many people already. There's no reason why more businesses should not move to regional cities and Government departments as well. Howard S
Auckland's home affordability ratio .. nine times the average income. That's almost criminal, banks should not be lending money to these people. Christine L
Isn't that good for our smaller towns and those families who get more of a balance in their lives with no traffic and no high rents. It might even keep some of those smaller schools and health providers open in areas with falling rolls. John W
This is a global trend. Auckland, like Vancouver, Sydney, London and San Francisco, is a superb place to live and there is a price to be paid for that. Pietro E
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