If our faultless Prime Minister had insisted on watertight audits of quarantine facilities and systems, this new outbreak may not have happened. For weeks Dr Ashley Bloomfield insisted there were plenty of supplies of PPE, and he was totally wrong. For weeks he insisted we had plenty of flu vaccines. Wrong again. Air Crew and quarantine workers were not tested when they should have been, but he seemed to think this was not necessary. When this is all over a full inquiry should follow and it could shock us all out of our confidence and show us the "king" has no clothes. The point everyone should now consider is, do we have competent people in charge and the answer surely has to be no. The Prime Minister has ultimate responsibility and her halo is beginning to look unbalanced.
Brent Marshall, Whangaparāoa
Health before wealth
The Government is to be commended for its Covid-19 response, particularly regarding it resisting calls to open the country's borders to overseas rich people to stimulate the economy. In light of the global pandemic, health before wealth equates to commonsense for if people are sick they cannot enjoy their wealth. Thus, in the current context, having less will mean a better quality of life for many. It is good the Government is taking no risks on the Covid-19 issue, and not being short-sighted as some of its critics are.
Murray Dennett, Papatoetoe
Anger at breach
On Wednesday morning the team of five million woke to the dreadful news that there were new cases of community spread of Covid-19. The team will now be seriously angry that our borders have been breached. This pandemic has been the making of our Prime Minister and now it will be her downfall. Just when we were feeling smug compared to the rest of the world this virus has slid through our inadequate border control. So the team needs to climb Mt Everest once more and we have done it once, we can do it again.
Dave Miller, Rotorua
Our Prime Minister is confusing leadership with dictatorship. We have four cases in one family and draconian restrictions are immediately enforced before sufficient time is given to adequately trace, test and determine genuine risk. The media, who should be vigilant in protecting our freedoms, continue their unquestioning sycophantic "Jacinda knows best" mantra. We have been repeatedly lied to regarding testing, contact tracing and border quarantine competence and yet like lemmings we gladly swallow the fear pill and rush head-long into economic destruction. Our forebears fought and died to protect our freedoms. We must not allow fear to motivate acceptance of dictatorship by stealth.
Mark McCluskey, Whangaparāoa
Whiff of dishonesty
There is a whiff of dishonesty in the air here in Aotearoa and for once it isn't Donald Trump. The Government encourages the country to wear face masks and to increase contract tracing on Sunday and Monday. All very reasonable to warn against complacency and because New Zealand was successfully brought through the last community outbreak of coronavirus by this Government, I didn't question this "suggestion". However, by Tuesday morning, when it was also reiterated that there was plenty of testing available to the public as well, the odour of prevarication started drifting through the air. By Tuesday night, the first case of community transmission in 102 days was announced. Perhaps it was inevitable that there would be community transmission again in NZ, but devastating as that prospect is, not being completely transparent with the public is equally destructive. I hope for all our sakes, that this Government's halo is not slipping.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie
I wonder why former Prime Minister Sir John Key, Rob Fyfe and others want to import billionaires and millionaires into New Zealand, when we have such a fine bunch of homegrown super-wealthy people here already. I did a rough count of the total wealth of the 20 richest New Zealanders, and got a total of about $16 billion, which didn't include Sir John's $50 or $60 million. I propose that everyone in the country who has, let us say, $10 million or more, combine their wealth and invest it in projects which will create new jobs, especially in infrastructure. This could be social housing, golf courses, tourist enterprises and so on. I am sure that all our millionaires and billionaires are deeply patriotic people, keen to help New Zealand and New Zealanders in any way they can. Therefore, Sir John and friends, I challenge you to put your money where your mouth is.
John Howes, New Plymouth
We have now been informed that the Reserve Bank's financial budget has this year been doubled from $65 million a year to a staggering $128 million a year, an eye-watering increase of $63 million, or 97 per cent pa. Such an increase would be sufficient to fund a multitude of cancer-fighting drugs yet the current Government seems to have many of its priorities in the wrong place. Worse still the bank's workforce is proposed to increase from a current approximate 300 to an anticipated 468 by 2025, an increase of 172 full-time roles. These additional staff will comprise of 35 new roles in "digital services", 22 roles in communications, and corporate relations will increase by 21 roles, on top of staff already in similar positions. This would appear to be just another government department that is seemingly out of control, when it comes to growing itself and in times that are as incredibly difficult, as they currently are, is just not acceptable to taxpayers.
Mike Baker, Tauranga
There is a general election coming. It is not a presidential race, or a celebrity endorsement, nor should it be a vote of thanks. It is what it is, a general election to vote in a government to run this country for the next three years. For two-thirds of its term the present Government's popularity was waning, due in part to broken election promises and also to its inexperience and incompetence. Covid-19 changed all that, New Zealand had a "team" of five million, the Government had a team of one. But we are entering a period of uncertainty both socially and economically and this country needs a proper "team", one with a plan and the "know-how" to how to execute it.
T.M.P. Stevens, Pukekohe
Can anyone enlighten me as to why car insurance is not mandatory in New Zealand – unlike most other Western countries where the minimum mandatory requirement is third party car insurance? I cannot comprehend why car insurance is not mandatory here. I read with incredulity that the National Party proposes to label uninsured cars to make them more easily identifiable "by having car insurer details displayed on the registration labels stuck to vehicle windscreens". And if the car is uninsured the word uninsured would be on the label instead. This information, invisible to the naked eye more than a metre or two away, would come as great relief to someone who has just had their car wiped out by an uninsured car, I'm sure!
Anne Hunter, Whangamatā
We read that Lebanon, a country of seven million people, has debt of US$100 billion and is, according to the World Bank, bankrupt. In the business section of the same day's paper we read that the Reserve Bank here is likely to lift the level of quantitative easing from the present $60 billion to $90 billion, effectively increasing New Zealand's total projected debt to NZ$240 billion by 2024 with a population of five million to support that debt level. Surely, with an election only a month away, we deserve to hear from our politicians how we intend to get this level of debt under control, and then vote accordingly.
CJ Davis, Milford
SHORT & SWEET
To all those idiots queueing at supermarkets etc. Keep making things worse you panic merchants. Try getting a life.
I MacGregor, Forrest Hill
Could it be that there has been no fault of the Government policies but that an asymptomatic carrier of the disease has been present, but not previously in contact with a suitably vulnerable person to pass it on to and thus start a new outbreak?
Jack Linklater, Hamilton
The assertion that faith-based schools do better is not really substantiated in your articles. Where is the evidence that religion enhances school results or subsequent careers? It seems to me that if you have to pay $24,000 per year for your kids' schooling you are probably a high earner and likely to have a high level of education. This is also probably true for the majority of families and parents of students in such a school. Perhaps it is this that translates into better school outcomes rather than what religion, if any, the school adheres to?
Frank Olsson, Freemans Bay
So the National Party is going to get tough with the gangs. Good luck with that. In the 1972 election, Norman Kirk's Labour Party promised to "take the bikes off the bikies". Not only have the bikies still got their bikes, but the outlaw motorcycle clubs are bigger; better organised, wealthier and better armed than they were half a century ago.
C.C. McDowall, Rotorua
On new cases
Several countries which had a few weeks of no new cases of coronavirus, have mystifyingly reported a new case, not related to overseas arrivals, as if the virus somehow kept existing or circulating, perhaps in asymptomatic people. Rod Matthews, Melbourne