Covid plan hasn't been effectively delivered
Your editorial (NZH, January 23) reflects on the Prime Minister being asked in February 2020 about Covid and whether she was worried. You report she replied she wasn't, because she had a plan. The editorial brushes over the fact that two years have demonstrated the gap between claiming to have a plan and effective delivery of it. That remains this Government's Achilles heel.
John Schnackenberg, Katikati.
Capital gains tax blunder
It is hard to understand the criticism of bank lending for home loans.
Having a loan at less than 3 per cent on a small deposit will create an impossible situation for the young productive sector in the coming year.
The current problems relate to the past and present governments' refusal to implement a capital gains tax, and it's financial encouragement of landlords, who are only following a logical path to greater wealth.
The probable rise in both inflation and interest will have the effect of un-homing thousands of young families. This will provide the banks with very negative publicity, which they will wish to mitigate.
NZ is about to reap the fruits of its protection of the rich at the expense of the poor. This will be very ugly.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel.
Motorcyclists the issue
The "look again, look again" road safety campaign targets the wrong group. It's not motorists who need to exercise caution looking for motorbikes. Motorbike riders need to exercise caution. Motorbikes always seem to go a lot faster than other road users, weaving in and out of traffic. If motorcyclists slowed down and went at the same pace as others there would be no need to "look again, look again".
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Answers say a lot
Kirsty Wynn interviews Chris Hipkins in the Herald On Sunday. After two years of Covid, Hipkins' answers are: "It is likely but we haven't made a decision on this yet", "We are looking at N95 masks at the moment but we don't have any formal guidance on that", "We haven't ruled that out, but one of the challenges is getting enough tests", "We have just signed new instructions", "We are just in the process of". Speaks volumes.
Bernard Jenning, Island Bay.
Omicron up to us
Experts call for more restrictions than a traffic light red when Omicron arrives but they don't have the financial stress that comes with lockouts. The Government knows that regardless of how much ditch digging we do this strain will spread like wildfire. It's not that the red light restrictions are inadequate, it's whether people will follow the rules. Omicron will be a very difficult phase of the epidemic but the severity is up to us. Making bad decisions is a way of life but don't blame others to relieve one's guilt.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Missing link harmful
The day Labour won the election in 2017, the Associate Minister of Transport, Green Party MP, Julie-Anne Genter, cancelled the new Auckland East/West Motorway Link which had already been fully approved after six years of planning and investigation.
A bike-riding stalwart who lives in Wellington, Genter has no idea she has created an increasing unacceptable bottleneck of congestion all the way from the Southern Motorway, through Neilson St, and many kilometres to the west. All day there are long queues, nose to tail, with vast numbers of huge trucks towing equally large trailers.
These move at a snail's pace, belching polluting diesel fumes in quantities totally inappropriate, and vastly more than if the planned motorway had not been stopped by this Green madness. No different, of course, to the banning of lower toxicity coal from Westport, and instead importing this year a million tonnes of highly polluting coal from overseas.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
Call horrific, irresponsible
Cancelling MIQ bookings for March and April, the PM has ruled out the immediate border closure that top epidemiologists recommended. Meantime, thousands of returnees, many hundreds with Omicron, will return to New Zealand, making it highly likely Omicron will escape into the community.
Experts say Auckland could see 1800 cases a day within weeks of community transmission. Matthew Hooton calls the PM's decision "horrific but necessary". I call it "horrific and irresponsible"!
Philip Whaley, Cambridge.
New Zealanders hold the expectation that our Government through the health department will act sensibly in stopping people crossing our border already infected with Omicron and Delta. Our expectation includes New Zealand citizens and others, all being vaccinated and testing negative before getting on a flight to return home. But if we look at the numbers arriving and testing positive on day one with Omicron, this is certainly not what is happening.
Aucklanders have barely had time to blink before once again the Stanford Plaza hotel has seen a breakdown at the border and we have the first of a growing number of Omicron case potentially in the community. Numbers of positive cases at the border are increasing and so are the number of breakdowns at the border.
So what has changed? Responsibility. We will now be expected to take care of ourselves if we catch Omicron. We need to stock up on medicinal requirements and food to see us through, and it is unlikely that the Government will have enough money for a fourth vaccine.
Sadly nothing much has changed when it comes to looking at who is crossing our border or our MIQ facilities to keep us safe.
Robin Harrison, Takapuna.
Hurry to get jab
Half of all the ICU Covid beds in NSW are occupied by unvaccinated patients. Yet 94 per cent of adults in NSW are vaccinated. If those 6 per cent of adult NSW residents had been vaccinated like the rest, then statistically, the demand on ICU Covid beds in NSW at this time would be 47 per cent less.
If you haven't yet done so, get vaccinated now before the Omicron wave hits hard here. Do it for yourself, but also so that you don't stress the hospital system for others.
Huw Dann, Mt Eden.
Let Cup sail away
Well said, John Roughan, on the America's Cup. Following our first competition held here all those years ago, scuttlebutt around the waterfront was that "there was not enough bang for their buck" in a NZ-held America's Cup competition to entice the big guns back.
It is a wealth sport and we have done well from it. It is time to let it go, with dignity.
Erin Tipping, Devonport.
Tree felling disgust
We are shocked at the recent mowing down of 13,700 native trees by the Upper Harbour Board (apart from its two dissenting board members) for the sake of a "view".
Trees and other plants are crucial for the correct balance of oxygen, carbon and water on our planet. If anyone is still wondering why the Earth's temperature keeps rising, the tree destroyers are one of the prime culprits, if not the main one.
Auckland Council has declared a Climate Emergency and plans to plant a million new trees. However, tree destruction seems to be happening faster than planting, carried out by private citizens, "developers", and the council itself, via its associated organisations.
New, small young trees, welcome as they are, do not replace large, healthy, established trees. The latter have developed deep root systems, whereas new saplings will likely perish in our scorching summers, unless cared for with water, shade and weeding. Please let us have the million new trees, while keeping the tall established trees we already have.
The mown Upper Harbour trees have still got roots in the ground, as noted by correspondent Peter Dodd. With watering over summer, (and with no further destruction by the Upper Harbour Board), some may send up sprouts and regrow.
This kaupapa is supported by the clergy and vestry of our church: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Otahuhu. And I (Jennifer) feel blessed that my whanau name is also the name of a tree.
Jennifer Birch, Ellerslie; Emilyn Tukitonga, New Lynn; Suitulaga Tupuiliu, New Lynn.
Short & sweet
On traffic lights
Your correspondent, Barbara Grace, laments Christopher Luxon's lack of understanding of the traffic light system. This is unsurprising — even the Prime Ministers partner doesn't understand it! Mark Street, Devonport.
It was often said before the evening blitz began in London, that the waiting was worse than the bombing. And so it is here ... Covid is here. But luckily, we've had an age to prepare for this. Let's face the future with faith and courage. Charles Jaine, Staveley.
Have you noticed the majority of so-called specials at supermarkets are unhealthy junk food like potato chips, chocolate bars, fizzy drinks and so on? Alan Walker, St Heliers.
And the excuse for the lack of access to Rapid Antigen Test kits is? Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell.
Omicron is quite well-behaved to be fair — it had its holiday for the same period that our politicians did. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Why are passengers on flights to NZ not required to have a rapid antigen test just before check-in? In the UK at least, these are readily available and would reduce the need for expensive quarantining. Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
The Premium Debate
It amazes me that many want to open up to Covid and "get on with it". That's what Australia did and it's been a disaster. Thousands of cases, health system at breaking point, all non-urgent procedures off, over 200 in ICU, many deaths. And far worse economically. Ross W.
Another catastrophic border failure. No rapid antigen tests, no saliva tests, child vaccines only just arrived. While other countries are lifting restrictions, NZ is set to impose more. Wayne R.
It's now up to each of us to manage our own circumstances and be sensible. NZ cannot remain segregated from the rest of the world. As with any other nation, we need to accept Covid is here and face up to reality. Tony E.
Be mindful of the immunocompromised. Tens of thousands of people like me have leukaemia or other cancers. I have delayed chemo as that would give me little chance of survival with Covid but I cannot put it off any longer. Patricia B.
There are now only 108 ICU beds available. We are nearing year 3 of this pandemic, it is unacceptable. Ian R.
We are in the accommodation business. We just can't operate minimising losses in orange to red. Never-ending stress. Lucy L.
It's widely acknowledged all over the planet that the Covid disruption and economic impact (domestic and global) far exceeds the GFC. Consequently, Ardern will go down as one of NZ's great leaders in a time of upheaval. Timothy T.