Making our own luck
New Zealand is an island nation but exists in a world awash with coronavirus. So far we have acted well and been lucky.
But with the new more virulent strains there is a significant probability that our defences will be breached. The virus works in mysterious ways.
If our defences are breached, what should be our reaction? Should it be blame? Blame Jacinda, blame the government, blame Ashley, blame the army, blame the workers at the quarantine facilities, blame the cleaners, blame China, blame Boris Johnson, blame… Fat lot of good that will do.
If an outbreak does occur, our tracers need to know where you have been. In that way, they can quickly ring-fence the outbreak and eliminate it. It is not rocket science.
We must keep signing in and using Bluetooth and the tracer app. It is no hardship, even if we continue to be lucky.
Jim Colvine, Mangawhai Heads.
With the impending mass vaccination roll-out it would seem appropriate to add two more categories of people in between the anti-vaxxers and pro-vaxxers, those being the "maybe-vaxxers" and the "delayed-vaxxers".
These two groups could cause the government the most problems in the quest for herd immunity as they would be a significant chunk of the population.
Dave Purcell, Ōrākei.
I totally agree with your correspondent, teacher Mark Bracey (NZ Herald, January 12).
I'm neither a linguist nor someone trying to teach anyone to read, but surely, English is not a language where we could rely on phonics?
Anyone can come up with examples where there is total confusion and as there are more words in the English language than any other. How does a learner of any age cope with the pronunciation of "though, through, cough, rough, plough, ought, borough" as classic examples?
Ray Green, Birkenhead.
I agree with Mark Bracey's comment (NZ Herald, January 12) that "phonics won't cure all our reading problems" and that teachers must use all appropriate methods available to deliver a successful reading programme
I am a retired primary school teacher and spent the last 20 years of my career teaching Years 1and 2. I consider one of the major reasons for our falling reading achievement rate is that young children are not engaged in verbal communication enough to give them the basic language needed for learning to read.
Both in the home and in public places, children are often occupied by a screen and have little interaction with their carers.
Sheila Mickleson, Mt Wellington.
A letter writer (NZ Herald, January 12) claims that Auckland beaches are polluted because ratepayers are reluctant to pay for the upgrades required to infrastructure.
He concludes "no more roads, monuments" etc until wastewater and runoff is taken care of.
I believe that Auckland ratepayers are only too willing to pay for essential infrastructure, the problem is that we have been paying for it, for years. The problem is that the money is siphoned off by our elected councillors and bureaucrats into other, less important, pet projects.
We look in from the outside and we can all see waste and unnecessary expenditure. We are expected to believe our politicians when they announce increases to our rates and say monopolies like Watercare are required to maintain or upgrade services but we know this is not true. Increases are required to maintain and increase their budgets, that's all. There is absolutely no guarantee that increases will reflect in better outcomes. History proves this. They just need more money to feed the machine. Ratepayers need to see efficiencies and how this money is to be spent, before it is collected. Then maybe, just maybe, we won't feel ripped off every time money is going out from our bank accounts.
Quentin Miller, Te Atatū.
Fit for pupose
John Kenel needs to rethink the purpose of the business of housing (NZ Herald, January).
The product/service he is supplying is homes fit for human habitation. If he thinks it's just about property investment, he should reset his moral compass.
Buying sub-standard properties and renting them out while waiting to get around to developing them is equivalent to buying a car and hiring it out without a warrant of fitness.
Kenel and his colleagues should only buy properties when they are ready to upgrade them. Aligning values with the value of the commercial offering is better business.
Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
Assuming our Government does genuinely want to make home ownership more possible, I suggest we consider a common overseas practice: Interest paid on one's residential home mortgage is tax-deductible, and interest on investment property mortgages is not.
This would reverse the situation we have now.
B Watkin, Devonport.
What a fantastic letter by Steve Matheson (NZ Herald, January 12) regarding a rethink on Immigration.
Stabilising our population, thus looking after what we have, speaks logically to me, also.
A strong stand might even penetrate further, leading to acknowledgement that every extra person on the planet adds to the world's climate change problem.
Solutions are there. Why does logic take so long to infiltrate? Greed for perceived "wealth" I guess.
Dianne McKinnon, Morrinsville.
Tuesday's leader (NZ Herald, January 12) commented on Twitter and other social media platforms "delisting" President Trump. This is a serious blow to freedom of speech.
It gives too much power to an unelected group to take arbitrary actions against views and or people of whom they do not approve.
They have not published their criteria for this suppression and there is no appeal.
That is the power of despots and should not be tolerated in any democracy.
Nick Hamilton, Remuera.
The cost of parking your car at any of Auckland hospital has continued to increase. Elderly people visiting their sick friends or relatives and, indeed anybody visiting our hospitals, is pinged.
Visitors provide a valuable social interaction with the sick.
We in Grey Power Northern Region wrote to the Chair of the Waitematā District Health Board two years ago and, since then, charges have increased.
How on earth they justify charging for parking beggars belief.
Grey Power will be advocating for a reduction in parking charges at our Auckland hospitals, not just for our members, but for everyone.
Mate Marinovich, Oratia.
Letting it lie
Your article "The Big Lie" (NZ Herald, January 12) contains some valid points but has one glaring omission.
What makes big lies credible is that they are frequently repeated and cannot be proved or disproved, as George Orwell makes clear in his book 1984.
However, Trump's big lie has one significant difference; his allegation of electoral fraud has been disproved: by some 60 courts of law and countless state senators and election officials from both parties across America.
What is so incredible is that, despite this, some tens of thousands of Americans still firmly believe it to be true.
One is drawn to the conclusion that perhaps "Homo" is not as "sapiens" as we like to make out.
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
An insert in my Herald tells me of Auckland Council's free "Movies in Parks" and "Music in Parks", all events to be presented for the remaining months of summer across venues in the region.
It is remarkable however that, of the 14 movies, only one is to be shown north of the bridge (in Birkenhead on February 26) and of the musical events none is to be held in the North. This dereliction of duty is miserable.
We have some fine parks in the North that would host evening music and we contribute a sizeable share of the rate income to this council.
As part of the "Super City", we want to be "super" included.
Paul Madigan, Takapuna.
Short & sweet
A friend of mine suggested that rata be planted in the exotic trees on Auckland's maunga, allowing them to eventually strangle and replace the exotics without leaving the birds homeless. Ken Taylor, Māngere.
The ugly side of Australian sports raised its head again in the last day of the test with captain Tim Paine's childish petulant sledging of an Indian batsman. He now has lost all credibility. David Bennett, New Plymouth.
Having watched the cricket across the Ditch, I noticed there hasn't been any change in the sportsmanship of our neighbours. Norm Greenall, Ōrewa.
I would have thought Covid-19 was going to see the end of reality TV shows as well, such as The Bachelorette. There are some downsides after all to having such successful border controls. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Thank you, Rob Webb (NZ Herald, January 12). I, too, have been worried about that TV ad which encourages viewers to jump off a waterfall. That is so irresponsible. Carrick Bernard, Mt Albert.
Donald Trump is an unfortunate example of the wisdom of the old saying that "the desire for power should be an automatic disqualification". Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
On Am Cup
As Toyota is a sponsor of the boat, could they have the word "bugger" painted on the bottom of the hull? David Anning, Auckland Central.