Human spirit triumphs
There is some good news out there, but sometimes you just need to look for it. The line-up of man-made cruelties and natural disasters make for depressing headlines. The ongoing battle
with Covid and its variants, accelerated gun violence over the past few weeks, mental health provisions in crisis mode, and the consequences from climate change inaction wreaking havoc across our planet. Just when we thought humankind couldn't do much worse, out of this bleakness good things can emerge. Angela Grocott and the people of Christchurch, sadly familiar with disasters, rallying and collecting blankets and essential goods for the people of Westport. A local group of blokes, calling themselves the "moist movers" working tirelessly to help residents clean up their flooded homes, and probably countless more stories of people displaying compassion and aroha to the residents of Westport. The small kindnesses and quiet heroics, which exemplify that "special Kiwi" spirit, reaffirm the goodness that exists in New Zealand. We need to remind ourselves of that and celebrate it.
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
Like Dr Nicholas Cooper (NZ Herald, July 21), I have concerns about the clumsy, inconvenient and unfriendly patient system.
First, the first date was supposed to be May. When it finally arrived, we were forced to stand in a cold wind for an hour before we got inside.
Although I was clutching a scannable ID emailed booking, these details had to be painfully entered by hand. When we got to the injection area, we had to again wait for well over half an hour for our turn. I was told by the nurse that four staff had not turned up for work this Saturday, which suggests a workforce issue that requires attention. Never once were we kept informed of what was going on.
The whole process took nearly two hours. My GP would have done a lot better.
We can't afford such a bumbling, unfriendly behemoth for the next pandemic which could well be less benign than Covid.
John Werry, Mt Eden.
Confusion and competence
The management of the vaccine rollout leaves much to be desired without even going into the, at best, disingenuous ministerial utterings. My second appointment date was different on my card to what was in the booking system. Inevitably "the system" was blamed.
I was also told that I had rung the wrong number to confirm the appointment time. Despite the fact that I rang the number printed on the appointment card.
However, I have nothing but praise for the staff at the vaccination centres. My first was at Rānui, where about 40 people seemed to be booked in at 10am. A potentially highly stressful time for the staff. The second at Northcote, where the wait was an hour less. All of the staff were polite, friendly and very professional. I thank them all.
Tony Sparkes, Albany.
Memorial for Diana
Recently we have seen Princess Diana's two sons unveiling a memorial to their mother in Kensington Gardens.
It became obvious from the beginning that she adored children and this was clearly displayed when she and Prince Charles visited NZ with a very young Prince William.
Protocol of this happening was raised by the palace with Princess Diana declaring that "William goes or I do not go". At this stage of his life he had not had a nanny and Princess Diana had carried out all his care. Prince Charles' nanny agreed to come out of retirement to look after Prince William when necessary.
At that time, the children's hospital in Auckland was nearing completion so Auckland Hospital wrote to Buckingham Palace, asking permission to name the hospital after her. Protocol prevented approaching Princess Diana directly.
The palace quickly ruled that this would not be appropriate. I wonder if Princess Diana or her sons were ever aware of this.
If not, it seems a tragedy that NZ was not given permission to do this for somebody who loved children, regardless of their background.
Alan Baldick, Mt Eden.
Out of depth
There is hot debate about the Government's desire to centralise water infrastructure management and decision making. Most of it degenerating into the old socialism/communism dogma.
At the moment water infrastructure spending is decided by elected mayors and councillors who in the main are retired school teachers, bank managers etc, who are manifestly unqualified to make such decisions involving billions of dollars of spend. Consequently, much of this money is simply wasted and the ratepayers have to foot the bill. Examples are Kaipara and Whanganui.
The old Ministry of Works was disbanded in the 1980s in favour of competitive tendering and the consequent outcomes in my view have not been good. I think this removal of decision-making from unqualified councils and centralising it within a qualified body will significantly reduce pollution of waterways and the coastline, guarantee safe drinking water for all, and protect ratepayers from the ravages of poor outcomes.
Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.
Keys to security
Correspondent Marie Kaire suggests (NZ Herald, July 20), "Government has to be big, brave and bold and provide a liveable benefit or top up low wages for those in need". Certainly sympathetic, however reality suggests state expenditure is confronting financial constraints. Instead, education, qualifications and job prospects are still the key to financial security, particularly in a country with serious shortages of skilled labour. With literacy and numeracy standards issues facing many school leavers together with the increasing incidence of school truancy, it is no surprise many confront an uncertain future.
Marie is correct, the announced 3.3 per cent inflation forecast will ensure July's $20 benefit increase will be quickly absorbed by rising costs, the predictable outcome for those caught in the welfare trap.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
I have just heard the Minister of Police, in promoting her stance of not supporting the side-arming of police, stating a couple of times that she is representing Māori and Pasifika.
Can Jacinda have a scratch around to try to find someone who can represent us as well. It would also be helpful if whoever she finds could also represent the police themselves.
The minister seems to think that armaments available to the frontline police in a locked box are all that is needed.
John Olesen, St Heliers.
It is disingenuous that Auckland's waterfront infrastructure costs should be lumped in by accounting sleight of hand, with the cost of running the regatta itself.
All the America's Cup did was stir the bureaucrats to get off their fat backsides and do the work that needed to be done to bring the waterfront up to a standard we can be proud of.
Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
Housing development costs that must include "nice to haves" is the reason behind ballooning costs.
All a first home buyer ever wants is a warm, dry house.
All those ancillary things like decorating, curtains, carpet, a dishwasher or a garden can come much later. There are plenty of sales where curtains of choice can be purchased when finances allow.
This expectation that the grass has to be green before one moves in is nonsense.
Do away with all these frills and houses might be a reality for first home owners.
John Ford, Taradale.
I note with bemusement the figures delivered by Michael Wood (NZ Herald, July 20), as to why a cycle ferry option wouldn't work for Auckland.
The figures he claims are so far from fact are laughable. The $60m quoted would get a fleet of gold-plated, diamond-studded vessels. Any one of the four ferry operations currently operating on the Waitematā would jump at the chance of taking $6m a year of the taxpayer to provide such a service.
Suitable vessels already exist and most of the infrastructure is in place.
The thought that new builds are the only option are just another sign of a lack of planning, research and more especially, like the Hamilton rail service, a blind determination to follow though on an idea that is panned by everyone who can indeed offer a qualified opinion.
John Tizard, East Tāmaki .
We had the same experience as other letter writers - returning from Melbourne, having paid for a Covid test result sheet and being disappointed at not being asked to show it. However, having declared we were Covid-free on the transit sheet, would we rather be treated as adults, or as delinquents?
Some grizzle about the nanny state then on the other hand, when it suits them, complain about procedures.
Bob McGuigan, Devonport.
The story (NZ Herald, July 20) of our 1996 colonist, Patrick Lam, the champion pie-maker from Cambodia, was heart-warming.
He joins the company of the many colonists over the past 200 years who have added a contribution of hard work and determination to make New Zealand the country we love.
John Strevens, Remuera.
Short & sweet
There are 16 countries where is it is illegal for a driver to consume any amount of alcohol at all (NZ Herald, July 21). It's time to change our policy. Audrey van Ryn, Auckland Central.
On Am Cup
Pull a figure out of the sky and claim that is the economic benefit, which is impossible to justify. Bruce Tubb, Belmont
Would the loss made on the America's Cup, held during the pandemic, have been questioned if it had instead been the Rugby World Cup? Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
My husband received a letter reminding him to book a Covid jab. We have had one and are booked for the second. Left hand, right hand? V. Hall, Whangaparāoa.
It is becoming obvious NZ has a shortage of electric power generation capacity and there are no major projects under way to fill the gap. If the huge planned increase of EVs comes to pass, where are we going to get the electricity to run them? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
It's not often a politician is lost for words. Rod Emmerson's view (NZ Herald, July 21) of Andrew Little looking completely nonplussed is a gem. Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
Earth's greatest polluter and abuser, lifting one pointed finger skyward and distancing himself from humanity. Why didn't he stay up there? Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
The premium debate
I'm an ex-officer and it's hard listening to [people] who don't go out there daily and put their lives on the line. If police were armed, there's a high chance Constable Hunt would be alive today, fact. Wake up, NZ is not the little innocent country it once was. The fact parts of society don't want police armed matters not, the crims don't care, they are heavily armed and this is just the beginning. I was always taught, don't ask others to do anything you wouldn't do. Greg C
I don't understand - taking race out of this - why a minority group is so specifically represented in this view. I'm not taking away that racial bias exists amongst all populations including police but it seems ludicrous to base an entire policing policy on one view. Surely this should be a government representing all New Zealanders? David V
I'd rather the police weren't armed. However, unfortunately society has changed for the worse and risks have increased. If I put myself in their situation and were a police officer, I would want the option of carrying a firearm. It's not ideal and creates other risks but certainly needs further consideration. Like any employee, the police deserve the tools needed to stay as safe as possible. Stephen H
Arming police creates the risk of further escalations and we don't want to end up like the US. There is no reason for the majority of people to possess or own a gun. While some farmers and recreational hunters will be affected, make it completely illegal to own a gun and introduce very harsh penalties for being in possession of a firearm or causing injury or death with a firearm. And for those concerned about legitimate interests (such as eradication of pests on farms) allow some commercial ventures to operate (under very strict conditions). No guns is a better option than arming everyone with guns. John S
I live in South Auckland and I thought I was part of the same community as my Māori and PI brothers and sisters. We talk to each other and we all agree on having Armed Response Teams is a good idea. We would rather be safe than live in fear of violence - particularly at night. Please Labour Party stop using crime/race statistics as a defence - thugs are thugs - if you do bad things expect to be punished. Jan W
Arm the cops and you escalate an arms race with the crims. The key is to get the supply of guns off the streets. It's not being soft on crims to say don't arm the cops. Quite the opposite, we've been too soft on them, and the gangs in particular, to date. That's why we've got the violence we have. We need far tougher policies to go after unregistered guns and the gangs; the cops are exposed because of the weak policies to date. Arming the cops without going after the scumbags will only result in the latter arming up even more. Do you want Detroit in NZ? Simon N