Access to hospital
The high cost of parking at Auckland Hospital (NZ Herald, June 17) is not the only issue.
Access to the hospital itself is woefully inadequate, frequently requiring long waits in single-lane queues on main roads for not only a carpark, but also to drop off a patient for an appointment or bringing someone to the emergency department.
The rabbit warren of steep, narrow, one-way lanes lead back out into the already jammed main roads and there is no safe and easy drop-off zone.
The tree-lined Park Rd has wide footpaths and a bus lane (on one side only) which would be good attributes if it were not for the fact that it also contains the main entrance to the hospital. There is a single lane for all traffic coming up Grafton Rd and along Park Rd, regardless of whether drivers are dropping off someone, or trying the access Carpark A - and when the carpark is full, long queues form with nowhere to go.
This is not only frustrating for many but could have dangerous consequences for those in need of urgent medical assistance.
A review of all access roads to Auckland Hospital is much needed.
Julie Cadzow, Titirangi.
Thank you Professor Michael Baker (NZ Herald, June 18) for your sensible article on the need to reform drug laws. Some of us have been advocating this for 25 years.
Current laws have enriched criminals, caused increasingly violent turf wars, and incarcerated thousands of users, whilst achieving zero reduction in illicit drug use.
We surely have to change our approach.
Chris Elias, Mission Bay.
Our drug laws are indeed out of date, as Professor Michael Baker points out (NZ Herald, June 18). They are also inconsistent. Alcohol, if it were illegal, would be a class B drug, in the same category as morphine, ecstasy and hashish.
Alcohol can turn mild men into monsters who beat their wives and children. It is reckoned to be a factor in at least 300 offences every day.
The World Health Organisation classifies it as a Group 1 carcinogen linked to the three most common cancers – breast, prostate and bowel.
You can buy it anywhere at almost any time of day, so long as you can convince the vendor you are over 18.
Banning it is not the answer but taking heed of the evidence, as Prof Baker suggests, would lead us to limit its availability and ban advertising – as we have already done with tobacco.
Pat Baskett, Ōkura.
How refreshing to have Professor Michael Baker (NZ Herald, June 18) urging a rethink of the failed war on drugs. Back in 2001, the conservative newspaper The Economist produced a 16-page survey of illegal drugs which concluded that the "case for legalisation is difficult, but the case against it is worse".
In 2012, Professor David Nutt, Chair of the British government's advisory panel on the misuse of drugs concluded that the war on drugs had increased harm for pretty much everyone and he was famously censured for comparing the harms of ecstasy with those of horse riding. Nutt created a table of drug-related mortality, rating LSD and mushrooms (legally very high-risk) as least harmful, while tobacco and alcohol (legal) scored among the most harmful.
Whether it be alcohol, prostitution, drugs or abortion, criminalisation will always drive the practice underground into the hands of criminals. Just look at the huge waste in our own local police resources that result from the ever futile "drug busts" which make little difference to availability on the streets.
How much better to treat drug possession and use as a health issue so we can monitor it, control it and maybe even tax it.
Graeme Robb, Te Atatū.
Advice to heed
When I worked for the Auckland Council - some while ago - it was a very different organisation from the dysfunctional mess it is today, For all too short a time, Grant Kirby was my boss and the best I have ever worked for.
It was great to read his article (NZ Herald, June 16) - and how right he is. It is to be hoped that notice might be taken of the opinions of someone who really has "been there, done that" - and did it very well.
Geraldine Taylor, Remuera.
There are approximately 100 million cars produced globally each year. Environmental scientists have estimated there will be around two billion cars produced before electric vehicles will tip the balance of fossil fuel use in cars.
The only time an electric car is actually better for the environment is when it is running. The manufacturing and charging of electric cars are still oil-based functions.
The emissions created by the manufacturing process of your electric car far outway any reduction in emissions by its use. If you feel environmentally smug as you potter down the road in your EV, just remember the emissions that were produced to make your bit of plastic, false leather and batteries. Just as much as any other car.
Maybe smaller villages where people just walk would help the environment.
Mark Lewis-Wilson, Mangōnui.
Barbara Cuthbert's claim that a cycle bridge is "desperately needed" (NZ Herald, June 18) is nonsense.
Millions of dollars are being spent on cycleways and lanes around Auckland and the uptake on these is underwhelming to say the least.
Numerous correspondents and commentators have suggested cheaper, practical ways for the desperate cyclists to cross the harbour, but these appear to have been ignored or considered by the white-privileged lobby groups and politicians.
Gavin Baker, Glendowie.
Thank you Dr Graham Gulbransen for your empathetic response (NZ Herald, June 18) to our admission via Starship Emergency Department for my 7-year-old son's nocturnal epilepsy. The trauma of uncontrolled seizures could have been circumvented if we had local access to the medicinal cannabis product he needs.
Prescription cannabis costs have escalated following repeated seizures; both at the border and consequently at home; upwards of hundreds of dollars a day. That is without counting other costs including loss of days at school and work, sleep and quality of life. We are all in counselling. Our mental health has deteriorated without access to medicinal CBD.
The only 2 CBD products approved by the Ministry of Health do not meet our needs. Unapproved medicines offer patients more affordable options. However, lack of endorsement or training for prescribers mean most won't offer these. The 2012/2013 MOH Cannabis Use Survey data you cited reveal most frequent users of cannabis are aged 45+. Clearly, the patient need exceeds paediatric epilepsies.
Post-Covid reports of front-line and general practice burnout match the long-failed gaping need of medicinal cannabis patients. With under-resourced hospitals, our acute admissions are adding an unnecessary and avoidable load to public health.
Katy Thomas, Auckland Central.
My thoughts are with those who have either lost their homes or had theirs badly damaged.
I am a survivor of the 1948 Hamilton tornado where we lost our home in Keddell St.
I was only 9 years old, with my mother, and younger brother and sister. It was a terrifying noise.
The help from the Red Cross was a lifesaver as we lost everything.
Colleen Edwards (née Vincent), Coffs Harbour Australia.
Correspondent Nick Nicholas (NZ Herald, June 21) thinks plug-in hybrids should not get a rebate because they have a petrol engine. But if most of your driving is around town and within the electric range of a plug-in hybrid, then the petrol engine will hardly ever run. The petrol engine is there only for the occasional long trip. The rest of the time, the PHEV runs just like an EV. Rebates for PHEVs make good sense to me.
John Caldwell, Howick.
Short & sweet
Would people please stop using this ridiculous American hype terminology of a "war on drugs" for what is a serious issue that deserves better. Judy McAnulty, Papakura.
Excellent cartoon from Emmerson (NZ Herald, June 18). The Russian state-sponsored drug cheating was overlooked, but I guess there wasn't enough room for an extra cloak of darkness? Thomas Waite, New Plymouth.
I'd rather see Team New Zealand lose the America's Cup in New Zealand than defend it successfully anywhere else. Philip Crampton, Wellington.
Does Matthew Hooton (NZ Herald, June 18) want us to destroy our "clean green" brand by being a laggard rather than a leader? The whole human race, including New Zealanders, must change its destructive ways if Spaceship Earth is to remain habitable. Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
The Blues beat five second-rate Australian teams and the Highlanders, who finished fourth in Super Rugby Aotearoa. So what's the big deal? James Barry, Waiwera.
With Covid so widespread in Fiji, parents cannot come to their son's funeral after he was killed in a tragic accident. But in mid-July, the Fijian rugby team can come. Wendy Galloway, Ōmokoroa.
Your Eat Well supplement (NZ Herald, June 21) had this top tip: "Worms will process food scraps a lot quicker if they are cut up into small pieces." Poor worms. Hing Yu, Pakuranga Heights.