Letter of the week: Jim Barnett, North Shore
While we're all living a bit day-to-day in these unusual circumstances, there are some good things starting to emerge and which could be leveraged in "normal" times.
One of the best things is the general air of peacefulness when going out for exercise. This could be the norm every Sunday (as it used to be). It would provide a genuine rest day for most, and crucially, reduce emissions and energy use.
The upsurge in online retail shows what can be done without bricks and mortar. Combine this with energy-efficient delivery, and we have another chunk of emission-saving. Unused urban retail areas could be re-purposed for residential.
Not everyone has access to a garden or space to grow food. But those who do seem to be enjoying a renaissance. Even on my apartment balcony, I can grow enough to provide salad year-round.
Covid-19 seems to have focused leaders' minds. Global institutions with good, swift strategies and the power to execute them could have significantly reduced the impact of the virus.
In the words of Adrian Orr (Weekend Herald, April 4): "Watch out for each other." Having good community / friends has been shown in numerous studies to improve mental well-being.
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What a sick, uncaring and unfeeling society we have become when family are not allowed to visit and comfort family members who are dying in hospital.
Your story about John Parkes (Weekend Herald, April 4) who is nearing the end of his life after a battle with cancer and being denied the comfort of being visited by family members apart from a visit by one person for 15 minutes a day was appalling.
He obviously is not being put at risk by Covid-19, it is too late for that.
His family members can be tested and/ or given protective equipment when they go to the hospital to visit him.
They can be restricted in the areas they visit to make sure no one else is put at risk.
The Prime Minister's words that we should care for and show kindness to others have a very hollow ring in these circumstances.
Miles Usher, Murrays Bay.
It was illuminating to read (Weekend Herald, April 4) the opinions of six top business leaders regarding the Government's performance in handling Covid-19.
On a scale of one to 10, the lowest rating given was eight and the top rating was 10.
This is a really heavyweight counter to the relentless denigration of the Government by Mike Hosking.
Hugh Blomfield, Russell.
NZTA has called for submissions on the Northern Pathway over the Auckland harbour.
Concerning the design of the on/off ramp at Princes St in Northcote Point, I want to point out some blatantly misleading statements.
On the consultation document, NZTA says "the path will impact some houses and at least one pōhutukawa tree". The facts are this will demolish seven homes -most of them heritage, including ours where we have lived for 35 years.
There are also several other trees which will go. But for the destruction of our homes to be trivialised, and given equal status to a single tree, is insulting.
There has not been one word of consultation with homeowners about the current design of the ramp at Princes St – it was presented to us as a fait accompli, by phone, just as we went into lockdown (be kind).
By our calculations (we have not been given any detailed drawings), this design of the ramp requires some 135m to drop a mere 3.5m.
We believe it would be very simple to design a ramp, and even a lift if needed, on NZTA land which would not require the demolition of our beloved homes.
Rod Brown, Northcote Point.
I think it is irresponsible that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage is squandering more funds in an Erebus memorial, 40-plus years after the event. In this time of a pandemic, businesses folding and many people taking income reductions and businesses folding, this money should be retained.
By all means a plaque to commemorate in the garden could be appropriate. But $3 million? Absolutely not.
We already have memorials at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland Airport (a fitting and suitable position as the flight left from there) and St Mathews in the City.
The memorial is not even facing in the direction of Erebus.
I noted our MPs and Auckland councillors have not taken a wage reduction yet.
In light of our current predicament, this grandiose plan should cease and the money used for the living.
Lynne Lagan, Hauraki.
Take your queue
It's outrageous seeing your article (Weekend Herald, April 4) on queues at a liquor store - how can this be an essential service, but bakeries and butcheries cant be open?
These people can't survive four weeks without alcohol?
As a non-drinking family, if these Kiwis are so thirsty, go drink some water.
I'd rather queue for a sandwich and sausage roll any day.
Helen Lowe, Albany.
I enjoyed reading Steve Braunias writing about bird behaviour during Covid-19 (Weekend Herald, April 4). During a walk through the main street of Raglan last week, I noticed large black-backed gulls tearing into the rubbish bins (no more fish and chips scraps to feast on from local fish and chip shops).
Rubbish was going everywhere as they fought to get any food morsels they could. The birds weren't worried about our close proximity.
A bit concerning as a scene like this would not have happened a week or so ago.
I guess if goats in the Welsh town of Llandudno can invade, so can seagulls in our town.
Steve Horne, Raglan.
Your correspondent (Weekend Herald, April 4) seems to suggest low rates of vaccination are the cause of epidemics and mentions measles as an example.
It is clearly on record that the measles epidemic of last year was prevalent among the most highly vaccinated sectors of the population.
One of the regions most affected by the measles outbreak of 2019, with 650 cases up to September 10, was South Auckland, where there was at least 95 per cent uptake of the measles vaccine.
These numbers are according to the Health Department's own figures, and quoting Dr W Rainger, Auckland Medical Officer of Health, in an article in the Herald on September 10, 2019. The high vaccination rate did not appear to provide protection for that community.
It is a known fact we are assailed on a daily basis by hundreds, if not thousands, of disease-causing pathogens, but only have vaccines for about 25 of them.
If it is the unvaccinated that are the cause of epidemics, by applying this logic, we should clearly be in a state of permanent lockdown.
Ashley Clarke, Beach Haven.
It is difficult to find any issue in the US that isn't bound to politics. Several Republican governors have refused to issue stay-at-home orders in their states.
We could be about to witness a life or death experiment on a grand scale where the balance between economic health and medical health is swinging in different directions within one country.
Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
Interesting quote (Weekend Herald, April 4) from Grant Fox about Wayne Shelford: "If Buck had ever punched me, I would have been in hospital, and he'd be in jail."
Only half true. Fox would have been in hospital, but Shelford would have escaped jail, because there's no way Fox would have pressed charges. In rugby, you don't nark on your mates, even if they've put you in hospital.
R Harries, Kohimarama.
North v South
Regarding the idea of State of Origin-style matches for NZ Rugby (Weekend Herald, April 4). It's a great idea as the rugby league series between Queensland and New South Wales, playing for the side where they first played at a senior level, is hugely popular and looked forward to.
So, North Island versus South Island with same rule is fantastic; but surely call it "Island of Origin"?
Murray Hunter, Titirangi.
A quick word
We're still waiting to hear that our handsomely remunerated MPs are volunteering to take a pay cut in line with those in their electorates whom they are supposed to be representing. Merv Lowe, Remuera.
Those of us in rural areas now have to drive twice as far for our daily bread and, if we should prefer a Scotch with it, it's four times as far. I applaud the intent of these regulations in aiming to reduce travel but they have not been well thought out so the effect is the reverse. Rod Lyons, Muriwai.
Dr David Clark, whose doctorate is not a medical degree but I believe a theological one, and who has also been a Presbyterian minister, should return to his theological studies and heed Romans 13.1. "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities". Graham Walker, Lynfield.
"Bikegate" merely highlights just how shallow the Coalition Government's talent
pool is. Adern, Robertson and who? More a puddle than a pool. Roger Bale, Pukekawa.
The loss of the press is not something to contemplate. A world of unfettered social media would lead to a form of vicious tribalism. It must survive. Philip Neil, Manukau.
Although this lovely summery weather isn't helping the drought situation, it is at least providing outdoor opportunities for the very many families living in cramped and possibly substandard housing and, worse, without connectivity. Charles Crothers, Pt Chevalier.
It will be interesting to see how many of our bearded population take heed of our new Police Commissioner's edict about being clean shaven for health reasons. G H Butler, Mt Roskill.
I am wondering what people are going to read while waiting in the queues at the supermarket checkout now that a certain publisher has stopped printing.Tony Wickens, Devonport.
Is someone able to tell me why, when we are in lockdown, do we need a petrol station open on every corner? Surely, a roster system that allows everyone a fair share would be more appropriate. Nigel Bufton, Pauanui.
The emergency we are facing can be handled like the loss of a loved one. Grief: How will I cope? Denial: This can't be happening. Anger: Why? Acceptance: I will get through. Be strong everyone. V Hall, Whangaparaoa.
It used to be that the people with the most power and value in society were those with the most wealth. Now we find it is not these people who are essential any more. David Patterson, Paraparaumu.
The advice from John Selden's "do as I say, not as I do"' could be rewritten for President Trump as "do as I say, not as I don't". Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Aus.
All those not self-isolating outside the liquor store in Auckland may have put others at risk. Be thankful we live in the land of plenty and stay home in order to save the lives of others, especially the vulnerable. Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
Thanks to three other contributors (Weekend herald, April 4), my views got another airing. A knighthood is probably a step too far but a couple of bags of flour or a toilet roll or two wouldn't go amiss. Reg Dempster, Albany.