Letter of the week: John Matthews, Mangonui
New Zealand is safeguarding against a hazard (incoming positive cases of Covid-19) with a procedure used by people (the border protocol). Loss prevention engineering principles tell us to
assume a 10 per cent failure rate, even with personnel trained in it.
This is to account for the fact that people are much more fallible than computers or machinery. In other words, one out of 10 times we should expect a mistake in following the procedure.
Because they are human and therefore unavoidably fallible, we should not blame the border personnel for such lapses. We should instead be ready to mop up the clusters as they occur. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern showed disappointing mean-spiritedness when she turned the heat of blame on to Dr Bloomfield. Instead, she should have turned the heat down by saying that, with the best will in the world, such lapses are inevitable, and the Ministry of Health is ready for whenever they occur.
With tens of thousands arriving with finite numbers of positive cases of Covid-19, occasional missed cases will enter our communities. The PM has said the ministry expected such events. Now is the time for those recurrences to be managed and contained without locking down the country. The ministry now knows enough and is equipped to achieve this.
And we must not be fearful.
I cannot help but feel incensed by people such as the two sisters who drove to Wellington, and Oliver Christiansen (Weekend Herald, June 20), who have pressured the authorities for compassionate exemptions. Presumably they must think that appeasing their own personal feelings of woe is more important than risking the lives of perhaps hundreds, possibly even thousands, of New Zealanders.
Covid-19 is a ghastly way to end your life.
The terms border closure, quarantine and isolation should mean exactly what they say with no exceptions.
Derek Smith, Newmarket.
Housing Minister Megan Woods has wasted no time in getting up the noses of five million New Zealanders ordered by our Prime Minister to stay home during the Covid-19 lockdown to save lives.
She said (Weekend Herald, June 20) the problems at our border involving two sisters who were let out of quarantine to attend a funeral then tested positive for Covid-19, did not meet the expectations of the Government or New Zealanders.
The minister also had a message for people returning from overseas who thumb their noses at our isolation rules: "Every single person who wants to join the team of 5 million must earn it, just as we earned the right to shift to level 1."
Woods is yet another example of an insignificant minister waving a big stick. Is she referring to the thousands of newly jobless Kiwis due to Covid-19? Is she alluding to the long queues of people having to drive miles to get food parcels earning the right to move to level 1?
I am in the over-70 group with a SuperGold card, told to stay home and wash hands because tens of thousands might die from the virus. I am looking forward to September when the 5 million strong team in Aotearoa New Zealand will get to exercise their right to vote.
Francesca Lowe, Morrinsville.
Regarding the article on the India and China border dispute written by Russell Goldman (Weekend Herald, June 20):
He has well recorded the historical backgrounds of the Indian, Tibetan and Chinese border. However today's dispute would never have risen, had India and Britain taken some positive action to support Tibet when China first invaded in early 1950.
Both countries failed to assist, resulting in the illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet.
British India and Tibet signed the border treaty in Simla in 1914; this treaty is now argued by China with India.
If Britain and India had assisted Tibet, this argument would not exist today.
There was no border dispute between India and China because Tibet was in the middle and all enjoyed peace until the illegal occupation, resulting in today's border dispute.
Thuten Kesang, Beach Haven.
Back on track
Pattrick Smellie's take on the Napier-Gisborne line is based purely on the economics of KiwiRail. The line is a piece of national infrastructure and the responsibility of the Government to rebuild it. The BERL report gave the figures and spoke of its viability.
However, there is much that Smellie seems blind to. The Napier-Gisborne road is built on fragile volcanic soil on steep slopes and isn't coping with the trucks. It's expensive to maintain for this reason and because Gisborne has to import road metal. Trucking companies are complaining that they cannot recruit enough drivers to meet the need, and export businesses, such as local packhouse producers want to export their produce directly to market in chilled Hi-Cube containers.
Rail is the only way to get these to Poverty Bay. Fertiliser, export meat, logs and forestry products could all use rail. The mention of log exports from Wairoa is disingenuous. European storm-damaged logs flooded the Chinese market and depressed prices. Also Covid-19 had an effect.
This market will bounce back soon and daily trains will develop as the Wairoa harvest grows. This region needs rail.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Patrick Houlahan cites the decile system ranking system of schools (Weekend Herald, June 20) as an example of institutional racism in our society. The converse is actually the case.
Higher decile schools have access to more resources because it is acknowledged that the parents of pupils are able to provide this. To redress the balance, lower decile schools receive proportionally greater state support when compared to higher decile schools.
This is why the decile system exists. To target resources to the greatest need. The system may not work perfectly, but it is not racist.
Quentin Miller, Te Atatu.
Such a beautiful photo of Maimai Myundura and her mother, Taffy Muyambo (Weekend Herald, June 20).
Maimai says,"I don't know why some children are mean." I asked the same question when I started school many years ago. I hadn't had much contact with other children and couldn't understand why some in the playground called each other names and made nasty comments. I came to the conclusion that some kids just enjoy being mean and any different feature - freckles, red hair, pimples, big ears, glasses, skinny legs and especially a different skin colour - gives them the excuse they need. At least you found some nice friends in the end, Maimai.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
A quick word
It seems very "easy" to come back when your bills are being paid. I just don't understand it. As a taxpayer for over 50 years, I happen to resent this. Carole Burley, Mt Wellington.
Of the three recent major drug raids on gang quarters, every other drug except marijuana was found. Unlike the legalise marijuana do-gooders, gangs have already moved on to more lucrative drugs. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Could someone please explain to Judge Bennett that operating a camera shutter 39,372 times does not constitute "an isolated incident"? A. J. Forster, Mt Eden.
Good to see that Jacinda has shut the stable door to isolation. I wonder how many others have bolted. Pamela Russell, Orakei.
I enjoy immensely Steve Braunias and Simon Wilson's contributions but I don't know how they manage to find the time to write so many articles. Keep it up guys. Hamish Walsh, Devonport.
A huge appreciation to Steve Braunias for his introspective soliloquy on turning 60. I devoured every pearl. At 74, may I share that top of my life's maxims list is "enjoy today", which certainly happened while reading Steve's intimate reflections. Jim Carlyle, Te Atatu Peninsula.
We have shown that we can unite over Covid-19. Now is the time to unite to save our environment and the planet. Geoff Barlow, Remuera.
No wonder there is not much mail sent anymore. A rare letter posted to Auckland from home this week took five days. I probably should have driven up and delivered it myself. John Ford, Napier.
Many residents of this country were confronted with true isolation under level 4; managed and adhered. Those under quarantine and their controllers living in hotels paid for by us need to understand our expectations. Reg Dempster, Albany.
The two women travelling to Wellington who not only broke the rules but lied about their activities and the continual farcical behaviour of the Minister of Health must present a shining light at the end of the tunnel for National. Dennis Ross, Glendowie.
I wish to commend Mr Emmerson on his caring and thoughtful drawing (Weekend Herald, June 20). It demonstrates great empathy and unity at this time of loss. R Cluley, Mt Roskill.
Last month, the application to take more water from the Waikato River was was 96th in the queue; now it's 106th. I don't think that's how queues work. Morgan L. Owens, Manurewa.
Saturday's story about 8-year-old Maimai's adventures joining a Kiwi school made inspiring reading, but showed we have some distance to go in racial matters. Her mother's ideas about how to counter racial prejudice were very clever. Harold Coop, Remuera.
President Trump's answer to the rising level of Covid-19 cases in the US is to instruct people doing the testing to reduce the number being tested. Do his supporters understand the thought level of the man they will have led their country for the next four years? Des Trigg, Rothesay Bay.
Well done to those "scruffy" Blues who came away with another win. It's what's inside that counts. Thank goodness we have the freedom to choose what we do with our hair. Dell Melling, Warkworth.
Is the PM still dancing? Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell.