Time to build
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is reported as saying vaccines will essentially negate the need for specialist MIQ facilities, advocated for by most epidemiologists including professors Nick Wilson and Michael Baker.
Unfortunately, vaccines never stopped the flu either and we never eliminated the measles as well. The truth is: viruses keep mutating and (as only 4 per cent give blood) there is clearly a phobia of needles. We will never reach herd immunity despite "vaccine hope" as anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists proliferate.
Ardern has no better shovel-ready project than specialist MIQ facilities - where is the "abundance of caution" now as she puts all her eggs in one basket? It is going to take years before the world reaches herd immunity as Covid will keep mutating, requiring booster vaccines forever.
Above all, there are a number of Aucklanders like me with building "lockdown resentment" caused by continual failures at the border. It is enough - fix the "leaky hotel syndrome" with purpose-built facilities.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
With the impending huge shortage of export fruit pickers, I wonder how the Government will confront the optics of distressed growers having no alternative but to dump huge volumes of high-quality fruit, otherwise destined for overseas markets.
The fishing industry had success in bringing hundreds of fishermen from Covid-19-ravaged eastern bloc countries, many of whom predictably tested positive on arrival, or during the course of managed isolation.
Contrast this approach with the barriers presented to Pacific Islanders, who in the past have proven absolutely vital to the successful harvesting and packing of export fruit and vegetables. According to the latest WHO coronavirus statistics, Cook Islands and Tonga have zero recorded cases; Western Samoa, 3 cases; Vanuatu, 1 case; Solomon Islands, 18 cases; Fiji, 56.
The Government's $1000 enticement payment and accommodation subsidy, while well-intentioned, is an abject failure. As of last week, a paltry 53 locals had signed up to do the work of the thousands that are required.
Previous years have seen strong efforts by growers to employ locals to do the work, but with dismal results. Desperately needed labour from our neighbouring Covid-safe
Pacific Islands should be fast-tracked immediately, with a Covid test upon arrival and a shortened stay in managed isolation.
R. J. Horrocks, Papakura.
The NZTA in its wisdom has been paying for TV advertisements about enjoying motorcycling in NZ. The series is titled "Respect Every Ride", and features footage of powerful motorbikes driven by cool-looking characters in expensive protective gear, as they zoom through the NZ countryside with the engine revving.
Why are we paying to glamorise the driving of motorcycles? More than 550 motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured in crashes in NZ each year. They are 21 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash.
The TV campaign was probably intended to get people to take more care on the road, but the producers never get around to that advice, and just stick to showing the fun times to be had by hooning around corners. The only effect from these ads will be more motorcyclists, driving faster, taking more risks, and the deaths of more riders.
The ads must be stopped immediately and whoever signed them off should be fired before they can cause more injury and heartbreak.
Dave Clark, Glendowie.
I had a letter published about it in July, 2014, but it took until last year for Auckland Council to acknowledge its derivatives problem and the mistakes that resulted in losses presently estimated at around $1.5 billion.
Auckland City Mayor Phil Goff (NZ Herald, February 23) chose not to mention derivatives while writing about Auckland City's proposed "one-off increase" of 5 per cent - in addition to the 3.5 per cent rise already advertised) The 5 per cent figure, we are told, is "to deal with the impact of Covid-19".
Given that it has taken Auckland Council several years to own up to its botched derivatives deals, I wonder whether there are any more expensive errors we ratepayers should be aware of before we take advantage of Mayor Phil Goff's invitation to have our say?
John Julian, Waiuku.
I hope that many Aucklanders will read the "recovery budget" (NZ Herald, February 23). It is riddled with false assumptions, wrong priorities and ideologically driven nonsense.
It should be enough to make any reader realise that this city needs a mayor who knows what leadership really means, has a modicum of business common sense and an understanding of what is really needed for this city to recover.
Some of us surely remember the promises made that amalgamation would produce, by virtue of the economies of scale, a reduction in rates.
Surely also, there is compelling logic in the argument that, rather than spend money now on facilities (like cycleways on the North Shore that lead to nowhere) that will not have significant demand for some years, it makes sense to spend that money on existing facilities which are crying out for maintenance and improvement, e.g. the art gallery, swimming pools, parks.
What this city has to recover from is not so much Covid but rather a leadership vacuum that has existed since amalgamation.
Peter Newfield, Takapuna.
I had the interesting, and somewhat terrifying, experience today of driving along a narrow street near One Tree Hill while another car came straight toward me, on the wrong side of the road. The driver was looking down at his phone. I pulled hard to the left while sounding my horn, and fortunately the texter looked up just in time to swerve to his left and avoid a head on crash.
Who do I blame? The government, because it is their failure to clamp down on this sort of behaviour that allows it to flourish. People are getting injured, and worse, because of text-drivers.
An $80 fine is clearly no deterrent. Only when people have their cars (not their phones) confiscated that they might decide that text-driving is not worth the risk.
R Harrison, Kohimarama.
It is astounding that Lucinda Baulch has been handled with kid gloves throughout her continual refusal to have a Covid-19 test.
Now she has left the managed isolation facility and says she'll stay in Auckland for a night or two until she decides her next step.
Let's hope that step is made for her and she is deported. We don't need arrogant visitors like her in New Zealand, especially when we are all pulling together at these trying times.
Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
I am no vaccination expert but seems to me from a mathematical perspective that we could help stem the number of incursions of Covid-19 and protect our health system and population if, as well as vaccination for all border workers and frontline health staff, it was mandatory for anyone in a quarantine facility with a second negative Covid test result to be immediately vaccinated.
Theoretically, with a 90 per cent immunity success rate, this would mean that "slow to appear" or false negative cases would be much less likely to unwittingly infect community members.
This would reduce the likelihood of a major outbreak and the number of urgent vaccinations needed, thus providing a longer window in which to vaccinate the vulnerable and then the general population.
Susan McNaughton, Beach Haven.
Thank you, Jo Bowler (NZ Herald, February 22) regarding the need for the re-introduction of evening classes. The National Government mistakenly eliminated them with no regard for the many benefits of these classes.
Having been engaged in the governance and the direction of three high schools in the 1970s and 80s, I have first-hand experience of the positive outcomes from adults learning often non-vocational but life-enhancing additional study or practical knowledge building.
Buildings that lie idle in the evening are better used in giving some financial benefit to the host school.
Tutors are given the opportunity to share experiences and give them the satisfaction that comes from teaching skills. Students of all ages and diversity come together and contribute to learning in a non-threatening environment.
These are just a few of the positives that will benefit our communities and social wellbeing at little cost.
I believe that too often we look at expensive and over-analysed solutions to so many of our basic social issues.
It is time for the Labour Government to act and fulfil one of its social obligations.
Peter Burn, Gulf Harbour.
Short & sweet
Living on a street that is used for a rat run, Weymouth Rd to Mahia Rd, speed humps can't come soon enough. The only ones complaining are the ones that like driving around at motorway speeds. J. Davison, Manurewa.
Is Australia Cricket simultaneously disrespecting the baggie green and New Zealand Cricket by selecting a T20 team that leaves many of its star players back home? Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
For the "greater good", annual rates rises should be matched by corresponding percentage reductions in Auckland Council executive and councillor salaries. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
Helicopters make a racket, so when is someone going to make one that is super quiet? It could be sorted using the funds wasted on space travel. Steven Sheath, Great Barrier Island.
I never knew Nido had opened but then, I have never been a shopper. They can turn all these stores into apartments. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
How on Earth was Rio Tinto able to accumulate 100,000 tonnes of toxic waste? I bet this mess will be dumped on the taxpayer? C. C. McDowall, Rotorua.
Trump's business and tax avoidance practices are the real swamp that needs draining. Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.