Letter of the week: Stephen Bayldon, Mt Roskill
False dilemmas beginning: "Would you rather . . . " are great fun at social gatherings. Sadly, such gatherings are banned here, so I'm sitting at home with the Weekend Herald, pondering an article on the latest public opinion poll (August 29). The Horizon poll found that 76 per cent of Kiwis would rather "continue" Covid-19 related restrictions than "take a less restrictive approach, like Sweden". This comes on top of numerous articles in various publications comparing case rates and deaths among western countries, from the United States to Iceland.
We Kiwis are rightly proud of doing the world's most successful lockdown, thanks to great leadership and public co-operation. At the same time, however, most agree that ongoing lockdowns are unsustainable. This means that we cannot afford to be the proverbial one-trick pony, no matter how impressive the trick. So let's take off our Euro-centric blinders, forget about Sweden, and focus our attention on the sustainable success of Taiwan and South Korea.
By adding universal face coverings and Bluetooth technology to their prevention recipe, these countries have enjoyed Covid-19 transmission rates below R1 without lockdowns. Would we rather be top in the west, or simply the best?
I'm not sure why John Roughan (Weekend Herald, August 29) thinks it's "silly" to have a discussion about racism in our society as one of the antecedents of the Christchurch mosque attack; wishing instead for the discussion to focus around the psychological rather than the sociological.
It seems "silly" to suggest that the mosque shooter was free from the influence of his society - no one is. To reduce the attack to the psychology of the individual suggests a pathology which neatly negates the need to engage with overt and systematic racism in our society.
I guess it's easier to do that rather than acknowledge that we might have a system that remains broken for many and supportive of the few.
Sarah Ashworth, Remuera.
The difference between [Kim] Hill's interview techniques with politicians (Weekend Herald, August 29), and [Mike] Hosking's interviews, is that Hill does not show political bias.
Hill questions all politicians with the same direct, no-nonsense manner, whereas Hosking reserves his ridicule, nastiness and sarcasm to interviews with those who hold differing political points of view from himself.
At the completion of interviews, Hill moves on, whereas Hosking continues to fill the airwaves with his own views about the subject.
Hosking has an unwavering belief in his own opinions that he insists on sharing, ad nauseum.
Chris Bayes, Torbay.
In a series of recent publications, Simon Wilson ( NZ Herald, August 22, 28 and 29) has provided three excellent articles, comprehensively analysing our response to the pandemic from the outset.
He assesses our progress in containing the virus, shortcomings that have arisen, our continuing learnings and our remarkable results so far, within the international community. Importantly, he provides an objective assessment of our future needs. This is journalism that should be applauded and reinforced.
One important learning for me is that complex human dynamics lead inevitably to some mishaps. The crucial issue is whether similar failings can be averted or minimised in the future and, in particular, if learnings lead to rapid and improved responses.
Simon Hart, St Mary's Bay.
Who, not where
Very interesting interview with Rob Fyfe (Weekend Herald, August 29) in which his advice to Government is "to develop technology that detects who Covid carriers have been close to rather than just where they have been".
This is also National's election policy and Labour would be wise to make it theirs too, else risk losing a lot of their Covid-management credibility.
Chris Marshall, Hillcrest.
Why does the Government persist in a single form of tracing, asks Otago Professor Nick Wilson (Weekend Herald, August 29), when there are other more accessible and efficient tracing alternatives?
Had the Bluetooth card been in use in the present outbreak, a contact tracing team would have been able to download data in half an hour from the original source on all his known contacts - as well as those he had forgotten.
Instead, seven hours after his positive test, only four other infected people had been found. The Bluetooth card would have identified every contact of the original source over the previous three weeks.
For the past five months, the Government has chosen not to investigate the Bluetooth card, which could be worn by every New Zealander – many of whom do not have a phone to accommodate the Covid app.
Janie Weir, Newmarket.
Turning a profit
Ports of Auckland (POAL) needs to be 50 per cent sold to Port of Tauranga, placed under Port of Tauranga management, to benefit from Tauranga's profitable management system.
Auckland cannot afford a continuing unprofitable port system as it has at present.
It is time that the Auckland waterfront was viewed and created into a beautiful functional harbour for the benefit of all of Auckland, rather than the present goods and cars terminal.
Once joined with Port of Tauranga then North Port, and the proposed west inland port, also a car storage terminal away from the present site, could be developed out of profits, the only practical way to go.
John Dean, Matamata.
A quick word
Detractors in other countries can say what they might about cultural this and that, freedoms, supposed restraints - but wearing masks saves lives and shows respect for others in a pandemic.
Jeffrey Buchanan, Bangkok, Thailand.
Refreshing to read a different perspective and analysis by Sherelle Jacobs (Weekend Herald, August 29) on lockdowns and the changing and extraordinary admissions by Merkel and Macron that lockdowns are a disaster.
Mahendra Kumar, Ōtāhuhu.
At a supermarket near Papatoetoe, I observed no more than 50 per cent of shoppers wearing masks. Worse, the same proportion of staff were not wearing them either, despite continuous messages exhorting masks while shopping. Ted Partridge, Mangere.
Trump may be poor at governing but he is a genius at spectacle. Peter Jansen, Henderson.
Voters on the cannabis legalisation referendum could usefully consider that removing prohibition will free health and police resources to help people with drug-use problems and directly target criminals pushing P. W H M van Wetering, Sandringham.
May I please add my name to the list of those protesting the discrepancy between the sentences handed down to the violent alcohol seeker and the woman trying to help her children see their deceased father for a last time. A J Forster, Mt Eden.
I have, in recent times, read and heard about "the odd shower". Would it be possible that the weather gurus inform us plebeians when the even and/or normal showers can be expected? Norm Greenall, Ōrewa.
Sixteen-year olds do make a lot of sense and need to be heard; the government should change the age of having legal sex to 18. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Our leader has endured extraordinary demands and stratospheric stress levels. Spare a moment to give praise, she deserves it. Anthony Wilson, Waiheke Island.
Five hundred demonstrate in Auckland against the lockdown; church members run secret meetings; people not wearing masks on public transport won't be prosecuted. Police take no action. I travel 1km over the speed limit and police fine me. Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
Wearing masks would surely be a bit inconvenient for eatery and drinkery customers, and even practising Holy Communion. Jack Waters, Taupō.
Lily Williams (Weekend Herald, August 29) thinks [Chloe] Swarbrick's "Okay Boomer" is a put-down. Okay is a neutral term and Boomer is simply a definition of an age group. The generations are simply different. "Okay man" is not derogatory. Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
It's time the Boomers - myself included - get over themselves and acknowledge some generational responsibility for the state in which the planet now finds itself and for the dismal clean-up legacy we leave behind us. Carolyn Campbell, Herne Bay.
Strangers smile. Greet and wave. Make way for kids on bikes and each other. Even the birds sing louder. There is hope for the human race after all. Hing Yu, Pakuranga Heights.