Richard Prebble is right to bring to our notice (NZ Herald, December 30) the deficiencies identified by Heather Simpson and Sir Brian Roche in our pandemic response in their report to the Government.
But there is another side. The authors say that New Zealand's response has been "first class" by international standards. They point to a severely depleted public health function, such that a veterinary epidemiologist had to write the pandemic plan. In an accompanying letter, Professor Hill and Sir Brian point out that the public health units have suffered years of fund depletion.
As an elected member of the Auckland District Health Board I can add to this.
The health system has been run down, such that the government had to find an extra $.5 billion for DHBs last year.
The Auckland regional public health service has not received a budget increase for at least a decade. The ministry is short-staffed and hollowed out.
Staff have told us that the national immunisation system is "on its last legs" (but soon to be rescued).
There is an operational gap in the system between a policy ministry in Wellington and 20 hospital-focused DHBs around the country.
When allocating blame, may we look to a more bipartisan approach to health funding so that we do not intersperse periods of "plenty" with decades of drought?
Peter Davis, elected member, Auckland District Health Board.
The electricity model of partial privatisation of public electricity assets by the National Government was supposed to bring efficiency and market competition. It was supposed to signal when it was profitable and timely to build more supply stations as price would make this profitable. On the contrary, it has failed miserably. Why build a power station to make profits; just manipulate the price and gouge, much quicker.
As rain in summer filling dams threatened cheaper spot pricing it was quite apparent that Meridian dumping water from its Benmore Dam should have been detected by the electricity authority, supposedly meant to be a watchdog. It took suffering electricity retailers losing custom to complain.
Coal stations need to be a last resort, not a price mechanism for gouging the public. If water is there, use it. Dumping is anathema and contrary to all logic other than shareholder's profits.
Meridian's share price is surging despite Electricity Minister Megan Wood's investigations and protestations.
Like the supermarkets, petrol stations and property investors; electricity generators make Aotearoa an expensive place to live. Are we really shark attack and snake bite-free in Godzone?
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
Further to the debate on elective caesarian sections, we can use cosmetic surgery as a comparison.
Cosmetic surgery is available in the public health system when there is a clear medical indication.
If there is no medical indication, cosmetic surgery is not available, but the person then can elect to have the surgery done privately, bearing the ensuing cost.
There seems to me to be no reason why caesarian sections should not be handled the same way.
If there is no medical indication for the intervention the person can elect to have the caesarian section in private.
Peter Woolford, GP Mt Eden.
Dr Damien Rogers (NZ Herald, December 29) asks the same question I have asked: "why have the heads of the security agencies not felt duty-bound to offer their resignations since the terrorist attack in Christchurch March 15, 2019?"
I remember an article relating to a social media post of a photo of the mosque with the words "target identified". Apparently, the date of this post occurred before the attack happened. Should this have not forewarned those agencies supposed to protect us?
I also recall the call for the-then Head of Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, to resign after the 2019 Budget was hacked and leaked prior to its release. I don't recall any fatalities associated with this breach.
We seem to have our priorities seriously skewed here - surely ethics dictate the correct and only course of action for the senior public servants.
Sandra D Riggir, Tauranga.
Damien Rogers of Massey University has firm opinions (NZ Herald, December 29) on the Royal Commission's report on the attack on the Christchurch mosques.
He should be aware that the attack was a repeat of one that had taken place some years ago when a Jewish terrorist, with his identity and weapon concealed beneath a burka, entered the women's balcony of the main mosque in Hebron with the same result. Mossad - the most efficient intelligence service in the world with unlimited power over the population - was unable to prevent the attack.
Should powers be given to the police to detain potential terrorists before their plans are given effect? I doubt if that - common overseas - would be acceptable in New Zealand.
The responsibility for security at gatherings when under threat lies with the community - only members are in a position to decide who should attend their assembly.
John E. Binsley, Parnell.
I have been away and missed your editorial (NZ Herald, December 23). However, on reading Steve Liddle's letter (NZ Herald, December 30), I had to find out what had been written that provoked such a comment about New Zealanders with "rust belt" reactionary views. I can only surmise that Mr Liddle is not confident that our population, like the American "rust belt" population, will be up to the challenge of understanding the complexities of New Zealand history and politics.
The editorial which provoked his letter was indeed excellent. As a history sub-major and high school history teacher, I fully understand the complexity of teaching civics in the socially and politically diverse country. It won't be easy to either compile or teach a correctly balanced curriculum, considering it will need to be written with an understanding of past and current social values.
Liddle assumes people who choose to live according to fundamentalist values are incapable of understanding how they should vote in our modern world. For me, it's exactly the opposite.
As a strong Christian with higher education and intelligence, I understand that we don't just live in one reality, but rather we live in two: the supernatural and the natural and they are linked. Millions of Americans voted with two realities in mind. Is it possible that their "wisdom" is greater than Liddle's?
Lynden Garrard, Torbay.
As a resident ofMāngere Bridge, I am appalled that the Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA) has been given free rein to fell the exotic trees on Ōwairaka/Mt Albert.
Te Pane-O-Mataaho Māngere Mountain was given the TMA treatment two years ago. Beautiful trees were felled with little warning and the community was assured the mountain would soon be cloaked in native forest. We are still waiting.
All that is growing is long, tangled kikuyu grass and a barely visible, half-dead flax and groundcover. The summit is eroded and bare except for the stumps of the trees that were chopped and a few straggly pōhutukawa. We were promised a new childrens' play area but there is no sign of this either.
To add insult to injury, I now understand that the well-used football and softball clubrooms, and the playcentre are under threat. These amenities were funded and built by members of the community.
It is madness that the Tūpuna Maunga Authority will be able to continue its programme of destruction unchecked.
Andrea Halley, Māngere Bridge.
Take it as red
I'm surprised at Phil Gifford's answer to red cards ruining a game (NZ Herald, December 30), because it is just the sort of over-complicated thinking he often - rightly -criticises the rugby rulemakers of.
My suggestion is that the red-carded player is sent off for the remainder of the game, but is replaced by a player from the bench.
This leaves the bench one player short, but the game stays as 15 against 15.
No innocent player suffers, and nor do the spectators, nor the game itself.
The red-carded player then later faces the judiciary (which doesn't affect the game at all), where they can be suspended, fined, (or both). Simple.
Michael Guthrie, Totara Heights.
Short & sweet
The Labour Government's failure to provide Covid-19 vaccine to border workers at the earliest possible opportunity not only endangers these workers' health unnecessarily, it puts our whole Covid free status at risk. Lucas Bonne, Unsworth Heights.
I agree with the letter from Hylton Le Grice (NZ Herald, December 30). I took up a seven-day free trial with Spark Sport to watch the T20 games only. To try to cancel was a nightmare. After several emails, I still don't know whether it's cancelled. Richard Brown, Ellerslie.
Are we also to eventually see John Logan Campbell's olive trees, the many oaks and other exotics on Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill come down too? Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
Prisoners involved in this "riot" clearly have no understanding of why they are there. Just remember, this Labour government gave these criminals a vote. Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
I believe a cheque system is still a necessary part of customer service and should remain in place so the elderly can still cope in this modern world. Perhaps a SuperGold card cheque book strictly for the over 65's to be able to use? Linda Askin, Tauranga.
Maybe it's time for "New Zealanders" to only be allowed one country's passport at a time. It seems a wee bit like hedging your bets having two, does it not? James Archibald, Birkenhead.
Oh, to capture the spirit, resolve and commitment of Williamson, Wagner and all the other Black Caps. Our politicians, public service, and in particular our under-performing councils, could use a dose of "whatever Wags was on". Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.