Life normal overseas? It's big lie
I don't get the widely expressed demands for the Government to provide "certainty" in a pandemic, especially when so many of the variables are dependent on human behaviour.
This sort of "full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes" approach to "opening up" begs the question — do these commentators not appreciate that other countries trying this are incurring inordinate demands on their healthcare systems, or are reimposing restrictions to curtail new outbreaks?"
It's a lie that things are "normal" overseas, coupled with a failure by some quarters to accept the pandemic is not over, despite much chest-thumping by some governments. Small, under-resourced countries like ours should be wary of following the "big boys" into the blinkered view that we can just "live with the virus" now, as "the pandemic is over now we have vaccines".
In addition, as a business consultant, it puzzles me why business people demand "certainty" from government for things largely out of its control — the best government can do is provide guidance and settings based on current knowledge, and be prepared to adjust as the environment changes.
If you're in business, you've already accepted a different relationship between risk/reward than the average punter. If you don't like uncertainty, seek a more predictable calling.
Peter Wharton, Pt Chevalier.
Given the thoroughness in the plan to single out a group of people we are calling The Unvaccinated, it would be a small step to require them to identify themselves when outside their home; let's say with something like a badge, an upside-down red V, for example. This would simplify things and help keep us safe. Care would be needed because, in the past, similar systems used to identify groups that were otherwise not obviously identifiable ended badly.
This might seem a bit farfetched. If, however, two years ago we were told the country would close to all visitors and many returning citizens, that we must queue on yellow dots to buy food, that it would be illegal to take a dip at a local beach, that the schools wouldn't open, that dining out was not allowed, that Auckland was to be closed by road blocks and police would turn you back if you tried to visit mum in Hamilton, that you couldn't get a haircut, and that it was not permitted to use a friend's bathroom when visiting their garden, then we would have all laughed out loud.
Robert Alderson, Titirangi.
My family and I are all double vaxxed. The Government wants us to reach a magic figure of 90 per cent before it will consider easing restrictions on our mobility and social interaction.
Why? What threat does an unvaccinated person pose to me and my family over a vaccinated one? I realise I can still get Covid but the symptoms are likely to be less severe because of my vaccinated status.
Surely, the greater risk is to the unvaccinated. If they decide not to get the jab and take the increased risk on themselves — for whatever reason — why is that my problem?
Why do I, and the rest of society, have to endure restrictions because of their decision? I have done all I can to protect myself and my family, now I understand I have to live with Covid. I will take all reasonable measures to protect myself in future but it is what it is. If anyone has decided that the jab is not for them I'm not going to force them, it's their decision and the consequences of it are theirs.
How does their decision increase the risk to me and the 85 per cent who have been vaccinated?
Quentin Miller, Te Atatu Sth.
Samantha Olley of Radio New Zealand reports concerns expressed by Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association president Pat Newman that "Northland principals are noting 'major' concerns that the Covid-19 vaccine mandates are driving out irreplaceable staff".
He said it was hard enough to get qualified, culturally competent staff in Northland, and did not know how schools would make do if staff left en masse. The validity of these conclusions is dependent on what suite of skills we are looking for. Antivaxxing attitudes represent cultural attitudes that cannot be called competent. They ignore the science and the history of vaccination programmes.
At a time Polynesian people are vaccine hesitant, it does not help to have respected teachers reinforce these doubts. These teachers' good attributes are being sabotaged by their fetishes.
Not only was the Government right to issue these mandates, but it needs to do so more comprehensively to squeeze out these ignorant and obstructionist beliefs from all workplaces.
Hugh Webb, Hamilton.
Blowing in the wind
It would appear that some persons, such as Sandra Goudie, the Coromandel mayor, are prepared to wait for the possible arrival of the "Novavax" vaccine rather than use the (very well-researched, effective and safe) Pfizer one that is available. The rationale for this decision is highly questionable (and in Goudie's case sets a very bad example to her constituents).
Both vaccines in fact use the tiny factories within cells (ribosomes) to produce the harmless viral spike protein for the human immune system to recognise. The only difference is that the Novavax uses moth cells, rather than the person's own cells, to do this task.
The vaccine makers then harvest the protein directly, ready for injection; the intended end result, specific antibody production, is the same. There is no influence on the human genome.
Clearly, trust is required whichever vaccine is delivered — unless one wants to try and manufacture one's own vaccine.
To wait for a supposedly better vaccine, which might not be available for many months, if at all, does not make sense when we have "Covid-19 on our doorstep" and a health system already at near-maximal stretch.
Looking at the Covid world scene, must we learn the hard way the same lesson given to other countries?
I quote Bob Dylan: "How many deaths will it take till he knows, that too many people have died?"
Dr John Kyle, Orewa.
The Government keeps saying the vaccination rollout is not mandatory but it is now going to introduce passports for domestic/international use. What's concerning abut Covid vaccination passports for domestic use is that it creates separatism and suspicion amongst our people. Are we now becoming a draconian society instead of a democracy?
We all know people, even with family and friends' encouragement for vaccination, who don't want to be vaccinated, for one reason or another. This is their democratic right, even if we don't agree with it. It is the Government setting the rules. They are the ones holding NZ to ransom.
Karen Lee, Riverhead.
No other country has set the extreme vaccination target of 90 per cent. This will have significant costs. Auckland business is already losing $90 million a week. Government debt must rise with increased subsidies. What about the deaths and misery suffered by thousands who cannot access surgery or medical treatment in lockdown?
How many Aucklanders have depression and mental-health issues? What price for thousands of Auckland children's loss of schooling for the rest of this year? The gap between rich and poor will increase, as not all children are able to be home schooled. Why no rewards now for those doubly vaccinated? Will there be a limit on how much is given to those reluctant to get the jab?
Janie Weir, Newmarket.
Here in Auckland, we are over hearing, if you want freedom get vaccinated.
We are vaccinated. We did it freely for our families, our friends, our country and our futures.
We did not expect to be bribed with vouchers, money or food baskets.
We did not choose to waste resources and time being self-centred and pedantic.
We chose to make certain we were not adding to the huge burdenCovid is costing our country medically, financially and emotionally.
Yet vaccinated Aucklanders still wait, watching businesses close and people really struggling with everyday life.
We vaccinated Aucklanders are fed up.
Colleen East, Howick.
Short & sweet
If the govt so wants life to return to normal, why not invest in ventilation that would make it possible for people to be in workplaces, and children in schools in a safer way, and allow schools to stay open.
Andrew Montgomery, Remuera
Having stood for the Coromandel mayoralty under the blue banner I wonder if mayor Sandra Goudie is a National embarrassment?
Over the years numerous workers were laid off and lived on the pittance of the dole that led to a miserable existence. Ironically, the Tories insisted these people did not want to work. So, the many employees receiving government assistance at a much greater financial rate should consider themselves extremely lucky.
Rex Head, Papatoetoe
We now have a road map to some traffic lights. Seems the metaphoric lunatics have taken over the metaphoric asylum.
Peter Ellwood, Beach Haven
Message for Neve
Neve, next time Mum asks you to do something, just ignore her. Eventually she will offer you a reward!
Simon Lawrence, Hamilton
The Premium Debate
NZ is polarised but we'll get through
It is a trying time for the PM and deputy PM. Personally, I am thankful that we have two level-headed, cautious types in those positions. I say this after months of reading "open up now" and "sack everybody" comments from many of our bloggers. If ever we needed calm leadership it is now.
The inability of many people to agree on our Covid strategy is both infuriating and sad. The fact that the Government's plan was called too hard and too soft by the other parties probably means it was the most pragmatic middle ground.
The polarisation is scary, not just in these forums but everywhere I go. For me, what infuriates isn't the targets selected (finally) but the lack of planning and communication on all related fronts. I'm tired of the "this virus doesn't do plans" rhetoric and little being done to prepare, including the horror that is the border.
Lockdown is frustrating but those demanding we open up soon and condemn our health system and vulnerable communities to the consequences haven't thought it through. It's good to know we have a government that is holding firm against populist anger.
The respect for the PM might depend on which team you are on, living in relative freedom in level 2 or locked down and being held hostage by the unvaccinated.