National and ACT want some form of punishment for anyone who breaks the Health Ministry guidelines. In light of the cost to the taxpayer and loss of income for the businesses affected as well as the employees from the return to level 3 in Auckland and level 2 everywhere else, can they please tell me what punishment is appropriate?
Compared to the hundreds of millions being paid out by the Government and losses incurred by businesses, any monetary punishment would not even be a drop in the bucket. Any loss of freedom would ultimately cost the taxpayer either by leading to a reluctance to get tested or merely the cost of incarceration. With each case being complex and different, an equitable guideline for punishments would be potentially mired in legal arguments for years.
I would like to believe that the individuals who failed to follow the instructions are well aware of the ramifications. Hopefully, this will be a lesson and they will spend the rest of their lives contributing in a positive way to society.
Maybe that's the best outcome for them and New Zealand.
Dunstan Sheldon, Rototuna.
The Prime Minister has used the scare tactic of "Covid kills" (NZ Herald, March 1) to support the latest lockdown and, yes, sadly New Zealand has had 26 Covid-related deaths. But of more concern should be the lockdown itself.
It is a far more effective killer and has been responsible for the death of thousands of businesses and jobs, not to mention the associated stress and hardship.
Robyn Larsen, St Heliers.
Is this really happening? In Papatoetoe and adjacent south Auckland suburbs, we have community Covid-19 transmission, officials handling high-risk contacts with kid gloves and - even now - no compulsion to scan in or wear a mask in shops or other public venues.
Meanwhile, in Warkworth and Wellsford, people are being barred from family funerals and the police checkpoints are turning people around. Unless, that is, they are driving south.
Stephen Bayldon, Mt Roskill.
When will the Government get the message? Many are not doing the simple procedures - Scanning the QR code (or recording manually) and wearing a mask in all supermarkets and food supply outlets and public transport - this should somehow be made mandatory no excuses. The "she'll be right" attitude doesn't work against Covid. Forget "be kind" and substitute "get tough".
Randal Lockie, Rothesay Bay.
We finally returned to Auckland on Sunday after being stuck in the checkpoint queue for seven hours. A journey that should have taken two hours took nine. Cars were at risk of overheating or running out of petrol. It was 26 degrees and there were many families with young children, babies or animals.
I wonder if Jacinda thinks it is okay to be in a car for that long with small children and little food or liquid?
Truck drivers were clocking up their time on the road but not going anywhere. How many then had to have a stand-down period? It is money to them.
I can understand checking people leaving Auckland but it is ridiculous checking those who come in. This was traffic management at its worse.
L. Grant, Greenlane.
The powers that be, whether Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, or NZTA, have made a strategic error in the design focus of this city. By focusing on "Liveable Cities", they have failed to recognise the over-riding function of Auckland. It need not be liveable but Auckland's highest priority is that Auckland works.
We are not an Amsterdam but a Rotterdam; not a Berlin but a Hamburg; where rail, sea, and air terminals are all linked by efficient connections, not just now but for the future.
"Liveable Cities" should stop at volcanic site-lines and zealots need to understand that. Auckland's population makes it the engine-room and its situation on an isthmus makes transport links frighteningly vital above all else.
The latest revelations about the harbour bridge should scare those authorities into deleting their budgets for all the nice-to-haves and assembling a team of architects and civil engineers by next week, to plan a replacement bridge, a second one, build the third rail link and fix the port. There is nothing more important in Auckland.
Chris McMurray, Maraetai.
In reply to Grant Gillon's suggestion of raising GST by 1 per cent (NZ Herald, March 1)
It might solve the pressure on funding for local or central government but it would make life impossible for the lower-paid.
Roger Douglas never took that into account when he lowered the maximum tax rate from 66 per cent to 33 per cent, which was a huge windfall for the people on the max tax rate, $33,000 of every $100,000 at the max rate. Yes, they had to pay GST but that was only on a small part of their income because they did not spend all their money.
The low-paid people did spend every penny received and their tax rate went down approx 1-2 per cent while they had to pay 10 per cent, later 15 per cent. Therefore they were 8 per cent, later 13 per cent, worse off.
Douglas should also have made the first $15,000 to $20,000 earned tax-free.
Nearly all countries in the OECD have this regime. Australia also has it and New Zealand should also bring it in.
Theo Kroon, Henderson.
Good on Grant Gillon [NZ Herald, March 1) for suggesting a solution to the major Covid-induced funding shortfall for Auckland Council, which is forcing numerous cuts in programmes and deferment of many projects.
However, he makes two fundamental errors. This is not just an Auckland problem as major funding gaps are affecting all councils throughout New Zealand. And a 1 per cent extra GST will only raise a tiny fraction of the cash required - in Auckland's case just $18.7 million out of a $5 billion-plus budget.
Far better to advocate that all of the existing 15 per cent GST raised on local body rates should be returned to the relevant council. In the case of Auckland, rates income of $1.877 billion last year incurred GST of $280 million. If this was returned to councils, it would cost Government under 1 per cent of their tax revenue while significantly boosting local body income.
I believe that this return of GST to councils is long overdue and should be a permanent change.
Graeme Easte, Mt Albert.
The article by Grant Dillon (NZ Herald, March 1) caught my attention - a 1 per cent increase in GST would cover much of the current shortfall, he suggests.
He also admits that few would be keen on such a regressive tax. He's right there.
I have no doubt that local governments (councils) are currently challenged along with the rest of us.
I am starting to think the unthinkable: that central government should collect all taxes and then redistribute what's required to regional governments to provide and manage local infrastructure.
Rather than lifting GST, this might be aided by the addition of a property tax, based on sales (excluding one's own residence).
The devil would be in the detail - how much is fair, based on what value, and so on.
I suspect, too, that councils would be nervous of central government's assessment of them and their needs.
B. Watkin, Devonport.
Swing and miss
In these uncertain times of Covid lockdown and isolation perhaps NZ Cricket and Spark Sport could create some goodwill toward themselves by ensuring the remaining three T20 matches against Australia be televised live on free-to-air TV.
At the same time NZ Cricket could give themselves a giant kick in the backside for fragmenting pay-to-view sport and wrecking Kiwis' enjoyment of their summer of televised cricket.
Graham Fleetwood, Botany Downs.
Short & sweet
The bad behaviour of some selfish Covidiots is not at all surprising. What is surprising is constantly re-introducing this killer disease into the centre of NZ's population and economy, at enormous costs to us all, due to the bad locations of quarantine sites. Tom Hollings, Henderson.
The old adage, "sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind" comes to mind and a $1000 fine may be a good disincentive to breaking isolation. Dean Emmerson, Mt Wellington.
Will New Zealand choke just when the finish line's in sight? Yes. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
Can M. Ellett (NZ Herald, March 1) please not purport to speak for me as a fellow Aucklander? I am not "over it". I want to live, thank you very much. Peter Brooks, Mairangi Bay.
Some time ago while in Wellington, I came across a building that said Weather Office. Contrary to popular belief, it had windows. Norm Greenall, Ōrewa
While I am sure we all appreciate David Seymour's attempts to hold the Labour Government to account, perhaps we should all also bear in mind this quote from Yes Minister MP James Hacker, who says, "Opposition's about asking awkward questions." To which Sir Humphrey replies, " Yes, and government is all about not answering them." Martin Adlington, Browns Bay.
Grant Gillon asks for feedback on his proposal for an Auckland Regional GST rate of 16 per cent. I just moved my business address to the Chathams. Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.