We have learned over the past two years just how incompetent the Ministry of Health is with one stuff-up after another.
However, the debacle over the supply of rapid antigen tests (RATs) takes this incompetence to a stellar level.
Based on ministry advice, the Government banned the importation of RATs, despite proven success overseas, only to finally see sense and quietly drop the embargo in November. New Zealand was at the back of the queue when it came to ordering essential supplies.
In the meantime, private companies, with a common sense that seems to elude the Government at times, purchased RATs to fill their customers' orders.
Not willing to own up to gross incompetence that has seen a massive shortage of these kits, the Health Ministry has, in effect, stolen their supply of RATs, saying it knows far better than business where these kits should end up.
If this happened in China or North Korea there would probably be little surprise but we are a first-world democracy.
Heads need to roll at the ministry and the first to go should be the director.
Pat Taylor, Bethlehem.
The Government website for authorised rapid antigen tests has me bewildered. Ten imported tests have been approved by the Ministry of Health from South Korea, Germany, USA (5) and China (2).
So what's happened to our own Hamilton-based Rako? Why has it, like so many New Zealand businesses, been sidelined by this ruthlessly controlling Government?
Same story with Tether ventilation systems in schools. Another kick in the guts for local business.
Mary Tallon, Little Huia.
We have a treaty
Please explain to Brooke van Velden (NZ Herald, January 26) that her "anyone else" is actually "everyone else" apart from Māori.
It apparently escapes her, as it does many of us latecomers, that there are only two relevant groups politically: The incumbents and the rest of us (i.e. the latecomers whose entry entitlement is enshrined in the treaty of admittance -the Treaty of Waitangi).
The importance of the incumbency of Māori and the treaty is paramount and, sadly, lost on so any who should be aware.
John Pausina, Kohimarama.
A report from Sweden, "The Global State of Democracy Report 2021" has confirmed what can be casually observed: That many of the world's governments are becoming more authoritarian. Apparently vocal minorities (the alt-right, anti-vaxxers, etc.) see authoritarianism as the means of overcoming a majority will they dislike. But one needs to look no further than Vladimir Putin to see the evils of this. Here is one man, acting on his own proclivities, threatening to start WWIII. Were Russia more democratic her politicians would ignore Ukraine and focus on the majority of Russians' concerns with the mess that's domestic Russia.
Robert Myers, Auckland Central.
Russian to act
I recently posted a comment to a video about the impending invasion of Ukraine, taking a lateral view of Putin's aggressive attitude. I suggested: "Maybe Russia wants to join Nato? It feels left out of the party?"
And I received this most revealing reply: "As a Russian I totally confirm this. Russia just wants to be accepted in Europe, Nato and EU.. ( and three love hearts) "
It's an odd way of showing affection, for Putin and Russia, killing 14000 young Ukrainian soldiers and others to get loved?
But in this strange world of totally narcissistic leaders "on both sides" and vast wealth hoarded and stashed in palaces and Swiss bank accounts, anything is possible.
Ask the young of Russia, and they maybe prefer love over war? And would far prefer to be able to mix and share with the 30 western countries of the EU where freedom and opportunity are the endgame?
Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
The necessity of enlarging the Port of Tauranga is a direct result of the total ineptitude of the Ports of Auckland.
The Hauraki Gulf is much closer to the population centre of New Zealand, it has easy access to both rail and power supplies, and has been talked about but, nothing more by the overpaid executives.
Tauranga is to be congratulated on its excellent history of competency, but really it is in the wrong place; however, it still is the only viable option until Phil Goff decides to take any action, which judging from his history is unlikely.
Perhaps the Government can do something about this problem, it is a national problem.
Neville Cameron, Coromandel.
Driven to retaliate
What an appalling response by NZ Bus (NZ Herald, January 26), to warn a driver for a perceived act of retaliation after being assaulted by a passenger.
This employee should never have been subject to discipline. Not one employee needs to be scared in his or her workplace. It surprises me that a health and safety review has not demanded all drivers being fully enclosed behind passengers.
Do we wait for a fatal attack before we act? I should hope not.
John Ford, Taradale.
KiwiSaver has been a highly successful scheme on many fronts, not least of which is teaching members who had little financial training about the benefits of investment.
However, it always surprises me that when there is a downturn the financial commentators do not point out that for regular savers a market correction means they will be buying more units - dollar-cost averaging is a powerful tool.
You will have more money when you are 65, so don't stress now.
Stephanie Watson, Epsom.
Ridge too far
Cam Calder (NZ Herald, January 26) is correct. The barrier on Mt Victoria/Takarunga should be opened, and closed only on days such as Anniversary Day.
On three occasions, I have been unable to access the barrier code after spending up to 10 minutes on the phone requesting it.
Two of my passengers in their late 90s have since died. Their last wishes to enjoy the panoramic view of Auckland were denied by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority which their rates have helped fund.
Jan O'Connor, Hauraki.
To me, Nick Kyrgios is not "the best thing about men's tennis" (NZ Herald, January 26) though he can at times be wonderful to watch.
Tennis is not only entertainment but is the profession of many players who travel the world to make a living, and in some cases support a family. They should not have to put up with the ugly, unsporting behaviour of the Australian crowd, which show-off Kyrgios often inspires.
Angela Brett, Remuera.
Short & sweet
So now the Government is so bereft of ideas they are resorting to theft of private imports of RATs tests to boost their own inadequate and belated ordering. Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.
I filled up the car today. The attendant said: "Let me see, is yours the $167? Does that sound right?" "No," I said, "it sounds criminal." J Davidson, Birkenhead.
Why would a vaccinated person with no comorbidities accept a 24-day lockdown? Better to catch a dose of Covid from their close contact and be out in 14. The policy is illogical and punitive. Adele Little, Balmoral.
Sure we now have 10 sick days, that will get me through two weeks' isolation. After that, I can't afford to be off work, so here's hoping I catch Covid on my first close contact event. Randel Case, Buckland Beach.
If we implement National Party policy and make rapid antigen test kits freely available, they will be hogged like toilet paper and not be available when most needed. Our Government has learned from Australia. Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
Russia could be about to invade Ukraine and the UK parliament is focusing on who went to a party at 10 Downing St. Such a Monty Python moment. Warwick Ayres, Herne Bay.
The Premium Debate
Funny how a report placing us badly in whatever the report is about is embraced by so many of us. The reverse doesn't seem to apply. I find it interesting that we are right up there with the Scandinavian countries, which tend to have higher taxes and better social services. Funny how they consistently rate highly. Might be a message for us. Christine W.
This report studied "187 countries and how attractive they are to extremely wealthy people". And we're number one. Difficult to see how this would "upset capitalists". Greg M.
If you are super-wealthy then this report is for you. But in a country where something as essential as residential housing has almost doubled in price in the last four years, then maybe not so good. It will take a while before the world's media wake up to what is actually happening here in New Zealand. And, it would seem, a while longer for many of its own citizens. Duncan M.
Reading between the lines, NZ is a great destination if you have plenty of money to bring in in the first place. We allow you to bring in your whole family and parents, etc, and you are not restricted on what you can buy, where you can live and have immediate access to a huge number of free services as permanent residents. The downside is the strain on education and health which the rest of us use and which contributes indirectly to the overall decline in household income (in real terms) and quality of life for the 9-to-5 Kiwi worker. Jim S.
Well for once I agree with the Government - you can blame the previous administration. Geoff W.
Geoff, I agree. That previous government of Labour, NZ First and the Greens was almost as bad as the current one. David S.