Dairy saviour after Covid 19
Much has been written about the Covid-19 pandemic but I have seen very little comment about how the country is going to repay all the debt that has been accumulating.
As a country, we have done a great job in diversifying our industries but the one constant has been all sections of the rural sector. The one that stands out of course has been dairy - the one the Government has made the whipping boy for its climate change and clean energy programmes.
We all have a little bit of green in us but now we need to choose - are we going to continue to add costs to the rural sector which do nothing in the overall reduction of worldwide emissions or are we going to encourage the rural sector to provide even more production which will help the country recover? For example, build dams which have been planned and then cancelled, remove unnecessary costs and provide financial incentives.
This will help the country recover and hopefully reduce some of the financial burden we are currently incurring that will ultimately be transferred to our children and grandchildren
Max Brown, Cambridge.
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I strongly believe that there must be a think-tank advisory group of top business and financial people, carefully selected from a wide range of enterprises and experiences, whose sole task is to plan and implement our economic recovery. And this work must start now.
With due respect to our politicians on both sides of the House, I believe that within our Parliament there is a distinct paucity of top-flight business, economic and financial talent.
Steve Clerk, Meadowbank.
There has been much consternation over the state of our economy after the virus has been eradicated. Compared to past events, it is hardly a problem. We have all seen the devastation after wars, when entire cities, even countries were in ruins, and populations decimated. Yet, somehow they recovered.
Here in New Zealand all our buildings and machinery are intact, with so far minimal loss of life. It is simply a matter of providing restart finance to give shops and industries a leg-up. It may also be a time to renew many of the secondary industries, such as clothing, rather than importing what we can ourselves produce.
For three decades I have been promoting large-scale tree planting. We could be growing saplings in their billions for planting in regions where forests have been sacrificed for dubious profits.
We could be constructing kitset wooden homes for distribution worldwide, rather than export logs for a song. There's also a hungry world out there, and we are a food producer.
For New Zealand, it is far from the end of the world, and, unlike so many countries, we have the wherewithal to recover. Many may change occupations but, as I see it, there is no excuse for unemployment or poverty in a land of plenty.
Clark James, New Lynn.
It's fascinating to watch the hitherto virulently anti-socialist brigade queueing up for government handouts to prop up their businesses.
Is this an admission that capitalism has its shortcomings and perhaps a dose of socialism is good for the mix?
Now the Government has to support all the laid-off workers until businesses are back into profit-making mode.
No wonder that 10 per cent of the populace controls 70 per cent of the wealth, maybe it's time for them to come to the party. How about Google and Facebook paying their fair share of taxes, having sucked the life out of Bauer Media's revenue source?
Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.
With reference to Covid-19 during the close-down period, bankATMs remain operative.
However, unlike supermarkets that clean the handles of their trolleys between customers, the ATMs have no cleaning procedure with the vast number of ATMs and a multitude of people using them, especially while the banks were closed.
It falls upon the individual to sanitise, creating the opportunity for the virus to spread.
The Covid-19 risk factor must be great. I have seen nothing in the news warning people but you don't need Einstein with his pencil to work out this could be a major Covid-19 risk. Surely the experts have considered this matter but it appears they, for some reason, are ignoring it.
Kenneth Mackinnon, Otorohanga.
Not only is Mayor Goff's refusal to freeze proposed rates hikes tone deaf, but it's appalling in these economic times. Other councils have pledged to hold rate rises at zero - so why can't Auckland Council? Households and private businesses are being forced to make painful cuts to live within means and councils need to do the same.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has stated (during select committee hearings) that he expects every council to look at its books to see what is possible to reduce the rates burden. What has Mayor Goff done to make cuts to low priority spending? He seems to think councils have a role in economic stimulus. But that is a central government function as rates are not based on a household's ability to pay, being tied to house prices.
Also, the council leadership is always arguing its salaries need to be benchmarked to the private sector. If so, why haven't the mayor and senior bureaucrats elected to cut leadership salaries in line with private sector executives?
Surely the council officials can make an effort to find efficiencies within the organisation before placing a higher rate burden on struggling Auckland businesses and households?
Julie Murray, Herne Bay.
Rightly, our mayor's recent announcement that Auckland rates will increase by 3.5 per cent is causing much discussion.
Because of Covid-19 and our nation's response in dealing with it, there are widespread pay cuts, job losses and hardships on multiple fronts.
Put simply we aren't being paid well, if at all, so we can't pay for all the goods and services like we used to ... just essentials.
In light of this, the council must maintain basic infrastructure as best it can, and trim any fat or anything that might be seen as "frivolous". Clearly it is not the time to increase costs when "we are all in this together".
B. Watkin, Devonport.
David Clark is not an idiot. What he did was deliberately and knowingly flout the law either because, arrogantly, he considered himself too self-important to comply with it or because he simply didn't care if he put us lesser mortals at risk. We neither want to be governed by people like that nor, more importantly, should we need to be so. Surely, at a time like this, it is critically important that should a senior minister prove either physically, mentally or morally unfit to perform his or her role there is someone standing by quickly to step in, like Dominic Raab has done for Boris Johnston, and take over the role and responsibilities.
That is what New Zealand needs but seems to have been forgotten.
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
For the first few days of the lockdown, the streets were so quiet that every day felt like Christmas Day. However, soon the roads began to resemble more of a sleepy Sunday. Now, at the halfway point, there are so many vehicles on "essential" journeys that you would be forgiven for thinking that it is just a normal, hectic Saturday.
How long before we see our first lockdown traffic jam?
Katie Gormley, St Heliers.
At a time when it is important to remain positive and hopeful, many young women will have been disheartened to learn that their scholarship applications for postgraduate study have been dismissed.
Early this year young women applied, in good faith, for a scholarship from an Auckland educational trust, the due date being January 30.
A great deal of work goes into these applications not least from the professionals and academics, sometimes international, providing references. The students were recently informed these scholarships would be put on hold due to lack of funds normally generated from the hire of graduation gowns. Instead of being given first consideration
when the current situation improves, students have been told their applications "will no longer be reviewed" and that they will have to reapply in the future.
Considering this trust is supposed to be encouraging and supporting young women I'm sure applicants do not appreciate this unnecessary "kick in the teeth".
To not receive a scholarship after an application may be disappointing but reasonable. To have an application summarily dismissed and metaphorically thrown in the rubbish bin is a disgrace. Now is the time to be giving hope to young women and encouraging them to continue reaching for the stars.
Dr Jane Luton, Howick.
Know your enemy
by Jamie Morton (NZ Herald, April 8) on Covid-19 is brilliantly written in layman's language.
At 85, I have had all the flus, pneumonia, pluerisy, TB, mumps, measles and never understood how virus diseases were attacked. This report explains it all.
My parents and their parens for generations before lived in fear of plague due to rats, mice and fleas. I have never known that fear now that we have vaccinations, etc.
Jamie clearly explains the difference when new outbreaks arrive - brilliant, thank you.
Peter Walden, Rotorua.
Short & sweet
It is not surprising that people are flouting the lockdown rules when you consider that almost half of any population have below average intelligence. Combined with the selfishness of the "me generation" it is a recipe for civil disorder. Hugh Webb, Hamilton.
Owning a holiday home does not grant exemption from the law nor the spread of virus. Samuel Pitcher, Whangamata.
If the Government is serious about stopping unnecessary vehicle travel over Easter then how about an instant $500 fine? Jeff Berge, Takanini.
David Clark has apologised. He has been punished. Could we now please be kind and stop behaving like people in medieval times? Barbara Strong, Kawakawa Bay.
I can't see the problem with making a law against spitting. I grew up in the UK in the 40s when TB was still rife. There were plenty of signs warning of a five-pound fine (that was at least two weeks wages) if caught spitting. Pauline Merritt, Hamilton.
How refreshing (and novel), to have questions of the Epidemic Response Committee addressed directly, accurately and devoid of politics by qualified people, who know the answers. One wonders if Parliamentary procedures might adapt and learn from this model? Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
Suze Wilson's article (NZ Herald, April 6) is well researched and presented, but "masterclass" will be when my children are back in their lost jobs, financially secure, and I am able to visit my mokopuna. D.B. Campbell, Kinloch.
If the Auckland Council contractors can still mow the parks, e.g. Moire Park in Massey, then why cannot solo working contractors look after golf clubs, croquet clubs, etc? Pauline Ereckson, West Harbour.