Irish recipe for road safety
I feel Simon Wilson identified the problem in his first article, "More police enforcement" (NZ Herald, January 3).
As a former police officer, I'm convinced a major overhaul is needed with road safety enforcement. A trip overseas by the Minister of Transport would be helpful.
A good first port of call would be the Republic of Ireland. In 2005, Ireland had 396 deaths on its roads; the same year New Zealand recorded 405. The populations of each country are similar with both countries just over five million.
Ireland had 130 road deaths in 2021 while we lost 319 souls. Ireland has made this turnaround in the reduction of deaths by huge commitment and hard work.
Australian states have also made huge progress, at a time New Zealand has reached a plateau in reducing the road trauma.
I suggest that the Minister of Transport should head to Ireland and get a good understanding of how they have improved their road death statistics so convincingly. The Herald could also allow Mr Wilson to accompany Minister Michael Wood so that we get, first-hand, the Irish recipe to reduce a road toll.
George Wood, Forrest Hill.
A point that seems to be missing thus far from the arguments over road safety is the psychological behaviour.
It is known that people will act up to what they personally perceive as the danger point. Studies have shown that the safer the authorities make something, the more that safety point will be pushed.
In the case of driving, make cars and the roads safer and many drivers will decide that the risks have been lowered so "I can drive more aggressively".
The real problem for those who would rule over us is how to brainwash the natural risk-taking out of the human race.
G. N. Kendall, Rothesay Bay.
My boys got their initial Covid shots more than six months ago.
At that time, if you were 16 or over you could get the jab, which they dutifully did.
They are now six months past so should be due for the booster shot.
Today it was announced that the limit for the booster had been dropped from six months to four months.
So once again, they dutifully trotted off to get their booster shot, only to be told that they had to be over 18 to get the jab.
Does this not sound to you like an oxymoron, with Omicron knocking at the door?
There must be a lot of 16+ but not yet 18-year-olds who are due by the six-month limit, which is now four months, and should qualify for a booster shot.
With the academic year fast approaching, you would think they should get the shot?
A. Nicholson, Māngere Bridge.
The article "When Lange triumphed" (NZ Herald, January 4) was misleading. Lange's decision in about 1984 to deny entry to a US naval vessel - and a supply ship at that - did great harm to New Zealand in terms of both its international reputation in the Western world and economically.
Yes, it was lauded in the NZ media but the reality is that Lange and thereby NZ was shunned by Western governments as he made a world trip. The only place in the UK where he was welcomed was at Oxford University, where he addressed like-minded dissidents.
My memory of Lange was of an eloquent speaker, a nice fellow to meet socially but, as a leader of a nation, he was more like Neville Chamberlain in Britain pre-World War II, having an unrealistic view of the real world.
Declaring NZ nuclear-free in terms of visiting ships is like declaring your local street burglar free. And aiming at our close ally USA, who saved us from Japanese invasion only 40 years earlier, resulted in NZ being - understandably - booted out of ANZUS, which showed his lack of statesmanship
Bill Capamagian, Tauranga.
My partner and I are New Zealanders living in Australia. We wish we were home.
The NZ Government has listened to the excellent advice of its scientists, prominent among them Professors Hendy and Wiles.
How can the University of Auckland possibly justify failing to protect these scientists from doxing and physical threats from people who object to their research findings and expert advice? How can the vice-chancellor claim that engaging with the public via broadcast, print, and other media is not the role of Professors Hendy and Wiles?
The NZ public funds universities through taxation, to generate and disseminate knowledge and perform the crucial role of "critic and conscience" of society. Hendy and Wiles are exemplary academics, who continue to help NZ find its way through this awful pandemic.
Like many ex-pats, we have children whom we hope will study in NZ, so many will be watching how Auckland University handles this.
Marg Stewart, Adamstown Heights, NSW.
It is disappointing to learn that two well known Covid-19 experts have been the target of vitriolic attacks from a very small minority of the public. This, because of their views on how to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
Both are employed by University of Auckland, which has offered the less than helpful advice that they "address their safety concerns by keeping their public commentary to a minimum".
These experts offer a necessary, balanced view, based on their extensive experience; a view that is as appropriate as it is appreciated.
Des Trigg, Rothesay Bay.
Keep your counsel
I find it ironic that Brooke van Velden, an MP of barely a year, has chosen to offer the Government advice (NZ Herald, January 4) on how to handle the pandemic in 2022.
The Government she wishes to advise has handled the pandemic probably better than any other country in the world.
Had the Government taken Act's advice on so many occasions, New Zealand would be a total disaster zone now.
A large number (I suspect a large majority) of New Zealanders place the health and welfare of their compatriots far ahead of making money.
Paul Hicks, Warkworth.
If you listened to certain opposition politicians you'd be forgiven for thinking the NZ police have given up on tackling crime and criminals are having a field day.
Yet the Government's latest plan (NZ Herald, January 5) to strengthen the very successful confiscation of criminal assets would clearly indicate otherwise.
When the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act was first introduced in 2010 some $22 million of assets and cash was seized. In 2019-20 this had rocketed up to an impressive $261 million. The new tightening of these powers will now go after criminals hiding behind shell companies and accountants. Expect the amounts to be confiscated from gangs and criminals to soar further when the new powers come into force.
Much of this is ploughed back into law enforcement, with a record 14,000 police now on the front line. Since 2018 more than 1800 new recruits have been added.
Soft on crime? Quite the opposite.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland Central.
The fine spell has once again exposed drivers and pedestrians to the silent dangers of the electric bike. Splashing out anywhere between $3000 and $6000 gives people of a certain age newfound freedoms. This in itself is not a bad thing.
However, with the new freedom comes responsibility. This may come as a surprise to the many new owners, who find the power-assisted experience intoxicating.
Speeds of 20-40km/h anywhere is a breeze. Ordinary footpaths, shared footpaths, roads, and - my favourite - pedestrian crossings, where the law to dismount, and walk across is often ignored, are all areas of concern.
An electric cycle is a power-assisted device that should be registered. The average bike and rider would weigh over 100kg. Any accident involving a pedestrian would not have a good outcome for the pedestrian. The registration should include a specific sum for ACC.
Bikes should be subjected to a mechanical examination annually to check, brakes, lights and bells. Did an electric biker ever sound a bell approaching you from the rear?
Rob Elliott, Kohimarama.
What a shame the organisers of the Australian Open didn't have the courage nor the integrity to stand up to Novak Djokovic's bullying over his participation.
He may well be one of the greatest tennis players the world has ever seen, he may well have won the Open nine times, he may well be striving for a record 21st Grand Slam victory. None of that excuses him from meeting the vaccination requirements everyone else has to meet.
Instead, the organisers served up the public a spin doctor written piece of waffle about the strict medical exemption process. What nonsense.
Phil Chitty, Albany.
Short & sweet
The number of people who choose to go into the sea fully dressed must surely contribute to the large number of water tragedies we are having this summer. Gillian Howard, Milford.
At best there can be very little, if any, police enforcement at a time when police resources are so stretched with MIQ duties, roadblock duties and the like. Penny Wilson, Glendowie.
Stripped of their flashy gold jewellery, Harleys and other ill-gotten gains, they may not look so appealing to disaffected youth. Lorraine Kidd, Warkworth.
So our road safety statistics haven't improved, freedom camping is still a problem and yet there are no tourists to blame. Surely it can't be mostly ourselves behaving badly? James Archibald, Birkenhead.
There appears to be no limit on what can be an NFT, even a fffft in a bottle? Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
To trim down a little after festive indulgences, simply follow the example of the couple on the prime time TV ad. They've apparently been consuming large buckets of fried chicken for 50 years without putting on an ounce of weight. Duncan Simpson, Hobsonville Pt.
The Premium Debate
NZ citizens from Australia denied entry into the lobby. Reason given is that there are no red flights from Australia in March/April. I imagine that is because so many flights have had to be cancelled because of the constant shifting of the goalposts that the airlines have said enough. On ZB radio, it was announced that the Government is working with Air NZ on organising flights from Australia in March/April to give a "glimmer of hope". Does that mean that opening up for self-isolation to NZ citizens from Australia on Feb 22 is now in some doubt? And why only 1250 rooms? Susan M.
Send all your family stories and hardships to international news outlets. Let's start making this Government's abhorrent treatment of New Zealand citizens front-page news everywhere. Image is everything for this Government. Assist the Grounded Kiwis movement any way you can. Finally, 2023, vote Labour out with a vengeance. My family and friends will be. See you soon, mum. Warren C.
Watching Sky Australia news this morning, there are hundreds of thousands of Covid positive cases. More than 100,000 are predicted today. Imagine that in New Zealand. Many countries are closed to people from Australia, not just New Zealand. Faye G.
The airlines won't fund these flights at a loss or at risk of ever-changing Government policies, and neither should they. Even though they're trying to deflect it, this issue falls fairly and squarely at the feet of the NZ Government to resolve. Alister G.
Sadly, I think most New Zealanders don't care. Out of sight, out of mind; shouldn't have left anyway; and not worth the risk of importing the newest variant, seems to be the attitude of the majority. It doesn't speak well to the national character, but it is what it is, I suppose. Andrew B.