Speaking of hatred
Debate over 'free speech" is rearing its ugly head again. Personally, I don't think unfettered free speech has a place in a civilised democratic society.
Hate speech of any kind should not have a platform for public airing. Lies should not have a platform for public airing. False conspiracy theories should not have a platform for public airing. I believe that social media platforms et al had potential for usefulness and general public good but have succumbed to the failings of human nature.
Just look at America to see how damaging to society this can be. I rest my case.
Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.
On no account
I don't agree that using the internet to say whatever one likes, quite possibly to deliberately mislead as many people as possible, should from now on be equated with "freedom of speech".
And I don't think discussion of this important question can entirely disregard the value of public communications from those in power continually aspiring to comply with the old-fashioned concept of "truth".
Ross Boswell's comments (NZ Herald, January 15) "Why I resist the sweet seduction of social media" seem to me spot on.
I too want to live and die without a Facebook account, and I consider the destructive potential of social media - for example, by spreading messages that falsely highlight non-existent or extremely rare dangers of vaccination - truly frightening.
Rose Lovell-Smith, Mt Roskill.
I note that the rate of vaccination against Covid-19 in Britain has reached three and a half million people. This would be equivalent to two hundred and fifty thousand people in New Zealand now having been vaccinated. Many countries are now under way with vaccination programmes and India, in particular, has just embarked on the world's biggest vaccination programme.
Meantime, our Government seems to be asleep at the wheel in this respect. The Minister for Covid Recovery does not appear to have a defined timetable for a vaccine rollout. No timing, no quantity and no end to the current view of maintaining a moat around the country.
The 2020 election slogan of the Labour Party was "Let's keep moving". This seems to have run into vaccination inertia. Throughout 2020 we were the envy of the world but now we seem to be stalling rather than "moving forward".
We deserve better as a nation and the PM and the Minister of Covid Recovery should come clean and let us know when and how we will have a clearly articulated vaccination rollout.
With winter a few months away, an early start to Covid protection is surely the answer.
Ian Collinson, Remuera.
Yes, we scan
Come on, all you members of the team of 5 million. You seem to have quickly forgotten how important contact tracing is.
If (when) the virus escapes into the community again, it will be somewhat too late to then start using the code. You must remember that it is critically important to know your contacts from before the new cases appear.
Stop being so lazy with QR checks. You cannot expect the government or epidemiologists or vaccinators to achieve control on their own. We need to all know where we were before the outbreak, not just from when we all start to panic and face a new lockdown.
It's easy and useful, it's our contribution.
Judy Lawry, Golflands.
I was amazed to hear Minister Chris Hipkins say he would allow 1000 international students to return to New Zealand this year - in groups of 100 or so.
Has the man taken leave of his senses? We are in a precarious situation here with - returnees at present bringing back some of the most dangerous strains of Covid-19.
The last thing our border workers or our long-suffering businesses need is to be exposed to more risk - time for a rethink, please.
Sandra Riggir, Tauranga.
It is great news for the Southland economy that Tiwai Point will remain open until the end of 2024 (NZ Herald, January 15) but what happens after that?
In 2019, Jeanette Fitzsimons suggested the possibility of saving the newest of the four potlines at Tiwai by creating an SOE to operate it. Meridian Energy already has plans to upgrade the transmission line between Manapouri and the national grid.
EVs already account for 10 per cent of all new car sales and by 2024, that percentage will rise to 80 per cent. EVs are taking over.
As all those electric cars come on line, NZ will need the extra electricity from Manapouri.
Suggestions of spending up large to create a hydrogen generation plant or data centre are just crazy. Spending even larger to create pumped hydro storage is even more crazy.
Keep the modern part of Tiwai Point and send the rest of the Manapouri electricity to the grid.
John Caldwell, Howick.
Now we are finding out more about the people who took part in the Washington riot.
It is hard to believe they were not just crackpots, conspiracy believers or uneducated hoons, but also people who could be your friendly neighbours or the nice guy you talk to in the doctor's waiting room.
The words of American writer Mark Twain come to mind; he said:
"It's much easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled."
Marian Stolte, Ōrewa.
I am one of the hard of hearing who uses closed captions when watching TV. These are obviously written by someone who speaks English as a second language. They don't have an ear for a Kiwi accent and don't understand homophones, or grammar and spelling particularly during live broadcasts, such as the news or sports coverage.
The number of mistakes in the America's Cup broadcasts is embarrassing, especially as this is presumably going to overseas countries as well.
Whoever is writing it needs to do some research on common sailing terms, as follows: It is not "winwood" but windward (the opposite of leeward), not "busts" but gusts.
"Sell their own race" should be "sail their own race". It's not "boiling" but foiling. It is not a "sleigh line" but a lay line.
It is not good enough to have second-rate captioning, TVNZ needs to improve.
Audrey Ansell, Fairview Heights.
I walk daily, at times in different parts of Auckland.
I am appalled at the state of our footpaths with many broken up and uneven in parts. I am most concerned about our elderly citizens and indeed everyone who uses our footpaths because the risk of overbalancing and having a fall is a probability.
Auckland Transport has been hellbent on wasting millions of dollars on cycleways, but stingy in local board budgets for funding footpaths and their maintenance.
Grey Power, Northern Region, advocates for improving footpaths and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile watch your step when taking your daily stroll.
Mate Marinovich, Oratia.
So Auckland Council wants Auckland to be a liveable and vibrant city.
But if Auckland Transport is gouging 1 million dollars a week ($52,000,000 a year) from drivers of cars for various infringements that means that this is money local businesses and tradespeople will not be getting.
So sad. A less liveable and a less vibrant city. Sorry, no coffee or flowers this week; no dinners out. We have a traffic fine to pay.
So Auckland citizens need traffic fines to keep the rate increases lower we are told?
Why doesn't the City spend less on its on its non-essential frills and stick to its main business?
Gillian Dance, Mount Albert.
Short & sweet
Trump will be remembered as the man who lost the presidency, lost the senate, lost 400,000 American lives to Covid-19 and lost US credibility worldwide. Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
The only difference between a dictatorship and democracy is that in a democracy you get to choose between two dictators. The United States currently is living proof of that and Boris is not far behind. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
How many millions of people, mostly elderly and vulnerable, have to be vaccinated without any ill effects overseas before this Government decides it is safe for those fit, young people working in MIQ to be given the vaccine if they want it? Paul Lassman, Katikati.
A brief search of Wikipedia shows: Countries that do not impose a capital gains tax include Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Jamaica, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and others. Looks like we are in company with tax havens. Peter Mortimer, Lucas Creek
Might some magic return to the American boat if the now-debased word "Patriot" is expunged from its stern? Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
With the 75ft vessels hurtling themselves from sea to air at high speed on Auckland waters, black boxes should be carried, as are compulsory on all aeroplanes. Rob Buchanan, Kerikeri.
On a symbolic basis, it is almost too much of a coincidence. The American shine is coming off so many things; not just their powerful nationalist pride, but in general, most things American are just not that desirable any more. René Blezer, Taupō.