Lost social cohesion
We don't need a poll to tell us the Kiwi dream doesn't exist anymore. Growing up in NZ, it was a less crowded world, people were less self-centred and I think they were kinder to each other.
It didn't exist, so they didn't use social media to tear apart those who don't share the same opinions.
There was less imbalance of wealth, and everyone who wanted, could afford to buy a home.
I'm an older Kiwi, who grew up with the colonial sense of self-reliance. We had to do things for ourselves, the Government didn't engage in our lives to the extent it does now. There is a sense of helplessness among a lot of Kiwis, that I find disturbing. People seem increasingly unable to fend for themselves. When things go wrong, they have to blame someone. This is enhanced by social media. Covid is worldwide and, permanent.
My father is 98, and has spent his life free of fear of a pandemic. Children born today will not know a life without awareness of pandemics. Too many of us in NZ want to stuff the genie back in the bottle, and turn the clock back. We blame the Government for not making this happen.
Opposing political and community leaders, mainstream and social media, focus Kiwis' attention on blaming the Government for Covid. This is the excuse needed to not follow rules and take advice. If we are not careful here, widespread loss of social cohesion will do New Zealand irreparable harm.
Barb Callaghan, Kohimarama.
Freedom not absolute
While I respect the right of people to protest, as 5000 did on Saturday about Covid-related restrictions, we must accept that freedoms are not absolute.
A more nuanced view is required.
For example, your freedoms are restricted to prevent you from murdering me or stealing my goods. Your freedom to drive is restricted by the need to have a licence, and wear a seatbelt.
And remembering that "your freedoms end at the tip of my nose", your freedom to protest stops when you risk the health of not only yourselves, but others by spreading this remarkably contagious virus. In fact, I think it would be appropriate (but politically unacceptable, unfortunately) to restrict individual freedoms in the interests of the greater good and have vaccinations mandatory for everyone.
GA Findlay, Christchurch.
I am wondering what figures the Health Department is using for vaccination rates as they do not square with our current resident population.
Stats NZ has our population at 5,133,500. With around 730,000 in the under-12 bracket, the eligible population should be circa 4,400,000 but the Health Department is using a figure of only 4,210,000 eligible and a total population of only 5,020,000. Using the lower figures skews the percentages upwards in terms of vaccination rates. They have 88 per cent first-dose for the eligible population and 74 per cent total. I would put the corresponding figures at 84 per cent and 71 per cent. For fully vaccinated the site rates are 74 per cent of eligible and 62 per cent total.
I would put the true rates at 72 per cent and 61 per cent (rounded up).
I was unable to find population figures for DHBs to compare.
Michael Crombach, Māngere Bridge.
Ashamed of events
I am ashamed that we are splitting our country into two classes of citizens with different rights. We fought against this in 1981. I am ashamed that we now use hatred of our fellow citizens as a method to obtain politicians' goals.
I am ashamed that our people overseas are barred from returning home, a blatant violation of section 18 of our Bill of Rights.
I am ashamed that we have ceased to treat serious medical conditions such as cancer. I am ashamed that we have severely reduced elective surgery in this country, extending suffering for tens of thousands of New Zealanders.
I am ashamed that we think it is okay to incarcerate our population as this seems to be easier than protecting them.
And I am gobsmacked that our Government feel it is better to spend $15 billion on a train track for a very small percentage of people who reside in the Prime Minister's electorate when that money could make such a difference to our health system. Why doesn't the Government test its mandate and allow the people to select which option they prefer?
Trevor Ammundsen, Whitianga.
Keep away, Mr Joyce
It must be difficult for Steven Joyce to accept that during his nine-year term, the National Government did nothing about health reform and the DHBs, did nothing to address public transport, nothing about the Three Waters and nothing about housing other than denying to the end that there was a crisis.
Now this Labour Government is addressing all four and dealing with Covid. Please stay away, Mr Joyce, you had your chance!
Bill Mathews, St Mary's Bay.
Govt will do better
How dare Phil Goff say the Government is stealing the council's water assets?
He and every council before his have been completely incompetent in water storage and supply, but more importantly the management of wastewater. The situation gets worse each year.
Each summer after a heavy rainfall, East Coast beaches are closed due to raw sewage overflowing and emptying into the sea.
I just hope the Government can do a better job: they certainly cannot do much worse.
Vince West, Milford.
Water issues are historic
Whatever the merits or otherwise of Three Waters legislation, it is ironic for Judith Collins to declare that her government, once elected, would repeal it. Ten years ago it was a National/Act coalition that formed the Auckland super city giving management of assets to council controlled organisations.
Watercare, unelected and distanced from the ratepayers, has its own CEO and well paid bureaucracy and acts like a private company. To be fair it inherited a multitude of problems mostly because councils feared for their election prospects if they kept raising rates. The city still owns the assets but has current management improved the situation? Beaches still become unusable after heavy rains and little planning has been done about water shortages in dry years — inevitable because of climate change. After months of forced careful water usage prices have increased — presumably to keep Watercare income up when consumption is lower. Surely government help with finance and management is not to be dismissed. Auckland Council has already lost its management to the fiefdom of Watercare.
Phyl Belsham, Mt Albert.
Why are the Government's transport experts fixated on taking light rail all the way to Auckland's Wynyard Quarter?
If the objective is to provide access to the CBD, which is where many people go, then the $4.5 billion City Rail Link does exactly that. Surely the logical plan should involve connecting light rail to the CRL network. In most cities around the world commuters accept changing from one line to another.
This could easily be achieved at either the existing Kingsland, or Morningside, or Mt Eden stations.
Accordingly, there would be no need to drill another extremely costly tunnel under the city.
Has this option been considered, or costed? As it stands, the favoured $15bn proposal will take 10 more years to complete. Add another 50 per cent in cost overruns and we have another transport farce. After his cycle bridge u-turn, questions must be raised about the credibility of Transport Minister Michael Wood.
Mark van Praagh, Hobsonville Pt.
Thirty more years?
When culling old records recently, I came across a prescient reference in the May 1991 newsletter to members from the Auckland Civic Trust. It reads: "Meanwhile the light rail system has been hit by budget constraints placed on the regional council and appears destined to advance slowly for the foreseeable future. None of this will surprise anyone familiar with Auckland's historical inability to deal with one of the region's fundamental issues — transport".
New alternatives have now been proposed. Perhaps our inability to deal with transport issues will be dealt with during the next 30 years. I look forward to that.
John Strevens, Remuera.
Short & sweet
On poker face
I would hate to play poker against Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Whether he is reporting six, 60 or 160 cases, the numbers are delivered in the same measured monotone with nary a flicker of expression. He just needs dark glasses and eyeshades to achieve the full effect. Duncan Simpson, Hobsonville Pt.
Thousands of morons representing the Deadbeats Collective have assembled in the Domain demanding their rights to be exposed to deadly diseases. However, this activity is likely to stop soon because the police, having twice now said they were "disappointed", are likely to become "very cross". That must have the DCs quaking in their jandals? A Mahoney, Whangaparaoa.
It has been said that if Covid infections managed to get out of hand it would put non-preventable maladies such as heart attacks, strokes and cancer on the back burner. I would suggest anti-vaxxers wait for empty beds. Ailsa Martin-Buss, Glendowie.
In a very one-sided rugby test match, the All Blacks fielded their A team in the second half. The Welsh fielded their B team for 80 minutes. Larry Mitchell, Rothesay Bay.
The Premium Debate
I'm happy to gift my part of Auckland's previous lockdowns to my nation. This is too much. My life's getting shorter. Christmas with family and summer, the hell outta here, doesn't look good. Others are enjoying life better at my expense. Simon F.
Thank you Heather du Plessis-Allan for your well-written article in support of us caught up in a never-ending "groundhog day". At my work all of us have been vaccinated, and most of us for months. But there are no rewards for being prompt in responding to the vaccine call. We are being held hostage by socially vociferous, rabid anti-vaxxers and their ignorant followers. The only "treats" go to the tardy and resistant. Aucklanders are angry and demoralised. The PM cannot assume that when (when? if?) she opens up the borders Auckland will bounce back as before. Gill W.
Heather, this article is so on point. Large swathes of voters in Auckland who are double-jabbed, caring for elderly isolated relatives, trying to cope with children, working from home ... are increasingly withdrawing from everything and just becoming encased in despair. The complete lack of any cohesive end date or any genuine empathy emanating from Wellington is very stark. Aucklanders feel abandoned. I feel as though the rest of the country just wants us to keep barely breathing as long as it's not near the border. Owen S.
Visiting will do nothing unless she plans to talk to individuals on the lockdown impact. Then she would not be following her own advice. It's not hard to see or hear how it's impacting people. It's accepting there is a minority of people whose compliance is slipping further, hence the spread. Complacency is getting to the majority who are still being held back with unachievable targets. Limited access through virtual appointments has mental and general health deteriorating. Accept 90% isn't appropriate. People had ample chance to help reduce long-term impacts and haven't taken it. Move on. Tony S.
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