While Minister Stuart Nash's comments about the future of tourism in New Zealand may seem overly harsh, he is right in saying that tourism will not return to what it has been.
Visitors from Australia will probably be about the same level but the conditions that made possible large numbers from further afield are unlikely to return.
Many of these were young adventurers who could afford the ever-cheaper fares that competing airlines provided and there was little concern that they could get jobs back home when their trip had ended.
Now with Covid, Brexit and all the economic upheaval around the world, there is not the same feeling of security. While the affluent will have the means to travel as they want, those who could, but are now conscious of the effect of flying on climate change, may be deterred.
Many businesses evolved to cater to the tastes of ever-growing numbers. Now those owners will have to consider carefully who their likely clientele will be.
Sadly there is little hope for some and propping them up will only delay the inevitable.
We can still have a great tourism business but much thought must be given about what we provide to a world very different from a pre-Covid one.
P. Belsham, Mt Albert.
Discipline and control
Good to see Simon Collins reporting (NZ Herald, February 15) on another good Otago trial involving the importance of developing self-control. This somewhat tied in nicely with points raised in Dr Dalziel's letter to the editor about youth of today not being tough enough, observed by us "OK Boomers".
The modern, increasingly consumer, secular-based society has witnessed a steady decline in such noble personal virtues. As the article says it is "the ability to manage your emotions, thoughts and behaviours".
It is among evidence that equips people to handle health, financial and social challenges of later life as well.
The previous Otago study also identified such virtues in success stories from early low socioeconomic disadvantages and below-average IQ. Responsible parents across the spectrum historically instilling such tried and true disciplines early in life - along with a well-developed conscience - good daily routines and reliability, are typically now missing due to so many modern liberal agendas.
The study will no doubt also confirm there are seldom excuses for not improving one's lot.
Simon Guinness, Greenlane.
Steve Braunias has long deserved a high honour for his writing. He is definitely one of the best observers of life, and articulates it so well.
He now deserves the highest of all honours for his humanitarian work, selflessly watching and describing The Bachelorette so the rest of us don't.
Such self-sacrifice must be rewarded.
Andy Freeman, Hamilton.
Regarding Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's refusal to listen to the majority call to close New Zealand borders - the 5 million at home to the 40,000 overseas – and claims she cannot stop New Zealanders coming home, what about the first responsibility to protect the 5 million from importing a dangerous virus?
Where is the law that allows our Prime Minister to put all of our 5 million people at risk of a serious virus infection? I bet there isn't one.
We all know the virus is coming in via the border and Ardern's first duty of care is, or should be, to the 5 million in New Zealand.
Gary Carter, Gulf Harbour.
Recent news reports about conversion therapy (NZ Herald, February 15) say this is about sexual orientation or gender identity. These two have nothing to do with each other. Sexual orientation is a natural expression of a person's sexuality. "Gender identity" includes the concept of being in the "wrong body" and of "changing sex" to fit the body with the felt sense of gender.
Attempted sex transition fights the body's own natural forces. If you have a child of any age wanting to be the opposite sex, and if you knew that such a transition was going to require a lifetime of medication, with many negative side effects, would you not want counselling for that young person to explore what lies behind the wish? Research shows a high correlation between gender dysphoria and other mental health issues, and that most children with gender confusion grow out of it.
It is irresponsible to attempt through therapy to change natural sexual orientation. It is equally irresponsible not to seek, through counselling, the reasons a child wants to transition. When our lawmakers come to look at the legislation on banning conversion therapy, it is vitally important they understand the difference between the two.
Caroline Herschel, Wellington.
Pull up breaches
Where people in managed isolation quarantine (MIQ) deliberately breach the conditions and are caught, out they should be sent to the Navy's Whangaparāoa Base as done in early quarantine days, housed in rental motor caravans as was done before for 14 days - regardless of whether they test positive or not.
Until offenders are dealt with forcefully, very few will take notice.
Adrian Wilson, Northcote.
If we are serious about encouraging installation of solar power for households as a means of reducing carbon emissions, there is one relatively fast way of achieving this.
Make solar power panels a standard part of the build for all social and affordable housing. The people who are eligible for this housing would not be able to afford the installation cost as an "after-build" addition, no matter what the incentives. This is also a group that would benefit most from a reduction in power costs.
On a $300-400,000 house, solar power at retail cost would add 2-3 per cent on to the cost of the house, and presumably much less wholesale – a small amount for the environmental and social benefits.
Alison McMillan, Mt Albert.
Roads over rail
Thank you Simon Wilson (NZ Herald, February 12) for your well-researched article on Auckland's transport and the policies that led to the present chaos.
I was a young man in the 50s when Sir Dove-Myer Robinson was mayor of Auckland. He was known for his foresight in those days. Characteristically, he wanted to plan for the development of the city for the next 50 years. He called for a firm of town planners from London, De Leuw Cather, to come and study Auckland and come up with a plan.
Central to the plan they produced was a rail system, and the key part of that was a tunnel under the city and a railway station underground somewhere near the Civic Theatre, not dissimilar to what is being built now, 70 years later. Our circle of acquaintances at that time thought it was a good idea.
But the motor industry, those businesses who sold the fuel and anything else to do with cars and trucks, got together and lobbied the government of the day in Wellington - and we got motorways instead. Robbie's plan was shelved.
We must continue to question if what is good for business really is good - even the motor industry.
Selwyn Boorman, Waikanae.
Once again Dick Brass (NZ Herald, February 15) takes an opportunity to bash Trump.
Wouldn't the vaccine distribution plan be up to the Washington State governor, a Democrat?
If, as the Democrats claim, Trump is tearing the Republican party apart, why not leave him to it? Surely, a split Republican party would help the Democrats.
I look forward to columns on Governor Cuomo's packing of aged care homes with Covid-positive patients, and his update on the Hunter Biden investigation.
Max McCamish, Mt Roskill.
Short & sweet
Many thanks to the gentleman who paid for my partner's fuel at the Milford Z a week or so ago. As you would not provide your name or any other details we have donated a similar sum to St John. R H Larsen, Milford.
Forty three Republican Senators have proven to the world that their hatred of the Democrats is more important to them than truth, justice and their collective responsibilities to democracy and the people of the USA. Phil Chitty, Albany.
Former President Trump was not acquitted by the Senate. Fifty-seven out of 100 found him guilty which was not enough to have him impeached. Importantly though, this was another vote he lost. Warwick Maxwell, St Heliers.
Can someone please tell those people who keep buying large amounts of toilet paper every time we go to a higher Covid alert level: Toilet paper does not cure Covid. Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
The tie, ever so handsomely worn, has been said to be a noose in reverse. Bev Owen, Mission Bay.
Everyone must understand that touching a mask itself with fingers makes a nonsense of stopping the virus spread. It must be adjusted only by ear straps, disposed of in the same manner, and not re-used. Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
How on earth can Watercare contractors pour 2000 tonnes - or 150 concrete truckloads - of grout into, instead of around a pipeline without realising that something must be wrong? Paul Beck, West Harbour.