Blinded by science
Ananish Chaudhuri (NZ Herald, July 23) laments the Government's over-reliance on science to guide the country through the Covid-19 crisis criticises not adequately consulting economic and social science "experts". As a result, we are now facing a stumbling economy, high house prices, and inflation.
One gets the sense that Professor Chaundhuri might have criticised the captain of the Titanic for trying to take evasive measures rather than considering the chilling effect of a maritime disaster on the cruise liner industry.
A government's first responsibility is to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of its citizens. The New Zealand healthcare system would have undoubtedly imploded had New Zealand suffered high caseloads. Economic "experts" have been shown repeatedly to be as bad at predicting the future as non-experts.
Covid will be around for some time. It is not unreasonable to now begin to map out a strategy of economic and social recovery that acknowledges that reality, but the initial response to Covid-19 has bought New Zealand valuable time and unmatched safety.
Art Nahill, Meadowbank.
Earlier last week, I received my first Covid vaccination at the Manurewa Marae. What a thoroughly positive and pleasant experience it was.
I was welcomed and greeted immediately, no waiting in any queue. All the staff were friendly and courteous and treated everyone with kindness and care. There were plenty of staff in attendance to answer any questions or to reassure anyone feeling nervous.
People who had arrived with a support person or family member were all kept together even when receiving their vaccinations. All cultures and ages were shown respect and politeness.
Kai pai, Manurewa Marae vaccination staff, you are appreciated.
Judith West, Conifer Grove.
Former Todd Muller advisor Matthew Hooton (NZ Herald, July 23) admits things are getting really desperate in the National Party.
The Labour Government is the most popular choice for tackling all the top 20 issues facing the country according to the latest Ipsos survey of voters.
Clearly Judith Collins' swing right is energising only her hardcore conservative base. Most voters want progressive leadership and don't want to go backwards.
So who does Hooton suggest can ride to National's rescue? None other than Gerry Brownlee. As I said, really desperate.
Jeff Hayward, Auckland Central.
Join the party
This (generally) National voter would like the old boys and girls running the party to admit that they have no show of re-election in their current state.
Could I suggest they rename the party as "Act-National" with the youngish and refreshingly candid David Seymour as its leader?
Bill Allen, St Mary's Bay.
Do not pass go
As a young Kiwi I spent many hours playing the Monopoly board game. However, it seems that in New Zealand and many other Western countries, we have turned housing into just such a game.
This has been disastrous at both a societal and economic level. We need to accept that housing is a basic human right, not a Monopoly game and that by treating it as such the benefits to society and the economy will be significant.
Jeremy King, Acacia Bay
Worse than hate
Can I hate a politician with a beard ? Will I go to jail ? Will I be fined, etc?
I have been thinking about this while rereading a book by John Le Carre called "A Small Town In Germany".
The story is set in the period near the end of World War II when the Russian Army was pushing the retreating German army to enable them to reach and capture Berlin before the Allies. The brutality of the fighting was beyond description.
The author writes,"It was at that time in Germany where there was apathy, apathy is worse than hate".
I did not fully understand that statement when I first read it a few years ago but now I fully understand it.
I believe that it is a situation confronting us today, and we need to be aware of it.
R J Walker, Howick.
Like Greg C (NZ Herald, July 23), I too am an ex-officer, although in a Canadian police force, which was routinely armed. Am I for arming our police? Definitely not.
Why? Arming every police officer puts a deadly weapon into every situation each officer attends. Ninety-nine per cent of police responses are for routine checks or arrests for minor offences such as theft, drunk and disorderly or traffic offences, etc. During such checks or arrests many an officer has been killed by his own weapon when his gun was grabbed by the offender in the scuffle and turned on the officer. The flip side of this is a minor offender gets shot by a young or inexperienced officer inadvertently mistaking something innocent being carried for a weapon.
The outcome for Constable Hunt, even if armed is unlikely to have been different unless he had stepped out of his police car with gun drawn as many American police officers do. Do we want police in NZ to do this at every routine traffic stop?
No. Deadly mistakes can and do happen.
D F Little, Whangarei
Having worn a face mask over nose and mouth every day of my working life as a surgeon, I am frustrated by complaints against mask-wearing.
Also, simple rules for the correct wearing of masks have never, to my knowledge, been adequately articulated by public health authorities. Masks certainly assist in stopping the exhaling of virus droplets by infected persons, or alternatively assist mask wearers not being infected by others.
This can only be achieved if certain basic rules are followed.
A fresh mask must be used on every occasion, with absolutely no place for repeat use. Despite being more expensive, professionally-made, tight-fitting masks are superior to the more disposable types. Any disposable mask is however better than none, with tighter fitting cloth masks being superior to those made of thinner alternatives.
The mask must cover nose and mouth continuously, at all times.
The mask itself should never be touched by fingers, as viruses can easily be spread in this manner. Masks should only be adjusted by the strings or tapes.
If these simple rules were promulgated widely, the advantages of mask wearing when ordered to do so by authorities, would be more easily understood, and perhaps up to five times as efficacious.
Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
I don't understand. How is a New Zealand organisation, the Rebels Motorcycle Club, identified as being (NZ Herald, July 25) in a "turf war" with another local gang, allowed to feature as their "patch" image a skeletal Confederate soldier in front of a Confederate flag?
The Confederate flag, the prime rallying symbol of the slave-owning American South, is now accepted as a common white supremacist symbol and, in the United States at least, is banned in public buildings such as schools.
Surely there is some government agency tasked with dealing with such racist and race-baiting images being used on a local organisations' banner – or does the fact the symbol is used by a "gang" mean that its members are exempt from any normal government action in regards to hateful imagery?
I J McMeeking, Grey Lynn.
I am really annoyed at hearing television announcers referring to Lewis Clareburt's performance at the Olympic Games as disappointing.
Goodness gracious, the young fellow made it to an Olympic Games swimming final. How many Kiwi athletes ever get to do that?
So his performance on the day didn't match his competitors, that's sport, it certainly doesn't make him disappointing.
Phil Chitty, Albany.
Shouldn't but did
The Olympic Games in a Covid world? No way should that happen, I said.
However, I admit to watching the television coverage most of this weekend, and congratulate those who are bringing such sporting entertainment to us in this strange world.
Rosemary Cobb, Takapuna.
Short & sweet
Accolades to the rugby league bosses for pulling out of the World Cup, a responsible decision showing their respect and concerns for player welfare and that of our country on their return. Ann Kidd, Motueka.
My wife and I had our first Covid jabs at Birkenhead and everyone was marvellous and could not have been more helpful. Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
Bob McGuigun (NZ Herald, July 23) needs to watch theTV programme Border Patrol. He will then understand why taking returnees' word for being Covid-free and not checking their results is a massive border failure. Wendy Tighe-Umbers, Parnell.
In these uncertain times, it is hard to find sympathy for people stuck in Australia. There were plenty of warnings about closed bubbles. Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
I find it surprising that Japan isn't using robots or humanoids for virtual spectators
It would be a good opportunity to showcase Japan's technological advances. Hing Yu, Pakuranga Heights.
To protest - in a large crowd - about lockdown restrictions in Sydney, is it possible a dose of idiocy wafted over with the smoke from the fires in the Pacific northwest of America?Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
The premium debate
This makes sense. Private enterprise always does a better job than government-run organisations. And of course they should make a profit, otherwise taxpayers would just pay even more tax (nothing is free). It's essentially a hotel service with extra security protocols which private enterprises have been operating successfully for centuries. They might even know how to invoice their customers and get paid. Grant H.
A combination would be worth considering: Home isolation for fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and permanent residents with a negative PCR pre-flight (until vaccination of at-risk cohorts are done and a day zero arrival and day five test) with monitoring of compliance. Government-run MIQ for those not fully vaccinated and full quarantine facilities for symptomatic and positive Covid people. And private isolation facilities for fully vaccinated foreign essential workers, international students, tourists, business travellers, etc. An interim step to phase-in could be a short stay of five to seven days for fully vaccinated returnees at MIQ and to run some pilot home isolation for a sample of returnees - which would then free up more MIQ spaces for those stuck overseas due to lack of spaces currently. John M.
Sounds like an awful idea to privatise the profits of a pandemic and socialise the costs when such businesses inevitably make a mistake and spark a fresh Delta outbreak in New Zealand. There's a reason MIQ is government-run and why it's been overwhelmingly successful. Private businesses cannot be trusted with this important duty. We saw how that went in Melbourne last year. Steve E.
Nothing is this world is "government-run". You use taxpayers money and contract with the private sector where all the skills are. "Trust" doesn't come into the equation. Jim S.
Sounds to me like just another profitable business which would guarantee a profit. Just like retirement villages or operating detention centres (aka prisons). No thanks. Alexander M.
You mean like the motel in Rotorua that a Government agency paid $8 million for when it was only worth half that amount and are yet to make the necessary renovations on top of this figure? Maybe David Seymour knows how to spend government money better than they do? Tony M.