Letter of the week: Paul Chadwick, Stonefields.
The article about the public distrust of scientists by Michelle Dickinson (Weekend Herald, June 6) echoes something which has bothered me for some years and is one of
the reasons why I never became a scientist.
One aspect that the public should realise is that the person who will find a vaccine for Covid-19 will be a research scientist working in a back-room laboratory. If you look at the polio vaccine, it is often called the Salk Sabin vaccine, named after the scientists who developed it. They didn't name it after the American equivalent of Ashley Bloomfield in the 1950s who authorised the mass vaccination.
Often people look down on jobs such as research scientist and computer programmer because of their back-room nature without realising the intellectual input into these jobs. I have never felt this because some of the greatest achievements in humankind were in a backroom mode such as the polio vaccine or Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.
Scientists should be regarded highly just for their back-room work alone and should not have to demonstrate their ability to communicate.
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An innocent's eyes
The people cheered and clapped, the ministers bowed and fawned, reporters hastily scribbled accolades and the country moved to Level 1. But one little boy laughed and pointed, "The Emperor's wearing no Covid!"
A week before he had been to Aotearoa Square with thousands of others to protest about a killing in a faraway kingdom. No one social-distanced. Speakers exhaled the virtues of making society better. The boy remembered other gatherings he had attended, and it seemed that things had already returned to the way they were before Covid-19.
He travelled home on public transport. It was a bit squashed, but he enjoyed the closeness of comrades and their excited banter. When he got home, he watched the Leader and a General with troops of the 5 Million Army, photo'd close together (if fleetingly). He felt sure that "normality" ("normalcy") had returned.
He was puzzled the next morning to find that "the lockdown" was apparently still in effect. The frontlines grimly making gains. He was reassured the battle would soon be won. The boy wondered if he needed to "self-isolate" after breaking the lockdown "rules". But his parents said nothing; so, it must have been okay.
It seemed somewhat anti-climactic when peace talks were announced a few days later. He wondered what future fashions would bring, now that "lockdown style" had proven so accepted.
Dr Mike Schmidt, Pakuranga.
It will be astounding if the policemen involved in George Floyd's death aren't found guilty of his murder. But they will also be indirectly responsible for death and injury resulting from the demonstrations and violent rioting their actions have incited - including via the potential for Covid-19 transmission amongst massive and vocal crowds.
J. Livingstone, Ōrākei.
Where credit's due
I ordered and paid online. Later on I received a message to say the goods couldn't be delivered. After hours of trying, I eventually got through and asked for my money back.
"Can't do that," came the reply. "We'd go broke if we gave everyone their cash back."
"But it's my money," I said. "I want it back."
"Sorry, best we can offer is a credit for half of what you paid."
"You've got to be kidding."
"Yeah well, there's GST and other fees to consider. But we could offer you another deal at twice the price."
"I don't want another deal. I want my money back."
"No can do."
"But that's theft."
"Could be. But there's nothing you can do about it. We're in our rights.
"Now if there's anything else I can help you with…"
Eric G. Toplis, Taupō.
I was once pulled over and fined by NZ police for speeding while pulling a boat trailer. I know I wasn't speeding because I was on cruise control set at 90km/h in a 100km/h zone. No amount of explaining could get the police officer to change her mind.
I was really frustrated and annoyed but I paid up because I had no option.
Being a tall, white male, this sort of thing rarely happens to me. In fact, in 43 years it has only happened once. Imagine what it must be like to be a brown-skinned person and having this sort of thing happening all the time.
I believe it is the anonymity of police that leads to this type of behaviour. Police should be required to wear their badge number in really large font. It would then be easy for everyone to identify the good ones and the bad ones. Citizens should be encouraged to dob-in police for good behaviour as well as bad.
It is time for police to change and this would be a simple and inexpensive way to start.
John Caldwell, Howick.
Statues of limitations
I don't think it would be such a bad thing if New Zealand took off the rose-tinted spectacles with which we are inclined to view our past and embraced a bit of iconoclasm.
The All Blacks have a well-known policy around team culture and fit often referred to as the "no dickheads" rule.
If we were to apply that rule to our statues, street names and a few other vestiges of our colonial past then there would be quite a bit that wouldn't pass muster.
I don't think New Zealand is by any means short of truly great heroes to replace them with.
John Christiansen, Mt Albert.
Statues and memorial edifices are erected to record and remind future generations of individual achievements and events.
It is understandable that on occasions such as the killing of George Floyd, emotions are raised and statues destroyed in the heat of the moment. However what may be tolerable in such circumstances cannot be permitted to become too widespread. What if those offended by nudity decided to destroy the statue of David?
Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.
I well remember the rapid expansion of the Warehouse outlets in the 1990s, one of which was constructed in our town. From that time on, the impact resulted in the gradual closures of a significant number of local family "speciality" shops that had grown with the town over the years, but gradually disappeared off the main street due to the bulk pricing competition from the Red Shed, resulting in the empty shops and the resulting subtle changes to the character of the town.
The Warehouse appears to be staying here for now, but perhaps there are opportunities again for family specialty shops to open up once again in the affected towns to fill the vacuum created by the Warehouse closures.
Norman Izett, Whakatane.
A quick word
Australian authorities have been given permission to destroy a killer shark. Yes, the shark caused a death, but who was in whose territory? Lois Taylor, Taupō.
It's a bit rich for the PM to criticise a private sector company for trying to optimise its workforce, notwithstanding it received a wage subsidy. Perhaps closer attention should be given to no redundancies in the more highly paid public sector. Jim Stanborough, St Johns.
Perhaps Paul Goldsmith should learn how to knit? It would be much more useful than spending his time making inappropriate comments. Brent Innes, Milford.
The glass ceiling is alive and well, a young woman (albeit the Prime Minster) "daring" to have her say on a business decision? Heaven forbid. Neil Anderson, Algies Bay.
Hang in there Air New Zealand, non-refundable means exactly what it says. Ericson List, Papamoa Beach.
With the country just having worked together to get on top of Covid-19, now seems a great time to use that collective feeling of being kind to tackle the issue of racism in New Zealand. Dunstan Sheldon II, Hamilton.
I wonder how many of today's youth will reflect fondly in the future and realise that their literary success in travel writing was initiated by starting a post-Covid-19 location diary? Bryan Johnson, Ōmokoroa.
The United States and the rest of the world need to learn from the example of New Zealand, and how it got rid of Covid-19. John Huerta, Warren, Arkansas, USA.
As the country celebrates its first weekend of level 1 freedoms, the anti-drink-drug-drive message should be hammered loud and clear. Needless tragedy and mayhem on our roads should not be a price we have to pay for eliminating Covid-19. Joe O'Brien, New Lynn.
When will the re-evaluation of the Minister of Health's position be carried out as promised by the Prime Minister during lockdown? Janet Boyle, Ōrewa.
We should open our border with the Covid-19-free Pacific Islands. What happened to our Prime Minister's advice to be kind? Let's boost our neighbours' economies - Air NZ would also benefit. B. Sullivan, St Heliers.
Companies, having benefited from the wage subsidy, are now laying off staff; is it so they can re-employ them and get the job start payment if National gets elected? Peter Kelly, Glendene.
Human trafficking exists to this day. Surely that is what we should be fighting against rather than some inanimate roosting spot for pigeons. K D Payne, Wattle Downs.
The dystopian world is fast approaching. When do we start burning books? Alan Milton, Cambridge.
Instead of being one of thousands choked to death, I'm alive and truly resentful of the bitter rantings of those jealous that a young woman could have led us successfully through the past few months. Mike Carter, Papamoa.