Land of the long vaccination queue
The New York Times reports New Zealand now sits in 98th place in a field of 156 countries for vaccination rates. It reports New Zealand has administered 2.8 doses
per 100 people and Australia 6 doses per 100. It is sobering to see New Zealanders would get much better access to vaccines if they lived in Fiji, Colombia or Bolivia.
The claimed explanation for this lack of mobilisation is placed on the low Covid rates in New Zealand, and this logic may be correct if you assume New Zealanders are happy to become an isolated, hermit kingdom tucked away in the South Pacific.
However, these lamentable circumstances are more likely attributed to the Government's ongoing inability to get stuff done.
For those of us with jobs that require travel and who work with the world, the Government's kindness is failing to serve us.
Steve Reindler, St Heliers.
Shaken to act
Given the 75 per cent chance of a major alpine fault earthquake within the next 50 years (NZ Herald, April 20), one wonders what true, comprehensive strategic planning is in place or proposed both to mitigate, recover from, and protect the integrity of infrastructure, life, residential, and commercial property.
The cost to our tourism sector, the economy, the disruption to daily existence could be overwhelming and sustained, with far-reaching long-term consequences for the country. Equally, we face numerous other potential environmental, natural, and man-made threats.
Surely it is time for the establishment of a well-funded ministry charged solely with reviewing our preparedness for such disasters and calamities, that could be a hub ministry that liaises with other key ministries and stakeholders, commissions research involving leading national and international experts, and produces policy papers advocating thorough, robust policy proposals.
If New Zealand's geology, history, geographical location, and growing environmental challenges have taught us anything, it is surely that we must be prepared as soundly and thoroughly as possible.
Sam Clements, Hauraki.
Two letters (NZ Herald, April 20) have a connection. Anne Martin writes of urban sprawl and Mike Schmidt of the Climate Change Commission whose report covers opportunities to mitigate ruminant methane emissions. While these opportunities may offer some positive results, their impact will be negligible.
The targeting of an industry that is already carbon neutral is to draw attention away from the main players in the emissions profile. The energy and transport sectors whose emissions are the real issue, remain firmly in the "too hard basket".
Combine those sectors with rapidly expanding urbanisation and you have the root cause of the warming planet. Little will be achieved before governments resolve to tackle the real issues and move on from sticking plaster measures that achieve nothing more than to provide political window dressing.
George Williams, Whangamatā.
During the Covid-19 epidemic we sadly lost 26 of our population but we also lost close to 400 people on our roads due to a wide range of factors causing the accidents. Excessive speed certainly contributed to the fatal outcomes.
We spent billions of dollars protecting our citizens from the pandemic for which we must all be thankful.
We now have been advised (NZ Herald, April 20) that Auckland Council has spent $97 million on installing speed bumps around our urban areas to encourage motorists to reduce speed, hoping for reduced deaths. Surely a more effective way would be to increase speed surveillance cameras funded by increased penalties for those who choose to ignore our legal speed limits.
Most Auckland drivers exceed our speed limits; when can we expect those speed limits to be enforced?
Dick Ayres, Central Auckland.
No doubt Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have calculated the environmental and health effects due to the proliferation of speed humps about the city (NZ Herald, April 20).
Nitrogen monoxide and carbon monoxide levels are shown to be two to five times greater close to these traffic calming systems, due to vehicles braking then accelerating.
Pity the locals on these poisonous streets.
Stewart Hawkins, St Heliers.
Money for jam
How, in this crazy city of ours (Auckland), can nearly $140,000 be spent on each of 700 speed bumps (NZ Herald, April 20)?
You can build a small house for that much; a speed bump is a lump of concrete. I'm in the wrong business.
Chris Blenkinsopp, Beach Haven.
With the move to increase housing throughout the country, are the councils planning and budgeting for the increased water and sewerage that will be required, especially where we are seeing a house being sold and in some cases five apartments of two storeys - a total of 10 apartments - going onto the site.
The councils will be extracting far more rates off these sites, and accordingly must be able to provide both water and sewerage for these people, along with upgrading our current water and sewerage systems to meet the existing demand.
Auckland already has a dire shortage of water, and we also know that the current sewerage system is under strain.
Barry Cairns, Green Lane.
If the reality TV border control shows from both Australia and NZ are to believed, they reveal an extremely cavalier approach by Customs officers to the biosecurity of both countries.
Videos show that time after time passengers are found to have undeclared food, plant or animal material in their luggage and these officers just slap them on the wrist and issue a fine.
Compare that to passengers found with drugs. Police are called, arrests and possible deportation ensue.
Totally out of proportion responses. Biosecurity breaches which could end up decimating a country's industry get a token punishment whereas drugs which admittedly can cause harm but nothing like that of biosecurity breaches, get criminal treatment.
It should be the other way around – NZers arriving with undeclared biosecurity items should be criminalised and heavily fined and foreigners also fined and immediately deported.
Unless both countries get serious about biosecurity, eventually industries we depend on for the bulk of our export income could be decimated.
Robin McGrath, Birkenhead.
The article "Growing digital divide" (NZ Herald, April 19), focusing on "people on low incomes who have lower levels of education" ignores the plight of the elderly, many of whom are well-educated but not digitally wired - and don't want to be.
To add insult to injury, we can't use cheques any more. We can't do a thing without a playlist of complicated passwords, PIN numbers, SIM cards and apps.
And we don't want to run around everywhere with a smartphone in our hand all the time. In fact, this digital cult is just making our lives uncomfortably tiresome.
Jack Waters, Taupō.
Where once the mighty and useful Panmure roundabout stood, allowing access and egress to all the surrounding roads, we now have the worst of confusing lanes, peculiarly sited traffic lights and long waits for the green light, involving many phases.
Unbelievably, after all this, there is no longer access to all the roads.
How do other users view this "improvement"?
Tanya Fitzpatrick, Mt Wellington.
I love the way Matt Heath uses quotes from Marcus Aurelius in his column.
There is always a better way and the Stoics had the right idea. "The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. The only infallible good is virtue which includes the usual list: wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation".
I would add Matt Heath's sense of humour.
Margaret Brothers, Pt Chevalier.
Short & sweet
In view of Auckland Transport's prominent activities around Auckland, I suggest that its name be changed to Conesburgh. Geoff Barlow, Remuera.
My wife and I went into our local supermarket and bought a piece of packaged salmon, it was very nice. My wife read the packaging, it said "produced in Norway and processed in Germany". J Longson, Kawerau.
I suggest a cable-car to carry cyclists and pedestrians over the harbour. Cheap to install, little disruption and a pleasant view whilst crossing. Gerry Carver, Tauranga.
I understand the need for cycleways, there are a few more cyclists. On the whole, there is no need for broad cycle and shared paths. These are clogging the roads and ridiculous to the hilt. Nishi Fahmy, Avondale.
The 40s drone flight on Mars is being hailed as a wonderful human achievement. When 700 million humans go to bed hungry, I think there are more important goals to be achieved. Warwick Reed, Te Mata.
Your correspondent Charles Hadfield (NZ Herald, April 20) is quite right - what planet has Matthew Hooton been on? This Government's incompetence is far from comical, as Hooton asserted. It is seriously damaging. Philip Lenton, Somerville.
Megan Woods' quote of the year for the Government's unlawful spending of $30m of taxpayer money on Ihumātao is – this is a technical error. It sure was a technical error, a very unscrupulous one. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.