Green light for the vaccinated
I hope the Ministry of Health and others move quickly on Covid-19 vaccination passports for New Zealand.
The Government does not seem interested in a more sophisticated approach to MIQ, such as the creation of specialist quarantine facilities allowing urgently needed skilled people to enter the country for employment in the primary, construction and high-tech sectors. International student business is mostly on hold. Persons wanting to return to be with a loved one with a terminal illness need a more flexible system even more urgently.
Surely we should be moving swiftly towards a more nuanced approach where holders of vaccine passports, or at least proof of vaccination with a clear Covid test in the three-day pre-departure period, could be exempt from quarantine, or possibly self-isolate in their own accommodation for an agreed period. This sort of approach is being adopted in other countries and New Zealand must move towards a long-term solution that does not simply rely on a virus elimination strategy (which will never happen) and severely limiting border crossings.
John Raine, Devonport.
Close to $1 billion for a new bicycle bridge with concurrent cancellation of two important road upgrades in South Auckland. Net result, increased carbon emissions from years of continuing gridlocked traffic.
Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.
Charging for progress
It is good to see a healthy discussion (NZ Herald, June 22) on vehicle congestion.
The only answer I can see is implementation of a metro system; a bridge toll, that would in effect progressively reduce car movements by encouraging drivers to carpool, reducing their toll cost, and reducing emissions; and a toll system on the major motorways in Auckland (probably other cities also), again by encouraging carpooling, which will reduce CO2 emissions, as well as reducing traffic issues.
The toll charges must not be tiny, and this could be a considerable problem for many drivers. But drivers can reduce their weekly travel costs by carpooling, effectively halving the cost with one sharing passenger, or reducing by a third if carrying two passengers.
If we are to make any difference to the health of the city and of the world, we are all going to have to make some changes to how we run our lives.
John Pezaro, Birkenhead.
So, America's Cup technology could slash the cost of Auckland's $685m bike bridge, says tech expert (NZ Herald, June 22). Consigning the idiotic idea to the rubbish bin would slash the cost to zero.
Cyclists are frequent attendees at urgent medical centres and, at times, ambulances are required to travel on roads in order to transport them there
And for those who haven't yet read the news - our hospitals and other medical services are short on doctors and nurses.
Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
The article by Bryan Leyland (NZ Herald, June 22) was a breath of "fresh air".
He succinctly identifies and explains the realities associated with implementing an electric vehicles policy as part of the CO2 reduction strategy and highlights the current Government's well-meaning ineptitude.
I see Japanese manufacturers are increasing the prices of electric vehicles by an amount similar to the subsidy incentive provided by the Government. Price gouging, or an anticipation of the increased cost of battery manufacturing where smart investors are acquiring raw material supply chains to make super-profits?
There is no substitute for knowledge, experience and common sense.
John Garlick, Remuera.
The opinion piece (NZ Herald, June 22) by Bryan Leyland proved informative and compelling reading. Consequently, it seems, the proposed feebates scheme is ill-conceived. Many recent policy decisions although well-intended are likely to ensure a downside. Changes to property law have created rental shortages, the ban on oil and gas exploration will generate higher energy costs, an adherence to a quantitative easing strategy has seen escalating house and rental prices plus the possible enactment of Labour's Fair Pay Agreement, all policies which will prove inflationary and generate outcomes which will ironically impact on Government's support base, their feebates proposal no exception.
P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.
Re: Bryan Leyland (NZ Herald, June 22), it is true Tesla has received an estimated $2.4 billion of US government support but, as context, Ford has received $33 billion for its fossil fuel operation; General Motors $50 billion; and Chrysler $17 billion.
The article states electric vehicles are heavier than their fossil fuel counterparts (true) and generate more brake dust. Most electric vehicle braking is done by regenerating energy which is fed back into the battery and not by using the friction brakes, so less brake dust is generated.
It is also claimed new petrol engines are on the verge of being 50 per cent more efficient. Modern internal combustion engines are approaching the limits of the second law of thermodynamics and a 50 per cent improvement is impossible.
It also states it will be 20 years at best before battery raw material prices drop substantially because it takes 16 years to develop a new mine. Miners have been aware of EV developments. Australia is the largest producer of lithium and has been growing supply at 30 per cent per annum over the last decade. Chile is set to triple production over the next seven years.
Keith Ballagh, Mt Eden.
What the large oil companies have is reserves, research staff and a worldwide network of service centres.
Looking five to 10 years ahead, those service stations will be able to swap a battery. Initially, this may take 10 minutes but in time becomes no longer than filling up with petrol or diesel. The service station will recharge the battery using wind and solar power.
Yes, there are challenges, including common battery terminals, weight and ease of removing it. Vehicle manufactures who don't liaise with the battery manufacturers and suppliers will miss out.
While new vehicles will most likely come with a battery and capacity of choice, It will be possible to own an electric vehicle without ever owning a battery, just run a minimum sum with one of the service centres and pay for the swap.
Ray Lichtwark, Rotorua.
It is pleasing to see the Government, at last, doing something about the state of the Hauraki Gulf fisheries (NZ Herald, June 22).
This has been an ongoing problem for more than 50 years, which successive governments have ignored, to the detriment of the fishery.
Governments have the responsibility under the Fisheries Act to manage fish stocks, and the bottom line is that it is the government of the day that must do this.
At last something is happening.
John Chibnall, Paihia.
Sadly, yet another very expensive report on the state of the Hauraki Gulf to clutter the coffee table without any meaningful action? Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
"Insanity verdict at murder trial" (NZ Herald, June 22) detailed yet another atrocious murder by a schizophrenic sufferer.
A generation ago, we had proper mental hospitals and proper legislation. Acutely psychotic people simply weren't allowed in our community – police were obliged to contain them and place them in a mental institution. This was to safeguard innocent citizens, of course – but equally to protect psychotic persons against their own actions, which they cannot control.
By enacting the cynical, odious 1992 Mental Health Act and by wantonly destroying our nationwide system of mental hospitals, with thousands of psychiatric inpatient beds, all properly staffed with psychiatrists, psychologists, specialised social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, etc., we have created a hotbed of mental health problems in New Zealand.
We threw the baby out with the bathwater – the baby being true charity towards our mentally ill.
Andy Espersen, Nelson.
Julie Cadzow (NZ Herald, June 22) commented on problems with access to and parking at Auckland City Hospital.
It is 20 years since the decision was made to split Auckland's hospital services into overnight stay services at the city site, and day-stay services at the Greenlane site.
The city site is now clearly overburdened while the Greenlane site has many tired buildings and much derelict land available for redevelopment and is so much more accessible.
Is the ADHB planning to make better use of the Greenlane site to help resolve some of these issues?
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
We currently have an emissions trading scheme based on the planting of trees to help mitigate the CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. We are soon to institute a pricing system for agriculture emissions.
Perhaps it's now time to take this one step further.
The more wealthy a citizen becomes, the greater the increase in one's carbon footprint through buying more and bigger vehicles, homes, boats, helicopters etc, all producing greater volumes of CO2 through manufacture or use.
As theoretically we should all have equal rights, and with a value placed per ton of CO2 produced, perhaps it's time to allocate carbon credits to everyone equally based on an average amount of CO2 presently produced per individual. Those whose wealth currently allows them to burn more fossil fuels must then buy surplus credits from those who burn less than the average. This would at least help equalise the standard of living, although none of the trading schemes are likely to reduce carbon emissions which are causing global warming.
David F Little, Maunu.
Congestion charges for Auckland's busiest roads
This would be the final death knell for businesses in Auckland. We already try to avoid the city at busy times, if there was a congestion charge we would just never visit again. It's really not that special a place. Steve S
Congestion charges are effective and fair if, and only if, the alternative public transport is fast, efficient and readily available. Auckland is decades away from having this available so any introduction earlier is just another ill-thought through attempt to tax our behaviour into submission. How about doing something to inspire a behaviour change? Christopher Tama M
I think congestion charges have to be in Auckland's future but some of these exemption pleas are ridiculous. Looking at Auckland's train network, one of the problems is that express trains can't operate due to only having two tracks in most places. You go to cities like Sydney and there are express trains from the outer suburbs. Adrian J
I would like to suggest that if there was a rapid, efficient public transport system, commuters would use it. There isn't, so commuters drive. I visit Auckland regularly and cannot get to where I need via public transport so I have to have a car. Another tax won't resolve that issue. Rae H
Great if the train network was up to scratch. I'm a regular train commuter and I think I get at least 3-4 messages a day from Auckland Transport that there's a disruption to my service - and that's just the southern line. Currently the southern line is operating on reduced services because of a track fault. It started last week with "expect Monday to Thursday reduced service" - then Friday "reduced services" - Sunday they threw their hands in the air "reduced services until further notice". Jan W
Sure - congestion charges are fine, but there have to be alternative options for transport at the same time. Does anyone really think Aucklanders enjoy sitting in traffic - or maybe, even with all the hassles at present that is still the most efficient and cost-effective way to get where they need to go? Ted H
The rich will love congestion charges as it clears the roads just for them. Graham A
Most liveable city in the world? You must be joking. We have City of Sails turned into City of Snails, then City of Fails. Now we're about to have City of Fares. James K