Vaccine and borders
A number of recent letters make an optimistic link between the coming Covid vaccines and possible relaxation of border quarantine restrictions.
The efficacy of the vaccination against symptomatic disease is good but, unfortunately, the available published data from the large efficacy trials show that vaccination does not prevent the acquisition and asymptomatic carriage of this virus.
It may somewhat reduce the chances of asymptomatic infection (this is not yet established) but being vaccinated will not mean that an apparently healthy person can avoid quarantine as they could still be a superspreader.
For people who are vaccinated but do become infected anyway, their potential to transmit the virus is also not yet known.
Dr Damian Pethica, Laingholm.
Your article (NZ Herald, December 21) about preparations for the compulsory teaching of our history in 2022 raised important questions about its successful implementation.
Colonisation's mechanisms and effects are fundamental to understanding its positive and negative legacy. As the foremost exponent of "settler colonialism", Australian Patrick Woolf once said, that particular variety that depends on expulsions of indigenous population has had generational ripples we're still dealing with.
Our 1890s law, breaking up land estates, meant we have traditionally been compared with Australia and South Africa. But our success in setting up a widely accepted Treaty process, despite compensating for only around 5 per cent of taken land value, also gives us mediation credentials for record-suppression or in-denial countries. As per Israel's chief archivist Yaacov Lozowick finger-pointing his own government in 2018.
Making the subject student-friendly and teacher-friendly also requires ministry-led secondments to produce regularly edited, lesson-friendly IT clips, graded for level and ability. That would mean a regular secondment system, not leaving it to individuals or subject-associations. Plus a senior-school semester system enabling compulsory, universal and interesting teaching of civics possible – as well as other humanities choices that commentators such as Simon Wilson have been promoting - so far, unsuccessfully.
Steve Liddle, Napier.
Wealthy Israel is likely to start a Covid vaccination programme next week. It has secured supplies and the special refrigerators in order to vaccinate some 75 per cent of its citizens with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The settlers in the illegally occupied West Bank will be included.
However, the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza under Israeli control will have to wait to see whether the cash-strapped WHO Covax programme can help them.
Meanwhile, case numbers and deaths in densely populated Palestine are rising.
Undeniably, this is an example of the callous disregard for legal obligations to the five million Palestinians living in lands under Israeli control.
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert.
The Government's advice to New Zealanders to take precautions to avoid contracting and/or passing on Covid-19 over the imminent holiday period is patently insufficient.
Minister Hipkins has conveniently ignored the source of the risk to us all over the holiday period. It is the continuing arrival of passengers from high-risk Covid countries.
Professor Michael Baker has identified this as the greatest threat to our communities.
With Covid-19 now rampant in Britain, the EU and the US and a new local threat established in Sydney/NSW, the Government needs to urgently reconsider its strategy and deal decisively with the risk before the proverbial horse has a chance to bolt.
It is commonsense that the risk of Covid running through our communities in the summer months should be obviated by the best protective measures. The Government should take the sensible action of prohibiting the entry of persons whose travel originated in or was through Covid-rife foreign countries over that period.
Anthony Mercer, Howick.
Questions over sale
The opinion piece on the Laura Ferguson Trust disability rehab (NZ Herald, December 21) by Victoria Carter raised important questions.
My wife of 49 years, Marilyn, and I are members of the Laura Ferguson Trust and attended the AGMs of the trust in 2019 and 2020. Marilyn has had severe paraplegia for 70 years and used the rehabilitation facilities for her respite care for years.
My take on the two AGMs is that the board has three aims: One, to close the Auckland rehab facility. Two, to work out how to sell the property. And three, decide how to use the money from the sale.
Aim one is done and two is well underway. When I asked the chairman about how the sale money would be spent on the disabled, I was told I had it all wrong. I did not understand what I had wrong.
The website of Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation today has not informed the public that the rehabilitation facility is closed.
Will the gym and pool be bulldozed and the pool filled in? We the members of the trust and the public need to know what is planned for the sale money. And not after the money is spent.
Graham Woolford, Westmere.
In this new world of inclusivity, acceptance and "being kind" we are all striving for, why are so many trust boards' representatives so unrepresentative of those it should serve?
My disabled son received the benefit of swimming lessons for two years at the Laura Fergusson pool facility. It was, as Victoria Carter (NZ Herald, December 21) points out, a wonderful form of exercise and a place to meet other children with such needs. In Auckland, we have seen diminishing facilities and lack of funding for all kinds of living and activity-based organisations for the disabled. The Laura Fergusson facility is one of the best.
Meryll Williams, Blockhouse Bay.
Richard Carey suggests that whoever sold Ihumātao to Fletchers should pay that money to the Government to offset the cost of settling the dispute. In 1863, Ihumātao was taken "by proclamation" (confiscated) during the invasion of the Waikato under the New Zealand Settlements Act, in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.
In 1867, the land was acquired by Crown grant, formalising the theft from its rightful owners. It was then granted or sold to private ownership in 1869 and remained so until owners sold it to Fletchers in 2016.
In the end, whether granted or sold to private owners, the theft of this land by the Crown in the 1860s ultimately made it a matter for the Government to resolve in the present and this it has done.
Roy Harris, Papakura.
Driven to distraction
Drivers need to concentrate totally on what they are doing - the first rule we learn.
Yet, I experienced this: In a long queue waiting to get the green light to go on to the motorway, I naturally regularly checked the rear-vision mirror.
I saw the driver behind me using both hands to toss her hair around, then brush it, tie it up, then flick her hair loose again. All as we crept up to our lights.
Checking the mirror just before my turn to get the green light, there was a gap back
to her apparently stationary car, but she soon came up, this time holding up her phone. It was an utter relief to get my green light to enter the motorway and get away.
I hope she made it safely home, via the motorway, hair in place and messages checked. Drivers beware.
Rosemary Cobb, Takapuna.
I cannot understand why the proposed Penlink is to be a two-lane road.
The Silverdale, Whangaparāoa area is among the fastest growth areas in this part of New Zealand. Surely common sense demands a four-lane road?
Shades of the Auckland Harbour Bridge original planning.
As for a rail tunnel under the harbour to the North Shore, there isn't any rail network to connect to.
Double the size of the existing bridge and connecting roads makes more sense.
No matter what rail system is built, if ever, buses and cars will always be far more efficient and flexible.
Jim Radich, Red Beach.
Swing and miss
I had resigned myself to not seeing the Black Caps play on New Zealand soil this season but then I read last night that Spark have the rights for six years.
If this is true, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis with perfectly good TV sets will be deprived of the artistry of Kane Williamson in his prime, as well as following the careers of emerging players such as Jamieson and Duffy.
Fiona Downes, Hobsonville.
Short & sweet
The woman clearly has no capacity for moral reasoning - and the psychiatrist has prostituted him/herself in such a way as to being entirely without moral compass. Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
According to statistics, 122,000 taxpayers earn more than $150,000 - paying the highest tax rate in NZ. Maybe they could all offer a $1000 donation to the City Mission to help those in need. K. Wheeler, West Harbour.
The police are trained to catch bad guys. That is their raison d'etre. Telling them they can no longer do so is the antithesis of police work. I simply don't know how they can now be expected to do their job. Nick Kearney, Northcote.
I agree totally with Linda Lang (NZ Herald, December 21). On November 2, I posted two letters at Westgate. The letter to Auckland Central took exactly two weeks and the airmail birthday card to Sydney took five weeks and a day, missing the birthday on the 25th. Pauline Ereckson, West Harbour.
Those AC75s are just utterly beautiful, and those who design and sail them are really quite exceptional. The creativity displayed and the joy they have brought to so many of us seems pretty hard to equal anywhere. E. Richard Leary, Browns Bay.
The Cook Islands has always been Covid-free. No cases. None. Nil. The delay in including this realm country in a New Zealand bubble is illogical and unconscionable. Dr John Dunn, visiting surgeon, Rarotonga Hospital.
With the current outbreak in Sydney and a mutant strain of the virus running rampant in UK now would be the right time to shore up our borders. Reg Dempster, Albany.
Do not worry kids, Santa's elves made him a face mask too, there will still be presents this year. Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.