We remain naive and vulnerable
Derek Cheng's article (NZ Herald, July 2) on Covid-19 vaccination includes the statement "there is a clear case for a slower rollout given how our communities are Covid free". Such a statement should not go unchallenged.
Freedom from a disease means that such communities have minimal numbers of the population who have acquired immunity from previous exposure to, and recovery from, the disease, resulting in a virtually totally susceptible (naive) population should the disease be introduced to such a community. For Covid-19, New Zealand has one of the world's more naive populations, and the present low percentage of the population protected by vaccination means that, currently, we continue to rely on stopping the introduction of the virus at the border.
I would contend that there is a clearer case for the most rapid vaccination rollout possible.
Brian Milestone, New Plymouth.
Matthew Hooton's premise (NZ Herald, July 2) is that people die from the flu and on the roads, so why shouldn't some die from Covid? What's wrong that?
It was nurses and doctors unvaccinated with little PPE, ready to risk their lives - as in Italy - when our modelling heroes made a best estimate; they would be overwhelmed by exponential transmission.
Nurses are undervalued still by media commentators. Why not deny yourself the vaccines and just live with it now? Put your money where your mouth is and simulate the risk for health workers.
Living is a choice for us all - it was made quite clear at the election wasn't it? Nurses and doctors have the right to life too, and thank our mathematical modellers. We all should.
Steve Russell, Hillcrest.
I am pleased we are an ethical, non-queue-jumping nation (NZ Herald, July 2). I am impressed our rollout has been as fast as the rate of supply allows. I accept the inevitability of the occasional glitch in such a huge operation.
I did wonder about the lack of any apparent logic in the sequence of call-ups, so I asked my electorate MP. He came back with a clear answer — it is totally random, within each cohort, and the reason is fairness. That makes sense — any other approach would cause all sorts of time-wasting ructions.
As Fred famously opined: there is good reason to appreciate how propitious are the circumstances.
Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
Exchange of ideas
The proposed extension of hate speech to include religion and several other categories seems designed to limit legitimate debate and the free exchange of ideas. Ideas and beliefs need to be exposed and debated or even ridiculed if necessary. It's the only reason we are a free, democratic, secular country today.
Some people seem to have little experience or respect for the notion of the free exchange of ideas and public debate. They seem to be not able to cope with different views to their own. Are we to remodel our entire society to suit them?
The Government should be very wary of hasty changes to our rights to freedom of speech. Drive the debate of ideas underground and you may find that tolerance fades and animosity grows between people with different ideas and beliefs.
Free speech is the foundation stone of a free society.
June Brookes, Glendowie.
Fear of recrimination, since the advent of anti-smacking laws, keeps the general population in line while the real culprits continue their carnage behind closed doors.
The proposed hate speech legislation will have the same chilling effect on ordinary citizens, driving harmful human rights behaviour underground.
The optimal way forward is to have honest conversations, not more legislation.
Mary Tallon, Takapuna.
On political zingers, Lynley Ward (NZ Herald, July 2) missed the best ever - David Lange on Winston Peters.
Winston arrived late for Lange's valedictory speech. Lange without breaking his verbal stride welcomed the latecomer with: "Ah, Winston, detained by a full-length mirror I presume."
David Hopkins, Remuera.
Economy of scale
Brian Fallows' article Water reform v parish pump politics (NZ Herald, July 2) states in part "But while Watercare might be best in class in NZ, if falls well short - 65 per cent short on its latest numbers - in terms of operating costs of the average for water companies in England and Wales".
What is not stated is that England and Wales have 14 times the economy of scale compared with New Zealand, let alone Watercare. A huge advantage when it comes to operating costs.
The Government has not taken this into account when calculating the likely costs per ratepayer and therefore estimated costs are flawed. Sadly, this is not the only flaw.
Brian Mclachlan, Whangārei.
Despite the Government repeating that they want us to be diligent with our contact tracing, businesses seem to be displaying their manual tracing resisters less often, which makes the whole contact tracing job harder. If you don't have your phone with you, then you can't contact trace.
Cook Islands, where I am taking a short mid-winter break, has an ingenious solution to that, with a scheme called CookSafe. When you arrive at the airport you are issued with your own QR code on a card, then when you visit businesses you hold that card up to a cellphone mounted near the entrance, which takes a photo of your code. In other words, instead of you taking a photo of a business's QR code with your phone, the business's phone takes a photo of your personal QR code. Very simple, very effective, and I wonder why New Zealand isn't doing that.
Jeremy Hall, Hauraki.
Regarding the article about the five-level development in Ponsonby (NZ Herald, July 2).
Who made the heritage impact assessment that "there is potential for adverse affects to occur which are minor"? This is very obviously a subjective statement. To go from a built low-level area to a boxy development of five levels is obviously more than minor.
I thought architects were supposed to design with concern for the surrounding area, this development does nothing of the sort. It looks like the architects saw their children building a boxy structure with Lego and thought "that's great, we'll add a few vertical/horizontal lines and say that's a high-quality design".
In no way is it "subservient to the heritage features". I don't think current architects know how to add character to their designs that will be admired in the future. Adding multimillion-dollar apartments doesn't automatically create great design.
I agree with Allan Matson and John Elliot that this development does not honour the heritage of the area and is a monstrous, imposing building.
Rick Vine, Ponsonby.
Clusters of high-rise dwellings are Auckland Council's latest idea for getting commuters out of their cars and into public transport.
But do they quantify to what extent this can be achieved? And at what cost?
The decline in commuters' use of buses, trains and light rail is a trend in densely populated countries where public transport networks are already established.
Across the entire UK, including London, 68 per cent of commuters use private vehicles, 4 per cent more than seven years ago.
To prevent unnecessary cost and crippling debt it is imperative that Auckland Council planners understand the reason for this trend. Then they would turn away from traditional forms of public transport.
Peter Webster, Beachlands.
Tour de France
For all those wanting to crucify this lady who caused the cyclists to crash, sure she shouldn't have been so close to the road, but she obviously thought the cyclists would well see her in advance and avoid her and all she wanted to do was get a message to her Grandma and Grandpa.
She has been through enough, be kind everyone.
Alan Walker, St Heliers.
Short & sweet
I have had my jab, correspondence re rollout is now closed. Reg Dempster, Albany.
If the Government genuinely gave a toss about young people's mental health, it would fund Gumboot Friday. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
A beneficial side effect of hate speech laws would be a reduction in gossip - perhaps even invoking a golden era of silence, in cafes for example. I would welcome that. Geoff Tisch, Birkenhead.
I was surprised to see politicians in the House ridiculing the name Karen, actually an oppressed race in Myanmar. Informed citizens would not normally be disrespectful to these people. Wayne Brewer, Remuera.
I don't like change. I prefer it short and sweet, left to right, not up and down. John Ford, Taradale.
I can't help thinking that, if the All Blacks v Tonga had been a boxing match, the referee would have stepped in to stop the "contest". John Pollock, Golflands.
It's not just about interest on borrowed money (mortgages) but the cost of living generally. Everything is rising at an increasing rate as governments across the globe ramp up construction. Trouble is, wages are being kept very low so the number who cannot afford housing, transport, food, etc is growing steadily. It's going to get much, much worse, and will bring social problems we have never seen in NZ before. John Brian J
This is a very good time not to panic and keep a cool head. So far the warning appears to be well in advance so there is time to make some adjustments.
It is possible that household debt interest rates will be at the front of the queue for a rates rise. A mortgage rate rise will follow; credit card; car finance; buy now, pay later; etc. Lowering/eliminating that debt would be most helpful further down the track. Steve T
Everybody is raising prices - ignore at your peril. Michael R
Brilliant that Jacinda and co are removing interest as a business expense for residential property providers then, isn't it?
Interest rates rise, landlords have to increase rents to offset the increased cost or else they pull out of providing rental property all together.
Good on you Labour, that's really going to benefit renters. Richard C
The greedy ones will raise rents anyway. Using the interest rate rise as an excuse to squeeze more money out of their tenants. Denise F
I don't need excuses. if there is an increase in the costs of running property it gets passed on as quickly as possible. Don't confuse astute with greed, but rather put greed and envy together. Roy H
Hopefully, they won't buy any more houses and leave them for first home buyers. It is those with high mortgage that should be concerned. As house prices drop others will be able to buy houses with a lower mortgage. Colin B
When investors could outbid would-be home owners knowing that they had the advantage of claiming mortgage interest as an expense, many who would have had their own home had to remain renting. Whoever bought the house made no difference to the number of houses available. Since a home owner could not claim interest as an expense, removing the investors' advantage is only fair. Phyllis B