Queue for quandary
The report (NZ Herald, July 12) of the misery and sometimes desperation felt by Kiwis trying to return from overseas reflects reality.
We are told that the present difficulties are due to high levels of demand for a product with limited supply. That, even with a form of waiting list, there would still be insufficient spaces to fulfil the demand. But where supply cannot meet demand, it is important to ask whether the current way of assigning rooms is the fairest.
Might it not be better to have an orderly queue and book-ahead system, where all who need to return to New Zealand wait their turn? A confirmed assigned date, even if it is six months away, allows the traveller and his waiting family a chance to plan their lives for the interim. It also reflects better the ideal of fairness that many of us hold dear.
Peter Lee, Singapore, wanting to be home in Dunedin.
A report of a home care worker (NZ Herald, July 13) who failed to attend an elderly patient who was found lying injured two days later, and subsequently died, is incredible.
Home care workers are trusted to enter and care for vulnerable people within our community. They assist with personal care and household help. They often have unescorted and free access in the homes of their clients.
We now know this unidentified care worker has stolen time from their employer and subsequently lied to cover up when their actions, which may have contributed to the death of a client. And this person is apparently still employed in this position.
Privacy issues do not allow details of the employer or employee's name to be made public.
If this person continues to work in this industry I believe the clients and their families have a right to know who (or at least where) they are. We should be able to make our own judgement call as to whether we want them to have access to the homes of our vulnerable or elderly family members.
Quentin Miller, Te Atatū Sth.
The closure of the Forbury Park Trotting Club in Dunedin and the amalgamation of the Auckland and Counties Racing Clubs highlights the need, if not done already, to rezone aĺl racing club land, golf courses and the reclamations adjoining marinas as public open space to ensure present and future generations can enjoy "the lungs of our cities" and retain their special recreation, landscape and historic character.
Time is of the essence, because the administrators and owners of these areas are coming under increasing financial pressure to sell off these areas, to ensure their financial viability, for multimiĺlion-dollar high density housing, which can be built anywhere.
There are no second chances if this occurs, which would be sad and disappointing. The vision, foresight and action of our forefathers and mothers is essential to stop this occurring. Let us collectively get on with it.
Bruce Tubb Belmont.
The Government has warned that employees will have to tread very carefully and it is a very big step to demand that the nearly 2000 unvaccinated people working at our ports of entry get vaccinations before September 30 this year.
The very same Government, however, is riding rough-shod over the rights of about two million ratepayers with the proposal to strip district councils of their "Three Waters" infrastructure and hand it to four boards made up of unelected iwi and local government members.
All this without any consultation with the ratepayers, who just happen to be the people who financed the infrastructure.
Keith Hay, secretary, Katikati-Waihi Beach Residents And Ratepayers Association.
I disagree with Simon Wilson (NZ Herald, July 13).
National is correct to be concerned New Zealanders aren't getting a say in our future. No matter how much we Kiwis debate the issue in our corporate programmes, in council agencies, in schools, other learning institutions and amongst ourselves; our current Government continues to blithely change laws, and alter the course of our future for us by the stroke of their Parliamentary pens without the real debate, where it matters – in the parliamentary process – to fully ensure all New Zealand voices are heard and considered.
National has a winning strategy - protecting New Zealand's democracy - under threat through our current Government's smoke and mirrors PR-driven agenda which offers little substance, no openness and a Prime Minister who refuses to answer the hard questions and passes the microphone over to others.
"Demand the Debate" is about asking for our rights as New Zealanders to have our democratic rights exercised in Parliament on our behalf - which unfortunately has not been the case these past four and a half years.
Maxine Nisbet, Mt Eden.
I was amazed but not surprised by Felicia Chen's letter (NZ Herald, July 13) about life skills not being taught in schools. I am 69 and remember thinking exactly the same when I left school with little ability to fill in forms, pay bills or cook.
That things haven't changed in 50 years is extremely disappointing.
Back in the 60s, of course, only girls were given the opportunity to learn how to cook and sew. In a much more enlightened society today, you would think life skills would be given at least some priority for all at school.
Mark Buckley, Botany Downs.
Rangitoto is a dormant volcano, not an extinct one (Travel, July 13).
Please make sure that everyone realises this and that they therefore need to take care when they visit this island. Stay safe, as Jacinda might put it.
Iain Wakefield, Drury.
Should we feel pride, envy or perhaps disgust at the rich and famous travelling on Virgin Galactic?
Given his lifestyle, Richard Branson has been described as " having the largest carbon footprint on the planet", and "having the carbon footprint of Tasmania", so it was touching to see that in his effort to minimise this, he rode a bike to the launch site to "offset" part of it.
It would be interesting to know what the emissions tally of this venture has so far been, and whether Greta Thunberg has yet booked a ride.
Nick Nicholas, Greenlane.
Money to burn
The editorial (NZ Herald, July 13) bemoaned that some rich, self-made billionaires (Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson), have chosen to spend their money on developing private spaceships rather than on philanthropy.
It is their money and like everyone else, they can spend their money on whatever they want.
Surely it is better to celebrate their achievements and give hope to the impoverished of New Zealand that by studying hard, working hard and having a bit of luck, they too can have the possibility of flying to the Moon in their own spaceship, if that is what they want to do?
Bruce Robertson, Westmere.
So Virgin Galactic plans to take a tourist to space every day (NZ Herald, July 13) and "here's what it could cost you". More important is what it will cost the planet.
A space shuttle uses enough fuel for two million cars to get into orbit.
Sir Richard Branson and his sociopathic ilk are not actually needed. They will be forgotten as soon as they are dead - because they take everything and give nothing.
Elon Musk is a genius - not a grandstander - and very funny (at least to me) - so I permit him his indulgence.
Most of the rest of them - including Bezos - could enhance the planet by competing in a single mass space race - to another galaxy. Sir John Key, Gareth Morgan, Sir Michael Fay et al can go as passengers.
Andrew Montgomery, Remuera.
John Hodgson (NZ Herald, July 13) and Professor David Grinlinton (NZ Herald, July 5) have really got it right when they propose to extend the rail line from the existing Puhinui rail station to the airport.
But why not take it one step further and extend that rail line from Puhinui to the Airport on to Onehunga rail station and make a rail loop of the whole thing?
Michael Walker, Blockhouse Bay.
The online racist abuse the English soccer players got is beyond belief. What gets me is those thoughts never even crossed my mind when they missed those penalties; seriously people are just messed up these days, makes me mad and sad.
And if England are racist like that to their own and cannot be one country, then I am pleased they did not win the Euro Cup. Congratulations to Italy.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō.
Short & sweet
For the rest of us who took note of the Government's "travellers beware" warning and did not visit family overseas, it is galling to see the same Government happily paying the quarantine costs for those who ignored it. Pamela Russell, Ōrākei.
While Judith Collins "demands the debate", the rest of New Zealand debates the ability of her and her caucus. Judging by the latest poll figures, New Zealanders have come to a conclusion. Tony Barnett, Pukekohe.
Funding gangs from the proceeds of peddling meth, to treat the consequences of the gangs peddling meth, is a circular fallacy. Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
I agree with the conclusion of your editorial. It would be better for Branson, Bezos and Musk to invest in the capacity of "spaceship earth" to continue accommodating human beings. I fear their big boys' toys are doing the opposite. Michael Smythe, Northcote Pt.
Why is it that NIWA and/or MetService seem to be having accuracy problems this year? We know our long, thin landmass presents challenges but are the algorithms no longer up to the task in this time of changing climate? C Johnstone, Grey Lynn.
I'm 5'4 (1.62m). Those 5'11 (1.8m) and over have had it too good for too long. Messrs Ford and Speary should stop this heightism immediately. Larry Robbins, Rothesay Bay.
The premium debate
So, after months of the right-wing telling us about how much better Australia was at handling the pandemic, and how we should be following suit… will this finally see them giving credit where it's due to our Government? Of course not. Because it's all down to blind luck, isn't it? This whole time we've just been unbelievably, unfathomably lucky! We truly are blessed beyond words. Mat L
It could start here and be similar to the Sydney outbreak. We currently have a fishing boat in Wellington with 15 positives, two known with Delta. Our luck will run out one day, whilst our borders are still weak. We also urgently need vaccinations. Walter H
I'm usually bullish about returning to normal as quickly as possible but unfortunately it looks like we need to pop the Aus travel bubble completely for a while. We're maybe six months off a reasonable level of vaccination, is it really worth the risk of travelling now? The virus is now moving interstate, how long before it turns up here? Stephen T
Hope we can get more people vaccinated before we end up in a similar situation. Anna K
Stop the bubble - the risks of Delta coming here from Australia are just too great, especially over winter, and the benefits to our nation are just not worth the risks. Stephanie T
As countries become vaccinated, the number of cases becomes less and less meaningful. Look at the UK, yesterday with 34,471 active cases, up 7137 on the week before, daily deaths were six, a decrease of three on the week before (sourced from the UK Telegraph - UK Govt data). This is why it is so important to get our vaccination programme ramped up. Philla A
Were they not capable of looking to other countries' outbreaks of the Delta strain? Were they not told how much more contagious it is now? The NSW lockdown looks like level 2 lockdown in NZ. Heather T
NSW politicians appear to have listened to "political" advice as opposed to balanced scientific advice. They are now hoping they can vaccinate their way out of a tight spot. Thankfully, NZ's current leadership seems to take scientific advice seriously. Kevin B