Is it time to start a debate on a Universal Guaranteed Income in this country? In these viral days, It would, after all, be an alternative form of support package.
The state, if it is to function as a social democracy, must regulate business, the market, private enterprise, finance capitalism or whatever we call our present economic system. The state has to be paramount because it is the state that has to deal with crises.
That said, the current crisis here, and the evidence of concealment and incompetence from other countries, demonstrates how any NZ government must present its measures to citizens transparently and be prepared to justify them. The public resources the state has had to put into the mitigating the financial crash of 2008, into earthquake recovery and into coping with the implications of the Christchurch shooting, shows how necessary this democratic transparency is.
By contrast, the prevailing neo-liberal version of capitalism has no concept, and certainly can never frame any intention, of acting with social responsibility to support local or national communities.
That is a fact worth remembering when, as will happen as the election draws closer, acolytes of neo-liberal economics once again begin demanding we must "get the state out of business".
Stan Jones, Hamilton.
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In the face of Covid-19, the Government is right to support the economy via fiscal stimulus.
This support would be even more effective if the Government used Reserve Bank credit for the funds instead of borrowing them from commercial banks. Using Reserve Bank credit would prevent the nation from going further into debt and would save taxpayers millions of dollars in interest.
Canada, Japan and China are all doing this, and we did it in New Zealand in the 1930s to build state houses and infrastructure.
Please let us not further enrich banks off the suffering of Kiwis. It is unnecessary.
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Let's instead have the courage of our forefathers, be a little unorthodox and use our own money.
Is DIY in our DNA or not?
Cliff Hall, Blockhouse Bay.
Everyone is buying everything from one location, the supermarket.
Yes, stay safe, but buy your spices from the spice shop, noodles from the Italian shop, Cheese from a cheese shop, cakes from a cake shop, speciality items from a speciality store; get your milk and bread from a dairy, or your chocolates from a chocolate shop.
Trust me, there are way less germs in these locations. New Zealand, you are tying up the supply chain to only one location: supermarkets. You are spending money at only one location: supermarkets.
The small businesses have shelves full of stock and our sales are non-existent. We cannot say it loud enough: support small local businesses, or supermarkets will be the only places left standing.
I challenge every person who goes to the supermarket to then go and buy at least one thing from a small business - I've called it "the buy local challenge".
Brett John Nicholls, Lower Hutt.
Off the rails
We purchased tickets in January for the Wellington to Auckland Northern Explorer as part of our trip home from an Easter function in Christchurch.
The function has been cancelled.
Hotels, cars and ferry have reimbursed, but not Rail NZ who will only give a 12-month credit, which we are unlikely to use in this timeframe. The Northern Explorer booking office is unable to budge from this hard-line policy.
Coronavirus is an out-of-the box event and Rail NZ should be more understanding and allow refunds of advanced bookings, even if there is an administration fee charge.
We feel Rail NZ, owned by our Government, has stolen our money. We are unlikely to use this service in future.
The transport minister should urgently address this issue to assist in maintaining good feelings in these difficult times.
The pandemic has been likened by Donald Trump and many of his betters to a war. In wartime, parliamentary democracies commonly form a bipartisan Cabinet. That allows decisions to be tested and debated by all parts of the political spectrum speedily and before the decisions are made and implemented.
It would appear that there are many in the community (including Simon Bridges and me) who believe that some actions, including closing the borders, have been implemented too slowly.
These actions must largely follow the recommendations of officials. It was probably going to be difficult for the Prime Minister to form a bipartisan Cabinet in the MMP environment, but if she had formed a committee of Cabinet which included the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition spokesman for health, not only would decisions be more broadly debated, but the public would have more confidence in them.
Peter Newfield, Takapuna
I've just returned from the gym. There are dozens of spray bottles everywhere, which the patrons are using diligently to spray and wipe the machines before and after use.
The spray bottles are the most touched items in the gym. Nobody is spraying the spray bottles.
R Harries, Kohimarama.
"Children look to their parents to feel safe and to know how to respond," said Janet Peters' and Dr David Codyre's column (NZ Herald, March 20) on getting through the Covid-19 epidemic. Valuable advice.
Children do indeed catch their reaction to events from their parents who can either set a "keep calm and carry on" example, or can behave like headless chickens, panicking and rushing headlong to clear supermarket shelves.
During World War II my family and neighbours calmly found ways of coping, including "make do and mend", so we children stayed calm too.
My grandmother refused to sleep in the air-raid shelter provided. "No Hitler is going to drive me from my bed," I remember her saying, with dignity.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
It is at times like this that we find out the members of society who are actually important.
Not baristas, not real estate agents and certainly not opposition politicians.
Of real value are the healthcare workers, the supermarket suppliers, the garbage removers and those that keep the electricity going.
David Clark, Glendowie.
For the optimists, I offer some food for thought.
First, Covid-19 will hit us but more than 98 per cent of patients will recover completely, most of them within a week.
Second, the NZ style of housing should reduce infection compared with crowded European cities, and the famous Kiwi can-do attitude will overcome the difficulties during isolation and restrictions.
Finally, we can look forward to a worldwide baby boom early next year as couples in isolation use their free time constructively.
My survival plan is to enjoy the peace and quiet, use local suppliers and services to support their business and invest in shares of companies making baby products.
Don't worry, be happy!
Alan McArdle, Glen Eden.
It is possible that even a pandemic can have favourable consequences. There are at least two ways in which we may benefit in the long term.
First, if working from home proves practical and convenient, we may benefit from a continued decrease in traffic jams and air pollution.
Second, if staying home when suffering from a cough or cold becomes the required behaviour, we should see a marked decline in the spread of the flu and other winter ills and chills.
Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
So saddened to hear of the death of Kenny Rogers.
He will be remembered as a charming man, an accomplished performer (saw him with Dolly Parton at Mt Smart) and for many catchy songs.
He knew when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, and when to walk away.
Rest in peace, Kenny.
B Watkin, Devonport.
Short & sweet
If only we could start 2020 all over again and edit out all the bad bits. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
I see we are panic buying milk powder. For goodness sake, we make hundreds of tonnes of the stuff every year. Stop it. Just stop it. Eddie Mann, Newmarket.
People buying two of everything they can get their hands on are still panic buying. Jim Stanborough, Onehunga.
Social contact is what was keeping many of us alive. Now it threatens to kill. Jane Margaret Livingstone, Remuera.
Was just writing a message to a friend and noticed just in time that my phone had corrected the term self-isolation to self-immolation - not quite the same. Jacqui Ross, Massey.
High praise should be given to the Franz Josef helicopter pilot who was alert enough to detect that the Hong Kong couple he was flying were in contemptuous breach of self-isolation rules. He has set a good example for others. Stay alert people. Adrian Wilson, Northcote.
It's interesting that some of those who admonish us to avoid politicising the Covid-19 situation are themselves guilty of doing just that. Glennys Adams, Oneroa.
Millard Fillmore, President of the United States (1850-53), refused an honorary degree from the University of Oxford on the grounds that he knew no Latin. "No man," he said, "should, in my judgment, accept a degree he cannot read." John Strevens, Remuera.
As an eternal National voter - boy oh boy, did Guy Body's View hit the mark yesterday.
For goodness sake Simon Bridges - resign. Robert Burrow ,Taupo.