Borrow and spend
The Government is right to borrow and spend huge amounts now, when it's exactly what we need to keep our economy going. Our national debt has been around 20 per cent of GDP for quite some time. This contrasts with Britain after World War II when its debt was 270 per cent of GDP. Even with this debt, it went ahead and borrowed enormous amounts in order to reconstruct the country. It set up the NHS and built one and a half million houses. Everything turned out okay, the country prospered and two or three decades later the debt had fallen to 50 per cent. Just as Britain did, New Zealand can cope with the billions being distributed. It will be the saving of our economy and our jobs.
Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
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Do leaders make history or does history make leaders?
Winston Churchill was sometimes known as the man of the moment and he certainly stepped up in Great Britain's moment of need. When you look down the list of great leaders - Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Mother Theresa, and our own Dame Whina Cooper - the conundrum still exists.
Jacinda Ardern's conundrum may hold the answer. Will history show that, by her leadership, as with the aforementioned great humanitarian leaders, she changed the course of history or did history, in this case possibly the world's greatest pandemic ever, thrust greatness upon her?
Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Tuesday's NZ Herald displayed a photo of Prime Minister Jacinda Adern announcing the recent measures to contain coronavirus.
If we get through this with minimal loss of life we can thank the cool-headed Labour leader for making decisions that benefited the nation no matter the political consequences.
Many, during and after the Great Depression, displayed their gratitude to Michael Joseph Savage by hanging his photo on the walls of their houses.
Mark Mitchell's photograph is both worthy of framing and keeping and I invite the Herald to make a sensibly-priced copy available so that we too may show our gratitude to a Prime Minister who gives a damn for the people of this country who are in such danger.
John Rush, Mamaku.
Critics be gone
Our Prime Minister is the right person in the right place at the right time. I for one am grateful for her leadership and compassion at this very difficult time.
I hope all those petty-minded, cynical opinion piece writers self-isolate and give us all a break.
Jennifer Jones, Devonport.
Reportedly, whilst in self-isolation in 1606 due to pestilence, Shakespeare got so bored that he wrote King Lear.
Sixty years later, Newton, with an undistinguished BA under his belt, passed the time during his 18 months at home from university due to yet another outbreak of plague by discovering and writing up the laws of optics, calculus and gravity.
Reasonable efforts but of course they had neither the worries we have today such as climate change and toilet paper nor the distractions such as social media, Netflix and reality television. Whatever the situation there is little choice but to keep calm and carpe diem.
Will McKenzie, Sandringham.
Everyone except young children has an IRD number - a personal IRD number. Tomorrow, the Government could start paying a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to every person with an IRD number.
All the IT systems are already in place to do that, and so are all the claw-back mechanisms for those who do not need the UBI.
Thousands have already lost their jobs and are ploughing through their savings (if any) to make ends meet. We have seen, so far, the merest tip of this iceberg. A UBI will at least mean that nobody starves while faceless bureaucrats process entitlement applications. Another huge benefit of UBI is that individuals are free to take any paid employment they can get without jeopardising their subsistence income.
And lastly, those who argue that UBI will remove the incentive to work are, as usual, hopelessly wrong, because, as usual, they impute to others their own greed-driven mentality.
Bruce Rogan, Mangawhai.
Now that the Government has made the correct decision to lock down New Zealand many New Zealanders will be bringing home smaller wage packets for weeks or months to come giving them a reduced annual income.
Rents have rightly been frozen so as not to increase the fiscal pressure on those who rent. Will we therefore see Mayor Goff, or any other mayor for that matter, cancelling all of their proposed rates increases for those who own homes, rental or commercial properties?
Richard Carey, Whangapāraoa.
Now let me get this straight. The Prime Minister has urged those of us like myself who are over 70 and the most vulnerable to stay at home, leaving it free for the rest of society to rush to the supermarkets and strip the shelves of everything that they can get their hands on.
So which is the greatest risk for the elderly who can't panic buy: Covid-19 or starvation?
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
I wonder how many people returning from overseas will not self-isolate for 14 days.
I met an elderly couple at a garden centre who had returned from Australia seven days before and thought it was okay to be out and about.
It's a shame we can't quarantine those returning, some of whom are bringing the virus in. Unfortunately there will always be those irresponsible amongst us.
Maureen Wilson, Bucklands Beach.
The NCEA review signalled that students' anxiety around continual, high-stakes assessment needs to stop.
The Government has emphasised level 1 NCEA will be optional from next year but few schools will take up that option. That is because NCEA has been sold as a vital mechanism for a future-ready workforce and schools are most likely worried about their statistics in the annual league tables.
In reality, Level 1 NCEA has little value now that most students stay on to year 13. While schools do use Level 1 results as a gatekeeping tool for subject choice in year 12, that is also unnecessary and probably has no legal force.
The Covid-19 school closures offer an opportunity to test out what would happen if schools did not assess Level 1 on a school-wide basis.
Some of the stress parents and students feel about school closures could be eased if the Government and schools were honest about the unimportance of Level 1.
Teachers could stress less about how they are going to implement online teaching and learning and get enough assessment done to protect results.
The world won't come to an end if kids don't get Level 1 and young people will keep learning despite not being at school – that's what humans do.
Sarah Frost, Onehunga.
Letters: Go NZ! political co-operation, shelf clearing and some ideas
Letters: Universal income, Reserve Bank credit, buying local and cancelled tickets
Letters: Fair market control, Covid-19 and being political
I hope that in these very difficult times that all New Zealanders will show honesty and integrity when applying for all the Government financial assistance that is being offered.
Obviously these systems were hurriedly put in place and there will be loopholes that the clever and unscrupulous can exploit.
If anyone sees or hears someone cheating, dob them in .
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
The steps taken by the Government are our only hope of slowing this virus.
Unfortunately there are people, and in my estimation far too many, who will not adhere to alert level 4 requirements. These are the sort of people who for instance do not avail themselves of the flu vaccine or who can justify their wayward actions by self-convincing reasoning.
Supermarket panic has already demonstrated that, despite strong pleas from the Government, a large group of people cannot or will not think rationally.
Yes now is the time for us all to do as we are told but a strong deterrent is necessary for those who will put our lives at risk.
Reg Dempster, Albany.
Short & sweet
I guess we need to be patient. Let the greedy brigade create their stockpiles and then the rest of us can shop as normal in the manner suggested by the PM. Peter Culpan, Te Atatu Peninsula.
At the supermarket today I heard one worker say to another that a customer had made an on-line order this morning and he had rung her to say they would not be filling it. When she asked why, he said "Because you ordered two thousand items". John L R Allum, Thames.
I see Sir Winston Trump is touting himself as a wartime President to defeat what he previously called a "hoax". Never in the field of human conflict has so little been owed by so many to one man. Tony Kaye, Hamilton.
I'm beginning to think W. Somerset Maugham had it right when he said, "The wise traveller travels only in the imagination." The Covid-19 virus was mostly spread by travellers, who have now reduced the rest of us to travellers of the mind kind. Chris Marnewick, Bucklands Beach.
Jacqui Ross (NZ Herald, March 24) comments that her phone texting corrected self-isolation to self-immolation. Last week my pre-emptive text decided Covid-19 should be Covert-19. In some places, I suspect it well and truly is. Rose Panidis, Silverdale.
Guy Body's cartoon (NZ Herald, March 23) showing Jacinda steering the boat through a minefield really is both funny and accurate. The cartoonist is spot on. Phillip Momberg, Kaiaua.
Did Simon throw in his lot with Aunty Jacinda before or after seeing Guy Body's "spot on " cartoon? Hal Griffiths, Whitianga.
Mike Hosking berates the Prime Minister for being "dragged kicking and screaming to the most obvious of points" over the coronavirus lockdown. Yet he manages to thank "God" that it has finally happened. There's gratitude for you. Henry Pennyfeather, Nelson.