There has been widespread recognition and commendation of how crucially important essential workers are to our society at this time.

Doctors, nurses, supermarket staff, police and emergency workers are saints, in my eyes.

As we approach only day six of the lockdown, I would like to seriously propose to our Government, and more particularly IRD, that every single one of these workers work tax-free during the lockdown.
This will formally recognise their risk of exposure to Covid-19 along with their significant contribution to keeping our communities functioning sanely.
Steve Hoeft, Pt Chevalier.

Council contribution

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With the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit New Zealand causing a shutdown of life as we previously knew it, all aspects of our daily life have had to be examined for us to survive this very trying shutdown period.

Businesses cannot carry on the commercial aspect of their existence and as such cannot afford to pay the wages of their employees, creating major problems for commercial and human life.

About 60 per cent of the costs of the Auckland Council and indeed all New Zealand councils' rates generated, are used to pay for their employees' salaries and wages, another approximately 15 per cent are incurred in services that are not being used or needed.

The Government has implemented a very generous programme whereby it will pay the salaries and wages of New Zealand businesses/councils to relieve the hardship on businesses and population.

With this in mind, is it not time for these councils to slash their rates by say 60-75 per cent until the shutdown has finished and businesses can get back to commercial life as was previously the case?

Wages would be generated and monies could once again flow throughout society, bearing in mind that salaries will not be be paid until a period of a week, fortnight or month after work has resumed.

It is only fair that all councils do their part in helping the hard-working people of this land to find a way to overcome the hardships that are being felt nationally.
Ross Harvey, Remuera.
Platform provided

I no longer read Heather du Plessis-Allan's columns, which I guess is my right and choice.

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Du Plessis-Allan should consider herself lucky to live in New Zealand. Many other countries would not give her a platform, though possibly some would. If she were in South America or her country of origin she would be in far greater danger personally and professionally than she ever would here.

I think what I am trying to articulate, in the Kiwi vernacular, is "Pull your head in, Heather".
Barbara Matthews, Onehunga.
Writers active

Had a wry smile when I read the letters to the editor in Saturday's Weekend Herald. A lineup of the most prolific writers to your paper in the last few years.

Something in the air?
Tim Masters, Waihī Beach.
Lower road toll

The lockdown is saving lives in a number of ways. To give one example; 45 people were killed in road crashes last April. With the current restrictions on movement, our road toll numbers will be lower.
Matt Elliott, Birkdale.
Monitoring duty

Kate Hawkesby, really? We don't need a hall monitor wagging her finger. There are people living in flats the size of my lounge trying to cope and it's only day three. The rules will sink in soon. What are the consequences for this disobedience? Jail? A fine? Lock them in their own homes? Let the police do their job.

Those young people on the lawn? Chatting? Get your measuring tape and measure two (or three?) metres between them, give them a home-sewn face mask, hand them a beverage and a straw, and wish them well!
Jennifer Bogoievski, Lower Hutt.
Small questions

Kerre McIvor makes a great point in her column of March 29 (Herald on Sunday): information can be confusing. Information systems, and the Covid-19 response is one, have long encouraged a "single source of truth" approach. As the response develops and we have time to think, smaller questions become important — McIvor wonders: "What exactly is 'local'?" — and personal answers will differ. My question is "Can I only walk my dog on-leash now?"; the implied answer is "Yes" ("don't allow them to mingle") but no source I have seen, council or government, answers this.

My point is, there is no channel for such questions, which can expose gaps but aren't worth tying up the response. Perhaps it's time for an email reference on the official site that works like the 105 number for emergency services; it will be answered, but is not a high priority. A small volunteer staff with access to experts could act as a triage unit with the aim of helping improve information quality.

In the meantime, I'll be applying a strict interpretation for such matters until I see an official answer.

I'd urge others to do likewise, so we all have a better chance of helping, rather than hindering, progress.
Mike Diggins, Royal Oak.
Silver linings

As they say, every cloud has its silver lining and in the case of Covid-19, it is its contribution to solving the housing crisis on two fronts. A significant amount of Airbnbs are now on the rental market, seeking longer-term tenants and will most likely put downward pressure on rents. Further, those who have borrowed to their eyeballs to buy over-priced houses will now realise that adverse events do happen and having too much debt is not always a good strategy.

As well as the above, I bet Planet Earth is enjoying the reduction in CO2 emissions.
Jeremy King, Taupō.
Working together

Among the pages of Canvas magazine (Saturday's Weekend Herald) is the most profound and assertive interview yet with David Attenborough.

We know him well and acknowledge his great understanding of life on Earth and we are aware of the worries he has regarding the destruction of this planet by human behaviour.

He has watched it happen and has documented these changes over many years and declares how we need to rein in population growth and live less wastefully. In other words, he wants us to see the connection modern living is having on nature.

Right now we are practising a behavioural change because of our fear of a virus, and most countries are united in this fight. We have stopped flying, stopped driving, stopped travelling and are beginning to use our land more wisely. We are walking and cycling more. But most importantly we are showing concern for our own and other people's lives. And we are learning to go without.

We are showing during this pandemic that we have the capacity to work together, to make hard decisions and to put in a support network when needed.

The question for us to think about is, can this continue? Will we work together as we are now for the benefit of our future? Will we continue to care about people's lives enough to reconnect and care for the natural world?

"We represent a very powerful, damaging species that's taken over the world," says Attenborough. Can we prove him wrong?
Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Hatred flourishes

I realise I will probably be shot down in flames, but as the social-media pages are becoming a breeding ground for hatred and anarchy, why don't they shut them down?
V. Hall, Whangaparāoa.
Change possible

After Covid-19, life might be quite different. The masses who move around the world by air as tourists and migrant workers might decrease. Some people employed in tourism and hospitality might divert to jobs that desperately need filling: in horticultural industries and construction industries, which could then expand; or train for teaching or health services.

Empty hotel rooms might be used to bolster the housing supply. People might discover that life can be based less on overwork and shopping as a pastime, and more on enjoying each other's company, hobbies, outdoor activities, and nature. Never can tell, we might save the planet too.
B Darragh, Auckland Central.
Drivers keep going

It will take police road blocks and fines to stop Aucklanders driving around.

As the days roll on, more and more people are driving around and they can't all be going to the supermarket or the pharmacy. In fact, they are driving straight past them .
Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
Car-free is better

How wonderful Auckland is with no cars. Hopefully enough people will realise that it's much better to be out moving on a bike than stuck in traffic in a car.
Michael Bowman, Takapuna.