Have a little faith
Both political and religious leaders have criticised the current Level 2 restrictions on religious gatherings. Such criticism, though understandable, is misplaced.
Restrictions are needed because these gatherings are expressions of community. At mosques, temples, synagogues and churches, people can find a welcome in faith's holy places. A listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, a warm heart, helping hands, feet to accompany others on the journey of life: at its best, faith is compassionately expressed in these embodied ways. We seek to stand in solidarity with those in need. It's hard (though lockdown has made it necessary) to do these things at a distance.
In a faith community we are not simply passive or passing consumers, as at a movie theatre or in a shop. We become connected like friends or family – which is exactly how the Level 2 restrictions treat us!
Yes, we long to come together once more in worship, but faith equips us with discipline to wait patiently. If our nation's common good requires any group to show restraint in the way it gathers, surely faith communities should be able to rise to the challenge.
The Rev. Anne Priestley, Remuera
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It would be shortsighted and criminal to sell the land owned by the Avondale Jockey Club at Avondale (NZ Herald, May 15) for yet more high-density housing and commercial development.
The land should be retained as a public open space - to be enjoyed by the present and future residents occupying the already huge number of high-rise apartment buildings and high-density housing.
A competition should be held by the Auckland Council to produce a management plan to make this "green open space" even more user-friendly, such as replanting parts of the area with native species and a high-specification children's playground, etc. The land also adjoins the mangrove-rich, upper reaches of the Whau Creek with its outstanding wildlife and fish values.
Now is the time for the very successful West Auckland-based, ex Dalmation winemakers and orchardists such as the Delegates, the Corbans, the Selaks, the Nobilos, the Borichs, the Faracs, the Soljans, the Antunovichs and the Spences and Collards and others to get behind this proposal to bring it to fruition. The very successful Henderson-based Douglas Pharmaceutical, Heron Plumbing, Canam Construction, Corban Revell Lawyers, Cato Bolam Surveyors and Planners, Lendich Earthmovers and others, may also wish to assist.
This area, with foresight and imagination, could become the Logan Campbell-inspired "Cornwall Park of the West".
Bruce Tubb, Belmont
More people are buying smaller homes and properties because of the cost of housing in Auckland. I would not be able to fit a water tank on my property, not to mention the costs of the tank and high-pressure pump required.
Find out who the small groups are that are causing the delay in consent process of drawing more water from the Waikato River, fire them all, and move ahead with this process. Auckland is the engine room of this country and if it needs to draw water from the Waikato River that would otherwise simply flow out to sea, then let's cut the BS and move ahead immediately.
Ian Cunningham, Bayswater
We are told that by law, councils must deal with applications under the RMA in the order in which they are received and, after seven years, the application from Auckland Council to take more water from the Waikato river is still only 94th in the queue at Waikato Regional Council.
Presumably therefore, some Hamilton homeowner whose application to extend the decking on his home is 95th in the queue has also waited seven years for an answer on what should be a simple matter.
The council is obviously hopelessly behind. Or are they just hopeless?
H E H Perkins, Botany Downs
Health v wealth
It is a shame there continues to be resentment toward those who wish to get back to living life and earning money, from those who remain fearful for their health. There is no need for this antagonism. If you are in any way concerned for your wellbeing, simply continue to self-isolate. We now know it can be done and there is no reason anyone who feels health should be given priority over wealth can't continue to protect their health this way indefinitely. In fact it is a more certain way of ensuring you stay well than locking us all up.
One fact is certain from the "Rebuild Together" Budget, there just aren't going to be enough jobs for all of us for years to come. So those who are sincere in their beliefs that health is more import than wealth, now is your chance to take one for the "team of 5 million". Give up your job, and let someone who values both wealth and health have it. Stay home, save your life and give someone else a job.
Helen Allan, Tauranga
It is understandable for Auckland Transport to ban patrons from using the front entrance of buses and restrict access to the rear door during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, such a strategy does have an Achilles heel. Unlike the front, back doors are designed only for egress not access. On a short bus trip in recent days, I witnessed two instances where elderly gentlemen using walking sticks struggled to clamber aboard. Both fell heavily on the step of the back entrance, shocking fellow passengers. If Auckland Transport intends to persist with this practice in the foreseeable future, then modifications need to be urgently made to make the rear door entrance more user-friendly. Additional handrails and other supportive measures would be a good and simple start. Otherwise, the prospect of a routine bus trip could represent a frightening, intimidating and traumatic experience for a lot of us, and not just old folks.
Nigel Shaw, Clover Park
Our tourism industry is in dire straights. It will be a long time before international visitors come pouring in at anything like previous numbers. Meanwhile there are thousands of mobile homes and campervans which are going to sit idle for months — even for years. Why could the government not lease or buy many of these to house the homeless as winter strikes?
Surely this would aid some tourism operators and certainly be an improvement on sleeping in cars or on the streets. A win-win solution?
J Gibbs, Orakei
With this current year's community sports timeframes already radically altered, hopefully the sports administrators, and in conjunction with relevant councils and park managers, will enact a permanent shift to the start of their respective seasons, delaying the starts for a period of four to six weeks.
This will enhance the experience of all players, with cricket/softball/touch etc starting closer to summer, and enjoying the balmy extended autumn weather of April and May, and rugby/league/football, etc starting in winter, avoiding the brutal Summer heat for pre-season training and games and rock-hard grounds.
Ground staff will also get better weather for the maintenance of the fields at the end of the winter sports.
Richard Humphries, Remuera
Defence Minister Ron Mark must be pleased with himself. There is a budget tick-off for $898 million for new C130J military aircraft, despite there being no approved business case or public debate. Overall defence spending is a whopping $1.77 billion.
Mark dismisses the concerns of peace workers about New Zealand's planned participation this August in the world's largest maritime exercise, RIMPAC.
We have been taking part in this biennial exercise since 1971, turning a deaf ear to protests from indigenous Hawaiians when the exercise involved bombing sacred sites. Mark defends RIMPAC as an example of New Zealand playing its part in upholding the "rules based order". But who sets the rules? Is there a rule that says the US and its allies have the right to control the Pacific and Indian oceans?
UN Secretary General Guterres urges the world to accept that there is "only one fight in our world today: our shared battle against Covid-19". Aside from the obvious fact that warships are virus incubators, the pandemic teaches us that our survival depends on global co-operation. War games increase international distrust. Spend the money instead on those forced to line up for food parcels.
Maire Leadbeater, Mt Albert
Short & sweet
Letters: Rebuilding NZ, schools, response justified and tax cut hypocrisy
Letters: PostShops, aircraft seating, hugs, water and health workers
Council has no problems with finding millions for fancy City Centre think big projects, but when our well being is at risk, "silence". Obviously ratepayers and residents take second place to councillors' dreams of a Super, Super City. Bob Jessopp, Massey
I am prepared to take over as leader of Watercare for just $100 annual salary and guarantee to get at least the same results as of right now and save the ratepayers nearly $800,000 dollars a year. David de Lacey, Remuera
On a positive note, Mayor Goff and his henchmen now know what it's like trying to deal with a council. Murray Fitchett, Remuera.
With so much fallout yet to be manifested, it is delusional to believe that we have already entered a recovery phase. J Livingstone, Remuera
I never thought, in my long life, I'd ever see suspect powers of entry given to the police. This is a blight on our freedom and an insult to our common sense. John Clements, Orewa
We have all learnt to appreciate the work of teachers throughout the lock up. It is unbelievable that the Teachers Council ( what does it actually do?) has chosen now to double the fee teachers must pay this council. E Fleming, Drury
Over $71 million to the racing industry but only $100,000 to the Malaghan Institute for local research scientists who are working with international researchers to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19. Go figure. Katherine Swift, Kohimarama
Lovely to hear that Niva Retimanu won the award for best newsreader, she is a pleasure to listen to and in my opinion there is not another female voice on radio or television to compare. Well done Niva. B A Mudford, Matamata