David Fisher's Sunday essay on Covid-19 in NZ ("Grieving family has uneasy questions", May 24) is a promising step in the right direction for the eventual Commission of Inquiry. The questions raised by the family of Anne Guenole and others, are indeed glaring, even self-evident; the "experts" certainly need a wake-up.
Why no massive cluster on the West Coast if that is where fatality number one occurred? Why indeed, as infectious diseases specialist Dr Ayesha Verrall ask, was there only a 5 to 15 per cent transmission of the virus from confirmed infected Kiwis to members of their own household? Dr Verrall is also pointing up the obvious, that people carrying the virus had to have been coming into NZ far earlier and in greater numbers. Infections just didn't spread at anything like the rate of the northern hemisphere horror stories. We shouldn't have lost our minds like we did.
How did we forget what a wonderful unique land and lifestyle we have? NZ is "Exhibit A" for the hypothesis that local environment is a prime determinant of Covid-19 pandemic severity. No one gets more hours of virus-killing UV than Kiwis in summertime. Viruses disperse and die in the open air, and are flushed out from indoors by flows of fresh air that are typical of NZ residences and venues in balmy weather.
Kiwis in their beloved traditional homes have abundant space per person, and the indoor concentration of viruses in the air and on surfaces is much lower. Pandemic vulnerability is an urban planning and housing issue as much as a medical one.
Phil Hayward, Lower Hutt
Sensitivity and tenderness
What a stark contrast the Herald on Sunday's Review piece provided on the topic of parents coping ("Little life, big loss", May 24) with the loss of babies pre birth, at birth or soon after. It displayed a sensitivity and tenderness absent from the push behind the recent abortion law reform, heavily shrouded by the health issue mantra.
Bernie Allen, Mairangi Bay
Reverse the fines
How absurd is the $150 fine that raised $4.6 million in only three months for using a new 100m length of Khyber Pass Rd which is so poorly marked on a weekend with quiet roads ("AT bags $4.6m in bus lane trial", May 24)? But even more absurd is the 12-year-old $80 fine + points for using a non-hands free mobile while driving which now kills more people than speeding does as the fine is so much lower than for speeding. At least reverse the dollar fines of these two driving offences and save many lives immediately.
Murray Hunter, Titirangi
An excellent initiative
The recent announcement from the Government of plans to stimulate the economy with major infrastructure projects and considering re-establishing the Ministry of Works to help achieve this, is an excellent initiative which will help create much-needed jobs.
The Government should especially look to rail for "nation building" infrastructure projects, to develop a clean energy transport infrastructure network which spans the country to shift freight and provide an alternative travel option to congested and dangerous roads.
A new electrified main trunk route needs be established running from Whangārei to Wellington via Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupō and Napier, using both existing lines upgraded and building new lines to fill the gaps, which would link nearly all the main population centres, forestry areas, ports, mills, popular tourist and holiday destinations along one line.
The Government also needs to restructure KiwiRail by separating the infrastructure and passenger services from the commercial freight operating business, and vesting these in the not-for-profit NZ Railways Corporation, to put rail on a level playing field with road, air and maritime transport with being structured and funded in a similar manner.
Isaac Broome, Pukekohe