Letter of the week: J C Ross, Hamilton
Over the past few years there has been a worldwide outbreak of measles throughout the world. It was inevitable that the disease would reach Pacific countries whether through New Zealand or some other country.
So why was the arrival of measles so devastating to Samoa, but not to Tonga or Fiji, which have a similar relationship to New Zealand?
Quite simply they had, and have, rigorous vaccination campaigns and have kept the levels of vaccination amongst their communities high. Samoa did not. Before the death of two babies as a result of a medical mistake, immunisation levels in Samoa were well below what was needed to prevent an epidemic.
Following the tragedy, and an eight-month hiatus in the roll out of immunisation, the level of immunity plummeted. Samoan health authorities were warned several times through 2019 that the arrival of measles in Samoa would be a major health disaster.
Samoa is a sovereign independent country, as are Fiji and Tonga. Each country made its own public health decisions.
• Measles shame: Govt to announce vaccine catch-up campaign after damning report on Samoa outbreak
• Samoa measles epidemic: Death toll rises to 63
• 81 measles deaths now in Samoa
• Government inaction left door open to measles outbreak: Ministry of Health report
I think it is outrageous to accuse the NZ Government of racism over the measles epidemic (Weekend Herald, February 8). Most of the issues stem from local culture. There is a heavy investment and reliance on prayer, faith healing and traditional remedies. As a consequence, there is too little resource, education and public commitment in proven technology such as vaccinations.
Then into this grossly under vaccinated society they invite tourists. Epidemics are inevitable.
Andrew Tichbon, Green Bay.
Trump once said that he could, in plain sight, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his followers would still support him. I fear we are getting dangerously close to testing that premise with the president's acquittal in the Senate.
Everyone was well aware it was a forgone conclusion and now an unrestrained Trump will begin to exact revenge and retribution on those who dared oppose him. It is so crucial that while the bodies stack up in Washington, the Democrats mount a cohesive strategy to effectively position the party for a November victory. Unfortunately, to date, they are failing magnificently and are drowning in ideological confusion and party inefficiencies. Just the vacuum an enraged President needs to rapidly pick them off one by one with his unique brand of alternative facts and dirty politics.
President Reagan once spoke of America as a "shining city on a hill". My childhood America felt like that and we were so proud of our country's courage, justice and fair-mindedness to all who made up such a diverse nation. Sadly, that America I loved feels like a stranger to me now, and like any stranger I don't know or understand who it is anymore. I am grateful that New Zealand has provided me with respite from the toxic storm, and I can only hope that come November we will once more become that "shining city on a hill".
Mary Hearn, Glendowie.
God of nations
There has been some discussion on certain text in the New Zealand national anthem (Weekend Herald, February 8). The word God is objected to by some. The tone of those comments amounts to religious discrimination of those whose religion includes a concept of God. This includes not just Christian but those of Islamic and Jewish faith backgrounds, as well as other religions.
In so doing, they are ignoring the fact that the cultures of all of us owe their very foundation and existence to the religious past of each. Those who think they are not religious are not exempted.
The idea of God has meaning for all people of faith. In the "Post-Christian" age of today the meaning of God has changed dramatically for many. It no longer refers to a male being somewhere unseen, but to the attributes of love, compassion, creativity, the best of the human spirit and actions, and to life itself in all its forms.
Let us celebrate our diversity. We can still acknowledge all of that as we sing the anthem.
Brian Ellis, Hillcrest.
Jonathan Jepson's (Weekend Herald, February 8) suggested new words for the national anthem - Brilliant.
Jonathan, I fear you may have missed your true vocation, ever considered a career in politics?
Christine Wells, Ellerslie.
The chairwoman of Bike Auckland, Barb Cuthbert is bullish about the Government's decision to spend $360 million on the cross harbour cycleway whilst John Roughan (Weekend Herald, February 8) seemed to doubt that this spend on the cycleway could be justified. He doubted the viability of this crossing project.
Earlier this month, we heard that the mayors of the Northland region are pressing the Government to complete a four-lane highway between Auckland and Whangārei with a four-lane spur out to the Northland port at Marsden Point.
Along with the new highway the mayors want other major infrastructure projects for Northland including the fast-tracking of the double track rail line from Auckland to Whangārei.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge has structural problems but is still the main traffic route north and south across the harbour. The Upper Harbour Bridge has far less capacity.
Getting road traffic through the Auckland region across the Waitematā harbour certainly is not addressed in recent Government announcements. We are told to wait for future announcements but, quite frankly, people living in the North Harbour region are becoming very concerned as to what the future holds.
We need more than a cycle-lane tacked onto the side of the current bridge. Has the time arrived for a Commission of Inquiry to be appointed to sort out the issues and find the best way to get traffic across the Waitematā harbour?
George Wood, deputy chairman, Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.
Gregor Paul's article (Weekend Herald, February 8) on women's rugby says a healthy dose of cynicism is vital around the women's game. He later points out that women's teams travel economy class while the men travel business. He then states that "fixing these glaring inequalities is far more important than producing Hollywood - quality marketing videos".
The joke is that an entire article about women's rugby is accompanied by a half-page photo of two men.
Melanie Abernethy, Freemans Bay.
Peter Newson (NZ Herald, February 13) has a blinkered view of history. He mentions two "world" wars then sets about berating Britain for the part it played in them. Does he forget the small matter of holding the Nazis to account?
John Lovejoy, Nelson.
A quick word
They are us, except on public holidays. Neil Hatfull, Warkworth.
Letters: Brexit, Concert FM, drought, coronavirus and Mike Hosking
Letters: Child abuse, MPs, roadworks, Concert FM, the national anthem and the Blues
Letters: National anthem, Auckland Airport and court hearings
As I heard about the concrete problem on the Auckland Airport runway, it came to my mind that this was a good way to put Whenuapai back in the picture and, sure enough, it is now being talked about again. Janet Bailey, Henderson.
PwC may be many things but arbiters of music they are not. Tony Kaye, Hamilton.
Concert FM's immediate audience may be relatively small but its wider cultural range is significant. Allan M Spence, Waiuku.
Sir Howard Morrison's daughter gets 12 months home detention for defrauding a tertiary education provider of $1.3m. I would gladly stay at home for that sort of money. Albie Hulse, Whakatane.
I am related to Robert the Bruce of Scotland. Does this mean I can expect leniency if I end up in court for a serious crime? Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki.
So John Key thinks Graeme Hart is the greatest living New Zealander. Says it all really, doesn't it? Dave Matthews, Hamilton.
The Rt Hon Helen Clark and I have rarely been on the same wavelength (pun intended) however I agree completely with her on this occasion; leave the RNZ Concert programme alone. Margaret Neill Gibbons, Remuera.
Under what authority can a public beach such as Piha be closed to the public for a professional surfing competition? Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
The Oscars are not designed as a political platform for political propaganda. Brad Pitt is the latest in a long line who think that they can dig their oar in and influence the public. Dave Miller, Rotorua.
Methinks Bob Jones doth protest too much. Joanne Harland, Mt Eden.
So Mike Hosking is thinking of leaving town? Good on ya mate, you name the day and I'll hire the brass band. Bruce Allpress, Browns Bay.
Mike Hosking is absolutely right - Auckland is a city run by idiots. It seems that a 4m wide bridge across the harbour for pedestrians and cyclists at $67m is not enough- a 5m wide bridge at $240m is "needed". Ericson List, Papamoa Beach.
Are they mad, $240m just so a few Lycra-clad luvvies can ride their bikes over the bridge? David Morris, Hillsborough.
An estimated marginal usage and escalating costs to now $360m, which includes a 3km sea path, requires this Sky Path project to be re-evaluated before the final sum mushrooms even further. Jürgen Schubert, Birkenhead.
If Winston is Tane Mahuta as claimed by Shane Jones, is he suffering from kauri dieback?
Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.