Letter of the week: Joy Edwards, Coatesville
Nurses, supermarket workers and truck drivers are now more recognised as unsung heroes thanks to the pandemic's effect on our cultural awareness. But there are many other groups who have not so far been given their due in our culture. One group that Covid-19 has made more acceptable in our fairly shallow world is the scientists.
For example, the most important thing about Dr Ashley Bloomfield, in my view, is not that his team helped us to know how best to try to beat the virus but that, in the daily updates, he taught many more of us that life is complex and therefore difficult to understand. There are no simple answers, despite politically motivated cries for "obvious" actions. As one of a team of international experts given voice through this unusual circumstance, he quietly articulated the scientific processes used.
In a world that reveres and rewards financial and marketing "experts" because of the arbitrary belief in "the economy", scientists have too long been the unsung heroes of real human progress. If we are to survive the environmental and climate challenges that we should all now turn and face, we will need science and scientists to be front and centre. Let's value our real experts.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Ashley Bloomfield stuns boy, 6, with handwritten response to letter
• Covid-19 coronavirus: Inside Dr Ashley Bloomfield's work and family bubble
• Covid 19 coronavirus: No new cases for fourth day in row - Ashley Bloomfield
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Be safe, have fun; message from Dr Ashley Bloomfield as bars open doors
Recipe for success
In "No time for a trial run" (Weekend Herald, May 16), Matt Nippert writes that early health advice, New Zealand's geographical isolation, swift decision-making and good fortune gave us an "unexpected victory" over Covid-19.
I would add great leadership and the best yellow-and-white graphics as helping guide the victory. At ground level though, how did 5 million of us get a gold medal in pandemic fighting?
Was it the way we treasured our elderly as taonga and refused to abandon them to the fallacy of herd immunity? Was it the way our kaumatua have kept the devastation of the Spanish flu alive through our rich history of story-telling, making the consequences of inaction more real to Kiwis today?
Was it our culture of korero that helped us make the decision together to look after each other by acting as one, for all? Or was it being kind, more often, to more people?
However it happened - happy to take the win.
Lori Dale, Opotiki.
The pandemic has hopefully taught us an important lesson. We can realise this through an unfortunate similarity between solutions to the pandemic and global warming.
"Our" response to the pandemic has been a lockdown which will result in a global economic recession. This downturn is predicted to force almost 500 million people into extreme poverty. The final outcome is yet to be determined but there will be deaths and the consequences will persist for years.
The pain of the lockdown will be mostly felt by the poor, especially those in developing countries. Many of the current answers being offered to global warming will further exacerbate matters. If you were Pakistan, or Kenya or another developing country that desperately needs to pull themselves out of poverty, would you follow the suggestions "we" are making to mitigate global warming? Or would you build a cheap coal plant?
Developing countries could say: "We can't afford your measures, we have to develop; you did, now it's our turn."
A better approach than a "one size fits all" solution, such as the lockdown, which while achieving one objective has unintended consequences, is needed.
The current suggested and broad "global warming strategies" will not garner the support of developing countries in a post-Covid world where they will see themselves again bearing the brunt of "saving the world" at a time when they can least afford it.
Dr Mike Schmidt, Pakuranga.
What superb resources for educators (Weekend Herald, May 16). Factual analysis of New Zealand's response to the pandemic by Matt Nippert, Simon Wilson's consideration of its possible implications, and Michelle Dickinson's concern over the dangers of viral misinformation all deliver sound opportunities for discussion.
All are relevant, balanced and thought -provoking.
The Herald`s factual reporting of events unfolding through this disaster, from those initial brief reports through January, have indicated how vital it is to take notice of such early reports and to respond accordingly. Knowledge is powerful; let's use it wisely in the
Dianne Blumhardt McKinnon, Morrinsville.
John Roughan (Weekend Herald, May 16) talks of the "finely tuned [economic] engine" of the past 3-4 decades. He speaks of unemployment hitting 10 per cent in 1991-92, but lowering to 6 per cent by 1996 and 4 per cent by 2000. There was another bump after the 2008 GFC to around 7 per cent, with this reducing to 4 per cent again pre Covid-19.
What tends to be glossed over is that many of the employed recorded are in part-time positions and many others are working for the minimum wage, which is not a "liveable" wage.
This ignores the Working for Families payouts from the government to try to deal with, at least, a part of this. It also ignores the homelessness, the poor state of housing in both quality and quantity. It also seems to ignore rising inequality and child poverty which remains stubbornly prevalent.
I think Roughan's neo-liberal economic engine needs a complete overhaul.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
Aucklanders are facing tough water restrictions, having been informed that resource consent is still being awaited to draw additional supply from the Waikato River. However, your article (Weekend Herald, May 16) reports that consent was granted in 2017, and it is because Watercare has not finished upgrading its water treatment plant to handle the increase that additional water has not being taken.
Surely, the necessary upgrade was known about before consent was granted, and this work should have been undertaken in good time.
It is about time Watercare got its act together to complete this upgrade as soon as possible.
D. Cook, Torbay.
A headline (Weekend Herald, May 16) indicates that Watercare may be looking at "$20K fines for water rogues". If this is true, may I suggest that they commence the search at the office of the Watercare CEO?
This individual is paid an obscenely high salary to manage the provision of an adequate supply of water to the biggest city in the country. He has failed to do so. Whether the fault lies in a seven-year wait for resource consent, or the lack of upgraded infrastructure to hold more water, or the failure to forecast demand correctly, it is clear that Watercare's performance has been woefully inadequate.
It is worth remembering that the commercial heart of the region was virtually shut down for a six-week period. The savings in water from that event must have been enormous - buildings empty, shopping malls closed, leisure activities curtailed - the list is endless. In effect, Watercare was given a six-week breathing space, which has highlighted even further its abysmal performance.
David Bevan, Howick.
Throughout our struggle against Covid-19, a key element of success has been the setting of and following examples by the Government and our team of five million.
The majority have listened to advice and abided by rules. There have been those who have continued to push the boundaries and set poor examples - whether in breaking lockdown or rorting the support packages.
Even in level 2 we have the same contrast, as the majority accept the rules and the necessity of careful, paced moves to a less-controlled environment, while there are those like Mr Molloy and his entitled party guests (Weekend Herald, May 16) who set a poor example.
John Wilkinson, Stonefields.
A quick word
Yeah, let's have a party and ignore all the hard work others have put into making us all safe. T Bindon, Mt Albert.
Letters: Greed and kindness, school buses, China and Watercare
It is appalling to listen to the voices of people plundering the government subsidies schemes, some attacking it, and succeeding, from many different angles and boasting of their success. Jock MacVicar, Hauraki.
There isn't a water shortage, 12 million litres of the stuff is flowing every minute into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato. There's a shortage of common sense. Larry Tompkins, Gulf Harbour.
Judges have, to some degree, shown their level of affinity with New Zealand as well as their motivation for service in their careful and smug indifference to joining our PM, MPs, Heads of Departments and Local Government representatives in offering or accepting a reduction in their remuneration. Don Sinclair, Silverdale.
The Weekend Herald reports a murder suspect on the run in China for some 24 years was tracked down and arrested because of the Covid-19 tracking app. I then see our Government saying the app will be "only for the purposes of Covid-tracking". Yeah right. Darren Masters, Panmure.
A February bubble with Australia would have meant no virus; no lockdown; normal economy for both countries; plus 57 per cent of NZ international flights. R. Wilson, Glenfield.
Two die in a car crash, another driver flees police and crashes and the texting drivers are out in force. I preferred the lockdown. R Harris, Kohimarama.
The little Covid-19 monsters pictured trying to enter New Zealand's borders in Saturday's cartoon was legendary. Guy Body is a star thinker and a star artist. Glenn Forsyth, Taupo.
Decision-makers please consider the implication of any decision to allow thousands of international students back into our water-restricted and stressed environment. Brenda Hannay, Onehunga.
If we are a team of 5 million why has our PM rushed legislation making her a virtual Emperor for up to two years? We have gone from "team leader" to "dear leader"' in a few short weeks. Mark McCluskey, Red Beach.
Well done to Matt Nippert for his summary and overview of "No time for a trial run". As I understand, it no other country will release this Cabinet information for 50 years. We do it in six weeks. Refreshing democracy. M P Shanahan, Westmere.
Congratulations to Martin Wiseman and the other senior staff of law firm DLA Piper (Weekend Herald, May 16). What a pity the leaders of other wealthy businesses don't think like him. Danna Glendining, Taupo.
Ok baby boomers, it's our time to shine: Open up your wallets and let the sunshine in. What goes around comes around. Chris Bayes, Torbay.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the technology being used for contract tracing could somehow be attached to a bar code on takeaway packaging and then we'd know exactly who discarded their litter in the street. Katie Gormley, St Heliers.