The United States of America has a population of 330 million, which is 66 times New Zealand. They have now had nearly 200,000 Covid deaths; for us to be on an equivalent basis we would have to have 3000.
Fortunately for us, we have better leadership and a better-informed public.
Likewise, the US national debt which is measured in trillions is considerably more on a per head basis than ours.
So I am astounded, and not a little distressed, that we have people here who are prepared to use their pulpits, or their political soapboxes, to promote the idea that we would be better off if we went the American way. That is: do nothing, deny science, deny compassion.
Fortunately we also have an electoral situation here that actually encourages everybody to vote, so we can send the naysayers a strong message of rejection.
Richard Alspach, Dargaville.
The message for a few Aucklanders has not yet been heard as they continue to congregate at beaches, refuse to wear masks, are swayed by religious brainwashing strategies, and rally together to follow the Advance the Virus NZ Party fake news and lies.
Meanwhile the rest of New Zealand has to suffer the restrictions of level 2 due to these few selfish idiots who have joined the likes of "flat-Earthers" and that the landing on the moon was a myth.
This type of behaviour does not endear Aucklanders in a favourable light, especially to those in Te Wai Pounamu who already believe that they do not matter and lead a forgotten existence in the minds of those who reside in the "Super City".
Marie Kaire, Whangārei.
My appreciation and gratitude to Lynn Charlton for her heartfelt essay on repulsive animal exports (NZ Herald, September 10).
Operators in this vile animal trafficking business are still defiantly against a ban and are obviously incapable or unwilling to reflect on the enormity of suffering endured in the recent horrific tragedy.
I was brought up on a dairy farm, and on seeing a herd of beautiful cows I am now filled with sadness and despair. It grieves me to admit I will never again be proud to be a New Zealander.
Murray Hunt, Morrinsville.
Your New York Times article (NZ Herald, September 15) on the normalisation of relations between Bahrain and the UAE with Israel displays the usual anti-Trump bias of that publication.
According to the NYT , the timing of these accords under Trump is "serendipity" and really the result of "spadework" by the Clinton and Obama administrations, at least according to the quoted sources of this article who,, surprise, surprise, were officials from those administrations.
After four years of "spadework" by Trump, I think it is only fair to acknowledge that his ability in negotiations enabled him to seize the opportunity to use Iran's proxy aggressions against the Saudi-led Arab states (including Bahrain and UAE) it opposes, to see the sense in normalising relations with Israel. These two Saudi allies are unlikely to have done so without the tacit approval of Saudi Arabia and it is therefore possible to hope that Saudi will itself follow suit.
Such unity in the Middle East is a breakthrough of huge importance to world peace and Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Will he get it? Of course not. That would be to admit that Trump had done something truly good.
David Gibbs, Beach Haven.
I've just received a letter from my bank advising that the interest rate on my "low rate" Visa will be going up by 3 per cent from October. Although this won't affect me directly, there must be tens of thousands of customers who will be impacted in a couple of weeks, just when Covid wage subsidies, enhanced unemployment benefits, energy subsidy payments and rent freezes are coming to an end.
The timing seems insensitive to say the least, but reinforces the old adage about a banker being someone who lends you an umbrella on a fine day and then takes it away when it starts raining.
Duncan Simpson, Albany.
Meaning to act
Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty asserts that words can mean anything we choose them to mean, nothing more nor less.
This premise appears to have gained traction with some opposing the End of Life Choice Act. Reading their views at times feels like Alice, falling down a rabbit hole.
For instance, Ken Orr (NZ Herald, September 15) has chosen to make assertions about the EOLC Act that are far removed from the actual position.
To set the record straight, the Act doesn't allow a person to request medication to end their life if their only reason is they: are suffering from a mental disorder or mental illness; or have a disability of any kind; or are of advanced age. Further, a person must be aged 18 years and over and suffer from a terminal illness that is likely to end their life within 6 months; have significant and ongoing decline in physical capability; experience unbearable suffering that cannot be eased; and be able to make an informed decision about assisted dying.
Even though palliative care in New Zealand is excellent, for some people it is not enough to relieve their suffering. However, where assisted dying has been legalised abroad, assisted dying and palliative care work well together.
G E Adams, Waiheke Island.
Every bit the lobbyist, Ken Orr repeats the same tired arguments against euthanasia, spinning the line that Parliament has the authority to decide ''who may be killed" while doctors will have "the right to kill their patients".
I wish Ken Orr (NZ Herald, September 15) could have spent some time with Walter, a friend of mine and a veteran of WWII. Walter had advanced bowel cancer. He was mentally alert but spent his days in his bed in a tiny room in a rest home in an Auckland suburb. His room stunk, regardless of how recently the nurses had cleaned him up. There was no dignity. He was depressed and embarrassed about his condition. We talked a little but he found it hard to talk. As I was leaving him for the last time, he said to me "Man, don't ever finish up like this". I wish every self-righteous person who would impose their personal beliefs on others and deny them the choice of a better way to die, could have spent just five minutes in the hell hole of Walter's room.
Graeme Robb, Te Atatū South.
We all know that the New Zealand housing market is a train wreck and massively overvalued thanks to over stimulatory monetary policy and successive governments' lack of action on this issue.
As voters we need to seriously challenge our politicians of whatever colour to make some big decisions, regardless of how unpalatable addressing an issue that is on track to cause significant harm to the New Zealand economy and society.
A good start would be a capital gains tax that does not exempt the family home, followed by higher interest rates. Yes, this will be painful, but any cure for a serious problem requires some hard actions.
I add that I am a home-owner, but also a concerned New Zealander.
Jeremy King, Taupō.
Right up until September 14, the Rotorua Marathon event organisers were advising entrants it would go ahead if Rotorua itself was at alert level 1 on race day September 26 (which is still uncertain), irrespective of alert levels in the rest of the country.
There was no indication whatsoever of excluding participants from regions at higher alert levels.
The equitable decision would have been to cancel the (already postponed from May 2) event altogether, rather than practise a form of medical apartheid against a good third of the field resident in Auckland by barring them from attending.
For loyal annual participants, in particular, the hardy "survivors" of 15 or more Rotorua Marathons, it's a real kick in the shins from Athletics New Zealand.
Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.
Short & sweet
On te reo
Dover Samuels' demand for a Crown apology is based on a serious misunderstanding. The policy of teaching and speaking only in English in schools was requested by the Māori leaders of the time, in petitions to Parliament, supported by hundreds of signatures from Māori. Harold Coop, Remuera.
With the anti-science beliefs being expressed around the world, and beginning to show in New Zealand, one would think we were in the middle of a historical novel set during the Middle Ages. Emma Mackintosh, Birkenhead.
Why would I be permitted to puff and sweat, indoors, over 100 other puffing and sweating gym-goers at Les Mills, while I cannot watch sport in the open air, or pray socially distanced in a cathedral? Has logic been tossed out the window? Josephine Ellis, Meadowbank
The in-word of this year has to be "unprecedented", particularly in the US where the word is regularly being used to describe the Covid-19 pandemic and the forest fires. Interesting that Mr Trump has been so unhelpful with regard to these crises, so perhaps he should be "unpresidented". Mike Jarman, One Tree Hill.
China's vast global database, potentially a tool to declare "information warfare" among other things, is disturbing enough but, in the malevolent hands of "Xi who must be obeyed", it sounds downright sinister. Dean Donoghue, Pāpāmoa Beach.
Is it possible that the Soviet probe that entered the atmosphere of Venus in 1967, may be the genesis of the recently detected phosphine which scientists say is an indicator of life? Jeanette Grant, Mt Eden.
Like Richard England (NZ Herald, September 15), I also am waiting for the arrests and prosecutions for those selfish and self-entitled people who have cost Auckland many millions in lost GDP and prolonged the misery of its citizens. Ross Nielsen, Half Moon Bay.