Russell Bell (Opinion, September 29) suggests that "the rest of the world is starting to see us as" a hermit nation. I simply haven't seen any such portrayal of New Zealand in any part of the world. All that I have seen or read insists that we have been extraordinary in handling Covid.
The one exception has been the Bloomberg Resilience Covid Ranking, a global ranking of nations dealing with Delta. New Zealand has fallen to No. 38. But they, too, are missing the point. Their top contender for this week, Ireland, has had 5249 deaths from Covid as opposed to our 27. Ireland, with a similar population to ours, now has an average of 1300 cases per day. That is success?
Additionally, I have recently talked to people from several nations about Covid. I have only heard praise on the way New Zealand has handled the epidemic. Last week, I explained to my American cousin the sense of anxiety on the long tail of Covid here in NZ. We had 12 cases that day. He replied that he was green with envy. They had over 150,000 daily cases of Covid.
Covid is a movable feast, ever-changing and unpredictable. I am unclear why we have a relentless drumbeat of media criticism for the Government being "unprepared". Indeed, none of the critics have a plan to attack this strikingly unpredictable moving target. Bell used FDR's New Deal as an example of a "plan". But that took over a decade to flesh out. We are just over 18 months into the pandemic. Empirically, we continue to have among the best in the world in Covid outcomes. Something is working.
Netherlands connection important
Rob Rattenbury (Opinion, October 4) and others who minimise our Kiwi connection to the Netherlands overlook the importance of the Dutch to England in the times of Abel Tasman and the close relationship between them.
Joan Blaeu named us Nova Zeelandia in 1646. In 1641, William II, who was sovereign Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, Overijssel and Groningen in the United Provinces of the Netherlands, married Mary, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England. Their son became King William III of England from 1689 to 1702.
It was during the reign of William II from 1647 to 1650 that the Dutch secured an end to the hostilities arising from the 80-year Dutch war of independence against Spain (1568-1648). Perhaps if not for this, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire might have conquered more lands in the "New World" and we would have ended up being violently subjugated to them as South America was.
If we are going to debate what to call our paradise, we should make a bigger effort to understand those times and appreciate how highly regarded the Dutch were amongst the English.
I bet only 100 years later in 1769, when James Cook circumnavigated us for the first time he was happy to leave New Zealand "as is" in the knowledge that he would never have made it were it not for the Dutch.
Personally, I am in favour of the status quo - Aotearoa or New Zealand - whichever takes your fancy.
Two pieces (News, September 25) on local builders highlight the difference in opinions on "sustainable". Baden Brown is putting single-storey houses way out of town, no shops, schools, employment options within walking distance, and Jamie O'Leary's son says sustainable means dense housing to avoid wasting valuable land.
The new green idea "15 minute city", where most amenities are within a walk or cycle ride, is something Whanganui could achieve. We probably used to have that luxury here before cars ruled the world.
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