As a Pakeha immigrant from New York, I cannot help but read a little bit of Winston Peters and Donald Trump in Ken Mair's comments on the vaccine (Chronicle, October 29) that feels more like scaremongering.
People are afraid enough. Who said anything about charges being laid and being made criminals? For what offence?
I believe the safest way forward for all of us is to be vaccinated. The options presented in the story are not safe as demonstrated in the MIQ hotels since ventilation and face masks failed.
It is not the Government dividing us. It is us.
Who do we trust?
Vaccination lies presented as truth, and truth as lies, and mutterings in between to make you distrust. Manipulative minds on social media willing to generalise, touting rabbit-hole conspiracies and Facebook whisperers who say, I heard, I read somewhere, and my pharmacist friend said? Importantly, who checks the fact checkers' facts? Really?
The double vaccinated are now favoured so lives can be more "normal". The unvaccinated (unable to think beyond their own bodies) are being barred from some jobs and soon some venues. Mercifully, medically and psychologically based maskless exemptions are protected but openly challenged, if not shamed, wherever they go. Our Bill of Rights states our freedoms can be temporarily restricted. And they are.
In a world of fake news, misinformation, disinformation and over-information, Facebook wisdom and YouTube propaganda, we now see distrust of not just once-revered institutions such as government, scientists and world-renown medical peer reviews, but now simply distrust of everything. Suspicious minds can then become the home of paranoia, then anarchy.
The Prime Minister was here, not because we are wonderful but because our vaccination rate is so low. She has good reason to worry.
The freezer container at the hospital is wise planning indeed, ready to stack body bags of mum, dad, nana, pop, one on top of the other, like icicles in a dairy box, and some of the unvaccinated note to meekly mumble 'Wow, I never thought it would hit that hard in Wangas bro'?
Freedom and responsibility
Stan Hood appears to have missed something in my letter. Of course I agree that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand and I thought that was obvious.
I quoted the NZ Bill of Rights that "Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment", from which it is clear that everyone has the freedom and responsibility to decide on what is best for their own medical health, and that should include understanding the issues and options as well as their own position and society around them.
Mr Hood worries that "freedom without commensurate responsibilities is called "anarchy". Democracies do not "do" anarchy." Yet that does not somehow negate rights and freedoms, something that democracies do "do". I do not think Mr Hood means it that way, yet his letter appears to want to justify the Government controlling our personal medical decisions and imposing medical treatments on us all, doing away with rights and freedoms in a totalitarian control that democracies very specifically don't "do".
And that was the point of my letter. In a free and democratic country, people should not be forced or coerced into having a medical treatment, and should not be marginalised or attacked for their personal responsible choices, such as those around medical treatments. Our laws, such as the Bill of Rights, are supposed to protect us from such.