Letter of the week: Politically motivated
Judith Collins’ call for the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, not to front media presentations about Covid-19, is clearly politically motivated, and is potentially very dangerous for the whole country in my opinion. It must be called out for what it is. The reason given, that it is inappropriate during the pre-election period, is specious in my view, given the situation of a global pandemic and our recent second outbreak. The true reason appears to be that Collins knows that Ardern is a highly skilled communicator, and fears that this will affect the election and reduce her own chances of success in that election. She is clearly more concerned about that than about the welfare of her fellow citizens. For we all know that it was due in part to the Prime Minister’s caring and calming influence in media conferences, each day, that we in New Zealand generally obeyed the lockdown rules, and achieved the great result we did. To propose not having that media presence on a daily basis to inform us simply and clearly of the situation and to allay our fears during the second outbreak, which has now been identified, shows Collins’ true colours and her real priorities at this time.
Claire Taylor, Parnell
We have all been exhorted to be fair and be kind. What is fair or kind about forcing the local, butcher, baker, greengrocer etc to close under level three lockdown? They could function in exactly the same way as the local dairy rather than giving a monopoly to the big supermarket chains. Similarly small businesses such as gardeners, window cleaners, pool cleaners, car groomers and mechanics and the host of small businesses that run no risk of close contact, could easily operate safely. The problem is that there is no-one in government who has any empathy or idea about how hard it is and how small the margins are in most small businesses. Many will simply be driven out of business unnecessarily.
J Gibbs, Ōrākei
One can’t help but suspect the lobbying power of the supermarkets. It just seems so illogical that yet again fruit and vegetable and butcher shops are not allowed to open during lockdown. It makes so much sense to allow them to be treated the same as supermarkets. This would take some of the pressure off the crowding at the supermarkets, assisting social distancing, and more businesses’ survival. Not to mention being stuck with perishable goods at sudden notice. Last time the public’s voice on this issue was loud and clear. But still no budging. So much for caring about small business.
Colin Nicholls, Mt Eden
Where is the evidence for your correspondent Mark McCluskey’s assertions that we have repeatedly been lied to regarding testing, contact tracing and border quarantine competence? Just a couple of days ago the majority of the public were really happy with the leadership of the Government in response to the pandemic. Now because, as the Government repeatedly warned, there has been the inevitable resurgence, all of a sudden the Prime Minster is labelled a dictator. I think it is time people took stock and checked out what a dictator really is. No one has been sent to a gulag, a stalag or a concentration camp. And thankfully this worldwide pandemic has been dealt with competently and prudently by the Government. We as the five million have merely been asked to exercise proper cautions ourselves in dealing with managing our own health.
Neil Anderson, Algies Bay
Your correspondents Brent Marshall and Mark McCluskey make wild accusations against the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic but provide no evidence to support them. That’s because there is no evidence. As a trained scientist, I have done the research and have found nothing to back up these people. In fact, their claims make little sense. The current outbreak is due to community spread and has nothing to do with quarantine facilities. So far, there is no link between the infected residents and anyone recently arriving in the country, or with air crew, or with quarantine workers. Marshall, there is no shortage of PPE – look it up. There is enough flu vaccine for all those who need it. There is not enough for everyone to have it – there never is, as not everyone needs it. If McCluskey wants to accuse a country’s leader of “confusing leadership with dictatorship” he need look no further than President Donald Trump. While Covid-19 cases are increasing in the US, he is insisting that children return to school, with the result that, in the last four weeks, the number of children with Covid-19 has increased by 90 per cent, or 179,990 cases. Actually, Jacinda does know best, or would McCluskey rather she hadn’t tightened restrictions and we had ended up like Melbourne? I wonder why these gentlemen have made these claims. Their letters seem to be an attempt to politicise the pandemic. If I were a betting man, I would lay odds that they are right-wing followers who are scared of Labour winning the next election.
Gerry Beckingsale, Torbay
As a proud and loyal Victorian I’ve been both embarrassed and ashamed watching the incompetence of the Victorian Government dealing with the pandemic but seeing the latest local news of lack of test kits and testing capacity, lack of oversight of overseas arrivals, the low level of testing for those workers at the border and therefore most at risk, and those showing symptoms not self-isolating, it’s clear this gross incompetence is no longer limited to Victoria.
Ross Nielsen, Half Moon Bay
I found the public vs private schools article enlightening. Despite all the kudos that seems to be attached to private schools, 79 per cent of the NZX50 CEO’s were schooled in the state system. I would like to have seen a comparison which also included a range of other professions, less based on huge unjustifiable salaries and more based on people’s contributions to society. It would have been useful to have included successful people in education, social services, health and health, which I am sure I would have shown that an even higher percentage at being educated in public schools.
Chris Bangs, Hillsborough
What I don’t understand is that the outbreak and all known contacts in the current Covid-19 cluster are well south of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Why then is the Auckland lockdown over the whole of the Auckland region as far north as Wellsford. Surely the area could stop north of the Harbour Bridge – which would be easy to police – to save businesses from being locked down north of there when hopefully there is no danger to places like Warkworth and Wellsford. Why punish business and the people in these areas when there is no need. Oh to be still part of Rodney, not Auckland!
Annette Turner, Warkworth
As we head towards financial meltdown, it appears that the Government’s policy on Covid-19 is to lock down on each occasion it flares up. This relies on there being a vaccine or else the cycle will never end. Why is there no debate on the policy of the lockdown itself? If this continues, then like all the other locked down countries, we will get to a point where all the money is gone, and we will have to just carry on and live with the disease. The death rate from the disease is far less serious than the early modelled predictions, and affects primarily those who are likely to have retired, and who can be protected via self-isolation. Would it not be better to allow the population to decide now whether this risk is acceptable and to get on with life, rather than locking down and waiting for a vaccine that may never be found, which may only be partially effective, and may arrive after the country is bankrupt. We need to take the hard decisions not to allow Covid-19 to destroy everything we have. The woes of the lockdown are now overriding the woes of the virus. The current data paints a different picture to the early forecasts. Politicians need to make judgements in light of this.
Chris Dobson, Grey Lynn
We are pathetic
We’re just pathetic aren’t we? An Auckland motorist on the way to their beach house is turned around by police, but simply finds another route to their holiday home. We’re told not to gather in crowds, but a crowd gathers in Aotea Square and the police, presumably under government instruction, stand by and let it happen. People with Covid-19 wander the country and spread it far and wide. Despite assurances that our border is watertight, infected people get through. People in quarantine escape and are given a slap on the wrist. China may have its faults, but they wouldn’t stand for this nonsense.
B Henderson, Kohimarama
I listened on National Radio this morning in absolute disbelief to Megan Woods proudly trumpeting that we have 53 people from overseas (at our cost) in hotel quarantine to attend the sentencing of the Christchurch Mosque killer. I am sympathetic to the families affected by this tragedy but whatever happened to Zoom to participate in events like this (like the rest of us are using at this time to connect with family and colleagues)? It’s doubly ironic that New Zealand business is unable to get skilled workers into the country to help our companies continue to make products and sell both locally and internationally to generate much-needed income for the country- this is another great example of where this Government sees where its priorities lay!
John Roberts, Remuera
A quick word
If the Government refuses to delay the election it will call into doubt the validity of the vote. It is unethical and undemocratic that Opposition parties are precluded from campaigning while the Leader of the Labour Party is on television every day.
David Morris, Hillsborough
National MPs should be ashamed of themselves when they virtually accuse the Government of a Covid conspiracy. The last thing this virus should be about is politicking between parties.
Rex Head, Papatoetoe
Just love the comments “those idiots queuing up at the supermarkets”. I find myself going to the supermarket, as I do from time to time, and forced to queue because of all those idiots.
Petrus van der Schaaf, Te Arai Point
The picture on the front page of the New Zealand Herald says it all. The southern motorway heading to the Bombay Hills and a police roadblock. Completely full of a lot of Covid-19 escapees doing exactly what they, were told to do not, and that was stay home and stop the spread of this disease.
Nigel Bufton, Pāuanui
We’ve just spent six months in a leaky boat! Thanks for the prediction Split Enz.
I am sick and tired of the letters of praise for “saints” Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield. The logistical preparation for pandemic was woeful and Bloomfield has avoided the spotlight to date. The initial response by Ardern to Covid-19 was, contrary to the propaganda, late and inadequate; we were simply lucky. The “Great Communicator”, Ardern, cannot articulate any plan for either Covid-19 or the greater economy. Hopeless.
To those people who have tried to exit Auckland and been turned back, if you were in Melbourne a $2000 instant fine, here you just get a warning. Fine the people, it would act as a deterrent to others. How selfish the Aucklanders were that left the city at 5am on Wednesday to head to their holiday homes, apparently the motorway was like peak hour traffic.
Wendy Galloway, Ōmokoroa
We will beat this new outbreak of the virus; we can tighten up procedures where necessary; we do still have some billions of dollars put aside to rescue businesses and workers. But how many times do we want to repeat this process? The only really civilised course of action for an advanced society is to fight threats to the lives of its citizens, using compulsion and restricting freedoms (travel, work), and to a guarantee a living wage for all in the meantime.