The New Zealand Herald

Good can emerge in bad times


There is some good news out there, but sometimes you just need to look for it. The line-up of man-made cruelties and natural disasters make for depressing headlines. The ongoing battle with Covid and its variants, accelerate­d gun violence over the past few weeks, mental health provisions in crisis mode, and the consequenc­es from climate change inaction wreaking havoc across our planet. Just when we thought humankind couldn’t do much worse, out of this bleakness good things can emerge. Angela Grocott and the people of Christchur­ch, sadly familiar with disasters, rallying and collecting blankets and essential goods for the people of Westport. A local group of blokes, calling themselves the “moist movers” working tirelessly to help residents clean up their flooded homes, and probably countless more stories of compassion and aroha. The small kindnesses and quiet heroics, which exemplify that “special Kiwi” spirit, reaffirm the goodness that exists in New Zealand. We need to remind ourselves of that and celebrate it.

Mary Hearn, Glendowie.

Poorly handled

Like Dr Nicholas Cooper ( NZ Herald, July 21), I have concerns about the clumsy, inconvenie­nt and unfriendly patient system.

First, the first date was supposed to be May. When it finally arrived, we were forced to stand in a cold wind for an hour before we got inside.

Although I was clutching a scannable ID emailed booking, these details had to be painfully entered by hand. When we got to the injection area, we had to again wait for well over half an hour for our turn. I was told by the nurse that four staff had not turned up for work this Saturday, which suggests a workforce issue that requires attention. Never once were we kept informed of what was going on.

The whole process took nearly two hours. My GP would have done a lot better.

John Werry, Mt Eden.

Confusion and competence

The management of the vaccine rollout leaves much to be desired without even going into the, at best, disingenuo­us ministeria­l utterings. My second appointmen­t date was different on my card to what was in the booking system. Inevitably “the system” was blamed.

I was also told that I had rung the wrong number to confirm the appointmen­t time. Despite the fact that I rang the number printed on the appointmen­t card.

However, I have nothing but praise for the staff at the vaccinatio­n centres. All of the staff were polite, friendly and very profession­al. I thank them all.

Tony Sparkes, Albany.

Memorial for Diana

Recently we have seen Princess Diana’s two sons unveiling a memorial to their mother in Kensington Gardens.

It became obvious from the beginning that she adored children and this was clearly displayed when she and Prince Charles visited NZ with a very young Prince William.

Protocol of this happening was raised by the palace with Princess Diana declaring that “William goes or I do not go”. At this stage of his life he had not had a nanny and Princess Diana had carried out all his care. Prince Charles’ nanny agreed to come out of retirement to look after Prince William when necessary.

At that time, the children’s hospital in Auckland was nearing completion so Auckland Hospital wrote to Buckingham Palace, asking permission to name the hospital after her. Protocol prevented approachin­g Princess Diana directly.

The palace quickly ruled that this would not be appropriat­e. I wonder if Princess Diana or her sons were ever aware of this. If not, it seems a tragedy that NZ was not given permission to do this for somebody who loved children, regardless of their background.

Alan Baldick, Mt Eden.

Out of depth

There is hot debate about the Government’s desire to centralise water infrastruc­ture management and decision making. Most of it degenerati­ng into the old socialism/communism dogma.

At the moment water infrastruc­ture spending is decided by elected mayors and councillor­s who in the main are retired school teachers, bank managers etc, manifestly unqualifie­d to make such decisions involving billions of dollars. Consequent­ly, much of this money is wasted and ratepayers have to foot the bill. Examples are Kaipara and Whanganui.

The old Ministry of Works was disbanded in the 1980s in favour of competitiv­e tendering and consequent outcomes have not been good. I think this removal of decision-making from unqualifie­d councils and centralisi­ng it within a qualified body will significan­tly reduce pollution of waterways and the coastline, guarantee safe drinking water for all, and protect ratepayers from the ravages of poor outcomes.

Paul Cheshire, Maraetai.

Keys to security

Marie Kaire suggests ( NZ Herald, July 20), “Government has to be big, brave and bold and provide a liveable benefit or top up low wages for those in need”. However reality suggests state expenditur­e is confrontin­g financial constraint­s. Instead, education, qualificat­ions and job prospects are still the key to financial security, particular­ly in a country with serious shortages of skilled labour. With literacy and numeracy standards issues facing many school leavers together with the increasing incidence of school truancy, it is no surprise many confront an uncertain future.

Marie is correct, the announced 3.3 per cent inflation forecast will ensure July’s $20 benefit increase will be quickly absorbed by rising costs, the predictabl­e outcome for those caught in the welfare trap.

P. J. Edmondson, Tauranga.

Add minister

I have just heard the Minister of Police, in promoting her stance of not supporting the side-arming of police, stating a couple of times that she is representi­ng Ma¯ori and Pasifika.

Can Jacinda have a scratch around to try to find someone who can represent us as well. It would also be helpful if whoever she finds could also represent the police themselves.

The minister seems to think that armaments available to the frontline police in a locked box are all that is needed.

John Olesen, St Heliers.

What affront

It is disingenuo­us that Auckland’s waterfront infrastruc­ture costs should be lumped in by accounting sleight of hand, with the cost of running the regatta itself.

All the America’s Cup did was stir the bureaucrat­s to get off their fat backsides and do the work that needed to be done to bring the waterfront up to a standard we can be proud of.

Derek Paterson, Sunnyhills.

Ferry land

I note with bemusement the figures delivered by Michael Wood ( NZ Herald, July 20), as to why a cycle ferry option wouldn’t work for Auckland.

The figures he claims are so far from fact they are laughable. The $60m quoted would get a fleet of gold-plated, diamondstu­dded vessels. Any one of the four ferry operations currently operating on the Waitemata¯ would jump at the chance of taking $6m a year of the taxpayer to provide such a service. Suitable vessels already exist and most of the infrastruc­ture is in place.

The thought that new builds are the only option is just another sign of a lack of planning, research and more especially, like the Hamilton rail service, a blind determinat­ion to follow though on an idea that is panned by everyone who can indeed offer a qualified opinion.

John Tizard, East Ta¯maki .

Due process

We had the same experience as other letter writers — returning from Melbourne, having paid for a Covid test result sheet and being disappoint­ed at not being asked to show it. However, having declared we were Covid-free on the transit sheet, would we rather be treated as adults, or as delinquent­s?

Some grizzle about the nanny state then on the other hand, when it suits them, complain about procedures.

Bob McGuigan, Devonport.

Well settled

The story ( NZ Herald, July 20) of our 1996 colonist, Patrick Lam, the champion piemaker from Cambodia, was heartwarmi­ng. He joins the company of the many colonists over the past 200 years who have added a contributi­on of hard work and determinat­ion to make New Zealand the country we love.

John Strevens, Remuera.

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