Letters: Climate crisis, pandemic response, inflation, and long Covid
Reminder, this is a Premium article and requires a subscription to read. A gas flare burns at dusk in the Permian Basin in Texas. Photo / Bronte Wittpenn, Bloomberg Climate crisis action As if droughts, floods, fires, and food failures were not obvious enough, the UN has published a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NZ Herald, March 2). The cherry atop a toxic cake. Obfuscation, prevarication, election cycles, vested interests, and deliberate denial of the patently obvious, have brought our planet to a more parlous state than world leaders are, even now, willing to admit. What must we do? Every idea, every plan, every policy, every action, from every Institution in our nation must run a climate ruler over every activity, at every stage. Whatever target is measured, all activity must bring us closer to that target, tomorrow, than it was yesterday. If a measure is not materially improved, then, despite any short-term fall-out, such activity must not go ahead. Of course, there will be short-term costs in today's dollars and in votes lost by incumbent leaders. If those considerations continue to hold back the accuracy of the climate ruler, we shall simply continue the insane nonsense of net polluters buying carbon credits from net emitters while the net result is, no improvement. Nigel Meek, Raglan. Over control The Prime Minister believes we are all struggling because we are sick of Covid. Not quite right we are struggling because we are sick of the Government's response to Covid. We're highly vaxxed and now have RATs so let people take personal responsibility for how they respond to the risks of catching Covid and dealing with it if they get it. Open borders to all, no more traffic lights and mandates, masks should be optional for all except healthcare and border workers who would also need to be subject to regular testing, workplaces should have their own bespoke Covid policies as part of the usual workplace health and safety requirements. Let's join these dots and get back to being the self-reliant Kiwis we are renowned for. Kathleen Hon, Takapuna. Money-go-round Lesley Baillie (NZ Herald, March 1) is right on the money. What the people in government don't understand is simple economics: Business equals employment. Both equal money going around and equal economic flow down. Both equal tax. Tax equals the ability to provide benefits for those that really need it. Money doesn't grow on trees, although Arden, Robertson, et all seem to think otherwise. The flow-on effect from businesses having to close is huge. The potential devastation of travel, hospitability, real estate, retail, and all the flow on businesses could lead to unemployment not been seen since the 70s. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank is going to put all the nails in the coffin by using interest rates for all the wrong reasons. Interest rate increases will just add to the pain and make not one iota of difference to inflation without the root cause being dealt with. Ross McCarthy, Glendowie. Post-viral illnesses Professor Harvey D White ( NZ Herald, February 28) projects a huge tsunami of long Covid. Unfortunately, this type of illness after a major viral/ bacterial infection already exists in New Zealand and indeed around the world. It's called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Millions of sufferers have faced prejudice and stigma as many used to believe it was an illness borne from hysteria and mainly a "women's" problem. The long-lasting post-viral symptoms mimic those of long Covid. No difference. Many ME sufferers have slipped through the net. Many have died. Many have been neglected due to medical negligence and disbelief of symptoms. Sadly. I see the same path for long Covid unless the two illnesses are linked and folk stop trying to pretend that long Covid is a somehow "new" form of post-viral illness. It isn't. It is ME/CFS with subtle differences. Please give ME/CFS the same research, respect, and recognition as long Covid. Both are debilitating, complex, multi-systemic illnesses with devasting consequences to a person's well-being if not dealt with correctly by the medical profession. Sharon Jameson, Cambridge. Undetected infections Last week, Nick Leggett (NZ Herald, February 24) made the case for business "minding its own Covid response", based around self-testing. He mentions the Lucira test, which is apparently "prescription-only" in the US, where it was developed. He stresses "fast and accurate" as the criteria for businesses to do their own testing. Now we have RATs (rapid antigen tests) freely available. These are at best 78 per cent, and at worst, 53 per cent accurate. Would he, as a CEO, be satisfied with a system, in his business, as "accurate" as that? I don't think so. But this is what he, and Sir Ian Taylor, have clamoured for. And what they've now got in fact, in Phase 3 and beyond. At best, we'll now be "missing" 20 per cent of cases. At worst, 47 per cent. And all these cases will now be walking around amongst us, infected but undetected. Clyde Scott, Birkenhead. Untenable positions The ultimate irony: Russia's representative is currently President of the UN Security Council. He needs to be expelled immediately along with the Russian ambassador to New Zealand and his staff. The civilised world has no place for state hoodlums. Mary Tallon, Little Huia. War of untruths When belief falters, trust disintegrates. When war is waged, propaganda replaces truth and we are coerced into acceptance of gross hypocrisy. To question is to betray. This is as true now as in any war since the media went worldwide. I cannot believe what the US says about Russia or what Russia proclaims against Western Europe and its colonies. What poses as truth is a war of propaganda without which lethal weapons are useless. John O'Neill, Whangarei. War emissions The IPCC has released the next portion of its sixth report of August 2021, warning of dire climate conditions ahead. Presumably, as a responsible chair of the UN Security Council, Russia is keeping a tally of the significant volume of carbon emissions created from its unwelcome excursions in Ukraine. Hopefully, these are being offset in some manner? Nick Nicholas, Greenlane. Hard road My 16-year-old grandson left high school in December with good grades in all his chosen subjects with aspirations of securing a plumbing and gas fitting apprenticeship. His CV is impeccable and his only barrier it seemed was his lack of a driver's licence. His first fail was inadvertently mounting the curb with the left front wheel while parallel parking on a hill. The second was turning right before a cyclist had completed their left turn into the same street, some 10m in front of him. The third was moving into the painted median without checking to see if someone wasn't roaring up on his right, prior to a right turn. So far this exercise has cost his mother $660, and there are no bookings available now for March and April. Is it any wonder kids go off the rails when society seems to be against them? It seems as though there is a conspiracy among testing regimes to fail the kids numerous times before allowing a pass. His last inspector told him he was a good driver, but no errors whatsoever are allowed, and his employment opportunities are slipping further away. John K Campbell, Parakai. Easement ends Maybe it is time that the privilege of allowing private cars to park on our city's main roads should cease. One grey car parked on Mt Albert Rd has been there since the first March lockdown. Main roads are needed for the movement of traffic. At peak times these main roads are needed for use by buses, cars, cyclists and other heavy transport vehicles. Perhaps it's time these roads were used for what they are intended to do. Move traffic. And not as a permanent parking spot. Gillian Dance, Mt Albert. Housing pile-on In response to Anne Martin's letter (NZ Herald, March 2) about Labour inheriting the house pricing issue from National. I hope she realises that house prices have increased at a faster rate in the past four years than at any time in recent memory. House prices have increased due to an increase in demand and a lack of supply. Labour promised 100,00 houses under KiwiBuild, something we all know has not happened. Kainga Ora also bids at auctions against first home buyers and will routinely offer 5 per cent over the asking price. This is why housing is unaffordable in New Zealand. Mark Young, Orewa. On protest Is there anything more sickening than the sight of Seymour, Luxon, and now desperate Peters sucking up to the fascist far-right outside Parliament? Roger Laybourn, Hamilton. Now that the Wellington protest, which rent-a-mob commandeered, has been shut down - where will these professional agitators go next? They turn up at legitimate protests and ruin them. Jock Mac Vicar, Hauraki. On Ukraine Why have we not offered a home to 10,000 Ukrainian refugees? Tony Olisshoff, Mt Eden. On Godzone Thank you Mary Hearn for your letter to the editor (NZH, Mar. 2) you couldn't have said it better "we need to get New Zealand back". Thank you for taking the time to write such a good letter. Helen Mackereth, Orewa. On panic One cast-iron guaranteed way to ensure panic buying is to have newspaper headlines stating "no need to panic buy". Nevile Chalke, Glen Innes. On Val Thank you to Dame Valerie Adams for flying the New Zealand flag these past 22 years. Enjoy your precious family. Kim Lea, Pakuranga Heights. Hospitals at 93 per cent capacity World Bank data: New Zealand had over 11 hospital beds per 1000 people in 1960. Although the number of hospital beds has declined ever since, the real drops began with laissez-faire user-pays Rogernomics in the 1980s. By the end of their reign in power, NZ had dropped to 8.5 beds per 1000 people. And then Richardson's Mother of All Budgets, which expanded on Rogernomics, saw a further drop to 6.2 beds per 1000 people towards the end of National's reign in 1998. Apart from a very minor, almost infinitesimal blip in 2009-2011, our bed numbers continue to drop. All political parties have equal fault. Timothy T. Various reports and multiple agency voices have been informing the Government for two years, that the NZ Health system wasn't fit for purpose to deal with Covid. The Government has stubbornly ignored calls to increase funding, capacity, and staffing. Instead, Government is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on a huge restructure in the middle of the pandemic. It is borrowing billions of dollars to throw at pet feel-good projects like trams and bike bridges. We still have thousands of starving kids and people living in motels. What's the Third World look like again? Walter H. Not surprisingly the hospital system is under pressure, the majority of Kiwis are obese or morbidly obese. Bruce C. While China built a facility with 10,000 beds in two weeks we have added zero beds to our hospitals in two years. Yes, really prepared for Omicron. But we have spent millions of dollars on architects, engineers to plan a cycleway and to gangs for rehabilitation. Go figure, that's why we are in this predicament. Bad planning ahead. Paula C. Hospitals are frequently over 90 per cent capacity. In my 20 years working in hospitals, we were frequently working at 100 per cent. That is the job. Dr Reti has spent very little time spent working in hospitals - political views on the work we do are not helpful. Our excellent health system works within a tight budget; recognising that our social systems such as education, housing, benefits, environment, etc, are equally important. Bill English quite correctly stated that the cost of rising healthcare is not sustainable. John K. Reminder, this is a Premium article and requires a subscription to read. It's been 22 years since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.