Letters: Ports of Auckland CEO, masks, Māori vaccination access and work car parks

Across the board change

Thank you to Councillor Darby (NZ Herald, September 8) and the mayor for insisting on answers around the exorbitant payout to the recent CEO of Ports of Auckland.
It is now
time for change and what better than to ensure staff interests are represented and properly considered by their boards of all publicly owned companies, starting with the POA?
Worker representation on boards would help provide a fresh perspective on decision-making and provide a better link between the board and the workforce. In much of Europe, legislation requires union representation on boards. It is recognised that board-level union representation is best practice and provides better labour relations and more accountability because it allows influence at an early stage over strategic decisions.
Such change would immediately improve the unsafe working environment at the port and reassure Auckland Council, ratepayers and port stevedoring staff that legal obligations were being met.
Engagement with staff and their union would lead to improvements in the quality of decision-making at all levels and improve staff retention.
Yvonne Powley, Devonport.

Called to account
The payment of $1m was morally wrong. The concern is, why does not the shareholder, Auckland Council, sack the chairman of the board?
Chris Darby and mayor Phil Goff are agreed yet seemingly unable to act. That failure is either due to a lack of legal knowledge or a structure of ownership completely removed from democracy.
It is time to revoke the CCO model, it is simply failing; bring back democracy, please.
Mike Single, Bayswater.

Covering ourselves
Those who voice opposition to wearing face masks should note that medical and nursing staff do so as a mandatory and sensible function every day of their working lives.
This is to stop the possible spread of infection to patients they are dealing with - and vice versa. Surely no one would expect anything different.
It seems quite amazing therefore, at this time of a recurrent epidemic involving the much more virulent Delta variant, that anyone would object to such a basic protocol as to the compulsory wearing of masks anywhere except in their own "bubble".
With the virus spreading several metres by means of millions of respiratory droplets in the air, mask-wearing seems to be nothing but basic common sense, in exactly the same manner that everyone must be vaccinated as a matter of absolute priority.
Dr Hylton Le Grice, Remuera.

Vaccine procurement
It was announced several times over the last week that the Government was "talking with", "finalising", "making an announcement", "expecting to make a deal", "close to securing", etc, etc.
Finally, it was stated, "the Government has procured extra vaccines", but prior to yesterday was not disclosing "when, where from and how many".
Compare that to the Australian government statement that "Australia will receive 4 million additional doses from the UK". Full stop.
Anybody else feeling like we're being treated like children?
Claudia Barthlen, Kerikeri.

Absent friends
Our daughter has been overseas for a year and had both vaccinations over there some time ago.
Today, a letter arrived from the Ministry of Health, inviting her to book her jabs, with her NHI number.
Logic decrees that she will now be recorded as unvaccinated.
I wonder how many are in this category; and how it will affect the final unvaccinated statistics?
Colin Nicholls, Mt Eden.

Reason over rhetoric
Give me reasoned argument over emotive rhetoric any day, which is why I like Teuila Fuatai's articles, particularly today (NZ Herald, September 8).
She reminded us the choice is simple. Either you accept the strategy we've had since March last year, or not. Either you accept the need is to safeguard our vulnerable communities, or you do not. Either you accept that the notion of vulnerability changes with experience, or you do not. Either you seek to support those changes, or seek to undermine them. Either you are part of that big team, or you are not.
Guess which side Act is on?
Mike Diggins, Royal Oak.

Vaccinate vulnerable
John Tamihere and David Seymour are correct in their comments on the special Māori code for walk-in vaccinations.
Encouragement for vulnerable groups to receive the vaccine is most appropriate and so it is perfectly reasonable that Māori, as a vulnerable group, are encouraged to do so. However, it is not reasonable that other vulnerable groups are not likewise encouraged. For example, anyone over 65 should receive the same dispensation. Another example would be anyone with compromising conditions who can turn up with a confirmation note from their GP. No doubt there are further relevant groups.
Peter Donnelly, West Harbour.

Driving change
Simon Wilson calls time on company car parks (Herald, September 7), which reminds me of a particular question that prompted me to stop driving to work. Years ago, in a survey, AT asked "would you still drive to work if you could borrow a car during the day?" I suddenly realised the answer for me was "no". I approached my boss showing him the survey question. He made a car available during the working day, with compensation to the volunteer owner. I sold my car and started cycling to work. The difference was in not having to beg a car, personally, from an individual colleague. If companies step in as intermediaries between the lender and the borrower, everyone knows they have a right to a car at any time of the working day.
Martin Ball, Kelston.

Terror response
A second terror attack in three years and there are now calls to further erode basic rights to protect public safety.
Sri Lanka spent three decades battling daily suicide bombings and one of the most maniacal terrorist organisations ever to exist and all the while was continually lectured by Western nations on its alleged lack of human rights.
One attack in Auckland and there are now calls for preventive detention and a range of other measures.
Gehan Gunasekara, Stonefields.

Ill intent
Details of the history of the New Lynn perpetrator seem to have established mental illness as the driver of the atrocity.
This appears to afflict almost all who transgress against society's norms.
Don't we often ask, who in their "right mind" would do such a thing?
Gary Ferguson, Epsom.

Better days
I just loved the Daniel Faitaua story in Travel (NZ Herald, September 7).
In these times where everything you read at the moment feels like we are in the bowels of negativity and hopelessness, it was so nice to get a glimpse of what is potentially ahead once we all get through this (hopefully) last major hurdle.
Thanks again and more of this series would be great for spirits, especially Aucklanders doing it tough at the moment.
Angeline Barlow, Pakuranga.

Dining in
I want to let you know how much we have been enjoying the lovely recipes in Viva.
We have especially enjoyed the green curry chicken. Also the chicken, leek and brie pie; and the butter chicken, which was superb, both courtesy of Angela Casley.
With these lovely meals made at home we don't miss dining out quite so much.
Sue Bentley, Pakuranga.

Short & sweet

On distancing
Breaking news: Swimming pools will open from September 14 but, due to continued social distancing regulations, there will be no water in lanes 1, 3 and 5. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.

On heroes
Reading about lockdown heroes such as Hone Martin and Rachel Kearney (NZ Herald September 8) is far more uplifting than hearing the continuous whiners, moaning about how hard done by they are. Karen Russell, Hillcrest.

On opinions
Socrates argued that one should not respect the opinions of everyone equally, since some people are wise and others are fools. But of course that was only Socrates' opinion. Ron Hoares, Wellsford.

On masks
I am really impressed at how "tricky" this virus is. In a cafe, it can clearly only be spread by servers (masks compulsory) not customers (masks not required) whilst Covid in a supermarket is clearly much cleverer (masks compulsory for everyone). Fiona Guest, Hawke's Bay.

On Seymour
Let's applaud David Seymour and others that are endeavouring to level the playing field and be all in together - a true "team of 5 million" . Mark Jennins, Fairview Heights.

On needles
A man shown receiving a vaccination "is no fan of needles" (NZH, Sept. 8). His heavily tattooed arms would cause one to doubt this assertion. Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.

The Premium Debate

Middlemore Hospital case

Abdominal pain is a not an uncommon symptom in Covid cases. In a small minority of cases, it can be the only presenting symptom. So to say he was not presenting Covid symptoms in my opinion is incorrect. The issue here is why our systems are still not geared up to protect against these destructive hospital exposure events. Alan D.

According to one of the patients who was exposed to Covid interviewed at the weekend, the Covid case was displaying obvious cold-like symptoms, coughing and sneezing, when he was admitted. So someone, or more than one, messed up. Possibly fatigue, possibly work pressure, but the hospital has to learn from this. Steve N.

What I don't understand is the message we get from the PM constantly is to treat everyone we come in contact with as if they have Covid. You would think in a hospital environment they would test everyone that comes through the door as a bare minimum. Glenn H.

This is exactly the kind of situation rapid antigen tests can prevent. They are fast and cheap enough to be used for all patients when they show up at A & E and before they go anywhere else in the hospital. It is true that they are less sensitive than a PCR test, but you would still swab for PCR anyone with exposure or symptoms as a second line though but antigen would get most cases immediately. Gregor S.

The busiest and most under pressure hospital in the country made an error in leaving the person awaiting a Covid test result amongst other patients. It appears this was the only procedural error they made. But it seems likely that even if they had correctly moved him first to isolation, it would have still resulted in a similar number of staff being stood down. He had already been in the system by the time of the test. Hopefully the other patients in the room continue to remain negative. Rick F.

I won't hear a word against hospital staff. My mum was in there until just before the lockdown. They do a fantastic job. They may have misjudged but they are in a tough position and I fully support them. Ross W.


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