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New Zealand’s Zero Covid delusion Jacinda Arden's strategy is missing just one thing: an exit plan

How do you escape Zero Covid? (Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)


August 24, 2021   5 mins

As New Zealand announced a snap lockdown last week in response to a single Covid-19 case, the reaction was predictable. Critics of Jacinda Ardern and her government’s strict “Zero Covid” strategy pounced, claiming she had “lost her marbles” and her proposal was “nothing short of a never-ending nightmare”. On the other hand, cheerleaders reverted to well-worn platitudes about how “we’ve done this before and we’ll do it again”; Ardern herself pointed to the current outbreak in Australia’s New South Wales as proof of what happens when governments stray from elimination.

In short, New Zealand’s latest outbreak has merely reinforced pre-existing convictions on both sides of the Zero Covid argument.

But the reality is more complex. While New Zealand has pursued an aggressive elimination strategy, it has — until now — worked, and at relatively low political, economic and social costs. Indeed, the more urgent question now is whether the country’s relative success has lulled it into a sense of complacency, and left it lacking an exit strategy once the pandemic subsides.

Over the past eighteen months, New Zealand has been one of very few countries committed to elimination rather than suppression, with Ardern declaring she wouldn’t put the lives of citizens at risk by trying to live with the virus. The decision was hailed as proof of her leadership driven by empathy and compassion, in stark contrast with the “let it rip” approaches of Johnson or Trump.

However, while it certainly complemented Ardern’s brand, in reality her commitment was driven by the cold reality of a woefully unprepared health system — gutted by decades of austerity — which would struggle to manage even a low number of cases. A March 2020 audit found New Zealand only had 221 ICU beds for a population of 5 million, while its testing and track and tracing capacity was deemed inadequate.

It was in this context that the Government announced a strict “Level 4” lockdown on 25 March 2020, which closed almost all retail, hospitality and education settings, banned public gatherings, limited the reasons for leaving home and closed the international border to everyone but returning citizens and permanent residents who had to quarantine. Despite being draconian, these restrictions succeeded in eliminating Covid-19 in the country; by 8 June the lockdown ended, with effectively all restrictions being lifted, except for closed borders. In total, New Zealand experienced 1,504 cases of Covid and 22 deaths between February and June 2020. (The UK experienced 4,432 Covid deaths in March alone.)

Having achieved elimination, New Zealand doubled down, vowing to swiftly respond to any future outbreaks with snap lockdowns. It was a wildly popular decision, with Ardern re-elected in a landslide in October, and 75% supporting the government’s strategy as recently as July 2021.

The reasons for this are not hard to understand. Unlike Australia’s disastrous hotel quarantine system, which has resulted in more than 20 instances of the virus leaking into the community, New Zealand has seen limited breaches, which were quickly contained. As a result, since June 2020, there have only been two brief lockdowns in Auckland, the largest city. Indeed, for the past 16 months, New Zealanders have been living remarkably normal lives; while the British recently rejoiced at “Freedom Day” by flooding pubs, restaurants and football matches, New Zealanders have been enjoying these liberties for over a year.

Similarly, the economic costs of Zero Covid have been relatively low so far. While the initial lockdown initially led to a drastic 11% decline of GDP, a generous wage subsidy scheme prevented job losses and growth rebounded 14.1% the following quarter. Admittedly, the recovery has been uneven, with the tourism sector — accounting for 18% of the economy — hit particularly hard by border closures. Nevertheless, with unemployment at 4% and debt-to-GDP ratio of 33%, the country’s economic performance compares favourably with most other nations.

So it seems that New Zealand’s commitment to elimination so far has been less “a never-ending nightmare” than an understandable policy with overall low costs. But that doesn’t mean that the country is out of the woods. For ultimately, the issue with Zero Covid is the need for an exit strategy — and this is where the current outbreak has exposed NZ.

On paper, the most obvious exit strategy from Zero Covid is for the whole world to follow it, eliminating the virus once and for all. But the fact that the vast majority of countries have deemed this unfeasible has left New Zealand vulnerable. After all, elimination in one country is not viable in the long term without total isolation from the rest of the world.

The other exit strategy is vaccination. Yet here, New Zealand has stumbled, with only 19.79% of the population fully vaccinated, leaving it second-last in the OECD. The main issue has been complacency. With Covid eliminated, vaccination has not been a burning priority. This resulted in not only the Government setting low vaccination targets that it then crowed about meeting, but among the population only 40% gave any thoughts to vaccination in July. Splendidly isolated in their own little bubble, New Zealanders convinced themselves that the pandemic was happening elsewhere, and did little to prepare for its return. ICU, capacity, for example, has only been increased by 63 beds since March last year, and less than two weeks ago, experts warned a Delta outbreak would risk collapsing the health system.

Now that the Delta strain has arrived, however, the folly of this complacent strategy has been exposed. As other countries have found, measures that worked in crushing the virus last year struggle with its more infectious variant. Cases have grown every day, and the lockdown has already been extended to two weeks, while experts gloomily proclaim the country is on “a knife edge”.

What this means for NZ’s commitment to elimination remains to be seen. If the Government gets on top of the outbreak, faith in Zero Covid will persist, bolstered by proof of succeeding where no other countries have with Delta. But this will only reinforce complacency, meaning underlying structural issues will remain unaddressed. Once the country finally does start to open to the world again, these will come to the fore; if Covid returns, lockdowns will once again be a tempting proposition, even with high vaccination coverage. Whether the population will remain tolerant of these remains an open question.

If, on the other hand, the lockdown extends into months, the low-cost nature of elimination will come to be questioned, especially as previous successes recede from view, while the rest of the world moves on from the virus. As Australia shows, overconfidence can quickly give way to recriminations once an elimination strategy leads to a never-ending spiral of lockdowns. In this case, New Zealand may find that Zero Covid is a dead end, from which there is no easy way out.

It could be that Arden’s government is starting to realise this. While committed to stamping out the current outbreak, its Covid-19 Response Minister has conceded that the highly infectious nature of Delta raises “big questions” about the strategy, and that “at some point, we will have to be more open in the future”. Whether a government which has so explicitly nailed its colours to Zero Covid can execute such a pivot remains to be seen.


Tom Chodor is a Senior Lecture in Politics and International Relations at Monash University.

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Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

It would be inappropriate for me to say what I think of their response, and so of them, as they can do what they wish, but I do not think well of it…..It saddens me to see a once free Western People yield to a totalitarian Government. It saddens me how all the west has. A huge price is looming, a huge debt will have to be paid to cover the costs of these lockdowns. The old and infirm got another couple years or months – the youth lost the future they once had, and will end up paying the bill.

No sane society harms the young to save the old and infirm. That is insanity. That is backwards. Half USA States locked down, half did not. Still being in the Federal system the ones who did not lockdown will have to pay the price the cowards imposed on the Nation.

Covid was bad, the Response was the disaster.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Largely inclined to agree with you there
 but doesn’t the article say that NZers have actually enjoyed far more liberty (with the important exception of international travel) than the rest of us?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Bar a 4 week lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, and the current one which for most of the country will be around 10 days, the country has basically been fully open, with crowds at sporting events, music gigs, no limits at pubs/restaurants etc. The borders have been closed to those without citizenship or residency, however those that live here have been able to travel abroad but have to do a two week stint in quarantine on their return. The country has had much less restriction than Sweden for the bulk of the pandemic

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

They haven’t got a workable exit strategy and have a completely naive population that have not been exposed.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

What is a workable exit strategy? At the moment the strategy is the same as almost any other nation on the globe, to offer vaccines to anybody who wants it then open up again to live with the virus, hopefully avoiding the large numbers of hospital cases you would see if the borders were opened before vaccination took place. What would you recommend they do instead?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I liked Sweden’s approach from the beginning which was completely different to most other countries – who all varied slightly. A lot of people died in the first wave, many of whom were in care homes (in Sweden care homes which are very large and house end of life individuals) – but nonetheless Sweden rued the fact that they didn’t protect these people more effectively. Swedes lived a fairly normal life without hard lockdown. Last year they were 8th in per capita deaths, today they are about 39th.
Most other countries have had restrictions, but all have differed in their approaches.
Elsewhere Australia are saying that to open up after 80% vaccination modelling is estimated at 25,000 deaths. Whether that is accurate for Australia and obviously NZ is smaller, you had best be prepped for death.
I’ve been told that tourism was NZealand’s biggest export. If that is true, then I am sure there are a lot of very dissatisfied people.
Sorry, I cannot buy into the mainstream terror narrative. Those compromised and the elderly must shield and the rest should get on with living. And stop listening to corporate media.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

NZ has enjoyed less restrictions for the past 18 months than Sweden has

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But Sweden now has a far more protected community. I don’t think you really understand Covid and immunity.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

But after Christmas NZ will have largely the same immunity as Sweden, at a much lower cost to the economy and much fewer deaths

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

NZ will have to bite the bullet one day. As will every nation. Nations choose either long term gain for short term pain or short term gain for long term pain.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

They plan to open the borders after Christmas, when the population has been vaccinated. As you say the virus is going to work it’s way through the population eventually, NZ just wants the bulk of the country to have had the vaccine before it does to reduce the pressure on the health service

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This is a Really good one !!
I the last 18 months, I spent 6 months in Sweden, spread between the start of the pandemic where from the start, not one day was in lockdown, to summer, winter holiday and various business trips.
The most rigorous measures were the closure of restaurants at 8:30 pm and the ban on serving alcool after 8 pm.
Full stop. How many months of lockdown in NZ now ? Even using Maori tribes to do police work. If that’s not sick

what is.
Last week, Sweden lifted all remaining measures just like Denmark did a few weeks before.
I am really curious to see what will happen when, once the NZ borders open, one case is linked to a tourist. I can already hear the gates falling hard again.
I find this fascinating to see inmates falling in love with their warden, knowing that being this called empathy, it’s the deplorable state of NZ health system that’s the reason of this zero COVID.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago

This is a very perceptive comment. A completely naive population is a particularly vulnerable before a successful vaccine uptake and still likely to have problems even with high rates of vaccination.

Paul Ridley-Smith
Paul Ridley-Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Billy Bob and I live in different NZs. The central point of the article that NZ has no articulated exit plan is 100% correct. Our PM, who does daily media standups, has nonetheless not said what vaccination percentage will suffice to open borders, has not said what must first happen to ease mandatory 14 day border quarantine and has most definitely not said that the plan contemplates accepting COVID in the community. Her Govt has not ordered booster vaccine, has not introduced widespread saliva testing, has not increased ICU capacity by any material level and track & trace still relies on people voluntarily scanning bar codes. Our vaccination rate trails at the bottom of the OECD and because we’re using the double dose Pfizer effective rollout takes a long time. But with all that her approval rating is 50% and many (perhaps a majority) think we’re doing just fine. So the actual plan is that we’ll keep the moat full, the world out, lockdown as required, chugg on vaccinating and keep you posted. As our foremost 20th century philosopher sang – we don’t know how lucky we are….

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

I have come to realize that wherever you are, NZ, AUS, FL., Cal., Scotland, Wales, Italy, Sweden, you seem to be pretty satisfied with your lot and you (as the electorate) think that your approach is best.
Have there been elections which cause a change in Government? There must have been, but I can think of none.
This is why I find the finger wagging of articles like this (even though I largely agree), unhelpful.

One last point, isn’t your government the Queen’s, rather than Jacinda’s? 😀

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Donald Trump and the formerly Republican Senate both lost, quite possibly as a result of Covid 19, and Governor Newsom of California seems to be destined to join their ranks. You really didn’t think of those?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

ICU beds are incredibly complicated, and aren’t something that can be installed quickly unfortunately, though the number of beds have increased since the start of the pandemic.
Secondly why would Ardern give a specific percentage of vaccinations in order to open up? Say she said the country would open up at 85% vaccinated, but the take up was low and NZ didn’t reach that number. She would then be forced to either keep the borders closed, or to open up short of that number and be accused by the opposition of putting lives at risk. It’s much safer politically not to give an exact figure

Paul Ridley-Smith
Paul Ridley-Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My word Billy Bob. You are an assiduous defender of Jacinda and her approach. I stopped counting after the 25th defence to a single article and comments. Makes me wonder – is it a passion or a profession?.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

I’m actually a swing voter, I’ve voted for both major parties in NZ, as well as both major parties in the UK and UKIP. I just felt it important to give a view from inside the country to counter the hyperbole from those outside it.
If you believed the comments on here and from the article you could be mistaken for believing that NZ had planned to turn into a hermit kingdom devoid of freedom reminiscent of North Korea, when in reality for the past 18 months we’ve enjoyed more freedoms than almost any other first world country.
I’ve been to international sports events in packed stadiums, been to live gigs in crowded venues, chatted to strangers in busy pubs, things that have only just started being available again to large numbers of commentators on here. This has been achieved with much less damage to the economy than most other countries. Yes the vaccine rollout has been slow, and once the borders reopen in the new year cases and deaths will rise from their current levels, but if you’d have given me a choice of where I wanted to have spent the previous 18 months since the pandemic started then NZ would have been pretty high up anybody’s list I’d imagine

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I guess your version of freedom differs to that of a lot of other people.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

What freedom haven’t I had for the previous 18 months that you have enjoyed?
Freedom for yourself seems to have morphed from meaning living your life with few restrictions, to a catchphrase used to showcase your political leanings and “owning the libs”

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Freedom to avoid the non-science whim of governments to introduce ’emergency measures’ to force citizens to comply to the arbitrary measures they introduce to lock up everyone to protect the old and health compromised.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

What country have you been in that hasn’t had any form of lockdown over the past 18 months? As I’ve said, Sweden is the poster child for remaining open and they’ve endured more restrictions on their freedom for the past 18 months than NZ has

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But the restrictions in Sweden have been common sense and have had no consequences for freedom of movement or living life relatively normally. No closed borders, no need for useless face masks, no food shortages, shops open, most people still working and not sitting at home afraid to go out.
Johan Giesecke asked your journalists in May of last year what your exit plan consisted of – no reply and still no reply 16 months later. Had vaccines not been developed you lot would all be staring downa long dark tunnel.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This is true (another kiwi in Auckland). Would be nice to see lots of jabs quickly tho then back to a level 2 / Swedish model

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Once everybody who wants the vaccine has had it I believe all restrictions should end. There’s not much more that can be done to protect people from a government perspective, so it should be left to individuals to decide how to approach the virus.

anna m
anna m
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Having lived through it, for me at least, it has been a false liberty. I gave up writing to our MPs and attending protests after a while. Elimination was never ever going to work. This was obvious from the start. Even with our brief lockdowns, our children have experienced a large drop in literacy. The spin-offs of this, and the myriad other seemingly small effects will be felt exponentially in years to come. We have had all this time to invest in our healthcare system, but nothing has been done. Sitting ducks, overseen by monkeys. I was a big JA fan until I realised what a vanity project the COVID response was.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Agreed. And what do we think will happen when the young, who overwhelmingly believe in climate change alarmism, insist that we adopt zero-carbon policies? Those of us over 50 or so are just going to say that there’s no evidence that we need to? This is true: there is no evidence for such a damaging and unnecessary course of action.

But that was true of lockdowns too, yet young people put up with it without complaint. What then?

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Interesting point of view. I think lumping ‘The Young’ all together might be a bit of a error. I certainly think the Alarmed have learned it from their parents so there’s still quite a bit of agency within the older generation to change that. I am singularly disappointed with the response of the young people I know however!!! And by that I mean to conformist and not rebellious enough. I thought there’d be a point when I could hand over the heavy lifting. But maybe I’ve met the wrong young people and this was it ever a divide between the unconventional and their accepting alternates.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Hear hear

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Tipping points… The Covid response cost Trillions in the West, AND huge distortions in the economy and education.

As this fallows on with the de-carbonizing costs and disruptions there is a very real fear we could end up with a Venezuela kind of money de-valuing, not of their scale, but of the kind.

My parents grew up in The Great Depression, so I lived on those stories growing up, it was not good. You can have a wonderfully stable and prosperous economy, and with a series of disastrous moves, destroy that. Just like a family who are doing great could have a few bad choices wreck their prosperous and stable life – you must not do crazy things, as they can sink the ship, and recovery is never certain.

I worry our politicians are either very stupid, or working some plan on the great reset – and both will be a disaster for us.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I agree–and I heard it here (UnHerd) and only here: the inconceivable has become the inevitable. Early in the pandemic, Neil Ferguson et al–the sky is falling crowd–published (or was it pre-published) essentially false papers predicting nothing but gloom and doom, millions of deaths, the new Plague. Not being Asia and not used to authoritarian “leadership,” Ferguson et al looked longingly at Asia, where China simply called out the Army and told everyone to stay at home. Or else. To their chagrin, they initially said “Wow, wish we could to that here, mate…..” but they didn’t think the public would allow for it. Then someone said “I know–let’s keep the population afraid, VERY afraid. Then someone else asked, but for how long? And the reply was “Until we (the boffins) tell them that it’s safe, which will be a VERY long time.” As things progressed, the boffins really liked this power and control–Jacinda being one of the most evil and stupid boffins in the world–and many people, believing the big lie that they must be afraid at all times–started to act like sheep, which the boffins LOVED.
I’ve seen the police reaction to protests in Australia and teenagers breaking curfew to watch the sunset (hey, that’s outside) and it seemed more like Belarus than Australia. As Chopper Reed used to say: Australia needs to Harden the F@#$ Up!
I think this is how Al Murray might dissect lockdowns the way he dissected global finance, though it’s possible he would have a different answer: “it’s more complicated than that!”

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It is truly sad. I wish it were not so. They have used fear as tool to drive the populations into psychosis. I have not followed any of the covid policies at all. Not even during our 2 week lockdown. I was a so called “essential” worker and grocery stores and take out from bars was still allowed. A bar I frequented had a speakeasy out back in a fenced off area. We all were essential workers who congregated there after work. God Bless the owner for that. I don’t stay in large cities any longer so life has changed a bit but we don’t follow any of these rules. You only see this nonsense in the big cities as far as I can tell. I just avoid them now.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I share your antipathy to Jacinda Ardern. She is a vile, disgusting fascist moron, and I don’t understand why NZers put up with it. I haven’t read all of the comments but has someone mentioned King Canute attempting to command the tides?
Personal freedom is not something that the PM gives or that the PM should be able to unilaterally take away. This is crazy. Corona is a virus, it won’t bow down to her commands. Zero Corona is a fool’s game–isn’t that obvious?
If Jacinda wanted to protect her citizens, why doesn’t she outlaw driving? People are killed all the time in car accidents. Swimming? Surfing? Flying, though Ardern and Greta may soon outlaw flying because of global warming. Is it possible that countries and individuals have done a cost benefit analysis and decided that there is a certain level of risk they are prepared to take? I’ll ride in a car, but I wear a seatbelt. I fly commercial but won’t fly on small, single engine private planes.
The policy of eliminating Corona is stupid beyond belief. Let’s look back at this in years or decades and see who was right. It only took 1 year for NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with his CNN brother Fredo (Godfather reference), to go from the Golden Boy of Corona, with measured, scientific briefings to learn not only was he massively massaging the numbers, had shipped people + for Corona to nursing homes to “let ‘er rip.”
Cuomo is also a sexual predator. Who knew? All of Albany….

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago

NZ has been held up over past year as an example of how to manage Covid. I’ve pointed out 2 things that I’ll repeat here. Firstly what NZ has done has only been possible due to its remote location & that it’s largely self sufficient in food. Things that don’t apply to most European countries, especially the UK. In general lockdowns/quarantines are a bit like squeezing a water filled balloon. You get the effect you want as long as as you keep the pressure on, but you can’t keep the pressure on forever. Once you release it the balloon returns to the same shape as before, (you can’t stop the spread of a virus by lockdown, just temporarily slow it). The entire world will have to learn to live with this virus – that’s the reality.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hugh Marcus
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Indeed. You left out another factor, the NZ population is scattered throughout the 3 major island in small rural communities separated by large swathes of farmland and natural environment reserves, with most holed up in the large cosmopolitan cities.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

And the population of those island communities is less than half that of London.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

The bottom line is that NZ can retain the status quo providing it remains a fortress and doesn’t let anybody in. But sooner or later they will get caught out and a fully naive population will become exposed.
In other words, their strategy would only be sensible if one had a vaccine that was close to 100% effective. But we don’t have a vaccine yet that is anywhere close to being that effective (and it would appear from Israel and the UK that the vaccines’ effectiveness decreases with time. Therefore, NZ is entirely dependent on what happens elsewhere in the world where the virus will clearly become or has already become endemic.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

The NZ government have already said that the borders will reopen in the new year, once everybody who wants a vaccine has had it. They’ve no intention of becoming a hermit kingdom, they simply didn’t have the healthcare facilities to deal with a large outbreak amongst an unvaccinated population due to austerity measures of the past two decades

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The vaccines are non sterilising, which means that that they do not fully prevent transmission or illness. Further this forces mutations, which we are seeing already. The mutations reduce effectivity of the vaccines. So vaccinating the population will not keep the virus out.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

They haven’t said anything about keeping the virus out forever, however as we can see in the UK the vaccines severely reduce the risk of hospitalisation, even if it doesn’t completely stop transmission. The plan is to give everybody a chance for a vaccine, thus reducing the risk to the individual of serious illness, then living with the virus just the same as the rest of the world.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Let’s hope they also build some more ICU capacity for when they open up.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

If the vaccines do their job in reducing hospitalisations, as they seem to be doing elsewhere in the world then hopefully the ICU capacity won’t be needed. However the poor state of the healthcare is largely a result of the neoliberal, trickle down economics the country has followed since the 90’s which has decimated public services and infrastructure

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So I take it you will let the virus in then? Ok, so where are you with the vaccines. You are a small country, surely they should be almost done already?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

A small economy at the bottom of the world, with no Covid for the past year. How do you propose NZ get to the front of the queue for vaccines, in front of the likes of the US, UK and EU in that situation? The rollout has been slow for the simple reason NZ was a long way down the list to be supplied, now that the vaccines have started arriving in larger quantities over 2% of adults a day are being vaccinated currently, with the number of daily jabs increasing each week

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Even South Africa has its mitts on millions of vaccines and you couldn’t make up a more inefficient, corrupt, cash poor government than this bunch of clowns running the show.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Africa has been donated millions of doses from first world countries, I highly doubt they’d do the same for NZ which for most of the timeframe hasn’t had the disease within its borders. SA is also using the Chinese version of the vaccine, something even I would be highly hesitant to use quite frankly

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually donations have been minuscule compared to populations. Try again.

sheila mccarthy
sheila mccarthy
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually SA is using Pfizer and J&J. And has paid for most of its stock.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Yep

Katherin MacCuish
Katherin MacCuish
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The truth is that NZ and Australia were both complacent and didn’t order the vaccines in time. The U.K. shows that if you were prepared to take a punt early, and hurl money at various vaccines you could get ahead in the queue. But NZ and Australia both rather smugly felt they’d got the virus licked with their total elimination strategy and closed border regimes. But for that strategy really to succeed it requires the rest of the world to follow it too. And both countries woke up late to the fact that, as the rest of the world had either abandoned, or mostly never held to that strategy, vaccines were going to be the only way out, by which time they were way down the order list.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

The UK had a much more pressing need to order large numbers of various vaccines. It is also a much larger and more powerful country than either of those two. NZ have chosen a strategy of using the most effective vaccine, whereas the UK simply needed the most number of jabs in arms in the shortest timeframe possible. Both strategies have their good and bad points, however you simply can’t compare the situations those countries were in, and the reason those decisions were made

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Lesley, I have my 4 tubes of horse Ivermectin in the bathroom cabinet; Thinking of the chance of the coming mutations. The flu vaccine has to be reformulated every year….

As far as NZ locking the Islands – it still is sentencing the people to prison without a trial, a nice one, big and with bars and restaurants, but still having my rights to movement terminated seems a great violation of human rights to me. I have been locked out of returning to UK for getting on 2 years, and with my refuse to vax I may never get back.

There is an article on sentiment for Stalin in Russia getting more positive. People seem to tolerate being controlled – I never could.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Rubbed my latest dose of animal ivermectin in today. Cheap as chips and we have been using it for many months. We stop between waves and yes, it is better than vaccines against variants.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Rubbed in? The horse stuff I have has a twist stop device on a tube and plunger which makes the dose by body weight as you wish it. I ended up paying about $10 a tube, x 4, but it is only Ivermectin and a harmless base, rated for 1250 pounds of body weight, so 6 doses for me. My family are all much smaller. The farm supply store cannot keep it in stock – they say it goes fast.

Here in USA you can also buy the exact same antibiotics humans use, in the same capsule sizes, for Fish and birds with no prescription. Having some azythromycin (Z pack) is no longer found to help with covid – but one never knows what the future holds – I know getting to see a doctor could be hard in lockdown areas – if one had pneumonia, but everyone seems to be sold out – not that it is much of an issue with me – but just checked, and also found things like Clindamycin are all on long backorder and sold out

https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=4900E3C1-2C8D-4632-A822-667A6A3CC448

Spending so many years living remote I naturally am self reliant by nature.

https://www.calvetsupply.com/Fish-Clindamycin-150-mg-strength-100-capsules.html

so very many of them are all on back order though, like above – sold out everywhere.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Ours is a liquid. 1ml per 50kg. $30 per 500 ml.

Ben Pattinson
Ben Pattinson
2 years ago

You guys are joking right?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Ben Pattinson

No they’re not unfortunately. They may die a horrible death from Covid but at least they won’t have worms when they do.
However you’re the fool apparently for not getting your worldview from conspiracy theory websites

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I guess you don’t read scientific journals, because a peer reviewed paper on IVM was published in June. You need to get out a bit more Billy! Of course there are many interested and compromised parties who want to try and discredit it but a mere google will tell you when they have got hundreds of thousands for vaccine research, or billions to develop a new anti viral and the like.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Of course, it’s all a big conspiracy. Must be the Dems/Libs/Communists (delete as appropriate)! Silly me! Come back to me in 6 months and we’ll see if anybody in the medical industry is using a chemical used to deworm livestock to treat a respiratory illness.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

This ‘chemical’ is a bacterium from the soil and 4 billion doses and counting have been given to humans over decades.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

People were free to leave whenever they wished, nobody was locked in. You simply had to pass through the quarantine facilities on your way back in

Sam
Sam
2 years ago

It is interesting to see how Covid “strategies” are playing out in the long term. How some strategies (or lack of strategies) that seemed horrible and inept in the short run, might prove to be OK in the long run. While other short term positives may turn out to be long run nightmares.
Perhaps we won’t really be able to judge which countries handled it best until 2025 or 2030 when all the facts are in and we can see the big picture.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam

“Perhaps we won’t really be able to judge which countries handled it best until 2025 or 2030 when all the facts are in and we can see the big picture.”

Really? Not notice how Florida and New York/California all did about the same although the two Lefty States had insane lockdown and Fla did not.

Pretty much everyone in the West excepting Republican USA States, Sweden, and Belarus, destroyed the education of the young, impairing them for life, destroyed the health of anyone needing preventative diagnosis or care other than covid, destroyed the pensions, a great many small business, jobs, industries, are destroying the economy with Central Bank Debt at insane levels, increased deaths of despair like drink and drugs, and harmed many people’s mental health, and Destroyed FREEDOMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Live free or die is my policy. I will not crawl like a sheep because some minor risk. I refuse to Vax as I refuse on principal to be part of the destruction of the Free world economy and freedoms and rights at such a critical time in the world’s power structure.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I agree. Socialism is spreading like a pernicious weed in the West and it feeds by taking away our freedoms.

Katherin MacCuish
Katherin MacCuish
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Live free or die-oh for goodness sake. Let’s keep the discussion grounded in reality

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Katherin – I have led an exceptionally weird life as I acted on that sentiment all my life. I am now sedate – but during the majority of my life I was out running around in the world because I could not settle – and so lived as a rebel, or at least highly unconventional. Personal risk never bothered me, and by great fourtune I survived, but I would NOT ever be controlled. This is my real attitude, I lived it decades, and will continue. Some people do value rights and freedom more than life, as history shows, a great many of them.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

You’re wasting your breath. The likes of Sanford and Lesley believe they’re more clever than the average person because they refuse to get a vaccine that has been statistically proven to lower the risk of hospitalisations and deaths in most countries around the globe, however they’re both quite happy to ingest invermectin (a drug used to deworm livestock) because they’ve seen it on some daft conspiracy website

Last edited 2 years ago by Billy Bob
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I am vaccinated
. though I am vaccine hesitant like many people who have followed this science assiduously off mainstream. And I have a therapeutic which is proven to work via a peer reviewed paper dropped June. Also a friend is doing her thesis on IVM and has guided thousands to recovery. 3 hospitalizations. No deaths.
At the very least Ardern should be reading up on Ivermectin
 it is safe after all.
Nice try Billy Bob 🙂

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam

You need to at least have a viable exit strategy and New Zealand does not have one. See Johann’s post above


Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

NZ seems like one of the few countries to actually have any kind of strategy at all throughout the pandemic. They managed to keep it out of the country which allowed the people there total freedom domestically. Now they plan to open the borders in the new year once those that want to have been vaccinated.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And then the virus will rip….

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

But large scale hospitalisations and deaths will be avoided due to the country being vaccinated. As we’ve seen in the UK, case numbers are largely irrelevant in a highly vaccinated society as it rarely leads to serious illness so it doesn’t matter if the virus is let rip

aaron david
aaron david
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Two weeks to bend the curve.
At least, that is what they told us here in the states. We can see how that worked, and of course, a new variant is ripping through the world, and we are over 60% vaccinated and they are telling us that we are going to need a third shot…
The point is, sooner or later every country or state that has gone down this route is going to need to rip off the bandaid. How bad that is going to be really depends on how long they put it off.

Last edited 2 years ago by aaron david
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  aaron david

But NZ will be opening up with a largely vaccinated population, therefore it stands to reason that the virus working its way through the population will do much less damage than if it had done the same a year ago

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That assumes that (a) the current vaccines are effective against any new variants that pop up and supposedly the vaccine is less effective in the case of the delta variant than the original Wuhan virus; and (b) that the effectiveness of the vaccines do not wane, but unfortunately they appear to do so after 6 months or so. In that regard boosters are all very well, but it should be remembered that there is a limit to the number of shots one can safely give of those vaccines that employ lipid based nanoparticle to transport the mRNA. It’s precisely because side effects from the lipid nanoparticle rapidly mount that Moderna had to give up on the use of mRNA vaccines for cancer therapy (the initial remit of the company) which required repeated doses that could not be tolerated.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Very interesting. Thank you

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The NZ healthcare system is inadequate, the vaccine rollout is inadequate.. and even when everyone gets vaccinated it won’t prevent Covid tearing through the population. NZ is just delaying the inevitable.
*edited*

Last edited 2 years ago by Hersch Schneider
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

The people of NZ have had more freedom these past 18 months than almost any other first world country, much more than Sweden as it happens. Seeing as every other nation has endured much longer lockdowns than anything I’ve endured in NZ, are all those nations weak and easily cowed too?

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

OK fair point, I went in too strong there.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You’ve absolutely no idea BB! I live there and freedom is not a problem We have inconveniences but no more than that. I was hoping to visit NZ some time in the future, but your posturing and ridiculous handling of the pandemic means I will never set foot in your pathetic country before my time is up.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
2 years ago

I lived in New Zealand until I left on March 11th this year.
1) The average Kiwi has been bamboozled into thinking the threat is much greater than it is. When I pointed out that less than 1,000 people who are fit and healthy between 0-60 have died with Sars CoV2 on their death certificate in England they are incredulous. That makes sense if you do not live in a community where the virus is endemic your fear is much greater than your reality.
2) There were actually only 153 ICU units in NZ the day she locked down now there are over 550 so I do not know where the journalist gets his numbers from. But Ashley Bloomfield was asked after six weeks why not apply a Level 2 (Swedish) style lockdown rather Level 4 (food and exercise locally only). Ashley was honest to protect the health service. If you ask the health director of a health care service what should be done, which is what Jacinda did, inevitably all the consequential catastrophic consequences are set aside, you Lockdown.
3) Even last year Ashley had reduced the lives saved to 3,500 from 80,000 of their Ferguson Modeller. It would actually be 1,000 if NZ followed the same pattern as influenza/sars UK stats. They of course would be average age 82 and 30/50% demented.
Most Kiwi’s are part of the sheeple culture, insular, disinterested in the outside world and think of tourists as a necessary evil which they are delighted are absent. My thoughts are with the well educated, well-travelled who run business’s who behave with common sense to reduce transmission but are deeply troubled by their status as a hermit nation and the liberal fascism that Jacinda is the poster child of.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

An interesting response. I am an expat NZer living in the UK. Before Sars CoV2 I returned usually every 5 years. Anecdotally, from my experience many people here in the UK I have spoken to over the years, fail to realise the extreme geographic isolation of the country and also the isolation of its communities with both main islands. It is essentially composed of perhaps four cosmopolitan large cities interspersed here and there with isolated towns separated by vast areas of farmland and natural reserves.
I think these features have also played into Adern’s political playbook – as well as the very provincial nature of the populations that are in the rural townships.
Many of my friends and colleagues back in the day were outward-looking and travelled widely – but we were well educated with prospects and income. Today, most of my friends have fled NZ for Australia to find work. Indeed, my relatives and their extended families now mostly live in Australia for the most part, in order to secure that work.
I don’t know about the ‘liberal fascism’ representative of Ardern, although I will say for me her approach of empathy and compassion toward the population is reminiscent of a ‘overly-maternal’ archetype response that infantilises as a consequence.
At the end of the day NZ will have to re-enter the world of epidemiological reality, of a world with the existence of a novel, changing virus to evolutionary selection pressures, a reality the ‘mother-figure’ will have to feel her way into very carefully.

Last edited 2 years ago by michael stanwick
Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago

I wish there was a way to bookmark these two posts for future reference, not just like them. I particularly thought Michelle’s comment about the percentage of pelt who died suffering from dementia to be heartbreakingly significant. If only we’d spent the same amount of money looking for a cure and better treatments for the dementias that afflict our societies in the 100s of 1000s as we have for Sars Cov2.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
2 years ago

Laura to extend your point having returned to England what I see is say the Construction Industry bypassing the effect of endless lockdowns but the impact on many others has been dreadful 50% of my family have been on medication and many of my clients have aged 5 years in my two-year absence. My mother died a couple of months ago after endless UTI’s and during which each time she mimicked dementia, both of my hosts in NZ had demented parents who commercially were very attractive to the owner of homes but like my mother, they are in a waiting room for death one indeed died last month. So much money is spent on the wrong things.
Those in the sandwich look on our parents demented our children on medication because of policy to save the elderly… demented.

Last edited 2 years ago by Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
2 years ago

Thank you for an excellent response not because broadly you agree with me but because you combine your own personal experiences to find the overall narrative of New Zealand rather than echo chamber your way to a certain truth. When I was sat in Doc Huts after a day of tramping the backcountry I was astonished by the sense of hostility and inward-looking behaviour. Because I am as much a Kiwi as they are and love the country and what it can yield as much as any Kiwi it was assumed in 2020 I was Kiwi and I really saw the country and peoples view with the gloves off. Many of the people I came across were from Auckland and again there is an Auckland verses the rest mentality and many of them had never set foot on the South Island before,

John Tyler
John Tyler
2 years ago

“‘Let it rip’ approach of Johnston”
Eh? I hardly think our lockdowns reflect such an approach. The problem with using such politically emotive and inaccurate notions is that it diminishes the rest of the article. Why not just stick to the facts? They’re interesting enough on their own.

Tharmananthar Shankaradhas
Tharmananthar Shankaradhas
2 years ago

NZ needs work out how to go from zero to endemic without significant collateral damage. Vaccination alone is not sufficient.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago

I’m very interested in the financial debate. Not just for New Zealand but this article makes stark the health service issues that were exposed in NZ at the start of the pandemic. Early on, the talk in the UK was all about buying time. It’s been frustrating to watch that time being bought at a very high financial cost but no funds appearing to be channelled into the weaknesses that required the time to be bought in the first place (I may be wrong about this but I’ve certainly seen no reports that show where money has been invested to improve the health service deficits in the last 18 months). Similarly this would appear to have been the NZ strategy, in particular before such effective vaccines were developed so quickly and yet, again not much has been done with all that time bought. My question has always been, if a nation can afford the astronomical costs of NPI interventions, why can’t they afford to 1) invest properly in their health systems and 2) spend a similar amount of money in research and therapies for the co-morbidities that actually kill people when you catch the virus?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

NZ has belatedly started adding more capacity to its healthcare system, however the construction of new hospitals isn’t a cheap or quick feat. 30 years of Thatcherism (or Rogernomics as it’s known here) has seen public services decimated in the mistaken belief that all social problem can be solved with market solutions

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago

Zero COVID is a fool’s errand.
Humanity has managed to eradicate one or two viruses, small pox being one. But it hasn’t eradicated the viruses that cause the “common cold” — which, ironically, includes other coronaviruses. And we haven’t eradicated flu viruses. Indeed, H1N1, the progeny of the Spanish Flu, still floats around. And then there fun ones like ebola. Why don’t we eradicate that once and for all? Easy, right?
So, please. Before writing an essay that runs in circles, do some very basic research. Ok?

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago

Correct. ‘zero COVID’ is impossible and in reality undesirable. SARS CoV 2 isn’t be the worst we have faced and won’t be the last but the lunacy (intentional use of that word) we have seen, the intentionally induced panic through 24/7 propaganda has been unbelievable. TPTB must be amazed that their agenda has advanced in only 18 months what they thought would take decades. Lockdowns and masks now generally accepted and approved of by a majority!!!
Has anyone, anywhere, taken a bad flu year (just take any a dozen or so in the last 50 years) and calculated the deaths using THE SAME criteria as they have for COVID? they may get a shock…actually, probably not.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

The way Covid deaths have been calculated has been awful. There’s a big difference between dying with Covid and dying from Covid

David Whitaker
David Whitaker
2 years ago

Reducing infections and treating the infected is what governments have been doing, in their different ways and with varying degrees of success. But the elephant in the room is the risk of another escape, ie a repeat event. From a Wuhan laboratory or anywhere else. There is no sign of concerted or indeed unilateral action by governments to change the way things are done, or who does them, or who pays for them, so as to preclude a re-occurrence. Is our whole strategy to be reactive?

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  David Whitaker

I agree entirely. Indeed, there is nothing so far to change me from my original thought (Feb 2020) that this is the ‘trial run’.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

I certainly don’t want to defend NZ, but all the usual finger pointing is hardly helpful.
In the UK what have WE done to protect ourselves from future lockdowns? Vaccines have been administered but the government has kept playing down their effectiveness. Have we increased bed capacity? Not at all.
Are we likely to have restrictions reimposed in the autumn/winter? Very.
What is OUR exit strategy? Unclear.

So, I don’t think we (or anyone else) are in a position to point fingers.

Claire Dunnage
Claire Dunnage
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I thought we had exited, on the 19 July. Vaccines seem to be working – very low hospital admissions and deaths. Yes, the spread may increase in the autumn and winter, but we’ve been vaccinated. And the high levels of infections, without serious illness, means most people have a high level of resistance.

I realise many people are still scared but I think that is due to government scare mongering, media stories that distort the reality of the situation, and NHS doctoring figures of how many hospital admissions are really down to Covid and the numbers of deaths caused by Covid.

That isn’t to deny that many people have died or been seriously ill, but I don’t think government, the media and the NHS have been honest in their reporting.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire Dunnage

Claire, I am much more pessimistic. Just today Saint Nicola has said that she doesn’t exclude reintroducing some measures if numbers keep going up, which they will… Once the effect of vaccine No. 1 starts to wane here comes the booster shot, but by the time everybody (required) has received one time will have gone by.
In the meantime Boris will have run scared… again.
For now I am enjoying what I can because I know might well not last.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

This is the seventh human coronavirus. Are you aware of any of the previous six having or requiring “an exit strategy”? Isn’t that furnished by our immune system doing what it has done for millions of years?

Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago

Hindsight is a marvelous thing. It seems that for NZ and Australia, the window to drive mass vaccination was missed. There was something about the sense of fear, the unknown and high infection rates that motivated the UK population to embrace the vaccination programme. And the sense of patriotism about the AZ vaccine.
Now here we are 18 months later and the virus has lost its unique fear factor. There are treatments. Data that shows who is at risk. Opinions about illness vs lockdown vs death rates vs freedom have hardened. This platform reflects these many different views.
Therefore I think that the compelling drive to get vaccinated has waned. It seems that in NZ and Australia, people have developed a certain complacency, but also that negative opinions about whether the vaccine is safe have had time to flourish. Of course political arse covering in Aus because of their mismanagement (their own vaccine development programme used the HIV virus as a base and resulted in a PR disaster of people developing HIV antibodies during trials) has added to the confusion. A few ill chosen words of doubt from Scott Morrison or his colleagues resulted in people deciding never to take the vaccine. Macron and Merkel also seemed to suffer with this problem.
So we have NZ and Aus with little or no acquired resistance to a now more virulent illness. We have other vulnerable countries where Covid will likely rip through the population causing more variants. We have vaccinated countries which have widespread acquired immunity AND a good idea about the practical realities of dealing with big outbreaks and running a successful vaccination programme.
I don’t believe this virus is going away any time soon. Boosters will be needed. More variants will emerge. Maybe variants that are more deadly to different sectors of the population. The Spanish flu was most deadly to young people. Imagine how dreadful that would be if Covid mutated in this way.
Only time will tell. But for NZ, I feel a sense of regret. In doing the best thing for the country in the beginning, they have unwittingly missed the window of opportunity to drive mass vaccination which is, unfortunately, merely the first step. There’ll be more to come.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Deborah B

The small number of vaccines administered has little to do with vaccine hesitancy, it is mostly to do with them only recently arriving in the country in greater numbers. Most eligible people have booked their vaccine, and by Christmas(which has been the proposed timeframe for completion for months) the vaccine rollout should be complete and I’d expect the take up to be largely in love with other first world nations above the 80% mark

Jeremy Rolls
Jeremy Rolls
2 years ago

I read an interesting article on the BBC news website the other day which suggests that vaccination only confers a limited immune response to covid (in most cases to the spike protein only since this is what the vaccines are designed to mimic) whereas actually getting covid primes the immune system in multiple ways. (If the article is largely correct) countries that have pursued a “zero covid” strategy such as NZ may find their population’s longer term protection from covid, as the virus mutates, is deficient even once they finally get their act together with their vaccination programme. They could be in a loop of locking down and opening up for years to come with all the disastrous consequences that entails.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeremy Rolls
Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Rolls

I believe it depends on the vaccine in question and also the strength of each individual’s adaptive immune system after the vaccine. The argument however that the mNRA vaccine will need annual boosters is a strong one – assuming after having had your vaccine, you don’t go on to catch the virus and develop minor disease symptoms that give you all the benefits you describe without any of the dangers. If it wasn’t for the requirement to quarantine (and even with it) I’m of a mind to sell out my dose.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Rolls

Once large numbers have had the vaccine the symptoms tend to be much less severe, so those that are reinfected are much less likely to require expensive hospital treatment. The article you mentioned also stated that early studies imply that being both vaccinated and catching the virus appears to give the best defence, so therefore in a few years with a vaccinated population and the virus circulating NZ will be in the same position as any other country. However they won’t have had large numbers of deaths and their short lockdowns much cheaper than the dragged out affairs witnessed in other parts of the world

David Yetter
David Yetter
2 years ago

Perhaps Kiwis should be staging public readings of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” as reminders of the folly of trying to keep a contagion at by by shutting out the world. Or perhaps not, since governments world-wide are trying to make a disease with a case fatality rate of about 2.2%, and that concentrated among the aged and infirmed, out to be an analogue of Poe’s fictional plague to provide an excuse for totalitarian or near-totalitarian interference in everyone’s lives.

William McKinney
William McKinney
2 years ago
Reply to  David Yetter

Case fatality rate of 2.2%? Perhaps, if you define case in the traditional pre-COVID way. If, however, you define a case as an infection – and vice versa – as has become the habit in the current debacle, then the IFR/CFR is about one tenth of that number and likely declining.

David Yetter
David Yetter
2 years ago

I specified CFR not IFR — they are not the same thing as you seem to suggest — precisely because there seems to be a lot of controversy over how many asymptomatic infections there are, with US CDC estimating about 40% of infections are asymptomatic, while other studies suggest about 8/9 of infections are asymptomatic. You IFR estimate assumes the latter. The point is, even the more dire-sounding CFR, together with the fact that the average number of years of life lost to the disease is lower than in many previous pandemics (e.g. the 1918 flu had mortality concentrated in middle age, with the elderly passing relatively unscathed), draws into question the choice of most governments world-wide to behave for the past year and half as if the only human good is the prevention of infection with SarsCov-2 and of death from the resulting disease.

D Hockley
D Hockley
2 years ago

Jacinda Arden’s strategy is missing just one thing: Intelligence.
The zero COVID strategy is the most immoral, costly and idiotic strategy that any human could have come up with. Little wonder then that the virtue-signalling and woke Jacinda thought it a good idea.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  D Hockley

The zero Covid strategy is largely a myth. The strategy is to suppress the numbers until the population has been vaccinated, which fingers crossed should protect the health service from large numbers of hospitalisations and deaths once the borders reopen in the new year.
Also Ardern certainly isn’t a woke politician, she’s a pragmatic centrist. She certainly seems to have a different reputation abroad to the reality in NZ

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

thanks for that, many of us only get ‘certain’ news and it is generally the media pushing the click bait and catchphrases that (almost) always turn out to be misquotes/ distortions/ outright lies!)

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

I must admit this whole business regarding Ardern how she is perceived abroad has certainly been an eye opener. It appears she’s either a deity or the Antichrist, when in reality she’s a middle of the road career politician, albeit a rather charismatic one. She’s dealt well with some issues thrown at her such as the Christchurch mosque attacks, the White Island eruption and the pandemic, while she has failed in other areas such as reigning in runaway house prices in the country largely through her refusal to tax capital gains.
She’ll realistically win the next election comfortably as the opposition is an absolute shambles, and she’s in a position that due to NZs PR political system she can aim for the centre vote knowing she has the Greens to the left of her who will always join Labour in a coalition. This allows her to cherry pick a few of the less mad environmental issues to get them on bored while ignoring the hard left financial policies the Greens tend to put forward

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

GOOD SUMMARY bOB

D Hockley
D Hockley
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The strategy is to suppress the numbers until the population has been vaccinated,

Seriously?

There was no vaccine in sight when Jacinda the Woke started her idiotic folly. What was the plan; to wait an indeterminate amount of time for a vaccine to be found?

NO…You, Billy Bob, are try to rationalize the irrational.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  D Hockley

What was the plan for any country when the pandemic first started?
NZ was in an enviable position in that due to its geographical isolation and being amongst the last countries to be infected it was able to eradicate the virus from within its borders. I don’t believe the government had a plan past this, it was simply a case of buying themselves from time and taking stock of the situation unfolding, and I believe any country in their circumstances would have don the same thing.
If the vaccines had never arisen I’ve no idea what NZ would be planning to do next, just as I have no idea how the UK, US or Europe would currently be doing if they hadn’t vaccinated large numbers of their citizens.
My best guess is that all these countries would still be using isolated lockdowns to try and control the spread, until the political or financial pressure forced a change of tactics

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

When the pandemic was first realised there already was a pandemic plan that was approved by the WHO and existed in UK.This was promptly abandoned by WHO after a visit to China,without any scientific evidence and ‘lockdowns’ ‘became the policy everywhere.Except Sweden who basically followed the previous policy,ie no mandated lockdown ,no masks,no shutting schools.or workplaces.It is proving to be the best policy.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago

The vaccines appear to be failing. Israeli vaccinated hospitalization currently equal the unvaccinated. Hawaii which hasn’t had major problems and is heavily vaccinated is seeing skyrocketing infections. Maybe they won’t lead to deaths? What might be even more frightening is being unexposed to the virus as the virus continues to evade immunities both natural and through the needle. Could New Zealand become another Rotuma? A virus that has existed in the human viome for sometime mutating and producing variants comes into contact with an unexposed population? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21498623/

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I posted the warning by Geerd Vanden Bossche on my FB timeline in March: using non-sterilising vaccines during a pandemic will lead to more mutations. Lots of criticism came from Israel.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

The whole world needs an exit strategy and the first item on its agenda must be a better strategy for dealing with China.

Sue Ward
Sue Ward
2 years ago

They probably need a breakthrough more infectious strain as a way out. They can walk away from the zero Covid policy which is clearly unsustainable and blame it on a new variant for which the previous approach is no longer workable without having to admit zero Covid was only ever a mirage.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

NZ gambled that it could be an island, (well two islands) entire unto itself. Hopefully it could sit out the pandemic until the rest of the world had banished Covid: is short, a survivalist strategy. Big gamble, which may be unravelling: more Masque of the Red Death, than Robinson Crusoe.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago

They need big time inoculation and a huge increase in icu beds before they can even begin to look at exiting. Why hasn’t this happened?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Inoculation is ramping up now they finally have vaccines arriving in large numbers into the country. ICU beds have also increased significantly in the last few years, I’ve no idea where the author got their figures from for the article

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
2 years ago

If anyone really wants to correct all we are being forced to live as reality and get out of this lie, then must get out of one’s comfort zone(s) about everything we know, and never go back. By repeating ourselves on a screen.. it is a trap, an illusion that something might change
 I do have taken strict measures about myself a very long time ago such as: do not have and do not watch TV, similarly never watch movies because there is only dark propaganda. If grandparents and parents do not stop right now sacrificing their children: because they do not want to get up from the armchair instead prioritizing their holidays etc etc .. Then I am not surprised that daughters and sons sell off parents and grandparents to Bbc telling stories how their parents did not have the vaccine and died And that We must trust Bbc, everything else is a conspiracy theory .. Entire lifetimes and personalities are being turned in to caricatures feeding the ongoing propaganda
 always forget to include the millions of people alive and healthy.
Do not you see that covid is a well-organized-crime?.. that every politician, scientists and the media are being assessed for their ‘response’ to covid.. in other words, it is a Code, instead of telling clearly that it is Us they aim to suppress and eliminate: everyone who holds and dares to think and speak of another opinion, ankle and understands beyond of what we are being told.. For example they decided to close the borders (our borders!.. our countries!.. our roads!.. our schools! ..our skies!..) and impose restrictions to.. covid.. whereas firstly, it was already everywhere and it is, so who are they try to control? and they have failed in the first instance, secondly the restrictions do not do anything to covid.. (for example, while in lockdown the cases go up..) But they do to our freedoms, economy, health and well-being etc etc. The virus does not understand of any of those concepts. Ultimately the effect and the results is Not for covid and will never be. All measures, restrictions and changes aim to and are for Us, although we never wanted nor decided anything.. . Covid is a concept, a platform, a code .. and never meant to be for a virus.. 

Last edited 2 years ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

I assume there is some deep-seated irony in this comment that I am not getting.

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

I am happy that you get so.. annoyed..! What is your thoughts by the way, you have not said anything on the matter.. other than attempting to distort the truths I am writing…and trolls abide to those methods..

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago

The author doesnt explain why cases have surfaced in NZ.How could this be in ‘total lockdown’? There never has and never will be a total lockdown !

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Welford

Quarantine free travel between NZ and Australia (plus a few pacific islands) was operating until recently. It appears the virus was brought into the country from somebody returning from Sydney

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I would have thought that inevitable, sooner or later.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Australia was largely Covid free until recently hence the travel bubble between them, but you’re correct the virus would have landed eventually irrespective of how hard the border remained closed. What NZ has managed to do is buy itself time to get the country vaccinated, that’s it

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

In truth, no one knows what the best policy is for any one country, and each country tends to be unique. For example, New Zealand may be culturally similar to the UK in many ways, but is utterly different in very many other ways – gross population, population density, ethnic minorities, travel to and from other countries, etc..
Luck, ignorance, and a critical or supportive media all seem more significant than the true effectiveness, which itself is measured by differing methods and accuracy of statistics.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

The most sensible comment on here by far. NZ had an opportunity at the start of the pandemic to keep the virus outside of its borders, and that’s what it chose to do.
People praise the government as if they did something special but they didn’t, they simply had a short lockdown and isolated anybody coming through the border, which thanks to its geographical isolation and the fact it only had minimal cases was enough to keep the virus out. The UK and Europe simply didn’t have that option available to them as the virus was already too entrenched within the community by the time anybody realised what was happening.
I’m sure in NZs position most governments worldwide would have taken the same course of action at the time, especially as it’s meant that for the last 18 months the people there have been able to live their lives with no restrictions at all. Yes the vaccine rollout has been slow and that may come back to haunt them if they can’t stamp out this latest outbreak, but all in all the people in NZ have had a much better time of it during the pandemic than most, with the economic damage a fraction of that of most European countries

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Except that NZ cannot keep its borders shut for ever and should have realised this at the start

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Welford

It doesn’t plan to, the plan is to open up once the country is vaccinated

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But vaccinations arent 100% effective and vaccinated people can still spread the virus !

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago

Interesting article, the only problem is that like most people who talk about covid, the realities of the nature of the behaviour of an illness (not behaviour of the virus: of the illness) needs to be taken into account to write about covid. Very very few people do this. The simplistic chain like passing on from one person to another person model with everybody falling ill (and dying?) seems to be the preferred one by most authors whereas this model is most likely not quite 100% correct for covid (in the same way as this is not correct for flu).
It is a pity that in the age of good data, nobody follows the good data when it does not suit what we are used to thinking or prefer to think. But I suppose it suits those who sell us medicines and make rules….

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

One final question, seeing as I’ve been downvoted continuously for defending the approach to the pandemic NZ has chosen, where would all those who disagree with me rather have spent the last 18 months? Which first world countries have enjoyed more freedoms than NZ citizens for the previous year and a half? Which countries have coped better financially with the costs of the pandemic? Which has seen a better record relating to hospitalisations and deaths? I’ll be interested to hear the reasons for your choices

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

A domestic rabbit in a hutch is not “enjoying freedom”.
Sweden. When adjusted for the previous year’s very mild flu season, their death rate last year is exactly on the last decade’s rising trend. This falsifies both of the claims that the NZ strategy was predicted on: that the virus was unusually dangerous, and that coercive lockdown was necessary and effective in preventing its transmission. NZ have merely deferred the point when their citizens must begin, through exposure, to acquire natural immunity, while misallocating on an absurd isolation strategy money that should have been spent reinforcing the ICU capacity that process will require.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Lyon
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lyon

I’ve been free to leave NZ whenever I wanted, in fact thousands have been abroad on holiday this year. The border is only closed to non citizens therefore your hutch analogy is a false one. The Swedes have also faced more restrictions on their movements and day to day activities than I’ve faced in NZ for the past 18 months and even after NZ opens the borders to others in the new year I’d wager the death rate per capita will remain lower in NZ than Swedens final total. Therefore your stance seems more ideological than anything else.
I’ll agree I think Sweden’s approach was the correct one in their circumstances, their proximity to Europe and land borders meant keeping it out would have been a futile exercise, but NZ faced a different set of circumstances

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

> I’d wager the death rate per capita will remain lower in NZ than Swedens final total. Therefore your stance seems more ideological than anything else.
As I stated clearly, Sweden’s death rate in its COVID year is indistinguishable from the decade’s rising trend. Setting aside differences in death rate arising from demographic differentiators, you seem to be claiming that NZ’s approach will be superior unless Sweden has a mortality *deficit*, which is absurd. So your metric — and therefore your claim that my comment is ideological — is meaningless.
Anecdotes about the holidays enjoyed by the wealthy elite who advocate for lockdown and report that they enjoy them — a group that has thrived in every jurisdiction that has imposed harsh lockdown arrangements — do not reflect the experiences of the poor (and their children) who are the silent victims of your policies. Obviously I’m delighted that, e.g. Amazon have pulled out of New Zealand and are shooting Lord of The Rings here in the UK because of the difficulties of dealing with A Hermit Kingdom, but I am deeply sorry for the ordinary people who depended on such foreign investment.
Here you are again, compelled to stay at home, prohibited from visiting friends and family outside of absurd “bubbles”, limited in where and when you can exercise, prohibited even from going to work (unless it’s to delivery food to elites, of course). Your schools and early childhood education centres are closed. You can’t go to funerals, bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, libraries, or playgrounds.
You have shuttered and impoverished your country on the misguided hope of a sterilising vaccine that prevented infection and transmission; no such vaccine has been produced, and the Lancet now reports that it may *increase* the infectiousness of its asymptomatic recipients, converting them into super spreaders. Meanwhile, your government continues to saddle you with an immunologically naive population, while spending the money it should have used to strengthen your hospitals on paying healthy people to sit at home instead of acquiring suppressive and superior natural immunity. Best of luck with that.
You asked what countries have produced a better record on hospitalisations and deaths, and have coped better financially: good faith requires you to acknowledge total cost, not just the cost to date.

Last edited 2 years ago by Richard Lyon
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lyon

Even with the latest lockdown, only the second I have endured in 18 months and this one only lasting 10 days, the financial cost is still less than that of Sweden’s. NZ has one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in the OECD, and it will remain so after the effects of the pandemic so your talk of impoverishing the nation simply bear no relation to reality.
You talk as of Sweden has been completely open but that is simply false, they have endured much more restriction on their freedom for well over 90% of the pandemic.
NZs response has been cheaper, less restrictive for 90% of the pandemic and once the virus passes through the population in the new year will likely still have resulted in less deaths and hospitalisations.
I don’t believe NZs tactics could have worked for Sweden, simple geography would have meant the virus wouldn’t have been able to have been kept out in the same way, but it worked well for NZ and the population there rewarded the government with the first majority since the electoral system was changed to proportional representation

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well it isnt over yet and those protected from the virus earlier will still be vulnerable.Of course all Oceana has been less affected than Northern Europe and the Americas and we still dont know why

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Welford

Those that are vaccinated can still catch the virus, however the symptoms tend to be much less severe when they do

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

The flaw in the elimination policy is that unless the rest of the world adopts the same policies Covid will not be eliminated.

Earl King
Earl King
2 years ago

Vaccinations are the only way to beat this virus which is able to produce variants that confound us. Heard immunity and deaths are the other option. She is going to have to choose how vulnerable her population is. The problem is vaccine hesitancy which is real, pernicious and varied.

John Hicks
John Hicks
2 years ago

New Zealand exit strategy is currently being designed by the real Princes and Princesses of that Nation – NZ Rugby and their sponsors. Covid is one thing; denying international Rugby to New Zealanders is to trifle with a very unforgiving electorate. That’s what I hear.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  John Hicks

Well they have been shrinking violets iro the rugby championship with Aus, Argentina and SA. Wouldn’t do this, wouldn’t do that, wouldn’t travel here or there. The British Lions just played SA successfully in a lengthy bubble, though the bubble did have its moments
.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  John Hicks

Indeed! Also think it a bit naff the Aussies blaming NZ rugby for the cancellation.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

But it was the Kiwis who are playing hard to get!

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
2 years ago

Charlie Watts. RIP.

Leigh Dixon
Leigh Dixon
2 years ago

I believe you’ll find that it’s now recognised (perhaps except by those health experts that are part of the COVID industry) that the current vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus. This is partly because these vaccines are not antiviral, they just limit the immediate effects of the infection while the body’s immune system (hopefully) deals with the virus.
The question is: Why aren’t antivirals such as Ivermectin, administered in conjunction with some natural substances and pharmaceuticals, widely available as a treatment? Studies have shown that if it was so, patients treated early would not needed hospitalisation.
https://c19early.com

micah christian
micah christian
2 years ago

> Yet here, New Zealand has stumbled, with only 19.79% of the population fully vaccinated
Why do assume covid vax is a way forward? It is undecided, at best. As Pfizer and Moderna are using an experimental mRNA approach, how can you base any of your hopes on anything other then on faith? And it is faith based your presuppositions. Always dangerous ground.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Living in NZ currently I can say the lockdowns still have large support as they’re generally short and sharp and have been economically cheaper in the long run, as society has bounced back to fully open almost immediately. Watching from here most people would much rather that than the long winded half lockdown witnessed in the UK and Europe with all the restrictions around pubs and restaurants they had to endure for months on end.
The exit strategy has also been stated, in that the borders will remain closed until the country is vaccinated, something that is starting to ramp up now they have a steady supply of vaccines entering the country and should be complete by Christmas. Once all adults have been offered a vaccine the borders are going to reopen. The government have always said that keeping Covid out completely simply isn’t feasible, however they’re in an enviable position of being able to do so until vaccines take the pressure off the health service

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The thing is, even if you get 100% of the population vaccinated (which will nrver happen, it will be 70-80% max), the vaccine doesn’t completely stop the spread of the disease. It largely halts serious illness and more or less excludes death. So when you open, because the virus has never spread in NZ, you are going to have a wave of (mostly mild to moderate) illness across the whole country. In a way playing catch up for all the months where the disease was spreading elsewhere. You’ll have the advantage of that vaccine wall and, if your government gets the timing right, then no massive strain on the health system because only a few will be really poorly. Overall, you’ll get out of it with a much lower death toll and at less economic cost, but the wave of illness washing over NZ may still cause difficulties if too many people have to be off work at the same time.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

As I’ve said repeatedly, that’s the plan. If the vaccine reduces hospitalisation, then it doesn’t matter about finally letting it go through the population. I’ve read numerous articles now that imply that NZ is going to remain closed forever and that simply isn’t the case. The PM and health minister have both said on multiple occasions that Covid will pass through the country once the borders reopen, and that lockdowns won’t be feasible at that point. The plan is to vaccinate everybody that wants to, which should mean the health service isn’t overwhelmed when it hits. Seems a fairly sensible strategy to me personally

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“It doesn’t matter if it then goes through the population” – is that really the attitude? Some people will still get very ill and die in that scenario. The way the NZ strategy is generally presented to us over here is that no one can die, everybody kept nice and safe by the super compassionate and empathetic government led by Saint Ardern and there can be no collateral damage. I think that’s the irritant for people elsewhere: it seems like your government wasn’t truly levelling with you about that. They never seemed to treat you like adults and say “even with this strategy, some people will die”. This is the reality we’ve been living with for months and, from that perspective, you do look at NZ and Australia and think: time to get with the programme! That might just be the media portrayal over here though.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Definitely the media portrayal. There’s been minor criticism about the pace of the roll out, though as a tiny country in the middle of nowhere with no Covid cases we were never going to be at the front of queue for vaccines, but everybody is well aware there will be Covid once the borders reopen. However most of the country is largely in agreement there’s little to be gained by opening up before you have the extra layer of protection the vaccines offer. Ardern is still popular in NZ, however she’s much more centrist than most of the foreign media would have you believe. Her political compass is definitely closer to that of Blair rather than any woke nonsense such as Momentum/Corbyn

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Ah, OK. Thanks for explaining.
I’ve got to take issue with this though: “Her political compass is definitely closer to that of Blair rather than any woke nonsense such as Momentum/Corbyn.
Being “more like Blair” might be marginally better than being like Corbyn, but really not much! Run for the hills from ANYONE that is “like Blair”.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’m certainly not a fan of Blair, but he was much more centrist than the current incarnation of Labour so was simply the first one that popped into my head to use as an example. To be honest him/Cameron/Clegg were all fairly interchangeable

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’d be interested to know why those who downvoted this comment have done so? Are you saying that what I have written is incorrect?

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Good question Billy Bob. If anything in what you said was incorrect (and as someone on the ground, your knowledge and experience is fairly difficult to contradict) they should have said why, as well as/instead of downvoting you. Increasingly I’m noticing a pantomime tendency of upvotes and downvotes here, apparently driven by some kind of tribal groupthink rather than serious discussion. Shame that this should happen on something that calls itself UnHerd.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew D
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It would be a shame for the comments section to descend into an echo chamber as I find the articles generally are well written and cover a range of views. If wanted to hear the same opinion repeated over and over again I’d join the Facebook groups

Ian nclfuzzy
Ian nclfuzzy
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

If I could give this comment 1000 upvotes, I would.

Billy Bob has been nothing but courteous and offering a first hand perspective of the situation in NZ.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Agreed

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I gave you a downvote and I also gave you a comment. However, let me add that this notion that people cannot upvote or downvote without a comment is ridiculous. Most of the time I simply don’t have the time to comment on everything and a string of ‘agrees’ or short disagrees will make tedious reading.
I did prefer the previous system where you could see upvotes and downvotes and could see the people who made the votes.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My NZ friends are saying that the poor have lost faith in Jacinda. I do agree with Katherine that the notion of Saint Jacinda has worn very thin with a lot of people.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

I was back in NZ for a funeral in August 2019 in my home town. It was the most depressing experience I have had, when going back there regularly. The depressed nature of the civic centre and the number of poor were alarming.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

That’ll be neoliberalism in a nutshell. I noticed the same in the UK after the recent decade of austerity (and also from the wreckage of Thatcherism). The state of infrastructure and public services was truly shocking, though I’m sure many on here will assure me the market will fix it

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I am curious that you say Ardern is “much more centrist…”. Legislation (or at least proposed legislation) under her Government with regard to criminalising hate speech, Gender self ID leading to erosion of women’s rights, sacralising minority groups, imposing quotas (equality of outcomes i.e. social engineering), legalising full term abortion…. I would consider borders on hard left. I am not making a judgment rather just intrigued by how you see her political positioning.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jill Corel

I googled it and she ‘self identifies’ as Social Democrat and Progressive. Well, Progressive is all one needs to know.

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
2 years ago

Quite!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jill Corel

I’m not sure where you’ve got all that from but I’ll attempt to answer them all.
There has been no mention of gender self ID as far as I’m aware, the whole trans debate is generally seen as something happening in other countries at the moment.
I’ve never heard the equity used once, or any mention of quotas based on race/sec etc or of any legislation to promote it.
There is no mention of legalising full term abortion. There are plans to make abortion legal, as at the moment it exists in a grey area of the law (basically legal but technically decriminalised, so doctors have to sign it off as a physical or mental health issue to proceed), but there are no plans to change the current limits which are less than the UK.
By sacralising minority groups I’ll assume you mean the Maori, which is a minefield of a subject. NZ was founded on a treaty between Maori and the Crown, with two language versions signed and various group arguing over its implications for the last 150 years. Labour have always been more sympathetic to Maori concerns in the treaty than the opposition, largely because they tend to capture most of the Maori votes, so while many get annoyed with the constant promotion of things such as Maori language and customs, myself included, this certainly isn’t a break from the norm or a situation unique to Ardern, it’s simply Labour keeping an important bloc of its voter base on side

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thanks for taking the time to reply, however, my understanding is quite different to yours.
Abortion is very much legal up to full term.  After 20 weeks two health care practitioners need to sign off on the procedure and deem it “clinically appropriate”.   NZs abortion laws are considered the most radical in the world. 
On the trans issues I refer you to this article in The Spectator
https://www.spectator.com.au/2021/07/new-zealands-transgender-debate-is-turning-nasty/
“As well as dealing with the fallout from the pandemic, Jacinda Ardern’s Labour government has been busy prioritising a bill that would effectively allow anyone to become a woman just because they wanted to. While Ardern is being cheered on by the transgender lobby, it has fallen to Speak Up for Women, a grassroots campaign group, to speak truth to power. Rather predictably, politicians seem unwilling to listen; worse, some are determined to stop anyone else hearing what these women have to say.”
On equality of outcomes (may have been legislated prior to Ardern’s leadership):
“Guidelines on Measures to Ensure Equality
Ensuring that people enjoy rights equally will not always involve treating all people the same. To achieve genuine equality, it may be necessary to treat people differently, if treating them the same will simply perpetuate existing differences. The point of special measures is to ensure equal outcomes rather than simply equal treatment.”
It sounds nice but it is social engineering not equality of opportunity.  I have also heard on a NZ Radio show that quotas are very much part of the corporate/government landscape.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jill Corel

The NZ radio show you speak of would be Hoskin I imagine, i would take what he says with a pinch of salt. He’s similar to the ultra partisan radio talk shows that are common in the states, one side can do no wrong, the other is pure evil etc. There’s certainly no laws regarding quotas in jobs, in fact it would be against the law to favour or discriminate because of race, though I’ll concede that it probably does happen amongst some of the more left leaning organisations, the same as it does in the UK and the States unfortunately.
The abortion up to full term is only in the event of medial reasons, such as a risk to mother or baby. The two doctors is actually required for a regular abortion under 20 weeks, which is the grey area I referred to earlier.
The spectator article regarding the trans row I must admit is news to me, that’s the first I’ve heard of either the government or opposition ever mention anything to do with the whole trans argument, if it’s true then it’s certainly not something I’d be in favour of but it certainly hasn’t been a talking point amongst any of the major or minor parties that I know of.
As for the final point regarding equality then it depends in the context it is being used. Financially I’d say that it is correct, there’s nothing wrong in my view with giving the poor assistance to level the playing field or offset some of the advantages the rich enjoy, however that’s different to expecting equality of outcome. If a rich child goes to a good school and has family contacts that land them a high paying job then that isn’t equality of opportunity with a poor child born on a council estate, so giving assistance to try and minimise the differences is acceptable, however I’ve always leaned slightly to the left economically, slightly to the right socially so others may have a different opinion on that one

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I suppose the plan rests with the current outbreak being brought under control. One would hope the government has a Plan B if that doesn’t happen.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

I suppose worst case scenario is NZ will have to endure a month or so of what the UK and Europe have had for the last year and a half.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Are you concerned at all that after a two week lock down that effectively crushes the outbreak, another case will prompt another lockdown for two weeks and that this pattern will keep repeating itself? Specifically with regards to the more infectious nature of the virus at the moment?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Not really as the health minister has said the lockdowns aren’t a viable measure going forward, it’s merely to suppress it to buy them some time to allow the vaccination programme to move along which will reduce the number of serious infections, deaths and avoid overwhelming the healthcare system. If the current lockdown manages to keep the cases contained, which will be one obvious in the next few days then I’d expect this brief lockdown to be the last one

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

Getting jabs in arms bloomin’ quick would be the obvious Plan B, I’d say.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Friends in NZ tell me the healthcare system is woeful. Also some doctors have left because of draconian lockdowns.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

My friends in NZ have generally appreciated the management of the pandemic and that they’ve had more freedom over the last 18 months than I have in Central Europe. They also say that Ardern was very good at communicating stuff clearly. Whereas I watched a single press conference with Ardern and had to switch off because it was like watching a kindergarten teacher address a class of children and felt it was patronising – they saw this in a positive way, as evidence of empathy and compassion. I guess we just respond to things differently.
However, it’s interesting when I approach the subject of the exit strategy. Then the conversation with them runs out of road. It was like: “an exit strategy? Why do we need one? We’re doing just fine as we are.” That’s why I was so critical of what Billy Bob was saying because my feedback channels from NZ (which don’t consist solely of the MSM) were saying something different.
But I do understand what Billy Bob is saying – it is logical. I obviously did not have the full picture.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’ll admit there are some here that would be happy for the stays quo to continue indefinitely, for the borders to remain closed and the country fully open domestically, however they are in the minority and most are looking forward to be able to fly abroad again for a holiday without having to quarantine especially as large numbers have family and friends overseas they haven’t seen for a few years.
I can also understand not liking Arderns delivery, however it’s hard to argue that it isn’t clear and effective. Everybody in the country knows what the rules are, when they’re going to move through the levels and when their age group will open up to book their jab. Compared to the shambles I’ve witnessed from Trump/Biden in the States, Johnson in the UK and various EU leaders with vague messages and constant changing of rules and an appearance of general cluelessness then I believe her delivery style is a fairly minor criticism

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Where have you heard that, as that’s news to me. Seeing as the healthcare lobby were the most vocal supporters of strong lockdowns, frequently criticising the government for opening up society too early in their opinion after the first lockdown last year, I find it hard to believe, and frankly have heard no stories of doctors leaving in large numbers due to the severity of lockdowns. Do you have a link to the story, perhaps it passed me by?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Heard it from friends who live there 
.who don’t defend the country as though it and the government is a squeaky clean example of the only thing that is good in the world 
..!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Do you have any links to this story, as I’d imagine doctors quitting an already overstretched healthcare industry due to the lockdown policy (which was only in place for around 5 weeks originally) en masse would have been quite big news in NZ? If not I’ll simply assume you’re talking out of your backside.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

The NZ healthcare system is fine- and we are damned lucky it is FREE !

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Also deaths certainly recorded in vaccinated individuals.