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Will New Zealand ever escape Zero Covid? Jacinda Ardern risks enflaming civil unrest

Old habits die hard (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)


December 1, 2021   5 mins

As Auckland — home to a third of New Zealand’s population — prepares to exit its 100-plus day lockdown on Friday, there has been little celebration or fanfare. Instead, the population is cautious and guarded; worries abound about further cases and deaths once the country opens up.

The mood is a far cry from the breathless commentary during the first 18 months of the pandemic, when New Zealand was held up as an extraordinary case of pandemic management, contrasted with the disasters in Europe, the UK and US. Indeed, the country’s tough border closures, skilful contact tracing, tough lockdown restrictions, commitment to Zero Covid and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathic and inclusive leadership were lauded as a model for the rest of the world.

And yet, contrary to ill-informed hot takes half a world away, New Zealand’s approach had its merits. Following an initial lockdown last year, the country recorded only 1,500 cases and 22 deaths from Covid-19, and succeeded in eliminating the virus in the community. Importantly, this was achieved without significant restrictions on individual liberties or substantial cost to the economy. While the rest of the world has spent the past two years in crisis, New Zealanders have lived remarkably normal lives. Undoubtedly, there was some luck involved, given New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world. But, as its neighbour Australia illustrated, isolation is no guarantee of success.

However, this New Zealand model came with two important caveats. First, the cost of normality enjoyed by citizens at home was paid for by its citizens abroad. The country’s harsh border regime, which allocated a limited number of places in a 14-day hotel quarantine system, meant that thousands were stranded abroad, unable to return home, often left facing destitution. Likewise, while the economy thrived, the cost was borne by the tourism industry — 18% of the economy — whose reliance on international visitors left it on the verge of collapse.

Secondly, the New Zealand model could never be sustained long-term, once it became clear that global elimination of the virus was unlikely. As such, there was a need for an exit strategy, which seemed to centre on vaccinating the whole population before the virus got in. This was always a gamble and a race against time; one which Ardern lost this August, when a cautious re-opening of the border to Australia led to the arrival of the Delta variant, and sparked a new outbreak.

Despite the fact no country had managed to eliminate Delta, the Government reverted to its tried and tested approach, closing the limited openings at the border, announcing a snap lockdown, and re-committing to eliminating the virus. But this time, it didn’t work.

While the outbreak was contained to Auckland, the key pillars of New Zealand’s model — contact tracing and tough lockdown restrictions severely curtailing people’s movements — proved no match for the infectiousness of the Delta strain. Case numbers refused to budge, totalling more than 8,400 for the current outbreak, while deaths have nearly doubled to 43. Admitting defeat, the Government formally abandoned elimination as a strategy in October. Nevertheless, Auckland’s “snap lockdown” — meant to last for two weeks — has now dragged on for over 100 days, with predictable consequences for children’s schooling, mental health and the economy.

While the situation still compares very favourably to many parts of the world, New Zealand’s sheen has started to come off. Contrary to its claims of exceptionalism, throughout the current Delta outbreak, it has shown itself to be a normal country just like every other: faced with the same dilemmas, failures, trade-offs and divisions when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. What’s more, it hasn’t necessarily dealt with them any better.

Take vaccination. One consequence of the New Zealand model was complacency when it came to the roll-out, with many convinced that the country could take its time while the pandemic raged elsewhere. As a result, less than 20% of the population was fully vaccinated when Delta arrived in August, leaving it unprepared for the outbreak. In response, the government tied the lifting of lockdowns to the vaccination rate, setting a very high target of 90% before restrictions would be eased.

Still, while this was eventually abandoned, 86% of New Zealanders are now double-jabbed, making it one of the most vaccinated countries in the world. As we also saw in Australia, nothing concentrates the mind when it comes to vaccinations like a prolonged lockdown.

This is not to say that the issue hasn’t been divisive. Behind the high overall rates, there remain significant pockets of unvaccinated people in New Zealand, especially in the regions, and among the indigenous Maori population. Higher rates of poverty and disadvantage, and low levels of trust in the Government mean that only 68% of Maori are fully vaccinated, despite repeated efforts to roll out culturally specific and targeted programmes.

Meanwhile, the high rates of poor health outcomes have left the Maori more vulnerable to the virus, leading to demands that any re-opening be delayed until vaccination rates exceed the rest of the country. The Maori Party has been warning of a “modern genocide” if lockdowns are lifted while the virus remains in the community, with some local iwi (tribes) threatening to set up roadblocks to keep Aucklanders from visiting their regions once freedom of travel is restored.

More broadly, despite the high vaccination rates, the Government has not shied from introducing controversial vaccine mandates. With the country slowly opening up, Ardern has described vaccination as “the golden ticket to freedom“, requiring vaccine passes to enter most workplaces, hospitality, retail and entertainment venues. At the moment, unvaccinated people can do little more than shop for essentials, creating a two-tier society and sparking bitter conflicts. The Government has doubled down, stressing the mandate will continue into next year, and showing little sympathy for the unvaccinated minority.

This, in turn, has sparked protests for the first time in the pandemic. When the current outbreak started, commentators mocked a lone demonstrator at an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland. Since then, crowds have grown, with thousands recently marching across the country against lockdowns and the vaccine mandates. While they have not matched the numbers or violence recently seen in Europe, these protests bring together a similar constellation of far-Right agitators, conspiracy theorists, wellness gurus and ordinary citizens increasingly marginalised and excluded from society. It’s part of a wider fragmentation taking hold in the country, with support for the Government’s handling of the pandemic dropping from 80% to 46%. Ardern’s personal popularity has also declined to 34%, while more people now think the country is heading in the wrong direction for the first time since 2008.

This is a far cry from the ‘Team of Five Million’ approach championed by the Government in the first 18 months of the pandemic. And Ardern seems fully aware of this: the Government recently rushed through new laws to lock in many of the draconian restrictions on the unvaccinated, bypassing the usual means of oversight and scrutiny, in a move labelled “a constitutional disgrace” by legal experts.

In short, over the course of the past four months, many of the key features of New Zealand’s pandemic response have been found wanting. Yet old habits die hard. While the rest of the world has largely opened up and travel has begun to stage a comeback, New Zealand’s plan for reopening its borders announced last week remains extremely cautious.

Fully vaccinated citizens will only be able to return from Australia from mid-January, provided that they quarantine at home for seven days. This will be extended to other countries in mid-February, while foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter until the end of next April. There is no detail yet on how long the seven-day quarantine requirement will remain in place, and the tourism sector has reacted with dismay, describing the plan as a “body blow” that will delay its recovery until 2023. For a country approaching a 90% vaccination rate, this seems needlessly restrictive, a relic of the Zero Covid mentality, rather than the long-promised exit strategy.

And this was before the emergence of the new Omicron variant. Here, New Zealand has been depressingly ordinary, following many other countries in shutting the border to non-citizens from the nine ‘high risk’ countries in southern Africa, and holding out the possibility of delaying the border reopening plan. While labelled as ‘temporary’ and intended to buy time to learn more about the new variant, this response highlights the continuing reluctance to finally begin living with Covid.

As the pandemic enters its third year, New Zealand might end up with the worst of both worlds: facing the same problems as everyone else, but persisting with an unsustainable Zero Covid approach to them.


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

TomChodor

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Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

We keep getting bogged down in the specifics of individual countries’ reaction to covid and arguments about this or that variant. We’re arguing tactics when we’ve abandoned all attempts at strategy. Here’s the skinny —

1 – It’s a virus. It will constantly mutate. Vaccines won’t stop it, quarantines won’t stop it and lockdowns won’t stop it.

2 – It has struck at the lowest ebb of western civilization, ie, when the assumptions of the political left are completely encultured into the practices and dogmas of every institution, political, legal and, unfortunately, medical in the west.

3 – These assumptions are promethean, ie, they proceed from the belief that absolutely everything is controllable by the wit of man. They are also utterly inflexible. When they are proven wrong, that just means we haven’t done them enough, we need to double down.

4 – They are based in the belief that the individual is worthless in himself, all that matters is the collective. The omelette, not the egg. Consequently, they are inhumane, which is why Ardern had no problem a) taking it upon herself to lock thousands of Kiwis out of their own country and b) leaving them in destitution.

5 – Leftists believe in nothing greater than themselves. It follows then that there is no transcendent source of strength to carry people through rough times.

So, if you have no fortitude to face into the trials of life, if you think the world is perfectible but isn’t perfect, and if you’re dogma isn’t working but you think it should so you just keep doing the same thing over and over regardless of the fact that you keep getting the same result, then you’ve got a perfect storm of stupidity and all it takes is a virus that wouldn’t have even slowed down our grandparents to shut down the world.

Our strategy should be to stop being such physical cowards and take our share of misfortunes in defence of our basic liberties, and to stop trading those liberties to the likes of Ardern in return for a safety she cannot deliver. I’m not even sure she cares enough to deliver it if she could.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
2 years ago

Excellently put.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
2 years ago

Great summary. Thanks.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
2 years ago

Absolutely agree – but can’t imagine how long we’ll have to wait for it to begin, let alone for it to end.
And, to be absolutely honest, although this will horrify many, I think it won’t end until (to take but one example), Susan Mitchie gets a bullet in the back of her head in a damp basement corridor after months of sleep deprivation. Together with those who thought it appropriate for “Stalin’s Nanny” to head up SAGE’s ‘behaviour – nudging’ unit and that she should be the BBC’s Go-To “expert” on the Project Fear campaign.
Let the punishment fit the crime.

Fred Oldfield
Fred Oldfield
2 years ago

Excellent summary. But I begin to think the game is up.
We have crossed a Rubicon where “Keeping people safe” now trumps any other consideration and rationality itself. No amount of arguing or discussion cuts it. I foresee a permanent state of emergency now – if not over covid – then over ‘climate change’….

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Fred Oldfield

The irony is that their form of “keeping people safe” ignores the immense rise in deaths from other causes at home, the undiagnosed cancers, the vast increase in those taking anxiety and depression medication, suicides etc not to mention the devastated businesses, lost jobs and the general impoverishment of millions. If that is ‘keeping people safe’ all I can say is, not in my name.
The survival rate from Covid is around 99.4% ie. very high – if I was given those odds for surviving cancer I would be very relaxed about it indeed.

Last edited 2 years ago by Glyn Reed
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

“The survival rate from Covid is around 99.4% ie. very high”
A disingenuous statement that only tells maybe one quarter of the story.
The risk of catching and dying from Covid varies 10,000 fold according to age.
From 0.1% for a 40 year old with no health conditions to 13% for a healthy 80 year old to 20% for a 90 year old with no comorbidities to 27% in a 90 year old with diabetes, kidney disease and Parkinsons.
See : Alexandra Freeman: The strange world of risk perception, and communicating risksNovember 18, 2020

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago

What is the underlying risk of death for a standard 90 year old? Is this 20% figure over and above that?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

The original Freeman paper (primarily looking at how best to describe the concept of risk to the general public), used data from another study : Assessment of workers’ personal vulnerability to covid-19 using ‘covid-age’ to construct their coloured column of risk.
Depends how healthy your “standard” 90 year old is. See : Risk Factors for 5-Year Mortality in Older Adults. The Cardiovascular Health Study JAMA February 1998. Mortality rate per person per year in this study (following a population of 5886 over 5 years aged 65 +) ranged from 0 – 9.5% depending on their quintile of risk.
As you get older age becomes less of a factor – how many things you have wrong with you dominates
and
The plateau of human mortality: Demography of longevity pioneers Barbi Science Jun 2018
This is an Italian study. “a 90 year old woman has a 15 percent chance of dying in the next year, and an estimated six years left to live”

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago

What about those who decide they no longer want to live? For someone who is over 80 years of age with health issues what are the chances of dying within a year? Is Covid shortening the life of someone by months to a year of someone who is over eighty years of age and in ill health ? What about the young Mother who does not get the cancer treatment and dies leaving her children Motherless and perhaps with an absent or bad Father ?
After Chernobyl some elderly members of the Royal Society pointed out that if something similar happened in the UK it would be impossible to undertake the repair work without people dying irrespective of safety procedures. As most of the RS were elderly and had lived most of their lives, members should volunteer to undertake the repair work on damged reactors.
The Government has been unwilling to produce the comprehensive data which enables decisions to be made ; is this deliberate ? Data not provided

  1. Deaths from flu in 68/69
  2. Beds in NHS in 68/69
  3. Beds today
  4. Age profile of Uk in 68/69 and today
  5. Health of those died 20/21- full morbidity
  6. Location of those who died
  7. Accuracy of tests
  8. Deaths of those who have missed medical intervention due to Covid
  9. Mental health issues
  10. Businesses gone bust
  11. How is death diagnosed and infiormation put on death certificate
  12. Why has no measures suich as taking Vits C and D3, Zinc and Quercetin been pursued along with vaccination?
  13. Why has no medical intervention using drugs been undertaken?
  14. Whay has only vaccination been pursued?
  15. Why was Ferguson’s report commissioned by whom and why were different reports not commissioned?
  16. Why was Ferguson’s report given so much credibility ?
  17. Why was there no Vit D3 testing done on people?
  18. Show tests that prove efficacy of masks and 2m distance between people?
  19. Why is there no comprehensive data on how Covid is transmitted ?
  20. Are there critical concentrations of Covid in the air which cause infection, if so what are they? By keeping Covid below critical levels in buildings and providing vitamins and minerals along with vaccinations, may reduce fatality levels to the average winter flu.
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

“What about those who decide they no longer want to live?” There are well known simple, easy self deliverance methods available.
Mortality of 80 + with health issues ? – well the Actuaries tell us (you know those people who deal with death and destruction every day of the year) say 5 years at least.
The Government does use data – the minutes for SAGE and all the feeder committees are available to read online including the research papers used to formulate the advice given.
As for your list – well I could go through it item by item and give you the semblance of an answer to each and every one except possibly #16 because I have no knowledge how much credibility Report No 9 was given – and you don’t know either … but it would take too long and I have a feeling you wouldn’t read the citations I quoted anyway.
Can’t resist just one … #11 – see :
David Oliver: Mistruths and misunderstandings about covid-19 death numbers BMJ 10 Feb 2021David Oliver is a Consultant in Geriatrics and Acute General Medicine in Manchester

…. and #13 – yes there are drugs used notably dexamethasone (cheap as chips) from quite early on last year when the RECOVERY trial showed that it had a significant effect on mortality when given at the right time. Then we have monoclonal antibodies, Sarilumab and Tocilizumab.

You are a citizen of the UK. It is your duty to look for decent data yourself. Personally I would recommend ONS, the Kings Fund, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, ICNARC, the big 4 medical journals, Covid 19 evidence alerts from McMaster Plus, the This Week in Virology podcasts, and on Twitter – Adam Kucharski, John Burn-Murdoch, Health Nerd, Muge Cevik, Andrew Croxford, James Ward.

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago

“27% in a 90 year old with diabetes, kidney disease and Parkinsons”
Would such a person not consider themselves lucky to have reached such an advanced age with those conditions? And having reached them would they not welcome ‘the auld persons escape”?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  John Cole

No idea. You would have to ask this hypothetical person yourself.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

There’s an element of the Trolley Car Dilemma in government thinking. You probably know but in essence a trolley car is out of control and heading for a group of people, ten or twenty for example. You can reroute the car onto another track where it will hit a single person. Your dilemma is of course that by doing nothing a large number of people die however if you pull the switch a you are directly responsible for a death. There are people who regard every death from Covid as a failure of government. It’s hardly surprising therefore that the government publishes statistics on Covid deaths whilst not counting people who die as a result of their strategy.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

They did not move anti aircraft defences to Coventry to preserve the fact that we had broken Enigma.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

So is it OK to kill the let’s say 10% not vaccinated to save the rest? What Kant or Rawls would say about it?

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

More irony provided by the same lot who advocate for unlimited abortion, which has taken 60 million lives since Roe v Wade.

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
2 years ago

Well said. The seeking after safety and elimination of risk will be the death of Freedom.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago

God bless you

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
2 years ago

What nonsense. We have enough fearmongers are the left. It does not help to do this from the right. Most people are doing their best. Try doing a little better yourself.

Art C
Art C
2 years ago

Agree with all your points. Just one addition: the severity of the virus has been hopelessly overestimated! Gauging this correctly makes the strategy you devise a whole lot simpler.

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago

So the smallpox vaccine was a waste of time
and the MMR jab has done nothing to protect children *sigh*

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

According to many on here, the vaccines that have clearly worked in reducing hospitalisation numbers are nonsense, a big government con. Horse dewormer though is a miracle cure because they’ve read it on some crackpot website

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

A reasonable comment i think – and as someone who lives in Auckland it seems to me that Adern has done a pretty good job given the myriad complex aspects of covid response – remember that in reality virtually no one in NZ has died of C19 – and that most hospital ops etc have carried on, and that the economy is looking OK. Adern has held back as long as possible to protect those rather foolish folk who refuse to get vaccinated but NZ is now fully committed to opening up and will hopefully get thru the whole sorry mess with minimal deaths compared to most other countries. Mostly down to luck being on an island…..

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

When and if, a bliddy big if, as long as the sainted Adern is PM, you open up, You are going to be hammered, you have lost all ability to acquire the ‘herd immunity’ most of the rest of the world has/is acquiring. Look at the EU countries, they (with the exceptions of the Southern members) took a relatively modest hit) now look at how hard they are being hit, the protests, the violence.
Auckland is not NZ, and many esp in the South Island are getting really pi$$ed off with Auckland and Wellington.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  John Cole

Everybody is going to catch the virus at some point, that much is a given. However what NZ had managed to do is ensure the vast majority of those infected will have antibodies from the vaccine, therefore the symptoms will be less severe and less people will require hospital treatment or the undertaker

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Apparently what provides long term immunity are T cells. By taking the Astra Zeneca vaccine early T cells develop. Half the truth is a whole lie. The drip of partial truths by governments makes it impossible for people to make their own assessments. One commentator on the site mentioned the massive reduction in the numbers of beds in hospitals over the past few decades and difference between countries. What about density if population, does this impact on number infected and intensity of disease? What about health of population, does high UV, out door life, high Vit D3 content in blood, Vit C, Zinc and consuming large amounts of polyphenyls in food provide natural immunity? When it comes to water, number of E.Coli per unit volume can influence severity of infection.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Did you actually read a word I wrote?

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
2 years ago

Brilliant comment. I have one quibble though. The greatest evil isn’t physical cowardice, it’s moral cowardice. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with fearing for one’s health. There is something wrong with trampling the human spirit and allowing other people to be bullied and marginalised because of one’s fears for one’s health.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago

It is absolutely not about ‘the left’. It’s about any tradition with authoritarian and statist tendencies and you don’t have to know much history to realise that the left has no monopoly there. Otherwise agree 100%.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

I am not sure why you see the problems as a function of politically left and right.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Amen and cheers to you Francis. You should run for president.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
2 years ago

Just look at her: anorectic, aging, clueless, “concerned” fascist.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago

That’s an opinion!

Ken Charman
Ken Charman
2 years ago

NZ is a democracy. It’s not like she hides her credentials. A useful warning for other countries tempted by progressive idealism.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
2 years ago

a perfect storm of stupidity” captures this ridiculous situation well; a pandemic of insanity. A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

“these protests bring together a similar constellation of far-Right agitators, conspiracy theorists, wellness gurus and ordinary citizens”

Have ‘journalists’ who write such utter garbage actually been to one of the protests.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with such protests. What should concern everyone is that the media is constantly lying about things. If they are willing to lie about the attendees at protests what else are they lying about? And why are they lying?

The truth is that 99% or more of the people attending these protests throughtout the world (they’re happening pretty much everywhere) are compassionate, kind, freedom loving souls.

There are people of all skin colours, sexualities, socio-demographic backgrounds and political persuasions. Reggae music is the most heard genre of music and at many you’ll hear African drums and you’ll even see African dancers at some.

The fact that the media will outright lie about this, and the police will go out of their way (instructed by their bosses I assume) to try to stir up conflict for the media, really does make one wonder what on earth is going on.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul Smithson
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I left the same comment, not having seen yours, Paul. But yes, it is worrying that Mr Chodor and others would choose to spread lies of this kind.
One has to ask – for what purpose?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Tacking on ‘ordinary citizens’ after the rest of people mentioned, doesn’t cut it.

Josh Woods
Josh Woods
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

I agree Paul, this is a condescending label. I’m a libertarian leftie in his mid-20s and I wholeheartedly support this worldwide resistance even when the world’s opinion was still in Oz & NZ’s favor, because I already saw and even 1st hand experienced(I lived in Oz till last March) the mainstream approach’s colossal collateral damage amongst those sidelined by mainstream public discourse, eg domestic violence victims, people with health conditions living alone(like myself) deprived of access to the help they need. There are eminent scientists who disagree with the covid orthodoxy, just that few evaded full censorship of the scientists hijacking the whole medical/health science community, including the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration(everyone go sign it!!), which was first widely trashed upon, yet now proven to be the better approach all along that most countries didn’t follow!
So you see, the diversity of political views, ethnicities, professions, ages, sexualities, beliefs, socio-demographic backgrounds and all walks of life among this Great Revolt has shown far more unity, love and solidarity than those finger-wagging Hollywood celebs & establishment talking heads who proclaim that “We’re all in this together.” In other words, the authoritarian left(along with some authoritarian right wingers, eg BoJo & Dominic Cummings in the UK, Scumo, Gladys B. & Steve M. in Oz) has alienated themselves from everyone else in their grandiose, self-righteous collective narcissism!

Last edited 2 years ago by Josh Woods
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Josh Woods

I wish all 20-year olds were as intelligent, fair-minded and insightful as you Josh. If they were the world would be in a far better place.

Josh Woods
Josh Woods
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Thank you Paul, though I’m actually 24 albeit many people have mistook me as 26-28! My opposition towards lockdowns were deeply stemmed from my feminist values- women are often the main demographic hit by domestic violence, and certain studies show that they’re hit harder than men(who’ve had it hard enough already) by the lockdowns. I’ve been very fortunate to have earn many women’s trust, respect and fondness for treating them well, something I never take for granted, and opposing lockdowns is only logical if I honor this principle as always! Social justice also prompted me towards this stance too, as the socially disadvantaged are also hit especially hard by lockdowns & mandates, and when many authoritarian lefties(among whom the former eclipses the latter IMO) have neglected them, I decided to stay back and speak out for them, for I believe that’s what progressivism’s best value belies. And finally I always disclaim that I’m a left libertarian to show other lefties out there that it’s not only okay, but in fact imperative to speak out against this authoritarian madness as a leftie, rather than promoting it due to the right(whom I welcome to fight side-by-side with me) opposing it, thus bucking the left/right tribalism!

Last edited 2 years ago by Josh Woods
Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Josh Woods

Congratulations from another libertarian leftie (mid 70s).

Josh Woods
Josh Woods
2 years ago
Reply to  Jerry Smith

Thanks Jerry, glad to have you onboard with me in this New Counterculture(like the one led by the hippies back in the late 1960s)!

Last edited 2 years ago by Josh Woods
Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Of course people at these protests are very likable and polite and therefor totally ignored. If they’d free their hands of their phones and fill them with Molotov cocktails they’d be less polite but much more effective

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago

Here’s the moment I stopped reading this article:
While they have not matched the numbers or violence recently seen in Europe, these protests bring together a similar constellation of far-Right agitators, conspiracy theorists, wellness gurus and ordinary citizens increasingly marginalised and excluded from society.”
This is patent disinformation. As someone who has attended a number of protests against vaccine passports/mandates/masks I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of protestors are like me – ordinary people without a penchant for protest or extreme views of any kind, but who are outraged at the totalitarian tendencies that lurk underneath these policies.
Do better, Mr Chodor.

Julian Rigg
Julian Rigg
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

How the woke entitled left-wing shuts down any reasonable debate or protest? Just throw in the words racist, right-wing, alt-right etc.
It gotten a little tedious.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Rigg

And don’t forget antivax. Anyone who questions vaccine mandates, even if vaccinated themselves, gets that label thrown at them.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
2 years ago

Look at the face on her. It’s the sinister face of tyranny masked in faux ‘empathy’. That face tells you she ‘cares’ about her citizens. She cares so much that she’ll strip away any agency they once had about the extent to which they wish to be cared for. Ardern, Trudeau and Sturgeon are the distilled essence of wokery stripped of whatever virtue it once had and left to reveal the horror of its unchecked contradictions. I went in to the pandemic with all the predictable assumptions of a typical limp, middle class liberal with faith in the decency of the progressive state. Eighteen months in, seeing the horrors that the unchecked ‘progressive’ state can wreak on the liberties of a largely supine population has made me realise how naive I was. From here on in, I’ll be assessing parties on one criteria only: the likelihood they’ll stay the hell outta my life. I’ll give government responses to the pandemic credit for one thing: that valuable corrective effect on me.

Last edited 2 years ago by Derek Bryce
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

I have had the same journey.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
2 years ago

A family anecdote: I have a pretty conservative brother living in Canada. Years ago, when his daughter was very young, they went on a road trip involving a ferry crossing. My niece proceeded to run too close to the edge of the deck and my brother shouted to her: ‘hey, c’mere! What have I told you?’. Gazing up at him she said, ‘don’t trust the government?’. My brother replied, ‘no, the other thing’.
True story that. I used to laugh at this as evidence of his odd, but loveable, right wingery. I’m eating crow now.

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

That’s hilarious. Smart brother, smart niece.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Brilliant!

Hilary Arundale
Hilary Arundale
2 years ago

So have I

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago

As have many of us, two years ago it was sinister and unknowable and we wanted to do the ‘right thing’ to protect ourselves and the wider society.
Now we are armed with knowledge and information and can make our own constructive decisions.
I think our PM (Boris) has had a very difficult introduction to being PM and has made some colossal mistakes but on the whole he still has my confidence
not panicking on the arrival of the new ‘o me gawd’ variant is a case in point.
let’s see how things develop.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Wow. Glad you could recognize the error in your thinking.

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Well said Derek. Ditto for me too.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Simply not true in NZ – ‘horrors’ in NZ ??? no horrors here mate – get back on your meds !!

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

To true, in most of NZ
according to our relatives on the SI
.but rampant in Wellington and Auckland.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

I’ve been on a similar journey but it started with the reaction of the establishment to Brexit for me. Covid just reinforced it.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Welcome back to reality.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
2 years ago

I would agree with the latest two commenters. This haste to label those who protest as “far right” is disgraceful and insulting to the majority of protesters who are actually ordinary people who are brave enough and free thinking enough to stand up for freedom. I know because I have been to a protest in Ireland. Am I “far right”? I don’t think so. When I do those “political views” questionnaires I usually come out somewhere in the middle near the axes and the crossover points! Maybe I’m just indecisive.
But clearly, “Far Right” is just a catchall insult for protesters “we” don’t like. When were Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain or BLM called far right because they protested something?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

In Melbourne, even disaffected members of Far Left union CFMEU were being called “Far right infiltrators” in the media after standing up – at last! – to thug John Setka’s intimidation crew and protesting in the streets against lockdowns.
And if anyone doubts me about the CFMEU, and this link doesn’t work, search terms “Mike Kane Boral Setka” . https://www.afr.com/politics/how-to-lose-a-blackmail-case-against-the-cfmeu-20180625-h11th3

Last edited 2 years ago by Brendan O'Leary
John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago

Well said.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

They weren’t even called ‘far left’

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

“this response highlights the continuing reluctance to finally begin living with Covid.”
This article talks about NZ, but the above sentence can apply to pretty much every country in the world.
Do we have examples of anyone who has actually admitted defeat and changed course or countries where they are “living with Covid”? It seems to me that we are all trapped and we are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again (wouldn’t you agree, Nicola?).

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota, Sweden, Belarus, and several other states….None of lockdowns were about health, they were all about political power and money. Sociopaths and psychopaths in MSM, Government, Finance, Pharma/Medical Industrial Complex, Social Media/Tech, Education, Banksters, Unions, the Neo-Marxist Postmodernist Victim industry, IMF, Central Banks, and the WEF, messing with you.

J Hop
J Hop
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I live in South Carolina and we have been back to normal since late last year.

L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

Ditto Florida.

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  J Hop

I live in Northumberland, UK
ditto.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Is that why you live in the woods?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

This is why I live in a rural community. I live in Washington State but a rural community. I never followed it. My community followed it but after 6 months they came around. “red neck” americans get a bum wrap. If you aren’t in a large city and have struggled to make ends meet out in the country, I find you have too much life experience and common sense to be fooled for long. After 6 months it was like… oh yeah… I see it now. This is a big scam. I’m ignoring it now. I’m an electrical engineer who works in the city but lives in the country among the “uneducated” because I know they have common sense and can take care of themselves. Too many snake oil salesman and charlatans working in government and positions of power in corporations. Our society has become corrupt. It is better in the country were people still value honestly and a bit of sweat labor.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Japan since August 13 and many states of India, i.e. Uttar Pradesh where medication is used as prphylactic and treatment of the sick. No more deaths.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

While Japan eased restrictions after the Olympiad, they haven’t disappeared completely

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

The UK is living with a Covid death rate of around 150 per day, with government trying hard to avoid further lockdowns. This probably qualifies as “living with Covid”.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

And the response to a new variant, immediately tips the world into chaos by banning flights from the country who simply informed the world that a new variant had been identified.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

So? I don’t have a problem with looking after ourselves first not pandering to the travel habits of foreigners. I never understood why we didn’t do that in February 2020 instead of being terrified of being called ‘racist’ by the WHO.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

150 WITH Covid, not necessarily OF. Big difference.
But yes, we have to live with a 5th coronavirus

Ian Manning
Ian Manning
2 years ago

A very apposite point, Peter! How many other countries use our frankly barking criterion for labelling a death a Covid death? Can anyone answer that? It’s a bit like registering the cause of death from a road traffic accident as cancer because the dead person had a cancer diagnose within 28 days of death! It really seems completely barking, doesn’t it? One might be tempted to believe it has been done deliberately to swell the figure. It is an utter disgrace that it has remained in place for so long.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Manning
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Manning

Have you ever read a death certificate in the UK ?
Completion of death certificates is a serious and regulated part of a doctor’s responsibility. The consequences for professional registration or in the courts for deliberately falsifying certificates would be very serious.
The rules require doctors to complete the certificate ‘to the best of your knowledge and belief’ and, barring exceptional circumstances, requires the certificate to be completed by a doctor who knew and was attending to the person before death.
Death Certificates contain causes 1a (cause directly leading to death) 1b and 1c (causes leading to 1a) and 2 (causes contributing to death but not directly related).
If Covid-19 is in the doctor’s clinical assessment and treatment the main cause of death, s/he will put it as cause 1a.
In other cases, someone might die from a complication of Covid-19 – for instance a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) or a bacterial pneumonia in which case that will be 1a with Covid as 1b or c.
In other cases, the person may have had Covid contributing to a death from another cause – perhaps by making the person weaker or more susceptible or starting a chain of events and may appear as 2.
There never was a formal requirement for a positive Covid-19 test to write Covid on a certificate if the clinical picture was clear. So, some patients, mostly earlier in the pandemic would have had Covid written down without yet testing positive.

The ONS data (rather than GOV own definition for counting) are not based on some arbitrary post test time period but on what doctors put on the certificate based on their clinical knowledge of that patient in their final illness. If s/he think Covid contributed to death it goes on.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago

One doctor’s explanation of the complexities of filling out death certificates and what conclusions can be drawn https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/05/31/covid-deaths-how-accurate-are-the-statistics/

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

In the first part of the article he is talking about spring of last year – ONS and NHS England and anyone who could count knew that the stats from that period are unreliable for a number of reasons – nobody knew what was really going on, diagnosis was uncertain, there was very little testing.
Dr Kendrick says : “I do know that other doctors put down COVID on anyone who died from early March onwards.” This is an opinion. I would be surprised if he had leaned over all these Doctor’s shoulders and watched them put “Covid” into Box 1a.
Towards the end he says “I recently managed with one old chap who was found to have sepsis, not COVID. Had he died in the Care Home; he would almost certainly have been diagnosed as “dying of COVID”.” Which in one way would have been correct – a triage decision would have been made at the hospital level not to admit him because the hospital reckoned they had sicker (mainly Covid) patients on their hands. What is a hospital clinician supposed to do in that situation ? – turf out a Covid patient to make room for the sepsis patient ?
Currently in the UK their are NO government approved triage guidelines for this sort of situation.
It is disingenuous of him to say “the lockdown killed 30,000” – the lack of staffed hospital beds killed 30,000.
Dr Kendrick rightly points out that deciding how someone died is a slippery business but then all of medicine is like that.
I would highly recommend David Oliver’s “David Oliver: Mistruths and misunderstandings about covid-19 death numbers” in the BMJ February 2021 as another take on the published figures – a short piece like the Kendrick one.

Ian Manning
Ian Manning
2 years ago

Many thanks for the expert information. However, I am at a loss to understand why the definition of a Covid death is publicised as without qualification as one ‘within 28 days of a positive Covid test’ if that may not be the case as a doctor can, as you imply, ignore this stipulation. They both can’t be right, surely?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Manning

They are two different data sets – the death certificate one (the one I personally have more faith in) is the set produced by the ONS. The disadvantage with this data set is that it has a considerable time lag – not helpful for pandemic / hospital capacity planning.
The 28 day data set was collated by PHE (now changed its name)
In the spring of 2020, the government had to be pushed hard to start presenting data for deaths outside hospital (bear in mind around 1 in 3 Covid deaths have been in care homes and around 1 in 6 in other non-hospital settings) and this is when the 28 day provision was introduced.
The 28 day data set was intended to provide an up to the minute idea of epidemic activity. Deaths that occured more than 28 days after a positive test were not included in this count – patients for instance who were discharged from hospital and were then re-admitted and died; patients who had been ventilated and discharged and had later fatal thrombotic episodes (increased risk of these for up to 90 days post discharge).
See : “Behind the headlines: Counting COVID-19 deaths”John Newton, Posted on: 12 August 2020 for a much better explanation than I have provided here.
So … horses for courses
Why the BBC persists in quoting the 28 day number, I have no idea other than it is the more immediate number of deaths.

Last edited 2 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Manning

I’ll be interested to see a breakdown of figures such as excess deaths.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

I would have agreed with you up until a couple of days ago.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Average death rate is something like 1500 per day for the UK so I’m glad that we are not panicking over 150 covid deaths especially as the majority of them will be amongst the elderly frail and otherwise very poorly.

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

These “covid” deaths are from people reported to have tested positive for Covid at some point during the last 28 days. If you correlated it to those having eaten baked beans, or having stubbed their toes, or having bumped their heads, you would probably get similar numbers.

Ian Manning
Ian Manning
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

That is about on a par with the death rate from ‘flu in the UK as recent as 2018! Who knew then? This constant barrage of fear mongering by the scientific community and the media has prevented any sort of stepping back to take a wider view. COVID is still a rare disease and there is an overall survival rate of well over 95%. Yet a ‘pandemic’ our grandparents would have shouldered with a shrug is still grinding down and impoverishing whole countries. The one thing completely missing across the world is any sense of perspective. It is all deeply, deeply depressing.

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Manning

Very true, and it’s importance to the MSM will disappear as soon as something els they can depress us with comes along, IE Russia invades Ukraine, then COVID will become back ground chatter.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Manning

We’ve had it too easy for too long. Our big welfare state has made us soft and squishy and needy.

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

150 per day? And how many were simply at the end of their days?
Most, if truth were were told.

Ron Wigley
Ron Wigley
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Sweden.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Ron Wigley

NZ faced less restrictions domestically than Sweden for all but a few months over the previous two years

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yeah – no-one on this site really has a clue about the NZ situation

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I think there might be something in the contracts that countries have been signed with corporations such as Pfizer…… just a thought.

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Seems like Boris & Co are trying the ‘live with it approach’ but the left wing media and establishment are unhappy with with him
.quell surprise.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I think the UK has been far less draconian than many other countries and lockdowns don’t appear to be on the menu anymore so I’d say on the whole that we have been moving into ‘living with it’ for a while. Boris has his flaws but his instincts aren’t wrong. He’s a libertarian at heart. I just think he’s allowed himself to be overruled by SAGE and to be fair, as they are the ‘experts’, it’s not hard to understand that

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Some of us have seen Jackboots Ardern for what she is from the outset.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

From the moment she wore a hijab after the mosque attack, she was forever enshrined as a female Jesus to the woke

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Yes, excellent observation. Jacinda is a vile, evil, stupid fascist–despite what I read here about her being referred to as “NZ’s beloved Jacinda Ardern” on The BBC website. (Please don’t pay the license fee for woke propaganda!)
Zero Covid? What a great strategy! What a forceful leader! She will hold back the waves, like King Canute!
Sweden was heavily attacked for not being woke enough, essentially deriving a strategy to live with Corona. Not everything they did was perfect, but most was excellent and the numbers now bear this out, though of course it is a moving target.
Only Gov. Cuomo and New York State had the perfect response, according to the MSM! Cuomo and his CNN anchor brother did everything right, absolutely perfect! They even had a daily briefing for a few months to tell the world how great they are and how bad Trump was.
Oh, wait, that was fake news! The clown show that the brothers acted in was all fake, and Gov. Cuomo lied about and covered up the numbers. He moved Corona+ people to nursing homes (follow the $), and hid and falsified the data.
But wait, there’s more. Governor Andrew Cuomo is not the governor anymore–he had to resign because he’s a serial predator now facing criminal sexual assault charges. His brother Chris “Fredo” Cuomo has now been suspended from CNN–image how much that takes for the star propagandist–for advising his brother while covering the story and using his journalistic contacts to get info on the women who complained against the governor so they could trash the women.
Believe the women?

Last edited 2 years ago by James Joyce
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Stick to non-NZ attempts at the truth plz – Unherd commenters are looking quite unbalanced in this article – and that is not a good look for the balance of Unherd per se……

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

You really dont have a clue what you are talking about – it seems that you just like to have a comment/print in public about any topic on Unherd – best to stick to the subjects that you actually know something about….

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathic and inclusive leadership were lauded as a model for the rest of the world.”
Jacinda Ardern is neither empathetic nor inclusive. In terms of the former she is a very good actress, but reminds me very strongly of sadistic school-teachers of yesteryear who enjoyed inflicting physical punishment “for your own good”, while dripping faux empathy. In terms of the latter she has driven a massive wedge between the Maori community and most of the rest with her policies. She has also encouraged a lot of Chinese immigration and inward investment. China now has a vice-like grip on many areas of the economy.
I have good friends there who have been Kiwi for generations; They are not “far right” anti-vax or any other form of extremism. They predicted that she would destroy the country as soon as she first became PM and her Covid “management” has merely accelerated this. The tourism industry is not the only one badly affected, that is incorrect. Any business reliant on overseas contacts, participation and skilled immigration has also been badly affected. For example, I have another friend whose very successful IT business built up over nearly three decades is now really struggling.
In every area and by any standards St Jacinda has been an unmitigated disaster for New Zealand, but should anyone be surprised? She is, after all, a Blair acolyte and cut her political teeth working for him.

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

I agree, she radiates sociopath. She always has done, even pre-pandemic.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

see above – are there actually any other NZers besides me on Unherd ??????

John Cole
John Cole
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Got family over their, have been visiting every year for the last 20 years.
The family runs dairy and they and most on the SI detest her, but she is big in the ‘woke communities’ of Wellington and Auckland.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  John Cole

Dairy farmers hate any Labour politician, especially electorally successful ones. They all support the opposition because they allow them to make large tax free profits and capital gains, and give them a free pass to pollute the rivers to such an extent that many are unswimmable and dangerous to health

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Dairy farmers are the biggest contributors to NZ’s wealth.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

It would be interesting to know what links Dan Andrews over in Victoria has with China and whether or not that has driven him to prove just how bullying, blinkered and dictatorial he can be,

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

His links with China are hardly a secret. He signed up Victoria unilaterally to a “belt and road” agreement when it was against national policy.

Martin Rossol
Martin Rossol
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

If “people” knew she would ruin the country, why did the population vote for her? It must be what most people want, right? [or perhaps “left” =:)] Here in the US, Californians keep voting for Democrats, as they do in Portland, Minneapolis, NY, Chicago, etc. “How’s it working out for you, mate?”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Rossol

People voted for her for two reasons. Firstly they wanted a change from the right wing neoliberalism that has decimated the country’s public services (although she’s been too timid politically to change that) and secondly the opposition is an absolute shambles. Her reign as PM has been a mixed bag to be honest, few successes and failures history will look back on her as a bog standard centrist charismatic career politician

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

At last a balanced comment thanks !

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Rossol

Maoris
People in benefits
Govt employees
Charity “workers”
Universities
Media or quango employees

All of them would vote en masse for her

And that’s the problem: those working in businesses, in trade, or running private sector companies, working in transport etc, taking risk and creating tax revenue….are in a minority.

They will, of course, be in an even smaller minority under her benevolent rule, but then it will be the fault of all those billionaires not paying tax or something.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

That would be the anti business government that has printed billions of dollars to give to industry to keep it afloat then?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You mean out of the masses of money pumped into the economy, the ones actually generating the taxes got a tiny bit for a change?

And yes, they are “afloat”, while the Arden supporting government employees are on full pay sitting at home.

Richard Doehring
Richard Doehring
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billions to big corporates while small businesses have gone to the wall.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Rossol

“Mass formation”. The Ardern government has spent millions of tax payer dollars on a media campaign to basically hypnotise people. Some of us have luckily been immune to that, but sometimes I wonder if it would be easier just to be one of the ones who has drunk the poison from the well. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/58702/the-wise-king

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

You can’t blame Ardern for the Chinese owning large parts of the country, as that happened under the previous governments of both colours. With her ban on foreign citizens buying NZ property she’s actually done more than most to stop it. I’m not a massive fan of hers but credit where it’s due

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

True

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

see above

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago

Secondly, the New Zealand model could never be sustained long-term, once it became clear that global elimination of the virus was unlikely.”
Became clear to whom? We’re just figuring this out now?
The virus was all over the globe by late 2019. “Zero COVID” was a fool’s errand then. It’s a fool’s errand now.
I have some family on the South Island. They totally buy into the COVID religious rituals and into the fear of the COVID gods. And now they will be marooned on their South Island indefinitely?

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago

Have you been to the traffic jams of tourists on South Island ?
IMHO this is a crafty ruse by them to live in peace for a bit

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Having no tourists driving on the wrong side of the road or defecating everywhere due to living in their cars has been one of the high points of the pandemic, and there are calls to heavily restrict tourist numbers once the border opens up again in the new year.
Hospitality is also finally having to pay it’s staff a higher wage due to having its supply of cheap backpackers cut off so having the border closed to foreigners definitely had its upsides

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

They’ve been free to leave the South Island, or indeed NZ whenever they please

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

The fundamental issue is that the approach adopted by New Zealand was based on a false premise. Basically the idea was that as a small island in the middle of nowhere it would be easy to control any influx of people and hence completely block entry of SARS-CoV2. This is all very well and was clearly successful for a period of time, but it is effectively dependent upon the arrival of a savior on a white horse delivering New Zealand from SARS-CoV2 in the form of an effective vaccine. Moreover, New Zealand was entirely reliant on the efforts of others to develop any vaccine. Unfortunately for New Zealand, the current crop of spike vaccines (whether mRNA-based or adenovirus vector/DNA-based) have proven to be a failure with protection against infection lasting only 6 months or so and fading rapidly thereafter. Further, it is not even evident from the data, although it is continually parroted by bigPharma, public health officials and the media that the current crop of spike vaccines reduces death and hospitalizations after 6 months. hence the push for boosters. yet, currently there is no real data on the effectiveness of boosters and the push for boosters is simply pandemic management shooting from the hip. Perhaps the boosters will help a bit but who knows how long they will remain effective for; who knows whether they will induce lasting-lasting B-memory cells, as well as T-memory cells, that are the key to long lasting immunity. If all of that is correct, once New Zealand opens up it will be in for a good deal of hurt as the majority of the population are SARS-CoV2 naive. i.e. Ultimately they will have succeeded in delaying the inevitable for a couple of years, but then what?

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

All countries, excluding the obvious countries and states, have just been kicking the can down the road. This is a sensible strategy to maximise your sale of vaccines and help introduce social “adjustments”. What could go wrong?!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

What they have done is ensure that when the virus starts circulating the population, it will be doing so amongst a populace that has had time to get itself vaccinated which should prevent the large numbers of cases overwhelming the fragile healthcare system. Zero Covid isn’t a phrase I’ve heard used in a long time, the focus in NZ has been a large push to get as many vaccinated before the border reopens to foreign citizens in the new year

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

You are an ‘ardent’ supporter, I’ll give you that
. even when you pretend not to be for a while.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

I’m not at all, I’m your typical floating voter. My personal opinion is the initial response was a good one simply because it worked. I faced absolutely no restrictions on my day to day life while the rest of the world was masked up bouncing in and out of lockdown. However as it has dragged on she’s lost her way, and is now too scared of the bad press that will inevitably happen if all the current restrictions were to disappear and the deaths started to climb. Her approach has simply been far too cautious, and with the healthcare system a mess after 30 years of right wing economics and the opposition a shambles there’s been no real pressure on her to take any risks.
She is a career politician, centrist to the core. For some reason she’s (undeservedly) sainted by the left, and because of that people such as yourself who are that wrapped up in the culture wars assume she must be the Devil. You’re just the flip side of the coin to all those idiots who protested Trumps election or Brexit, there’s never any middle ground

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Billy Bob sounds like he actually lives in NZ and actually knows the situation – he does !

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

I’m Christchurch so I’ve had it easier than you boys

Chris England
Chris England
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

To be fair we were pretty slow out of the blocks ordering vaccines as we were too busy patting ourselves on the back about zero COVID

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

” … yet, currently there is no real data on the effectiveness of boosters …”
Nil desperandum.
John Burn-Murdoch has some wonderful graphs showing what has been happening in the UK since October in the boosted over 65s – November 24 on his Twitter feed.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

Wait and see how long the booster effect in Burn-Murdoch’s graphs last for. Will it be 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. That’s the key. If the booster actually works long term, all well and good. But somehow I doubt it because the whole strategy based on expression of a single component of the virus, and one that undergoes rapid mutation at that, is deeply flawed.
The other issue relates to whether the booster should simply be administered to those most at risk of a severe COVID outcome (i.e. the elderly, those with significant known co-morbidities, etc…) as opposed to those (the 5 to 59 yr group) where the risks are very small indeed.
Time will tell and I would guess that the data out of Israel will be the first to show what’s really going on with the boosters.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Even if it only lasts 6 months, that’ll be enough to see those vulnerable to the virus through the winter each year, much like the flu jab

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You’re assuming one can continue to give boosters, but realize that the mRNA anti-cancer vaccines from Moderna failed in every single phase I clinical trial because they couldn’t be multi-dosed without severe adverse effects, so severe that they had to stop the trial even though the this represented a last Hail Mary for the patients involved. So no, you cannot just give this every year like the flu jab. And not only that the adverse effects appear to increase with every successive jab. That’s not exactly good news.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

The NZ government was unfortunately blinded by its own success. As the article says, when Covid first emerged NZ managed to stamp it out exceedingly quickly, and as such enjoyed life with no restrictions domestically with large crowds at gigs and sporting events.
When the virus inevitably got back through they understandably tried the same approach, but when it didn’t work as before they’ve been found wanting. Rather than a realistic approach of admitting defeat and learning to live with the virus, they’ve fell into the trap that befell many other governments throughout the course of the pandemic in that they feel they have to be seen to be doing something, however futile. So you now have contradictory rules such as mask wearing in shops but not in pubs and restaurants, and in my view inexcusable pressure on businesses to only serve vaccinated people.
They’re also so scared of being accused of racism that they’re effectively keeping the borders closed simply to protect a Maori minority who refuse to get vaccinated despite millions being spent on programmes designed to encourage them to get the jab.
However I can’t see any of this lasting long into the new year. The pressure to fully open is growing and starting to hit them in the opinion polls (although the oppositions policies seem to swing wildly from zero restrictions to much more draconian ones daily), so once the political pressure builds I’d wager this has all blown over by Easter, especially as NZ has quite a high level of immigrants in the population who have relatives abroad they haven’t seen for the best part of 2 years.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In fairness, no government has admitted defeat, only success.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

True enough, even the Swedes have faced low level restrictions on social distancing throughout the pandemic. Whilst I could understand the thought process behind lockdowns initially (even if I don’t agree with them) when the virus was new and we had no idea how it spread or how deadly it was, the fact many countries are looking at entering them again now despite large numbers of their populations being vaccinated is unforgivable to me

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There never was any success, just delaying the inevitable with incredibly harsh, delusional measures. Now it’s catching up with them and they’re wondering “where did our success go?” – answer, nowhere. There never was any success.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Of course there was a success. They avoided the virus working its way through the country until large numbers of the population had been jabbed, especially the most vulnerable. That’s why their death toll is still only in double digits and they spent less on their Covid response than most other nations in the OECD.
However whilst the “Zero Covid” hasn’t not been the goal for months, they’ve still been much too slow at easing restrictions for fear a few deaths will hurt them in the polls if the hospitals became overrun. Due to 30 years of both parties blindly following right wing neoliberalism the healthcare system has a pitiful capacity regarding beds, ICU capacity and staffing numbers, and it simply couldn’t have coped with the type of numbers we saw in Europe and the States.
Ultimately like every other nation it will be political pressure and the threat of damaging their electoral chances that finally put paid to the last few restrictions. They’ve caved in and are reopening the borders in the new year after public opinion turned against them, what’s the point of putting vaccinated new arrivals in quarantine if the virus is already circling the country after all, and I expect everything else will follow shortly afterwards. Outside of Auckland nobody takes much notice of them anyway

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

Taking the heat out of the issue, if at all possible, we can probably say that IF the goal is to eliminate covid, technically New Zealand initially did a good job, albeit being dealt an extremely good hand, as one of the most isolated countries in the world with a tiny fraction of the international travel of other developed nations. Certainly, none of the developed countries in Europe or North America can show anything like such ‘good’ results, and in fact Sweden, which didn’t lock down, has a better record than most.
We are having to realise that it isn’t ultimately possible to eliminate covid, a virus that ‘wants’ to evolve to become more and more contagious. (The only virus humans have ever eliminated is smallpox). The costs of these endless draconian responses are going to grow and grow, and of course create their own enormous health issues.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Thus far humanity has managed to eradicate one virus, smallpox. (That’s the proposition that my reading of background research indicates.)
There are plenty of other viruses we have not eradicated. Those would include measles, even though measles has “no know non-human reservoir”. Measles would thus appear as a good candidate for eradication.
Meanwhile, we have not eradicated other coronaviruses, including SRAS-COV1 (“SARS”). And, guess what? Coronaviruses do have non-human reservoirs, like those bats in Yunnan, right?
Governments met demand to “Do Something!” by doing all types of things that do not accord with accumulated wisdom about how to deal with viruses. Even Trump panicked.
Paraphrasing H.L. Mencken: We, the people have gotten what we have voted for — good and hard.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

This is the most sensible comment on here. Governments just felt they had to be seen to be doing something, hence every nation now is stuck with a patchwork or rules and regulations that many know are pointless but governments are too scared to wind them back as they will be attacked if case numbers rise slightly when they do. This will continue until people have had enough and it starts to cost them votes

Martin Rossol
Martin Rossol
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

If you want to eliminate deaths by automobile accidents, ban automobiles. It can be done. How many children under 5 die each year by drowning in pools? Its multiples of the number who have died due to covid. But you have to keep those masks on kids and make sure they get the jab. That story will probably be covered by CNN or the BBC tonight.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Rossol
Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
2 years ago

Zero Covid was a brain dead strategy. Only a scared idiot could have believed it would work. Once such a virus is out in the world it will spread. The only thing you can do is to nudge it a bit on timing. That was the UK strategy in March 2020, to flatten the curve and moderate the effect on the NHS via a lockdown. It was also the strategy in July 2021 to remove restrictions during the summer months to allow the virus to spread at the least bad time. God knows I have my criticisms of HMG but this was grown up planning. Eyes open, realistic, pragmatic. It contrasts well with the head in the sand, cross your fingers, Tinkerbell “believe” nonsense indulged in by NZ.

Peter Taylor
Peter Taylor
2 years ago

Last night I spent a harrowing hour talking to my son in New Zealand. He is fully aware of the Covid origins and collective insanities – but his partner wants a baby, his work is on the verge of demanding vaccination, and his social world has made him feel like an outcast, a second-class citizen with no prospects – he has been totally stressed out and not at all himself, and he knows where I stand on the issues and was in tears – he simply could not take the pressure anymore – and he is a strong lad. I understand that pressure – but from another side, the isolation of one who knows too much (as a biologist) and sees what is coming down the line. I assured him of my support. By now, the ‘spike protein’ will be in his system – as it was in mine last March 2020 but attached to the virus, and I have suffered dangerous myalgias since. I cried for him. I have friends for whom this is all a non-issue, double vaxxed and boosted, fed by the BBC and all else is conspiracy – and they are at peace with it all, whilst the drum beats of totalitarianism just don’t reach their ears. I wish there was a cleansing herb that would flush out this engineered protein – I have yet to try ‘pine needle tea’! And Omnicron – not a beep out of the mainstream media other than how ‘unusual’ it is to have 32 mutations! When intelligence services in Britain and the US have already established the more than possibility the first Covid came from a lab – so, to my eyes, Omnicron was likely ready built and waiting in line. Cry the Beloved Country!

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Taylor

I am sorry about the news.
Perhaps, like you (?), I have the privilege and fortune of being independent. I’ve turned down some contracts, even just this last Monday. The people at the work site would require everyone to be jabbed. I declined. That’s an $85K pay check I won’t see, but I am glad to have the option to walk away.

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Taylor

When intelligence services in Britain and the US have already established the more than possibility the first Covid came from a lab – so, to my eyes, Omnicron was likely ready built and waiting in line”
Yes. It is in the name! When they name a virus “all the time” it is intended to tell you their intentions going forwards.

Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

Omicron, not Omnicron..

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Taylor

I believe pine needle tea is the thing but only specific pine needles.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Is that to wash down the cattle dewormer?

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Taylor

Peter – I can totally empathise, having to go through this same scenario with my children. Is your son aware of the support that he can get here in NZ? https://voicesforfreedom.co.nz/ It’s a tough time for all and if I can provide any support from here in NZ perhaps we could find a way to contact each other.

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago

Inflame civil unrest in New Wokeland ?
you are having a larf mate.
These people have a goal of killing all deer and possums in NZ by 2050 because they are not ‘original’ fauna. There are boxes of poison for them everywhere. You cannot use or move a fallen tree unless it has fallen across a path, then you may move it to one side. (the Maoris arrived 500 years ago and ate all the original flightless birds, except the scrawny wee Kiwi)
People with covid there are lucky not to have been culled.

Last edited 2 years ago by Julie Blinde
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Here’s a thought: why doesn’t NZ kill (sorry, I meant “cull”) all the invasive species on the islands who do not have a genetic link to the island from 500 years ago? They’re not “original,” ergo they have to go.

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Ooooh naughty !
Rats are also on the hitlist. They managed to de-rat a small island off Stuart Island bird sanctuary but rats can swim you see.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

Sad that rats can swim, but it is wonderful that Corona cannot be transmitted over the air, and that locking down an island/s nation indefinitely will absolutely, positively defeat Corona and keep the Kiwis (sorry, is that racist? does that include the Maori–I don’t even know) safe!
Well done, “beloved” Jacinda!

Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Princess Fairy-Dust to you
(thats what the Kiwis call her)

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago

Jacinda Ardern spoke these historic word: ‘Your government is the only source of truth’. What baffles me is that such vanilla and cream country turned into a dystopian dictatorship within the blink of an eye. In my view the West suffers from an auto-immune disease that will destroy everything. Do not think that they can subjugate India, Asia, Africa or Latin-America, and perhaps not even the Middle-East. All regions with strong cultural identities. Life will go on there pretty normal there. But we will be living in a barren dessert utimately killing us all at an early age. Just like in the good old days of feudalism.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
2 years ago

What baffles me is that such vanilla and cream country turned into a dystopian dictatorship within the blink of an eye. 

They’re the very ones to watch.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Why is it a dystopian dictatorship? I’ve faced much less restrictions on my day to day life than Sweden for all but 2 months since the beginning of the pandemic. If NZ is a dystopian dictatorship so too is the US, UK, Europe (including Sweden), Australia etc

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Because its modus operandi is fear and suppression of dissenting opinion. (Re-)read 1984.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Hasn’t almost every country done the same though? Most countries spent much longer in lockdown than NZ, so why the vitriol aimed at the country?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

yes what a load of crapola – these people I think just like to see their feelings in print vs really attempting to be informed . Tragically i see that UNHERD is becoming an echo chamber for simplistic ‘right wing’ pundits – dammit cos its hard to find relatively unfettered sites – however this is all getting somewhat crazy and i fear that the relatively sensible will read these kind of comments and just ‘move on’…..myself included. Surely it is not too much to ask that people only comment on things they really do know about ……………………………

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago

Back in April 2020 when interviewed by Freddie Sawyer, Pr Johan Gieseke asked what he thought of the amazing results in New Zealand, answered in his no BS Swedish style

yeah ?? and what next ?
Jacinda Arden is a basket case and doesn’t know how to get out of this.
This virus will mutate until the dawn of times

.let’s hope someone wakes up and pull the plug of this infernal crazy making machine.
NZ opening borders in April ? Who would be crazy enough to endure 20 + hours masked in a full airplane to end up in what is nothing else but an antipodean padded cell ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruno Lucy
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Exactly! I remember this! Sweden has been right from the start. Unlike the evil, woke Jacinda, Sweden came up with and implemented a strategy that was fair, reasonable, and has held up well over time. 3 weeks into the pandemic, some countries shouted “Look how great we are! Look how smart we are!” 3 weeks later, it was the opposite.
Same thing with this new variant. More and more countries are finding out that hey, it was in Italy in October, Portugal in September, etc. The virus spreads. The virus mutates. That’s what viruses do.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Living in NZ I’ve faced much less restrictions in my day to day life than Sweden for all but 2 months in the last 2 years, although if I lived in Auckland I would have faced 4-5 months. NZ was in a fortunate position early in the pandemic in that it hadn’t reached its shores in any great numbers, so it was able to be stamped out and life carry on as normal domestically, although if you wanted to go abroad it did mean you had to go through a 2 week quarantine on your return.
This allowed the government time to vaccinate the population before letting the virus work its way through society, nothing else.
Since the Delta strain made its way through the borders I’ve not heard zero Covid mentioned once in NZ, the government instead focusing on trying to push up the vaccination rates before the remaining restrictions are eased, a strategy it has now abandoned once it was clear they wouldn’t be reached. Political pressure has now forced the government’s hand into reopening the border to foreigners in the new year.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Excuse me but a country that doesn’t let its own citizens in doesn’t deserve any kind of respect.
I am not so fond of my own country of birth, but one thing I know is they would never let me in the lurch like Jacinda did.
That woman is pure evil
As to restrictions in Sweden

what restrictions. I spent 3 months there after the Norwegians kicked me out
..nothing. Went back for the summer 
..nothing
..again during winter when my own country was locking everyone in
..well then
.restaurants closed at 8:30 pm

big deal in a country where people eat at around 6:30 pm
..if you call that restrictions you need to reassess.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruno Lucy
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Those people were given plenty of warning that the quarantine system was being introduced, and if they wanted to avoid it to get back by a certain date. The fact many chose not to, only trying to come back once other countries around the world started enacting lockdowns more stringent then complaining they had to quarantine.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Comments like this just do my head in. If everyone had come back when they were “warned” there would have been an attempted influx into the country of something like 1 million people. Please explain how that would have been logistically possible even just from being able to get a flight booking, and what would have been the impact on the employment and housing market? And not only that, New Zealanders overseas at The Beginning of all this were not just backpackers on holiday. They are people with lives and businesses and homes in other countries. At the time how would they have known how this would pan out? Remember the message from the NZ government at the time “Just 3 weeks to flatten the curve”. I wish NZers with your frame of mind would just have a bit more of a think about what you’re saying.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

As opposed to your one eyed rants you mean? If the borders hadn’t run the way they have, and the NZ death toll was on par with the UKs (so around 16k give it take), no doubt you’d still be attacking Ardern for not being caring and letting Kiwis die?
For what it’s worth I think the manager isolation has been far too inflexible, especially in regards to kiwis wanting to come home but ultimately the government we’re going to get stick one way or the other whatever they did.
All I know is that I’ve got family and friends dotted around a few countries, and my pandemic has been a lot less stressful than theirs

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

« These people Â» do you twitch your nose for fear of bad smells while saying this ?
The concept of citizenship is quite interesting when one listens to you. Why no add
..you brought it onto yourself for leaving NZ ?
Citizenship means that when everything in the world goes pear shape, the last resort will be your country of birth. If you in NZ do not understand that and live in your sealed chambers 

.it is a blessing you were not in a raft escaping the Titanic

how many more casualties then ?
If you come across this french poet called Jean de la Fontaine, have a look at « The dog and the wolf Â» it fits NZ like a glove.
You guys deserve Jacinda

Last edited 2 years ago by Bruno Lucy
Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There has been nothing normal about living in New Zealand over the last 20 months. It was all “pretend” normal. It frustrated the hell out of me seeing people in this Smug Hermit Kingdom carrying on as though everything was hunky dory, with little understanding of the utter misery this was causing those separated from families overseas, little understanding of the impacts on those who couldn’t work comfortably from home in their secure employment made possible largely by the billions of printed dollars, those whose livelihoods depended on tourism etc etc. Back in March 2020 the only planning the NZ govt did was to pin all hopes on a successful vaccine, despite there never before having been a successful vaccine for a coronavirus. And they have stuck to that doggedly, rather than looking for other avenues such as treatment protocols to keep people out of hospital, recognition of the power of the immune system and prior immunity to coronaviruses to keep most people “safe”, recognition of those demographics who are most at risk and working with them to reduce their risk without a vaccine, etc etc etc. The NZ government strategy has cost us BILLIONS and in terms of quality adjusted life years the allocation of funds has been massively disproportionate. The NZ govt continues to be advised by the same old same old people – groupthink is alive and well – with any “dissenters” roundly and soundly dismissed by the government and our appallingly biased main stream media. And it’s getting worse. We now have the completely unscientific marginalisation of the unvaccinated, starting from 3rd December. It’s hard work fighting it all.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

What treatment protocols to keep people out of hospital? When the pandemic first started any treatments for the virus were just as far away as a vaccine. Also every country in the world has printed money, most of them much more than NZ, if NZ hadn’t joined the party the dollar would now be so strong the exports would be extortionate.
As I say, compared to my family back in the UK my pandemic has been incredibly easy. They’ve endured much more stringent and longer lockdowns, been hit much harder in the pocket and I’ll wager Boris will lose his nerve once Europe starts locking up again and he’ll follow suit

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

I came a bit late to this party, but I wanted to reach out to you as part of your debate with Billy Bob. I’m not entirely sure where to jump in, but here goes.
I saw somewhere here that Jacinda said that “your government is the source of all truth” related to Corona. I’m ashamed to say that I missed that one completely. I new Jacinda was an evil fascist, but I did not know that she was the living embodiment of 1984.
I don’t understand why the people of NZ elected this vile, evil woman. This is a game changer for me! Wow! Totally gobsmacked! Generally speaking, I agree with you, Trish, that Jacinda is a menace–much worse than even I thought.

john.havenhand63
john.havenhand63
2 years ago

It seems to me that many commentators like Chodor use the words “far right” as it does the thinking for them and it makes me suspicious of the rest of their article. They never define “far right”! It is just a short hand for nasty person. Say no more.
Do these commentators/ supposed journalists think? Do they know what they are talking about? Should i trust them? I suggest that far right today means a believer in personal freedom, free speech, market economy, opposition to authoritarianism, cancel culture, racism, anti Semitism, homophobia, violent street protest, and sacking for what you might think or use of the wrong words, but support for the small state, and innocent until proven guilty, Almost classical liberal.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

Good article. But the handling of the pandemic and NZ will be analyzed, as everywhere, in the round. So your acknowledgement of the early ‘success’ of the policy is simply another way of saying that the consequences of the dreadful mistake in pursuing a draconian policy of turning the country into a hermit state were delayed and, possibly (we don’t know yet) longer-term and more profound. Those who said that the public policy response was unnecessarily alarmist will, I believe, prove to have been right.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

In a few years though I think history will still show NZ fared better than most. The death toll and economic cost will be lower than comparable countries, and they will have spent much less time living under restrictions. With the exception of the last few months in Auckland, even Swedes faced tougher restrictions on their day to day lives than Kiwis did.
As long as the government holds their nerve if cases rise substantially when the borders reopen to foreigners in the new year (though judging by other countries that certainly isn’t a given) then all in all they will probably be seen as having fared better than many others.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The statistics show that the whole of the Oceania region suffered much less in absolute terms than Europe and the Americas,maybe due to its relative isolation.So if there is any credit due to Oz and NZ it’s mainly due to geography and not the politicians

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Welford

But the government did use its natural isolation to its advantage, buying itself enough time to get large numbers vaccinated before letting virus run riot

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes they relied on others to do the work for them. And since the vaccines have proven to be nowhere as effective or safe as first thought, they won’t be better off in the end. Maybe the NZ government should have got it’s head out of the sand and tried to develop a better vaccine based on either an inactivate whole virus or an attenuate whole live virus. But they didn’t. They just sat on their butts and did nothing except close their borders.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

What a ridiculous comment. What was a small nation, with no science sector to speak of and whose main exports are meat and dairy supposed to do to help develop Covid vaccines?

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago

“Undoubtedly, there was some luck involved, given New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world.”
As an expat NZer living in the UK, it can be difficult to describe how sparsely populated rural NZ is. So don’t forget the internal geography of NZ – sparsely populated and spread out towns and hamlets of rural NZ – which comprises pretty much the rest of the country outside of the major cities such as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Living in Christchurch, I’ve found the attitude of the majority I know is to just do away with the remaining few restrictions, as the unvaccinated have had plenty of time to get jabbed therefore if they get ill it’s their own problem. Is this the view in the regions as well?
The perception of Ardern abroad also intrigues me. Symptomatic of the culture wars she appears to be seen as either a saint by those on the left, or Satan by those on the right. Living in NZ I just think she’s a bog standard centrist career politician, albeit a charismatic one who has benefited from the opposition being an absolute shambles

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Your perception might be correct.The two stand out behaviours that intrigued me both had a mothering archetype quality – the show of empathy and telling NZers that they can believe the government to keep them safe and to believe the information from and what the government said etc – at least something to that effect.
This emphasis on this type of emotion is something new in my experience.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

I am left wondering why a life that may be lost to Covid seems to be more valuable than a life that will almost certainly be lost to untreated cancer.

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

That’s why allocation of scarce resources (i.e. govt funds) must always be accompanied by a cost/benefit analysis to ensure that overall well-being is maximised. Disproportionate allocation of scarce resources (I think we are now effectively “spending” hundreds of thousands of dollars to save one covid QALY, considerably more than what we normally allocate to other health care interventions.) People who focus on saving Covid lives seem to not think about the other lives which will be lost as a result. https://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-opinion/media/2021/opinion-safety-at-all-costs-costs-lives?fbclid=IwAR3TJ7YFgC33IX9PIWsb6oJeFLPdsTVUh0JEwllYAMbShQoplAngMS4wE40

Last edited 2 years ago by Trish Castle
Su Mac
Su Mac
2 years ago

“…the New Zealand model could never be sustained long-term, once it became clear that global elimination of the virus was unlikely.” What kind of intellectual pygmy could ever argue that a virus could be eliminated globally..what is so sad is that people are so complacent, lazy, unthinking and government dependent for all their opinions that a whole country thought it could be done! It is the national equivalent of a child covering its eyes to make itself invisible. Pitiful…

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago

“While deaths have nearly doubled to 43”. In the first outbreak last year 26 or 27 people died. They were largely the elderly frail residents in a dementia unit, some of which were declared covid deaths despite not being confirmed by testing. 43 is not twice 27. And anyway describing something as “doubling” is a meaningless starting point. You could have it going from 1 to 2 and it could still be called doubling. The elephant in the room here is that for New Zealand at least, the case fatality ratio appears to be 0.5% over all “cases”. That is likely to be the upper bound estimate, and of course it needs to be age adjusted. The strategies of the NZ government are, like most governments around the world, totally out of proportion to the threat this disease poses. The threat would be lessened considerably if early treatments shown to be successful around the world were adopted. Instead, it is vaccine vaccine vaccine (and just the one brand, don’t forget – Pfizer Cominarty) with alternative strategies such as checking for prior immunity (antibody/immunity tests are banned from import), and treatment protocols are dismissed. Heaven forbid anyone suggest that we have immune systems which help protect us. Other factors totally ignored are that we are a sparsely populated country, we don’t live on top of each other and mostly do not live in multi-generational families, we have good levels of sunshine, we have an outdoor lifestyle, and it’s WINDY. All.the.time. We were the perfect country to adopt standard epidemic management protocols (we have a well-established pandemic plan) and prove that this could be managed with minimal harm to the economy and overall wellbeing but instead the government chose damaging harsh measures, backing themselves into a corner they now cannot politically get out of. It’s miserable here for those of us who can see through all this. And as of today, the “unvaccinated” are banned from taking part in normal life. It beggars belief.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

They’re using two brands now, Astra Zeneca as well as some people didn’t want to take the Pfizer one

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The vaccination Orders under the Covid 19 Public Health Response Act 2020 specify it is the Pfizer Comirnaty which must be used. An appallingly worrying connection between the State and a for-profit pharmaceutical company. And it’s now a bit late to offer people a choice, after so many mandate dates have passed. There is a special place in hell for our government and legislators for the part they have played in coercing people into having this pharmaceutical product injected into their bodies. If hell is out of the question, then jail will do. The law needs to change – there should be NO possibility of “justified limitations” to our rights under the Bill of Rights Act 1990. Coerced medical procedures should be off the table – end of story. There are always other ways to mitigate risk.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

I live here, you can choose Astra Zeneca if you don’t want the Pfizer. Pfizer is the standard vaccine used as it has the highest efficiency, but you can ask for Astra Zeneca if you’d prefer

Trish Castle
Trish Castle
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I live here too. Irrespective of the fact that AZ may now be available, the Pfizer has been the only one available for many months now and was the only one available to people coming under vaccine mandates under the Covid 19 Public Health Response Act.

Last edited 2 years ago by Trish Castle
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Trish Castle

So what you said before is nonsense then, nobody was forced to take Pfizer

David GTD
David GTD
2 years ago

She’s cut from the same vile cloth as Sturgeon. If only both of them could be dumped on another, otherwise uninhabited, remote Pacific island well away from the rest of us!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  David GTD

She’s much more like Blair to be honest, minus the warmongering. In fact I think she worked for the UK Labour Party while he was leader in some minor capacity

hpmelby
hpmelby
2 years ago

I am triple vaccinated and sympathize with many of the protests. Vaccines work well, many of the muscular interventions will not.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
2 years ago
Reply to  hpmelby

I trotted along dutifully for my booster last Friday. Even then I was clinging to the attitude that they’re unlikely to do me any harm, they may even be effective and, most importantly, they’re the only route to getting my life back. Now that the Xi variant (call it by its real name!) has plunged us back into state-engineered hysteria, they could inject me with a vaccine, the placebo du jour or Barr’s Irn Bru for all the societal good they’ll do us.

Last edited 2 years ago by Derek Bryce
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Xi? Racist!
I had the booster some weeks ago. I decided it was right for me–not forcing it on anyone else and am stridently against vaccine passports and all the woke rest.
I will say that I was happy to take a vaccine that I personally did not deserve (privilege) from a health care worker in the Third World (MUCH more deserving than me, for obvious reasons). At least that’s what The Who and all the so-called medical boffins on The BBC say–though didn’t they previously say it was so important to get jabbed?
The WHO and the supposed medical boffins can LET’S GO BRANDON!

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Irn Bru, now there’s a cure even The Donald didn’t think of.
ï»żGet’s my vote for pure entertainment value alone

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

As a Scot, I treasure Irn Bru as our quintessential, popularly adored, national product. Far more beloved than Robert Burns if most folk are honest. Why, I even forgave the orange elixir for being appropriated in an crassly opportunistic photo op with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by our FM, Elsie McSelfie (aka Nicola Sturgeon) at the COP26 dog ‘n’ pony show. Its prophylactic benefits vis a vis covid seem doubtful, however, given the Herculean quantities consumed here and our case rate that mirrors or exceeds that in the rest of the U.K.

Last edited 2 years ago by Derek Bryce
L Walker
L Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

There’s a detective fiction writer in Scotland that introduced me to Irn Bru, Stuart McDonald if I remember correctly. Great writer, great series of books. If you’re looking for something to read look him up. I’m not his agent and sadly he did not offer to.pay me for this endorsement.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I think he must have taken a bottle to his tanning salon and stated that was the colour he was after

Rickard Gardell
Rickard Gardell
2 years ago

She doesnt like foreigners. She banned them from buying property in NZ before covid(NZ can buy property overseas). With covid, she has been happy to close the country for foreigners. Not just foreigners, but also NZ citizens living overseas. She doesn’t like them either. Also, 30% of Kiwis are foreign born with parents and siblings overseas. She doesn’t care that can’t see each other. She lacks total empathy for foreigners, not dissimilar to the old Soviet Union.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Stopping foreigners buying property is one of the best policies she’s had. NZ is battling a housing crisis with some of the most expensive housing costs in the world so whatever can be done to limit demand should be done. She’s been far too timid in taking on the vested interests of landlords and property speculators, and it will be that rather than anything related to Covid that will hurt them in the upcoming elections

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

So 43 people have lost their lives due to Covid on an island of 5 million.
Here in Chicago, USA, with a population of 2.7 million, we just acknowledged the dubious milestone of 1000 murders so far in 2021. And nothing is done about it. Yawn.

Art C
Art C
2 years ago

It’s time for this foolish woman to go. Over-hyped (the ‘woman’ thing) and like so many western leaders unwilling to admit that the severity of Covid was wildly overestimated and that we need to live with it, Arden seems instead to believe the rubbish which has been written about her. Secure in her delusion, she has proved incapable of changing tack and making the decisions necessary to exit the impasse she has created for NZ. Instead, like other leaders, she resorts more and more to totalitarian instincts. The hard truth is that “Saint Jacinda” has done incalculable harm to the economy and social relations in NZ and will do more if she is left in place.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago

So 10,000 deaths were saved (delayed), compared with UK, at a cost for the tourism industry which is reported to be 5% less whatever New Zealanders spent at home instead of travelling. Was it worth it?
I do not understood why quarantine places were rationed, especially since tourism was down. Nor why the Maori were not allowed to isolate themselves. Self isolation seems the obvious freedom.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

The Maori want to set up road blocks to prevent unvaccinated people entering the areas with high Maori populations that are unvaccinated as they claim it’s not safe. Get your head around that one

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago

The only mechanism New Zealand ever had to rejoin the rest of the world was the vaccine. They’re conveniently avoiding the message that it’s leaky so they’re going to have cases regardless. Cases would be OK but they’ve been hooked on the idea of Zero Covid to such a degree that even benign cases are terrifying. Meanwhile, the only reason a vaccine exists already is because it was possible to test it in countries with high levels of community spread.

Mike Hardwicke
Mike Hardwicke
2 years ago

Zero Covid? Clear move to totalitarianism imo, ZC is just the excuse!

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
2 years ago

Somewhat of an incoherent article which seems to be saying 2 things that are actually mutually exclusive. He talks about how successful NZ’s strategy was, then talks about how unsuccessful it has been. A truly “successful” strategy is successful in the big picture. Short-term gain for long-term pain is not a “success” by any logical measure.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Milburn
Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
2 years ago

Another western country on the suicide fast track. The last stage is the feminization of society, the All-Mother takes care of her children. They get what they voted for.

Geoff Haigh
Geoff Haigh
2 years ago

At the risk of causing further mass panic I believe governments approach to the omicron varient just shows that they have no trust in the vaccines on offer and that in reality they fear that they are, therefore, not fit for purpose. As there will always be new varients forever and a day then governments will continue to use the same failed methods and will never get our freedoms back again.
Governments and the elites are getting plenty of practice at learning how to control people by using covid passports on the pretext of health and ecological disaster because of the covid pandemic and now climate change to maintain power and contol and shut down true democracy and freedom.a They await the coming of the Anti Christ. Just read the book of Revelation which forsaw this 2000 years ago.
In this season of Advent we await the arrival of the infant Christ and celebrate His first coming on Christmas day. He will come again to defeat these evils and create a new earth and new heaven where their is no more distrust, pain, hunger nor tears.

Last edited 2 years ago by Geoff Haigh
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Haigh

In terms of reducing the serious effects of the virus, the vaccines have undoubtedly been successful in my eyes as the number of hospitalisations and deaths have reduced massively despite virus still circling the various populations. However as you point out like the flu the virus will constantly mutate, so I can see society treating the same once the hysteria has subsided with boosters given to the elderly and vulnerable each winter to protect from the dominant strain at the time

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago