From a few days ago (it seems like an eternity), RNZ reported “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings“. There are several points I’d make about the border controls and generally with our border and the long slow process that we and the world will have over the next few years constraining this pandemic.
They’re expensive. This extra funding consists of about $3 billion over several years.
The funding announced today will pay for a series of Covid-19-related health activities to June 2022.
It’s committing about $1.1 billion until June 2022 to bolster testing and contact tracing – and roughly $1.7 billion for the managed isolation regime.RNZ: “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings“
That isn’t to expand the MIQ quarantine facilities. It is simply to reduce the risk of leakages through the staff. Expanding the number of places, staffing them, and maintaining close control over all parts of the operations is way way more expensive than doing with this closing of loopholes does.
The reasons for the loopholes were the classic issues that every organisation faces. Despite the best effort of all concerned, the classic SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up) is the normal. I’ve seen it in every workplace I have ever been in. Some critical pieces of every enterprise fall through the cracks because they aren’t the direct responsibility of any particular organisation or sub unit or even individual. Everyone thinks that it is being handled elsewhere and/or that it especially doesn’t apply to them.
Senior advisers Heather Simpson and Sir Brian Roche were urgently commissioned in August to review the regime after revelations many border staff were not being tested for Covid-19.
The report found problems with communication, accountability, and clarity in the testing framework.
It also found that despite clear expectation of ministers there would be structured testing of border facing workers, and regular advice stating that such testing was occurring, in reality little testing was happening at the time.
“There appears to have been a reluctance on the part of some agencies to contemplate mandatory testing regimes, there was a general lack of forward planning with respect to testing, there was a reluctance to work with employers about how testing could best be implemented at particular sites,” the report said.
The report noted there was also a lack of clarity about who was in charge of implementing and monitoring the testing regimes.
In a letter to the minister by the committee co-chairs it said that the current model is improving, but it’s is not fit for purpose over a longer time period.
“We don’t have a status quo model which is well understood and could serve effectively for the next 24 to 36 months,” it said.RNZ: “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings“
In this case, it was accentuated because there was (and still is) the stupid idea that ‘this will all be over soon‘. Yeah right… Clearly the people in our population need more education about the historical process and progress of pandemics and epidemics. Perhaps the journalists could do some actual research and stop writing some of the complete crap that I keep reading from their opinions? This is going to take years to deal with. If we’re lucky…
This correctional cost pales in comparison with the costs of a lock down. Not having a lock down improves our productivity a lot. At present I’m looking at zoom colleagues working in the UK winter struggling to hit project deadlines under lock downs. Those contacts bring back the sense of total frustration that I was getting in the first and even the second lock down trying to get gear and support for the things that I’m useless at.
You’d think that a computer programmer like myself would be insulated from a lot of the issues. I’m used to working remotely with other people, have the gear already at home, have big bandwidth, and generally I’m as anti-social as possible when I’m working.
But I program a lot with bespoke hardware. I’m also all thumbs when it comes to doing basics like soldering 1-2mm wires together. I rely on those strange people who like hardware to do that kind of work because they can do without a very large bobble of solder. Plus first of course I had to get a the solder, soldering iron, magnifier for my ageing eyes, and to argue with my partner about using the kitchen bench to do it. Just getting around that problem caused me weeks of project delay during the first lock down.
Those kinds of screw up magnify out throughout our export economy. Along with the specialised batteries that I needed to code the gas gauge for for couldn’t be shipped to here. And there were a lot of other frustrating productivity sapping lock down issues.
But with the exception of the tourism, student and immigration sectors – it has been notable for how little damage the underlying economy has suffered.
As Liam Dann opined (probably paywalled) at the Herald…
The last full working week of year delivered a flurry of upbeat economic news.
If you woke up from a year-long coma on Monday and only read the business pages (which seems reasonable to me) you’d be forgiven for thinking the economy was in great shape.
It started on Tuesday, with the Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence survey showing a strong upward surge.
We are feeling more optimistic about the state of the economy over the next few years, it found.
New Zealanders were also feeling more secure about their personal financial position.
Remarkably, business confidence is even stronger and is now at its highest level since 2017.
On Tuesday we got a double whammy.
The country’s current account – the net balance of trade and investment capital flows – is in it’s best shape since 2001.
Later that day, the Half Year Economic Update from Treasury showed a positive revision to all the economic forecasts and news that we’ll be borrowing $20 billion less than we planned over the next four years.
Of course, at that point, some of the numbers ought to be looking a bit odd to our post-comatose reader.
On Thursday we got the big one. Third-quarter GDP figures, record quarterly growth – a staggering 14 cent surge in economic activity.NZ Herald: “Covid 19 coronavirus: Liam Dann – Content or complacent? New Zealand’s happiness dilemma”
Basically the economy took a hit. Much of which is still to come – especially inside the domestic economy of NZ. Anyone who has been hanging on desperately hoping and relying on a travel bubble to save their flight dependent business is probably clean out of options.
Six days ago, there was a lot of hype on the order of :-
My immediate thought on reading and listening to it was that it was premature. Not only was it only an agreement in principle with a lot of the detail still to be dealt with. It was also far too susceptible to lock down and tracing issues. I follow the material about the pandemic, and I don’t think that we have a handle on covid-19. We probably won’t until late in 2021.
To put it bluntly it is still too damn dangerous to open up to Australia or the islands. The probability of getting an outbreak and spreading it is just far too high. It will be until we get well over 60% vaccinations and at least our current level of outbreak control.
Personally I’m not willing to accept the risk that others could put me back trying to solder my own wires and drop my personal productivity by half just so that that other can have a quarantine free holiday or to see family.
As importantly there were really high risk values for all concerned. What if I wind up transmitting the disease from the Auckland entry point to my 81yo father in Rotorua? What happens to the aussie tourist who arrives in Queenstown and who can’t fly back after an outbreak happens on the ski fields there?
I was talking to one of my work colleagues the other day who hadn’t seen his kids for a year. They were living with their mother in Australia. I have a lot of sympathy. But definitely not enough to put myself or my family and friends at risk for him.
As for the selfish gits who just want a beach to lie on…. Please – can we de-citizen them? They really need to go to the home of selfish, self-entitled, and ignorant. They will be given a great maskless welcome.
It’s looking increasingly likely that the much discussed trans-Tasman bubble is finally on the way.
Cabinet have agreed in principle to quarantine-free travel in the first quarter of 2021.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said officials were working on contingency plans in the event of an outbreak.
The decision is dependent on Australia’s agreement and no major change in circumstances in either country.RNZ: “Trans-Tasman bubble to help reunify families, business – Melbourne University epidemiologist“
In recent days, we’ve had an rapidly expanding outbreak in Sydney that has caused virtually every other Australian state to put in travel restrictions. I suspect that doesn’t fit the criteria of “no major change”. Personally, I suspect that there are enough dickheads in Aussie to keep expanding periodic outbreaks right up until they get a jab in the arm. And they will be whinging about needing to get that.
While the expanding variant in the UK doesn’t really worry me for pretty much the reasons outlined in Robert Hicks post at SciBlogs “The virus that stole Christmas“. It doesn’t look like it is any more pathogenic than the another five major variants. It just looks like it spreads faster when people ignore public health advice.
So keep using the covid-19 tracing application – now updated with optional and supplemental bluetooth peer tracking. Keep planning on dealing with the next outbreak here.