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Chris Bishop – manipulated, lying, or just plain stupid?

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, February 9th, 2022 - 24 comments
Categories: chris bishop, Dirty Politics, national, Politics, same old national, uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

As I was rather anticipating, the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) fixation of the National and Act parties has blown up in their face.

The government of NZ buys in bulk for medical goods, usually from the manufacturing sources. That way they don’t pay as much for the profit margins and cost of sales built into local antipodean distributors. That was the case for covid-19 vaccines, probably is for most Pharmac purchases, and for RAT tests.

This seems pretty obvious to anyone who’d ever been involved with supply chains or even bothered to turn turn on their brain. If you have a large order, try to get it from the manufacturers. Currently the NZ government has more than 120 million RAT test on order. That is a large set of orders. Like everywhere else in the world, it is having problems getting supply because of worldwide demand.

These things are apparently not obvious to Chris Bishop who, on behalf of the National party, has spent the last weeks raving about the government hijacking RAT tests from companies – most of whom are probably ordering via local or Australian distributors or suppliers.

So today we have statements from two of the major manufacturers, most latterly Roche, saying that isn’t the case. The government ordered first, so they got supplied first.

The statement from Roche was rather precise. Presumably to prevent spin by PR spinners and other conspiracy theorists – like Chris Bishop.

Roche issued a statement to media on Tuesday night saying none of its stocks had been diverted or seized by the Government.

“RAT kits have been, and will continue to be, supplied to all New Zealand customers, including the Ministry of Health, in the sequence that purchase orders were placed,” the statement said.

“We would like to make it clear that no Roche Rapid Antigen Test kits were requisitioned by the Government. No supplies destined for private customers were, or will be, diverted to fulfil Government orders.”

They declined to go into further detail about individual orders, saying contract confidentiality clauses stopped them from being able to do this.

Hentry Cooke at Stuff: Covid-19 NZ: RAT manufacturer says Government got tests first because it ordered them first, no supplies diverted

Abbots, another manufacturer has said much the same.

It is what you’d expect a government to do. They have to supply all of the DHBs, people doing vaccinations, people doing testing, people running critical parts of the state like police for fire services, etc. They ordered in bulk from as far back along the supply chain as they could and ordered early to handle any large increases in the pandemic cases in NZ because ordering them late would be a futile effort.

So what is the evidence that would prove the Chris Bishop allegations?

Some onshore suppliers have said the Government seized or held up their orders of RATs, particuarly those provided by Roche – who made one of the only tests allowed by the Government until a short while ago.

Food and Grocery Council head Katherine Rich said several businesses had told her about this happening, while the Health Works Group said a forward order they had been expecting had been delayed indefinitely.

Hentry Cooke at Stuff: Covid-19 NZ: RAT manufacturer says Government got tests first because it ordered them first, no supplies diverted

Ah well that probably explains it. That dovetails into what is known to be the FGC’s and Katherine Rich usual dirty PR tactics. They seem to specialise in the commercial equivalent of dirty politics with plausible deniability and dubious anonymous sources.

The FGC and Katherine Rich appear to have been involved in a number of dirty tactics over the years. Most notably they seem to have, indirectly but most likely deliberately, paid for Cameron Slater to defame health researchers doing their job and looking at the impacts of things like sugar, tobacco, and dairy products on public health.

[Carrick] Graham admitted in the High Court to making fake, offensive and defamatory claims on the Whale Oil website about prominent food, alcohol and smoking researchers who were labelled ‘troughers’ – and said he’d done it for his business and for ‘industry’. But his courtroom apology did not explicitly say which industry, or for whom.

One of his PR clients was the NZ Food and Grocery Council, which represents big food producers and distributors, and the council and its chief executive, former National MP Katherine Rich, had previously been defendants in the same defamation case brought by the three researchers to the High Court.

Rich and the FGC settled the case last year, making a confidential payment but with no word of an apology to the researchers. 

Tim Murphy at Newsroom: Implausible deniability in Whale Oil case

Needless to say, Christ Bishop, a former lobbyist for a tobacco company, appears to have the same filthy techniques.

Note in the following statements as he doubles down on his error, how he makes a outright assertion. But doesn’t explain from where the supply of RATs was being sourced or by whom or in what quantity. The suspicion has to be that it is from local middlemen in the supply chain. He also doesn’t say from whom he has seen these mythic e-mails.

Then rather than provide his own evidence, he demands that the parties who have actually provided named evidence – the government, Roche, and Abbot should reveal commercially sensitive information in response to his unsubstantiated allegations. He just reminds me of the techniques that Whaleoil and Carrick Graham popularised in their campaigns to defame for cash.

National Party Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop rejected the statements by Roche and the Government, saying multiple people in the supply chain had told him – and showed him emails – suggesting that the Government had diverted stocks of RATs.

“There are customers out there of both Roche and Abbott RATs who had placed orders who are short of their RATs because the Government has taken them,” Bishop said.

“I have multiple companies saying that to me and I’ve seen the email proof of what I’ve been told.”

He said he had not seen emails from Roche saying this but from others in the supply chain.

Bishop said the whole thing could be cleared up by the Government releasing its delivery orders and correspondence with the companioes.

Hentry Cooke at Stuff: Covid-19 NZ: RAT manufacturer says Government got tests first because it ordered them first, no supplies diverted (spelling mistake supplied by Stuff)

To me, these are all classic tactics of how to deliberately lie in politics and in PR. If Chris Bishop cannot establish at least a semblance of a prima facie case with evidence and credible witnesses…

Well then I suggest that he should be pretty much ignored as just being another nutty conspiracy theorist. Just like Cameron Slater being manipulated directly or indirectly from our local dirty business people and their front organisations and just making up or being provided crap to publish for payment.

This isn’t a smear, as I am sure that some idiots will proclaim.

This is simply my clear informed opinion based on this exercise by Chris Bishop in futility and watching this kind of silly crap over the last few decades.

The signs of PR manipulation with unsubstantiated claims and dick waving challenges are pretty obvious. If people want to challenge statements by Roche or Abbot – international manufacturers and suppliers of RATs – they they should front up with evidence. Rather than what looks rather like the same kind of outright lying the Food and Grocery Council appear to have paid for on the now deceased Whaleoil blog.


24 comments on “Chris Bishop – manipulated, lying, or just plain stupid? ”

  1. lprent 1

    I'd also point out that I think that RAT tests are pretty useless, especially with Omicron.

    I have no idea why National are so fixated on them. They haven't been useful across the Tasman in containing and controlling their outbreak. They usually detect infection sites until after the infected have infected others.

    And they are in very short supply worldwide, which makes then hard to use effectively in a daily series.

    Plus their false negative rate with Omicron is ridiculously high.

    • McFlock 1.1

      Might useful tracking the extent of the pandemic, though. More sensitive than the sewer testing as a percentage of population when we get to the stage of throwing them at people all over the place. Also might still be sensitive enough at the case level to slow things down, but I'm not sure on that one.

    • alwyn 1.2

      "I think that RAT tests are pretty useless, especially with Omicron.". "They haven't been useful across the Tasman". " makes then hard to use effectively in a daily series.". "their false negative rate with Omicron is ridiculously high".

      After that evaluation of the product I was expecting a conclusion that our Government is completely stupid to have bought any of them.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        See McFlock at 1.1 for the most realistic usage.

        For how I would explain the realistic use of RATs. Even with a high false negative rate, if you have enough tests to saturate all who have been possibly exposed for several days in row you will get a statistically significiant measurement to see if you have an exposure site, and to take action. This is useful in high density / high exposure sites like hospitals or something like a large food processing line.

        What RATs aren't useful for are SMEs, small workplaces, or individuals and their families. The sample sizes are simply too small to get past the inherent inaccuracies.

        However I suspect that most of the MoH tests were placed on order when delta was the primary threat, and they were planned (if they got them in time) for usage in doing saturation testing of possible hotspots in critical locations – like hospitals.

        Delta had a lower false negative rate, a longer time between infection and high viral loads, and consequently a earlier time to get detectable antigens.

        But the basic problem is that most of the antigen tests were designed to handle teh original strain, and maybe beta. Their accuracy has kept going down on each new strain.

        So yes, I think that with Omicron, they are pretty useless except for doing boundary saturation testing around hotspots. They would have been useful in the critical infrastructure like hospitals if we still were worried about Delta.

          • lprent 1.2.1.1.1

            That is correct, however the accuracy of a RAT test in a workplace (which was what I was talking about) is going down because the onset time after infection to getting a transmittable high viral load is a lot faster with omicron than with Alpha, Beta or Delta.

            The best general description I have found (unless you like reading journal articles that essentially say we need more time to find out) of the crucial differences between omicron and and delta was this one from NYT about 3 weeks ago.

            Read the section on testing that I replicated sans charts below.

            https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/01/22/science/charting-omicron-infection.html

            Because Omicron replicates so fast and the incubation period is so short, there is a narrower window in which to catch infections before people begin to transmit the virus.

            Earlier in the pandemic, people were advised to use a rapid test five to seven days after a potential exposure to the virus. Given Omicron’s shorter incubation period, many experts now recommend taking a rapid test two to four days after a potential exposure. (They also recommend taking at least two rapid tests, about a day apart, in order to increase the odds of detecting an infection.)

            People who are testing to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others, for example at an upcoming gathering, should test as close as possible to the event itself, experts said.

            There is still debate over whether rapid antigen tests might be less sensitive to Omicron than other variants. P.C.R. tests are more sensitive than rapid tests, which means they are likely to detect the virus earlier in the course of infection, but they take longer to return results.

            The crucial difference is earlier in the piece because of exactly what you pointed out but for exactly the opposite conclusion than your reasoning.

            Yes, Delta hits the lungs first and the throat/nasal later. But lungs don't start shedding large viral loads until people start coughing – which takes a while.

            Infections of the throat/nasal start shedding viral load almost immediately after infection and rapidly increase. Omicron is a ‘specialist’ in that it replicates in the throat/nasal way faster than Delta did.

            Delta usually took a about 4 days post infection to start getting a good detectable viral load running in the throat/nasal. Omicron takes only a couple of days.

            So the time frame for getting test after infection is much much much smaller. Overall RATs are quite a lot less sensitive than PCRs. They require a higher throat / nasal viral load to allow detection early during infection.

            Essentially in a work place at risk RAT testing needs to be pretty much every day, and even then the probability of missing a moderate viral load in a start of work day test is high. By the after noon of the day after infection you can have easily be infecting others – with a negative morning test and without symptoms.

            Remember the intent of using RATs is to prevent workplace infections. However with omicron in particular, they have a high probability of not being able to achieve that even if you test daily. Furthermore, you have to have a lot of tests to test with any useful frequency with omicron.

            That is why the NSW experience with RATs that the Nats appear to be fixated on replicating is just an exercise in repeating that bit of liberal government stupidity. Because RATs and high vaxx rates that was exactly their strategy. It resulted in a what was effectively a impromptu lockdown as people huddled down after the RATs ran out in the local distributors.

            • Gypsy 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Thanks for that, I appreciate the time you've taken. I'll get hold of the NYT article and have a full read.

              • lprent

                Sorry about that. I have a subscription to NYT, so didn't realise it was paywalled until I tested it in an incognito tab.

                Curious. Most of covid-19 stuff in NYT isn't paywalled.

    • nzlemming 1.3

      This is probably why I haven't paid much attention. They don't work as advertised and will lead to false negatives (much more important than false positives). I had a PCR this morning (because symptomatic, probably due to the booster shot last week, test negative, thank the ghods) and I’d much prefer having my nose invaded than tossing a coin on a RAT. Has anyone cross-referenced RAT middlemen against Bishop's donors?

  2. Patricia Bremner 2

    So " troughers" Well well, and what were/are they if they are paid by businesses to troll?

    Chris and his Dad seem to have access to media to moan with little puff pieces. What they accuse the Government of…. is that what they do?

  3. alwyn 3

    I was curious as to how Bishop could have been shown the documents that he quoted but Roche could make the statement they have come out with.

    You quote Roche as having said " No supplies destined for private customers were, or will be, diverted to fulfil Government orders." Firms like Roche don't usually describe their agents, or their distributors, as being private customers. The private customer is the person who is actually going to use the goods.

    Thus if Roche was to redirect supplies that were going to an agent they could get away with that statement. As far as Roche is concerned the goods that were diverted were going to an agent, not to a private customer. From what Bishop has said previously the people who missed out on getting the goods didn't sound as if they were buying from Roche itself but from distributors of the Roche products in New Zealand. Hence both Bishop's claim, and the Roche statement can be true. The difference is that the Roche statement is misleading.

    As you said, the Roche statement is very precise. You think you are reading one thing but the statement is actually saying something that is subtly different. Being able to speak like that is a common trait in politicians. Both John Key and Jacinda Ardern are experts at it. What you think they said, and what they really said can be slightly different and we get fooled. Or we choose to be fooled which isn't quite the same thing.

    • lprent 3.1

      Take the absolute simplest explanation first – does Roche have a local branch?

      If so why would they need distributors here?

      • higherstandard 3.1.1

        Roche medical diagnostic has a local branch.

        https://www.roche.co.nz

        There are also a number of local distributors of their products, among them –

        https://www.uslmedical.co.nz/brands/roche.html

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Good to see that you can use the internet. Not my problem.

          Bishop claims evidence of his allegations but is clearly not willing give enough for you to confirm your guesses. Given to doing challenges – but can't be bothered proving his unsubstantiated allegations.

          Still not sure if he is just stupid or lying.

          But keep trying…

          • higherstandard 3.1.1.1.1

            Ye gods the internet equivalent of 'I know you are what am I".

            • lprent 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Bishop is making the accusations, claims to have the evidence.

              Up to him to produce some. Otherwise it is just bullshit from a dipshit.

              No amount of conspiracy theorising or vague casting of doubt by you or him can get around that.

      • alwyn 3.1.2

        Yes, of course they have a local branch. However they do not supply their RAT tests in New Zealand, at least according to their web site.

        The Roche RATs appear to be supplied by, possibly among other companies, Pro+Med (NZ) Ltd.

        Why do you think they supply through an agent when they have a local branch? By your logic you seem to think they won't – but they do.

        What is so difficult to understand about that?

        • lprent 3.1.2.1

          Perhaps you should e-mail Chris Bishop and ask him to show you his alleged 'evidence'.

          Good guesswork. Now prove it.

  4. Doogs 4

    Having my weekly coffee with a doctor friend we talked about Covid and testing among other things. We all have heard through the media that RAT tests are 80%+ reliable. He told me that in the hands of a medically trained administrator that is the case, however administered or self-administered by lay people (you and me) the reliability is closer to 40%. May be one opinion, but he is a man of long experience. Totally agree about what the echelons of the right brigade are attempting to do. You know it won’t work. I know it won’t work. Almost everyone we talk to knows it won’t work. Into the valley of death rode 31.5% of the voting public – or whichever poll you are prepared to believe.

    • Kat 4.1

      The same valley that the Hosk and Hoots drove into and spun out a few years back, its bumper to bumper in that valley now. Who knows, Jane Campion might make a movie out of it – "Valley of the Rats"…….

  5. georgecom 5

    Is Bishops source the same one who told woodhouse about the homeless man sneaking into a MIQ hotel? just asking

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