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Covid-19 and the risk-based border plan

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, August 12th, 2021 - 93 comments
Categories: covid-19 - Tags: ,

From RNZ this morning,

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the government are this morning responding to a report from its Covid-19 advisory group on re-opening Aotearoa’s borders.

New Zealand will begin testing self-isolation instead of MIQ for vaccinated people this year, with a new border system based on low, medium and high-risk entry paths kicking in from early 2022, the government has announced.

Vaccinations will also be open to all eligible ages from 1 September and the gap between first and second doses will be moved to six weeks instead of two, as the government continues with its elimination strategy.

Mask wearing and QR code scanning will also become mandatory.

“Key to this is maintaining our Elimination Strategy. The advice is clear: If we open our borders now we will lose the freedoms and advantages we have achieved so far,” she said.

She announced the new border system would assess people’s risk individually:

  • Low risk: Vaccinated travellers from low risk countries: no isolation required
  • Medium risk: Vaccinated travellers from medium risk countries: modified isolation requirements
  • High risk: Unvaccinated travellers and all travellers from high risk countries: 14 days in MIQ

The system would also require pre-departure tests and further testing for travellers coming into New Zealand, and would be backed by moves to speed up the vaccination rollout.

Part of the rollout included a move to focus more on first doses than ensuring full vaccination, and an extended period of six weeks between first and second doses.

Details at the government’s Reconnecting New Zealand to the World forum and the MoH’s Elimination Strategy page.

The government also announced yesterday what to expect if the Delta variant of Covid comes to New Zealand. RNZ,

New Zealand will rapidly move to alert level four if a case of the Covid-19 Delta variant is detected in this country, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has confirmed.

Hipkins warned that even the gold standard of contact tracing is not enough alone to control the Delta variant, as is being seen in New South Wales and the variant was continuing to “wreak havoc”.

“Even the gold standard of contact tracing isn’t always enough to keep the delta variant at bay. We’ve seen that in New South Wales where they’ve previously stamped out Covid-19 cases very efficiently with their contact tracing system alone, but they’ve not managed to achieve that this time. Sydney, Australia’s largest city, is now in its seventh week of restrictions including stay-at-home order.”

He said the government would continue to use contact tracing but would also look to escalate alert levels quickly – either regionally or nationally – if cases were discovered. With Delta, this means a rapid move to alert level four is more likely if cases are found.

Ministry of Health page on Delta

93 comments on “Covid-19 and the risk-based border plan ”

  1. weka 1

    I'm still at a loss as to why NZ, with no community transmission, has been at the head of the queue in terms of vaccine access.

    • Andre 1.1

      Just ponder what the reaction within NZ would be to an announcement along the lines of 'our government has decided to delay vaccinating our population so those 10 million doses can go to India so they can vaccinate 0.3% of their population a bit earlier'.

      • weka 1.1.1

        yes, quite, we know whose lives are more important.

        I was thinking more of the Pacific Islands.

          • georgecom 1.1.1.1.1

            though it has taken fricking ages for any nz promised vaccine doses to reach Fiji, bloody ages for medsafe to consider astrazeneca and an eternal age for any doses to be shipped here. similar with johnson and johnson vaccines. We have an excess of ordered and paid for vaccines which we will not be using in any hurry and which could benefit greatly pacific countries. it's pretty frustrating the doses are not physically available to send where they can be utilised. both of these would be a good fit for the pacific with easier storage than pfizer. I was surprised we sent pfizer to the tokelaus for example, I thought J&J would have been a better fit.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes yes, it's taking absolutely ages, although it’s also worth remembering that little more than a year ago most of the commentariat would have considered it bonkers to suggest that by mid-August 2021 over 4.5 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines would have been administered – bonkers.

              COVID-19 vaccines have reached consumers in record time. Though the process can typically take 10 to 15 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization to vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson in less than a year. Before now, the fastest-ever vaccine—for mumps—took four years to develop in the 1960s.

              Even after a vaccine is authorized or fully licensed, it faces potential roadblocks when it comes to scaling up production and distribution, which also includes deciding which populations should get it first—and at what cost.

              Distributing a COVID-19 vaccine raises complex ethical issues
              [2 July 2020]
              Do you think public expectations for a vaccine are realistic?

              All of our lives have been compromised in so many ways in this pandemic, with so many aspects of our well-being negatively affected. Very often we hear that normalcy will only return once we have a vaccine. It's considered the magic bullet that has to not only stop the terrible health burden of this disease but also restore society and make us sane again. People will be able to go to work and a football game, see their grandparents, and go on an airplane; the stock market will improve. It's probably as high stakes as it could be.

              But it's wrong to think that a vaccine will be a flick-of-a-switch solution that saves the entire world at once. A vaccine may play a critical role in getting us back to normal, over time, but it will be a slow and layered process, which as you can see has many complications.

              • georgecom

                there were announcements several months ago about AstraZeneca donations being given to Fiji and how NZ would stockpile enough vaccines to cover the likes of Samoa and Tonga etc. The covid situation in India has had a huge impact on the supply of AstraZeneca (covishield as they call it) from the serum institute and there have been manufacture & supply issues for J&J. Plus all sorts of facking around from countries over extremely rare health effects of the 2. That is all true. Just seems a long time for the vaccines to arrive in our hands so we can pass them on to the countries we want to support. I would hope that when J&J vaccines start to arrive, perhaps from September onward, that rather than us sitting on them for months deciding what to do with the doses, several hundred thousand can be shipped to the pacific fairly quickly.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.2

            Fiji has a 20% fully vaxxed rate and people currently dying and becoming disabled. Just to put that in perspective.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.1.1.2.1

              It's tragic that Fijians are dying from Covid-19 even though a slightly higher percentage of Fiji's population having been fully vaccinated (and a significantly higher percentage (57% Fiji vs 37% Aust., 36% Samoa, 30% NZ and 27% Tonga) have received at least one vaccine dose) against Covid-19 compared to other countries in the regional 'vaccine queue'.

              Maybe the extent of the current outbreak in Fiji is partly an administrative failure, similar to the current deadly outbreak in NSW that was allowed to spread too far before the state government started to take it seriously. Other states/countries can learn from NSW's and Fiji's mistakes – or not.

              States demand NSW consults before going it alone on eased restrictions [12 August]
              Two Victorian ministers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Age there is frustration within the government about the way NSW is managing its outbreak. They said the focus had shifted to mitigating the ongoing risk of leaks from the state which threaten to plunge Victoria into repeated lockdowns in the coming months.

              I suppose now it’s at the point where we’re shrugging our shoulders and shaking our heads because the outbreak’s been allowed to spiral,” one minister said.

              President of the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association Roderick McCrae said the approach of NSW was “fraying the cohesion needed for Team Australia”.

              Somebody needs to point out that NSW has never undertaken a proper hard lockdown, including things like a curfew and travel limits and shutting down businesses with the aim of stopping people from moving,” he said. “It’s not too late.

        • Koff 1.1.1.2

          Niue, the Cooks and Tokelau, all associated with NZ, are (almost) fully vaccinated. NZ is actually (almost) at the bottom of the list of OECD countries as far as vaccine rollout is concerned.

        • Jenny how to get there 1.1.1.3

          weka 1

          I'm still at a loss as to why NZ, with no community transmission, has been at the head of the queue in terms of vaccine access…..

          weka 1.1.1

          yes, quite, we know whose lives are more important.

          I was thinking more of the Pacific Islands.

          It occurred to me, (some time ago), that as New Zealand as principally many South Pacific Island nations primary, or even first port of call for immigration and trade, that the best protection for them, is for us not to be a source of spreading infection into the South Pacific.

          Fiji's biggest mistake was opening a travel bubble with Australia. Australia, unlike New Zealand, (which has a policy of elimination), has a lesser policy of suppression of the virus.

          The result was inevitable.

          This was not entirely Fiji's fault. As New Zealand was prioritising opening a travel bubble with Australia, before opening travel bubbles with the Island nations.

          In my opinion this policy was back to front. (and proved in action to be short lived)

          As a covid free South Pacific nation, in my opinion, we should instead have been opening travel bubbles with the South Pacific island nations, before Australia. By not doing this we left the tourist dependent economies of the Island nations, particularly Fiji, little choice but to open to Australian tourists.

          Why did we do this?

          The cruel fact is we could make more money from opening to Australia instead of the Islands.

          By putting our Island neighbours to the back of the queue, neo-liberal economic priorities were shaping our responses to the pandemic and the relations with our neighbours.

  2. alwyn 2

    I have been reading the report of this on Stuff.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/300380973/border-opening-who-will-be-eligible-for-the-selfisolation-travel-trial

    It includes the following

    "Some Kiwis will get to travel overseas before the end of the year without having to do the two-week stint in a quarantine hotel on their return."

    "Ardern said the pilot will be only be open to a limited number of participants to ensure it is done safely."

    “We’re talking hundreds, not thousands.”

    Why on earth are we bothering for such a small number of people? Then the penny dropped. Who does the PM mean to get this special treatment? Herself of course.

    She is like all politicians. They all love to travel overseas and the worst thing that can befall them is to be stuck at home. It gets them all in the same way. However they also like to travel without the hassles that affect most people and having to go into quarantine with the mere mortals on their return certainly isn't in their plans.

    • Patricia Bremner 2.1

      Your devilreckons are rubbish!!

      • alwyn 2.1.1

        You may be right. Who are they aiming at though, if not themselves?

        • Matiri 2.1.1.1

          Ardern said they will work with a group of employers for the trial, whose staff need to go overseas and have 'skin in the game' ie need to be compliant. Her words.

        • McFlock 2.1.1.2

          Maybe the idea is to get hard data on isolation failure rates and suchlike before opening the gates, just to see if it's actually a good idea.

          I know you have difficulty with the idea of politicians and bureaucrats trying to be competent rather than entirely self-interested, but your constant default of assuming everyone is as bad as a tory is quite tiresome.

          • woodart 2.1.1.2.1

            very good post mcflock. alwyn is judgeing others by his own standards ,obviously.

          • alwyn 2.1.1.2.2

            What will you say when our PM swans off the Glasgow in November and returns without any quarantine of an effective nature?

            • McFlock 2.1.1.2.2.1

              "swans off the Glasgow"?

              How colourful. What the hell are you on about?

              • Andre

                Well, there's a UN Climate Conference in Glasgow in November.

                So I'm guessing alwyn thinks he's getting a clever triple dig at Jacinda if she goes. Y'know, hypocrite for flying to a climate conference, plus setting the border rules so she can travel while us plebs are stuck here, and just the general pollies swanning around on junkets thing.

                • McFlock

                  Ah.

                  Well, if we can't trust the pm to self-isolate properly, makes the entire idea a bit stupid from the get-go.

                • alwyn

                  You give me far more credit for imagination than I deserve. I hadn't even thought of the first item in your triple crown.

                  • McFlock

                    But there's a constant "hypocrisy" refrain every time someone flies somewhere for an environmental conference.

                    lol

                    That leads to the thought that what I figured was a basic tory script, old and dusty, is actually a legion of fools making tired, trite objections while believing they are original and smart.

                    Fascinating.

                    • alwyn

                      Actually, as far as I remember I have never complained about the PM travelling by air. The only ones I think are hypocrites are the, normally Green, MPs who make claims that we have to stop flying long distances and then do it themselves.

                      I don't think you can find any examples of me doing such a thing about Ms Ardern. Calling her a hypocrite? Certainly. For being so because of her long haul travelling? I don't believe so.

                      On the other hand the people I consider to be dullards, and of course fools, are those who use the description "tory" in a New Zealand context. They really are foolish. There is no such creature in mainstream New Zealand politics.

                    • McFlock

                      Take a look in the mirror, you'll see one.

                      As for you, personally, never having used that term to criticise the PM for travelling by air, even if that were true it simply lends support to the proposition that every time someone travels by air, not all the people bringing it up are following a tried and true script. Some just think they're being smart and original when they catch up with the play.

    • KSaysHi 2.2

      I think it will be ok and am really pleased with the plan so far (apart from the over focus on vaccination).

      Q-ing at home is much better for moral and expenses are considerably lower. Probs just working out the kinks with a low risk group of smaller number before the big rollout. Makes sense.

      There should of course be some penalties such as instant deportation to any abusers of the system which isn't discussed. Betting that will come out later…right now all the framing is around being seen as reasonable minded which is another good call.

    • Simbit 2.3

      PM's role has always included pimp. I expect them to travel and fly the flag. And the current one is extremely well known and widely admired.

      I'd send her to the US first, then China on the way home … and definitely take the baby.

  3. Forget now 3

    What happens when a destination country changes alert designation after a traveller leaves NZ? With the Australian outbreak ending the travel bubble, there were a lot of people wanting out quickly. How do we ensure that travelers haven't gone through a high risk to the medium risk country (assuming low risk would stop that themselves) from which they depart?

    Also, how much can we trust others' reported data, if there is any advantage (such as tourism income) to that being obfuscated?

  4. coreyjhumm 4

    This is a reaction to bad polling and it stinks.

    Allowing employers who exploit migrants to quarantine them? Many employer’s especially the kinds who blackmail and hide passports etc from their workers won’t care if people test positive and will just have them work regardless.

    If Labour thinks their polls are bad now wait till upper middle class twits who care more about going on an expensive overseas holiday than the wellbeing of their fellow kiwis bring Delta into NZ.

    Your polls are bad cos you're not delivering on housing or mental health not because the rich can't exploit migrants and swan off on holidays. We were lucky we didn't get another outbreak from upper middle class twats swanning off to Australia. Extremely Lucky.

    All the love and respect the govt earned last year will go out the window the second we get another outbreak here and if it's delta …. Labour will be looking longingly at the Cunliffe eras polling.

    We are still a "throw the bums out" people. National is useless but opposition parties don't win elections governments lose them.

    We’ve learned nothing.

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      Do you think we need to keep Delta out forever?

      There will always be a large number of people who won't, for whatever reason, get the vaccine. Lets say 10% don't (I think it will be a lot more than that but lets say its 10%). That means we will have upwards of half a million kiwis with no vaccine protection once the rollout is complete.

      Do we keep the borders shut to protect those people indefinitley?

      • weka 4.1.1

        there's a difference between indefinitely and an extra 6 months. And Labour aren't suggesting opening the borders to what they were before, so the borders will remain tightly controlled. I will be unsurprised if 2021 is a year of the government figuring out how to do that, just like Australia is but hopefully more proactive and successful.

        There's also a difference between Delta coming into NZ and being stopped vs being allowed to run its course. Labour are saying they will use fast L4 lockdowns to control it, and, as far as I can tell, various border controls i.e. they will close borders again if they need to.

        • Enough is Enough 4.1.1.1

          Coreyjhumm isn't Labour so I'm not sure why you are bringing up the government's plan?? The plan which I am 100% in support of.

          I was asking Coreyjhumm what his alterntive to the government's plan is because he suggests it is simply a reaction to bad polling.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.2

      "Your polls are bad cos you're not delivering on housing or mental health not because the rich can't exploit migrants and swan off on holidays."

      I hope that is right! It certainly should be.

    • Treetop 4.3

      It is not election year next year. The government have the luxury of seeing how vaccination works overseas with Covid in the community. I would keep the status quo for 6 months. No one knows how Covid will impact in the next 3 months due to mutations.

  5. pat 5

    Looks like tourism, education and migration are set to return as our economic drivers….going to make emissions reductions even more difficult.

    • Treetop 5.1

      Accommodation will be made more difficult to access and be more expensive for those now struggling.

      How will the health system cope?

      Just like the trans Tasman bubble, too ambitious to go back to pre Covid and Covid is still unfolding and so are vaccines.

      • pat 5.1.1

        I think the fact the trans tasman bubble has collapsed has accelerated this action….with NSW essentially abandoning elimination the trans tasman bubble was history.

    • Graeme 5.2

      There's one part of the post covid world that no one's saying much about, and that's travel insurance for individuals, and insurance for travel providers.

      Hasn't been an issue up to now as there hasn't been any but I shudder to think what premiums will be if you wanted to travel US of UK, or wanted to run a cruise liner. Either going to be rather expensive or the punters will be signing a 40 page waiver before they step on board.

      There's lots going to be trying to restart their old businesses, but it might not be so easy and within the old cost structures, and then they might find it a bit hard to find punters, just like hospitality is.

      • pat 5.2.1

        Think theres enough monied in the world that will take the opportunity to hide away (or their offspring) here, no matter the cost…and expect thats what the Gov are banking on.

        • Graeme 5.2.1.1

          There's been a lot of work done by the top end lodges to run an MIQ programme for their clients. They will have a ready market, it won't be cheap, but that end of the market isn't anyway.

          It's possibly a future for New Zealand inbound tourism, with a high end international product, and a seperate domestic / Australasian (maybe) product. Visitors from medium risk countries come in and spend the first week or 10 days at a 5 star lodge with managed interaction with other people, and are then free to travel around the country. It isn't that different to how the upper end of the market was before covid, where most visitors were here for a month of more.

          Reality is that there aren't going to be that many low risk inbound markets for the foreseeable, apart from some Pacific islands. The only market that could come close is China, and that depends on whether we accept their vaccination process, and whether the Chinese Government allows their citizens to travel. Most of our traditional markets are currently high risk and the graphs aren't heading in the right directions.

          • pat 5.2.1.1.1

            As stated below we may be surprised what countries ratings are given 6 plus weeks on from now…I expect there will be some controversial/inconsistent approvals.

            • weka 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Can't imagine that the Japanese standard two weeks holiday bussing around NZ will return any time soon.

              Really hope the campervan and van tourism will somehow be stymied.

              • pat

                Specifically perhaps not, but tourism is the outcome…along with the impacts.

                • weka

                  true, but I think it's still a largely altered tourism. I agree even this is in contradiction with our climate obligations.

                  • pat

                    No, things are not going to be like they used to be (despite the rhetoric) but nor are they necessarily going to improve.

          • weka 5.2.1.1.2

            do you have the figures on how many tourists stayed in NZ for longer than two weeks pre-covid?

            • Graeme 5.2.1.1.2.1

              Most of my comment was based on what we see in the Gallery. Most of our larger sales are shipped and in most western countries it's a good idea to hold the consignment until the consignee is back home to prevent the consignment being held up or returned. So we have pretty good records of how long our customers have left on their holiday. Holding the consignment for a month or more is common, and it's strongly stilted towards the upper end of our sales.

              Considering that around half of each of those sales will be going to a New Zealand artist, most of the other half to New Zealand based landlord and other running expenses, and hopefully a bit at the end for ourselves, there's some good to come out of this. We've got a few artists that haven't had any income for 14 months.

              A pathway to safely open the border to those that can afford it would provide a livelihood for some people who are doing it pretty hard at present. It would be significant for us, and the New Zealand creative sector. Most of the lodges are owned by New Zealand residents, staffed by new Zealanders, and serving New Zealand produce, so a strong multiplier around the economy.

              The same can't be said about the 4 day Christchurch – Milford or Auckland – Rotorua products, the in-country benefit of these is questionable apart from their impact on airport metrics.

              As for hard data there's not much out there apart form averages. But this series on average stay by market is interesting, also this comparison of average and median stay by market group( scroll down a bit)

  6. barry 6

    It is interesting to think about which businesses and countries would qualify for the pilot. There might be some businesses that want to send people to Nauru or Vanuatu. Most businesses would be thinking of US, UK or Europe which countries would certainly not qualify.

    Maybe they might want to go to China, but they would be pushed to get through Chinese MIQ and get back in time, let alone get any work done.

    So probably it is some Australian states, or Taiwan.

    • pat 6.1

      We may be surprised at what countries ratings end up being….i expect there will be some debate about it (after the fact)

    • georgecom 6.2

      part of the equation is likely kiwi emigrants wanting to return home, factor in a system which permits them to return

  7. Just because you are vaccinated does not mean you can not catch the virus also self isolation what happens to the rest of the family and how good will the checking to see that you are self isolating be.

    • Jester 7.1

      That's right which is why we need to have everyone that wants to be vaccinated, vaccinated before we open up. So even if family members spread it, it is only to other vaccinated people.

    • Jenny How to get there 8.1

      One of the United States' top doctors says New Zealand has a unique opportunity to create an "immunity wall" against COVID-19, but time is running out……

      "…..you are in a powerful position – if you can get close to 100 percent you will have an immunity wall that's extraordinary, and I hope that you'll be able to get close." Dr Topol

      Polls show only about 70 percent of Kiwi adults say they'll definitely get the jab. Another 20 percent are on the fence, and 10 percent don't want it at all.

      NZ 'naïve to Delta', at risk of 'vicious spread' if Kiwis don't get vaccinated – top US doctor (msn.com)

      We shall fight them on the beaches, said Churchill.

      If Judith Collins and National has really taken Churchill as one of their own. Judith Collins needs to read Churchill's speech on stopping the invasion of England.
      The Prime Minister has gone before the cameras to receiver her vaccination.
      A close friend of mine who was vaccine hesitant said that simple act by the Prime Minister soothed her worries and gave her comfort and confidence to get the jab herself.

      The leader of the opposition needs to step forward and follow the Prime Minister's example, and be seen by the nation getting her inoculation, announcing that she will also be ordering her caucus to get the vaccine and be inoculated against the virus.

      • Jenny How to get there 8.1.1

        Uh Oh

        This sort of thing has to stop.

        'I don't endorse them': Former National MP backtracks after appearing to endorse anti-vax group Voices for Freedom (msn.com)

        Well past time for the leader of the opposition actually showed some of that Churchillian leadership she claims to admire.

        Judith Collins: Pull your team together around the vaccine roll-out, show some unity, discipline the stragglers, and bring her caucus together in a united front against the virus.

        • Incognito 8.1.1.1

          … discipline the stragglers …

          What do you have in mind? Public flogging? Tar & feathers? Or perhaps more old-school: a pillory?

          • Macro 8.1.1.1.1

            A public jab in the bum would be more effective!

            • Incognito 8.1.1.1.1.1

              So that Judith can show everyone who’s boss? Yeah, nah.

              Or because it is ‘the right thing’ to do? Yeah, nah.

              I think it would be great if a sitting MP would refuse the jab and clearly state their reasoning. I can see a tsunami and shit storm of venom & vitriol coming their and their party’s way and of anybody who does not denounce it in most uncertain terms.

              Mature conversations are become rare these days. Trump lost the battle but won the war.

          • Jenny How to get there 8.1.1.1.2

            Physical violence is not the way that modern political parities maintain party discipline and unity.
            I don’t know why you keep trying to deliberately misrepresent what I am saying.

            There is no need for violence, or even histrionics.

            If you know anything about parliamentary politics, you would know that there are well established procedures for instilling internal party unity and discipline.

            The party parliamentary whip system is a time tested procedure for ensuring party unity and discipline in a multiparty parliamentary democracy.

            What is a party whip and what do they do? – New Zealand Parliament (www.parliament.nz)

            But it shouldn't even have to go that far.
            A show of leadership from the chair in the shadow cabinet should be enough to get her colleagues in her shadow cabinet and caucus boat all rowing in the same direction.

            It's called leadership.

            And political leadership is what appears to be sadly lacking in the National Party.

            The country and the world are in the midst of a pandemic. For the good of the nation I don't think it too much to ask, Judith ‘Crusher' Collins live up to her nickname, show some Churchillian style backbone and leadership, stamp her authority on, and instil some unity in, that undisciplined rabble she calls a political party.

            Collins can bicker and moan about where portraits are hung and the Maori word for this country. And other inconsequential trivia. But that’s not leadership. And it is not serving the greater interests of the nation.

      • Incognito 8.1.2

        The leader of the opposition needs to step forward and follow the Prime Minister's example, and be seen by the nation getting her inoculation, announcing that she will also be ordering her caucus to get the vaccine and be inoculated against the virus. [my emphasis]

        Whooa! Let’s force others to get vaccinated or what? They’ll lose their job? Since when does a Party Leader own the Party caucus and can they dictate what caucus members do without any regard for personal choice and responsibility? Sounds fascist to me.

        For the record, I’m not aware the PM ‘ordered her’ Labour caucus to get vaccinated, on camera and in full public view. Perhaps I missed that PR stunt or rather, PR disaster.

        • Jenny How to get there 8.1.2.1

          “…..Whooa! Let’s force others to get vaccinated or what? They’ll lose their job? Since when does a Party Leader own the Party caucus and can they dictate what caucus members do without any regard for personal choice and responsibility? Sounds fascist to me.”

          For the record, I’m not aware the PM ‘ordered her’ Labour caucus to get vaccinated, on camera and in full public view. Perhaps I missed that PR stunt or rather, PR disaster.
          Incognito

          Again you are misrepresenting what I am saying. You keep doing this. Why?

          I have no idea.

          I have never said, (or even implied), that the PM ‘ordered her’ Labour caucus to get vaccinated, on camera and in full public view.

          This is your twisted interpretation.

          Our Prime Minister has given a lead, all I ask is that the leader of the opposition do the same.

          This this is not the first time that you have tried to imply that I am 'fascist'.

          No doubt you are fully aware that this one of the nastiest of political slurs that can be thrown at any political commentator.

          OK I get it. You don't like my political views and don't think I should be voicing them here. But my views are not fascist.

          If you are deliberately trying to misconstrue my views as 'fascist to work yourself up to a ban, go for it.

          • weka 8.1.2.1.1

            Jenny, you said,

            The leader of the opposition needs to step forward and follow the Prime Minister's example, and be seen by the nation getting her inoculation, announcing that she will also be ordering her caucus to get the vaccine and be inoculated against the virus.

            To me this reads as you saying that Ardern ordered the Labour caucus to be vaccinated and that Collins should do the same.

            To reiterate, you said "…she will also be ordering her caucus…"

            That's not the same as the leading that Ardern has been doing.

            If you don't mean that both leaders should be ordering their caucus to be vaccinated, you need to explain why you wrote that. I'm asking as a mod and the author who put up the post.

            • Jenny How to get there 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Judtith Collins like most Conservative leaders always make 'Strong Leadership' part of the ethos.

              Yes indeedy, I said as well as getting her vaccine, Judith Collins should announce that she is ordering her caucus to get it too,

              And yes this is more than what the Prime Minister has done.

              But that is what a strong leader, that Judith Collins claims she is, would do.

              And more than that, such a lead from Collins is vitally needed.

              Polls, even ones taken in this country* show that those with neo-liberal political conservative views are more vaccine hesitant than those with more left views.

              Such a poll done here came across the news on my smart phone but I neglected to tag it. And have not been able to find it again.

              But there are enough similar polls from overseas to confirm the same trend.

              • weka

                Ok,thanks. I can see now that what you mean was:

                1. Collins should get publicly vaccinated like Ardern did.
                2. In addition, Collins should order her caucus to be vaccinated.

                Rereading your original comment, I do think the misunderstanding is a result of your use of language and punctuation. Hey ho, shit happens, next time please clarify first rather than having a go at Incog or any commenter pulling you up on something.

                • Jenny How to get there

                  blush Oops. I would be first to admit that I am not a natural writer, (the result of a broken education).As a result I often struggle to get my thoughts into words. If you could recommend a good tutorial on gramma and punctuation.
                  I would be eternally grateful. heart

                  • weka

                    All good Jenny. I think most people will go with things being clarified (not a given on TS, granted). Thanks for explaining the difficulty you have putting things into words, I did wonder but wasn't sure. I don't have any recommendations, but will think on this. We all get into somewhat antagonistic responses. Taking a step back can help and then coming back and seeing how best to engage that brings good communication as a primary intention. I have to practice this all the time, lol.

          • Jenny How to get there 8.1.2.1.2

            Since the mutation of the much more highly infectious delta variant the Covid Crisis demands a united front from all of our parliamentarians, towards the goal of getting as high a vaccination rate as possible.

            You may disagree.

            But in my opinion, if this government's elimination strategy is to survive the opening of the borders, then near 100% as possible vaccine coverage will be needed.

            I am not the only one to say that:

            One of the United States' top doctors says New Zealand has a unique opportunity to create an "immunity wall" against COVID-19, but time is running out……

            "…..you are in a powerful position – if you can get close to 100 percent you will have an immunity wall that's extraordinary, and I hope that you'll be able to get close." Dr Topol

            Polls show only about 70 percent of Kiwi adults say they'll definitely get the jab. Another 20 percent are on the fence, and 10 percent don't want it at all.

            NZ 'naïve to Delta', at risk of 'vicious spread' if Kiwis don't get vaccinated – top US doctor (msn.com)

            Democratically elected leadership is a privilege and an honour, we endow on those we expect to have our and our nation's best interests at heart, above and beyond party politics.

            Any major outbreak now will put our already stretched public health system under a breaking strain. Possibly resulting in many needless deaths.

            In times of national crisis, especially of this magnitude where lives are stake, sectarian interests need to be put aside.

            Only those who want the government to fail, will not want our elected leaders to speak with one united voice.

            [please reply to my comment above requesting an explanation before you comment any further on site, thanks – weka]

            • weka 8.1.2.1.2.1

              mod note.

              • Jenny How to get there

                Noted, and done.

                I am more than happy to fulfil any other further requests for explanation expanding on my views.

                (If necessary I will do a deep search to find links to the polls I was referring to above).

                • weka

                  My suggestion is that you do it proactively.

                  eg when Incog replied questioning what you had said, you're response was to say he was wrong rather than explaining what you actually meant.

  8. Patricia Bremner 9

    Our PM realised some would be nervous, so she let people see her get her vaccine. She has always been modelling the behaviour she wants.

    Charm school may be useful in some social situations, but covid has changed many norms, and Judith Collins view of the world appears to be egocentric.

    When discussing things she usually uses personal experience or preferences, as if that is the required standard. This makes it difficult to make rational decisions, as the personal lens is applied.

    Jacinda Ardern and the Cabinet apply the best available advice after examination. A vastly different approach.

  9. mpledger 10

    The govt has said it will only look at lowering restrictions if enough NZers are vaccinated. The perverse incentive here is that if you don't want the restrictions lowered then don't get vaccinated.

    Just because some employers are making a lot of noise doesn't mean everyone else wants the same thing.

    • Andre 10.1

      If Delta comes in before everyone that wants vaccination has received it, then a level 3 or level 4 lockdown response is warranted.

      That's quite an imposition on millions of people. To my mind, taking on a significantly increased risk of that happening just so a privileged few can be further privileged with overseas travel is a poor balance of risk-reward. Loosening travel restrictions in October, long before everyone that wants vaccination has had a reasonable chance to get it, strikes me as a big mistake.

      Then, once everyone that wants vaccinated is fully vaccinated, a level 3 or level 4 to protect the unvaccinated from their own idiocy also strikes me as completely unreasonable.

      If there are enough unvaccinated that overwhelming the medical system is a serious risk (and it won't take many), then vaccination passports and restrictions on unvaccinated attending places and events where they could become superspreaders strikes as a much fairer response.

  10. RP Mcmurphy 11

    we are living in a fools paradise if we think it is all going to go back to normal sometime soon. reporting out of the US presents a very scary picture of what could be in store if we don't tighten the ship. however the seemoreites and the ruggid indeevidyoualls want to do as they please and bugger the rest of us. sometimes it seems as if the our population is solely composed of solipsistic misanthropes.

    • Simbit 11.1

      4th wave where I am in Canada (SK). Numbers 4x last August when we were in semi-lockdown. Neighboring Alberta has dropped many rules over isolation. Hard rains gonna fall … (cruel metaphor given the hundreds of wildfires exacerbated by climate change).

  11. pat 12

    "The government is worried children at schools that don't enrol foreign students are missing out."

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/449107/lack-of-foreign-students-in-schools-creates-inequities-govt

    • arkie 12.1

      Right back to the same old, same old. They've been pretty disappointing in a lot of areas but this really demonstrates what an unimaginative and over-cautious lot this Government actually is, calcified in their futile TINA ideology.

  12. RP Mcmurphy 13

    contrary to all the moaning minnies, theory junkies and tory trolls I am extremely grateful to this government for my free immunisation and the way they have handled the whole deal. and I pour scorn on the naysayers who never seem to have enough of anything except bile and badmouth.

    • Ad 13.1

      Same.

      I'm happy to give Ardern, Robertson and Hipkins grief on lots, but they've got my vote locked.

    • Patricia Bremner 13.2

      I agree This is the best Government NZ has had for ages We are in trying difficult times and we have so many in the back seat saying "are we there yet?" I will be giving to the Greens and Labour cash and voting for this Government. We have family in NSW and they are shocked at the loose lockdown and the number of anti-vaxers who wear signs and won't wear masks. Look at the scary results.

  13. Jenny How to get there 14

    How bad will it be if the Delta variant gets away on us?

    Bad is the answer.

    Reopening: Public health to face Covid crunch in 2022

    Marc Daalder, News Room, 9 hrs ago

    The Government's decision to open the borders while continuing to stamp out every case of Covid-19 will further stretch already strained public health teams

    ….Roche's investigation into the February cluster "identified evidence of tiredness and burnout across the response, at all levels.

    …..a public health academic who also works part-time at the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) in a strategy role. Recalling a briefing from the director of ARPHS, William Rainger, late last year, Tukuitonga said, "They were forced to postpone pretty much everything that they would normally do in the public health space. Smoking awareness, other disease surveillance, all of that sort of stuff.

    "Remember, we didn't have many cases at the time. It wasn't like a massive number of cases. In other words, that to me is a signal that the system is tired. If we get a Delta variant go awry, I think we're going to be up against it.

    Reopening: Public health to face Covid crunch in 2022 (msn.com)

    (The February covid outbreak was not of the Delta variant, which is much more transmissable).

    The study showed that the speed of transmission of the Delta variant will overwhelm even some of the best contact tracing systems. As happened in NSW.

    The highest possible vaccination of the population is our best defence.

    To get those vaccination levels to the highest possible level. All political parties and decisions makers need to be on board providing pro-active.

  14. georgecom 15

    One technical issue to be worked through before reopening borders will be what constitutes "fully vaccinated" and which vaccines will make it onto the list. Will people need to be double dosed or will single dose vaccines, like J&J or Cansino or the 1 shot Sputnik, be acceptable. Some vaccines require 3 shots – the chinese Anhui Zhifei vaccine, both Cuban vaccines, Zydus Cadilla which will soon get approval in India.

    Will the government work off the WHO list of approved vaccines or will we develop our own like some countries are doing, Greece for example. The WHO list covers Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, J&J, Sinopharm Beijing and Sinovac. Sinovac has some question marks about it's over all efficiency and some counties whichhave used it are now doing a third booster jab of either Sinovac or other vaccines – Chile, the UAE, Indonesia for example.

    If we set our own list what to include. There are 7 current Chinese vaccines, 2 on the WHO list and Cansino which is used in a number of other countries. A couple more have use in China and maybe 1 or 2 other countries and there are 2 vaccines which are used in China alone. Then you have the likes of Qazvac from Kazakhstan, there is an Iranian vaccine, one from Taiwan, the 2 Cuban vaccines, Covaxin from India. There are 3 from Russia, Sputnik has wide take up around the world, they have Covivac which should be ok and Epivaccorona which may or may not be effective. In a few months time the likes of Vietnam and Turkey will have their own vaccines.

    And to add a layer of complexity some vaccines go by more than 1 names. Covishield is AstraZeneca manufactured in India, Hayattvac is Sinopharm Beijing made in the UAE. Pakvac is the cansino vaccine made in Pakistan. This list will only get longer as well.

  15. Simbit 16

    Sounds like a medium sized spreadsheet job to me, team of 4 over a long weekend, then a team of 2 to surveil relevant databases.

  16. Ad 17

    So with all New South Wales now in full tight week-long lockdown and likely longer, who else is starting to stock up again for a short sharp Level 4 here?

    • Andre 17.1

      Nah. I've still got plenty of toilet paper from the last stock-up.

    • Anne 17.2

      I popped in to my local NW for a top-up this arvo. Noted it was much busier than normal. Trolley crashes and near crashes particularly at aisle intersections were frequent. Many of the trolleys were overloaded which made for irritatingly lengthy waits at the check-outs.

      A bit of panic buying due to what's happening across the ditch? Although toilet rolls do not appear to feature yet. Maybe, like Andre, they’re still well stocked from last time.

    • Patricia Bremner 17.3

      I have been building a store cupboard, and I think we all should be making gifts of cash to our local food banks.

  17. pat 18

    " In return for getting their trips overseas, how willing are the employer groups to pick up the tab for any extra costs back home? Surely if this lobby-driven pilot scheme does end up triggering further lockdowns, it shouldn’t be taxpayers who have to bail the business sector out. Lets get that in writing before we start the pilot scheme."

    http://werewolf.co.nz/2021/08/gordon-campbell-on-labours-cave-in-to-the-business-lobbies/

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