From the inside out

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, April 8th, 2020 - 62 comments
Categories: blogs, covid-19, david seymour, Economy, health, International, Media, Politics - Tags: , ,

I feel that many kiwis are quite unaware exactly how exceptional our plague performance has been so far. Yeah sure we have a few dickhead surfers, the odd fuckwit playing ‘pranks’ who needs prison time, and the usual dimwits who don’t understand exponential growth curves. Not to mention our rather underskilled media who are still having problems coping with the reality of a pandemic.

But we’re on a course that should allow us to resume a more normal life without having to clamp down lockdowns periodically. We aren’t going to be able to have much overseas travel and incoming visitors for probably years – coronaviruses as a family have proven to be exceptionally difficult to vaccinate against.

But for a contrast of our local 20:20 hindsight prophets, and to show we look outside, consider this piece written by a now again resident kiwi that appeared in the Washington Post trying to explain the New Zealand response to Americans. In view of the hotspots in and around New York and things like the oncoming disasters that look to be unfolding in the southern states – this looks like a paradise  

How has New Zealand, a country I still call home after 20 years abroad, controlled its outbreak so quickly?

When I arrived here a month ago, traveling from the epicenter of China via the hot spot of South Korea, I was shocked that officials did not take my temperature at the airport. I was told simply to self-isolate for 14 days (I did).

But with the coronavirus tearing through Italy and spreading in the United States, this heavily tourism-reliant country — it gets about 4 million international visitors a year, almost as many as its total population — did the previously unthinkable: It shut its borders to foreigners on March 19.

Two days later, Ardern delivered a televised address from her office — the first time since 1982 that an Oval Office-style speech had been given — announcing a coronavirus response alert plan involving four stages, with a full lockdown being Level 4.

Ah – there is a news report that I can relate to. The economy of cutting to the essence of  the news. The personal reaction. The reason why the reporter was so shocked at the lax border controls. The crucial economic impact and scale of our border controls. The difference in style of NZ politics.  All in a few brief paragraphs. About the only thing that was left out was that NZ only has a population of slightly less than 5 million.

But also note that she has actually generated some genuine news, presumably by picking up a phone. It seems like that should be something that our local reporters should be doing. Instead I keep having to explain such basics of NZ government as the role of our Executive Council..

A group of influential leaders got on the phone with her the following day to urge moving to Level 4.

“We were hugely worried about what was happening in Italy and Spain,” said one of them, Stephen Tindall, founder of the Warehouse, New Zealand’s largest retailer.

“If we didn’t shut down quickly enough, the pain was going to go on for a very long time,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s inevitable that we will have to shut down anyway, so we would rather it be sharp and short.”

I didn’t know that. In hindsight it doesn’t surprise me at all. It is well worth remembering as the inevitable calls for relief from parts of the business community rise. Rather than just getting the views of those who whine the loudest, perhaps reporters should also listen to those who just give good advice.

When I read that, I went hunting for the bio, which was 

Anna Fifield is The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Beijing, writing about all aspects of China. She was the Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo between 2014 and 2018, writing about Japan and the two Koreas. She is the author of “The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un.”

Welcome back Anna. And may I say, I enjoy your professionalism and writing.

Further down, the nub of the article, and the contrast to the response in the articles target audience in the US must be marked.

But there has been a sense of collective purpose. The police phone line for nonemergencies has been overwhelmed with people calling to “dob in,” as we say here, reporting others they think are breaching the rules.

The response has been notably apolitical. The center-right National Party has clearly made a decision not to criticize the government’s response, and, in fact, to help it.

These efforts appear to be paying off.

After peaking at 89 on April 2, the daily number of new cases ticked down to 67 on Monday and 54 on Tuesday. The vast majority of cases can be linked to international travel, making contact tracing relatively easy, and many are consolidated into identifiable clusters.

Because there is little evidence of community transmission, New Zealand does not have huge numbers of people overwhelming hospitals. Only one person, an elderly woman with existing health problems, has died.

I have to say that I agree that the National Party has been acting at a level of responsibility that I find both welcome and rather surprising in its forward looking common sense. However I’m probably rather jaded after more than a decade operating this site, which was specifically started to counter the dimwitted partisanship of sites like Kiwiblog, Whaleoil, and a host of their wannabe imators in the mid-2000s.

But if you’ve been like me, closely looking at the alternative strategies, I think that we’re getting off super lightly. The economic impact will be hard. However letting a full grown respiratory pandemic epidemic into the country when our medical systems to deal with this particular disease aren’t much better than they were in 1918 would be a economic disaster.

We haven’t had a even moderate epidemic for so long in New Zealand. The societal memory of what epidemics do is so diffuse that we have a crazed selfish anti-vaxxer movement thinking that others should and will take the risk of protecting their kids. Which was why there is still a measles epidemic bubbling away waiting for schools to restart.

After all we had almost killed even the widespread childhood diseases of my 1960s youth like measles, chickenpox, mumps by the time I hit my 20s. You have to be in your late 50s at least to remember them. Not to mention the horror stories that my grandparents found unremarkable from their live at the start of the 20th century. The polio that caused extended summers for kids when the schools all closed. The waves of deaths from diptheria. 

Even apparently intelligent people like David Seymour, our hapless MP from Act, don’t get it. “Covid 19 coronavirus: Govt should consider lifting lockdown early, David Seymour says” says nothing of interest (I couldn’t even find anything worth quoting in the article) because he clearly doesn’t understand even the basics about diseases.

He seems to think that because we’ve managed to hold the spread down to date, that it is time to open up again. It isn’t. We have bare weeks to get the systems in place to deal with outbreaks. We have mere weeks of medical materials available at the current rate of usage – and a minimum of months before we can safely say that we won’t get more silent clusters erupting. 

The threat  that pandemics was elegantly described in a ABC article the other day “The exponential growth of coronavirus can be explained by rice on a chessboard. And we should be worried“.

There’s a mathematical law driving the growth in the number of coronavirus cases globally, which makes health experts so fearful.

Frustratingly, some of Australia’s highest-paid commentators can’t wrap their heads around it, which is why they’re telling their listeners and readers the Government is overreacting by shuttering parts of the economy and enforcing strict social distancing measures for the winter.

The human brain wasn’t built to think naturally about complicated mathematical phenomena. It’s fine with basic maths, like simple percentages.

And then the example that David Seymour and the mathematical dimwits like him clearly don’t understand and should learn to cope with…

A famous example is the rice and chessboard problem.

If someone gave you a chessboard (which has 64 squares on it) and asked you to put one grain of rice on the first square, two grains of rice on the second square, four grains of rice on the third, eight grains on the fourth, and so on, how many grains of rice would end up on the 64th square?

It sounds like an easy question — it’s simply asking you to double the number of rice grains from one square to the next, from 1 grain to 2 to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32 to 64, and so on, until the 64th square.

What’s the answer? You’d need 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 grains of rice for the 64th square.

That’s nine quintillion, two hundred and twenty-three quadrillion, three hundred and seventy-two trillion, thirty-six billion, etc, grains.

And the amount of rice you’d need to cover the entire board — from squares 1 to 64 — would be 18.4 quintillion grains.

That’s 923 times the entire estimated global production of rice this financial year.

The educational joy of that problem comes from the lesson that when something tiny begins multiplying at a constant rate it can become mindbogglingly large within a surprisingly short amount of time.

That is the maths rule that viruses and bacteria obey when they’re let loose into a population without natural immunities. 

Just as importantly is the concept of viral load. The more instances of virus that people are exposed to, the more likely that their immune systems will be overwhelmed. This is the underlying reason that cruise ships or aircraft with their large numbers of tourists jammed together like cattle are far more likely to have younger demographics dying.

The victims don’t get a few cells infected from a few viruses caught in a droplet. They get hundred or thousands of cells infected within a short period from droplets recirculated in ventilation systems.

In the first case the persons immune systems have time to respond before the viruses establish a strong foothold, and only those with diminished immune systems are at a generally high risk of nasty or fatal outcomes. In the latter case almost everyone regardless of age is susceptible to them.

That is why a lockdown is necessary. Like the body, our society needs to where it has infection, learn what to do and what it needs to rev up its medical and enforcement immune systems. We need the already extant hidden infection centres to reveal themselves and to be crushed. When the lockdowns are released, we need to know that we can deal with the inevitable outbreaks fats and cleanly.

What we don’t need to do is to listen to the mathematical illiterates who managed to make a statement to the press that in the article never mentioned a single issue related to the underlying medical facts.

But like Mike (the Moron) Hosking, David Seymour appears to be all about getting headlines and no obvious interest in dealing with reality.

He is rapidly falling into my personal category, like Mike The Moron, of people whom whatever they propose – then look at the alternatives first. They’re almost always wrong as to whatever they’re proposing. Usually their proposals are the worst possible thing to do.

62 comments on “From the inside out ”

  1. dv 1

    The chess board example is telling. Thank you LP

    • Obtrectator 1.1

      Likewise this famous one. A water-lily doubles the area it covers each day. After thirty days, it's covered the entire surface of the pond. How much surface did it cover, say, four days earlier? Answer: only one-sixteenth – can't have seemed too threatening at that time ….

  2. I Feel Love 2

    Great piece.

  3. bill 3

    deleted

  4. A 4

    The leadership here has been exceptional. I suggest that the more difficult part will be the economic recovery which imho requires rapid alteration of a number of expenses and taxes.

    For example…that Justice conference thing they held a couple of years back. The 300 or so participants agreed that there needed to be a shift away from jails. (I don't agree..some people really need to be out of society entirely). Does the government have the balls to identify crimes that could be decriminalized such as some drug crime, and revise the system so that instead of draining $$ via the prison system it generates taxes?

    Or how about cutting all housing subsidies?

    Cutting taxes to ensure business flourishes?

    Means testing Super, or altering all welfare to focus on income level rather than jobs and cash assets to both encourage investment with dividend yield, and simplify admin?

    How about we properly tax giants like Google and Facebook?

    Not saying any of this should happen, just pointing out the we cannot go on the way we have been and ignore debt that we now owe. Best way of doing this is not shocking the population with haircuts, but careful selection of strategic actions that will accomplish the same result or better.

    Strong leadership will channel our resources and untrammelled power to preserve us from economic ruin.

  5. Carolyn_Nth 5

    I suspect Seymour is doing a bi of electioneering – appealing to those who are ignorant of the way this pandemic needs to be managed, and more worried about maintaining their wealth and income at high levels.

    I read a piece on RNZ's site explaining the chess board maths a few days back – very clear and helpful.

  6. Bruce 6

    To be fair 'the only thing that was left out was that NZ only has a population of slightly less than 5 million. ' but she does say 'it gets about 4 million international visitors a year, almost as many as its total population ' gives an idea of population.

    • lprent 6.1

      Ummm. So it does. My ultra rapid reading speed which is great for scanning large volumes of material to dig out the essence of issues, sometimes also negates my ability to pick up small but relevant details. The tradeoff caught me here.

      • Bruce 6.1.1

        Im the opposite ; beginning my retirement in lock down mode. every morsel is to be savoured. Great to see such positive story thou makes me feel its all worthwhile we can overcome.

      • RedLogix 6.1.2

        My ultra rapid reading speed which is great for scanning large volumes of material to dig out the essence of issues,

        Oddly enough so do I. Most people don't realise that over many years of commenting here I was often working at automation programming at the same time. The multi-tasking adds to the adrenaline rush sometimes….

        I wonder if you use a trick I often find myself doing … when scanning text I often start at the end of a section and skip through paras back toward the beginning; then once I've seen where it's going I then go forward to check the logical flow of it. It's not bullet proof though … mistake do happen.

        • lprent 6.1.2.1

          I wonder if you use a trick I often find myself doing

          I do that a *lot* for material on the web (application programmers spend a lot of time on the web looking for how-to).

          I'll read the first section of a link to see if there is anything to exclude the page, skip to the end for the same thing and then binary search for the good (ie the trick I am missing) bits.

          If I find relevance then I’m off for a top down scan.

          It helps that I can usually read a paragraph at a glance for significance. And a lot of the time I’m interested in excluding on style.

          Mistakes happen. But when I have a pages of links on something, I need to be able to exclude rapidly.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Epidemics don't fully follow exponentials as the rice board example suggests.

    At the start of the epidemic it's definitely exponential, so I'm not taking away from rice board example which is still great for conveying part of the idea … but at some point the curve inflects and takes on it's full logistics function curve that saturates at some level. (In this case the calculated herd immunity value of 60% of the population).

    If you want to get even more pedantic it seems in biological systems the Gompertz curve (which is a special asymmetric case of the logistics function) is more frequently applicable.

    • lprent 7.1

      I'd agree. There are constraints that kick in almost immediately. However they are least effective early while the hidden spread and increased societal viral load going exponential.

      For NZ by closing our borders and doing and lockdown hard and reasonably early is that it protects the bulk of our population during that early exponential growth phase. By holding the lockdown to outside the 95% known virus survival rate (99% confidence is at about 37 days based in the faecal stools) we isolate the disease as it burns through its initial hosts.

      It gives us time to ramp up our societal immune defenses like medical capacities and reaction forces like police and legal processes. Which will be needed during the next phase of suppression as we try to control the damage of its spread.

      Extermination of the disease in our population isn't likely, and even what Baker or Skeggs refer to as 'elimination' (as a nuisance) isn't likely bearing in mind the difficulty in getting vaccines against any other coronavirus in the past. What we will be performing is a containment against exponential growth as the disease slowly jumps hosts.

  8. Jeremy 8

    Seymour graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering at UoA and then worked as an engineer, you may not agree with him – I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but I highly doubt he doesn't understand exponential growth and logarithms.

    • lprent 8.1

      I work with electrical engineers every day. However you have explained something for me.

      EEs maths is almost invariably superb. However outside of a constrained areas, their understanding of the implications of the maths is often limited as the spaces that they program (with software or hardware) in. That is why, for instance, in the programming field that I work with they usually seem to feel far more comfortable using static memory and stacks rather than the more capable chaos of heap management. Finite state machines rather than more heuristic and adaptive algorithms.

      I came from much more of a wide ranging set of disciplines with less of a focus on minutiae and more focus on downstream implications. I also can’t solder worth a damn.

      I must remember to cut Seymour a bit more slack. He comes from a constrained intellectual framework.

      Thank you for your advice.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        EEs maths is almost invariably superb. However outside of a constrained areas, their understanding of the implications of the maths is often limited as the spaces that they program in.

        Well sadly my maths was less than superb, but to accuse us all of intellectual narrowness is less than generous 🙂

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          usually seem to feel far more comfortable …

          Not all

          … is often limited as the spaces that they program in..

          I was mostly referring to firmware programmers – who are mostly the EEs that I've worked with. They're about the only programmers I've ever run across who seem to actually use formal verification in their systems. A system that is often as rigid as the wiring on a PCB and just as fragile for unexpected events.

          I can understand why they try that lockdown approach. I just tend to find that it is needlessly complex and often outright dangerous because it doesn't scale easily to more complex interacting systems.

          Personally I generally try to make my code inherently safe and, as far, as possible self-checking and self-correcting. It seems to produce better results in more complex systems.

    • peterlepaysan 8.2

      Seymour is a politician. Unfortunately he is also a human (gulp).

      High intelligence and education does not equate to high judgmental skills / wisdom.

      Ask minister PhD Dr Clark. Divinity?

      None of us always correct (logical) in our thinking.

      Presumably the self serving (desperate to be published academic from AUT is not a Trump robot called Thornley.

  9. Adrian 9

    There will be a business and company fallout over this but really is the situation that much worse than the 3 week long summer break when nothing was open, maybe not recently but even only 10 years ago you were hard pressed to get anything from anywhere but a supermarket after Christmas.
    The tourist centered businesses will take a big hit, but not to put a too fine point on it, they are going to be fucked no matter what happens internally, this is the stuff that Seymour and Bridges and Michael Barnett and our mostly useless media don’t get.
    Barnetts “30% of Auckland CBD businesses will fail”, thats because most only exist to sell ímported souvenir shit or coffee to tourists and no matter what the Government does the tourists aren’t coming back for a while.
    The engineering, building, automotive, marine, most export, and myriad other businesses, and lets not forget the pie shops, ohh God.. a pie, a steak and cheese pie, my Kingdom etc, will ramp up pretty quickly.

    • lprent 9.1

      The tourist centered businesses will take a big hit, but not to put a too fine point on it, they are going to be fucked no matter what happens internally, this is the stuff that Seymour and Bridges and Michael Barnett and our mostly useless media don’t get.

      The engineering, building, automotive, marine, most export, and myriad other businesses, and lets not forget the pie shops

      Not to mention the immigration based businesses (including overseas students) – which I suspect is what will be the problem in our Auckland local only business failures.

      It simply isn’t going to be worth supporting those businesses who are based on the constant influx of people from overseas.

      I was just commenting yesterday about my pie deprivation…. I will have to clear some freezer room and do the next shop (my turn anyway).

      • Adrian 9.1.1

        My dear wife tried to make me some yesterday but no matter how much effort she put into it it was just not the same. I didn't say a word.

        P.s, I have a artisanal , talk about up myself, S and C pie maybe once a fortnight, why oh why when you can't have something does it bring on such cravings?.

        PP.s we live outside a small SI town with one cafe, which I think should survive quite well as it is predominatly a locals- focused business. Shit I hope so, they are my pie dealer.

      • Wayne 9.1.2

        Adrian and Iprent,

        Bridges and Bennet can obviously work out that tourism will be taking a long term hit.

        While I appreciate that you don't have any time for them, it is absurd for you to think they don't know that obvious fact.

        • Peter 9.1.2.1

          Probably as absurd as those who over at least a week have been saying that the Government (and their officials) have not considered what is going to happen when the lockdown is ended and the crisis is done and as well as no thought to that there's been no planning.

          It would be lovely if Adrian and Iprent showed some sense, rationality and not lose themselves in some partisan place. I mean the audience out here is so sensible and rational and non-partisan.

          Speaking of which I'm going to go over to Kiwiblog to have a nosey. Would you advise me to put my PPE gear on to protect me from some rationality and reason virus lurking?

          • Wayne 9.1.2.1.1

            I agree, many of the comments on Kiwiblog are quite toxic. I am quite careful in making a contribution on KB because you may consider as rightwing from me is considered to the well left of centre by many of KB commenters. And sometimes gets a pretty severe reaction.

            However, I have learnt from both here and KB, that people need to sound off, sometimes in pretty intemperate language.

        • I Feel Love 9.1.2.2

          I don't think it's the likes of Bridges and Bennett not understanding, it's they understand yet would argue against it anyway coz "partisan politics" & point scoring & fear mongering.

        • Adrian 9.1.2.3

          You are right Wayne I don't have a lot of time for Bridges but it was Michael Barnet I was quoting and my point was that I honestly think that other than the unfortunate tourist centered businesses most others will survive the restrained times ahead. We are also coming to the normal end of the major tourist season for the summer and the cruise ships anyway. Even the ski season may not take a big hit if Australia can get sorted so I will not be surprised if that actually goes reasonably well as it doesn't usually get under way until July. We will have to replace a lot of the labour that young overseas travellers do in agriculture as it is. Also Wayne, other than to short-houred minimum wage jobs is it that big a hit economicly, outbound tourism costs us more in dollars than the visitors actually spend here I am led to believe and I can't see many Kiwis hurriedly packing for the UK, Italy, Spain and France anytime soon.

          • aj 9.1.2.3.1

            outbound tourism costs us more in dollars than the visitors actually spend here I am led to believe

            I've wondered that too, and would anyone know the actual ratio. Many of those dollars will now be spent within New Zealand now as well, so while it's quite reasonable to see a massive hit, it may not be quite as bad as it first seems.

      • alwyn 9.1.3

        I assume that you will only buy 2 pies? That is the acceptable limit apparently.

        Or are you admitting that you are a panic buyer and will grab so many that other people will miss out? Shame on you. I will have a word with teacher and she will chastise you severely.

        • Adrian 9.1.3.1

          I wish I had panic bought my favourite pies but I was too busy in the chocolate aisle.

          • alwyn 9.1.3.1.1

            I am personally being very well behaved. Not really by choice but because my sister-in-law is doing the shopping for this 70+ couple.

            When your only activity is to provide a shopping list there is no temptation to take things you don't really want, or need, but which are tempting.

            We are down to our last 20 dozen bottles of wine though. This lock-down had better be over before Christmas.

            • Adrian 9.1.3.1.1.1

              Christmas? 20 bottles and 2 weeks would make things tight here.

              Normally it takes us about a week to get through 1 bottle but there is something about the concept of being trapped that triggers What The Hell behavour. Luckily we've got a shed full of the stuff,

    • observer 9.2

      "The tourist centered businesses will take a big hit, but not to put a too fine point on it, they are going to be fucked no matter what happens internally, this is the stuff that Seymour and Bridges and Michael Barnett and our mostly useless media don’t get.
      Barnetts “30% of Auckland CBD businesses will fail”, thats because most only exist to sell ímported souvenir shit or coffee to tourists and no matter what the Government does the tourists aren’t coming back for a while."

      Sadly true. Tourists, and international students, by the thousand.

      Get your bets in now for when the cry goes from "Why aren't the borders more tightly controlled?" to "When are the borders going to open up?". Possibly from the same people.

      I give it a month, max.

      • Incognito 9.2.1

        Indeed, binary choices between two conditions that have been surpassed by recent events for people who are harking back to BAU.

    • patricia 9.3

      Adrian, 9, make home made curry, beef is best, but lentils work, buy frozen sheets of puff pastry.

      Use an oven proof dish, or even better a release baking tin.angel line with the pastry as soon as it thaws. Place your curry in there, then a layer of cheese and a pastry lid. crimp together.

      Put into a hot oven 220 deg ordinary 200 fan forced for twenty minutes, lower the heat to 190/175deg for a further 25 mins. Stand for ten serve with gravy or sauce and greens .
      If that sounds too hard, a sheet of pastry, same filling and instructions folded in half..deals to the cravings.

      • Adrian 9.3.1

        Tried the puff pastry and its not the same, my mum used to make flakey pastry pretty well but that was 65 years ago. I'll just have to wait for my fix.

  10. halfcrown 10

    Excellent LPRENT

  11. Tony Veitch (not etc.) 11

    Chris Martensen of Peak Prosperity has been pushing a simple solution for some time:

    wear a face mask. Everybody when out in public. Especially if you have symptoms but also if you haven't. As he says –

    a mask protects the well from the unwell and the unwell from spreading the virus

    stops you from touching your mouth and nose (not your face because the virus doesn't enter through the skin), and

    if you do get a dose through your eyes, it's a low inoculum, which allows the body to react in time to the virus, which a larger dose does not.

    As well as the usual and now familiar social distancing, hand washing and so on.

    We are not used to face-mask wearing like some Asian countries are, but we need to be compelled to do so.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Excellent point.

      My partner and I are pretty much stranded here in Brisbane (we could return but it now requires seeking permission and without a good reason we'd likely be turned down. Besides we're in a perfect spot for isolation at the moment, so the motivation to take the risk of moving is low.)

      But every time we go into a shop now we both wear a mask, yet sadly we only see a handful of other people doing this as well, usually of Asian ethnicity. I found there was a real psychological barrier to doing it the first few times; there is real resistance to doing things that make you stand out as 'different' in public.

      • Craig H 11.1.1

        If you're fine where you are, fair enough not moving. Partners of NZ citizens/residents can return to NZ with them though – it's one of the exemptions to our border closure.

    • Forget now 11.2

      "inoculum"; hadn't heard that word outside a lecture theatre for years, now apparently a common term. Life is strange.

      Masks don't do a lot to protect the well from the unwell (unless you are competently trained to don and doff a full set of PPE). And if you have symptoms then stay at home! But given that COVID can be infectious while asymptomatic, then masks are not such a bad idea, so long as they are not being kept from nurses (doctors have better bargaining power so usually get first dibs).

      A lot of people are really creeped out by facial coverings of any kind, so that may be an issue while a distancing population is so on edge. My own problem is more that; unless the respiratory covering is so thin to be all but useless, then my glasses steam up in seconds – which isn't so good for maintaining 2metre separation.

      • Carolyn_Nth 11.2.1

        And the problem in NZ for general members of the public, it seems impossible to get hold of appropriate masks.

      • RedLogix 11.2.2

        Masks don't do a lot to protect the well from the unwell

        We've been using washable cloth masks, don't let the perfect become the enemy of the ‘better than nothing’.

        At Bunnings stores here in Brissy the staff have added ears and whiskers to become Easter Bunnies. Great way to normalise it!

        • Carolyn_Nth 11.2.2.1

          Where did you get the mask from?

          NZ Bunnings is selling packs of 50 masks for $64 per pack. I think they might be disposable. As I rarely go out at the moment, hardly worth it. Actually it looks like profiteering to me.

          Haven't seen any washable cotton n95 ones available in NZ.

          • Barfly 11.2.2.1.1

            Cactus clothing do a mask with a wool filter sorta /sorta not n95 see their website about the ins and out something like the filter (from another company) is certified but the Cactus mask not certified as a whole. $45.00 I imagine courier on top.

            https://www.cactusoutdoor.co.nz/cactus-face-mask.html

            • Carolyn_Nth 11.2.2.1.1.1

              Thanks. I've bookmarked it in case I need one.

              Still seems quite expensive for the average Kiwi – and not actually n95.

              • Adrian

                If you talk to someone in health you will find out that masks are binned after a very short time of usage, apparently they fill up with snot and mucus and become a health liability, who would have thought? . That is why millions of them are needed.

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  Which would make the Bunnings' disposable at s$64 per pack of 50 a better deal than the one cactus mask at $45.

                  Still probably too expensive for a lot of Kiwis.

  12. xanthe 12

    Well the one fact that really stands out from all this is that the news media is broken. they have lost their way and dont understand their roll anymore. We need a new model and I dont see what that would be but it is necessary. we need discussion and to bring collective wisdom to this problem.

  13. ianmac 13

    An illuminating useful point of view thanks LPrent.

  14. Peter 14

    A bit unfair on Mike Hosking to say he has no obvious interest in dealing with reality. He does, infinitely. All. of. the. time.

    The reality that stands and is limited to the 180 odd centimetres atop his shoes.

  15. Observer Tokoroa 15

    Falsehood

    Every time someone stutters in print or on tv, –be kind to each otheror have a nice day

    I think to myself how hugely shallow the kindness is!

    Thousands of New Zealanders are kicked around by wealthy Landlords. What a hell of a life being hit in the guts by an NZ land lord.

    Like wise, why are there so few houses for our very large population. ?

    Yes – everyday I am told how good kiwis are. While in the same breath they walk all over the greater part of our People.

    Stop praising ourselves. We deserve no accolades.

    • Incognito 15.1

      I have no idea what your comment has got to do with the OP.

      Anyway, I believe you’re conflating mannerisms, politeness, and social veneer with kindness.

      The former is superficial indeed, like the professional smile for a photoshoot; it is on the outside.

      The latter comes from a core value and deeply experienced/lived empathy; it comes from deep inside.

    • Barfly 15.2

      Well I know a landlord whose rental (5 bedroom) had 1 leave person at a time they couldn't be replaced (lockdown) so he reduced the rent so the remaining people weren't paying more individually.

      I am certain there are plenty of pricks in the landlord game but not all of them.

  16. Observer Tokoroa 16

    Hi Incognito

    I hope I have not offended You.

    If I say to myself that the demise of Covid 19 will fix everything for Aotearoa, I will be pleased.

    But immediately, I will think of the tremendous poverty and hopeless prospects we have given to Thousands and Thousands of New Zealanders.

    There is no need for us to keep ignoring the helpless.

    I realise that I could give a bit more time and a bit more financial assistance to the Wealthy of NZ However, I have found that the wealthy are by and large, profoundly inhuman.

    • Incognito 16.1

      You have not offended me in the slightest, but thanks for checking 🙂

      I’m actually quite concerned about how we come out of this and I’ve a few thoughts running through my mind. If and when something crystallises I might write a post. Briefly, I don’t think for one moment that this will “fix everything for Aotearoa”. It would be great if it did but I would be dreaming.

  17. Observer Tokoroa 17

    Incognito

    You write so well. I enjoy that. Thanks a million.

  18. Adam Ash 18

    ObserverT, I take your point.

    While the poverty and helplessness you refer to will require a lot more social repair than a few dollars, the temporary adoption of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for every citizen could give the country breathing space to implement structural changes for the better.

    This pandemic is creating an amazing opportunity for real change away from business as usual in commerce, in matters relating to environmental issues and most importantly in our society.

    We must avoid at all costs a rush to restart old businesses and institutions. A UBI would allow time to have a national discussion about the direction the country should take. We must have that discussion.

  19. Paul 19

    I have just watched the CNN story about our country's approach to the pandemic. It filled me with pride. Mostly, I think because we have put peoples lives and well being first. Because the governments actions have matched their stated philosophy. And, I hope, the way that most people see being a Kiwi.

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