Have we just thrown the fight, before the war has ended?

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, October 6th, 2021 - 53 comments
Categories: business, Dirty Politics, economy, Economy, employment, equality, infrastructure, labour, poverty, tourism, trade - Tags:

The Government on the whole has until now, done an excellent job of dealing with covid. The results in both fighting covid and economically, speak for themselves. Especially compared with the clusterfucks in most Western countries.

I’ve had a bit of experience in planning, training and leading people in emergency situations.  I know the difficulties involved in getting it right. To “get it right” with a whole country is even more difficult. Even highly trained teams have slipups when it becomes all too real. With covid there have been the inevitable slipups and oopsies inherent in a response to a one off emergency involving so many people. Of course there are also unanticipated twists and the need to replan, as things change and more information comes to light. But the communication, planning and execution has been good overall.

Throughout however, there has been a sector who do not want us to succeed.   Our success would  show too graphically the inadequacies of “small Government”, will show up right Wing Governments, and our own right Wing parties with their run down services and moral bankruptsy, or they simply want us to fail, to get their favourite political party back in control. The  bad faith ranging from “spin” to outright lies, has been relentless.

“With all the unfortunate rhetoric around giving up on the elimination strategy”.

Small businesspeople around me, who have quietly carried on with the program, and have been supportive of the Government strategy of elimination, even though in many cases it has been personally costly, are telling me,, “why did we bother”

It doesn’t matter if it is the actual Government intention, or the media interpretation, the damage has now been done.

Have the “death cultists” won?

The health compromised, children and the elderly will pay the price. Which the “death cultists” will consider necessary “collateral damage” so they can return to “making money” secure in the perception, that it will be The “Others”. « The Standard who will suffer and die.

One thing is for sure though. Like the Australian bubble, the “journalists”, politicians, ex politicians, mega church leaders and inadequate businessmen and many more, who have white anted the country, will not be held responsible.

But they should be!

53 comments on “Have we just thrown the fight, before the war has ended? ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    “Open up and let it rip”–though obviously expressed in different words–has been a relentless campaign in the media channels, which broke cover perhaps when sirkey was wheeled out.

    The sheer ratio of whingers to those quietly getting on with lockdown and vaccination, showed the establishment campaign is a reality. Elements included privatising MIQ, ending restrictions on foreign students and migrant workers, opening up free in and outflow of capital, and generally business as usual. The bad news for this lot is some people will not resume eating out, shows, sports or cinema for a long time yet.

    In the end the NZ petit bourgeois sector with their well stocked pantrys, will get what they think they want, but at what cost? Owner operators, SMEs and corporates who espouse the superiority of the market were quick to put their hands out for State assistance. The Govt. bent over to appease them with wage subsidies and even a second tier unemployment benefit!

    A lot of people are going to pay for this bullying of the Govt.–including those with non COVID healthcare and social needs.

    copied this comment from “Open mike”

  2. bwaghorn 2

    It was worth it to get to the point were most are vaccinated, lock downs were only going to get buy in for so long. (Fuck I couldnt have coped locked in a city, i bow to those that have. )

    If we get through this with out overwhelming hospitals and mosques, which I think we will , this government has done its job.

    Covid appears to be here to stay , living with it is the next lesson.

    • alwyn 2.1

      "overwhelming hospitals and mosques"

      For the life of me I cannot see why we should worry about overwhelming "mosques". What is special about them such that you put them in with hospitals?

      Is mosques a typo and did you instead mean mortuaries or morgues or suchlike?

      • bwaghorn 2.1.1

        Morgues that is , cant blame that in spell check, must be messy brain syndrome!!

        • alwyn

          Thank you. I know just what that type of slip means. I always blame it on the spell checker though.

          Now it makes sense.

  3. GreenBus 3

    I feel the Govt has done a brilliant job on guiding the huge majority safely thru Covid19 so far, Lockdowns included. The media has given too much oxygen to all the whingers in Auckland and Queenstown, the anti-vaxxers, Covid deniers and certain churches. National and Act are morally bankrupt with their constant bleating about loss of freedom and business hardships, makes you think they WANT kiwi's to get Covid. They would do ANYTHING to get back in power. The combined pressure of all this whinging and bleating has now had the desired effect they wanted, retreat. Retreat from a winning formula, BULLIED by all the right wing fuckwits into "living with Covid". Well, thanks very much you selfish a'holes, this is going to turn to custard, and we will be one of the worst responses to Covid.

    • I don't think the NZ government has given up on elimination yet, though it might take another month or so.

      Yesterday there were 2406 cases in Oz-just about all Victoria and NSW, combined population 15.1 million. The pro-rata equivalent number of cases in NZ would be 813; we had 24.

    • Jenny how to get there 3.2


      6 October 2021 at 9:27 am

      I feel the Govt has done a brilliant job on guiding the huge majority safely thru Covid19 so far, Lockdowns included…..

      [Hear, hear! J.]

      …..The combined pressure of all this whinging and bleating has now had the desired effect they wanted, retreat.

      [my highlighting. J.]

      All politics is pressure.

      Unfortunately the pressure on the government became too much this time for the governmnt to resist.


      6 October 2021 at 9:27 am

      …..BULLIED by all the right wing fuckwits into "living with Covid". Well, thanks very much you selfish a'holes, this is going to turn to custard, and we will be one of the worst responses to Covid.

      The big question;

      If this does 'turn to custard'. If there is an exponential uncontrolled rise in infections, resulting in suffering and deaths.

      Will the government be able to resist this Right wing pressure and reapply a Level 4 Lockdown to control it?

    • Patricia Bremner 3.3

      Green Bus, it is called strategic positioning. Giving up some relatively innocuous but valued territory. Taking pressure off other points and creating a different focus. Giving a small thing to gain the larger objective.

      While Auckland is taking their rides walks and picnics they will be contemplating what Bloomfield quietly said, "A further 4 to 8 weeks at level 3. Vaccinations to continue, along with testing and tracing.

      That is not giving up, that is rewarding general compliance and good vaccination rates.

      Jacinda and Labour have great political capital. but people need to believe things will improve.. it is called HOPE No small matter.

      • Strategic positioning. Also known as "lost the plot" or "I give up"

        • Patricia Bremner

          No no Christopher, John Key did this strategy as well.

          When Maori started agitating, he smiled his crocodile smile and let them fly their flag on the Harbour Bridge.

          Then, to slow things further, he got them to do the rounds of their people to choose a representative for each of the main iwi. He knew it would take time. His conversations and announcements were through them from then on bypassing many. It grew pretty fractious by 2016.

      • GreenBus 3.3.2

        That was a very positive response Patricia. I take your point about rewarding compliance in a difficult lockdown. Well done to the majority of us and especially folks in the big smoke.

    • miravox 3.4

      ^This, although I don't believe we'll have one of the worst responses, we're a long way off that.

      I know that eventually we must live with Covid in one form or another, but right now is too soon.

      • Patricia Bremner 3.4.1

        It appears the virus is in 3 more places. Let us hope there is no huge problems from the protest in the Domain. Next 3 days will tell us.

  4. Jenny how to get there 4

    ….One thing is for sure though. Like the Australian bubble, the “journalists”, politicians, ex politicians, mega church leaders and inadequate businessmen and many more, who have white anted the country, will not be held responsible.

    But they should be!


    Indeed they should.

    The Anatomy of a Surrender, Why we abandoned Elimination.

    "There is no such thing as bad soldiers, only bad generals" Napoleon

    There has been a lot of scapegoating of gangs, of rule breakers, of rough sleepers, for the failure of the Level 3 lockdown.

    What all those doing this scapegoating can't explain, is why despite the activities of the rule breakers, rough sleepers and gangs, the Level 4 Lockdown was crushing the virus.
    Under the Level 4 Lockdown the numbers first "plateaued" and then steadily dropped and then started "tailing off". Experts said they did not know how long the tail was, but we were heading in the right direction.


    …..Ardern said it was now known the Delta variant had been in the community for 7-10 days prior to the first case, and that level 4 “was the right move and has worked”.


    The level 4 lockdown was not called off because it wasn't working.

    This is irrefutable.

    The level 4 lockdown was called off before being allowed to finish the job.

    This also is irrefutable.

    We could have reached zero cases under level 4 but we chose not to. The economic cost of maintaining the Level 4 lockdown was deemed to be too high.

    Nothing to do with gangs, or rough sleepers.

    In the arm wrestle between; Private Profit vs. Public Health, private profit wins every time.*

    *(the very same reason we will do nothing about climate change).

    Auckland lockdown extended as New Zealand Covid cases drop to 53

    This article is more than 1 month old

    Experts say this week is ‘crunch’ time as country waits to see whether numbers will continue to fall

    Eva Corlett in Wellington

    Mon 30 Aug 2021

    Auckland will remain in full lockdown for another two weeks despite a drop in community cases of Covid-19…..

    In order for Auckland to move down a level, the country must be confident Delta is not circulating undetected in the community, she [Ardern] said.

    Modelling suggests that if New Zealand had not immediately moved into a level 4 lockdown after one case, the daily number of cases at this point would be roughly 550 people a day, Ardern said.

    …Covid-19 modeller Michael Plank said the large drop in cases does not necessarily mean the outbreak hit its peak on Sunday, because testing and processing slows down over the weekend.

    But he said given the trends of the cases over the weekend, it was likely an indication the outbreak is plateauing and the numbers were consistent with modelling projections.

    Plank said there was still a big question as to how long the tail of the outbreak would be.

    “If the lockdown does prove to be really effective at stopping transmission between bubbles, it’s possible we could see case numbers down to about 10 a day within the sort of latter part of September, and you know, if we can get down to that level, we’ll be in a really good position to eliminate the outbreak.”


    The Prime Minister had said, "to move down a level, the country must be confident Delta is not circulating undetected in the community"

    Prime Minister goes back on her word;

    On Sept. 21, 2021, there were 4 known traceable covid infections, in the community, That day, there was also 2 symtomatic cases, with no known links or identified chain of transmission, indicating that undetected cases were still circulating in the community.


    2 cases of unknown transmission. We were so near to elimination. But not there.

    Despite there being hard evidence that undetected Delta infections, 'were' circulating in the community, the Prime MInister announced, contrary to her earlier words, not to move down a level, unless the country was confident Delta was not circulating in the community. That Auckland would move down a level, to Level 3.

    Auckland going to Level 3; changes for the rest

    SEPTEMBER 20, 2021

    Covid-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank told the Herald it was a “calculated risk” moving Auckland to alert level three, warning there was a very real chance of returning to level four within a matter of weeks.


    Jack Tame's opinion: Govt's Covid-19 strategy a roadmap with no signs
    Moving Auckland to Alert Level 3 was not consistent with elimination. It was a gamble that risked the gains from a month at Level 4. The Government continued to speak optimistically about stamping out the virus, even as public health experts and modellers publicly demurred.

  5. Treetop 5

    When I look at all the levels used in a lockdown, then add a percentage of fully vaccinated people an estimated death rate is known.

    Reducing Covid fatalities in real time is the priority. I was doubtful that the Delta strain would be eliminated due to the R value and the economic and mental heath cost. Vaccination is a game changer providing a new variant responds to the Pfizer vaccine. Down the track waning antibodies will need to be reviewed.

    I personally feel that the country is about to experience the hardest phase of the Covid pandemic. I would like to be proven wrong.

    • Jenny how to get there 5.1


      6 October 2021 at 11:09 am

      ,,,,,I would like to be proven wrong.

      Me too.

    • Gypsy 5.2

      Regrettably, I think you will be proven right. IMHO Delta has made this next phase inevitable. Which makes getting as many people as possible vaccinated so important.

      • Ed1 5.2.1

        No, if you mean moving away from elimination – I believe it makes keeping it out more important, not less. Delta makes vaccination more important, but it is not the only tool – we can still work hard to keep it out.

        • Gypsy

          It seems fairly clear the government have moved away from elimination to mitigation. As far as 'keeping it out' is concerned, there have been too many examples of border breaches (potential and real) to make that realistic.

        • Treetop

          When the source of the chains of transmission is unknown elimination cannot occur.

          Preventing chains of transmission is what an individual can do.

    • McFlock 5.3

      definitely hardest for us. Minor compared to most of the world.

      I don't think we're going to get NSW-level spikes, even if the cheese-eating surrender monkeys are right and the govt has thrown in the towel (which they haven't).

      The reason for my lack of pessimism is that the lag time between covid possibly becoming endemic and a >90% vax rate will hopefully be pretty close. That means the vast majority of people will not be using hospital resources or fighting each other for oxygen.

      But people will still keep dying. That's Judith Collins' victory scenario, I guess.

      • Treetop 5.3.1

        I read the comments by Collin's, she has lost the plot and I am being kind.

      • Jenny how to get there 5.3.2

        I wish I had your optimism.
        There were 29 new cases today, 1 in Northland.
        7 cases discovered in Auckland today are not linked to any known cluster. The report did not say if these 7 cases were linked to each other. So I presume they couldn't be linked to each other through any common factor. If my presumption is correct, What that means, is that there are 7 undiscovered clusters in Auckland. Forgive me for thinking that we are on the verge of exponential viral spread.

        • McFlock

          Well, no, it just means that the source wasn't immediately apparent in the hours between the positive infection confirmation and the publication of the numbers. It takes time, and can involve some detective work.

          There's a handy wee trick of looking at the MoH daily case page using the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Basically it archives most public internet pages daily, or even more often.

          The "Caught COVID-19 within NZ, but source is unknown" category bounces around quite a bit, especially if there's a new cluster found.

          Dunno if you're a gardener, but weeding convolvulus seems to be a bit like this situation. You pull out a huge amouint, but the roots break in the ground and can grow new shoots, so days or weeks later you're pulling up smaller tendrils with a little bit more root. Then you find it in the compost heap because one tendril ended up there a while ago.

          But the point is, if you keep at it eventually the remaining root segments can't reproduce, and you don't need to weed the garden so much any more. We can still beat this thing, even under these conditions.

          • Jenny how to get there

            I am a gardner. Not a great one, but I try my best. I just weeded a badly overgrown plot about as big as a carpark space.

            There are two ways to go. Scrape the weeds off the top, or dig them out. I did both. I scraped them all off the top and then I dug them out. Took me a while.

            I used a hoe to scrape all the weeds off. And then I used the spade to dig over the whole plot tuning it over spade by spade, picking out all the roots I uncovered. (trying carefully not to cut any worms in half with my spade.)

            The lettuces are now all in, not a weed in sight.

            My policy to weeds is zero tolerance.

            Same with covid.

            This is why


            • McFlock

              That policy hasn't changed in NZ.

              • Jenny how to get there

                I think you would be in the minority opinion on that one.

                • McFlock

                  Which itself raises some interesting questions:

                  1. what is the actual difference between what everyone agreed was an elimination strategy and whatever Auckland and nearby areas are under now?
                  2. Does the rule change alter what people were doing, especially people likely to come into contact with a cluster?
                  3. Is any less effort being made in the identification of infections and the tracing and isolation of close contacts?
                  4. Will the rule change create large superspreader events?
                  5. if the answers for 1, 2, 3, and 4 are "not much, probably not, nope, and nope", why are people losing their shit over a supposed end to the elimination strategy?

                  Maybe a solid year of tory media whinging is driving the narrative?

                  • Jenny how to get there

                    You will pardon me I hope for not answering your questions in the order you asked them.

                    5. "…..why are people losing their shit over a supposed end to the elimination strategy?"

                    Nothing supposed about it.

                    “The elimination strategy has served us incredibly well, and was the right thing to do for New Zealand, and seven weeks ago entering into the elimination strategy, which is stamp out cases, was the right thing to do,” Ardern said.

                    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Auckland, and the country, is now “transitioning” out of the elimination strategy as health officials scramble to vaccinate.

                    The Government had held fast to an elimination strategy – working to stamp out the virus wherever it emerges to reach zero cases – throughout numerous Covid-19 outbreaks and as recently as August was firm the strategy would remain as the country moved to liberalise border restrictions in the coming year.


                    1. what is the actual difference between what everyone agreed was an elimination strategy and whatever Auckland and nearby areas are under now?

                    The Prime Minister defined the elimination strategy as locking down until the country was confident no Delta infecttion was circulating undetected in the community

                    On August 30, the Prime Minister said this: "In order for Auckland to move down a level, the country must be confident Delta is not circulating undetected in the community"

                    On September 20, the PM went back on this definition, and moved Auckland down a level despite 6 new cases being found in the community that day, 2 that could not be identified, or traced, evidence that yes covid was circulating undetected in the community.

                    So sometime between these two dates the PM became convinced to step away from the elimination strategy and allow undetected cases to circulate in the community.

                    1. Does the rule change alter what people were doing, especially people likely to come into contact with a cluster?


                    During the level 4 lockdown, the Prime Minister and her advisors singled out workplaces, as a source of corona virus spread during the Auckland lockdown.

                    Auckland lockdown extended as New Zealand Covid cases drop to 53

                    This article is more than 1 month old

                    Experts say this week is ‘crunch’ time as country waits to see whether numbers will continue to fall

                    Mon 30 Aug 2021 06.00 BST

                    …..Epidemiologist Prof Michael Baker said he is feeling optimistic about the numbers.

                    “The best news is there is not an exponential increase in cases,” he said.

                    The biggest risk now to stamping out the virus was potential spread among workers and between people who are not engaged with the country’s pandemic response, he said.

                    On Sunday, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said there had been a small number of workplaces operating under level 4 that had seen transmission within staff – four to date.

                    “If we need to tighten up our restrictions further we will,” Ardern said.

                    Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles said the worksite transmission was a worry, because despite the sites not being customer-facing, a spread of infection between staff could result in satellite outbreaks.

                    Unfortunately the Prime Minister didn't tighten up 'our restrictions further' on workplaces, as she said she would, on September 20, she threw open all industrial factories and building sites, for a full return to work.
                    The only worksites still facing restrictions are small retailers and restaurants.

                    There's your difference, tens of thousands of working people congregating in factories and industries, and building sites.

                    There's your daily super spreader events.

                    3. Is any less effort being made in the identification of infections and the tracing and isolation of close contacts?

                    No. In fact more effort is being put into this. It has had to be. With the end of elimination and the tolerance to covid remaining circulating in the community. But as overseas experience has shown, these services soon beome completly over whelmed. when the virus goes exponential

                    • McFlock

                      I certainly wouldn't take as gospel the interpretation of a media report that directly quotes full sentences of what someone says and then paraphrases the important bit.

                      On September 20, the PM went back on this definition, and moved Auckland down a level despite 6 new cases being found in the community that day, 2 that could not be identified, or traced, evidence that yes covid was circulating undetected in the community.

                      No. "Undetected" is something like the [maybe] coolstore case: out of the blue, no probable connection to any other case. Sources are not always confirmed the day of transmission, but that doesn't mean there are widespread undetected clusters.

                      The current clusters are difficult to trace because their community network is not known for the same trust and involvement with authorities as, say, 9-5 accountants. Not only are they not necessarily into tracing their movements for the authorities, they probably largely keep doing their business during L4 regardless of what the government might say about it. And some of them have pretty good inter-regional transport networks.

                      So are the lockdown rules changes affecting the current outbreak? Bit early to tell, but probably not to the extent that some people are losing their nut over.

                      There's your difference, tens of thousands of working people congregating in factories and industries, and building sites.

                      There's your daily super spreader events.

                      And yet a couple of weeks later we don't have the same spike in cases as we had when we all went to L4 because of one genuinely unknown origin case.

                      Here's another chart with the cluster information that shows the point about not-immediately-linked cases. Light green is under investigation, right? See how the bulk of them are in the last few days? Same pattern in the same chart from Sept 18. And previous page captures. It takes time to investigate connections, but almost all of them end up getting linked.

                      It'll take a while, but I won't be surprised when we have a dot-ball day in coming months.

                      But we are entering the end stage, where vaccinations will start really kicking this thing in the nuts and the combination of that and our current efforts make L3/4 a thing of the past, while keeping an almost embarrassingly low death rate from the disease.

                      Sure, if we end up sustaining multple hundreds of cases a day, easing out of L4/3 rather than just imprisoning incommunicado the top 10 anti-lockdown fuckwits (including opposition politicians and media opinionators) might have been the wrong call to make from a disease control perspective, but might still be the right call to make from a government point of view. Riots have happened in Aus, for example.

  6. Darien Fenton 6

    Thinking about the "Consent of the Governed". There are limits to that and I believe what the government was trying to do was ease this : the Melbourne riots last week, and also Himself Brian Tamaki. Consider the daily diet of criticisms from social media, Media commentators, Business, overseas critics and the disinformation that shows no end. Also thinking about the criticism that is coming from Maori and Pasifika organisations – maybe deserved, but what the hell do we do about it? It's either too much or not enough. Look I just want Hope. I want to see more stories about our amazing communities, including mine who are out testing, contact tracing, vaccinating.I want to see stories about our front line border workers who for months now have kept our borders safe and (in my patch as a union organiser) are now 99% vaxxed. For the record I live in West Auckland. I am surrounded by a community who cares.

  7. georgecom 7

    yes Darien, the hope story. Anger, Hope, Action. I have stated on a different thread how our Government has done a great job handling covid and our health workers and great job coping with it. That's reached it's limits, it's up to the community now rather than simply moan about what the government is doing. Here are a couple of hope stories

  8. Pete 8

    Ah, stories of hope. I wonder if the main media outlets have target graphs and charts on their walls. Charts denoting of course the numbers of those disaffected with MIQ each 'journalist' has unearthed and written a story about.

    Are there bonus points if a story stretches to a second and third day or is picked up by other media? There are torrents of terrible stories.

    The whole thing has been a shambles hasn't it? And a mere 177,132 through MIQ facilities since 26 March 2020. Yes, one hundred and seventy seven thousand one hundred and thirty two.

  9. Ed1 9

    In some ways I would be very pleased if the Cabinet decided that is is necessary to put Auckland and Waikato back into Level 4 for at least a week, but probably two weeks. the government have tried to ease the restrictions of level 3 and 2, but it is clear that there have been too many not following the rules, and we are getting too many cases, even though for most the connections to existing cases have been able to be found by our contact tracing team, who have really been doing a fantastic job. A short lock down will hopefully give time to stop the further spreading of cases.

    It would also be helpful to also know the estimated cost of each covid case that needs hospitalisation, and the higher cost (in both time and money) for ICU.

  10. Bryan 10

    If rapid antigen testing is going to become a viable, trusted screening strategy for control of COVID-19, then performance characteristics should be well understood especially in our very low prevalence population and screening strategies should be designed with test imperfections clearly in mind.

    The clamour of politicians, business people and other non-scientific persons demanding RATS (rapid antigen tests) is only one more dimension within the echo chamber that wishes to mandate whatever flavour of bullshit that is in the wind.

    We do not have widespread community transmission and first vax rates are now north of 80%.and will move on past 90% within the next month.

    STAY CALM and keep on the current path amplifying and encouraging vaccination..

    At times the ramping waves of hysteria especially that emanating from the shrillest parts of the commentariat takes my breath away.

  11. Kirk-RS 11

    McFlock wrote above on 9 October 2021 at 12:44 am (I can´t reply to their post directly for some technical reason), which includes the following:

    The current clusters are difficult to trace because their community network is not known for the same trust and involvement with authorities as, say, 9-5 accountants. Not only are they not necessarily into tracing their movements for the authorities, they probably largely keep doing their business during L4 regardless of what the government might say about it. And some of them have pretty good inter-regional transport networks.

    I think McFlock is really on to something here. Public health data certainly show that the problem does not reside in business locations or in places dominated by white-identified European heritage people.

    The ¨their¨ in the above snippet refers to Maori and Pasifika peoples, if I read McFlock right. I agree that this is where the locus of difficulty exists, but that does not mean thate these folk automatically deserve to be blamed in some simple-minded fashion.

    Before delving beneath the surface of this COVID-driven dynamic, I think it would be worthwhile to expand the spotlight a bit to include the illegal drugs dealers. They continue to operate outside Level 3/4 restrictions and across alert boundaries at the bidding of people with substantial funds to keep demand high. At a guess, these drugs users would largely be European heritage.

    The motives of these rulebreakers may vary both in type and even some deeper levels of justification, but I think there is a common root to the disunity that has likely defeated the previously successful zero-cases COVID strategy: social inequity.

    There is the racism that has driven white-identified people and some allies of colour amongst relative newcomers like subcontinental Asians to maintain the oppression of indigenous peoples in ways both gross and subtle literally over centuries in the case of the Europeans. This has spawned and fed the dynamic of gangs and illicit activities which are so destructive of the concepts on which PM Ardern´s ¨Team of Five Million¨ meme has been grounded.

    There is the special privilege, mostly amongst white-identified, European heritage folk and to a growing extent amongst selected allies of colour (East Asians, subcontinental Asians), to demand certain things like an uninterrupted flow of illegal drugs regardless of the collateral social costs. Naturally, drugs dealers respond to such demand. Whether these dealers happen to be white-identified or indigenous is largely immaterial. My guess would be they are a mixture of the two, since this would produce the ¨best results¨ in terms of supplying the demand while evading the reach of government authorities overly focussed on Blacks, Indigenous and other People of Colour (BIPOC) for racist reasons.

    Another thing the elite demands is cheap labour that is compliant to whatever working conditions and tax evasion strategies the employers decide to create. Illegal immigrants make ideal workers in such a scenario. There have been significant signs that, similar to drugs, the flow of illegal immigrants has not stopped during the pandemic.

    There are strong indications that the big outbreaks in Auckland have been fueled by precisely these kinds of activities and motivations.

    The August 2020 event´s index cases appeared to be centred on the port and a single container shipping facility. What better way to introduce Pasifika illegal immigrants from Samoa and other islands into Aotearoa than through shipping containers? This was never adequately followed up by either public health or law enforcement, at least not publicly so far as I can tell. However, a major Samoan chief resident in Aotearoa was convicted of human trafficking in July 2020. It is hard to imagine even such a prominent figure operating in this fashion without strong ties to white-identified elites.

    The latest outbreak at the end of August 2021, centred in the indigenous suburbs of South Auckland, likely originated amongst ¨essential workers¨ exposed to elite travellers able to afford the high costs of transit through managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities, particularly the Jet Park hotel. At least one of those travellers brought the Delta variant into Aotearoa, something that was practically inevitable once the government determined it would cater to the travel habits of economic and social elites and put the rest of society at constant risk of an outbreak. An MIQ stay may be tough in a number of ways, but it doesn´t begin to compare to a Level 3/4 lockdown of whole regions containing many much less priveleged people.

    Lagging vaccination rates occurred in all indigenous communities, particularly Maori, due to low levels of trust in official authorities bound up in larger patterns of racism and inequity. When added to gang and drugs activities that are essential features of a gray/black market economy centred in those same communities and largely necessitated and fed by deep race-based inequity maintained from the outside both officially and ¨culturally¨, the combined effects of all this denied government their capacity to bring the COVID-19 case count to zero.

    After seven weeks of failure to achieve an admittedly very high standard, PM Ardern had little choice but to announce a ¨new phase of the pandemic¨ which eased off of the previous zero-case standard approach.

    It only takes a very few resisters or avoiders to break down a system that demands zero cases. That appears to be exactly what has happened.

    Ironically perhaps, the power to achieve this negative result lay not with the vociferous white-identified anti-vaxxers and libertarian purists who take up so much air time on social media and the more traditional news outlets, but with the largely silent and oppressed indigenous people. Even Maori/Pasifika formal leaders and informal gang leaders who sincerely worked to overcome their member/followers´ ¨bad behaviours¨ were able to accomplish enough to save government´s long-standing COVID initiative.

    Like it or not, the COVID walkback currently underway really comes down to the inequities deeply embedded in Aotearoan society under the controlling influence of European heritage colonisers.

    There have been some remarkable apologies and other encouraging signals offered during this pandemic. Perhaps Stuff.com´s ¨Our Truth / Day of Reckoning¨ with racism against indigenous and Pasifika folk late last year, well noted by The Standard website at the time, is the most dramatic and notable ¨George Floyd¨-style step outside of government. Yet the facts on the ground established by the dynamics of this pandemic demonstrate that while words are a very good beginning, they are simply not enough by themselves. As the old saying goes, you must ¨walk the talk¨ to move forward.

    Until deep and lasting social progress takes place, this pandemic and other future events likely related to health, climate change and other key determinants of well-being will continue to task and test the inhabtants of Aotearoa along with the rest of humanity.

    This does not mean that all is lost and that people should surrender to despair. To the contrary, I hold to a faith-based belief that the Higher Power is supporting and guiding humanity to a much better way of living.

    The basis for my belief is the Baha´i Faith, which I have been part of for over 25 years. The Baha´is are a global religion, with a presence in Aotearoa, that holds to principles of peace and unity built on spiritual virtues, freely accepted by believers and supporters without ¨benefit¨ of clergy. All members of Baha´i institutions are either elected by the adult membership, or appointed by those who are so elected. Repeated cycles of study, consultation, action and reflection will lead to a progressive collective evolution, as humanity moves through its recently embarked-upon adolescent stage into a fuller maturity. This mature stage will include global unified governance and commitment to virtues that will preserve the planet and prepare humanity for its next great steps forward. This may even include a form of interstellar galactic future glimpsed in the imaginings of science fiction, particularly the vision of a United Federation of Planets embodied in the widely known Star Trek universe. The only difference will be that healthy religion and spirituality will lie at the core of the human starship ¨Enterprise¨!

    • weka 11.1

      to reply, just scroll upwards until the first Reply button. The nesting of comments can't happen indefinitely or the text gets too small.

      Alternatively, if you are on a phone, use the Mobile version not the Desktop version if the Reply field isn't working (options at bottom of screen).

    • weka 11.2

      two centre left things Labour could do (and could have done) is legalise cannabis and raise benefits. These aren't panaceas, but I agree that the problem NZ has right now is class based, including how that intersects with ethnicity.

      It's also an issue of the housing crisis. Crowded housing, not enough income to pay for housing so people doing under the table work, crime or drug dealing to pay for essentials, are both really bad situations during a pandemic

      • Ad 11.2.1

        Labour put the cannabis issue to a full referendum and it lost, so you just have to get over that Weka. The people chose it.

        Since 2017 Labour has done a bit on the welfare front:

        – Brought headline unemployment down to 4% which is about as low as it got in 2008. Best way to avoid being on a benefit is having a job.

        – Increased the minimum wage to $20 an hour

        – Made all apprenticeships free

        – Guaranteed that hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders would keep their jobs by subsidising their wages

        – Got 16,000 sole parents and carers and disabled to afford the cost of study with the Training Incentive Allowance

        – Got Mana in Mahi going across the entire industry to pull people out of NEET contexts and jails into employment. Hence our jail numbers are plummeting.

        – Lifted benefit rates by between $32 and $55 per adult. Plus indexed main benefits to wage growth, and lifted abatement levels so people on a benefit can keep more of what they earn

        – Scrapped the sanction on women who didn't declare the name of their child's father

        – Student allowances have gone up

        – The winter fuel subsidy has meant fewer people are cold in winter

        – NZ Super and Veteran pensions went up

        and of course, two related things:

        – avoided mass unemployment by stopping the economic damage of widespread covid

        – avoided mass misery, morbidity and family destruction by stopping the social damage of widespread covid

        Brought to you by the Labour Party.

        • Kirk-RS

          @Weka and @Ad:

          I respect the Labour party´s efforts to make significant social and economic improvements. I find government´s COVID-19 response very inspiring, and it definitely offers guidance for how humanity can better respond at a practical level to major crises.

          Once the purely material efforts Ad lists, perhaps along with some others like Weka suggests, are firmly linked to an all-hands inclusive approach that helps create genuine bonds of unity amongst the indigenous, Pasifika, and the rest of society in Aotearoa, real progress can happen that will be resilient enough to withstand the physical and mental tests that events like the pandemic pose.

          To be completely successful, this effort will also need to include the anti-vaxxers, libertarians, and others. This may prove even more difficult than building bridges of unity with Maori & Pasifika folk. Nevertheless, it must happen at some stage because the need for unity demands it.

          I firmly believe that the development of spiritual virtues and adherence to spiritual principles are essential to this very high bar for success.

          In this belief I am not alone. The Baha´i Faith welcomes any opportunity to work with members of other religions and with spiritually guided individuals and groups. Finding ways to increase unity amongst people is key.

        • weka

          and yet the housing crisis is still raging and along with sub livable benefits is a core reason why we have so much poverty and disenfranchisement in NZ.

          What I said about Labour above doesn't mean they haven't also done good things. Having done good things doesn't negate the point I made.

          The cannabis referendum happened during the pandemic, it wasn't our finest democratic hour. As a health and justice issue I can't see any reason why legalisation or decriminalisation shouldn't be revisited.

    • Kirk-RS 11.3

      Thanks Weka for the technical support!

      One major typo in my post that needs correcting:

      Even Maori/Pasifika formal leaders and informal gang leaders who sincerely worked to overcome their member/followers´ ¨bad behaviours¨ were unable to accomplish enough to save government´s long-standing COVID initiative.

    • RedLogix 11.4


      Welcome to The Standard – which you will note is a political blog. You may want to take that into account.

      Secondly I note that your first comment here contains a heavy undertone of anti-white rhetoric – which are not only unhelpful to your aims – but are essentially racist in nature. We do not accept the denigration of any group of people based on their skin colour alone. In my role as moderator this is a warning to be more careful in future.

      I recognise and understand your motives – but I will not hesitate to act even handedly.

      • Kirk-RS 11.4.1

        @RedLogix –

        Thank you for the Baha'i greeting, and for the welcome to The Standard!

        If you are being polite and sensitive with me, I appreciate that very much.

        Perhaps it is more than that? Might you be an active seeker after spiritual Truth?

        You say I ought to take into account that this is a "political blog". Would you please say more about that, so that I can try to follow your advice to the best of my ability?

        You also say my first, longer post "contains a heavy undertone of anti-white rhetoric". Can you be more specific about what you mean by this? Perhaps you could single out at least one example in detail to show why you think this is so?

        You say The Standard does not accept "the denigration of any group of people based on their skin colour alone". I definitely agree with that principle, which fully accords with Baha'i values as I understand them and which I have actively promoted for many years.

        In that spirit, I am careful to use terms like "white-identified", "people of colour" and "indigenous" to refer to people who are treated as separate and distinctive categories within their own social context. I do not ascribe to people remaining locked into such categories based on skin colour or any other superficial feature. The goal of the Baha'i Faith is to promote the Oneness of humanity by taking practical steps toward greater unity. Hard-shell categories obstruct this process, so naturally I oppose them.

        On the other hand, to behave as if such categories have no current social relevance would be to perpetuate an inaccurate picture. I find that such inaccuracy almost always serves the needs of dominant social groups. In the case of Aotearoa/NZ — as in so many other places around the world affected by colonialism, imperialism, and racism over a long stretch of time — this is the white-identified people, officially classified as "European" by Stats NZ.

        The definition of "denigration" which I prefer to use is "unfair criticism of the character of a person or group". From my current perspective — which I hasten to add is always open to modification through honest and open consultation — I have made a deliberate effort to analyse the social dynamics of Aotearoa fairly and accurately.

        There are no angels or devils present in this country, or in any other. Everyone has a higher and lower nature, and almost always exhibits elements of both. The complex interplay of culture and society, affected by power relations (including formal politics) produces certain conditions and expectations. Individuals have a range of choices in how they decide to behave, but culture, society and politics can create strong pressures to think and act in certain ways. Those with advantage and privilege usually face the least pressure and have the greatest freedom of action. Those lacking such benefits face the strongest constraints and are more likely to "behave badly" in the estimation of those with power and authority.

        In certain situations, like the elimination strategy adopted by Government to seek the complete defeat of COVID-19, the longstanding inequities generated by the complex interplay of conditions offer opportunities for typically disfavoured or disreputable individuals and groups (including gangs, human traffickers, and drugs dealers) to have an outsized negative impact on the outcome. I think the evidence of the past year or so demonstrates that this has taken place with regard to Maori/Pasifika folk playing a major role first in delaying and now preventing the elimination strategy from succeeding.

        Now, if I simply blamed the indigenous Maori and other people of colour for doing this, that would certainly be a form of denigration — though not strictly speaking based on skin colour alone. Skin colour forms the foundation on which an entire social/cultural reality has been erected over a long span of time.

        But it would nevertheless be a form of denigration, because it would not be fair. It would ignore the role played by Europeans (really mostly from Britain/UK) in creating this reality through historical and still-ongoing processes related to colonialism, imperialism, and racism. Indeed, I think it would be fair to assign the European colonists and their descendants the dominant role in the process, in accordance with their degree of responsibility for what has taken place.

        That is why I wrote my long post the way I did. For mine, it parcels out responsibility more fairly amongst the actors involved for the recent failure of the COVID elimination policy than narratives found elsewhere in the media and online.

        In a different social/cultural reality, with greater empathy, honesty and care propelling forward the process of unity, the elimination strategy might well have succeeded even against the greater challenges posed by the Delta variant.

        While I deeply admire what PM Ardern has accomplished in the past year and a half with COVID, including her efforts to connect with Maori/Pasifika folk through their formal leaders, I must also note that her focus has not really been on the guts of the social/cultural/economic divide so deeply embedded in the fabric of the nation.

        For the first time, as far as I can determine, she responded to questions about low-income people's special vulnerability to the pandemic just yesterday, during the regular 10 October media conference. She did so only briefly, and for mine inadequately, given her usual high level of performance and grasp of detail. The corrected YouTube transcript is as follows:

        [timestamp: 59:31 = 60:04]

        Question (from "Janae"):
        Prime minister, last week you suggested there could be more financial support on the way for struggling households?

        PM Ardern:
        Oh, yes I… Yeah! I'll get Miss Ciciloni[sp?] to do that. She does have, uh, announcements to make, but I'll leave that to her. I imagine that will be likely. I believe over the course of this week most likely.

        Question (followup from "Janae"?):
        Can you give us any hints as to what that might look like?

        PM Ardern: Well, you've described it really [sic]. We are mindful of the impacts of COVID restrictions on low-income families in particular.

        [PM moved on to the next question on an unrelated topic]

        Watch for yourself and decide if it is unfair to characterise this response as suggesting a lack of focus on the issue, bordering on neglect. No mention of race or ethnicity occurs, but "low-income families" is very likely coded language for Maori and Pasifika people.

        Would it not be expected that financially desperate people would turn to the grey and black markets to earn funds, particularly amidst the housing crisis mentioned by Weka in their post (11 October 2021 at 8:46 am) and the limitations imposed by Alert Levels 3 & 4? Isn't this the sort of behaviour that has likely broken the back of the elimination strategy, in conjunction with the added burdens imposed by the Delta variant? Am I denigrating the PM or white-identified people in general for offering this analysis?

        I will be interested in your thoughts, RedLogix, and those of others who may care to join the consultation here, which I do pray you will permit to continue in your capacity as moderator.

        One last question to you — are you the sole moderator, or are you part of a team? If the latter, I do request that you consult together with members of the team and possibly with me as well if you see fit, either here or offline in some fashion, before limiting or shutting off this exchange.

        Thanks for this opportunity to present some thoughts and information in a forum inhabited by some thoughtful, caring people who want to see things improve for everyone.

        I continue to offer a prayer of protection for all the people of Aotearoa, as I have since the pandemic began.

  12. RedLogix 12

    There is a wide diversity of religious viewpoints here from athiest to commiited believer. As a matter of courtesy the debate here follows the principle of separating religion and politics for the most part. I imagine you are familiar with this idea.

    As for seeking after truth, it seems to me that you may have skipped a letter or two of the alphabet and arrived at the Cult of Woke. But this is just my initial impression, and if there is one thing that I've learned here over the past decade or so is that it's entirely possible to take a good idea and go too far with it.

    As for moderation there is a group of us and we all have different approaches and styles. But as a rule we maintain a unity of purpose.

    • Kirk-RS 12.1

      @Redlogix – Thanks for replying.

      It is good to hear that there is a wide diversity of religious viewpoints at The Standard. Unity can only emerge out of an honest sharing and blending of diverse viewpoints. That is a foundational principle of the Baha´i Faith.

      You say that separating religion from politics is ¨a matter of courtesy¨. Can you say more about how that separation promotes meaningful conversation and consultation here?

      I´m noticing some name-calling and labelling going on in some posts on The Standard, which I personally do not find particularly courteous. Perhaps the presence of some spiritually grounded reference points and principles might increase the degree of courtesy and moderation?

      I did a bit of Internet searching around the phrase you use, ¨Cult of Woke¨. I imediately encountered a good deal of name-calling and invective surrounding that term.

      The Wikipedia definition of ¨Woke¨ seems reasonably objective, and it is one I am readily prepared to accept:

      ¨awareness about racial prejudice and discrimination. It subsequently came to encompass an awareness of other issues of social inequality, for instance, regarding gender and sexual orientation.¨

      I would certainly add to that list awareness of economic and labour-management inequities.

      Wikipedia also reports that the term originated as far back as the Great Depression of the 1930s amongst African Americans in the USA (¨stay woke¨). Only very recently has it come to be used pejoratively, as an insult by those who seek to link the concept with ¨left wing¨ radicalism.

      As a Baha´i, I do not belong to any political party or movement. I strive to find ways to unite and reach consensus, not choose sides.

      The Guardian in 2020 noted:

      today we are more likely to see [the term woke] being used as a stick with which to beat people who aspire to such [positive social] values …

      Criticising “woke culture” has become a way of claiming victim status for yourself rather than acknowledging that more deserving others hold that status. It has gone from a virtue signal to a dog whistle. The language has been successfully co-opted – but as long as the underlying injustices remain, new words will emerge to describe them.

      Words will always be found. The more important question is, will humanity find a way to stop battling over them? I want to contribute to ending the battle.

      Prefixing the term ¨cult¨ doubles down on the insult, and further seeks to demonise other people. The goal appears to be to gee people up and continue the battle.

      I can imagine that those labelled as ¨cult of woke¨ might be tempted to respond by labelling their critics as members of things like a ¨death cult¨ — extreme libertarians holding personal expression above the health of many others in a pandemic, for example.

      This sort of backbiting is expressly forbidden in the Baha´i Faith, and I will not indulge in it here on The Standard or anywhere else.

      I will ask those using any such labels to explain their meaning and content, to offer my own reflections on what lies behind such labels and the process of labelling, and to invite the users of such labels and other observers to reflect upon them as well.

      If positive consultation and meaningful conversation cannot be achieved at a particular moment in time, then I will exercise the kindness of leaving the labelers to themselves, without employing any parting insults, criticisms or labels myself.

      Redlogix, I would still welcome further feedback from you about how to behave in a ¨political blog¨ and what you find in my posts that qualifies as ¨anti-white rhetoric¨.

      Others are welcome to make their own contributions as well, of course!

      • Ad 12.1.1

        Kirk, as a practicing Catholic, I can tell you that coming here hoping to be protected by abstract nouns like 'civility' or 'decency' or 'sharing' or 'loving' or 'caring' or indeed even worse 'meaningful' will survive about as long here as a kite in a hurricane, to quote James Bond.

        Bring your best game, bring well-marshalled facts, listen to the moderators, and bring concision.

        Those who still maintain a primary spiritual core will find there is seriously no quarter given here. Nor should there be.

        • weka

          I might have to steal that when explaining TS to people.

        • Kirk-RS

          @Ad – Thanks for sharing about your religious practice.

          I do not seek to wrap myself in any set of words. Children require protection. More mature people can choose to take the risk of vulnerability as the price of admission to an opportunity for making some progress. I deliberately choose the riskier path leading to increasing maturity, however imperfectly. I rely on my wits, spiritual guidance from the Higher Power, and the contributions of other people like you to adjust my course to keep me on the path as effectively as possible.

          I wonder why you choose to set apart "meaningful" as the worst of the words on your list?

          Telos ("the principal end, aim, purpose"- Strong's Greek Concordance) is the root word of teleology, a fundamental concept in Catholic theology. Various sources I have looked at gravitate toward the following consensus definition:

          the doctrine that there is design, purpose, or finality in the world, that effects are in some manner intentional, and that no complete account of the universe is possible without reference to final causes

          Of course Catholicism is a "big tent" containing many different flavours, but I wonder if any branch of Catholicism would entirely dismiss the word "meaningful" the way you appear to do here. I don't see how you can dispose of meaning and still keep the vital Catholic doctrine of teleology. I would certainly not feel comfortable as a Baha'i doing without the concept.

          Since you are a practising Catholic, perhaps you could consult with others in your congregation and/or institutional leadership about this? I pray you will be as interested in receiving such feedback as I am, if you are willing to share it with me.

          I can relate to the tension you seem to be expressing in your post between "spirit talk" and "hard-edged pragmatism". There is an expectation that the rough and tumble of the real world will cut to ribbons anything that is squishy, touchy-feely, and impractical. Perhaps that is why we need to return to the spiritual on a regular basis — weekly services, study groups, even daily prayer for some — to refresh the frayed connections and repair the damage done.

          Uniting and binding together Substance & Spirit is not an easy thing to accomplish, including for Baha'is. Like all difficult things, it requires practice and, ideally, collective sharing and mutual support.

          I am confident that the fictional Commander Bond, while certainly offering a bit of recreational fun mostly to men and boys over the past 50 years or so, is not a particularly durable spiritual guide.

          The words on your list will survive because they have already managed to do so for many centuries, milleniums in fact. The Enlightenment did not kill them, and to this day there are quite a number of practising believers amongst professional scientists and engineers. I do not imagine that The Standard can accomplish the job of destruction either.

          For these reasons I do not fear what may happen here on The Standard. If consultation cannot go forward in ways that combine the practical and the spiritual, I will graciously withdraw, at least for a period of time.

          I have faith that the inate will to progress in the good can never be entirely extinguished in people or their creations, and that the Higher Power by whatever name is lovingly guiding humanity toward maturity. This is not built on mere hope, but on belief that arises from a genuine religious experience, supported by religious writings and institutions.

          Of course, the Higher Power's guidance may have to take various forms of "tough love" and "natural consequences." We are no longer children waiting to be rescued, and "happily-ever-after" endings are the stuff of fairy tales.

          Saint Paul tells us we must put such childish things aside as we become adults (1 Cor 13:11). That includes ending the desire to do battle over political issues, at some point. I choose to test the waters as best I can to see if the battle can be reduced and perhaps replaced by collaboration and cooperation at least in selected areas. That seems to be what PM Ardern is attempting to accomplish with the “Team of 5 Million” during the pandemic, and with a considerable degree of success despite the latest troubles presented by the Delta variant and some uncooperative team members.

          Never have the old sayings "God helps those who help themselves & each other" and "many hands make lighter work" been more true than today, and going forward into what looks like a very challenging future.

          • Ad

            Plenty of states still exhibit telic drive. It's a modernist inheritance.

            Best not try to quote the Bible at me. You'll find I'm better at it.

            Unlike the mainstream religions, it's not the endurance of words that matter in politics. It's all about the delivery.

            • Kirk-RS


              @Ad –

              Bible quoting: As you said a bit earlier, bring your best game. I do not fear those who quote their scriptures well. I consider people who do that to be a very valuable resource in a consultation. I do not treat it as a competition because we can all be winners through sharing.

              Delivery of words is all that matters: I know you admire concision, but I would really appreciate it if you would expand at least a little bit on your pithy hypothesis, and possibly offer a favourite example or two.

        • Kirk-RS

          @Ad –

          You advise me to listen to the moderators. That is sound generic advice, and I am eager to do so!

          So far, only RedLogix has made an appearance here. Perhaps other moderators would be willing to express themselves in some fashion?

          I note that RedLogix posted that:

          … we [moderators] all have different approaches and styles. But as a rule we maintain a unity of purpose.

          My experience over several decades of mediation and group facilitation suggests that any "natural" consensus is subject to drift and even breakdown over time, unless intentional effort is put forth to maintain consensus and deal with conflict as it arises.

          I would be interested to know how the group of moderators functions and what steps if any have been taken to maintain internal group unity and integrity.

          Offering such assurances, along with greater transparency and access to the posting public, would go a long way toward building confidence in the capacity of The Standard to moderate difficult politically oriented forums.

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