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Human rights and MIQ

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, January 10th, 2022 - 155 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, human rights, Media, uncategorized - Tags:

Well known socialite, fashion blogger and apparent Constitutional Law expert Jamie Ridge recently had her views prominently placed in the august pages of the largest paper in the country the New Zealand Herald.  Her clear conclusion was that the MIQ arrangements were completely unconstitutional.

I am no socialite and I do not blog about fashion but I have a law degree and I have spent 37 years practising law.

And with the greatest of respect to Ms Ridge I get the impression that  she does not know what she is talking about and apart from the clicks I do not understand why the Herald would have converted her Instagram rant into an actual story.

A review of cases relating to the Government’s handling of Covid gives a clear impression of the balancing act the courts have applied to each case.

There have already been a number of legal challenges to the Government’s various Covid policies.  The vaccine mandate has had three attempts to rule it out, each unsuccessful.  Aviation security employees, and midwives and customs officers have each failed.

There was also an attempt to have the Health Orders underpinning the closure of businesses, physical distancing and the requirement for people to stay at home ruled illegal.  This case made its way to the Court of Appeal who ruled that the limitations on these rights were justified.

In its decision the Court provided this description provided by Ashley Blomfield about the early days of Covid and how the Government response was formulated.  The passage provides a fascinating background to what was happening at the time.

The timeline of what happened was almost like a wave coming in: we could see it emerging in the distance during January and started watching carefully. In February the wave grew bigger and came closer: we started putting in place border protections and preparing the health system to deal with outbreaks. By March we were realising that this threat was unprecedented, and if the virus got established in New Zealand it would be catastrophic – there would be many cases and deaths, the health system would be overwhelmed and the impact on society and the economy would be appalling. We made the call that we did not have the option of “coping” with the virus as envisaged in the “manage it” phase of our pandemic plan:11 our only option was a prolonged effort to keep it out and stamp it out. Furthermore it was clear that decisions needed to be made quickly and pre-emptively, hence the “go hard, go early” approach.

Then came a tipping point around the weekend of 21 – 22 March: modelling coming in from experts, both in New Zealand and around the world, was showing that once community transmission took hold, we would lose our window to stamp out the virus, that there would only be one shot at this. At the same time, we were getting our first confirmed community transmission cases. We realised that “go early” had changed to “go right now”, and there was no time left. What we thought could be done in two weeks or two days had to happen now: it was quite literally now or never. Hard decisions were required, and we made them, as it was now clear that this was the best – in fact the only – way to protect the health and well-being of New Zealanders, prevent our health system being overwhelmed, and avoid prolonged damage to our economy.

In this case the applicant claimed breaches of six distinct rights, freedom of expression, manifestation of religion and belief. freedom of peaceful assembly. freedom of association. freedom of movement. and liberty of the person.

The Court agreed that the measures were prima facie restrictions on the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association and movement but considered that these restrictions “are clearly justified in a free and democratic society in order to protect the health and wellbeing of members of society by preventing and limiting the impact of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19.”

The judges did not spend too much time on the subject.  But clearly their view was that being in the midst of a pandemic means that rights are going to be justifiably curtailed.

With regards to MIQ there are as far as I am aware two cases questioning the policy’s validity.

One involved a rich lister Murray Bolton who threw his considerable resources at an application for judicial review seeking that he be allowed to isolate at home rather than in MIQ.  He was double vaccinated.  The essence of his case was that the notice creating the MIQ system had been misinterpreted. MBIE had interpreted the phrase “other needs” in clause 12 of the Isolation and Quarantine order as medical needs and the Court said this particular phrase had to be interpreted more widely.

Of note is that the system itself was not under attack, just some of the finer details associated with the system.

Mr Bolton succeeded and the Judge ordered that his application be reconsidered.  I am not aware what happened finally but the Government had already introduced a trial project allowing some to isolate at home.

The other case is pending and is due to be heard in a couple of weeks’ time.

Ms Ridge may think that MIQ is completely unconstitutional but I don’t know what else the Government can do.  It is doubtful that more resources can be applied to increase the numbers of beds and in any case increasing numbers only increases the risk of Omicron escaping.  All the Government can do is adjust priorities and perhaps shorten the time that people are required to stay in MIQ or increase the numbers who can isolate at home although after the recent experience with DJ Dimension and with Omicron cases surging you wonder why any Government in its right mind would loosen current restrictions.  Isolating at home may be easier to achieve but this could potentially be a recipe for disaster.  It would only take one person to go walk about for the variant to escape and as shown overseas once that particular genie is out of the bottle it is impossible to put it back in.

It is not as if the Government wants to keep these measures in place permanently.  It previously planned for a gradual reopening of the borders after the introduction of the traffic light system.  In November it announced that returning kiwis from Australia who were double vaccinated would be allowed to quarantine from home from next week.  The emergence of Omicron changed all that and has forced a reversal of that policy.

Anyone currently in Australia or the United States who thinks that we should just open up given what is currently happening in those countries should seriously review their priorities.

And the trouble with Omicron is that every time you increase the numbers going through MIQ you increase the risk of the variant escaping.  Even with existing requirements to have a clear test 72 hours before departure cases keep popping up and they are currently on the increase.

All of the decided cases show a consistent approach.  The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 is relevant but section 5 shows the rights are not omnipotent and are subject to such limitations that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

In the middle of a pandemic the Government can take action for the common good even though this may infringe individual rights or at least people’s expectations of what those rights are.

Anyone thinking that the MIQ system is completely unconstitutional needs to recalibrate their thinking.  In the middle of a global pandemic individual rights have to be modified for the common good.

155 comments on “Human rights and MIQ ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Heh. Herald supports kiwi diy ethos! Aotearoa being a country without a constitution, any political activist claiming the govt is unconstitutional is obviously using the sense of humour as a political weapon. Good on her!

    Do-it-yourself constitutional law ought to become more of a thing in this country. It's a century now since surrealism featured in the avante garde so clearly time for a revival!

    That this charge is being led by a woman is even more noteworthy. Herald as bastion of conservatism in defence of the patriarchy has decided to bet both ways. Such innovation is to be commended. devil

  2. Pete 2

    It’s 2022. Who to believe in a matter of constitutional rights?

    In one corner a well known socialite and fashion blogger, in the other someone with a law degree who’s spent 37 years practising law.

    Oops, missed the other bits about the first corner. Someone who is used to getting their own way and expects to get their own way right when they want it. And is followed by many online with the same ‘all about them’ mind set.

    "I have hundreds of messages from you all, and I'm so sorry you're going through what we are. It's horrible, isolating and completely unconstitutional. And made worse by people weighing in who absolutely cannot relate to what we are going through. But know you're not alone and you're in my thoughts!

    Oh dear. My heart weeps.

    "Who is running this show. A complete lack of competence. Just a bunch of muppets.

    "@jacindaardern your lack of compassion for those people abroad is mind boggling. You need to learn to practice what you preach.”

    Well Jaime Ridge, those running the show have been working their arses off for two years. They’ve been doing to it help everyone, rich and poor, large and small, those doing real work and those doing other things, those who were caught out overseas and those who jaunted off and wanted to come back.

    Organising MIQ has posed a few challenges. It works out that every single month since March 2020 9,500 have been through MIQ, a total of almost 210,000.

    The main problem with the MIQ system is that those involved at any of the many levels have apparently been nowhere near as competent as they should have been. The wrong people have been in the jobs. 22 months of relentless media have suggested that.

    The people who could have done the jobs, should have done them, instead of bringing their genius to the task of helping individuals and the whole country ended up talking to media people. And doing things like the vital, crucial work of ‘fashion blogging.’

  3. Sanctuary 3

    "… I do not understand why the Herald would have converted her Instagram rant into an actual story…"

    In a general sense MIQ is a useful stick for the right to beat the government with – the Herald can run an endless stream of hard luck stories about MIQ sourced from the middle class and elites social media feeds without having to do any actual journalism and they are not obliged to try and offer any sort of reasonable alternative – they can just run an endless whine fest.

    A wealthy Pakeha couple from Mt. Eden who have been stuck in Aussie for six months in no great privation after travelling there in the Trans Tasman bubble can get on the 6pm news to wail at the terrible injustice that "strangers are packing up their house". Grounded Kiwis is a parade of white people called Emma and Timothy all clearly raised in the countries better suburbs. Jamie Ridge is a good for nothing parasite famous for being born wealthy to a "celebrity" couple. And yes – race is important. It is impossible to understand the narrative except in terms of a wealthy settler class vs. the rest. Our MSM has pretty much been supremely uninterested in the fate of Indians or anyone else poor and dark skinned, except to cry the odd crocodile tears before moving back to some pretty young thing from St. Heliers who can't get back from her ski holiday in Austria.

    What we are seeing is the power of class privilege, of that pampered class of New Zealanders who are outraged they are not able to buy their way to the front of any queue as they are accustomed, who are friends with and/or have privileged access to MSM journalists. They are the class and who are, by and large, the administers, winners and beneficiaries of the current economic order.

    In other words, the team of five million with all it's saccarine and insincere thanks to lowly service and retail workers is well over. It was over the day the well off got vaccinated and decided it was "safe" from COVID. It's back to a one sided class war of wealth and privilege railing against restrictions designed to protect those people who they actually don't give a shit about. The bottom line is they want their pampered life back, and they don't care if lesser sorts pay for that with their lives.

    • Anne 3.1

      Sanctuary @ 3


    • tc 3.2

      +1000 what we are also seeing is MZME applying zero fact checking to a social media post i.e. effectively publishing bs.

    • woodart 3.3

      great post sanctuary

    • Great post Sanc. I think you are being too gentle on the privileged wankers. smiley

      • Sanctuary 3.4.1

        Well, you know, it is bloody annoying to be stuck off shore. But just once I'd like to see one of these moaners acknowledge their privilege or better, have the government get cut a bit of slack from them and our MSM and a bit of understanding that trying to run a complex economy with a managed border after forty years of neoliberal laissez-faire and a culture of worshipping at the altar of narcissistic hyper-individualism and trying to to do it with a gutted and colonised civil service is actually really, really hard.

    • mickysavage 3.5

      Yep. I dream of being stuck in a foreign country for six months with nothing much to do …

    • B Russell 3.6

      I agree with everything in your comment that's rational, but take exception where you o refer to a persons skin colour or bringing in colonialism without considering we are all colonists of this land a good few hundred years ago, i.e. we were all born here…as kiwis, connected to the land.

      So pointing out some people's lives may not be as hard as others, or their community spirit is questionable may be valid, but please, don't use hurtful language to fellow kiwi's instead of a solid argument.

    • Marion 3.7

      Your comment is extremely vile, racist, sexist and dehumanizing. Racist because you are completely invalidating the stories of Indian, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Islander, African and Maori families who are also apart of our Grounded Kiwis group by claiming that we only have white people and that only white NZ expats are suffering. It is absolutely not our fault that the MSM is uninterested in the stories of the 'poor and dark skinned' (and that is vile and racist too), but we look out for the 'poor and dark skinned' in OUR group. There are plenty of poor people and plenty of dark skinned people in our group, don't you worry. Disgusting way to talk about people of colour.

      And saying that the only reason we are upset is because 'some pretty young thing from St. Heliers can't get back from her ski holiday in Austria.' How sexist can you get, what a dehumanising and degrading way to talk about young women! I used to be a ski instructor! This will be my THIRD season where I cannot practise, because our city in China is locked down again, three months of the year so far! I have savings to cover it – what about the locals who don't? Or who are barely getting by when before they were doing ok? What about those with terminally ill relatives at home who they CAN'T GET TO?

  4. But, but, but I am an important person as I am the daughter of two self proclaimed important people.

    I always wonder why these people are overseas. Did she go while the pandemic has been with us? Got very little sympathy bordering on none for those who left then and now want to return as they knew when they left that the future was uncertain.

    MS 'Ashley' (Blomfield)

    [Thanks I was typing this in the car. Will correct – MS]

  5. Gosman 5

    The Omicron variant should not change the governments previous strategy at all. Indeed it should have confirmed it. Covid-19 has become endemic Worldwide and also likely less deadly.

    The government finally acknowledged prior to Omicron being identified that NZ can not stay isolated long term and the plan was to open up once we have reached a certain level of vaccination and had time to put in place measures for dealing with outbreaks. We now have over 92 percent second dose coverage and have had plenty of time to get things ready.

    While many here may attack Ms Ridge for her views they do in fact represent a valid position in that continuing to keep NZers from freely travelling without the restrictions of mandatory MIQ is something that is unsustainable.

    • Nic the NZer 5.1

      We are thinking the pandemic is unsustainable as well. Maybe we just keep MIQ till its over?

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        Do you know what "Endemic" means?

        • Johnny on the Spot


          • Gosman

            Smallpox was eliminated Worldwide. Covid-19 is unlikely to. Hence we either keep ourselves isolated via a permanent MIQ system or we open up to allowing the various variants in.

        • Nic the NZer

          Maybe MIQ should stay until the virus is in a mild endemic stage of its evolution. Is that the correct usage?

          • Gosman

            What is a mild endemic stage? Can you please expand upon this? I very much doubt this is a medical term in common usage and I suspect you made it up.

            • Nic the NZer

              Mild is an adverb, it modifies (qualifies) the acceptance of endemic covid to only those infections which are not going to cause a public health emergency.

              • Gosman

                Which is at what level? How do you determine that?

                • Nic the NZer

                  The MoH seem to have a reasonable handle on this, all things considered.

                  • Gosman

                    The MoH has made ZERO comment about whether the virus being endemic in the rest of the World is mild or not. I think it is unlikely to do so.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Clearly your employer didn't need you to worry about what the MoH advice has been (for internet trolling purposes) but there has quite clearly been thought put into the capacity of the health system here to deal with covid community spread. Most importantly the advice to the government has been realistic.

                    • weka

                      The MoH has made ZERO comment about whether the virus being endemic in the rest of the World is mild or not.

                      I would guess they have made no comment because it's not mild. Seems like the only people who think its mild are libertarians who want a justification for opening the borders. Mostly people are just guessing. Which is why you qualified your first statement with the word 'likely'.

                      Covid-19 has become endemic Worldwide and also likely less deadly.

                    • weka

                      Mild is still deadly and problematically morbid. I see medical and health system people saying that omicron is potentially less deadly, but they're also saying that less deadly individuals is more deadly at the population (and health system) level if more people get the virus. Hardly rocked science.

                    • Gosman

                      I'm not the one using terms like "mild" to decide whether or not the virus being endemic elsewhere should be a determining factor in opening our borders.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      If bubonic plague was endemic across the rest of the world I would think even David Seymour would be calling for immediate quaratine facilities. I'm starting to question if you know what endemic means, because it doesn't mean giving up on public health measures.

    • McFlock 5.2

      Why is it unsustainable?

      • Gosman 5.2.1

        Because the NZ economy relies on interaction between here and overseas which is heavily reduced when international travel is restricted by the MIQ system. On top of that NZers generally like to travel overseas for personal reasons and many of us have family offshore. While we can understand travel like this might be restricted for a couple of years there is little chance in my view that the majority of us will put up with an effective national home detention system on a permanent basis. This last point will become even more prominent when we see the rest of the World learning to live with Covid-19 and international travel becomes freer in places like Australia.

        • Dennis Frank

          Inevitable that we'll have to learn to live with the thing but too early to establish a basis for a new normality. I'm waiting to judge the pattern of efficacy of the booster as omicron invades us.

        • McFlock

          Oh, "sustainable" as in "will eventually be undermined by white-anters and merchants of doom".

          Fair call. The covid borgs who insist we will be assimilated will eventually be correct, because human stupidity knows no bounds. But there's no actual reason why they are correct, other than their constant whinging will eventually break the public will.

          In the meantime, the rest of us will work together to keep each other alive.

          • Gosman

            Do you want to enforce a permanent MIQ system on NZ? The government certainly has not indicated that is it's plan. If that is what is on offer then we need a debate about it and not one that dissolves in to puerile accusations of totalitarianism or death merchants from either side.

            • McFlock

              Want to? Nah.

              For me, it's still in the range of "even after covid, if that's ever a thing, maybe a week or so for all travellers might save quite a few lives, there's an interesting thought".

              After all, reputedly it used to take six months in a leaky boat to get here. A week in a nice hotel is tolerable compared to that.

              • Gosman

                I think it will be almost impossible to implement a permanent MIQ arrangement along the lines you suggest once the rest of the World moves on from Covid-19. I'd love to see the left leaning political parties propose such a thing though as it would offer ample ammunition to the right.

                • McFlock

                  Yes, it's been obvious for years that you are a moral vacuum who judges policy only by whether it will put your team in power.

                  Still, it's an interesting thought – after all, how much of our flu or RSV is imported, I wonder?

            • weka

              Do you want to enforce a permanent MIQ system on NZ? The government certainly has not indicated that is it's plan. If that is what is on offer then we need a debate about it and not one that dissolves in to puerile accusations of totalitarianism or death merchants from either side.

              No-one is offering that. What we might end up with is a modified version of what we have now.

              Here's my question, if we had a pandemic with a higher death rate, what rate would in your mind justify leaving teh borders as they are now? 10% death rate from any infection of a new virus? 25%? 50%

              Am curious if your libertarian values here are absolute or relative.

              • Gosman

                I'm not getting into hypotheticals. What I would like to deal with is the reality of the situation we face now.

                NZ has a vaccine programme AND is improving it’s health capacity to deal with outbreaks of Covid (regardless of the variety). The MIQ system was meant to give NZ the time to ensure both were up to scratch. It was NEVER designed to keep the entire country safe from Covid-19 forever.

                Ultimately we have always been trying to lower to an acceptable level rather than eliminate the risks associated with this pandemic. That level has to be a political decision not one made by "experts" as it involves a multitude of areas of society.

                • weka

                  and yet you are unwilling to express an opinion on what that acceptable level should be.

                  Instead, you want NZ to drop its major protections and accept deaths and disability as well as health system overload.

                  As far as I know the country is still run by the Labour Party in government, their cabinet makes the decisions, so don’t know what you mean by it not being political.

        • I wonder if Gossy has heard of a phenomena called climate change (he may be a denier for all I know)?

          Travel as normal (TAN) cannot continue if we are to have any chance of staving off a climate catastrophe. Whether we like it or not, NZ will/must become more of a remote place at the end of the world where few visit.

          So really we can and must keep the borders closed or at best, only opened a crack.

          There are some hard realities the self entitled elites will be forced to face, and no TAN is one of them.

        • DS

          The rest of the world is currently seeing their health systems destroyed by this thing.

          If you could guarantee that Covid would kill no more than 300-500 a year, and that the health system wouldn't collapse every six months, then that's one thing. But you can't. And until then, MIQ must stay.

          (As incomprehensible as it may sound to those who've drunk the neoliberal kool-aid, I actually have no problems with indefinite closed borders. The borders aren't closed to goods, of course).

    • Gosman: My understanding, from reading many things including the link below is that two Pfizer doses do not give very good protection against catching Omicron, though it will probably keep most people out of hospital.

      Given that this is the case, and given the current lack of knowledge about Omicron and given its hugely infectious nature, I think we should not be opening up the border until 90% of over 12's have had a booster shot.

      This would mean the border being opened in June or July all things being equal. So Grounded Kiwis will have to just keep on whinging about the MIQ system until July.


      • Gosman 5.3.1

        Why are we trying to stop people catching the Omicron variant though? I can understand why we don't want people hospitalised in large numbers but if our current vaccination rate achieved that then what is the issue?

        • weka

          Long covid, covid deaths, health system overrun.

          Omicron may be milder but if more people get it in a short space of time then that's a different kind of overload on health care systems. Think not just hospitals but aged care facilities as staff are shifted to hospitals. Or ambulances taking a hour to get called out to a regular heart attack.

          How far do you live from a hospital that can manage servere covid? I live a number of hours. A large omicron outbreak here would put severe stress on local services as well as centralised ones. You think they're going to transport server covid cases from here to a big hospital if the big hospital is already full?

          To put that in perspective, and I may be wrong about this but in the Southern DHB afaik Dunedin Public is the only hospital that can manage severe covid in Otago and Southland. What do you think will happen to people living in Western Southland? Have you thought about these kinds of details?

          • Bearded Git

            The World Health Organisation has yet to accept that Omicron is milder. (can't reference where I read this at the weekend because I'm on my phone and just leaving a cafe)

          • Gosman

            The evidence so far does not suggest health systems are being overrun by people with the Omicron variant. Even in countries where the people catching Covid-19 are many times greater than they have previously experienced the rates of hospitalisations are much lower.

            • weka

              It's not just covid hospitalisations, it's the impact on the whole system. Look at NSW right now and what their concerns are for the next weeks.

          • Gosman

            Also what is your solution to the location issue of medical centers equipped to deal with severe Covid cases in Southland/Otago area and why isn't the government looking to fix this issue? Surely that is one of the major reasons why we are trying to buy time at the moment yet I see no proposed solution for it.

            • weka

              You can't just build a big new hospital in a low population area. It's not logistically feasible, and it's not appropriate use of limited funding.

              Afaik, the DHBs have done what they can but are up against decades of under funding and monkey wrenching by neoliberal governments.

              • Gosman

                What you are essentially stating is that there will be no solution to the problem with accessing severe Covid care locally in much of the lower South Island regardless of funding. In which case why bring it up?

        • DS

          Why are we trying to stop people catching the Omicron variant though?

          *Looks at New South Wales.*

          Maybe you could move to the Covid-ridden paradise that is the rest of the world, since you clearly find their handling of the virus so much better than ours.

          • weka

            I'm not really a fan of the 'if you don't like NZ, then leave' stuff. But I completely agree that if someone thinks covid running free is a good idea, they really should hop on a plane to Sydney right now. And hang out for the next 6 months, report back.

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    I don't disagree with your description of Jaime Ridge however one of the issues that we face today, and I'm not entirely sure of how to describe it, is that we have more knowledge and the ability to access that knowledge than at any time in human history and yet we're, collectively, willing to just go along with anything any sort of proclaimed 'expert' says and that we dare not question them because they have the 'knowledge' and if we do dare question them we get publicly humiliated and, possibly, jailed depending on what is said.

    Using Joe Rogan as an example, he was prescribed Ivermectin as part of his treatment for covid and all the msm outlets said was he was on horse de-wormer, they desaturated his picture to make him look more unhealthy, they did everything they could to discredit him

    We've seen what happens with religious institutions, government institutions, any institution that you do not question and that is when a 'we know best' mindset takes over and any number of bad things happen

    So if it takes a 'non expert' with a public profile to bring up ideas that the establishment doesn't like then good, more ideas not less are what we need

    • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1

      So if it takes a 'non expert' with a public profile to bring up ideas that the establishment doesn't like then good, more ideas not less are what we need

      Absolutely, as long as they are good ideas – whinges and moans are a dime a dozen.

      OK, so Covid's no joke, but we've got to find a way to keep laughing
      When can Barry Soper dine al fresco again?

      On the stroke of the latest lockdown lifting – there is no more meaningful measure of time in modern life than 11.59pm – long queues of the hungry and righteous were able to place their orders in fast food drive-throughs all across Auckland,
      – Steve Braunias


      • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1

        Sure but the problem is, these days anyway, if an idea comes from a non-expert then its deemed not worthy without anyone bothering to see if its a good idea or not

        • McFlock

          Mostly because they're usually bloody stupid ideas.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Experts don't make bloody stupid ideas?

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              I'd suggest that “experts” tend to come up with fewer "bloody stupid ideas" in their field(s) of expertise than do non-experts – but then I'm no expert.

              The broader questions are – ‘What are experts really good for anyway?’, and ‘Why do we even need them?’ Sure, maybe for brain or heart surgery, or for designing rockets, but apart from surgery, rockets, public health policies, telecommunications, education, etc… what have these so-called ‘experts’ ever done for anyone – what earthly good are they, eh?

              • Puckish Rogue

                Yes, yes bow down to your betters, do not question them for they are exulted and you (all of us non experts) are a worm and thall shalt not question your superiors for are they not superior in thought and word and deed?

                • McFlock

                  I don't tell mechanics how to do their job, they don't tell me how to do mine.

                  Because both of us would look stupid if we tried.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    I agree. Questioning is bad. Accept what people tell you always.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, there's "what's this, why do you do it like that" questioning. That's usually cool if it's not just a ploy to waste time (eg gosman).

                      But the post concerns someone with little subject area knowledge making claims about constitutional law. That's a waste of everyone else's time.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Its also a good way to get the word out that no one can question it unless you're a member of the club

                    • McFlock

                      Is that any more of an obstacle to good health policy than, say, taking their views and then giving equal weight to the clinical prognostications of folk who literally don't know one end of an airway from the other?

                      Much of the medical and public health "questioning" over the last couple of years has just been fucking embarrassing. And that has mostly distracted from the actual areas that should have been foreseen and could have been reasonably improved.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      So what if the 'questioning' has been embarrassing, who here doesn't get asked pointless, silly questions on a daily basis

                      Questioning is a right we should never take for granted

                    • McFlock

                      Unfortunately, it's also a time-wasting conceit every ass takes for granted.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      That is true. Its also true that the alternative would be much, much worse.

                    • McFlock

                      I'm not so sure, given some of the shit takes lately. "We should live with the virus" being an especially lethal example.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  What an odd response [bow down to your (exulted) betters/superiors, you worm] – did an expert hurt you when you were young? I was certainly upset by the brief discomfort that followed a tonsillectomy at a tender age (6 was it?) Even the icecream was difficult to swallow – thank goodness (and the hospital kitchen) for the lime jelly. 13 years later it was an appendectomy, and still I failed to question my ‘superiors’ – how naive.

                  The fact that there are some who are more knowledgeable than me about almost every matter under the sun (barring some personal details) doesn't upset me in the slightest – rather I take great comfort in it.

                  Fwiw, my own inner expert is quite talkative, but a little humility and a healthy dose of realism usually quiets him down.

                  • McFlock

                    Was it Erasmus who was reputedly the last person to know the sum of human knowledge, and therefore the last expert in everything?

                • Rucklands

                  Best comment I saw today re expertise was in TDB – maybe we should listen to Ms Ridge – she was raised by Sally and Matthew so she is probably an expert on muppets.

              • "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

            • McFlock

              Usually at a lower frequency in their area of expertise than some rando.

              They also tend to avoid the "really good ideas" that skip a basic principle or first-year lesson. The shit that's innate from working in the field for ten or twenty years, but takes time to actually go through and argue why convention X is used.

              edit: lol snap drowsy

        • woodart

          how do you define an expert?and how do you get hold of them? there seems to be huge numbers of them on media , but I cant find any in the phone book .are they self -defined or is it a title bestowed on them.?

          • Puckish Rogue

            'are they self -defined or is it a title bestowed on them.?'

            Thats probably as accurate a description as you're ever going to get

          • McFlock

            For many of them, there are literal "capping" and "induction" ceremonies at various levels of "expertise". Complete with titles or letters after their name.

            The sillier the hat, the more expertise they have, as a general rule.

            • Patricia Bremner

              What is expertise? Someone with specialist skills.

              Norm's ENT Surgeon who removes cancers from the face and repairs the disfigurement using plastic surgery and 25 years of training and practice.

              Not your local GP. That is General Skills.

              Jaimie is “self made” Her skill is communication on the internet.

              • McFlock

                True, it's likely almost everyone is an expert at something.

                But all I know about engines is that if my ride starts making funny noises, or stops making noises altogether, it needs to be seen by an expert. Who doesn't need my two cents on what they should do to fix it.

                • woodart

                  your expert who either fixes your bike or removes cancers has a certification as such. same as any QUALIFIED expert. they have an actual qualification from a qualified source. it seems that many "experts" thrown at us in the media are self bestowed with that title. perhaps the media should put actual qualifications up with their "experts" so we can judge whether they are experts, or bullshit merchants . bullshit merchants are a dime a dozen , and there are any number to be found on zbshoutback radio.

                  • McFlock

                    Half of them are experts at self-promotion and little else.

                    • woodart

                      yes, when I see somebody described as an "influencer" I think influenza, which is probably closer to the truth. its interesting to see how language changes and how certain terms, or titles go into and out of favour. consultant now has bad p.r. and being an accountant doesnt have the same ring of respectability it once had. car salesmen are nearly respectable ,and being a lawyer isnt. the media are aware of this and have lumped everybody together as "experts" but we are nearing peak "expert" overload . I wonder what new term will be used to impress us peasants .

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    That's a good point

                    • Anne

                      @ woodart

                      When I see somebody described as an "influencer" I think nut-bar or narcissist depending on what and how they are influencing.


                      It has been my experience that the real peasants (when used in the derogatory sense) are the ones who regard us as the peasants.

  7. Patricia Bremner 7

    Thank you all those who work in MIQ. You have done and are doing an amazing job.

    We have not forgotten Woodhouse "stories and time wasting" with his supposed homeless man getting a "free stay".

    There are always spoiled people who "want it now" and Jaimie Ridge appears to be in that group.

    There were 39 000 wanting rooms in MIQ, last count 10 900* so many have navigated the system and are now home.

    The comments about poor systems and leadership, and digs at Jacinda Ardern's kindness, with no kindness displayed by the fortunate is just sad.

    We are so fortunate, and the small number of disaffected protesters get great air and news time making their views top news.

    Where is the balance in the news of families reunited, lives saved, assistance offered by so many good people in the community and government?

    We now have 241 omicron cases at the border.

    Yesterday Australia had a million people isolating, and the impact on supply chains of medicine tests and food have been stretched to breaking point. They do not get calls to check on their progress or oxygen monitors, they are just overwhelmed. Health workers are exhausted. We do not want that.

    Hang in there folks, our efforts are astounding in the eyes of the world, and the critics do not understand that the hobbits helped win against great odds fighting for the greater good. Arohanui Kia kaha.

    • Gypsy 7.1

      "The comments about poor systems and leadership, and digs at Jacinda Ardern's kindness, with no kindness displayed by the fortunate is just sad. "
      Patricia the 'system' is a dogs breakfast. It has been riddled with problems for months, some technical, some just plain meanness. Here's just three from the past few days:




      This nonsense is having a devastating impact on individuals and families. If you want a recent example outside of a whiny socialite, try this guy.

      • Patricia Bremner 7.1.1

        There is no way we can accommodate everyone at this time, and granted errors have been made, but who would you put in charge? Do you want what Australia now has?

        Our family over there are battling Delta with no help at all. Life is a lottery and some decisions made by people earlier in this pandemic are now biting as it has gone on so long and shows no sign of abating.

        Business will always cry "Open up", but in Australia restrictions are being introduced again, and businesses are failing as staff and customers fall ill, and the financial gain from opening up has proven to be a mirage.

        This Government has been as kind as they can be making some painful decisions to keep people safe. They tried to let more people back into the country, but 43 omicron infections at the border in one day forced a rethink.

        I don't know all the answers, I don't think anyone does, but I do know our mistakes have erred on the side of safety. I have family I have not seen for 3 years. As in the past ages, our goodbyes will be from a distance. That is covid. Even if they or I could travel we might be separated by the disease.

        This is a war footing, but spoiled people who have not experienced hardship do not apparently understand "Community good" or "Community health" and still want "Individualism".

        This situation could last five or ten more years. Those crying for "herd immunity" and "opening up" are in the same camp as Tony Abbott, who believes it is too expensive to keep some people alive. The false idea that systems will cope is severely tested world wide, and moaning about small errors at our border is a luxury we have because our systems are by and large working.

        I firmly believe we are fortunate to be here.

        • Gypsy

          "There is no way we can accommodate everyone at this time, and granted errors have been made, but who would you put in charge? Do you want what Australia now has?"
          I'm not asking for anyone else to be in charge. I asking for those in charge display some foresight and operational competence.

    • Anne 7.2

      Patricia Bremner @ 3

      Between mickysavage, Sanctuary and yourself Patricia its a fait accompli.

  8. Reality 8

    Must admit I am fed up with complaints of people like Jaime Ridge. She is brimming with unearned self-importance and belief in her right to do what she wants, when she wants, even in the middle of a pandemic.

    Just how many more hotels should the government take over to put these people into for their quarantine, let alone find the staff to run them. Sorry, but just as in wartime, lives are being affected greatly, but the government has done a pretty good job really. People have been able to enjoy Christmas and New Year and holiday time with minimal restrictions.

    I too have not seen family for over two years but would not dream of whining to the media as some do. Just have to "suck it up" as the saying goes.

    • Gosman 8.1

      Do you acknowledge that NZ will have to eventually open up to the rest of the World and that means we have to accept we will have outbreaks of Covid-19 variants like Omicron as they are now endemic in other nations?

      • Patricia Bremner 8.1.1

        Do you realise we are not boosted in sufficient numbers to allow Omicron to become endemic. We are trying to achieve this with the use of MIQ and tighter borders.

        Your premise appears to be that this is a permanent state and should be questioned.

        We do have three opposition parties, plus pretty generous news dissemination of alternate views, so fear not Gosman, your concerns are well aired.devil

        • Gosman

          "Not boosted in sufficent numbers" – What does that mean? We are at 92% second doses of the vaccine among over 12's. That is more that most places where the Omicron variant is present.

          • Patricia Bremner

            Those places have concerning numbers of surging cases of covid disrupting their systems.

            The third dose booster is needed to gee up the long term memory of the T cells.

            That will mean those who then get Omicron will be unlikely to need a hospital.

            Each new iteration of this virus will present new and differing challenges. This Omicron variant is so infectious it is the numbers which create havoc. The next might be more deadly.. who knows…? the reverse might be true.

            Our Government has indicated this is a time strategy to allow for boosters and children’s first doses, not a permanent position.

            • Gosman

              I'm comfortable with a tiome strategy IF we then start to open up AFTER we have reached a certain level of preparedness. Otherwise there is really no point in having any preparedness beyond added protection in the event of an outbreak. It is like wearing a raincoat inside on the off chance your roof will spring a leak.

  9. Reality 9

    Gosman, are you content to have 10,000 cases a day in NZ just so we can be open to the world. I am getting it first hand re Sydney where in December there were no restrictions on anything until a week or so ago. Now grocery supplies are severely affected, people wait hours to get a test. It is, to quote a favourite saying of National /Act, a "shambles". Do you want that here?

    • Gosman 9.1

      I don't care how many cases per day we have so long as it is able to be handled in terms of the health system and we have offered our most vulnerable the protection of the population of getting vaccinated.

      • tc 9.1.1

        Go on stick a value on it gossie….how many cases/day do you think we could handle ?

        Bear in mind a systemically underfunded system, non vaxer staff losses, next variants ability to infect/kill etc.

        So many unknowns gossie

        • Gosman

          That is the government's job to determine how many cases we can handle per day and they should be working on plans to ensure we can meet the expected numbers based on a number of variables. They also should be communicating the various approaches to the rest of us so we are prepared. They have failed to do that effectively.

    • Ross 9.2

      are you content to have 10,000 cases a day in NZ

      Oh dear, I thought the scare-mongering was over. I have told you millions of times, don’t exaggerate!

      Let’s talk about deaths. We accept hundreds of road deaths, flu deaths and suicide deaths each year. Then there are the thousands of people who die each year from cancer and heart disease. How many more of each type of death can we accept?

      • Oh dear, Victoria, with a population about the same as NZ, had 50,000 cases yesterday. How's that for scare-mongering?

        • Ross

          Victoria has a number of quality AFL teams. How many quality AFL teams does NZ have? The answer is none which is surprising given we are both identical.

            • Gypsy

              I think the point Ross is trying to make is that the number of cases are less relevant in a highly vaccinated population than deaths.

              One statistic that is informative is excess mortality. In the whole of Australia, the excess mortality for the year to October 2021 was somewhere around 4% more than 2020, and 4.6% above the average from 2015-2019.

              (Of course this only tells part of the story. An analysis of years of life lost would be beneficial, due to the significant bias towards older sufferers in the Covid death data).

              In 2019, there were 34,489 deaths in NZ. A 4% increase in that number would represent around 1,379 additional deaths, however that doesn't take into account NZ's lower city population density, amongst other factors.

              There is some excellent academic work being done in a number of countries on whether lock-downs were worth the cost, and of course the jury is still out.

      • Gabby 9.2.2

        Who'all says we accept them? I don't.

  10. Tricledrown 10

    We have so far saved so many lives and prevented a meltdown of our run-down health system,seriously damaging our economy

    All because of sacrifices made by everyone mainly Aucklanders and health workers testing,vaccinating .contact tracing,and MIQ staff the defence force,Security staff,hotel workers etc.

    To ditch our safety first approach would be the dumbest idea .

    The right want to open up and let the bodies pile up.

    This pandemic is not over no doubt more twists and turns to come.

    New vaccines and antiviral drugs are becoming available having MIQ in place gives us time for production and distribution of these life saving medicines to be rolled out to all hospitals and practices .

    Until we have that our strategy of suppression should continue.

    Allowing our already stretched health system to be over run burning out highly educated doctors nurses and other health professionals would damage our health system for decades to come.

    The cost of training and educating replacements would be horrific not to mention the long lead in time before these highly educated professionals are able to practice.

    Short term thinking a neo Liberal quick buck mentality is how covid 19 has spread sow widely.

    You could call it just in time delivery.

    Just in time to beat any right wing lack of health measures.

    Just in time to let the far right to create disunity in the communal fight against Covid.

    Just in time for the far right anti vaxxers to spread misinformation.

    • Gosman 10.1

      Do you want to enforce a permanent MIQ system even AFTER sufficient percentage of the population is vaccinated AND we have the health system readied for an outbreak of Omicron?

      • Patricia Bremner 10.1.1

        Until the WHO says the Pandemic is over..Yes!! We do not know how this will roll, so having a filter seems sensible.

        • Gosman

          Ummm… the WHO won't be stating that as the virus is now endemic. You don't seem to realise what that means. The rest of the World is learning to live with it. You seemingly are waiting for something that will never happen.

          • Poission

            That mutation is inevitable is a neat evolutionary fact,mutational change will happen ( with an astronomical number of possibilities) which is why the precautionary principle holds.

          • Tricledrown

            Gosman National were saying exactly what you are saying back in November 2021 claiming families and businesses were suffering why not just close MIQ as it was no longer needed with in a few days Omricon came along.

            National have stopped that line of attacking the govt.PR you should keep up with Nationals new strategy as their go to minion.

      • Sanctuary 10.1.2

        The voices that are stridently and frantically raised in our establishment friendly MSM for a return to "normal" are the voices of the privileged – each and every one of them a paradigm of the class and type of people for whom the axioms of the status quo ante pandemus made them winners in the economic and social pecking order. The media – whose pro-wealth, pro-establishment but normally hidden entrails have been brutally eviscerated for leisurely public inspection by covid – will platform that wealth and privilege all day long.

        So no one in the MSM is going to ask the question – what if there is no going back to "normal?" What if it turns out the great age of international mobility (for the gilded middle classes of the west at least – 80% of humans have never been on a flight and only a tiny fraction of the worlds population makes most of the flights) is over? Who would be the new winners if isolation becomes the new normal?

        The MSM dare not even pose the question, lest the peasants get to thinking.

        • Absolutely right, Sanctuary. Furthermore, we cannot, simply cannot go back to travel as normal for the 1% if we are to have any chance to stave off climate catastrophe, regardless of any pandemic.

  11. weka 11

    Out of curiosity, if the government had gone loose and late, and we'd had many deaths, disability, and health care chaos, would there have been grounds to taking them to court on the basis that they didn't take due care of the NZ peoples?

    late edit to change hadn’t to had.

    • Ross 11.1

      I trust the question is rhetorical. Is anyone being taken to court here?

      “When asked about the number of breast screens postponed due to level 3 and 4 lockdown this year, Verrall said: “The latest coverage figures to September 2021 for the previous two year period shows approximately 45,000 less screens performed than the two-year period ending September 2019,” documents seen by the Herald show.

      The figures come after the Breast Cancer Foundation warned more than 133 New Zealand women could die of a breast cancer they didn’t know they had unless the Government took urgent action.“

      The Government accepts that women will die from breast cancer. How many such deaths do you think is acceptable?


      • weka 11.1.1

        sorry, bad original edit on my part, was meant to say if they had gone loose and late.

      • weka 11.1.2

        could die (late screening) vs will die (rampant covid).

        could die can be prevented, might want to put your energies there.

        • Ross

          Your definition of could is different to mine lol. What does the Breast Cancer Foundation say?

          Justine Smyth, Chair of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, said: “While we’re doing everything we can to raise awareness about the importance of screening and early detection, it’s been heart-breaking to hear from distressed women who want to protect themselves, but can’t.

          “They’re telling us they can’t get rebooked for months, or aren’t being sent reminder letters after realising they’re well overdue. We’ve even heard from women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer by pure fluke after missing the mammogram that would have found their cancer earlier. There is no doubt that when you’re finding breast cancer later, more lives will be lost.

          “Women who have regular mammograms are nearly 40 percent less likely to die of breast cancer than women who don’t screen, so it’s absolutely vital Government makes it a priority to clear the backlog and get screening participation back up to pre-Covid levels.


          • weka

            again, certain high death rates from covid in the community vs longer term projected possible deaths that could be prevented. Get on with lobbying for that if it concerns you do much.

            And, health system overrun from covid rampant in the community will also disrupt screening services, so it would be both sets of deaths.

            • Ross

              certain high death rates from covid


              Our official case fatality rate is 0.35% (3.5 deaths per 1000 cases) but that's likely to overstate the true figure. That's because some of those who have died had comorbities and died with Covid, not because of it. In addition, some people will have had Covid without knowing it and without being tested. That has the effect of lowering the case fatality rate.

  12. DukeEll 12

    It really is sad when so many people think that because someone is rich and privileged, we should maintain an unjust and unfair system that individuals can skirt as they are the right sort of people as deemed by mbie and the government. The unjust and unfair system that keeps grieving families, young families and loved ones apart but can find space for an all black to play one forgettable game on the other side of the world, or a covid positive DJ to flout the rules. Because you know, summer festies.

    • Sanctuary 12.1

      Decisions can't be made based on peoples feelings. I know we live in the great age of self-indulgent emotional response rather than reason but here is something about Jamie Ridge that might cause a melt down if it was brutally spelt out to her – economically, she ain't worth shit. A DJ or an All Black help events that generate cash, raise morale and keep people in a job. Everyone would wish her well and hope she can return soon, but when you are rationing places other things come into consideration other than just "Don't you know who I am?"

      Look at it this way. The earth is about to be destroyed by an giant comet and the government is picking the 100,000 people who are going to get the nob to get away on the Colony Star Ship Aotearoa. Would they pick Jamie Ridge, socialite and influencer, or Fetu Atamai a lowly fellow from Otahuhu who just happens to be a dab hand at the easily transferable skill of waste management? My guess is Jamie will be left to post Instagram shots of the approaching comet.

      When you have limited spots, you have to make tough choices.

      • DukeEll 12.1.1

        basically what you are saying is we live in a hypothetical situation where you get to pick the 100k, or a government you support does.

        I’d rather die than be on that space ship.

        we’ve got the capacity to take everyone home. Yet All those lovely New Zealand citizens who want to be with family in New Zealand are not allowed home. And because one influencer (who you have little regard for and that’s ok, I don’t rate her either) comments, the whole awfulness of MiQ and the misery it brings is justified. And throw in a good bit of ridicule to make yourself feel better along the way.

        I feel sorry for you. Who hurt you?

        • mpledger

          Where is this capacity to take everyone home? Tells us where all these extra health care workers are for a start?

          Do you really think the govt is going – "oh, well, lets make all these people miserable for no good reason." That's a vote winner. It's a hard choice to keep people in NZ healthy and the infrastructure and economy up and running.

  13. Patricia Bremner 13

    devil Sanctuary.

  14. Two factoids I noticed in the NZH not long ago: in England vaccination of all children against smallpox has been compulsory for 150 years; in the 50 US states vaccination against MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) is compulsory for all school children.

    Anti-vaxers, for want of a better term, espouse the same values as anti-unionists: they want a free ride to benefit from collective solidarity, while contributing nothing to that safety. They, themselves would not frame the issue this way but delusion is no defense. Don't get me wrong I'll defend our civil liberties as much as the next guy, but in the end, as at the beginning. our individual rights to enjoy universal civil liberties are built on a mountain of bleeding bodies of those who fought and died for them.

    I respect the antis' rights to disagree and go to Court to check on the exercise of Parliamentary power. They are doing us a favor while challenging sovereign authority; but basically their rights and liberties only exist due to our collective choices long asserted repeatedly at much cost.

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