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Is this the post Covid world?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, September 11th, 2021 - 132 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, human rights - Tags:

Just as we did with travel security after 9/11, we are about to get our next set of global regulations to control crisis.

United States President Biden has unveiled a COVID-world plan which directs the Labor Department to require all Federal workers and large businesses with 100 or more employees, and all healthcare workers, to ensure that their workers are either vaccinated or are tested once a week.

Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.

For example the Postal Service, a quasi-independent agency, employs more than 640,000 people.

There’s around 17 million healthcare workers including those in rest homes.

Debates like this are going to occur all around the world.

However I suspect it will go pretty much like new airport security regulations after 9/11: the United States will through its industry-dominating companies simply enforce new global standards de facto.

Major airlines and banks are already making vaccines mandatory.

From AMTRAK to Facebook to Ford to Google, Uber to Walmart, all workers will get the jab or else.

If New Zealand’s major companies aren’t ready to react in the same way, they are simply going to get left behind: no one is going to want to do business with them. Starting with the entire public sector and all similar workers to the US description, we should expect the same to be occurring here and fast. No jab, no job (with very few carve-outs).

The even stronger version goes like this in China: unvaccinated residents in parts of China will be banned from accessing public services like hospitals, schools and nursing homes, with that country targeting an inoculation rate of at least 80%.

Vaccine passports are now common across Europe.

Today the New Zealand government has promised by Christmas that we can download an app that will be a vaccine passport.

The Zealand’s app will contain a QR code, digital signature and the certificate itself will be printable.

As the Herald wryly noted, the health ministry has been clear that New Zealand’s passport is designed for international travel and said nothing about domestic use, “based on how the passports have evolved around the world, that won’t last.”

132 comments on “Is this the post Covid world? ”

  1. Gezza 1

    I got my 2nd jab last Tuesday at Tawa Med Centre's Linden surgery. I forgot to take my little Covid 19 Vaccine Record card with me so even though the date & time were inserted 3 weeks earlier this jab doesn't show the batch number. Both shots are in their computer record though, so I hope/expect the app is easy to use & pulls out the relevant details.

    Looks like we all might be needing to get annual Covax shots for the foreseeable future, at the rate this thing seems to evolve. In cases like me, as well as an annual flu jab, that had to be done at least two weeks before.

    Wonder if it's possible they might eventually be able to combine them into one jab?

  2. Andre 2

    Bring on the vaccine mandates for New Zealand.

    I don't want to ever be anywhere near anyone that is such an antisocial arsehole that they refuse to take a readily available, very safe, very effective, and free precaution against becoming the mutant-variant-breeding spreader host of a nasty disease. That includes not wanting to be in a supermarket checkout queue with them nearby, let alone a bus ride or being in a restaurant or theatre etc.

    Fortunately for my employment, AFAIK all of those that I work with are already fully vaccinated and I'm actually the last having only got my first jab on Tuesday. But if they weren't, I would have no hesitation in saying to my employers they will need to either implement a vaccine mandate or find someone else to do what I currently do for them.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      I don't want to ever be anywhere near anyone that is such an antisocial arsehole that they refuse to take a readily available,

      Exactly why do you care? If you're vaxxed then you already have the highest possible level of protection from a virus you're inevitably going to encounter anyway. And if you're not vaxxed then why do you care about other people who are? Logically the vax status of other people is of no concern to you as an individual whatsoever.

      At a population level we also know that vaccines will not eliminate COVID – official modelling tells us that we'd need to achieve 95% plus rates of effective vaccination in order to 'eliminate' the virus and we know that's very unlikely within NZ and impossible globally.

      • KJT 2.1.1

        "Logically the vax status of other people is of no concern to you as an individual whatsoever."

        Logically, if you are unvaccinated you are a threat to people who cannot be vaccinated, a public health risk of compromising the health system, and indeed our nationwide response to covid, including the livelihoods of everyone here, as we have seen.

        Many of us, who work on the border, have had to live in fear of bringing covid back to our families, including children and vulnerable elderly people. Those who refuse to get vaccinated, "because" are, antisocial arseholes. Those who cannot be vaccinated for genuine health reasons, are the very people those of us that can, should be getting vaccinated to protect.

        Your vaccination status is of concern to those around you. I certainly don't want you near my grandkids, if you are unvaccinated.

        What is happening elsewhere, shows conclusively that "eliminating" or getting as close to it as we can, is essential for the near term. What happens in future is unknown, but the evidence to date from states such as Israel, The UK, the USA and NSW, shows the criminal folly of "opening up too soon".

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          if you are unvaccinated you are a threat to people who cannot be vaccinated,

          Well that moves the goalposts doesn't it? Besides given what we're seeing in places like Israel, vaccination doesn't prevent people from catching COVID, it reduces the chance of harm and death. These are good things, but irrelevant to the point your trying to make.

          Your vaccination status is of concern to those around you. I certainly don't want you near my grandkids, if you are unvaccinated.

          You do realise the chance of COVID harming them is far less than that of a whole range of other common illnesses? Probably the best thing for them is to catch it and thus gain a natural immunity to this virus for a least a few years.

          • KJT 2.1.1.1.1

            As the Israeli research shows, the largest study of vaccinations effects so far, vaccination also cuts down the chances of transmission. Just like most vaccines.

            Israel opened up too soon, before enough people were vaccinated.

            I bothered to read the original research in the Journals. Not the Fox version.

            • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Cuts down the rate of transmission, but clearly not enough to prevent it. All this means is that eventually everyone will catch it – it just takes longer for this to happen. Once you realise and accept this you can stop fearing it.

              before enough people were vaccinated.

              Israel opened up when their experts told them it was OK, but Delta proved them wrong. Now they've realised that the effective vax rate needs to be in the high 90's to stop Delta and that's probably unachievable for most countries and certainly globally.

              • KJT

                Israel, Like the USA and NSW "opened up" when their politicians decided to.

                Not when the "experts" advised.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Unless their politicians were listening to their own Plan B 'experts'?

                  18 months on from the world’s fearful response to the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, we provide an alternative to New Zealand’s elimination strategy to one of ‘living with covid-19’. [23 August 2021]

                  NZ's home-grown Plan B group (still) believes that elimination "is a dead-end strategy" – an unfortunate choice of words, imho.

                  We believe that holding out for vaccine development or pursuing an aggressive eradication policy are not realistic.

                  17 months on from that Plan B statement, 5.66 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally.

                  17 months on from that Plan B statement, NZ's COVID-19 elimination strategy has saved Kiwi lives. Per capita, the number of NZers who have (tragically) died from COVID-19 is exceptionally low (5.4 per million), at least 250 times lower than in Sweden, France, Spain, Chile, the UK, USA, Italy, Belgium, Argentina, Brazil, Hungary and Peru.

                  18 months into this on-going global pandemic, why not at least try to play it safe for a few months more. Patience, Plan B, patience.

                  • RedLogix

                    Do you still think eradicating COVID is realistic? And by that I mean getting rid of it altogether – because that's the only meaningful measure.

                    Eventually NZ is going to have to come out of its cage – and then what? If all we've done is delayed the inevitable rise in deaths per million then not much will have been achieved in the long run.

                    On the other hand if we used the time wisely and considered what else we might do beyond just vaccination I'd consider that a real win. But a lot of people here won't even allow us to have that conversation.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Do you still think eradicating COVID is realistic?

                      Nope, never thought that – eradication still seems unrealistic given that "only 1.9% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose" of a COVID-19 vaccine. Note that the number of active COVID-19 cases, peaking at (~19 million) on 4 Sept, is the highest it's ever been, so this pandemic clearly isn't over yet.

                      I thought our government's strategy of eliminating COVID-19 from NZ was realistic, provided there was buy-in from the team of 5 million (genius), and so it proved to be. Bought us Kiwis time.

                      Of course, "eventually NZ is going to have to come out of its cage" – meanwhile NZers can choose to 'fly the coup' anytime they want, on the understanding that they may not have complete control over the timing and conditions of their re-entry – a small price to pay?

                      The enviable relative freedoms that NZers have enjoyed during this pandemic nightmare are down to the actions we took and continue to take to restrict the freedom of the virus to infect, injure and kill.

                      If all we've done is delayed the inevitable rise in deaths per million then not much will have been achieved in the long run.

                      "If" indeed, although tbh NZ would be hard-pressed to get anywhere near the per capita Covid-19 death rates of the countries I mentioned anytime soon. We don't know how lucky we are!

                      On the other hand if we used the time wisely and considered what else we might do beyond just vaccination I'd consider that a real win. But a lot of people here won't even allow us to have that conversation.

                      Oh noes, who are the "lot of people here that won't even allow us to have that conversion"? Are they real? There's certainly been a tremendous quantity of information about using vitamin D, ivermectin and other treatments to combat COVID-19, don't you think?

                      The antiparasitic drug ivermectin became a cause célèbre for right-wing figures promoting it as a supposed COVID treatment. Misinformation about ivermectin's efficacy spread widely on social media, fueled by publications that have since been retracted, misleading "meta-analysis" websites with substandard methods, and conspiracy theories about efforts by governments and scientists to "suppress the evidence."
                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_misinformation

                      This ‘suppression’ of conversation really must stop (/sarc). I like your idea of using COVID-19 as a springboard to promote public health initatives that encourage healthy lifestyle choices as an adjunct to vaccination. Just not sure how realistic that is – choices and all.

                      During a pandemic, temporary curbs on freedom can be beneficial – NZ's living proof. And it's not like it's forever – is it?

                    • RedLogix

                      All well and good – but I'm not seeing any coherent way out of this crisis. As I've consistently said from the outset NZ did all the right things going into it – but is now struggling to find a path out of it.

                      Because all I'm seeing on offer at present is tight border restrictions indefinitely into the future along with inevitable lockdowns from time to time. Already this state of affairs has gone on almost a year longer than anyone imagined when we first locked down in 2020 – and there is no prospect of an end in sight.

                      And the complete unwillingness to even contemplate, much less even try alternative strategies has been apparent from the start.

                      And it’s not like it’s forever – is it?

                      If COVID becomes globally endemic – then yes. What is your alternative? The current vaccines have not been the silver bullet and you’ve emphatically ruled out any other measures (mainly by demanding impossible standards of evidence for their efficacy). On this trajectory NZ is slowly but surely painting itself into a COVID corner it's no longer willing or courageous enough to step out of.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      All well and good…

                      Glad you think so.

                      – but I'm not seeing any coherent way out of this crisis.

                      Neither am I, but (imho) far from "painting itself into a COVID corner", NZ's successful COVID-19 elimination strategy has bought us time – time to vaccinate, and time to consider valuable lessons learned from the choices/actions of other countries.

                      You may believe that "there is no prospect of an end [to tight border restrictions and lockdowns] in sight", but that's unrealistic. When our government and the team of 5 million decides to relax the measures currently restricting the freedom of the COVID-19 virus, there will no doubt be more tragic deaths. I am, however, uncharacteristically optimistic that NZ's pandemic health and economic outcomes will be better than most – time will tell.

                      As to your hyperbolic claim that I’ve “emphatically ruled out any other measures” to curb the virus, that’s nonsense. I will admit to being less willing than you apparently are to put my faith in unproven remedies, particularly since NZ is in the enviable position of not needing them (yet.)

                    • RedLogix

                      Banging about the net I stumbled on this very recent item:

                      https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04885530

                      Apparently funded by a U$150m grant and look at what drug is on the list. Seems like some serious people think it's still worth further research. Virtually all progress in medicine originates as a 'low quality' clinical observation and the process of turning this information into useful interventions is a slow and difficult one. But this process has been loudly undermined by those determined to protect their single solution narrative at all costs – that began with “Vaccines will save us,” and became “Nothing but vaccines will save us,” which has now morphed into “Only everyone being vaccinated will save us.”

                      Yet the unhappy reality is that vaccines have not turned out to be the promised silver bullet and now we're going to have to reach deeper into the toolkit of possible solutions.

                      And just to be clear – I never claimed that everyone should take Ivermectin and Vitamin D, open the borders and let it rip. I was always trying to get us to think ahead and plan for the possible scenarios of what might happen if the virus mutated in dangerous ways, what if it became endemic globally, what if the vaccines were not a sufficient response by themselves, and what it we found NZ safe and relatively free of COVID – but isolated from a wider world we were too vulnerable to ever reconnect with?

                      Yes NZ has bought itself valuable time – but what exactly should we do with it?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Yes NZ has bought itself valuable time – but what exactly should we do with it?

                      My exact suggestion, if it was up to me, would be to use that valuable time to roll out a voluntary treatment proven to greatly decrease the health burden of COVID-19. Happily such a treatment is available.

                      And just to be clear – I never claimed that everyone should take Ivermectin and Vitamin D, open the borders and let it rip.

                      How could anything you've written here give such an impression?

                      One man's "loudly undermined" is another's expectation of robust evidence for clinical efficacy, and, regardless of any "single solution narrative at all costs" concerns, in a pandemic efficacy counts.

                      My go-to critiques on the use of ivermectin to prevent and/or treat COVID-19 infections are those making it absolutely clear that while evidence for the efficacy of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 is lacking, the jury is still out – this sort of thing:

                      Is Ivermectin for Covid-19 Based on Fraudulent Research? Part 3 [3 Sept 2021]
                      Yet more worrisome issues in the ivermectin literature calls into question why people started promoting the drug at all for Covid-19
                      Where does this leave us? It now seems less and less likely that ivermectin can treat Covid-19, as I wrote recently. I am hopeful that there is a modest benefit from the drug, but it is getting harder and harder to remain optimistic in the face of a rapidly crumbling evidence-base. With this new evidence of potential misconduct, the rationale for using ivermectin as a prophylactic is also severely reduced as well.

                      Ivermectin Shows No Clear Benefit in the Treatment of Covid-19 [12 August 2021]
                      New trial results find no statistically significant effect
                      There is a slight silver lining to this new trial. Fluvoxamine, another cheap repurposed medication, showed quite impressive benefits on the risk of hospitalization. While there was no improvement seen in people’s risk of death, it still points toward fluvoxamine potentially being a very effective treatment for people with early or mild Covid-19, which is a truly fantastic finding.

                      So while we can all commiserate over the fact that ivermectin is looking less and less likely to be effective, we can celebrate both the amazing researchers who’ve done this work and the increasing likelihood that fluvoxamine could actually be a very useful drug for Covid-19. This is the first good trial to show such a benefit, but as I said, it was big and a very solid piece of work, so it’s looking likely that the fluvoxamine is indeed effective just as it’s looking likely that ivermectin is not.

                      As before, it’s still possible that ivermectin works, and I sincerely hope that I’m proven wrong. But as the evidence stands now, it really doesn’t look good.

                    • RedLogix

                      That single TOGETHER trial that you've been leaning on so heavily is not without it's critics either. Oddly enough they found only a mildly positive indication in favour of fluvoxamine when everyone else working with it is finding much stronger signals.

                      Interestingly fluvoxamine was originally purposed as an anti-depressant and even more interestingly there is also good evidence that anxiety and depression are strong risk factors in COVID. So maybe there is a reasonable mechanism at work here.

                      You should also know that a lot of medical research is extremely difficult to perform convincingly. Not only are there all the routine challenges in teasing out meaning in very noisy data, confounding factors, bias and the effect of time – but either researchers are hampered by a lack of independent funding, or are captured by a publishing industry that exerts a strong filtering effect on what gets published.

                      Worse still most research is based on a purely material model of the human body, that while it's a valuable foundation, is not a sufficient or complete model of the astounding thing we call life. It very much neglects the psychological and spiritual dimensions, which many people believe play their own important role as well.

                      And to that end maybe we could agree that as a nation, NZ would be well advised to tone down on the fear-factor, the shaming and bullying that's creeping in, and start putting more energy into raising our total health and considering every tool that might be available to us. Putting the time we've gained to good use as it were.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Interestingly fluvoxamine was originally purposed as an anti-depressant and even more interestingly there is also good evidence that anxiety and depression are strong risk factors in COVID. So maybe there is a reasonable mechanism at work here.

                      Fluvoxamine most likely alleviates mild symptoms of Covid-19 infections via its known anti-inflammatory properties. The idea that fluvoxamine could alleviate symptoms by suppressing anxiety and depression seems a less likely mechanism, as it seems that not all SSRIs are effective, but you never know.

                      You should also know that a lot of medical research is extremely difficult to perform convincingly.

                      Thanks Redlogix – I do indeed understand this, having dabbled in basic biomedical research.

                      NZ would be well advised to tone down on the fear-factor, the shaming and bullying that's creeping in…

                      Absolutely – fear-mongering and particularly bullying are detestable behaviours. During a pandemic, be decisive, consistent, kind and, above all, humble. You might find some things to agree with in this lengthy opinion piece by a Hawaiian GP. A small excerpt is pasted below – please don't be put off by the title.

                      Dr. Buzz Hollander: Lessons from the Ivermectin debacle [8 Sept 2021]
                      Everyone involved in the ivermectin debacle can take responsibilty for their own part, and resolve to do better with the pandemic’s next turn. I wish those with large public platforms, who saw only the promise of ivermectin and not the pitfalls, had been more balanced in their descriptions of the medication, and had sought out counsel from those with expertise that perhaps they lacked. For those of us, myself included, who rose to maximum skepticism at the first message of a “miraculous” drug, I wish we’d behaved better, with fewer eye rolls and haughty put-downs of the studies. Our public health institutions would have done better to be curious and open to novel treatments, and message support over chagrin. The public, both believers and doubters in ivermectin, could have tried harder to seek different viewpoints and interact more civilly with those who disagreed. Social media platforms did not need to stoke the fires of conspiracy theories by censoring those who wanted to tout ivermectin. We all could have done better.

                      We might get another chance with another potential repurposed, generic medication, the SSRI fluvoxamine. That same TOGETHER trial reported unpublished data showing about a 30% decrease in hospitalization and death among the nearly 750 Covid-19 patients randomized to fluvoxamine, echoing the promise of an earlier, smaller trial. If the data holds up to scrutiny, how will we respond? Already I have seen a snarky social media comment about unvaccinated people showing up with the (exceptionally rare) SSRI side-effect of serotonin syndrome. I sincerely hope we do better this time, and avoid the extremes of hype, dismissal, and censorship – even if some people who have denounced vaccines or touted ivermectin decide to push fluvoxamine.

                      Yet again, this pandemic has reminded us that science’s attempts to describe reality are fraught with uncertainty. Our greatest gift, when confronted with uncertainty, is to recall that none of us really know the truth. Real intellectual humility in science – not the “I’m humbled to be named coach of this great football program” variety of humility, but truly questioning whether we know what we think we know, and choosing to update our pre-conceived notions regularly — is the smoothest path to advancing medical science. It’s dearly needed now.

        • Foreign waka 2.1.1.2

          KJT, sorry but by what I read and know it is not quite exclusive that if you are not vaccinated you endanger everybody around you.

          If you are vaccinated you are fortified against the worst of the disease but it is still not clear whether you can still be a carrier.

          So if we open the boarders we need to still have to have MIQ facilities for some time to make sure not to have another outbreak like we have right now.

          https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-how-vaccine-works

          https://www.healthline.com/health-news/if-youre-vaccinated-can-you-transmit-covid-19-what-we-know#Variants-are-still-an-unknown-for-transmission

          The conscious language guide is a very interesting read.

          I think there is so much misinformation out there and it is in some cases used for social engineering. I find this shameful to say the least.

          I have a family member (not in NZ) who does not like to be vaccinated for their own reasons and this shows me first hand to stay away from the notion of insisting that others have to do as told. We are not in a fascist state, are we?

          I am fully vaccinated as I want to make sure I can move freely without being greatly affected due to my asthma. It does not give me a license to dictate to others what they think or have to do.

          • KJT 2.1.1.2.1

            We do know that vaccination, at present, cuts down both the chances of transmitting covid, and the severity of infection by at least an order of magnitude.

            Increasing by a huge amount the protetction of both ourselves and those around us.As well as giving mutations less chance to breed.

            We cannot know what a future variant may do, but the longer we expose whole unvaccinated populations to covid the, more chance of mutations.

            Hence it is essential that we get people vaccinated and that we support programes to vaccinate third world countires and populations that do not have easy access to vaccination.

            For those that are lucky enough to be in countries where we have relatively easy access to vaccines to refuse for less than very good reasons appears to me to be, simply selfish.
            I hope you all join in petitions, to waiver patent rights, and donations, to help up the vaccination rate in less fortunate places.

            In my workplace the overwhelming majority are discussing simply refusing to work with the unvaccinated. Our "bubble" is necessarily large, and exposed to the border, and we all want to reduce the chances of taking covid home.

            We insist that others do what they are told to protect others, for many safety and public health reasons. This is a very good reason. It is nowhere near Fascism. That is really over eeging the point. Fascism could however, be a term if the Government goes to far towards the thoughtcrime laws that some, even on here, are proposing for Terrorism and speech.

            • Foreign waka 2.1.1.2.1.1

              KJT, being of European decent and having my family originating from a place where it was perceived in the beginning to be a good idea to limit freedom for some and increase power for others. And the experience was that the human want for the later that included a subdued hunger to get revenge for ones own misfortune by blaming the "other" justified harassing those who do not comply with norms that have been imposed.

              So much for the social ostracizing. We need to take human fallacies into account because no one is free from it.
              As for the work bubble at the border, the reason we are in the position we are now is that the travel bubble closure was far too slow in relations to the escalation in NSW. The demand by commercial interest and people want to go places overrode common sense and caution. Coupled with the extreme slow roll out of the vaccine and the inexplicable non vaccinations of essential workers got us where we are.

              Just to make a point, no one is asking for anyone whether they have been vaccinated for measles, rubella or tuberculosis which kills 1.6 million people each year and is highly contagious.

              • KJT

                I don't think you can really equate necessary public health measures, taken for everyone's safety in NZ, to repression by totalitarian regimes overseas to restrict dissent.
                You have eluded to that yourself. Commercial,”freedom” being allowed to override community interests.

                • Foreign waka

                  KJT, All I am saying is that, in a climate of fear and the unknown emotional choices should not be made and also not fanned.

                  It is not the easiest path to make differential allowances to individuals. But freedom and democracy are not easy subjects.

                  Incidentally, this does not mean flying to the Wanaka holiday home on a essential worker letter is cool. This is what we really need to look at. The couple might be vaccinated but they still could be carriers and so potentially and with full knowledge, deliberately fly to the South Island where there is no outbreak.

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.2

        I agree with what RedLogix says @ 9:33

      • Tricledrown 2.1.3

        Even with 95% immunized it won't insure elimination the best solution it looks like that we still need to reduce risk especially for older cohorts.Hopefully a booster is proven to work before we go back to somewhere near normal.

    • Ross 2.2

      Andre

      Some people are unable to be vaccinated. Some people choose, with good reasons, not to be vaccinated. Naming and shaming them says more about you than them. Indeed, I can foresee some unvaccinated people, when asked if they’ve been vaccinated, will say yes. You may wish to reflect on that.

      Its a shame that some workers are having to take legal action to uphold basic rights.

      https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300404373/covid19-personnel-take-court-action-over-defence-force-antivaccine-stance

      • Ad 2.2.1

        Hopefully Crown Law takes it all the way to the Supreme Court so we get some proper tests of BORA against the Health Act and its variants.

        From the way Dr Wiles got done yesterday that social name-and-shame will do just fine as enforcement …

        … until we get to the last recalcitrant 1-2%.

        • Ross 2.2.1.1

          … until we get to the last recalcitrant 1-2%.

          I suspect the number deciding not to be vaccinated will be considerably higher than that. According to the Herald's numbers, 1.6 million eligible people have yet to receive one dose. That's more than a third of the eligible population. (There is a further 700,000 odd people, aged under 12, who are not eligible for the vaccine.)

          • Ad 2.2.1.1.1

            Countries with developed pubic health systems are rapidly lowering the age of vaccination.

            The targets are going to start to be enforced in two ways.

            First through the national public sector just as they target poor+Maori+Pasifika in multiple agencies. Like smoking rates. Particularly easy in small countries with high social cohesion and social obedience like ours.

            Then secondly through international norms: you can trade people and goods with us if you are vaccine-controlled. That's possible if you're a small otherwise defenceless country like the Cook Islands.

            • Tricledrown 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Ad sadly so far research shows no benefit for those under 12 as they are more likely to suffer from side effects of the vaccine than from covid.

              [user name was entered as “Tricledrow” and held up in Pre-Moderation for this reason]

      • Andre 2.2.2

        Who is unable to be vaccinated, and how many of them are there likely to be in New Zealand? What are the contraindications for the current Pfizer vaccine, and do those contraindications apply to any of the other vaccines, such as the Novavax that is likely to be coming early next year?

        What are the "good reasons" you assert that some people have for not getting vaccinated?

        Yes, some antisocial arseholes will refuse vaccination, then lie about it. Bring on the consequences for them.

        What basic rights will workers have to take legal action to uphold? The right to refuse medical treatment completely ends at one's own skin and the various orifices through that skin. Beyond that, everything that could conceivably affect anyone else in any conceivable way is a legitimate subject of regulation. There is no right to be a wilful disease spreader in the community.

        The extraordinary powers given to various authorities in Section 70 of the Health Act speaks to the importance placed on controlling infectious disease. Notably, vaccination status is not one of the prohibited grounds for discrimination listed in the Human Rights Act 1993.

        • RedLogix 2.2.2.1

          I view your persistent labelling of people who choose to not get vaccinated as 'anti-social arseholes' as exceedingly dangerous.

          It's this sort of hysterical 'othering' that triggers mass mobbing.

          Again – there is no logical reason why you should care about the vax status of other people.

          • Tricledrown 2.2.2.1.1

            Redlogix the logical reason is that people with compromised immunity and children under 12 who have a compromised immunity that can't take the vaccine are more vulnerable because people who could get immunized could become vectors and victims clog up our very poor health system just 40 cases in Auckland caused an overload. If we had the numbers that NSW has our health system could not cope.people with covid would be lucky if they could be admitted to a hospital.

            If you are not immunized you could be putting the entire health system at risk.Luckily NZ has very high vaccination rates compared to most countries and those who choose will get a wake up call otherwise they may suffer in a corridor instead of in ICU with a ventilator because we don't have the capacity to deal with more than a minor outbreak.

            Calling people aholes is not going to entice them to get immunised but our Doctors and Nurses are already under huge strain with shortages across all DHB's putting extra strain on already overworked health professionals for a preventable disease is is verging on criminal I'm for employers demanding vaccinations for work place safety .so there will be very few who can avoid this team of 5 million working to keep Covid out.

            Those who don't get vaccinated for no good reason should be warned that people with genuine reasons for hospital care will be prioritized.

            • RedLogix 2.2.2.1.1.1

              Everyone is going to get this virus sooner or later – just like the common cold. At that point the survivors will likely have a reasonable level of immunity, either naturally or vaccine induced and this COVID event will transition from a pandemic to something more like seasonal influenza.

              The current vaccine technology we have is best thought of as a relatively short term therapeutic tool to reduce deaths and harm during this transition period. And it's not the only tool we could use – there is every good reason to consider what we should be doing about all the very high risk factor co-morbidities such as obesity and diabetes. Or even a basic action like eliminating Vitamin D deficiencies.

              If public health was the primary concern here then logically we'd be going after a number of other low-hanging fruit measures long before vaccine passports and their potential for authoritarian mis-use.

            • mauī 2.2.2.1.1.2

              Yeah 🙄 .. put the unvaxxed in a separate queue outside hospital along with the other unnecessarily injured – sports people, bike & horse riders, amateur DIYers, etc..

              • Ad

                Go to any city public hospital in New Zealand and outside their driveways are people in hospital smocks often in wheelchairs, and with drips in their arms, smoking rollies and Marlboro's.

                I have zero sympathy for that scale of deliberate self-inflicted harm which also does harm to the public.

                They are damn lucky there's a public hospital untrammeled by insurers.

                • RedLogix

                  And believe it or not these people are not looking for your sympathy.

                  We're all vulnerable to self-sabotage one way or another – and the decent society is there to pick up the pieces and put us back together if possible.

                  Don't fall into the trap of moralising too much about other people's shortcomings. Eyes, logs and all that.

                • Foreign waka

                  I think you are very sanctimonious, you need to consider that people have different lives and circumstances. They may have experienced stressors you cant even imagine. Perhaps you should take into consideration that you are in the process of created the "other".

          • Robert Guyton 2.2.2.1.2

            Again, I agree with RedLogix. Look to your own situation. The actions of others re: vaccination, is not your concern. Nor should you worry. Their actions will not affect you.

            • Macro 2.2.2.1.2.1

              Sorry Robert but I beg to differ. The inaction of others in protecting themselves from a highly contagious disease does ultimately affect other people. We only have to look at the catastrophe in certain right wing States of America to see how the unvaccinated there are filling up their hospitals to overflowing and there is no room for other patients. Three recent studies by the CDC show that unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to require hospitalisation than vaccinated.

              • Macro

                Unvaccinated people are about 11 times more likely to die of Covid-19, according to three studies from the CDC. The reports also found that people who were not fully vaccinated this spring and summer were 4.5 times more likely to become infected and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized. The CDC also found that all three vaccines remained effective at protecting most people against hospitalization and death, but efficacy dropped from 91% to 78% when the Delta variant became the dominant strain of the virus. (New York Times / Washington Post / Axios)

                • Andre

                  TBH, I really don't care about the devastating effects on the unvaccinated when they're that way by choice.

                  I care about the way they're likely to spread it to those that can't be vaccinated (which in NZ means under-12s and a very few others), and those still vulnerable after vaccination such as immunocompromised and those taking immune suppressing medication and those with significant comorbidities.

                  I care about the devastating psychological effects on the medical staff trying help vaccine refusers. It really is tough on those staff because getting the disease after refusing the vaccine is just such a pointlessly stupid waste of time and resource for zero benefit to anyone. Hell, even the druggies got their buzz, the adrenaline junkies got their moment of terror, Tim the tool man was creating something … But vaccine refusal is simply exercising pointless wilful stupidity.

                  edit: here’s a piece that takes a bit of a look at the effects on medical staff:

                  https://www.wired.com/story/would-it-be-fair-to-treat-vaccinated-covid-patients-first/

                  • Macro

                    To a certain extent I'm with you on that count – if they choose to risk getting a severe infection by remaining unvaccinated, and the increased risk of death, then that's their problem. But, I also want to point out that not only do they then threaten the health of others, they also impinge on the rights of all members of a community, by placing a huge burden on the health system when they do become ill and require hospitalisation, and in doing so place other peoples lives at risk.

                    There is a group of miscreants however with whom I have no truck, and those are the "freedom" lovers in the military. As a retired Naval Officer my first response was "Why did you join if you can't take a joke?" But seriously, if they can't suffer a pin prick then they have no place in the military.

              • Macro

                Here is the consequence of those who choose to exercise their "freedom" to remain unvaccinated writ large.

                https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/09/oregon-hospital-coronavirus-unvaccinated

                Oregon is grappling with a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases, which officials expected would peak this week. The state has more people hospitalized than at any other point in the pandemic. The increase has overwhelmed the state’s healthcare system and left counties scrambling to find space to store bodies. Oregon’s hospital capacity is also hampering the state’s ability to treat patients. The state has the fewest number of hospital beds per population in the US, by design, because it has emphasized primary community care.

                Oregon has one of the highest vaccination rates among US states with 67% of residents 18 and oldervaccinated. But that rate is much lower in southern and rural counties in the state, which are contributing to many of the new cases, Chunhuei Chi, the director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, told the Guardian last month.

                The vast majority of Covid patients at Rogue regional medical center are unvaccinated, Ghosh said. As of last week, the hospital had 180 Covid patients, 92% of whom were unvaccinated; 51 in the intensive care unit, 98% of whom were unvaccinated; and 35 people on ventilators, all unvaccinated.

                • Anne

                  Thank you so much for your posts Macro. I cannot believe that some normally very intelligent people on this site cannot concede that in the profoundly serious situation the world is currently in, the health and ultimately the wealth of the nation has to take precedence over all else including some of our "freedoms". We all know this loss of freedom is only temporary and if everyone plays their part it won't be for long.

                  And on a lighter note: this helped to make my day:

                  https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/300404857/auckland-city-hospital-sexcapade-gains-global-attention-on-colberts-late-show

                  • RedLogix

                    We all know this loss of freedom is only temporary and if everyone plays their part it won't be for long.

                    I think most people accept measures like lockdowns, travel restrictions and MIQ because they are by their very nature temporary.

                    Once we get vaccine passports however – I don't think they will ever go away. On reading some of the callous attitudes in this thread I can see them being used for purposes well beyond any sort of justifiable public health measure, becoming more intrusive and objectionable over time.

                    • Anne

                      I have in front of me a card which I was given after the completion of my second jab. It contains my name, the dates the pfizer jabs were given me plus the time of day and batch number. No other information is included. I plan to have the card laminated as proof of my vaccination.

                      I have no quarrel with a so-called vaccine passport provided there is no more information held on file other than that appearing on the passport. In other words, no address, phone nos. or date of birth etc.

                      And the above is coming from someone who once upon a time was the subject of intensive surveillance activity prompted by malicious claims from an unstable individual who was clever at covering her tracks.

                    • RedLogix

                      In the context of a paper card as you describe I accept you're probably right. And if we knew in advance the precise and constrained purposes it might be used for – then again I think we're on the same page.

                      But here in Australia I didn't get anything on paper. It's all on a govt database over which I have no control nor democratic oversight. The potential for scope-creep and datalinking to all manner of govt or banking matters is bloody scary tbh.

            • DukeEll 2.2.2.1.2.2

              Measles is a great example of a deadly disease that hasn’t been eradicated because of vaccine hesitantcy that then proves a nearly fatal risk to children too young to be vaccinated.

              covid could prove similar. But yeah, we should continue to support individuals who choose “with good reason” to not get vaccinated and not worry about the selfish few who believe misinformation and think they’re better than the rest of society

              • Foreign waka

                Just remember, if someone does not get vaccinated for what you call selfish reasons, they will selfishly die. Those vaccinated and those with other conditions and not able to will look after themselves (masks etc.) So really you have nothing to fear.

    • mauī 2.3

      Thanks for the glimpse into a crazed, apartheid like, dystopia.

    • McFlock 2.4

      Agreed.

      The thing about vaccines is that they aren't as effective if applied only for one's own self interest. They are a population-level intervention, a collective action.

      Sure, an unvax person might have little direct risk to me personally if I have a jab, but I'm pulling their weight. If we don't all pull, we might not achieve the aim. And then other people die, vax or no vax (because <100% efficacy). And ICUs fill up, so heart attacks and car crashes don't get the resources they need. Indirectly, I might be one of them. But even if I'm not, what sort of piece of shit am I to risk that just because I don't want a jab?

      Vaccination exposes the selfish impulse over the impulse to help people in general. I don't want to. I know better. I am safe. My choice doesn't affect you, you don't have the right to make me.

      As opposed to collective nouns: we can do this, we will all do our bit, we're all in the same boat, this is good for us.

      • McFlock 2.4.1

        Case in point:

        Alabama man dies of cardiac event after 43 hospitals with full ICUs turned him away

        […]

        DeMonia suffered from a cardiac event, and emergency staff at Cullman Regional Medical Center had to bring him to the nearest available bed, which was nearly 200 miles away at a Mississippi hospital.

    • Julian Richards 2.5

      It's a strange thing people have been influenced to get this vaccine in the name of being selfless to protect those that cannot. Yet now those who've had this vaccine are nkw turning on the very people they initially felt they were doing this for? Weird times.

      • Foreign waka 2.5.1

        Human nature. Those who have gone and vaccinated might think they need to get a reward. I hope we are not retreating to Aztec times, sarc…

      • Andre 2.5.2

        It's not the genuine "can nots" that people have no patience for, it's those that choose not to. Genuine adult "can nots" are very very few, and there will be little objection to exempting them from mandates. However, there will be extra opprobrium for those that attempt to get exemptions on false pretence.

        Those that take the vaccine but are still vulnerable also deserve the protection of the rest of the community getting vaccinated. These are the immunocompromised, those taking immunosuppressant medication for conditions such as cancer, those with various other ailments that make them extra vulnerable …

        Then there's the cost to all of us via the health system of those that reject one of the safest, cheapest, most thoroughly proven and most effective medical interventions ever devised, that then go on to clog up the medical system at vast expense when they actually get the disease that would have been prevented (or reduced in severity) by the vaccine they rejected.

        • Poission 2.5.2.1

          These are the immunocompromised

          Which is a significant ethical dilemma,if they are the source for accelerated mutational evolution.

          Li couldn't believe what they found. "I was shocked," he says. "When I saw the virus sequences, I knew that we were dealing with something completely different and potentially very important."

          The sequences showed Li and his team that the virus was changing very quickly inside the man's body. The virus wasn't picking up just one or two mutations at a time. But rather, it acquired a whole cluster of more than 20 mutations. Scientists had never seen SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, mutate so quickly during the whole pandemic.

          https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/02/05/964447070/where-did-the-coronavirus-variants-come-from

          https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2031364#article_citing_articles

          • Andre 2.5.2.1.1

            Yeah. So the more we can do to prevent them from being infected, the lower that risk becomes. Yet more reason to get vaccination rates as high as we possibly can.

            It's also worth continuing to keep in mind Delta came came to us before there was any significant vaccine coverage anywhere. It seems more likely the product of having a large unvaccinated population to evolve in. Probably not the product of having a long time to evolve in a single immunocompromised host.

            • Poission 2.5.2.1.1.1

              It's also worth continuing to keep in mind Delta came came to us before there was any significant vaccine coverage anywhere

              And where there is significant vaccine coverage with all the bells and whistles, public health restrictions get relaxed,and the jurisdiction where it occurs suddenly finds their hospitals are overwhelmed,and the new variant with three orders of magnitude viral shedding means there is a red queen effect locally see Singapore as exhibit 1

              https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/singapore-new-covid-19-cases-local-cluster-moh-sep-10-2168141

              Secondly there are problematic questions around the assumption that increased vaccination will provide herd immunity at n% of the population,or the virus will decrease in its morbidity as a function of time,the latter being non realistic as Covid infects whilst asymptomatic.

              The trade-off model recognises that pathogen virulence will not necessarily limit the ease by which a pathogen can transmit from one host to another. It might even enhance it. Without the assumed evolutionary cost to virulence, there is no reason to believe that disease severity will decrease over time. Instead, May and Anderson proposed that the optimal level of virulence for any given pathogen will be determined by a range of factors, such as the availability of susceptible hosts, and the length of time between infection and symptom onset.

              This last factor is a key aspect of the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2. The long time period between infection and death (if it occurs) means that SARS-CoV-2 has a significant window in which to replicate and spread, long before it kills its current host.

              https://theconversation.com/will-coronavirus-really-evolve-to-become-less-deadly-153817?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

              The question is when should we fully lock the drawbridge ? and for how long.

  3. satty 3

    Here in front of me is a small yellow booklet called:

    World Health Organization

    International Certificates of Vaccination

    There’s my name and my date of birth on the front and the earliest vaccination entry is from 1997. When I went to my first COVID shot at the GP a couple of weeks back, it was obvious they have never seen such a document and didn’t know what to do with it. Eventually they put the covid entry under influenza.

    So such “vaccination passports” are around for a long time already. We just never used them really.

    • Andre 3.1

      Just went to look at mine – I've three of them. The earliest entry is smallpox that I got in 1965 as a six-month old.

      As far as I can tell for the travel my family had planned at the time, smallpox, yellow fever, and cholera were hard requirements. No jab, no entry.

      I didn't bother trying to get my covid jab put in my latest book. It's unlikely to ever be useful, and any actual vaccine passport or digital certificate or whatever will supersede any hand-scrawl in some ancient treeware.

    • KJT 3.2

      Yellow fever, typhoid and cholera were a job requirement when I started work in the 70's. Probably still have the little yellow international vaccination booklet somewhere.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        I actually still have that same little Yellow booklet and those are all diseases with very high lethality. And not only are those vax's protect you personally from very dangerous diseases when you travel to places where they're endemic – but to protect whole populations from when you return. And for most people travel to these places is optional – when I went to Latin America to work I was always given a choice not to.

        None of these conditions applies to COVID. It simply not that lethal and it's going to be endemic everywhere.

    • RedLogix 3.3

      The purpose these yellow booklets serve arises when you return to your country of origin. If you can show it to the immigration people you pass through – if not then you will likely have to undergo testing and/or quarantine.

      These COVID passports will be used domestically for far more intrusive measures than this.

      • Ad 3.3.1

        It's like COVID is the perfect 9/11 20th anniversary present for the security state's next extension.

        A reasonably dark way to get one world government back on the table.

        Just waiting for the League Of Vaccinated Nations.

        • RedLogix 3.3.1.1

          While it's easy to label what you said there as 'conspiracy nuttery' there is no question that COVID has unleashed the authoritarian impulse buried in the psyche of all of us – and even on this thread it's risen to the surface like a ragged zombie from some horror flic.

          As for one world government, this was always on the table since the end of WW2. The question everyone misses is not whether it’s going to happen or not – because in order to survive as a species into the future it’s a necessity – but what form it will take. Democratic and principled, or authoritarian and brutal?

          • Ad 3.3.1.1.1

            "Democratic and principled – or authoritarian and brutal?"

            It's almost the same question as the way the United States could have gone at 9/11.

            Perhaps like Denmark we just get to 80% vaccinated and just open up and restore most public rights, and let the public health system take the weight permanently. That is what the health system is there for.

            If that's true, the countries with the most cohesive public services and also the highest trust in government will also be the countries best able to sustain a full suite of human rights.

            • RedLogix 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Absolutely yes. Trust is the foundation of all matters political, economic and social. Which is why I watch the undermining of it during this COVID crisis with such considerable dismay.

            • Andre 3.3.1.1.1.2

              … let the public health system take the weight permanently…

              When that happens and if the health system gets overwhelmed because the pandemic of the unvaccinated hits hard, then the vaccine-refuser covid-infected should be first on the list to get triaged out.

              • RedLogix

                You have stepped right over the line into madness.

                Contemplating this thread I’ve come to the conclusion that vaccine passports are a very bad idea indeed. They’re clearly enablers of authoritarians like Andre to give free reign to every mobbing, bullying impulse imaginable.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Re; Andre, “I view your persistent labelling of people who choose to not get vaccinated as 'anti-social arseholes' as exceedingly dangerous.” +1, Andre’s hysterical anti-anti vac rhetoric is a prime example of how to fully entrench and harden an already bad idea with people who really don’t need any further isolating, I really can’t think of a worse way of dealing with them.

                  Actually what I have noticed in the Hawkes Bay is that most of the anti-vaccination noise is coming from the ‘health food shop’ type middle class..they even did a little protest the other day.

              • Ross

                the vaccine-refuser covid-infected should be first on the list to get triaged out.

                You must've missed the point that some people are unable to be vaccinated. Also, if the unvaccinated are at risk of being "triaged out", what are the odds that some will say they've been vaccinated?

                You seem genuinely concerned that you will get covid, even though you've been vaccinated. Earlier you said the vaccine is "very effective", but now you don't seem so sure. 🙂

                • Andre

                  You haven't given any clarity on who is unable to be vaccinated. Hint: for the Pfizer vaccine it's a very very small group numbering at most double digits per million. The AstraZeneca (approved in NZ) and Novavax (likely to be approved very soon in NZ) vaccines are fine for those people.

                  And for anyone that has genuine medical reason not to get any of the vaccines (I'm not aware of any group meeting that description, but let's assume some exist), they are the ones that need and deserve the rest of us going and doing the simple decent and responsible thing of getting vaccinated.

                  I'm fortunate enough to not be in the group that's vulnerable to covid after vaccination. But vaccinated people are much less likely to pass it on to someone in that group, who are mostly the immunocompromised and those with significant co-morbidities.

                  Those are the people particularly vulnerable to the anti-social arseholes that refuse to take a very effective, very safe, and free action to help protect their community.

                  If unvaccinated people were genuinely only risking themselves, I would have precisely zero fucks to give about what they might do to themselves. But they're a serious risk to people who have taken every precaution to protect themselves, but are still very vulnerable. As well as a serious risk to the mental well-being of the medical staff that end up having to try to keep them alive despite their pointlessly self-inflicted harm.

                  • RedLogix

                    Oddly enough I have two colleagues literally in the same team who cannot get vaxxed. One is currently suffering blot clotting and has been refused vaccination – and the other had such a bad reaction to their first shot their GP has strongly advised against a second.

                    I work in an environment of around 50 people and so far I'm counting 6 of them with some kind of adverse relationship with these vaccines that I know about.

                  • Ross

                    But they're a serious risk to people who have taken every precaution to protect themselves

                    How can they be a serious risk when you've said the vaccine is very effective?

                    You haven't given any clarity on who is unable to be vaccinated.

                    Firstly, there's the 700,000 odd children who cannot be vaccinated as they're ineligible. Second, vaccinators were informed in April:

                    “Do not administer [the vaccine] to individuals with a known history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine”.

                    Vaccinators were also told: “A few groups of people should not get the vaccine…”

                    Pregnant women were advised to delay vaccination until after delivery. The above was supplied to vaccinators as part of their online course that they had to do before being approved.

                    • Andre

                      Congratulations. You actually are aware of one of the contraindications. Now, do you have any idea of the prevalence of individuals with that contraindication?

                      With respect to pregnant women, in New Zealand the vaccine isn't recommended for pregnant women because the amount of data is very low, and we don't have significant risk of covid in the community. Pregnant women here can safely wait until after giving birth. Overseas where there is significant risk of covid, in at least a few places the recommendation is the risk of covid is far higher than the risk of vaccination so pregnant women should get the vaccine.

                      Yes, children under 12 do not yet have a vaccine approved for them. So they deserve the protection of having those of us that can get vaccinated actually going and doing so.

                      It's reasonably likely that approval for 5 to 11 year olds will in fact happen sometime around the end of the year. Hopefully our government will be able to resist the pressure to open up early so those kids can get the protection of vaccination before getting exposed to the likely wave of covid getting mostly spread around here by unvaccinated antisocial arseholes.

                      BTW for anyone interested, here’s the actual Medsafe pdf info sheet with contraindications etc for the Pfizer vaccine we’re all getting.

                      https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/c/comirnatyinj.pdf

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes, children under 12 do not yet have a vaccine approved for them. So they deserve the protection of having those of us that can get vaccinated actually going and doing so.

                      Children under the age of 12 have extremely low rates of death or harm from COVID. Vaccination does little to directly 'protect' them.

                      You could argue for potential indirect benefits but honestly if we just got on with vaccinating most the vulnerable adults, started paying attention to a whole range of other public health risk factors such as diabetes, and then did like Sweden – we'd get through this just fine.

                    • RedLogix

                      The data linked to clearly shows Sweden has recently seen a slow rise in cases but virtually no corresponding rise in the death rate. You may need to scroll down to see that.

      • Whispering Kate 3.3.2

        The yellow vaccination cert/card goes back to at least 1967. I still have mine attached at the back of my first passport, cholera I think was one of the shots listed in it. Back in the days of my first OE. I don't think Big Brother was around in those days.

        • RedLogix 3.3.2.1

          Because it was never used for any 'Big Brother' purpose. It was solely used when you returned from travel to an at risk destination. I've done this a number of times in the past five years – arrive at immigration, produce the little yellow booklet and you pass through.

          Don't have it and you have to undergo testing and possible quarantine. We've always considered these reasonable measures.

          By contrast you only have to look at the far more intrusive purposes that COVID passports are already being put to – and far more gleefully proposed – to realise what a bad idea they are.

          • KJT 3.3.2.1.1

            And. Why do you think covid passports will work any differently?

            There were many countries in my younger days, you couldn't enter without the yellow booklet.

            You are spruiking for the Texan idea that you should have the Free dumb to do whatever you like despite the risk to others. They are also morally inconsistent, as they do not believe in the same freedom for pregnant women, or young men of military age..

            • RedLogix 3.3.2.1.1.1

              You are spruiking for the Texan idea that you should have the Free dumb to do whatever you like despite the risk to others.

              Nowhere have I suggested anything remotely like that – everything is a balance of individual freedoms and collective responsibility and these COVID passports are very much changing that balance substantially.

              What does appall me is watching the authoritarian left happily climb on board with the moral authority that COVID has temporarily lent them, to erase a whole range of very basic personal freedoms. Once upon a time we fought against the tyranny of fascism – now we seem to be it's new management.

              • KJT

                Are you against speed limits also?

                Sorry. That is the “Authoritarian left”… Restricting your “rights”.

                • RedLogix

                  Speed limits are a very good instance of a balance of cost and benefit.

                  Raising or eliminating them produces little extra individual benefit, but an exponentially higher cost overall. You’ve never seen me advocate for this.

                  At the other exreme a man walking with a red flag in front of every vehicle would of course reduce speed related deaths close to zero, but such a restriction would make a nonsense of our entire transport system.

                  In my view COVID passports might gain us some small public health benefit, but at a cost of rendering our free and open societies to a virtual nullity.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Yes.

                    • Tricledrown

                      Qantas has already signalled no vaccine no flight.

                      This will spread to other airlines jetstar Air New Zealand will want to protect their staff.

                  • KJT

                    Covid passports will be required for international travel.

                    Pity we didn’t have measles vaccination status for travel to Samoa.

                    As for presenting vaccination status for jobs. many of us have had to do that for years.

                    For things such as visiting hospital cancer wards, it may be appropriate.
                    The technology exists, as NZ has done for the covid app, that people can only see the places you visited or your vaccination status, when you show them for public health purposes.

                    Though anyone who voluntarily carries a smart phone, has already given up their privacy.

                    As for providing proof of vaccination for other occasions where there is no clearly defined public health reason, , I would probably oppose that. Definatly if it was used as identification for other purposes. Noting that you already have to identify yourself to Cops, Customs, MAF staff etc, when they ask.

                    Every extra death or long term health issue from Covid, or from lack of medical facililities for other deases and injuries due to covid is in ADDITION to deaths and health problems from other causes, such as flu. How many of those are you prepared to accept, to maintain your "freedoms"? Or as Collins doesn't mention but implies, "for the economy".

                    • mauī

                      Every extra death or long term health issue from Covid, or from lack of medical facililities for other deases and injuries due to covid is in ADDITION to deaths and health problems from other causes, such as flu.

                      If you look at it that way you would also have to take into account the damage done to child development over the last year. The disruption to childrens education, the reports of pandemic babies with measurably lower IQ's, and rising child obesity, are all long term societal harms.

                      It's also difficult to seperate out Covid deaths from other medical problem deaths. Covid is doing the most damage to frail people with underlying medical conditions. Almost half of NZ's deaths have come from one rest home, in other words it's bringing forward deaths. Covid caused accelerated deaths are different to additional "unexpected" deaths.

                    • KJT

                      NZ, because we have largely kept covid out, is not an example of what happens with a less robust response.

                      You also have to take into account, as in New York, all the extra deaths from other causes because their hospitals are full of covid cases. I have information first hand from a friend, an ex apprentice, who is nursing there, what is occurring. Turning away children, to be treated at home with serious injuries from things like car crashes, for example. By the way she was very fit and in her twenties. Still has after effects from covid she contracted in the first round.

              • KJT

                ,"Restricting some freedoms" for a very good reason, just like speed limits, is not tyranny, FFS.

                When you tolerate the ridiculous level of airport security, and the requirements for identification, because of the extremely minimal chance of a hi jacking, but object to less intrusive measures for the much greater risk of covid, you are getting into hyperbolic territory.

                A lot of the things we have had to do wouldn't be necessary if right wingers in particular, actually accepted , ,”individual responsibility," for the health and safety as well as the economic viability of our community. Instead of daft over reaction to necessary precautions.

                • RedLogix

                  Exactly where do you propose to stop in this process, because people like you have been imposing their fears on the rest of us for decades – and I for one am kind of over indulging you in it.

                  Our ancestors would be ashamed of us, astonished at what whimpering cowards we've become.

                  • Foreign waka

                    And so many died in wars fought, not of Covid but bravery to defend the freedom that seemingly is now so worthless to some.

                    • KJT

                      More like anti social idiots and greedy twits have been imposing their "rights" over the rest of us.

                      Not caring who gets hurt, so long as it is not them.

                      How many people should die for your "rights" Redlogix?

                    • KJT

                      That old chestnut.

                      Going by the Governments, returning soldiers voted for, they were after a decent, fair and caring society. Where working people which most soldiers were, the Elite as usual largely stayed at home while we fought the battles for them, wanted a chance at a decent life with fair pay.

                      Not Ayn Rands Fantasy of "Individualism".

                      They would be astounded by those, who are scared witless by a needle in the arm, or having to wear masks.

  4. Ad 4

    Would any parent in the South Island want an unvaccinated child from Auckland in the same classroom as their child?

    Harper Valley PTA ethical quandaries beyond "mask mandates": here we come.

  5. Ad 5

    Effective COVID government should enhance public trust in government.

    https://www.statista.com/chart/12634/where-trust-in-government-is-highest-and-lowest/#:~:text=Some%20of%20the%20highest%20levels,Russia%20at%20just%2034%20percent.

    COVID is a gift to those who want to see restoration to the actual purpose of government.

    If the cosmos is fair, the political dividend from success will be exceptionally high.

    As well as exceptionally low for ineffective COVD government.

  6. Obtrectator 6

    "Today the New Zealand government has promised by Christmas that we can download an app that will be a vaccine passport."

    Jolly D. Here's hoping it'll be downloadable to phones that are more than a couple of years old. (Unlike the Tracer app, which I haven't been able to make use of because it's incompatible with my 7 years old but otherwise still perfectly functional smartphone.) But I suspect the phone manufacturers will be rubbing their hands with glee at the forthcoming spending-spree.

    • Tricledrown 6.1

      Cell phones are cheap and new phones have better software faster processing speeds.older phones struggle to work properly as the size of the software is so big it clusters the cpu.back in the day you purchased a software upgrade and antivirus software for more than it costs for a new cellphone.

      Land lines are dissappearing

  7. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/08/vaccine-mandate-strong-supreme-court-precedent-510280

    From a 1905 American Supreme Court Decision 7-2. In regards to vaccination for smallpox. One mans liberty cannot deprive his neighbours of there own liberty. In this case allowing the spread of disease.

    It will be interesting if an anti-Vax case makes it to the Supreme Court today.

    The article is an interesting comment on the Supreme Court.

    Yesterday I had to go to the Transfer Station where I got hauled over the coals for not wearing a mask which I then put on but when I asked if the person doing the asking was vaccinated was told it was none of my business. When I asked at the office of the waste management company what there policy was for a person dealing with the public was I got a blank look. No one in the office was wearing a mask and the 2-3 persons walking in did not. There was a discussion over vaccination and compulsion. This issue for employers and employees is not going to go away.

    By the way I have had my jabs.

    • lprent 7.1

      I read a article in abc.com.au a few days ago commenting on their vaccine passport. The PDF that with a few minor tweaks using public available tools can have the password stripped off the PDF, and allow the relevant fields to be edited, and reprinted as a false document.

      If our vaccination passport is anything like as insecure as that then, if no-one else does it first, I'll happily publish and maintain custom utility to create bogus vaccine passports. I'd do this as a public service because a worthless 'passport' is a just a nuisance.

      Look at the bad effect that the worthless anti-social arseholes printing their own fake masks exemptions have had on the people who actually do have a legitimate exemption.

      To make any kind of document work it has to have a degree of trust and rapid verification possible.

      That said, once we get close to full vaccination, I personally won't be working or being around around anyone who doesn't have a legitimate medical reason to not have full set of vaccinations for covid-19. I'll planning on adding that into any of my future employment contracts. I will discriminate against service companies that don't have a very clear and verified vaccination and PPE policy for their front facing employees.

      The reason for that is that even with vaccinations there is a small but significiant risk of getting a hospitalisation from any covid-19 infection. At my age that poses a significant risk. And make no mistake about it, covid-19 and its various variants is an endemic disease that will be around as a significiant threat for decades worldwide, unless better treatments and vaccines are developed.

      It simply isn't worth the risk to me to allow others to exercise their freedom to infect me without due caution. They don't have my permission to constrain my freedom to reduce my health risks. Covid-19 has some really ugly infection outcomes that I have absolutely no wish to endure for someone else's convenience and obsessions.

      This is of course purely a matter of personal choice, but I'd imagine that my choice will be the same choice made by a lot of others

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        It simply isn't worth the risk to me to allow others to exercise their freedom to infect me without due caution.

        By your own admission you accept that COVID has become endemic, which logically means that inevitably you will be exposed to it. It's just a matter of time. Take whatever measure you see fit to prepare, get vaxxed as often as you like.

        Because the day the virus arrives in your life you won't be caring so much about whether or not the person you got it from was vaxxed or not, PPE wearing or not. Your health and capacity to resist COVID is your responsibility, not anyone else's.

        And I mean that respectfully.

        • KJT 7.1.1.1

          If someone close to me dies, or a grandkid gets long term effects because someone around them refuses vaccination because they are too stupid, and or selfish to get vaccinated.

          Too right I will care about it

          And so should you.

        • Robert Guyton 7.1.1.2

          Your argument is sound, RedLogix and I share your position on vaccinations. It's irksome though, to have to "credit the un-vaccinated" for their choice, given they seem to have made it for reasons other than those you've laid out here 🙂

          • lprent 7.1.1.2.1

            It really doesn't matter to me why someone does things.

            To take an extreme analogy, if someone is running around with a samurai sword chopping at people then I really do not need to need to know or care about their motivations. I just need to avoid them and their probable homicidal actions.

            There is a significiant basis for this in criminal law. Which in virtually all major jurisdictions distinguishes between the act and the intent.

            The actus reus is what is required to get police involved, required to convict, and what I need to worry about when it comes to violence, theft or breaking public health orders done for the benefit of the whole population.

            The mens rea is not properly my concern when it comes to ensuring my safety and that of those around me. That is a question for determining liability and is mainly a question of the sentencing…

            The standard common law test of criminal liability is expressed in the Latin phrase actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, i.e. "the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty".[1] As a general rule, someone who acted without mental fault is not liable in criminal law. Exceptions are known as strict liability crimes. Moreover, when a person intends a harm, but because of bad aim or other cause, the intent is transferred from an intended victim to an unintended victim, the case is considered to be a matter of transferred intent.[2]:63–64

            If someone doesn't feel that the covid-19 vaccines are unsafe, or thinks that bill gates is implanting microchips with the needle – it is complete irrelevance to anyone who becomes an inadvertent victim of their thinking. That is just a transferred intent. It means manslaughter rather than murder.

            It is up to those individuals to bear the responsibility and consequences of their actions – ideally by complying with health orders and workplace rules designed to protect everyone. If that means that they have to have a spike stuffed up their nose once a week, then that should be a simple albeit unpleasant choice that they make as a commitment to their fellow citizens for their beliefs. 'Rights' exists with a large chunk of responsibility as well.

            Better to do that than suffer possible civil (where means rea generally doesn't apply) or even criminal actions if it can be shown they infected others through an irresponsible lack of adherence to public health orders or actually intended to do so. Then I will be clapping the sufferer of long covid or their estate on with their cases.

            The freedom to wave a sword around in public is pretty much in the same class of legality as getting others to take on public health risks for their beliefs. Yes you can do it. You also need to expect to pay the consequences for that as well.

            And it is my right to avoid getting to know or be around sword-wielding homicidal maniacs or people who are of the opinion that they won’t vaccinate or comply with public health orders.

            It is not a 'right' that people or their employers have a claim on my tolerance of public health risks. That simply doesn't exist in law or, in this case, in my opinion.

            I’m willing to tolerate the limited risk of those with a legitimate medical reason to not have vaccinations. They’re more likely to be in danger from me. And I always try to deal with their needs as any citizen should. But someone just having an idea unsubstantiated by facts doesn’t deserve or require that toleration.

        • lprent 7.1.1.3

          Your health and capacity to resist COVID is your responsibility, not anyone else's.

          FFS try reading your own words. Of course it is my responsibility. But you haven't thought through the implications of an social endemic respiratory disease in our current society.

          By your own admission you accept that COVID has become endemic, which logically means that inevitably you will be exposed to it. It's just a matter of time. Take whatever measure you see fit to prepare, get vaxxed as often as you like.

          Sure it will become endemic in NZ. That really isn't the question. Instead the question is at what point do I (or other vaccinated people) get exposed to a high viral load and under what conditions. And how often. Because that is what will cause a vaccinated break through infection.

          The problem is that all of the covid-19 vaccines are effective to some degree at reducing the amount of damage. But they don't stop anyone from getting infected or re-infected. It just means that if you are fully vaccinated, you are far less likely to start shedding virus, get symptomaic go to hospital due to covid-19 or to become part of mortality toll than someone who is unvaccinated.

          However there is still a risk, and it is a cumulative risk not a discrete one. It is based on how much viral load you are repeatably exposed to within what time period. Does your pumped up immune system have sufficient capacity to deal with any given load and variant.

          That is particularly the question for anyone with risk factors. In my case age and heart disease. But most people at some point in their life will wind up with increased risk factors – getting older if nothing else. And this class of disease (corona viruses) are an endemic disease in every animal population we know of. It will probably take generations for this one to subside to merely being a nuisance like the collon cold is for people derived from the eurasian continent.

          Regardless of your own vaccination status or PPE or whatever. If you are in an environment where one or multiple people are shedding active viruses in an enclosed space, probably a mix of different variants, then you will catch another round of covid-19 trying to breed in you. If your immune system is insufficient to suppress it, the you may start shedding live viruses and possibly become symptomatic and may go on to requiring hospitalisation.

          Vaccines don't confer immunity, the just reduce individual risk. Highly vaccinated populations are the only known way of decreasing that risk to the level where vaccinated people aren't subjected to a risk of an outbreak rolling over their immune systems from simple exposure to high viral loads.

          So the most obvious way to reduce the risk is to not be around complete idiots. Right now the most obvious idiots about covid-19 are those who without sufficient reasons choose not to be vaccinated. People who don't wear masks in enclosed communal spaces and those who don't choose to be tested. Soon it will be the people who won't take the booster shots. They are all spreaders.

          I'm perfectly happy to be around people who have been recently vaccinated or who act in a socially responsible way. I'm willing to work for and shop at employers who actively enforce viral hygiene standards for the next decade or two (ie roughly how long this pandemic is likely to run for).

          I choose not to be in an environment where others are being socially irresponsible and not reducing their risk to others. Same for retailers including supermarkets. Same for any other place I have to go to.

          That is managing my risk. Employers and others will have to satisfy me that they are taking reasonable precautions to not expose me to irresponsibly high viral loads.

          I'm afraid that viruses are pretty simple organisms. They simply aren't susceptible to rhetoric or high flying principles. They are susceptible to widespread public health measures as we have proved many times over the last 3 hundred years or so.

          Which of course is a health system problem. And my personal responsibility to support at any level – including what risks I am willing for others to impose upon me. Making reasonable restrictions like avoiding the wilfully unvaccinated (and the deluded who think that their misinterpretation of freedom means avoiding public health measures) just reduces my risks over the next few decades.

          For me a freedom from getting infected by the delusional conspiracy nutters is a higher priority than my toleration for their ‘right’ to exercise those delusions in the spaces that I also occupy.

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.3.1

            A long argument that boils down to the idea that you can hide from COVID forever. It's there in your own words – the risk is cumulative and eventually as we all roll the dice the odds of rolling a bad day become virtually inevitable.

            I'm due my second AZ dose soon – but I'm not going to label those who are choose to not to vaccinate 'delusional conspiracy nutters'. Indeed in the NZ context with Maori and PI as the group most likely to be unvaccinated, such a statement could be construed as borderline racist – although I'm sure you never intended it that way.

            There are many reasons, both reasonable or not, why people are vaccine hesitant. Hell even I lined up more out of sense of duty than conviction – but I doubt very much that the unvaccinated are going to be happily convinced by attempts at bullying, shaming and coercing them into it. They may well comply, but you might want to ask at what political cost.

            • lprent 7.1.1.3.1.1

              There are many reasons, both reasonable or not, why people are vaccine hesitant.

              Sure – and I'm aware of many of them. Hell I share a lot of them. I would have hated to have plugging a mRNA vaccine as I did on friday at the start of the year. I left it as long as I could.

              that the unvaccinated are going to be happily convinced by attempts at bullying, shaming and coercing them into it.

              Yeah – but I'm not saying that – you are. I expect that most people and employers will comply with public health orders just as they do with all criminal laws. There will be a minority who choose to break them.

              But I won't be working with or being serviced by organisations who don't comply with those rules fully and robustly.

              That is my choice. It is also one that I suspect many people will follow in their own behaviour.

              A long argument that boils down to the idea…

              That you just misrepresented what I said by making upon your own bit of spin on it sayimg something that I neither said nor implied. Probably didn't read it, and certainly didn't respond to any point in it.

              So far I haven't seen a single factual thing that you have said that I haven't covered as something I haven't considered more than 18 months ago when I was pointing out the nature of this particular disease, its probable course , ramifications, and the social and economic consequences that fall out of it.

              What I pointed out long ago was that this isn't a disease like influenza that gets a lucky configuration and then burns out.

              It is a social disease that breeds on crowding and social behaviours as its disease vector. That the human population now had the population densities that meant it would become as endemic in us as it and its cousins are in bats. And that the only possible way to deal with it amongst humans will be to change social behaviours to reduce vectors.

              Sure we have vaccines, but this is massive virus that keeps trying out variations already present in its possible genome as it exploits its new resource – humans.

              The vaccines will have to be re-rendered every year or so and maybe more often over time as the variants spread and 'speciate' into very different varieties. The velocity of those changes mostly depends on giving the virus as little room to spread widely as possible.

              We're already seeing this with the successive waves that are actually increasing in amplitude and speed across the globe. It took nearly 4 months for beta getting everywhere. Delta with a relatively small set of changes then proceeded to tear through highly vaccinated countries in about half the time and is infecting more people faster.

              That is going to be the pattern for quite a few years, because even with all of the vaccinations going on there is a huge population base to be infected and re-infected with different variants. I'm expecting the speed and amplitude of the waves to keep increasing for years yet. Herd immunities from vaccines or previous infection are going to be very difficult to achieve with this virus and its descendents.

              But it does seem kind of pointless dealing with someone who is so convinced of their own judgement that they fail to deal with the arguments put in front of them.

              • lprent

                Wow that was longer than I expected. These bitbake builds of whole linux file system images really chew through the time. I'd better get lunch and come back for the final bits of testing.

                • Bazza64

                  Don't mind the long posts, a very good read. Agree with everything that you & Andre say re the virus. Many people want the benefits provided by a society (i.e. the hospital, doctors) but don't want to pull their weight & get the vaccine.

              • Gezza

                I've put my trust in all the reputable Medical Scientists & had my jabs. I'm lung-compromised & have no other option.

                Don't want to waste your time as I imagine you've covered this elsewhere earlier, but I've only recently returned to reading & posting on TS after a long absence.

                I don't understand the science & I'm curious why you were (& others who seem to understand it) were seemingly initially hesitant about an mRNA vaccine. Is there a short layperson-friendly explanation, Lynn?

                • lprent

                  The mRNA vaccines are a new kind of vaccine.

                  Their development were initially targeted at a coronavirus cousin of the covid-19m the MERS virus that was described around 2012. That was pretty lethal, but limited in scope

                  The memory RNA (mRNA) inside the cell are effectively a transcription messenger. What they normally do is to lift a copy of the description of the format of a protein from DNA in the nucleus of a cell and transport to the protein producing engines inside the cell – which then generate copies of the protein for the cell.

                  What the vaccine makers did was to describe a protein from a virus and produce a mRNA description about how to create it. That is the vaccine.

                  When injected it gets into cells and gets the cell to produce foreign proteins that a very similar or the same as a common protein on the virus coating. The immune systems get all het up about this foreign protein and start activating defences against it.

                  In effect training various immune systems to watch out for this protein or proteins.

                  This is a brand new way of producing vaccines. The older vaccines would either use crushed dead virus coatings, attenuated live virus, bacteria with cell coatings to resemble virus coatings, or just a live virus from a related family of viruses to get the immune system to do the same thing.

                  This is way easier – but had never been fully tesetd in a large population sample prior to covid-19. In fact they were just about to do their first tests when Covid-19 appeared, the they retargeted development.

                  So the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA, and they were out fast.

                  From wikipedia

                  The advantages of RNA vaccines over traditional protein vaccines are ease of design, speed and lower cost of production, and the induction of both cellular and humoral immunity.[5][6] While some RNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, have the disadvantage of requiring ultracold storage before distribution,[1] other mRNA vaccines, such as the Moderna, CureVac, and Walvax COVID-19 vaccines, do not have such requirements.[7][8]

                  In RNA therapeutics, mRNA vaccines have attracted considerable interest as COVID-19 vaccines.[1] In December 2020, Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna obtained approval for their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. On 2 December, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) became the first medicines regulator to approve an mRNA vaccine, authorizing the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine for widespread use.[9][10][11] On 11 December, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine[12][13] and a week later similarly approved the Moderna vaccine.[14][15]

                  The use of RNA in vaccines has occasioned substantial misinformation in social media, wrongly claiming that the introduction of RNA alters a person's DNA.[16][17]

                  BTW: That last is pretty typical misinformation.

                  My only quibble about the mRNA vaccines was the speed it went through the trials. It was brand new type of vaccine, hadn't done any widespread rigorous testing prior to 2020 and wizzed through stage 1 to stage 3 testing in less than a year, where most new vaccines take close to a decade.

                  All vaccines are inherently dangerous. They are trying to get one of the most powerful body processes to a state of high alert. That sometimes causes adverse reactions by many mechanisms. Sometimes causing the auto-immune system to start attacking something that it shouldn't. Sometimes causing stress on an already weakened system. Sometimes on the old attenuated viruses or crush viral coatings by finding that the production wasn't good enough and let live viruses through. That is why they are heavily tested in small studies, and then in ever increasing sizes over time to look for patterns of adverse effects.

                  But the risk of released vaccines, once you know the risk factors, is orders of magnitude lower than the pain and suffering of the actual diseases. They have a strong benefit / cost ratio.

                  In theory the mRNA approach is far cleaner and less susceptible to issues than any of the older approaches to producing vaccines. It is more like computer programming with RNA strands. But i think that anyone who was aware of the potential risks was probably somewhat worried.

                  As a ancient computer programmer I’m permanently in the state that says if something looks too good to be true – then you just need to look hard for the gotchas you haven’t found yet. The ones that are going to bite you in the arse and give you sleepless nights when it goes live somewhere on the other side of the world when there are several thousand angry people trying to use it.

                  But they flew through their trials with the main issues being determining the dosages, storage and transport techniques, scaling up production, and regulatory oversight.

                  Now there are somewhere towards a billion doses given of the mRNA, and the adverse effects are relatively limited and of a low probability. The science is pretty clear. I was comfortable to go in and get the kick in the arm on friday, and I'm a notoriously picky and skeptical person about design progresses and testing.

                  Which reminds me that I should get back to the latter on this code.

              • RedLogix

                I'm intentionally not parsing every point you make because believe it or not I'm not attempting to be confrontational. But lets just go with your key point:

                The vaccines will have to be re-rendered every year or so and maybe more often over time as the variants spread and 'speciate' into very different varieties.

                Herd immunities from vaccines or previous infection are going to be very difficult to achieve with this virus and its descendents.

                I linked to a NIH post a few nights ago that expanded the discussion past the issue of vaccines – into the broader question of the whole immune system.

                What is worth taking away from this article is that unlike vaccine induced B-cell antibodies, T-cell immunity is very broad in its action – capable of responding to virus's quite distant in genetic terms. For instance the evidence is that those exposed to the original SARS virus still retain good responses to SARS-COVID-2 virus even though the genetic distance between the two is quite large – and much larger than the distance between any of the existing COVID variants.

                On this basis there is good reason to hope that over time as more and more people become exposed to COVID (and remember for the vast majority it will be nothing worse than the common cold or seasonal influenza) that we will collectively gain sufficient innate immunity to COVID that renders the need for vaccination booster shots every few months unnecessary.

                On the other hand age and co-morbidities will clearly remain the prime risk factors. The former neither of us can do anything about – and I'm older than you. The latter we can.

                We're already seeing this with the successive waves that are actually increasing in amplitude and speed across the globe.

                The big caveat to my argument above, and I think we can agree on this, is that given what I still believe is the probable origin of this virus, we cannot be certain of it's evolutionary trajectory. All other diseases we've encountered have either been highly lethal but not very infectious, or the converse. We've never encountered a disease that was both – because in evolutionary principle such a thing should never arise as it would burn through it's host and then die out itself.

                But 7.5b humans is a lot of host – and if COVID does head in the direction of becoming both more infectious and lethal then all bets are off. In that case we really would need to hope for a better vaccine technology – plus whatever other health measure, both personal and public – that we could throw at it.

                • lprent

                  On this basis there is good reason to hope that over time as more and more people become exposed to COVID (and remember for the vast majority it will be nothing worse than the common cold or seasonal influenza) that we will collectively gain sufficient innate immunity to COVID that renders the need for vaccination booster shots every few months unnecessary.

                  Sure that is plan A – effectively what the Swedes and others were hoping at the start of the epidemic. But what if Plan A turns out to be a pious hope?

                  There are several contra-indications.

                  • There have now been numerous documented instances of people who weathered through one variant with minor symptoms, getting infected and having a bad reaction to a later variant. This seems to point to the only realistic way to get a long immunity response to it was to get a bad experience.
                  • Which is also pretty much what the original SARS data also indicates – the researchers are measuring the immune system responses in people who had strong symptoms from SARS because it didn't seem to give people mild symptoms – just very bad to worst.
                  • Covid-19 appears to be producing variants of interest at a far higher rate than was originally expected.
                  • "Long covid" is appearing to be far more prevalent than anyone expected. It appears to be happening much more frequently with re-infections. That also appears to be something of mystery from what cause that reaction, to what are the indicators that it might happen to particular individual. That appears to be triggering a long term auto-immune disease reaction.
                  • The immune system falloff by any measure for vaccines appears to be higher than originally estimated, and no-one is very sure about why.

                  Basically we simply don't have a long enough timeline with any of the corona viruses to have a good feel for how they operate in either animal or human hosts. We can't rely on guesswork and reckons.

                  The big caveat to my argument above, and I think we can agree on this, is that given what I still believe is the probable origin of this virus, we cannot be certain of it's evolutionary trajectory. All other diseases we've encountered have either been highly lethal but not very infectious, or the converse. We've never encountered a disease that was both – because in evolutionary principle such a thing should never arise as it would burn through it's host and then die out itself.

                  That is pretty much the recent history – the last century to century and a half. Hell, you've worked in a industry that is essentially the legacy of the eradication of cholera that didn't kill most of its victims, just made them sick in varying degrees, and kept recurring over the course of a lifetime because of immune system fades.

                  But there are other historical and archaeological instances of diseases that were both. Things like leprosy, the repeated incidences of the black plague from Justinian to the 19th century, polio, malaria etc.

                  But even diseases like eurasian childhood diseases like measles, mumps, chickenpox when carried to the New World or the Pacific Islands or here didn't decimate and burn out – they just kept sweeping those populations for hundreds of years until the vaccines were developed and used.

                  In evolutionary terms killing too many of the host populations is not an optimal evolutionary end point. But making them sick is just part of the process. Allowing them to develop a strong immune response wasn't optimal in evolutionary terms either – which is why so many diseases have evolved some pretty strong attacks systems to depress immune systems allowing repeated breeding cycles of time.

  8. Ed 8

    Bernard Hickey has an excellent podcast called The Kākā.

    https://thekaka.substack.com/p/dawn-chorus-time-to-stop-kidding

    To summarise, it argues that we ‘have built ourselves a beautiful cage, and now we can’t work out how to open it safely.’

    It is certainly a thought provoking conversation. Has anyone else listened to this?

    • lprent 8.1

      Nope. But that really presupposes a set of scenarios that is largely invented and has no place in our longer term realities.

      The intent is to open NZ up eventually when the government is sure that there is a good probability of constraining any outbreaks without having to go in country wide shutdowns. That would require one of several things to happen either in conjunction or parts.

      1. We get total population full vaccination level at or greater than a level around 90%. Even with the most virulent variants that should make it difficult to get widespread outbreaks. The impacts will generally devastate small unvaccinated clusters rather than whole populations. Note that this would require vaccinations for under 12 year olds to be possible. It also presupposes that the current relatively slow variant rate continues and that vaccine protections carry over for reasonable periods and that people take boosters based on variants. The death and long civid rates would still be high – but largely constrained to the groups that have accepted those risks.
      2. The health system need to be upgraded to handle more ICU capacity for respiratory diseases (and probably other base infectious disease forms) over the long term. Currently it is only sufficient for handling very minor outbreaks. It is set to the ‘normal’ expected loads. That would require a significiant increase in resources being sent to the health sector – and probably an increase in taxes of some kind to achieve this over the long-term.
      3. Some diminution in the effects of covid-19. This will happen eventually, but is likely to take decades at the very least. We already have a number of corona viruses that has done that. The corona common colds for instance.

      But realistically, the era of unconstrained international travel is pretty much at an end. The frequency of new diseases entering the human populations from zoonotic sources has been rising as rapidly as the world population over the last couple of hundred years and as they have intruded into every ecosystem on earth.

      We're now seeing 'novel' diseases arising many times per decade, rather than once every few decades that happened a hundred years ago – exactly as has been previously predicted. International air-travel makes these become worldwide problems rapidly. Only by having a a strong border control and health system can any nation, state or area constrain outbreaks to size that can be constrained before growing to pandemic sizes.

      I suspect that Bernard Hickey doesn't include those realities into those his framework. Simply because he almost always thinks on tactical time periods rather than what is happening at a strategic level. Hopefully our current and future governments can look past that short-term thinking.

      • Ed 8.1.1

        I agree with your thinking and conclusions.

        • Shanreagh 8.1.1.1

          I too agree lprent.

          This is particularly far-sighted bearing in mind the effects of long Covid etc.

          That said, once we get close to full vaccination, I personally won't be working or being around around anyone who doesn't have a legitimate medical reason to not have full set of vaccinations for covid-19. I'll planning on adding that into any of my future employment contracts. I will discriminate against service companies that don't have a very clear and verified vaccination and PPE policy for their front facing employees.

          I think, hope, that there will be more future employees/contractors guiding their employers as to an ethical stance for public facing industries.

          • lprent 8.1.1.1.1

            I suspect that we are likely to see public health orders mandating it. Like the vaccinate or weekly test one in the US. Along with continued border restrictions worldwide for people movements.

            At a health, economic and social level that is going to be less of a imposition than simply shutting down with wide lockdowns. Especially when they are done hesitantly as the NSW one was or the one is Israel.

            Singapore has been an interesting example in recent weeks of a planned opening up after high vaccination rates getting dumped with rapid backtracking in the face of delta outbreak. But they're looking at what is happening over the border in Malaysia.

    • Gabby 8.2

      Does Bernie understand what the 'cage' is for?

    • Ad 8.3

      The bits that are useful in that are Minister Hipkins' own extended quote passages from Select Committee on plans for opening New Zealand up to the world again, and plans for lowering Alert Levels.

      Hipkins is now far more conservative on both.

      Which for Aucklanders is pretty damn depressing.

      And not too good for other parts of New Zealand either.

  9. Patricia Bremner 9

    "We have built ourselves a beautiful cage" If you expand that idea, Gaia is a cage.

    Before the European Union with open borders, we were controlled at most borders and had passports and vaccination papers.

    The pandemic has shown the danger of speedy unchecked transmission of the virus through open borders.

    Therefore passports vaccinations and borders are necessary again.

    Those who chafe at the 'cage' and fear fascism from our majority government, are in a worm hole of their own construction. Let us fight the real foe, the virus, not some academic construct.

    Frankly if some wish to leave, I would wave them off as they "fly the cage". They are free to leave. When they wish to return there might be some hoops for them to jump through that may cause them upset and difficulties, as others will value the safety of our "cage".

    As for the constant implication that emergency health measures are a form of fascism. When did rules and regulations become fascism?

    When someone made that implication.

    People who are in a constant state of vigilance let fears creep in, so mental health exercises each day are needed. Mindfulness meditation music and fresh air all help, and most of all, staying connected with grounded folk.

    Watch those worm hole algorithms.

  10. Ad 10

    OK now borders are going to get weird.

    Scotland has voted to go for Vaccine Passports at events:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/09/scottish-parliament-approves-plans-for-vaccine-passports

    But England have turned against them:

    https://www.politico.eu/article/england-coronavirus-vaccine-passport-scraps-plan/

    That difference within the same landmass isn't going to stay tenable for long.

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  • Tuvalu language revival and COVID-19
    Te Vaiaso o te Gana Tuvalu 2021 - Tuvalu Language Week moves online due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 said the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  “However it is a timely reminder of the power of embracing both traditional and new ways of doing things. It has been ...
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    24 hours ago
  • Strengthened reporting will improve abortion and sterilisation services
    Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced new data and reporting regulations which will help improve abortion and sterilisation services in New Zealand, by painting a clearer picture of the need in our communities. “The Government is committed to ensuring everyone who needs to access abortion services can, ...
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    2 days ago
  • United Nations General Assembly: 76th General Debate Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā o tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Prestigious people, Speakers of note, Chiefs one and all of this General Assembly Ngā mihi mahana ki o koutou katoa, mai i toku Whenua o Aotearoa Warm greetings to you all from my home ...
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    2 days ago
  • APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum prioritises women’s economic empowerment
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today chaired the virtual APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, which is working to address outstanding issues for women and girls across the region as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum brought together Ministers and representatives from 21 economies to discuss gender ...
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    2 days ago
  • Upper Hauraki to move to Alert Level 2
    Upper Hauraki will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm tomorrow, 25 September, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. After positive cases were detected in the Upper Hauraki area on Sunday, extra Alert Level restrictions were put in place to immediately prevent any wider transmission of the virus.  “We’ve ...
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    3 days ago
  • Report into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system released
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries. Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ...
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    3 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Brett Crowley of Wellington as a District Court Judge.  He is currently the Wellington Public Defender and started his career as a staff solicitor working in a range of litigation including criminal defence work. He went to the bar in 1999 specialising ...
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    3 days ago
  • Mental health stocktake shows strong progress
    The first report of the Government’s Implementation Unit has found strong progress has been made since the Mental Health and Addictions Package was announced in 2019. “The report notes most initiatives funded in the Budget 2019 package are on track to deliver what is expected by 2023/24,” Grant Robertson said. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
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    3 days ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
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    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
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    4 days ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
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    4 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
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    4 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
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    5 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
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    5 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
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    5 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
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    5 days ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
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    6 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
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    6 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
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    6 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
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    6 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    7 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
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    1 week ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
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    1 week ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    1 week ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    2 weeks ago