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Jacinda is not like Muldoon

Written By: - Date published: 9:49 am, May 13th, 2020 - 97 comments
Categories: health, health and safety, jacinda ardern, law, law and "order", national, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized - Tags: ,

National has decided to play politics with Covid 19 and is opposing the Government’s attempt to pass legislation to secure level 2 arrangements. From Charlie Dreaver at Radio New Zealand:

The Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill, which grants extraordinary powers to both the government and police to combat Covid-19, has been debated under urgency this evening.

The National Party opposed the Bill, raising concern about the speed at which it was being pushed through, and the lack of trust being afforded to New Zealanders.

However, the government said the Bill was necessary to ensure the rules could be enforced without relying on a National State of Emergency.

One point of contention had been the rules under level 2 that allowed a maximum of only 10 people at a tangi or church service at any given time.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she, like other world leaders, struggled with the decision, but had to play it safe.

”I have always said through all this that the thing I’ve found, as a human, the hardest in all this is funerals and tangihanga,” Ardern said.

“I’ve known people who have lost very close family members and I can’t imagine trying to grieve through a global pandemic for a loved one without being able to be together with others.”

She said funerals and tangi were places where you wanted to comfort people – it was natural instinct, that was why people come together.

“The idea that we force people to not be able to comfort one another, to support one another, is equally a very hard thing to comprehend.”

Ardern gave clarification that people could pay their respects in groups, as long as there were no more than 10 people present at the same time.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said the public had been writing to him raising the point that people could still go to a restaurant or movies with 100 people at the venue.

“Yet at one of the most tragic defining points of life, at a funeral, direct family members cannot attend them under those rules. That’s not just unkind, it’s inhumane, and I think we can do better than that,” he said.

Bridges said the restrictions on places of worship was also a concern for the party.

“You just look at it and say it’s not right, that for what is – in a sense – much less important and even trivial; the movies, a bar, a restaurant, sport is of course important to so many New Zealanders, but for a portion for New Zealanders for whom worship is the most important thing, they are unable to do that,” he said.

Does the bill give the police extraordinary powers? You bet. But these are extraordinary times. Rights are not sacrosanct and are subject to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Social distancing is still vital and the need will continue until we reach level one. The power for police to regulate gatherings at private residences is a vital aspect of this. Most people will voluntarily abide by the requirement. Some will require more direct persuasion.

National has also expressed concern at the reduction in size of gatherings for funerals and tangis.

The brutal rationale behind the decision to limit attendance at funerals and tangi is that otherwise the risk of transmission is heightened. Social distancing is still to be adhered to and it would be effectively impossible to achieve at large tangi or funerals.

And what are we trying to prevent? This chilling description from the New York Times of what happened in Italy is a grim reminder of what could still happen here:

Giorgio Valoti, the mayor of nearby Cene, died last Friday. He was 70. His son, Alessandro, said that 90 people died the same day in Bergamo’s main hospital. The virus “is massacring this valley, every family is losing someone dear to them,” he said. “In Bergamo, so many bodies are piling up they don’t know what to do with them.”

“I am sorry that they are still there,” he said. “Still alone.”

Luca di Palma, 49, said his father, Vittorio, 79, died on Wednesday night, and that the funeral home he called told him that they had no space for the body. Instead, they delivered to his house a coffin, some candles, a cross and a mortuary refrigerator so that he could lay his father out in the living room. He said nobody came to pay respects, out of fear of contagion, though his father had died before he could be confirmed as a coronavirus case, and doctors had refused to perform a post-mortem swab test.

On Saturday, Mr. di Palma followed a hearse carrying his father’s body to a cemetery in Bergamo, where a caretaker let them in and locked the gates behind. A priest arrived to offer a brief prayer over the hearse, its trunk lifted. Mr. di Palma said his father wanted to be cremated, but the wait was long. “Painful,” he said.

In a country where many learn in school about the dreaded Monatti who, preceded by the ringing of a little bell, retrieved corpses on carts during the 17th-century Milan plague, the amassing of dead bodies seems out of another time.

In Fiobbio, a small village outside Bergamo, an ambulance came to collect Luca Carrara’s father, 86, on Saturday. On Sunday, another one came for his mother, 82. Mr. Carrara, 52, couldn’t visit them in hospital and stayed home in quarantine, where he has begun showing symptoms of the virus. On Tuesday, his parents died. Their bodies are held in the hospital morgue awaiting cremation.

The Government’s response is not dissimilar what happened straight after the Canterbury Earthquake and the passing of urgent legislation. Except at that time we were dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, not the potential of one.

The CERA legislation gave the state wide powers to enter private premises without warrant.

The provision in the Covid Bill is stronger but not much so. A “reasonably practicable” rider would probably have had a similar effect in practice.

The CERA legislation was sent to a select committee, for 24 hours. I suspect there is little appetite for the change to level 2 being delayed for select committee oversight for this to happen. And as I write this changes are being made to the bill, particularly as it applies to marae.

Simon Bridges’ earlier commitment to putting politics aside and working constructively is well and truly over. Remember when he said this?

We are where we are and we’re all in this together. And today, on the big questions in this House and in New Zealand, we agree. There’s no National or Labour or Green or ACT or New Zealand First; just New Zealanders. We should be going to level 4 lockdown this evening, and we are putting in all the economic resources and investments required to defeat this common enemy.

In regard to level 4, none of us can, of course, see the future. It’s possible—though, I entirely agree with the Prime Minister, not at all likely—that we come through this somewhat quickly. Some will say, “Well, shutdown—it was an over-reaction.” I’d prefer that that was the case, because it means people didn’t die needlessly. But if the models and the charts and the workings that I’ve seen, that Jacinda Ardern’s seen, and that this House is seeing are right, or even, actually, half or a quarter right, and if we follow the international examples to date, broadly speaking, level 4 and shutting down is clearly right.

We are now at a stage where again we had a day where there are no new infections. While overseas the disease rages unabated New Zealand still has the possibility of eradicating the virus locally.

And National’s current position jars with Bridges’ earlier campaign suggesting that the Government does not have the legal authority to impose the lockdown. A long, long time ago Simon Bridges said this:

National Party leader Simon Bridges said he would support expanding police powers – even if it took a law change to do so. 

“It’s increasingly clear that neither the guidelines or the law allows police to enforce the lockdown,” he said. 

National’s biggest rhetorical reach is to suggest that Jacinda Ardern is like Rob Muldoon but with slogans. It is good to acknowledge that Muldoon was a power hungry megalomaniac. Who never had to face a pandemic that had the potential to completely undermine the country’s health system.

National is doing what National does. But now is not a time to play political games.

Update: As pointed out by Graeme Edgler on twitter the warrant less search powers are nothing new. Section 71A of the Health Act already provides for some pretty extensive powers.

97 comments on “Jacinda is not like Muldoon ”

  1. JanM 1

    Playing populist politics at the risk of our lives is cynicism at its very worst. Words fail me!

  2. Tricledrown 2

    Simon Bridges is like Muldoon a loud mouthed Bully

    • Barfly 2.1

      But unlike Bridges Muldoon was highly intelligent and did care about ordinary New Zealanders

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        Yes. That was my thought as well. Muldoon, for all his faults, was intensely nationalistic. He wanted what he thought was the best for this country, and I'm pretty sure he'd be ashamed of this current pack of lightweights who call themselves National.

  3. McFlock 3

    Bridges wants to trust NZers? Does this mean the nats want to treat beneficiaries with a bit more respect?

    Dunno about churchiness, but people hug each other at funreals. There was a case in the Andes about 20 years back when a village was decimated by cholera. Only had a couple of cases, but everyone went to the funerals and it all went downhill from there. Couldn't find it on google though.

  4. RedLogix 4

    NZ is currently one of a small handful of nations widely admired for our response and management of this crisis, but for purely political reasons, this foolish little man would trash it all if he thought it might gain him power.

    A smart party in this circumstance would be seen to assiduously support the govt of the day, positioning their leaders to take some of the credit for sharing in difficult decisions. But Bridges is too dumb to realise the ground has shifted under him, and the political games he's used to playing now look cheap and sleazy.

    Oh and an excellent OP Greg. People who argue that the economy is more important than lives, are cold-blooded amoral creeps who are telling anyone over the age of 60 to fuck off and die. I wonder what their own parents might think of this.

    • Adrian 4.1

      They kill them off to get the inheritance.

      • I Feel Love 4.1.1

        My angle is saving lives is saving the economy.

        • tc

          +100 people over profit as economies can be rebuilt, refocused and repurposed.

          That's the next stage, what nz does around energy, food and other basic needs.

          Bridges trumpian parody shows how captive national has become to ‘win at any cost’.

        • mary_a

          Absolutely correct there @ I Feel Love (4.1.1) … dead people are in no position to stimulate the economy by spending money! People first. Keep Kiwis well and healthy.

    • Stunned mullet 4.2

      'People who argue that the economy is more important than lives, are cold-blooded amoral creeps who are telling anyone over the age of 60 to fuck off and die. I wonder what their own parents might think of this.'

      So most of Treasury, PHARMAC etc etc

  5. Marcus Morris 5

    It is Bridges and the National Party playing the Muldoon fear game – remember the dancing cossacks – they will be reappearing soon. An appalling tactic in these times.

    • mary_a 5.1

      I'm sure Natz's Dancing Cossacks can be found in the party's dark and odious archives, be dusted off and used by Simon et al at the upcoming election campaign!

  6. AB 6

    National's inability to elevate the public good above private interest is landing it in trouble. Under normal circumstances this just makes them irritating right-wingers, during a pandemic it makes them a danger to public health.

  7. Dukeofurl 7

    Not mentioned is Nationals CERA legislation ( not to save lives) had provisions to restrict review by the courts


    (1)There is no right of appeal against a decision of the Minister or the chief executive acting, or purporting to act, under this Act, except as provided in sections 69, 70, 79, and 80.

    (2)A proceeding must not be brought, and a court must not hear any proceeding, that is in breach of this section.

    And yes , often the effect of some decisions was to 'take away property rights'

  8. ianmac 8

    A great effort Micky. Simon has picked the wrong time to claim loss of freedom. He did a poor job of explaining his position on Morning Report this morning. It did cross my mind that Simon's rhetoric is very similar to Trumps. Both will appeal to rednecks.

  9. Treetop 9

    Group gatherings are the most difficult to manage. There needs to be a clear line drawn when it comes to potential exposure with the virus and the enforcement of what the law is with gatherings.

    Funerals are always a sad event and it is natural that physical contact is used to express grief and to give support.

    Preventing a cluster from forming is the goal.

    I do not see the need for movie theatres to reopen as there is an alternative. When it comes to contact with sport this is risky as well and I would delay this.

    Covid-19 is a horrible bastard in so many ways and this bastard cannot be taken for granted.

    • McFlock 9.1

      ditching the "movie" bit, we've been running through the options for eventually reopening a theatre I'm involved with.

      It's actually much safer than contact sports. Seating arrangements lend themselves to spacing (e.g. alternate rows), online ticketing means contactless entry, and everything can be disinfected between shows. And to be frank, packed houses aren't all that common anyway lol

      • Treetop 9.1.1

        The logistics of opening a movie theatre will need to be carefully managed. From tracing to closing.

        I agree that the risk is not as high as contact sport.

        For me it is about the decisions I make for myself to stay well and to not transmit the virus were I to get it. Having and taking personal responsibility.

        • McFlock

          Yes, it's certainly not open slather. But online ticketing is awesome for contact tracing, and there a few other things that equally transfer to pandemic controls.

          Like the existing practise of chocking doors open so people can enter and leave – it means people can come from street to auditorium without ever touching a doorknob.

          But all this is basically for when things actually come up – I doubt we'll have any houses for a month or two at the earliest.

          • Dukeofurl

            And Air conditioning ? I dont think its a big risk but thats until it is. Some say UV light in the main ducts is possible as the right UV frequencies are used now to kill viruses.

            • McFlock

              don't have it.

              Besides, we're trying to figure out and work to NZ L2 specs rather than putting disco lights or sunlamps in ducting. What are the MoH guidelines?

              • Treetop

                Drive through movies providing you have a car. Probably someone would complain about the noise. Sound systems and screens have come a long way. A pizza business close by might do ok.

                I like the small run theatres as they tend to have the most ethnic and pre 1965 movies which I like.

                • McFlock

                  hmmm – if we weren't heading into winter, theatre in the park might have been an opion

                  • mac1

                    Theatre in the park has some strange by-play. In Perth I saw "Romeo and Juliet" in a park at dusk. When some chararcter referred to the moon, well, there it was, high above us. But the strangest part for a New Zealander was to be in the middle of a drama in Italy and have the dialogue backed by a kookaburra!

                    • McFlock

                      I did hear of a King Lear where a thunderstorm broke with directorial timing 🙂

                    • mac1

                      McFlock, I attended a concert in our small drama theatre quite close to the fire station. The performer was a Geordie named Vin Garbutt who was just finishing the last notes of a tin whistle tune when the siren for the fire brigade started up. The look on his face when he realised what was happening.

                      Being Vin Garbutt though he was not short of a quip. He was a folk singer who was the funniest artist, with rare and clever impromptu wit, I have ever seen with a repertoire of songs which were the exact opposite- with political and social themes, like Hymn to El Salvador or Turning Steel. His humour leavened the message with contrast and another kind of humanity.

  10. joe90 10

    National has also expressed concern at the reduction in size of gatherings for funerals and tangis.

    The notion that large gatherings is how this virus spreads is beyond them.

    Seventy-two individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 in Wisconsin recently attended a “large-gathering” before their diagnosis, according to a report.

    According to The Progressive, the state's Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed that they had gathered tracing data on a number of people who had contracted the virus.

    “We were able to pull some limited data—out of 1,986 cases with onset/diagnosis on or after 4/26, there were seventy-two cases who reported attending a large gathering," DHS spokesperson Jennifer Miller was quoted as saying in an email to The Progressive.


    • tc 10.1

      They will not let let facts get in the way of a good meme/rant/spin.

      A Danish expert reckoned there are no actual second waves yet, the new bursts are reinfection from first wave……some triggered by relaxed restrictions.

      Thank F national luddites are in opposition !

  11. peterh 11

    A transport worker in the UK was spat on by a person infected with covid 19, she got infected and later passed away. you would think half the UK would have liked to go to her funeral only 10 could go— Just happened

  12. Enough is Enough 12

    I am not sure what you are advocating.

    The vast majority of New Zealanders supported the lockdown and continue to support these almost unprecedented restrictions on the way we live our lives,

    However it is fundamentally important in a democratic society that the restrictions and government's decisions are prodded, interrogated and challenged like never before. You might call that political games but I don't.

    Even if the opposition supports what the government is doing, I would expect them to challenge and question every piece of legislation, as they are doing. This is how we get good law that is supported by the country.

  13. Tiger Mountain 13

    It was mere months ago that Nat fans were slobbering all over Mr Bridges support for “Task Force Raptor” and armed Police units in working class suburbs-and now they claim concern about civil liberty!

    Not a squeak from Nashnull loyalists either when Mr Key presided over the biggest extension in a generation, of surveillance powers, and budget, for SIS, GCSB, and Police Special units.

    Opportunism in all its filthy glory-when cross party cooperation would be more appropriate.

  14. Wensleydale 14

    Oh no. Jacinda's pushing legislation through under urgency. In the face of a global pandemic. National never did that whole urgency thing. Ever. Not even one time.

    Some people believe they're special. That the rules don't apply to them. That they have some God-given exemption. It doesn't matter a jot that these rules are designed to prevent their premature and wholly unnecessary demise at the hands of a virus for which there is currently no vaccine. They don't care. Those people, as sad as it is, must be compelled to comply for the sake of the majority who do understand the imminent danger and are quite willing to abide by the rules. Does this herald the beginnings of a police state or creeping totalitarianism? I don't believe so… but then I'm not Simon Bridges. (For which I shall be eternally grateful.)

    • Tiger Mountain 14.1

      Well put Wensleydale.

      The record shows National’s penchant for Parliamentary urgency comes to the fore particularly when it involves worker and Union rights i.e. clawing them back!

    • Lucy 14.2

      And we do need to remember that at least one of our clusters came about because air crew were given an exemption from self isolating – which the disease didn't recognize.

    • Enough is Enough 14.3

      The amount of stuff that partisan centre left voters are willing to justify if their own side are doing it is really quite depressing.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 14.3.1

        Well done EisE – not a political partisan bone in your body? Makes a change laugh

        "However it is fundamentally important in a democratic society that the restrictions and government's decisions are prodded, interrogated and challenged like never before."

        "Like never before" because there's no precedent (really?), or "like never before" because it's sneaky Labour (and NZ1st, with support from the Greens), and you can't really trust Labour? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_emergency#New_Zealand

        In response to the [Napier] earthquake, and earlier labour strikes, Parliament also passed the Public Safety Conservation Act in 1932, granting governments more general regulation-making powers which could be used in future emergencies.

        Never waste a crisis.

        • Foreign waka

          Indeed, a crisis can be used and abused. But it will take an analytical mind, educated in world history and able to separate propaganda from truth. Otherwise, NZ will enter into a realm that is akin to a police state. How is it possible, and indeed acceptable to have recognition software running "on trial"? How can it be ok for police to enter homes without a warrant because there is a party? How can it be just fine that human rights and common law is being overruled like that? And whilst we are at it, it seems perfectly OK to "dob" in your neighbour. Can we expect that his/her home will see the armed squad ramming in doors?

          I am sure New Zealanders are capable of handling themselves without having to have to forgo human rights and basic laws taken away.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            No question, a large majority of NZers are capable of handling/behaving themselves in, and capable of recognising appropriate responses to, a pandemic. For example, I was impressed by just how many NZers would have been OK with staying at Covid-19 alert levels four and three longer than our Government deemed necessary.

            Some will believe a government of whatever flavour has over- or under-reacted to a given problem (pandemic, housing crisis, etc.), while others may feel the response has been about right. IMHO it's good that our current government is not planning to delay the next general election (and associated referenda), as this affords us all the opportunity to register an objection to any perceived unnecessary loss of “human rights and basic laws“.

          • solkta

            Police can already enter homes without a warrant if they smell or claim to smell cannabis. Don't see you moaning about that. But which is the greater public health concern?

            • Jeremy

              They can also enter if they have reasonable cause to believe you have illegal firearms or are destroying evidence. All these warrantless searches are abominations, as is this law.

              The reason civil liberty defenders haven't kicked up more of a stink than voicing objections to these sorts affronts, is that we've had a lot to lose and feared losing it and that is to our shame, but no more, a lot of us have had enough and will be protesting at level 1 and organising political opposition.

              • observer

                " a lot of us have had enough and will be protesting at level 1"

                At level 1? That's hilarious!

                "Will we stage a protest, Dr King?"

                "Sure, just as soon as it's allowed. Otherwise there might be water cannon and beatings and such. Our heroic protest must wait until Alabama agrees that we can."

                Come on, if your principles mean anything, and there's "a lot" of you, then march today. What's the worst that could happen? You're arrested on TV? That would lead the news, and be gold for your cause.

                Bastion Point, Springbok Tour … those were protests. Not the online rants of 2020.

              • KJT

                Where were you, when National was retrospectively legalising spooks breaking the law, and extending police powers?

                Or when WINZ was spying on people's sex lives?

          • patricia

            You talk as though that has happened. Got you for over acting.

            • Foreign waka


              It was NOT over acting nor overreacting.

              This is an excerpt of an article written by David Landau from the University in Florida. It covers far more eloquently what I like to say:

              This paper identifies and grapples with an increasingly important phenomenon: the use of mechanisms of constitutional change to erode the democratic order. A rash of recent incidents in countries as diverse as Egypt, Venezuela, and Hungary has shown that the tools of constitutional amendment and replacement can be used by would-be autocrats to create quasi-authoritarian regimes with ease. Rather than using military coups to create authoritarianism, actors rework the constitutional order with often subtle changes in order to make themselves difficult to dislodge and to disable or pack courts and other accountability institutions………..

              There are countless articles on abusive constitutionalism. Perhaps the law that is being proposed does not have the severity of some countries and hasn't gone through parliament yet but if it does the horse has bolted.

              This does not mean that the current PM is not doing an excellent job and providing good leadership. But it does not imply that such fact allows for ever increasing circles of power.

              We need to think about consequences and reasoning. This is the task of every good citizen.

              [Added quotation marks to make clear what is quoted text and what are your words.

              Here is the link to Abstract: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256056551_Abusive_Constitutionalism

              Have you read the full article? If not, why not?

              Please do these simple things yourself next time. Thanks in advance – Incognito]

              • solkta

                Yes that's right, next thing will be a law to make level 2 permanent – then cancelled elections..

                But seriously, what is this "constitutional change" that you talk of? There are already instances where police can enter residences without a warrant. You have chosen not to address this point. What are the constitutional changes in the countries you mention?

              • Incognito

                See my Moderation note @ 7:26 AM.

  15. I am thankful we have a leader who can look at all the facts over ride her natural kindness to make the hard calls this situation requires.

    Jacinda has a fine moral compass and compassion. That can not be said about Simon, who is on record as being disparaging about the usefulness of ethnicities and people who were working for his party.

    This is a move to electioneering. Theme …"Jacinda is a tyrant in the making"

  16. Peter 16

    There must be others here who remember Muldoon supporters trying to ram down our throats that Muldoon was God, Muldoon had the answers, Muldoon was an economic genius and whizz. National people were wrong then, they're wrong now.

    • tc 16.1

      It is the party of the blighted future so ya gotta stay on brand.

    • woodart 16.2

      the last thing I remeber about muldoon ,is that trevor decleene (lab m.p.) had to arrange a parliamentary service for muldoon because his own dear nat party had turned its back on him. so, for bridges to use muldoon in this way is sad, funny, and shameful all at the same time. simon, finally multitasking..

  17. RedBaronCV 17

    Dunno about anybody else but I made it perfectly clear to the family that if it was me electronic means would be sufficent pre-demise and don't bother about a post demise gathering. I mean would I want my last gesture in life/death to be infecting my own family/gene pool with a nasty often fatal disease?

    I did also make it clear that when the infection receded that they should take some of the money and have a decent knees up in my memory (even by zoom if they had too).

    But for Bridges who hasn't bothered to bring too many maori organisations before his committee he has suddenly discovered this? Hypocrite much?

  18. RedBaronCV 18

    BTW does this piece of legislation have a sunset clause after which it has to be renewed or dumped?

    • Macro 18.1

      Yes – every three months, if it's not revoked by parliament sooner.
      David Parker was on RNZ earlier today and advised that the legislation would have to be reviewed every 3 months

  19. woodart 19

    ask simon about 29 families who havent been able to have a proper funeral, and his attempts to block those 29 families….

  20. Anne 20

    Jacinda Ardern repeated today Norman Kirk's famous quote;

    "all people want is someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."

    My abiding memory of Norman Kirk. A great orator and a compassionate man.

    Jacinda is like Norman Kirk.

  21. observer 21

    The comparison is nonsense because Muldoon was a populist.

    Now, it could reasonably be argued that Ardern has been wrong about the limit for tangis and funerals. But she's hardly doing it in order to be more popular, is she? Can't imagine the PM giving a tub-thumping campaign speech … "And we stopped the gatherings at funerals and weddings!" (waits for applause). I doubt her advisers sat down and said "I know what the public will want to hear! Pain and grief, it's a vote-winner!".

    She might be wrong, but her reasons are obviously right.

  22. pdm 22

    Jacinda is not like Muldoon

    I agree.

    Muldoon t least had some,not many but some, conservative values while Jacinda Ardern is an out and out socialist with no work life outside of Politics. Muldoon at least was a partner in a successful Accountancy business.

    • observer 22.1

      "out and out socialist"

      Tee hee. Also, Donald Trump has valuable business experience, which has been the foundation of his impressive leadership. Sure.

      • bill 22.1.1

        Ardern is an out and out socialist


        Are you the same deluded guy who was holding up that "pretty communist" placard a while back?

        • Incognito

          I believe pdm may be a troll from way back. They copped a lengthy ban in the previous Election Year in 2017. I have the ban-axe handy 😉

    • KJT 22.2


      Accountancy, along with Law, are the two professions most dependant on Government.

    • left_forward 22.3

      So not counting out-and-out motherhood with much value then pdm?

  23. Macro 23

    Here is an example of why we need to continue to exercise caution with social gatherings:

    • joe90 23.1


      Choir: The community choir in Washington State. Even though people were aware of the virus and took steps to minimize transfer; e.g. they avoided the usual handshakes and hugs hello, people also brought their own music to avoid sharing, and socially distanced themselves during practice. They even went to the lengths to tell choir members prior to practice that anyone experiencing symptoms should stay home. A single asymptomatic carrier infected most of the people in attendance. The choir sang for 2 1/2 hours, inside an enclosed rehearsal hall which was roughly the size of a volleyball court.

      Singing, to a greater degree than talking, aerosolizes respiratory droplets extraordinarily well. Deep-breathing while singing facilitated those respiratory droplets getting deep into the lungs. Two and half hours of exposure ensured that people were exposed to enough virus over a long enough period of time for infection to take place. Over a period of 4 days, 45 of the 60 choir members developed symptoms, 2 died. The youngest infected was 31, but they averaged 67 years old. (corrected link)

      Indoor sports: While this may be uniquely Canadian, a super spreading event occurred during a curling event in Canada. A curling event with 72 attendees became another hotspot for transmission. Curling brings contestants and teammates in close contact in a cool indoor environment, with heavy breathing for an extended period. This tournament resulted in 24 of the 72 people becoming infected. (ref)



  24. Paaparakauta 24

    Jacinda is not Muldoon. Bridges would like to be but does not have comparable experience. His sudden change from cross-party consensus may suggest leadership challenges from majorr players.

    Covid-19 mortality in US and UK is higher than in NZ according to publicly available data – but its true extent may take time to emerge. The virus has been described as 'tricky'.

    Google it, there's heaps out there.

  25. bill 25

    The powers assigned under the CERA legislation were an abomination that Labour should never have agreed to. (Remember King Henry Brownlie VIII?)

    This isn't even close to being in the same league.

    As an aside. the worship angle is reminding me of an interview with a woman in the US leaving an evangelical church who insisted she was immune because "covered in the blood of Christ".

    edit . And Muldoon was no advocate for liberalism – which is to his credit.

    • Barfly 25.1

      The last social democrat

    • Adrian 25.2

      Is that the same American woman I saw on TV last month saying "If speaking English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me."

      Is that JC over there with his head in his hands muttering " Jesus Christ !

  26. Ad 26

    If Jacinda Ardern was like Muldoon she would have commissioned some long term thinking on the new direction that the country is clearly headed. And certainly not just a few fresh papers out of Treasury.

    In April 1976 Muldoon established a Taskforce on Economic and Social Planning which was chaired by Sir Frank Holmes. These guys consulted widely across New Zealand, and what they came up with was a document deliberately entitled "New Zealand At The Turning Point".

    The very long list of individuals, organisations and companies consulted shows that there was a high level of commitment to the development of a national consensus.

    Ardern and Roberston have both told us this is going to be a "jobs budget".

    This better not be all the imagination they have in the tank.

    • millsy 26.1

      "In April 1976 Muldoon established a Taskforce on Economic and Social Planning which was chaired by Sir Frank Holmes. These guys consulted widely across New Zealand, and what they came up with was a document deliberately entitled "New Zealand At The Turning Point".

      I think Don Brash was on that panel. Where can I find a pdf copy of that report? Or do I have to actually go to one of this big buildings that are full of books?

      People don't seem to realise how fascinating NZ history from 1970-1984 is/was.

    • Peter 26.2

      If they have real imagination like Muldoon they'll find some big knife to plunge in like he did with the Super scheme?

      New Zealand at the Turning Point? You got it. That was such a turning point in our economic history. Pity he had the wrong map. Pity he went the wrong way. Pity he had the illiterates and other National wasters under their beds looking for reds.

  27. millsy 27

    Well we now know that the National Party has been de-Muldoonised.

  28. gsays 28

    Here is more evidence that Ardern is not like Muldoon.


    I doubt, once having made a decision, Muldoon would reconsider it.

    Our resident tories may shriek about a victory for 'Wanna buy a' Bridges.

    Let 'em, after all, they haven't sung that song before.

    I see it as good leadership, taking feedback and reconsidering their position

    • observer 28.1

      It was a predictable problem, though. It should have been avoided.

      I don't expect the PM to be on top of every detail, but you'd think her staff would be able to see where it would end up. If you're going to back down, do it in advance. Because they were always going to.

      (that's not hindsight, I could see the problem on Monday when it was announced, and so could most people I'm sure).

      They need to stick to their guns on the other issues now, like bars waiting a week. Public health is the rationale, and it should be defended.

      • ScottGN 28.1.1

        They probably backed themselves to explain the differences between the different sorts of groups and assumed people would understand the higher risk of the funeral groups? But you’re probably right, the backdown could have been avoided.

    • millsy 28.2

      To be honest, there are probably a lot of families out there who wouldve be glad of the 10 person limit.

      Sometimes fewer people = fewer dramas and less tension.

      • I Feel Love 28.2.1

        Millsy, ha!

        & my 2c, jeez, we're talking a few weeks here, a friend of mine died a month ago, he had a quiet, family only funeral, when the time is right I'm sure a bunch of us will get together and celebrate my mates life.

  29. Ken 29

    Desperation from Simon – a man with nothing to lose.

  30. swordfish 30

    While overseas the disease rages unabated New Zealand still has the possibility of eradicating the virus locally.

    In which case, moving to Level 2 so early is probably not the greatest idea in the world. Nor is the official downplaying of the importance of face-mask wearing, esp for indoor public spaces.

    Research NZ polling suggests the NZ public are more cautious & more prepared to make the necessary sacrifices than an apparently timid Govt caving in to pressure from the business community & political Right.

    Rather than eradication, it looks like they've going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and (much like European Countries in far weaker positions) are prepared to tolerate an "acceptable" wave of new cases & new deaths … as they greatly ease the lockdown without adequate infrastructure for the degree of testing & tracing required.

    • I Feel Love 30.1

      Who knows Swordfish, not you, not I, not the govt, not the 5g anti vaxxers, not the whiney RWs, no one. Maybe NZ got it right, maybe we haven't, but look around, no country has, we're doing a fucking best here, trying to please everyone, no one, there's no framework, it's a dynamic ever changing situation.

      I just read Hollywood big wigs are wanting to come here, I do hope they get quarantined and don't get special treatment, I'm just recalling the Nats going gaga over WB, that would disappoint me if Labour get sucked into that.

      • swordfish 30.1.1

        You're singing from the same nihilistic songsheet as Doris Day:

        Que sera sera
        What will be will be
        The future's not ours to see
        Que sera sera

        Whereas I'm a Roarer, a Rogerer, a Gorger and a Puker, I'm young, I'm firm buttocked and I believe in learning from other Countries' mistakes & then throwing caution to the wind by modifying our strategy & behaviour accordingly.

        • McFlock

          I'm reasonably confident the move to L2 is not a knee-jerk response, but has some logical, specific, and preceding rationale (rather than a retrospective & half-arsed justification for said knee-jerk response).

          If that is the case but the rationale is incorrect, masks will not be much use anyway. We'll all still end up going back to L4 for another damned month.

          • I Feel Love

            I ain't no nihilist, I just figure those with expertise and medical nous area bit (in fact a lot) brighter than me, so I'm happy to let them make the biggly decisions regarding control of a pandemic. If they ever need to know how to record their own composition using a home computer or how to construct a comic, then I'm the expert there, but until that day comes, I'll just look after my and mine.

            • McFlock

              And if perfect certainty in health were possible and the only consideration for the government, that would be fine.

              But let's say the perfect criteria was two solid weeks of dot balls in new cases, or even of zero active cases. I honestly don't think that would even be enforceable, let alone any other factors that might be relevant.

    • ScottGN 30.2

      While the public may have told the pollsters they would stay at level3/4 for longer if necessary their actual behaviour in the last 2 weeks of level 3 suggested a different outcome. Time will tell if we’ve done the right thing.

  31. mac1 31

    This comparison of Ardern to Muldoon recalled an incident at a public meeting held at election time in 1972 when Muldoon attacked various political opponents in a pretty nasty way. One old questioner made his way to the front of the packed hall in order to ask his question and then made his way back so that he would not be left standing rudely at the front while Muldoon replied. Halfway down the aisle, a man sitting on the aisle stuck out his knee so that the old man shuffling back could sit down on it, which he did. Muldoon of course made a homophobic reference to this. That was the instinctive nature of the man, to denigrate his opposition. Comparison of Ardern to this man is odious.

    At this meeting, one man kept on calling out, in response to the continued Muldoon personal attacks, "Give us your policy! Give us your policy!" Muldoon was obviously rattled by this and after the meeting made a comment to a reporter.

    The headline read next day, "Blenheim worst yet: Muldoon". National did not win the Marlborough seat that election.

    The power of one man to oppose poor or wrong behaviour and have much larger consequences. The man who was the interjector later lost his life saving his son from being buried in a freak land slide on the West Coast. A true hero. His example lives in memory.

    • Peter 31.1

      Thank you for that. Saying Ardern is like Muldoon is like saying "I have no brain, I don't know what I'm talking about so I'll spout some shit."

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