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Key’s baaaack

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 am, September 26th, 2021 - 273 comments
Categories: brand key, covid-19, health, john key, Judith Collins, Media, national, same old national - Tags:

What a way to wake up in the morning.  We lost an hour because of daylight saving and by the looks of things we also lost four years, because John Key’s reckons were being broadcast in stereo in both the Herald and in Stuff.

It was classic Key.  His opinion piece amplified the absolute certainty in the accuracy he has of his reckons that can only be formed by being educated in a private school, being a member of the National Party and a merchant banker and working at Merrill Lynch.

And what were these reckons you may ask.  Essentially that we should be more like Apollo 13 in our response to Covid.  Yep we should have jammed everything together with whatever we could get our hands on, make really quick decisions based on limited information and hope.

And we are living in a smug hermit kingdom.  Yep Key has not lost his ability to invent really annoying and highly inaccurate rhetorical flourishes.

He thinks that we need to “get back to a life where New Zealanders can travel overseas – for any reason – knowing they can return home when they want to, and where we again welcome visitors to this country.”  It is all about the international travel with Key.

And rather than keeping us safe in a way that no other western country has been able to manage Key thinks that our public health experts have “done a good job of making the public fearful, and therefore willing to accept multiple restrictions on their civil liberties which are disproportionate to the risk of them contracting Covid”.  Clearly we should have put up with those tens of thousands of deaths and crippled health system just so Key could visit Hawaii.

He describes the MIQ system as a “lottery” and a “public embarrassment” and decries Kiwis no longer able to return home.

He also sides with business owners who are worried about their future.  I don’t dispute that some businesses are doing it tough but there is compelling evidence that New Zealand’s short sharp lockdowns and for elimination are better for the economy than more permissive alternatives.

Key proposes the following:

  1. Give Māori and Pacific health providers a financial incentive for every person they get vaccinated in the next six weeks.
  2. Give every person aged between 12-29 a $25 voucher of their choice if they get vaccinated before December 1.
  3. Allow only vaccinated people into licensed premises (and maybe park the Shot Bro bus outside a few nightclubs as an incentive).
  4. Tell New Zealanders when borders will reopen. It might incentivise more people to get jabbed.
  5. Stop ruling by fear. Instead, reassure people that living with the virus is possible, as long as you’re vaccinated. Take positive actions like funding Pharmac to invest in therapies proven to help fight the virus, build up our hospital capacity and workforce, use saliva testing for Covid, subsidise home-testing kits for Covid and order booster shots now.

Key is copying the Chris Bishop approach to Covid, propose something that is already being developed and then try and claim credit when it happens.  Of his proposals:

  1. Maori and Pacific health providers have already been given significant resources.
  2. Key obviously still thinks that greed is the only way to persuade people.
  3. Being developed.
  4. The Government has clearly indicated that when we reach 90% plus then the response will be different.  But rather than making it a binary decision now I prefer the Government makes decisions based on current circumstances.
  5. The guy who oversaw the continuous run down of the health system so that we had hospital buildings with raw sewerage in the walls is not the person who should lecture us on the state of the health system.

Why Key chose now to go public is interesting.  Yesterday Judith Collins said National had Covid policy almost ready to go and that it was now being peer reviewed.  What is the bet the policy is similar to what Key has set out?  And I wonder why he felt the urge to undermine the announcement by releasing his opinion piece now?

The overwhelming two emotions that I felt were firstly annoyance and a feel of deja vu at the closed minded simplistic uber confident rantings of a merchant banker.  And secondly a sense of relief that Jacinda Ardern and not John Key led the country during this global pandemic that has brought pretty well every western nation except New Zealand to their knees.

273 comments on “Key’s baaaack ”

  1. If there's anything worse than a privileged … … … it's a privileged … … … with free access to editorialise in the press.

    [RL: Deleted gratuitous references to skin colour, age and gender. ]

    [MS will have a chat with RL as race in particular can be relevant in terms of class analysis]

    • vto 1.1

      excellent RL

      BTW there is nothing privileged about hard working families who put the hard yards in over many many generations..

      .. what a knee-jerk simpleton ignorance

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      Yes. That free access means identical editorials in both main papers on the same day.

      That must have been taken some business strong arming, as only the Herald would have been a lap dog for it.

      But really ?

      BTW the background to Key at Merrill Lynch etc , he went to Shirley Boys High a state school where he was unremarkable student

    • The Al1en 1.3

      It has been an accepted term used here in the past and I have seen no proclamation stating it can't be used. Perhaps, as it's only you who seem to take issue with white as a descriptive, you can canvass the other moderators who seem to been okay letting it through.

      [RL: Moderation does shift over time and that was your heads up.]

    • Johnr 1.4

      So, the voice of the privelaged has spoken.

      It has said " I'm alright Jack, fuck you peasants living in kiwi ghettos"

      Can someone please put wee didums on a plane to anywhere and for the first time in my life can I urge some govt to fuck it up and his MIQ return wont work.

      We dont negative, destructive people here

    • chris T 1.6


      Every MP in parliament could be classed as privileged.

      Do you consider Ardern privileged?

      She must be on about 600k


      Apologies actually looked. Apparently Ardern is on $470,000 and not 600

      So maybe the rise in the price of beef mince might be a blow to her as well.

      • Incognito 1.6.1

        FFS, you said last night that you were going STFU: https://thestandard.org.nz/keys-baaaack/#comment-1818905.

        It looks like you might need some help and I just happen to know the ever-so-helpful person to do so.

        • chris T

          Are you saying you will suspend me through your personal dislike of my comments?

          • Incognito

            Trolls will be banned.

            • chris T

              Saying our PMs wage is trolling?

              • Muttonbird

                Don't question them, mate. They will ban you.

              • Incognito

                Trolling is trolling. You seem to be at pains painting the PM and all MPs as “privileged”. Nice, now put up a decent comment that is relevant to what is being discussed or start a new thread in OM where you can debate the privilege of all our past and present politicians. My next reply to you today has a very high probability of being a Moderation note.

                • chris T

                  I was only replying to a comment that Key was privileged.

                  If me pointing out they all are in parliament offends you I apologise and take it back.


                  • Incognito

                    You have been trolling this Post since last night, e.g. https://thestandard.org.nz/keys-baaaack/#comment-1818886.

                    It is a well-known troll tactic to try divert with whataboutisms and other irrelevant comparisons that take the focus off. Others do it here too and get pulled up on it too when they go a little too far and are starting to feel more cocky. When warnings don’t suffice, the ban hammer can come down hard and suddenly.

                    You have wasted enough of my time on this, again, and you’d better stop this.

                    • chris T

                      Point taken

                      I apologise.

                    • chris T

                      But I have a feeling that I am never going to be able to do a post again on here that criticises the govt in the tiniest way you don't think is trolling.

                      Edit: Also the MP comment was ALL parties in parliament. Not just Labour

                    • Incognito []

                      Listen carefully; you have not been banned yet. Instead of your tedious replies, you may want to take heed of my comments addressed to you and you’ll be fine, mostly. I don’t think you’re stupid and that you know exactly what you’re doing here and what I’m saying to you. However, if you are stupid then it won’t be great loss if you’re shown the Exit here.

                      You know full well that this site stands for robust criticism and well-argued criticism even of this Labour Government. For example, Ad frequently has a go at them, but he doesn’t troll this site with sly digs and diversions; he’s a good Author even though I don’t always agree with him. So, don’t give me this shit that you cannot “criticise the govt in the tiniest way” because it is an irksome lie and you know it. Stop wasting my time!!

                    • chris T

                      You don't actually have to read what you find are my "tedious replies"

                      [Ok, have it your way, you’re now being moderated.

                      Stop wasting my time – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      See my Moderation note @ 4:12 pm.

                    • chris T

                      Some onw said Key was privileged. I pointed out all MPs are. Not sure how that is trolling given I know people going broke over covid.

                      [Stop your diversion trolling – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      See my Moderation note @ 4:15 pm.

                • chris T

                  Your Moderation note seen and taken on board.

    • swordfish 1.7


      RL … when MS has a bit of an old chit chat with you about race & class …

      … please let him know that an absolute majority in the lowest income quintile – the poorest 20% of the population – are European / Pakeha … less than 40% are Māori / Pasifika. [and almost 60% of 2nd lowest quintile are Pakeha with less than 30% Polynesian].

      In terms of the Very Poor … it's Pakeha 47%, Māori 32%, Pasifika 21%.

      Source: 2015-16 Household Economic Survey data, MSD.



      Income-Tested Benefits roughly 50% Polynesian / 50% Euro + Other

      Source: Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand Income Survey 2013

      • Muttonbird 1.7.1

        I don't understand what you are trying to say here. Is it that Pakeha are actually worse off as a group than Maori and Pacific people?

        I'm almost sure that's not what you, as a man of numbers, meant but the post seems to deliberately ignore that Pakeha/NZ European are an absolute majority in NZ.

        • swordfish


          I'm suggesting poorer Pakeha (& Asians & other lower income non-Polynesians … including the elderly poor) have been erased from the Left's consciousness as an affluent ID Politics cadre take power … the bullshit that all poorer people are brown … and I'm suggesting that, behind the scenes, these poorer non-Māori / non-Polynesians are being systematically scapegoated for Colonisation – made to do all the suffering & sacrificing – by an affluent Woke who so often emanate from the very socioeconomic strata that disproportionately inherited the wealth from Colonisation … but are determined to avoid any sacrifice themselves … indeed indulge in the most outrageous tantrums whenever they experience the mildest of inconveniences.

          Exemplified by the Nightmare that my very elderly Parents continue to endure … and I know they're a long way from being the only ones. Absolute scandal.

          • Ad

            Your Household Economic Survey Data is 5 years old. Is that the latest?

          • Muttonbird

            The bullshit that all poorer people are brown

            Who has said that? Hard to know what The Alien said because the comment has been tampered with.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Here's the trend data on the MSD website.


            It's always been known that Maori are proportionately worse off as opposed to numerically. This graph does show that it is only in recent years there have been more Maori numerically on benefit than European – sometime around 2016/2017?

            Lots of people get confused between hearing x% of Maori are on benefit and think that means that nearly all on benefit are Maori. Both ways of counting are important and it is getting worse over time for Maori. It isn't that long ago they were a minority on benefit. But yeah Labour does seem to think a lot of the time that all Europeans have good incomes and jobs and houses. It isn't true for lots – just like as earlier in the post travelling overseas isn't the norm for many many people.

      • RedLogix 1.7.2

        I've only just caught back up with this conversation.

        I've asked in the back end for clarification. If denigrating white skinned people is to be accepted – but not of course any other colour – this needs to be spelled out in the Site Policy so everyone knows where they stand.

        Thanks for the support.

  2. dv 2

    Opening our borders leaves us exposed to the high infection rates in countries overseas.

  3. observer 3

    I can't be bothered to comment on all the half-truths and pat slogans in Key's column, a sunny Sunday's too short for that. But it's amusing to see the sheer desperation of his fan club (see Stuff comments) begging him to return. That's a more brutal verdict on National than anything the left can throw at them.

  4. vto 4

    If Key and his merry band of buffoons had been in power our borders would have been wide open and we would be covid-saturated …

    … just like other buffoonery leadership in US, UK and Australia ….

    … with 400x as many deaths (2,000 v 5 deaths per million)…

    … worse economy…

    … and more lockdowns…

    check the stats.

    Little John Key… lying since forever

    • RedLogix 4.1

      In the meantime Norway and Denmark have both recently determined they can live with the virus and have lifted most restrictions.

      Perhaps they realised Sweden wasn't so badly wrong after all.

      And look at India with nothing like the health system and vaccination rates of the developed world and they seem to be grappling with the challenge quite effectively.

      Yes the Adern's govt has done all the right things going into this pandemic. COVID had so many unknowns that uber-precautions were the right thing. But getting out of them is proving to be an even greater challenge.

      This is a complex puzzle we have to face as a nation – I’d hope we could face it with both courage and humility.

      • Bearded Git 4.1.1

        The Economist had an article in it this week (paywalled) that said Covid deaths were 18 million not 4.5 million per the "official" stats.

        Do you really believe those figures coming out of Indonesia, Brazil, India etc Red?

      • Ed1 4.1.2

        Thanks for the link to the results for Sweden – the latest results from the graphs show that as at 24 September they have had 1,149, 407 cases, with 14,781 cases active on that day, and 13 deaths in the previous week. Halve those numbers to get the equivalent for New Zealand.

        I believe that emerging from a pandemic is a worldwide problem; our experience at extending our "bubble" to Australia showed that even with fairly stringent MIQ procedures that sis not work so well. Thankfully, evidence indicates that our economy has been less affected by the pandemic than countries who have not adopted our policies of an effective (high) level 4 lockdown which has been shown to have been more effective than lower restrictions.

        Like you RedLogix, I hope that our government, and we as a country, can continue to work through emergence from the pandemic wit the humility, courage and reliance on expert advice rather than amateur "reckons" that has characterised our decisions so far.

      • Mark 4.1.3

        The developing country to grapple with Covid most effectively is China.

        Covid completely shows up the Western democratic experiment to be an utter failure – at least for developing countries.

        • RedLogix

          Again there you have it – as I said earlier the CCP is determined that democracy is a failure and must be undermined, denigrated and crushed wherever it can reach.

          (And hell I thought when I typed that earlier comment I was being a bit OTT.)

          • SPC

            Play fair, China is now crushing its own free market capitalists to demonstrate the supremacy of party rule for the collective good …

          • Mark

            How are they 'undermining' democracy.

            They are just showing by example. The CPC has saved hundreds of millions of lives compared with India's failed 'democratic' experience.

            The CPC just does its own thing. Has China ever made demands of NZ in respect of Maori imprisonment rates or relatively poor health and educational outcomes? Of course fucking not.

            Show me one statement from any leader of the CPC demanding that other countries adopt China's political system. Yet there are daily there are torrents of crap from Western leaders, and people such as yourself decrying China's political system.

            Never makes demands that 'democracies' change to be like them. Unlike the West which continually makes demands of China and so called 'human rights'

            • Stuart Munro

              How are they 'undermining' democracy.

              Appointing a "president for life" for one.

            • roblogic

              Mark, while I definitely do not share your rosy view of China it pays ti understand their perspective. Their critiques of the West are generally pretty spot on. This thread is worth a look

          • KJT

            Another laughable comment. It is in fact the USA, that has been crushing and removing Democratic Governments wherever they go. Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia being just three of the most recent examples. Apparently Democracy is "not for export. China, by contrast, doesn't seem to give a monkeys about the form of Government in the rest of the world.

            • SPC

              US imperialism is imploding into a threat to to what status as a democracy it had.

              Given Jim Crow laws and holding elections on a working day to suppress the voter turnout, and money in politics that's always been dubious.

              But now one party is seeking to subvert the threat that higher voter turnout poses, its power grab on SCOTUS (Gorsuch in place of Garland) is resulting in Jim Crow era corruption growing out beyond the south to Red States nationwide.

              • Mark Craig

                I am in limbo in Aus at the mo.My own fault came over to earn a buck and see my son for the first time in 2 years .I have torn shoulder muscle at the ripe old age of 68 ,so it has turned to custard a bit.Musn''t grumble the sainted lady said I would be on my own.Any how a tiny but growing group of lefties up North have been gradually coalescing around the idea of a bit of utu towards the craven vagabonds that were behind the Dirty Politics crew that the National party put up some time ago .Call it a slow burn if you like.We have aquired a pair of buses on e for each island ,and to attend Nat and ACT meetings ,these buses will be hilarious. which we are having sign written as Judes Dirty politics tour with a big bad witch on a broomstick flying high above them,and all the quotes from the book pertaining ,sign written on the buses.Now I know ,I know that Slater chappie is a cad and a bounder ,with all the class of a rat with a gold tooth ,so I beseech you peeps please leave vinegar tits collins in charge so we can eradicate both of these rodents from the body politic at the same time .In the book they burble about UTU and pay back double ,heh heh ,welcome to the hood dweebs,fijian rugby forwards got nothing on Ngapuhi warriors .

          • mpledger

            The key to whether China is a success is what happens after the next leadership transition. If Xi Jinping were to die suddenly then things might get very dicey.

      • Patricia Bremner 4.1.4

        John Key/humility Ho ho Best laugh all day. Desperate devious calculating but humble? No way.xx

        We NZers are not "full of ourselves" but we are justifiably proud of Jacinda Ardern's Leadership. The way out has already been explained.

      • Rebecca Stanton 4.1.5

        Denmark has lifted restrictions based on a very high vaccination rate, not remotely similar to what Sweden did.

      • joe90 4.1.6

        Perhaps they realised Sweden wasn't so badly wrong after all.

        No picnic according to an Australian who's spent the past twenty years in Sweden.

      • Gabby 4.1.7

        We'll see.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 4.1.8

        This is a complex puzzle we have to face as a nation – I’d hope we could face it with both courage and humility.

        I believe 'team Kiwi' have faced the "complex puzzle" of this scary and humbling pandemic "with both courage and humility", and hope we will continue to do so.

        As for 'Freedum' pleas, or cries of ‘cowardly Kiwis’ – 'stamp it out, keep it out' I reckon.

        12 new cases.
        Unite against COVID-19

        Covid-19: Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to stop “being a country of sissies

        It appears gendered issues are key to Bolsonaro’s herd immunity approach, and acutely glossed over amid the toxic masculinity promoted by the president. Here men’s “bravery” is countered by women’s “vulnerability.” This toxic language has amplified during the pandemic: Bolsonaro condemned political opponents for having a good education or wearing tight trousers—traits which he considered feminine or homosexual. Most alarmingly, he has stated, “We have to quit being a country of sissies” and he maintains that only the “weak” will die, a way of presenting older people, those with comorbidities, or even the LGBTQ+ community, as the only victims, or those who refused to use the “early treatment kit.

        The pandemic disproportionately affected Brazilian women suffering severe consequences of covid-19 during pregnancy, but, rather than support pregnant women to ensure their safety, or recognise the multiple sacrifices women have taken, the government ridicules them amid a broader conservatiive anti-gender rights ideology. Women are suffering at the hands of Bolsonaro, and the effects of such complicit anti-gender equality strategy will be felt for many generations.

      • cathy-o 4.1.9

        Sweden, now there's an example we could follow

        Sweden 14781 deaths………452 per million population

        New Zealand 27 deaths…………5 per million population

        [fixed error in user name]

    • Gezza 4.2

      Yup. I don’t think he was an especially bad prime Minister, but I never trusted that he was always telling the truth.

      I never minded that he was merchant banker. Not a job I’d want to take on. The stress would get to me very fast.

      Key obviously doesn’t stress; it appears alien to his nature. Probably one of the reasons he did so well in the banking world.

      But, despite his upbringing, I don’t think he’s is all that good at empathy, nor at seeing issues from other perspectives.

      Despite his talent for schmoozing, there was always something about his smugness that irritated me. In fact, I think maybe the best thing about Sir John Key was Bill English.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Judging the self-righteous open xenophobia on display from the morally superior vaccinated – Key has a point.

    This 'team of five million' sure doesn't include the one million who cannot get home.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      There isnt 1 million who cant get home. Even Australia only has 600,000 who were born here ( and they could get back for 2 months but mostly didnt)

      The booking spaces were clogged with Kiwis who are here now but want to travel and return in next few months. One radio reporter was mentioned as got MIQ space but couldnt get airline seats for their sojourn

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        There are roughly 1m New Zealand citizens who live overseas, as a nation NZ has a remarkably large diaspora. In Australia a large fraction are Maori and Pacific peoples.

        It's flat out silly to suggest that all 1m of us should have come home in 2020 'when we had the chance'. There were never the airline seats available for a start, and you think we have a housing crisis? And jobs?

        The reality for most of us is that we had to make a choice between income and family – but there isn't a clear end date in sight. The longer it goes on the more invidious this choice becomes.

        • Bearded Git

          Are your elderly parents or grandparents expendable in order to satisfy the "Key" model (big business is all that matters) Red?

          • RedLogix

            My father is very vulnerable but he's vaccinated. He's as well protected as he can be – and last time we spoke he'd sooner take his chances with COVID than remain as terribly lonely as he is.

            That's his choice.

            The ability to travel is woven into the fabric of the modern world – something that is of importance to people of all classes – not just ‘big business’.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              In some circles it is as you suggest – in many it is a once in a lifetime option still – and for some not even that. Only 70% of New Zealanders have a passport.

              Many of those people are also on the lowest lifetime incomes and are the most vulnerable e.g. people with disabilities.

              There seems to be a constant failure to understand that lots and lots of people don't travel and care more about their health.

              But you know all they have to do is get a better job or work a bit harder then they can be enjoying the fruits of their labours as well – you too can spread COVID around the world.

              • RedLogix

                Many of those people are also on the lowest lifetime incomes and are the most vulnerable e.g. people with disabilities.

                My own brother is in exactly this situation. It pisses me off that he needs to tell WINZ before he's allowed to get on a plane.

                There seems to be a constant failure to understand that lots and lots of people don't travel and care more about their health.

                Fair enough – but is that reason to keep NZ's borders effectively closed indefinitely? I'm very aware there is a balance of rights at work here, but the option to more or less prevent New Zealanders from returning to their home country with no defined end date in sight is not an option.

                Most of us living overseas have already sacrificed the chance to see family for almost two years now – and most of us understand and accept why. But listening to the frankly xenophobic hate being directed to us on social media is pretty damned disturbing.

                • SPC

                  Why is it OK to accuse people of "xenophobic hate" for placing a value on border security?

                • Johnr

                  It's not a matter of stopping kiwis returning home but a matter of logistics. If we had a gazillion MIQ vacancies we could have a gazillion kiwis coming home.

                  We dont, we have limited resources, MIQ and hospital beds. So, we have to cut our cloth according to our abilities.

                  We cant majic up MIQ spots or hospital beds but this govt without doubt is giving the most humanitarian and logical response it can

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  I don't get a sense of any xenophobic hate – which by definition wouldn't be possible anyway as you would be neither foreign nor strange as New Zealanders returning home.

                  I do struggle though with the emotional assertions of some people who haven't been home for 7-10 years in the cases of some I know personally who now profess to have their rights restricted cause it is now urgent they see their family when it hasn't been urgent for the preceding 7 – 10 years. Sure the pandemic has made people review their circumstances on mass but a mass exodus of people into the country isn't right now in the countries best interests in my view. Limited places, steady as you go, manage small outbreaks as they occur seems perfectly sensible.

                  We all understand the demand for return is much higher than the places available. Equally we understand what the impact of COVID in our communities and the impact of lots of returnees all at once. We can see it in rising house prices, rising rents, lower unemployment but more people on benefit as returnees take jobs.

                  I don't believe this pandemic will be over soon and normal will be here soon. We need to learn from history – plague outbreaks continued for another 8 years, in NZ polio sufferers sent to the South Island didn't come home for 10 years – no defined end date to me seems to be the normal state of affairs in these situations – you're acting like it is the opposite.

        • Ghostwhowalksnz

          No evidence 1 mill diaspora living overseas

          Australia census results:

          'The latest Census in 2016 recorded 518,466 New Zealand-born people in Australia. ( 2021 data is still being processed)


          Your claim is clearly bunkum as it would required nearly 0.5 mill in rest of world.

          Many NZers in Australia are long time settled status

          • RedLogix

            The exact definition of 'ex-pat' matters and the data isn't necessarily easy to pin down – but the generally accepted range is between about 750,000 up to 1m.

            • Ghostwhowalksnz

              Unreliable source . They are just a pressure group with inflated sense of value.

              Even UK figures for country of birth have Jamaica at 10th with around 160,000 born living in UK

              ONS figures
              A bit more digging shows 51,000 UK residents born in NZ, so its roughly 10% of the number in Australia.

              There 27,000 born in USA who are resident here maybe 20,000 NZ born living in US ?

              • RedLogix

                Your census data from Australia only includes people born in NZ. The actual number of people with SCV444 visas which includes all people with NZ passports who arrived after 2001 is somewhat larger than this. Last I looked it was around 620,000.

                And that's just Australia – there are kiwis living in almost every country on earth. Hell I worked alongside two in Canada on a remote mine site, one of whom had lived a street away from us in Wellington. They turn up everywhere.

                A quick search shows multiple sources estimating the total kiwi diaspora to be as high as 1m. That's not an unreasonable estimate in my view and I'm not even sure why you're bothering to quibble this. Whether it's 750,000 or 1,000,000 people we're talking about here – it's still enough to make my point.

                • Ghostwhowalksnz

                  Your Australia comment doesnt make sense.

                  The census counts all who are BORN in NZ hence the disapora. Arrivals before the visa changes in 2001 are irrelevant , they still can come and go to NZ

                  Anecdotes about somedown the street are irrelevant..look up Canada census to find those who are born NZ. Ive done two biggest populations of diaspora , do some of your own searching

                  Dont give me that mutiple sources thing , unreliable and they are probably doing what you do, look up first google unsourced number.

        • Patricia Bremner

          I did not expect you to be in the "Are we t
          here yet?" camp Red.

          Wanting an end date for vaccinations and the pandemic being less important is a big ask. It is still How not When.

    • Muttonbird 5.2

      The "team of five million" clearly refers to those of us resident here fighting this battle.

      It's natural to feel left out but churlish in the extreme to criticise Kiwis for it. Calling the team of five million smug is an angry and jealous reaction.

    • Rebecca Stanton 5.3

      How is it "xenophobia" if we're talking about fellow Kiwis? Xenophobia is a hatred of foreigners.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    John “beneficiaries need a good kick in the pants” Key at it again. Was it him or “his office” that produced this babble?

    SirKey always represents international finance capital first and foremost, as he did in the NZ Parliament and before, and since. From time to time he fronts ostensibly for NZ National, but only in so far as it strategically aids 1%ers, such as supporting this or that faction or a more effective leader.

    • In many ways Key is much more dangerous than Collins, Seymour, Bridges etc because people seem to actually believe the drivel he comes out with.

      Meanwhile in the “free” UK Covid deaths are running at an annual rate of 52,000 in Summer. Wait for the terrible Winter numbers.

      • Gezza 6.1.1

        “…people seem to actually believe the drivel [Key] comes out with.”


        Key always projects an easy Kiwi-affability that disarms many ordinary folk. Plus, they know that he’s a successful mega-rich multi-millionaire & has a jet set life.

        For some people that’s something they just admire, even when they can’t even dream of ever achieving that sort of lifestyle themselves. Many ordinary working class Americans who voted for Trump seemed to fet this category. Maybe they even live a little vicariously thru them.

        And there appeared to be something about Key that made lots of NZ’s female poltical journos / reporters give him a pretty easy ride.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.2

        Won't be long now – Covid will take out Lizzie, and Boris will go to the Tower.

  7. barry 7

    Anybody who gives answers to what happens long term is not paying attention. We plan based on best guesses as to what the world will look like when we have implemented the plans.

    We know a bit about what the world looks like with Key's solutions. Singapore is dialing back their re-opening. The UK has a level of hospitalisation and death that would be inconceivable here.

    So many companies paid back the wage subsidy last year, because overall they did better as a result of the lockdown and reopening than they would have done otherwise. No doubt it is hard for small companies to plan when they have enforced holidays, but they have to assume that disruption will continue for another year at least.

    So Key and others can pontificate and whine, but I am glad that the actual management of health, travel and the economy is in the current government's hands. With the imperfect information we have the decision making has been conservative, but has mostly worked out pretty well.

    The government knows it is going to have to open up travel, and MIQ cannot continue forever. However how that happens without allowing our health system to be overwhelmed is not yet clear.

    At some stage enough people will have antibodies ( or will have died) that it will become like the other coronoviruses that make people sick and kill a number of people very year but at a level that we accept. It can still be eliminated (like measles) or eradicated (like smallpox) if enough countries treat it seriously. We have the tools.

  8. Cricklewood 8

    I didnt realise Aorangi primary and Burnside high were private schools…

    • mac1 8.1

      You're right. Key lived in a state house area in, I believe, Burnside Terrace not far from where I lived as a boy. I had several school mates who lived there but they went to a private school like me- the local Catholic primary school which was certainly not elitist- not when one of these boys came to school with tomato sauce sandwiches for ;unch! Another was so poor that his mother cut his hair in a pudding basin style when we all had barbered short back and sides. This same boy, mocked for his hair, learnt a lesson about bullying behaviour and to his eternal credit and my eternal memory protected me when I was being bullied by the pack. Key would have been at primary school with similar non-catholic boys. A social characteristic that I learned from that experience was to strongly distrust gang behaviour, 'crowd sway behaviour', I call it. I sometimes wonder what lessons Key got from his religious and state house experience in a solo parent family.

    • mickysavage 8.2

      You are right Cricklewood. I pumped this post out quickly and I was convinced that Key was a private school boy. Looks like I was wrong.

  9. Reality 9

    Key made absolutely no reference to how many deaths he is content to have on his conscience or hospitalisation of hundreds of severely ill people with his open the borders rant. All he is interested in is how he and his ilk have had their privileged lives restricted and how unfair that is.

    Is he happy for NZ to be like NSW and for us to have hundreds of cases each day? This pandemic has thrown the world into turmoil and we have all read of other countries congratulating NZ on how we have dealt with it. As Chris Hipkins said on Q&A the government is already planning ahead for the future.

    He talks about isolating at home and for many that would work but how many cases have we seen of people who think rules don't apply to them. Skiing in Wanaka?

    Will Stuff and Herald give equal space to a column rebutting some of his claims?

  10. You can just imagine how Key would have treated Dr. Souxiesie Wiles.

    • Pete 10.1

      He would have had Jason Ede on hand to deal with her.

    • Tiger Mountain 10.2

      How he treated Eleanor Catton for daring to critique the NZ neo liberal state, withdrew support for the woman assaulted by an Indonesian diplomat, repeatedly pulled a young women’s ponytail (in a subordinate role as a waiter), prompted a female MP walkout with his “supporting rapists” jibe, withdrew funding from Rape Crisis, and ended Relationship Services with mere weeks notice, perhaps give an indication of how SirKey may have treated Ms Wiles.

    • Mark 10.3

      This woman is disgusting

  11. rely on Key to be the voice of selfish munters who don't GAF about the misery and destruction they leave in their wake

  12. Muttonbird 12

    I wanna go to Hawaiiiiiiiiiii

    This sums up Surge-on's opinion piece.

    Keys clearly doesn't like the lottery where his status is placed no higher than that of ordinary folk. The pony tail puller is not used to being in that position.

  13. AB 13

    The Apollo 13 stuff at the start reads like it was written by an enthusiastic nine-year old, but it soon slides into the standard talking points of the sociopathic "let it rip" school of pandemic mismanagement. The five 'ideas' don't exhibit the imaginative genius hinted at by the Apollo 13 analogy at the start – being either obvious, lame or already in train.

    It's hallmark Key – it manages to be simultaneously vacuous and extreme – possibly deliberately so, because the vacuity masks the extremism.

    Ultimately, anyone who equates NZ's mostly excellent pandemic response with North Korea, has just surrendered the right to be taken seriously on any matter ever again.

    • mac1 13.1

      Yes, that struck me too.-"anyone who equates NZ's mostly excellent pandemic response with North Korea".

      A mean and self-serving comparison designed to trigger the anti-communist, libertarian, anti-authoritarian right wing into agreement.

  14. Muttonbird 14

    Was waiting for some RWNJ "let it rip" proponent to compare anti-vaxxers to smokers (and presumably overweight people and type 2 diabetics, and drug and alcohol abusers too).

    It's all personal choice, you see.

    But smoking, obesity, and drug and and alcohol abuse are addictions. They are tactically glorified culturally and on screen, and are in some cases openly advertised and marketed.

    Being anti-vax is a choice, but one based on groundless fear of authority as far as I can see. It is not addictive.

    • joe90 14.1

      I see them as cowardly bludgers, unwilling to expose themselves to the minuscule risk associated with vaccination to benefit from the risk accepted by the rest of the community.

      These are the people who drink your beer and then take theirs home.

  15. Pete 15

    One major advantage for Key were he in the driving seat through the pandemic.

    If he had stayed on and was having to deal with it, the whole situation in the country would have been so much better and more stable.

    There would no housing crisis, no poverty, no gang problems, a brilliantly resourced health system, few mental health problems, no 501s from Australia …

    The media keep trotting out arseholes like Prebble, Hide, Joyce and Key who have all the answers. They caused so much shit, have the country in the dunny and turn up like some upmarket, sweet smelling toilet paper.

    • Jester 15.1

      Don't forget, Twyford had the solution to the housing crisis when he was in opposition. The opposition always have all the answers until they get in to government.

  16. dv 16

    Note the headline reads Sir John Key A national embarrassment

    That sorta sums it up.

    • cathy-o 16.1

      that headline was the first thing i saw. some editor having a sneaky dig? i loved it

      [fixed error in user name]

  17. Muttonbird 17

    "I really don't agree with him describing New Zealand as a smug hermit kingdom," Hipkins said.

    "I think that's an insult to New Zealanders who have actually achieved some of the highest rates of freedom in the world by going hard and going early when we've needed to."

    Agree. Those abroad (and those who want to be abroad) who describe Kiwis who have protected their vulnerable as smug, self-righteous, and morally superior are insulting New Zealanders. It betrays their insecurity and blind envy.


  18. fender 18

    Oh thanks Sir Fucknuckle, now many young people will defer getting vaccinated until your genius suggestion of paying them $500 becomes a thing. Prat.

  19. Whispering Kate 19

    John Key and all his followers of opening up the borders and allowing traffic coming in and out of the country willy nilly have a one track mind and obviously do not spare a thought for our stressed, exhausted overworked critical care workers from specialists to nursing staff who staff our Covid quarantine wards – and our patient numbers are really low compared to other countries.

    I read the Washington Post daily and critical care staff in the US are on their knees, resigning or having to take long term breaks. They hear on a daily basis anti-vaxxers pleading for help even while they are dying in their wards and they feel helpless at the futility of it all. Key doesn't give a toss about the shitty end of the pandemic where professionals have to "clean up the mess" this virus brings to communities.

    I have no answer to this huge problem and I just hope the powers that be can stay the course and have the strength to come to solutions which can be borne by us all. Spare a thought for our hospital critical care staff who seem to be forgotten when alternative solutions are put forward.

    • Andre 19.1

      If it were up to me, I'd put up tents in the far corner of hospital parking lots as the unvaccinated covid patient wards.To be at the end of the queue for treatment and resource allocation so it doesn't burden the rest of the medical system and reduce the care available to other patients.

      If they choose to reject one of the simplest, safest, cheapest (actually free to the recipient) most effective and most thoroughly tested preventative that the medical establishment has ever devised, then I dunno why they should gobble up hugely expensive, experimental, barely tested, low success rate treatment from the medical establishment they have previously rejected.

      Let's be clear, there are very few people that have yet to get their first jab that haven't had ample opportunity to do so. At this stage, those that haven't got their first jab (or at least booked it) are choosing not to, for whatever reasons of their own.

      • Jester 19.1.1

        And unfortunately, those that haven't yet had their first jab may be some of the most vulnerable if / when there is another community outbreak. But it is there choice if they choose not to.

      • AB 19.1.2

        I can't see that such cruelty is justified. It wouldn't be an easy death – and a disproportionate punishment for people who have do no worse than postpone by a few weeks or months our return to greater freedom of movement.

        • Andre

          It's to protect the staff working in the medical system. As well as ensuring capacity remains for those willing to take a responsible precaution for the comunity's and their own well-being.

          I have a cousin and her husband that are hospital doctors in the US. The unvaccinated covid patients and their families turn an already difficult job into an absolute fkn nightmare. Totally uncooperative and aggressive. I'd prefer that didn't happen to our medical staff here.

  20. SPC 20

    How well did John Key's effort to make us an international financial centre work – apart from being mentioned in international money laundering reports?

    The timing of it all by the middle class (those who own property, those who gain cheap labour for their businesses with current immigration, those who enjoy mobility in the global market to work or play) is exquisite, letting the daylight in to save the hermit kingdom (aka socialism and governing for the collective good).

    This is why MSM is no longer trusted – it makes the pandering to Maori language week (while Maori rent, compete with migrants for low wage jobs, and face the greatest risk from community spread) and transgender rights, “progressive causes” in context.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 20.1

      Thats what the Gift Tax abolition was all about and the growth in offshore Trusts being setup here.

      They could transfer money from the sham trust to its real benefactors and the money would be as tax free gift and with a 'made in NZ' stamp it looked legit.

  21. Karl Sinclair 21

    To x or not x…. that is the question

    Qs Simplistically to all you good people on the standard (not taking any sides)….but how much health care (ICUS. Medical Staff etc) would one billion per week buy l

    Qs Who benefits from the our borrowing (CCP perchance) (our dis benefit = economic slavery and potentially no increase in health capability to counter future pandemics)

    Your thoughts peeps?

    • garibaldi 21.1

      To overload our health services or not to. THAT is the question. Either do your bit or be prepared to swallow a bitter pill Karl.

      • Karl Sinclair 21.1.1

        Hi Garibaldi

        Agree, it is a bitter pill to swallow but it’s not the only one.

        Still wondering how much 1billion would buy us in terms health care pandemic capacity?

        Just wondering on your thoughts regarding Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Once we get to the 90% (or so) vaccinated….what then, do we follow them? Your analysis is what I’m after


        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Kiwis made their own 'pandemic path' and, if the information presented in Mikey's post is anything to go by, that's played out relatively well so far, as even the 'let 'er rip' whiners can surely see.

          I hope the team doesn't start following other countries too soon – sticking to our path and keeping hard-won options open a little longer is the best bet, imho.

          • garibaldi

            There you go Karl, that's our answer. Looking ahead it is a very foggy crystal ball indeed, but at least I think we can all be so thankful we don't have a National govt.

            • Karl Sinclair

              Hi Garibaldi

              I see where Drowsy M is coming from

              I get ya point. Pulling the trigger (opening up etc) to soon could be an issue. Presumably it’s about the NZs modelling and the number of expected deaths and hospitalisations at 90% vaccinated (which there is debate about accuracy). Keeping an eye on DK, NW, SW and UK (etc) will no doubt be factored in by the Gov for future strategy.

              see for example


              A bit off topic but I think Rob Fyfe has a point regarding how to move ahead in a timely way

              If I have it right… he is saying Government (regardless of Nat/Lab) are slow and live in silos. That they need to work more closely within Gov and with external businesses etc to extract out the best ideas and split into two groups, 1. Current operations 2. Future planning. Presumably both groups sharing data and ideas.

              Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Govt business adviser Rob Fyfe frustrated over lack of progress


  22. Pat 22

    "His opinion piece amplified the absolute certainty in the accuracy he has of his reckons that can only be formed by being educated in a private school,…"


  23. newsense 23

    He’s becoming Tony Blair.

  24. Reality 24

    Further to John Key's assertion that we are ruled by fear – New Zealanders have every reason to be fearful and aware of the seriousness of Covid. We have all seen on tv news overseas countries' death numbers, overwhelmed hospitals and medical staff and morgues unable to cope with the numbers of bodies. And the tales of people still suffering from long Covid.

    Our government is right to keep us informed despite Judith & Co seething at her having so much exposure on tv. If we hadn't been kept informed they would have been accusing her of secrecy.

    • Rebecca Stanton 24.1

      And every single one of those countries has at least twice as much ICU capacity per capita as we do.

  25. JeffB 25

    A big chunk of comments over at Stuff are calling him out though. The Hermit Kingdom statement has backfired and a lot of people recall his achievements as really not doing much apart from try to change the flag and run down the health system…. He is totally irrelevant in today’s climate.

  26. DS 26

    Quite apart from the actual details of Key's comments, I'd also point out that the media wheeling him out continues their efforts to erode support for NZ's Covid response. The narrative this past week has been all-too blatant.

    • Anne 26.1

      I think you will find it's not so much the media wheeling him out but the National Party in a state of desperation – Covid 19 notwithstanding. Politics is the name of the game.

      • observer 26.1.1

        But which faction of the National Party?

        Obviously not Collins. He has shafted her, because the overwhelming reaction from Nat voters has been "Come back John, we miss you!".

        It's almost enough to make you feel sorry for Judith. Almost.

        • Anne

          I was thinking in terms of the good fellow called Goodfellow – Nat president rather than any of their politicians.

    • Muttonbird 26.2

      It was extraordinary. Complete, blanket coverage over all media outlets. Clearly an organised strategy to insult average Kiwis in an attempt to let it rip.

      • observer 26.2.1

        Organised, definitely. He's shilling for Luxon. Getting in before the spill.

        Some Qs the media should (won't) ask Collins:

        – Did Key run this by her? If not, why not?

        – Has Key had any input into National's own plan (to be released next week)?

        And obviously, does she agree with everything he says? (No good answer for her, she either does – and looks weak – or doesn't, and Nats look divided).

        • Anne

          And was it not last Sunday that Luxon had a lengthy TV interview about his views and his supposed lack of desire to become the leader. He was concentrating on being the best electorate MP he could be. ( 🙄 they all say that.) Was it Q&A?

          Organised it most certainly was, with quite a few players in the mix.

    • tc 26.3

      The msm don't serve everyday kiwi's.

      Key represents alot of what's wrong currently yet gets wheeled out. Just another tone deaf rich lister.

  27. coreyjhumm 27

    What's wrong with idea number 2? Make it a direct bank payment of $25 per jab so $75 all up, ultimately and that's a pretty damn good universal payment and it's quite progressive and it'll do a damn lot more to get the poor, Maori and Pasifika vaccinated than what we're currently doing

    (personally I think the advertising is wrong, we should get kiwi icons to short funny ads about the vax, brotown, outrageous fortune, shortland street, thingee, Suzy Cato, and funny ads like the "just crash here bro, ghost chips" ads because humour works the current adverts are weak, too long and just spewing information, having ads that turn into memes would get into the public consciousness)

    Payments are a brilliant idea, poor people need money. It's an economic stimulus, it's universal, I'm shocked Key came up with it… Actually I'm not shocked it's centrist af much like the current PM who five weeks ago unveiled a similar plan to what key said, before lockdown of course… And it also seems to be similar to what the govt ultimately is planning…. We're not talking about elimination anymore we're talking about 90% vaccination. Keys ideas stress vaccination, and ultimately won't be too far off what Ardern does next year. Which pisses me off because in the south Island we are living without covid and we'll have to give up elimination because of Auckland.

    Key inspires the same hatred and adoration that Ardern does, they aren't that different and both have hit that sweet middle spot majority of kiwi voters love

    Financial incentive does work had the yes marijuana campaign actually focused on the economic benefits of jobs, tax revenue and environmental and farming opportunities instead of "it's racist" it would have convinced another 1-3% to vote yes. Nz is a greedy country. Look at our national and labour partys tax, housing, capital gains wealth policies…. Greedy as f***

    There's a reason billionaires and amazon are coming to nz and it's because we protect the rich, we have blind trust, no capital gains tax no redistribution of wealth and allow a whole host of workers rights abuses and environmental abuses and special treatment to the wealthy.

    I would never vote for Key but he could have just as easily been a national party pm as a labour party pm.

    I personally disagree with much of what he's said but the payment idea is good. We're burning money we can afford it. The rest Ardern is going to pretty much do once we have 90% and I think the difference between him and her is he'd do it at 60% and she'll do it at 80-90%

    • Leighton 27.1

      The payment idea would be a good one if it actually worked. However this has been tried in many jurisdictions (including many states of the current anti-vax kings the US of A) and has made a negligible difference as the pandemic rages on. Key’s column does not even bother to explain why he thinks doing the same thing here would produce a materially different outcome.

      People who are disengaged from and distrustful of the government, science and mainstream media are not going to allow themselves to be injected with a medical treatment they believe could harm them in return for a token payment equivalent to just over an hour's work on the minimum wage per shot. I guess if you do pick up a few stragglers from a policy like this, it's money well spent. But based on the international experience we are going to need more sophisticated public policy than Key is capable of to get us anywhere near the 90% target.

    • Muttonbird 27.2

      The difference between him and her is he'd do it at 60% and she'll do it at 80-90%

      It is this difference which has saved the thousands of vulnerable lives John Keys doesn't care about.

      • AB 27.2.1

        The simple message that with luck the public will grasp, is that if John Key had been anywhere near the management of the pandemic, the cemeteries would be overflowing.

        • Muttonbird

          If one wayward government MP made such a claim, the right would be up in arms milking it for all its worth. Fact is, Keys gets close to that with his "smug hermit kingdom" comments. In one simple phrase he insults 5 million Kiwis.

          Just as well this government is disciplined. That's Ardern's influence.

          • Chris T

            Which bit of what he said is bad, putting aside the hermit comment?

            • Muttonbird

              You can't put it aside. He says we are a smug hermit kingdom.

              A lot of us have been working very hard to do this right and he has today insulted all those efforts.

              He's lost his touch.

              • Chris T

                Ain't hard. Just say something you disagree with.

                • Muttonbird

                  1. Financial incentives for Maori and Pacific health providers. The very type of gold rush which would be attacked as racist separatism by The Hologram and Collins.

                  2. $25 dollar voucher of their choice. A $25 voucher for vaccination is a further insult to under-privileged Kiwis. Shows how out of touch Kee is.

                  3. Allow only vaccinated people into licensed premises. How do you police this? All we've heard from RWNJs is how you can't place extra costs on business.

                  4. Tell us when the borders will open, aka let it rip. This clown tut-tuts a academically modelled estimate as spreading fear, but thinks that an 'opening date' is going to work on the most reticent?

                  5. Build up hospital capacity. Pity he ran it down, isn't it.

                  • Chris T

                    Sorry but that doesn't really cut it.


                    Think this might come back and bite you in the arse as already being talked about. If the govt says it is needed businesses don’t get any choice,

                    "3. Allow only vaccinated people into licensed premises. How do you police this? All we've heard from RWNJs is how you can't place extra costs on business."

                    Edit:I agree btw.cBut the businesses don’t get to argue

  28. woodart 28

    two things leap out at me . (1) key wants to go to hawaii to play golf and doesnt want to mix with the hoi polloi at MIQ when he returns. (2) herald aka nat party arent getting traction from other washed up ex-m.p.s (joyce,prebble,etc) so have turned from using washed up m.p. to a washed up p.m.. sad.

    • Muttonbird 28.1

      From what I understand, in my industry there was a change to MIQ policy on or around the Wiggles' incident. You can tell this is the incident because government opponents constantly bring it up.

      Early on, high economic value people entering the country were placed in rooms fitting their status, etc. But, because of the push back from RWNJs around preference and maximising space, this was abandoned and now there is no guarantee of what room anyone gets. If HRH Queen Elizabeth II herself were to visit NZ she might be placed at the Rotorua Ibis, if you know what I mean.

      This has all caused major issues in the area I work in. After a promising start in 2020 this policy has now made thing difficult for us.

      The irony is of course while Surge-on doesn't want to go to the Rotorua Ibis, that he might be placed there is solely down to the bizarre opposition for opposition's sake the right wing rolled out over preferential quarantine treatment.

  29. Chris T 29


    It always amazes me how much Key can turn the left from sane into spiteful hand wringers

    • Chris T 29.1

      And he has a point btw

    • bwaghorn 29.2

      Been hanging with a few nat voting mates (I assume that's how they vote) they are as irrational about Ardern

    • observer 29.3

      Let's make a direct comparison,

      Former National leader/PM calls NZ under Labour "North Korea".

      Now find one single example of the reverse e.g. Clark calling Key/English a fascist regime. We can imagine what the reaction would be, but we can only imagine because it has never happened.

      • Chris T 29.3.1

        Politicians are all the same, no matter what colour tbh

      • Muttonbird 29.3.2

        Yep. Jong Kee is calling us all smug North Koreans.

        Most New Cylinders will disagree.

      • Chris T 29.3.3

        TBF Ardern was chanting "Comrades" on video. People do dumb things

        • observer

          I would hope so. Labour MPs in parliament have called each other comrades. As do members of Labour/socialist parties around the world. Parties that lose/win democratic elections and accept the results.

          That's a weak comparison, comrade.

        • Incognito

          It can also mean mate/friend/buddy, depending on context and circumstances. Can you please stop the dumbass commenting?

          • Chris T

            I realise you have a bias against me personally Icognito, but I think it would be best I not converse with you given you have the ban button and have continuously pushed it when for some reason I apparently annoyed you

          • Chris T

            I just won't bother posting for a while in the hope it I haven't screwed it up already

    • joe90 29.4

      Amateur hour.

      Two words – electric ute, and damn near every countrified oik in the land, and a good few of their citified cuzzies, stamped their feet, spat the dummy and spent a whole day driving around town boohooing and tooting their fucking horn.

  30. Incognito 30

    I love the consistent message formatting by present and former National MPs; they stick to the old-school 5-by-5 rule for bullet points as if it is neo-liberal dogma. I bet that Judith’s cunning policy plan will comprise 5 points too.

  31. observer 31

    Compare and contrast:

    1) John Key's random reckons, all over the media (including interviews on 6 pm news just now, both channels)

    2) The NZ public … as measured in a proper survey


    The actual views of the people will get a tiny fraction of the coverage, but it tells us so much more. Not least, it tells us how – as usual – so many self-appointed mouthpieces are wrong.

    70% support lockdowns. That doesn't mean they like them, but they know the alternatives. If only the commentators understood the people.

  32. Incognito 32

    Heh! John Key is wearing his satirist hat portraying a rich and privileged Sir bemoaning the rules of the tiny Kingdom. The ‘North Korean option’ has a nice radioactive vibe to it with a hint of nepotism.

    It is good to see that everything is negotiable and has its price: civic duty, social contract & licence, social cohesion, and community spirit. John Key just oozes comradery and I want to have a beer with that man over a nice BBQ once we’re back in Level 1, if he’s still in the country.

    • Muttonbird 33.1

      Keys' strategy will be what it always has been. You only have to get enough people to want to go to Hawaii to agree, no matter how bad that might be for the rest.

  33. Poission 34

    Key suggested thus.

    Too often, I hear commentators supporting the North Korean option because they claim that opening up to the rest of the world will introduce the virus, and therefore cost people their lives.

    International evidence does not support that claim. If you are vaccinated, your chances of being hospitalised or dying from Covid, are slim.

    Singapore of which is a good example,of the relaxing of border controls suggest that slim is an open problem ( and why bankers need external controls on risk management)

    There are 1,142 patients warded in hospital. Most of them are well and under observation, said MOH.

    A total of 165 cases of serious illness require oxygen supplementation, and 27 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).

    Among those who fell very ill are 158 seniors above the age of 60.

    Over the last 28 days, 97.9 per cent of the local cases were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.

    There were 326 cases who needed oxygen supplementation and 37 had been in the ICU. Of these, 52.9 per cent were fully vaccinated and 47.1 per cent were either partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.


    • Anne 34.1

      26 September 2021 at 7:49 pm

      The bit you missed out:

      MOH also announced three more fatalities, taking the national death toll to 76.

      There have been 21 deaths in September so far, a new monthly record.

      The first fatality is Case 71506, a 62-year-old Singaporean. The man tested positive for COVID-19 infection on Sep 6 and died from complications due to the disease on Saturday.

      He had been partially vaccinated against COVID-19, and had a history of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.

      The second fatality, Case 72277, is a 71-year-old Singaporean who tested positive for COVID-19 on Sep 8. He died from complications due to the disease on Friday.

      MOH said he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, and had a history of atrial fibrillation, thyrotoxicosis and hyperlipidaemia which, together with his advanced age, made him more susceptible to severe illness.

      The third fatality is Case 76462. The 71-year-old Singaporean died from complications due to COVID-19 infection on Saturday. She had tested positive on Sep 14.

      The Health Ministry said the woman had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, and had a history of diabetes, end stage renal failure, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.

      Reading between the lines two of these three cases represent a portion of the vaccinated or partially vaccinated cases but were on their way out for conditions other than Covid 19. Covid finished them off.

      • Poission 34.1.1

        Underlying health conditions increase the risk of both vaccine breakthrough and severe conditions.The Singapore data suggests it does not discriminate as half of the severe cases were vaccinated, invoking the principle of least effort.

        Vaccination in itself is not a preconditon for going back to pre covid days,as in complex systems dynamics is irreversible as are Mendelian dynamics.

        In the UK they suggested around 7% of the population would be always at a level of enhanced risk,here in NZ with high rates of heart disease and diabetics they should have an expectation of the same freedoms of all Kiwis.

  34. Ad 35

    Aucklanders are heartily sick of being locked down. The government isn't acting fast enough to get us out of it.

    Key is dead right about perpetual job subsidy, and this government isn't defending its own record compared to other countries.

    Good on John Key. This government needs more pressure on them not less.

    • observer 35.1

      Just above your post is the public opinion survey on lockdowns (including Aucklanders).

      We have enough people telling us that what they think is what other people think, it's more useful to ask the people instead.

      • Andre 35.1.1

        Since you asked, I'm in Auckland and I'm heartily sick of being in lockdown.

        It's now been three weeks of walk-in and drive-in vaccinations being readily available all across Auckland. I'm going to be seriously pissed off if we don't drop to level 2 in nine days time.

        If you had asked me two or three weeks ago, when the survery was presumably taken, I would have answered that I support the lockdown until everyone had had reasonable chance to get vaccinated. That hadn't happened yet two weeks ago, but we're now past that point in Auckland.

        • observer

          I'm in Auckland and I'm sick of lockdown.

          That doesn't mean I prefer crossed fingers instead.

          And the survey data is in the link, you're wrong about the dates. Do you see the problem? Assumptions everywhere, evidence ignored. That's how bad decisions are made. That's the path to Sydney.

          • Andre

            So it is. I went looking for the actual survey earlier today, and couldn't find it on the Research NZ website or anywhere else. To see what the actual wording of the questions was, and other important details needed to interpret a survey. So the dates are 17th to the 20th, a week ago instead of two or three weeks.

            Notably, it's the rest of the country that is a lot keener for Auckland to stay in lockdown. Aucklanders had somewhat less enthusiasm, and I'd bet that enthusiasm is dropping fast. Mine is certainly dropping fast, and same for everyone I work with.

            The difference with Sydney is vaccination rates. Sydney was very low when their outbreak took off. Auckland's vaccination rate is now middling, and we're now getting to the holdouts that are going to take a lot of work and time to get on board, if ever.

            Considering how quickly and how far daily vaccinations have dropped, I have very little patience left for staying in lockdown weeks longer in hopes of getting a few more holdouts on board.

            Overseas, it seems there's two things that are most effective in getting "hesitants" on board. One is having to live with restrictions, such as "no jab, no job" policies, vaccine passports etc. The other is seeing their own family and friends get covid.

            All of us being kept in lockdown isn't going to move either of those factors, and is going to breed resentment in those of us that have gone and done the community thing and got jabbed.

            • observer

              Thanks for the considered reply. I agree the Research NZ website is short on info, so media reports are all we have.

              Anyway, if the unlinked cases (currently 5 as of this AM) get down to zero in Auckland I expect we'll move to Level 2 (or 2.5).

              In the longer term, there's going to be a lot of debate about restrictions on the unvaccinated, and I only hope there aren't cries of "freedom!" from the same people who want more opening up and sooner. But those rules are coming, and we're going to be living with them for a very long time.

            • SPC

              You have got to factor in the 6 weeks to the second dose and better immunity. If this is not done, then the entire country could end up at Level 3 until the end of the year.

    • Muttonbird 35.2

      I'm an Aucklander, have been following the rules for six weeks to protect the vulnerable, and am heartily sick of being locked down.

      But I'm more sick of has-been corporate politicians likening me to a smug hermit pursuing North Korean policy.

      Jong Kee just made his last opinion piece. Thank God for that.

      • Ad 35.2.1

        John Key, from the strength of one small column, has had nearly 200 comments on a Labour-leaning site on a Sunday afternoon, which is more than Judith Collins has had in a month of Sundays. That tells you how easy it would be to take the attack to this government, when someone had the nous to.

        And since John Key hasn't been Prime Minister for 7 years, to make such an impact tells you that Ardern's support is more brittle than it looks.

        People who ignore the warnings won't make a third term.

        • observer

          It's a co-ordinated media blitz, not one small column (see his TV interviews on 6 pm news).

          What it tells us is that somebody who never has to answer follow-up Qs will get an audience. He won't be asked "so, this 24/7 surveillance you propose, house arrest instead of MIQ, let's talk about all the practical details and legal fish-hooks …".

          But any leader of the opposition will be.

          • Ad

            If it's a coordinated media blitz, the left fell for it hook line and sinker.

            The follow-up questions will be of the government, where such questions ought to be. If all Chippie can do is fall for the bait, then maybe he really is just the idea-free political palimpsest he sounds like.

            If Labour get out of this lockdown in the mid-thirties I will happily profess my undying love and devotion to Jacinda Ardern and foreswear all others.

            Meantime, they need to get us back to work and stop pouring our taxes down the drain by the billion.

        • Muttonbird

          As observer says it wasn’t one small column, it is a calculated campaign across all digital platforms and broadcast TV. To minimize Keys’ smearing effort is naive at best and disingenuous at worst.

          John Keys left 5 years ago not 7, so you might want to brush up on your political history.

          And, who are you accusing of ignoring warnings? We, here, who have posted 200 comments on Sunday?

          Looks to me like the left are right on point. Thanks for the fake concern tho.

  35. Karl Sinclair 36

    Rough analysis of Denmark’s current state

    For a Rough guesstimate of what NZ could be facing once we remove restrictions take a look at Denmark’s data (I think it’s for the 23rd September). You get a very rough idea of ICU and medical capacity required if we experience the same levels.


    Last 24 hours – 2

    1 day before – 4

    2 days before – 1

    3 days before – 3

    4 days before – 2

    5 days before – 3

    6 days before – 3

    (note: Deaths = the statistics on fatalities include deaths recorded within 30 days of the detection of COVID-19 infection in the individual on the basis of PCR tests. COVID19 is not necessarily the cause of death.)

    Hospitalised at the moment:

    • Of the 87 hospitalised persons, 17 persons are admitted to intensive care units.
    • Of the 17 persons in intensive care units, 11 persons are on ventilators.


    You can get a sense of NZs capacity of ventilators (334) and icu beds (552) here:


    Caveat: Be cautious with all the above data as it might be out of date or misinterpreted

    Regardless I have a sinking feeling Covid is here to stay in NZ, eliminating it will be like a game of whack a mole…. it never ends. Similarly the matching of health capacity to response like a giant 3D game of Tetris….

    Wanting to be wrong but suspect a small proportion of people are going to die and/or get very sick. Some hard decisions are required for NZ Inc. Or maybe there are some wonderfully creative people out there (in world wide) with real solutions that haven’t been tapped yet.

    Be safe

  36. georgecom 37

    Key adds bugger all to the debate. A few suggestions similar to ones already well canvassed and which will no doubt form part of 2022 in some form. His hermit kingdom comment, irrelevant as I have heard few people say our future lies in being closed off from the world. As for his causing fear about covid comment, ignorant. If Key hasn't figured out that keeping a tight boarder the previous 18 months has done us reasonably well compared to many others, then thank goodness he hasn't been PM over that period. So overall stuff all of substance from Key. Pretty much a place filler opinion piece.

  37. Hanswurst 38

    So is this Sir John Key advocating throwing financial incentives at people to correct their poor choices? Perhaps we should give them all knighthoods, then they might all come around to similar conclusions purely based on their own wisdom.

  38. Chris 39

    Key's silly rant isn't about Covid or the government's response. It's about helping to prep the public for a nat leadership change. Vaccination means we're moving towards things opening up. The government's already said this. There'll be issues around how quickly this happens but the point is it will happen – it's the government's position already. But Key's making out it is not the government's plan – lying as usual – the implication being that only a national government can lead NZ into the new Covid-is-with-us-so-accept-it. The message is 'the rest of the world is already getting on with things and Ardern's government means we'll continue to be left behind'. So the new leader, whoever that is, will be saying 'Ardern's done a great job getting us through the worst of this but they've got no plan for things to come, and only a national government can get things pumping again. All of this resting on the lie that this government hasn't got a plan post-vaccination.

    • observer 39.1

      It's about helping to prep the public for a Nat leadership change.

      As Sherlock Holmes famously told us, the clue is "the dog that didn't bark in the night".

      What didn't happen today, in all this avalanche of media coverage? Judith Collins.

      Not one word, from her, or by Key about her. Exhibit A … see her Twitter account. Nothing.

  39. Tricledrown 40

    Nationals leader is a liability so they drag out a 2nd hand leader

  40. roblogic 41

    I did a plagiarism check on the article..

  41. smilin 42

    I've had one go at the little general today and I'm about to have another

    Slippery you did more to stop kiwis leaving the country or wanting to come back than covid has

    Do I have to remind you of your 10 yrs of austerity on the working people of nz that had them leaving in droves as you imported all the people that caused our housing crisis along with your neglect of the health and education system for privatization in the same manner as the tory attack on the NHS in Britain

    In order to destroy our socialist democracy in line with the number one policy of the national party that's been there since the day it was formed

    Do us a favor go back to the US or Britain and fucking stay there

    We are real kiwis here

    [Please stick to your pre-approved user name, thanks]

  42. Jester 43

    Its amazing that John Key pops up in the media, and now there is an article here dedicated to it and more comments than ever!
    He’s been out of politics for a few years now.

    • mac1 43.2

      Jester, the issue may be that he didn't just "pop up" in the media. There may be a more serious reason why he's surfaced again, and my take would be that he's being wheeled out to speak on behalf of business, the right who don't take kindly to government regulation and also to try and counter the popular appeal of the current Prime Minister using a formerly popular PM.

      The current leader of the Opposition does not enjoy even that popularity.

      The media enjoy having a contrary opinion. Controversy sells newsprint. The recent introduction of the 'covid modeller' into the debate to counter Prof Hendy is a case in point. Now we have Key.

      Note, Sir John Key. The title adds some gravitas to his reckons.

      So. there is a reason why some The Standard regulars wish to critique this latest 'back to the future' resurrection.

      I note that some old time regulars have also rejoined commenting here. A special welcome back to felix- a truly happy recurrence.

  43. tc 44

    The msm don't serve everyday kiwi's.

    Key represents alot of what's wrong currently yet gets wheeled out. Just another tone deaf rich lister.

  44. Evidence we are a smug hermit kingdom:


    Millions of dollars and jobs lost from the country because the government couldn't be more flexible.

    • observer 45.1

      2020: local Nats say they don't want MIQ in Queenstown.

      2021: come on down to Queenstown, minus all the MIQ safeguards!

    • Muttonbird 45.2

      Meh. Can you imagine the outrage and clamour for the same treatment if film people were given special rights to isolate in luxury holiday homes?

      The opposition and media would have a field day.

      • mac1 45.2.1

        It's a real bastard when you build a bolthole from social disturbances/The Tribulation in another country and you can't just run off there.

        All that money spent on the holiday home/foreign fortress and you can't avoid the covid legions by bolting.

        All those empty luxury holiday homes in our country owned by rich foreigners while we reach a stage where there are fewer houses to sell than there are real estate agents to sell them!

      • tsmithfield 45.2.2

        Not just this specific instance, but symptomatic of the way the government is not coming up with imaginative solutions to allow us to do business with the rest of the world, especially where kiwis need to go overseas to do business.

        If we can't effectively engage with the world, then we are a hermit kingdom.

        See what Sir Ian Taylor has to say about it:



        • Muttonbird

          This stuff is all going to happen, but in a managed way when the population is protected.

          We saw what happened when they let The Wiggles in – a world of political pain, and people are still moaning about it. And this is where the opposition has to own up and say they got it wrong. Pressuring the government's Covid response with petty gripes via the media has consequences.

          It's quite odd seeing the rest of the world let it rip over the Norther Hemisphere summer while we are locked down but that doesn't mean we should be following that model.

        • Tricledrown

          This govt was already doing what Key is claiming needs to be done but waiting patiently is not something business people are good at.

          Waiting till our population has a high vaccination rate.

          Including children from 5 till 12. If efficacy for those under 5 can be attained we can afford to wait .

          John Key ran health funding down by 25% over his 9 yrs as PM.

          Increasing health funding by less than 1% per year less than inflation.Not allowing for an increase of 500,000 in population over 9 yrs.

          Our health system needs a massive increase in funding just to cope with covid let alone the existing shortages and rapidly aging population.

  45. Gypsy 46

    "What is the bet the policy is similar to what Key has set out? "

    Whatever anyone thinks about him, Key was one of our most popular PM's in history. Collin's personal rating, and the current polling for National are nowhere near what he achieved. So of course they'll be revising.

  46. Robert Guyton 47

    So, Key's back. I reckon, pasty-white, puffy, sparsely haired, freckly.

    Your reckons?

  47. georgecom 48

    I wonder if Key was making veiled references to the National Party in his comments

    'smug little hermit kingdom'

    'north korea style'

    'people living in fear'

    what we all mistook to be about covid was maybe about his former party

  48. Who is john key? chairman of a foreign bank board. he clearly values health and lives as worth less than profit and greed. his expertise in managing avoidable deaths ; illnesses. hospitalisations is dubious.

    the media clearly are propaganda machines (VERY self serving (to put it politely).

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