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National’s Petition is Cynical Populism

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, April 9th, 2020 - 124 comments
Categories: accountability, campaigning, covid-19, election 2020, immigration, leadership, petition, Politics, same old national - Tags: , ,

A recent Colmar Brunton online poll showed tremendous public support for the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although 60% thought that the Government had hit the sweet spot, 34% wanted the Government to do more.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about our border controls and more voices have grown louder for a tightening of checks at the border and mandatory quarantine.

This makes sense when we all make sacrifices, some more than others, to eliminate the virus from our nation’s soil or airways rather. Once it has been defeated, we must take appropriate measures to keep it out.

Clearly, many experts and non-experts alike are keen on tighter border controls especially if this means we can go out of lockdown and return to some level of normalcy. The Government is already planning for this and working out details (e.g. logistics) as this won’t be a small undertaking. But this takes time and this window can be exploited by cynical operators.

The Opposition (AKA the National Party) has the appropriate tools in the form of the Epidemic Response Committee (ERC), which they chair and have a majority representation on, to hold to account and pressure the Government to make the right decisions and tighten border controls, for example. If the public interest cannot be served through holding the Government to account through ERC, e.g. if the Government refuses to play ball (which it isn’t, in this case), or if MPs need to be ‘pressured’ before a vote takes place (which is not the case either AFAIK), then other means can pursued to make sure the voice of the people or a proportion thereof is heard and paid attention to by the politicians. People could write to their local MP, people could start a petition. Et cetera.

However, none of these alternatives means appears to be necessary, which begs the question why National launched a petition calling on the Government to require all people arriving in New Zealand to undergo at least 14 days of mandatory quarantine!? Have they read the articles in MSM and listened to experts appearing before ERC and decided to jump on the bandwagon too so that they can pretend and claim that they ‘pressured’ the Government in doing something that not only makes absolute sense but that it was going to do anyway?

Here is the description of petitions in our parliamentary system:

Petitions are addressed to the House of Representatives and ask that the House do something about a policy or law, or put right a local or private concern.

Given that ERC effectively is the House of Representatives under the current circumstances, it is as if they wrote a love letter to themselves and posted it in a self-addressed envelope with XXXXX.

It is political grandstanding at it most cynical. It is appealing to, not driving, the prevailing public mood and opinion. It is populism at its finest. It is in line with National’s petty attacks on Facebook and Social Media that subtly or overtly undermine our trust in the Government’s efforts to steer us through this unprecedented pandemic. Lest we forget that it is Election Year and the Opposition’s voice has been transformed from a bark to a pip-squeak due to the unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances. How convenient that National has collected over 40,000 signatures within the first 24 hours and harvested names and e-mail addresses (Mobile Phone number is optional) of people who might not even typically vote National. They can expect propaganda material an e-mail from National in their inboxes.

Some were hoping – I was briefly among them – that our nation pulling together in these challenging times might lead to an end of partisan politics as we have grown accustomed to. This petition dashes these hopes in no uncertain ways, unfortunately. Once life in New Zealand returns to normality, with quarantine measures for all travellers coming into the country, the electioneering will take off like a rocket. We might still be in lockdown but the countdown has already started. In fact, it started 19 October 2017.

PS: It appears that National has voiced through Paula Bennett, Deputy Leader and Campaign Chair, that they want to delay the Election this year. Presumably, they want more time, as if three years is not long enough, and wait for the Government’s and especially the PM’s pandemic halos to diminish and disappear as happened after the Christchurch massacre, for example. Polls must be bad for National.

Addendum added 10 April @ 6:00 PM.

Should I petition Parliament?

Do you have other legal options?

Petitioning Parliament should be your last course of action. If you have other legal options, like going to an Ombudsman or to court, then your petition will not be accepted. This also applies when you have a statutory right of appeal or legal action pending.

Is it a new matter for Parliament?

If your petition is about the same subject as a petition that has already been looked at and reported on by a select committee in the current Parliament, it usually will not be accepted. It might be accepted if significant new evidence is now available. [my italics]

https://www.parliament.nz/en/get-involved/have-your-say/guide-for-petitions/

124 comments on “National’s Petition is Cynical Populism ”

  1. bill 1

    If the National Party wanted to make political hay, they could do worse than tap into those Chinese networks they apparently have, and see about ginning up a supply of face masks for NZ.

    • Incognito 2.1

      It’s those undecided ones (AKA probable cases) that make it hard to make any predictions 😉

      Yes, the numbers are trending in the right direction but there could be a long tail.

      • peterh 2.1.1

        Probable cases are not undecided, they are the ones that may have had the virus and recovered undetected

        • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.1.1

          I thought probable cases were people with symptoms, have been tested, awaiting test results. Undecided are those where it's not clear how they got the virus.

        • Incognito 2.1.1.2

          Sorry, I was trying to be ‘funny’ drawing a line to political polls, as pat did, in which undecided ones do feature. Too subtle or just not funny 🙁

      • pat 2.1.2

        and there may still be spikes…but it is a VERY good sign

  2. Carolyn_Nth 3

    Ardern has just announced what they have been doing, and what they will be doing in the future re-border controls.

    Everyone entering the country will enter managed isolation in a government approved facility. Anyone entering the country with Covid-type symptoms will be quarantined in a hotel approved by the government.

    Quarantined people cannot leave their hotel rooms. Managed isolated individuals will be able to leave their room for exercise,etc. In the first instance the isolation will be for 14 days.

    The hotels have been selected because they have the set up to do what is required.

    The government is already doing a lot of this, but, given the large numbers of kiwis who have been returning to NZ, it has not been possible to fully implement it until now.

    Ardern quoted the relevant numbers.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413866/covid-19-quarantine-or-managed-isolation-compulsory-for-all-arrivals-into-nz-pm-says

    • Incognito 3.1

      Yes, I just read that too – I wrote the Post last night – and they’ve effectively closed the window for further exploitation by National although I’m quite confident that this did not play a role whatsoever in the Government’s decision.

    • Graeme 3.2

      Weeks of work would have gone into setting that up, and it would be next to impossible that National didn't know it was happening. Heck, it's going to tie up a good proportion of the country's hotel rooms, owners of which are mostly National members or donors.

      They would have known it was going to be announced in days, if not the time of the announcement.

      It's also prudent to not give public warning of these things, people will try and pre-empt the restriction.

      National needs to grow up and leave the running of the country right now to adults. If they are going to do petitions, how about one to the sun, that he comes up tomorrow.

  3. barry 4

    So when are they going to start quarantining active cases? The same applies – to get rid of this virus we need to be 100% sure that people aren't spreading it. Self isolation has been good enough while there were still undetected cases around, but won't be enough when we get down near zero.

    To rewrite Skegg's analogy. If you are bailing with a bucket you don't care about the trickling tap, but when you get down to mopping up the last puddles the trickling tap is going to be really important.

    • Incognito 4.1

      Peter Gluckman also had a tap analogy as did I two days ago https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-07-04-2020/#comment-1699216.

      The level of community spread seems very low so the voluntary self-isolation with ramped up testing and contact tracing seems to be working well. However, in order to be able to move out of lockdown we must make sure that the numbers drop further and stay down (at zero?). I don’t think this requires mandatory quarantine for existing cases unless, possibly, if they’re found to break the rules.

  4. Cinny 5

    I learnt something today.

    We simply did not have enough hotel rooms to quarantine incoming kiwi's earlier.

    Edit… I learnt something else as well…. the word ‘quarantine’ has different legal implications compared to the word ‘isolate’.

  5. I've never been a fan of party driven petitions for a number of reasons.

    That aside, National have had a legitimate need to question the lack of quarantining of first the only source and then the main source of the virus here.

    And Ardern today had a credible response – we couldn't have handled quarantining of nearly forty thousand returning New Zealanders.

    I don't see what the problem is here. National have got what they have been calling for (and I expect will fully support).

    The Government has done what needs to be done probably about as soon as it could.

    This is essential for keeping Covid from reinfecting the country, and as Ardern said today, it will be a marathon.

    Now we need to look towards the new rules for level 3 in case we are able to drop a level once the 4 weeks is up (I get the need for as much data as possible but 2 days notice for businesses to prepare once they know what will be allowed is very tight for them).

    It is increasingly looking like the Government are getting things as close to right as possible in most of their Covid management. And National are doing what they should, pressuring for things that look necessary, and supporting the good things that are being done.

    Both sides will try to claim some points but that's just politics, and in this case minor and harmless.

    • Cinny 6.1

      Quite liked this comment on twitter regarding said topic….

      As kids we used to tell Dad to brake just before we got to the intersections, just a game, we didn’t seriously think we were responsible for the car stopping, but we sure took the credit for it! This is exactly what national have done all through this crisis. Maybe grow up?

      • Pete George 6.1.1

        Do you mean National should not advocate for anything nor question the Government about anything to do with Covid?

        In a crisis should we effectively be a one party state with substantially increased powers?

        [Fixed major disaster in user handle. Please pay attention before you submit your comment]

        • Kevin 6.1.1.1

          The difference Pete, is that National see this as a political opportunity rather than a major health crisis and they will use any opportunity to snipe from the sidelines.

          Look at the change in Bridges' new softly, softly social media presence. It's the National Party that is coming up with all these brilliant ideas and he just gets tagged into the Twitter or Facebook feed.

          The Nats have finally figured out that his abrasive, yapping dog persona is not working during this crisis, so after a social media absence of a few days for some retraining, he now just keeps it simple, sows the seeds of discontent, then steps back.

          • Pete George 6.1.1.1.1

            It looks like there are some here who see this as a political opportunity to snipe at National and give them no credit for contributing to dealing with the crisis.

            Sure there's politics involved in what they do – just as much as there's politics involved in how Labour ministers present some of their information.

            [Fixed major disaster in user handle. Please pay attention before you submit your comment]

        • alwyn 6.1.1.2

          Damn right. Just keep out of politics and remember questions are not permitted.

          Your role is to prostrate yourself before the throne and sing hosannas for all eternity.

          • Gabby 6.1.1.2.1

            That sounds more like a private school kind of thing.

          • Incognito 6.1.1.2.2

            I see, you are wearing the mantle of disingenuous troll again. If the OP is above you reading comprehension or capability to provide a mature response, I’d prefer if you refrained from commenting under this Post. Do you need this explained to you in bold font?

        • georgecom 6.1.1.3

          they are fine to question the government Pete, but what the hell has that got to do with starting a petition. Petitions are about lobbying, building public support for something, politiking etc. It's just bizarre behaviour to have a petition about border quarantine.

          Unless as an opposition you are facing irrelevancy and are deeply worried about no one paying you any attention. That I think explains this petition.

    • Robert Guyton 6.2

      "I've never been a fan of party driven petitions for a number of reasons."

      But I'll defend Simon's to the bitter end! – Pete George

  6. New view 7

    Incognito . One could say that this article is cynical populism, but to your like minded readers. Until the last couple of days the Government had made no mention of its intention to “assisted quarantine “ and at times when various commentators had suggested it (Duncan Garner for one apparently) the reason of overwhelming numbers Making it impossible ,was never used. If that was their reasoning why didn’t they say so. Someone correct me if JA did . Yes National are trying to make a political point but the numbers coming into the country in last week were in the hundreds not thousands, and as such the implementation of the quarantine would seem to have been doable earlier. So National were very entitled (in my opinion) to help get this moving a lot quicker. It seems to me that National is always cynical and the Labour lead coalition never is. Right is bad Left is good. We should all grow up don’t you think.

    • Incognito 7.1

      LOL!

      Maybe I should be flattered that you try to compare my little blog here on TS with National’s political stunt but it is false equivalence; I don’t stand to gain anything from writing my opinion here nor did I harvest thousands of signatures under false flag pretences.

      You seem to have missed the crucial and most cynical point, which is the petition. It was totally unnecessary.

      If indeed the Government started to make its intentions clearer in the last few days, which doesn’t mean it hadn’t been thinking about it before, it makes National’s petition even more cynical. They saw a small window of opportunity and exploited it. Just as they did with the Treasury website in Budgetgate.

      Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there will be no room for error at the border as she warned returning Kiwis that the Government is moving closer to quarantining new arrivals.

      On Monday, she confirmed the Government was planning mandatory quarantine at the border in the coming weeks, before a move to level three.

      "I have already flagged that we are looking, again, to leave no room for error at the border. So I warn New Zealanders that you can expect that at our borders we will be expecting more of you," she said on Tuesday.

      Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said quarantining was under active consideration and agreed with Skegg.

      This spurred Bridges to launch a petition to require all people arriving in New Zealand to undergo at least 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

      Feedback from the public had been overwhelmingly in favour of this, he said. [my italics]

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120884524/coronavirus-prime-minister-warns-kiwis-overseas-that-were-moving-closer-to-quarantine-at-border

      It is obvious that mandatory quarantine was going to happen, Bridges and National knew this, yet they went ahead with their stunt regardless. The only two questions that were unclear were: 1) when will the Government detail the measures, and 2) when will measures come into force.

      Your last two sentences are just more of the usual partisan BS reflexive response that I was expecting 😉

      • Pete George 7.1.1

        The day before going in to lockdown Ardern said:

        New Zealanders entering at our borders undergo strict measures to isolate or quarantine.

        From midnight tonight, we bunker down for four weeks to try and stop the virus in its tracks, to break the chain.

        https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/prime-minister%E2%80%99s-statement-state-national-emergency-and-epidemic-notice

        As per your linked article ""I have already flagged that we are looking, again, to leave no room for error at the border. So I warn New Zealanders that you can expect that at our borders we will be expecting more of you," she said on Tuesday.

        No timeline was indicated.

        Strict measures to actually isolate or quarantine were only announced today, to be effective from midnight.

        So it doesn't sound unreasonable to me for the Opposition to push for something more definite before today's announcement.

        Do you think National should stop advocating for restarting businesses that can operate safely until the announcement due on 20 April (11 days away), in case the Government decides to do everything National wants but is silent about?

        • Incognito 7.1.1.1

          [ Sigh ]

          One word, Pete: petition

          It is in the title of the OP. Did you really miss the point or are you simply trying to be antagonistic for the sake of it without adding anything novel and original to the debate? Maybe National should have called for a Referendum?

      • New view 7.1.2

        It’s all about timing and JA knows that better than anybody. We don’t know what is discussed at the meetings with the opposition, so who’s to say Bridges suggestions initially fell on deaf ears. Whose to say JA and AB got in quickly with their delayed quarantine intentions to take the heat out of the poll they new was on the way. One things for sure Bridges and a lot of other people have been banging on for weeks about tighter border control. It’s finally happening. Maybe the poll was political opportunism. So what. That’s not cynical, and it has come about over border control that needed to improve for the country’s sake. I don’t care which party has pushed the hardest to get it done so long as it gets done.

        • Incognito 7.1.2.1

          In other words, the means justify the end. You sound like that arch-pragmatist and former figurehead of the National Party.

          Do you really believe the Government could pulled out these quarantine measures that were announced out of a hat in just two days and start executing them as off midnight?? I’ve got 10 bridges to sell you.

          BTW, the poll was actually good not damning news for the Government so your comment made no sense in that regard either.

    • left_forward 7.2

      'Right is bad Left is good'

      Absolutely!

      All joking aside however, there is a deep sense right now that the conservative philosophy is entirely unequipped to provide any answers whatsoever to this crisis.

    • Gabby 7.3

      Cynical would be if DoubleBubbleboy is claiming mileage for his essential travel.

  7. alwyn 8

    There are, and always have been, thousands of petitions presented to Parliament by Opposition Parties calling on the Government to do something. They are almost always something the Government was going to do and had often announced.

    At least in this case of Quarantine prodedures it was the something that, at the time, was a case where nothing had been done.

    Go and have a look in the Parliamentary records. How is this for an example?

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_72683/petition-20140112-of-dr-david-clark-mp

    Gosh, in March 2017 he was calling on the then National led Government to start building the Hospital in Dunedin before the 2017 election. They had already announced the plan to build a new Hospital and, if they had been re-elected I'm sure that it would be much further advanced than it has been with that bozo heading up the Department.

    Did you ever show your faux outrage between 2009 and 2017 at what you must have seen as mere Labour Party posturing, or did you see it, as it is, as being perfectly appropriate behaviour by an Opposition?

    I suppose you might also like to ask Twyford why he didn’t actually do anything about one of his favourites.

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/51DBHOH_PET71207_1/petition-of-phil-twyford-marama-davidson-and-marama-fox

    • Incognito 8.1

      Nice diversion attempt, Alwyn, but I did not expect that from you 😉

      • alwyn 8.1.1

        Diversion? I thought I was merely explaining the real world of Parliament.

        • Barfly 8.1.1.1

          As you understand it

        • Incognito 8.1.1.2

          Lovely explanation, Alwyn, with very carefully selected, or shall I say handpicked, examples.

          It almost brought tears to my eyes, tears of endearment.

          • alwyn 8.1.1.2.1

            Very carefully selected?

            I simply looked at all the petitions that fell between 1 July 2016 and 31 August 2017. In other words the last year of the last Government. Here is the query that will find them. It is the standard page that you are meant to use to find petitions on the Parliamentary website. Just fill in the panel with the dates. There were 86 all told

            https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/closed?criteria.Keyword=&criteria.Timeframe=range&criteria.DateFrom=2016-07-01&criteria.DateTo=2017-08-31&criteria.SelectCommitteeName=

            The only "hand picking" I then did was to pick a couple that were in the name of leading members of the Government. Robertson and Twyford looked to be obvious examples.

            Have a look at what Poto Williams, Clare Curran, Tamati Coffey, Catherine Delahunty or Sur Moroney were interested in if you prefer. There were also another couple by Grant that might interest you.

            Your first sentence is utter rubbish. The use of petitions by Opposition MPs is absolutely standard and you know it. Don't pretend you are really as ignorant as this comment of yours implies.

            • Incognito 8.1.1.2.1.1

              You have confirmed that you handpicked the examples that you gave, thank you.

              None of those fine examples seem to carry any signatures!?

              For some reason, I cannot National’s petition on that website. Can you please have a look and send the link?

              I’m as ignorant as I appear in this regard 🙁

              • alwyn

                I doubt if the Quarantine one has been presented yet. They usually give these things a couple of weeks or more.

                They are probably going to wait until they get to 100,000. Or perhaps 200,000. Or maybe 300,000 signatures. It certainly appears to be getting a lot of support doesn't it?

                After all they apparently got 40,000 in about 24 hours. I had never heard of it until the Government's supporters started promoting(?) it. And I've not bothered to look at it or even find where it is. Sorry but you'll have to track it down yourself. I thought from the detailed analysis that you have been giving you had studied the wording of it in some detail.

                Apparently not.

                Closed petitions which have been settled and disposed of never show a number of signatures on the Parliamentary website. I have no idea how it works.

                • Incognito

                  A weird response, Alwyn.

                  You didn’t bother to look it up but you went through the effort to handpick a few other 'examples' that suited your narrative!? Very selective, I must say, and your bias is showing.

                  Yes, I know it collected about 40,000 signatures in the first 24 hours; it is in the OP.

                  What “wording” are you talking about? The wording of the petition? That doesn’t answer any of my questions, but thanks anyway.

                  Closed petitions which have been settled and disposed of never show a number of signatures on the Parliamentary website. I have no idea how it works.

                  So, first, you give a statement of fact, which is incorrect BTW, and next thing you say is that you have no idea how it works!?

                  If you had bothered to look, which you obviously hadn’t, you would have seen that the number of signatures do appear on the website for closed petitions. Obviously, the archived petitions are accessible online via the website so they are not “disposed of”.

                  As I said, a weird response.

                  • alwyn

                    As you will. You really do seem to be amazingly upset that people have pointed out that a petition by an Opposition MP is an entirely normal part of Parliamentary life. National, now in Opposition, do it. Labour, when in Opposition, did it.

                    I told you how I got the list. I merely selected form the list that the Parliamentary site produces with a very simple query those that were by names I recognized as Labour MPs. Busy little lot weren't they?

                    You have obviously spent an enormous amount of time following up on the details of how the Parliamentary website works. The level of detail you now demonstrate seems quite amazing for someone who a very short time ago said "I’m as ignorant as I appear in this regard".

                    Weird. How did you become so knowledgeable in such a short time? You obviously don't need my opinions do you? If you have any further questions I'm sure you know much more about it, or you know people who know much more about it than I do.

                    Ask the people who run it in Parliament. I imagine you may know, or can probably find, someone who works there who can explain it all to you. They seem to offer FAQs. I am certainly not that interested in the matter.

                    Actually I do have a simple question for you. What is the "OP" you talk about when you say "it is in the OP."?

                    • Incognito

                      I’m a quick learner when I put my mind & time to it. You seemed to give the impression that you knew about petitions and I was hoping I could save myself some time and you could and would help, which is one of the reasons I communicate here, to learn stuff from others. However, you “merely selected” a biased set of samples and presented unhelpful whataboutery. You also gave incorrect information, as I found out when doing the research myself, and then admitted “you have no idea how it works”. But no apology from you!?

                      It turns out you were “merely” dishing out your “opinions”, not facts or useful information. You were not helpful at all and I’m disappointed about that but I doubt you’d care. I think in future, I may have to ask you not to comment under my Posts, as you tend to distract, divert, and have nothing much useful to add. Let’s call it quarantine for your sake because I’m completely over this 🙁

  8. observer 9

    I don't really have a problem with opposition and media putting pressure on the government here. Sure, the petition is a stunt, but National MPs don't have much else to do.

    Where I think Ardern / government has been vulnerable is not adequately communicating to NZers what "quarantine" and "managed/approved self-isolation" mean. The Q-word is popular (one good movie, lots of bad ones) but nobody wants to watch a thriller called "self-isolation".

    The problems of locking people in their rooms are many: practical, legal, health, moral. That is what happens under quarantine. Simply calling for it is easy, enforcing it is not.

    • Kevin 9.1

      I don't really have a problem with opposition and media putting pressure on the government here. Sure, the petition is a stunt, but National MPs don't have much else to do.

      Thats because they lack imagination. There is a lot they could do to maintain their difference, but be helpful instead of quietly undermining. They made their choice.

      • New view 9.1.1

        Tell me what’s undermining about wanting the border closed properly in a reasonable timeframe. And don’t tell me they were going to do it all along. If so they didn’t bother telling anyone.

        • Incognito 9.1.1.1

          You cannot work out how National has been undermining our trust in the Government!? Maybe that tells us that you are not (in) the target group 😉

          • New view 9.1.1.1.1

            You seem to pick bits of my comments to criticise out of context. I thought my comment 9.1.1 was fairly clear. I was not saying the National Government has never attempted to undermine the Government I was saying National set up the poll for a reason. One might assume the coalition might have been a bit slow to get the quarantine organised. If they were dragging their feet National had every right to test public opinion. You have your opinion and I have mine.

            • Incognito 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I asked you @ 9.1.1.1 if you could work it out. The answer seems to be “No”.

              It was a Q in response to your comment @ 9.1.1. That’s how the thread numbering (nesting) works here.

              Which “bits of [your] comments” did I pick out to criticise @ 9.1.1.1?

              You are entitled to your opinion but it would help if you expressed yourself better so that we can actually figure what you’re on about and what exactly your opinion is and why you hold that particular opinion of yours. Then we can challenge you on your opinion and show you that your beliefs are based on wrong information and/or wrong interpretation. This is what we call “robust debate” here.

              If you had read any of the comments under this Post, you would now realise why the Government could not organise the quarantine any earlier than it did.

              National did not “set up the poll” but started a petition. However, I like the Freudian slip there 😉

              • New view

                I’m well aware that you and others believe the quarantine could not have been initiated earlier I just don’t believe that. It is clear that at the time of lock down it would have been unrealistic to quarantine everyone coming home but for the last week the numbers coming in were manageable I would have thought, seeing the numbers of empty hotels at present. Many others more qualified than dim me, felt the same way. When dozens of people with possible infections arrive on a daily basis every day without action is prolonging the crisis. Part of your last comment to me below

                “Then we can challenge you on your opinion and show you that your beliefs are based on wrong information and/or wrong interpretation. This is what we call “robust debate” here.”

                so most of my opinions are wrong or based on wrong information. A presumptuous remark at best.

                • Incognito

                  You believe so much, it seems. Can you give us daily breakdown of incoming travellers since the lockdown? Until then, I’ll go with the Government’s reasoning based on a number of factors.

                  Do you think that every empty hotel would make a suitable quarantine site?

                  so most of my opinions are wrong or based on wrong information. A presumptuous remark at best.

                  A witty remark, I’d have thought 😉

                  But you weren’t smiling 🙁

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  See at 35 minutes 22 secs into Ardern's press conference yesterday. She was asked why she hadn't implemented the quarantine a week ago.

                  Ardern replied:

                  Well, of course, we have been operating this system for some time. We already have roughly 1000 people in motels. 155 on top of that who are considered in quarantine. We have already been operating this system, so now it is operating for everyone.

                  You will have heard from the numbers I gave, we have for a significant amount of time had a large number of people coming through. 40,000 more than we could have accommodated. Now we have consistent numbers, and so these rules will apply for everyone.

    • Incognito 9.2

      All in all, I think communication has been outstanding notwithstanding a few minor glitches. This is not a rehearsal or training exercise.

      Yes, it is a huge step to remove freedom of movement, etc., and one that never should be taken lightly. Given that it only (!) affects Kiwis coming back into the country, the vast majority of the population remains unaffected (but still under lockdown). Interestingly, no howls of protest from the Free Speech freedom fighters or maybe I’ve blocked it out 😉

  9. Corey Humm 10

    I was tempted to sign the petition tbh but decided against ever supporting anything National related, of course everyone coming into NZ should be quarantined and with two weeks till lock down ends it's weird that we aren't already doing that, i for one will be furious if we have to go back into lock down cos some kiwis who didn't self isolate bring it in from overseas.

    f

    As for opposition , for oppositions sake are we not the same Labour party who for years and years advocated for changing the flag and getting rid of the union jack then once John Key announced a flag change referendum we weirdly did a 180 and campaigned against our own beliefs and our excuse was the cost of the referendum? Still can't believe we got a chance to get rid of the union jack and unlike our allies in the Canadian Liberal party actively campaigned against it, the price tag was miniscule, still mad at the NZ left for setting the kiwi republic movement back just for oppositions sake. Are we not the same Labour party that started the tppa trade talks then protested against it in opposition cos it was popular to and then signed it almost immediately once getting into power albeit with some changes but still lol 🤭

    Haters gonna hate Oppositions gonna oppose.

    • alwyn 10.1

      There is no need to bring up such distasteful things. Labour did them for only the very best of reasons.

    • ScottGN 10.2

      That flag referendum was a dogs-bloody-breakfast. Everyone (and it was everyone except for National and their mates) was right to oppose it.

    • Alice Tectonite 10.3

      Flag referendum: poor process, poor flag designs (fiddly over complex including two different coloured versions of the same design that just happened to be Key's favourite).

      I'm also annoyed about losing the chance to change the flag, but that was down to National and the way they ran it. (Spoilt my vote rather than vote for any of the crap on offer.)

      Run it again in a few years with a proper process and better designs.

    • Incognito 10.4

      The first part of your comment was highly relevant to the OP, thank you.

      The second part was almost a ‘false flag’ comment.

      There is a difference between the Opposition holding the Government to account on the one hand and electioneering, grandstanding, pulling stunts, cynical opportunism and populism, political point-scoring, and undermining trust in the political process on the other.

      What does hate have to do with it?

  10. AB 11

    I'd find it hard to believe that the goverment set up the Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) with the expectation that anything useful or actionable would come out of it. It seems to have had two purposes:

    • take the wind out of any accusations of acting in an authoritarian manner (weirdly, as a rule of thumb, mere accusations of left authoritarianism seem to generate outrage, whereas actual right authoritarianism tends to get a pass)
    • place a carrot in front of the opposition and see if they are so emboldened by the experience that they over-reach themselves in some ugly fashion that is ultimately discrediting

    The first purpose is defensive, the second is a calculated risk at gaining political advantage. The first seems to have worked, while the jury's out on the second. Simon does seem emboldened by being chair of the ERC – his long solo drives to Wellington, the petition, his pugnacious insistence that everything is "pretty simple" and that he has the answers. I suspect Labour has miscalculated how a media that is gagging to insert National into the frame (somehow/anyhow) would oxygenate everything National says. We'll see how it plays out.

    • observer 11.1

      I think Ardern instinctively understood that the government would dominate the media and that the opposition would need an outlet to stop them complaining about the gov't dominating the media.

      It's like those debates where people say "I'm not being allowed to have my say! Let me have my say!" which is a strong argument … until they are allowed to have their say and it turns out they have little to say.

      Without this committee or similar arrangement there would be demands to have one. And with Parliament suspended, the opposition would have a case. A more compelling case than anything they've managed in the committee.

    • Anne 11.2

      Umm… I don't think the government had anything to do with the setting up of the ERC Committee. That fell to the Speaker whose role it is to ensure there is always oversight on any action/actions the government of the day takes on any issue or crisis that may arise.

      He may well have done so after consultation with both the National opposition and the government, but it was his decision and his decision alone.

    • Incognito 11.3

      The Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) fulfils an important role and it is crucial that it holds the Government to account. However, as was the case before lockdown, playing a dutiful and responsible Opposition is not (good) enough for National. There lies the problem.

  11. According to Newsroom:

    The Government has bowed to a public campaign led by epidemiologists and the National Party to have all returning New Zealanders centrally quarantined in hotels or other isolated locations for at least 14 days from their date of arrival.

    Sir David Skegg and Michael Baker, epidemiologists at the University of Otago, have been pushing since the announcement of the four-week lockdown for all incoming New Zealanders to be quarantined away from their homes and families for a suitable period of time.

    In the last week, the National Party has jumped on board, with a petition launched by Simon Bridges on Tuesday receiving 40,000 signatures in 24 hours.

    Although Ardern had repeatedly said she was considering the idea, it was only Thursday that it became government policy.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/04/09/1122229/all-incoming-travellers-to-be-quarantined

    • joe90 12.1

      As a state employee working form home my SO was initially gobsmacked by just how far down the track preparation was. Things being rolled out daily have been in the works for months and Bridges and co are flattering themselves if they think their piss arsed grandstanding has anything to do these plans and decisions.

    • lprent 12.2

      It was kind of pointless trying to do a quarantine hen we were getting tens of thousands of people in every week, then thousands. There simply wasn’t room because you can’t just cram them together like a aussie immigration ghetto – they’d all get sick together.. And we already had infections in the country. So it was calculated risk that most people would follow the isolation rules and the public would deal with the occasional self-entitled idiot.

      Now we are down to hundreds it is logistically possible to give separated accommodation. There are enough rooms and camper vans and even the hotel and motel rooms. We have the capacity to provide the required guards to maintain the required isolation and to deal with the self-entitled idiots.

      Doesn’t have much to do with public pressure in my view. It is now possible to do it.

      • Incognito 12.2.1

        yes

      • aj 12.2.2

        Anyone who can understand maths would know a quarantine would be impossible to implement until numbers dropped. Those very same epidemiologists would have been advising the government when it was prudent to start doing this.

        The trade-off being, get as many kiwi's home as possible in the fastest possible time, yet allow those without symptoms the good grace to have enough brains to isolate themselves and report any illness.

        There was a trade-off here. They knew there would be a number of people who would start showing symptoms days after arrival. The trick was to not go beyond the point where the numbers were to large. Amongst any group there would be a number who would be careless, or uncooperative. So as soon as the numbers fall to a manageable level, bang, strict control in force.

        It will not be a totally popular move for those coming in, and the short interview on TV One tonight showed a degree of frustration.

        The wording on the MOH site right now is interesting, my bold:

        Important updates

        • Contact tracing phone calls: If you have been identified as a close contact, you can expect calls from Ministry of Health and Health line. It is important to answer your phone. Find out how to recognise a call from the Ministry or Health line at Contact tracing.

        Yes – "It is important to answer your phone" the very fact that they need to mention this points to obtuse behaviour from some individuals. I can't but help think that some of the stories we hear from people who claim they have never been rung, are from this cohort of people who either are not bright enough to understand what's at stake, or deliberately avoid cooperation for other, likely as not political, motives.

        • Incognito 12.2.2.1

          Yes, we’re getting to the hardest part, which is stamping the (long) tail and not becoming complacent. Frustration levels (e.g. cabin fever) will rise and it will get harder. Two more weeks, hopefully, and then a little more wiggle room. We’re all in this together but for some it is tougher, much tougher, than for others. So, let’s support each other and show solidarity in any way we can. Give our fellow Kiwis in mandatory quarantine extra positive attention. Let’s stamp out this virus!

  12. Nordy 13

    Some good, old-fashioned, common sense – in such short supply it would seem. Thanks Joe90.

  13. Cinny 14

    The reason national created the petition was to gather personal data from the public.

    Every person who signed gave their email details to national, which national will use during their election campaign.

    • Incognito 14.1

      Yup

      • Pete George 14.1.1

        Do you have evidence?

        • Incognito 14.1.1.1

          Yup, the e-mail address was a compulsory field on the petition form and did you read the replies on Twitter? Plausible denial, Pete?

          • Pete George 14.1.1.1.1

            Do you have evidence?

            Or are accusations on Twitter good enough for claims posted here?

            • Incognito 14.1.1.1.1.1

              People have received follow-up e-mails from National, it appears, Pete. Plausible denial?

              • Do you have evidence? Or it just appears that way on Twitter?

                If you have evidence I'll put it up in a post.

                • Incognito

                  It is in the Twitter thread that you linked to @ 14.2. Can’t you find your reading glasses?

                  A petition without contact details cannot be verified. So, what is it gonna be: a petition that wasn’t and has no e-mail addresses or a genuine petition with e-mail addresses that will be submitted for verification?

                  • So is telling someone to go elsewhere and find claimed but undefined evidence good enough here now?

                    • Incognito

                      What do you mean by “undefined”? Do you have reading problems?

                      You can check for yourself with the people on Twitter ‘claiming’ that they received a follow-up e-mail from National. You are on Twitter, aren’t you?

                      I’m not telling you “to go elsewhere”, just to read the Twitter thread that you yourself so kindly provided to us @ 14.2.

                      Anyway, it’s good enough for me as it was not the main gist of my OP.

                      I will update the OP shortly with some more info on petitions.

                      Your plausible deniability suits you, Pete. Undoubtedly, you will make a good investigative journalist one day, as you seem to think that claims are not worth paying attention to and absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

                    • Can you confirm you don't require evidence or links to evidence posted here to support accusations made?

                    • Incognito []

                      Nice try, Pete, but I judge things on a case by case basis. The more serious the accusation or claim, the heavier the burden of proof. That said, generally you need to link to sources but some sources are worthless (or biased).

                      The Q is misleading or misguided because you provided a link yourself!?

                    • Thanks for clarifying that.

                      I presume you're referring to replies to the tweet like this:

                      That looks like an automatic response with an opt out option.

                      From what Bridges said National will automatically opt out everyone he signs the petition.

                      To test I just signed a petition: https://www.change.org/p/nz-government-start-a-nz-ocean-sanctuary-like-the-kermadec-ocean-sanctuary

                      And I got an immediate automatic response.

                      Change.org

                      Thanks Peter for signing We need a NZ Ocean Sanctuary like the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

                      etc

                      So that looks like an automatic feature of petitions.

                      Bridges has pledged to not keep any data. I presume he said that after the petition was set up including the auto response.We can't be sure he'll keep his word, but National could if they want to discard any contact information.

                      I don't see any evidence of them retaining and using contact data for election campaigning. The auto-response was a standard response, not evidence of campaigning or retention of contact data.

                • Incognito

                  Please send you Guest Post to Lynn and he’ll make sure it’ll appear here without undue delays.

                • Cinny

                  It's called data mining and is a common practice. They all do it Pete, all of them.

                  Examples of such are things like… Sign up for our newsletter…. get regular updates…

                  We can go down the Cambridge Analytica road if you want more information on the topic.

                  It's no secret national are in campaign mode.

        • joe90 14.1.1.2

          In black and white.

          Your first name, last name, city and/or postcode, and the day that you signed will be shared with the person who initiated a petition you have signed, even if you select the option not to display your name and comment publicly. This is extremely important for petition starters to demonstrate the legitimacy of their signatures to the decision-makers they are working to influence. If you do not wish to have this information shared with the person who initiated the petition, please do not sign the petition.

          https://www.change.org/policies/privacy

          • Pete George 14.1.1.2.1

            That's from the standard petition privacy policy.

            What petitioners do with data received is another matter.

            Bridges is on record as assuring "the National Party will delete all the data they get from the quarantine petition – no ifs no buts."

            If National have broken that assurance they should be held to account.

            • joe90 14.1.1.2.1.1

              You expect people to take Bridges' word after he said Maureen Pugh is fucking useless, and then smarmy prick lied through his teeth about how he'd always had a high opinion of her. Do fuck off.

            • Gabby 14.1.1.2.1.2

              Unless an emotional staffer hangs on to it.

    • That's a big accusation, do you have any evidence?

      Is that why Labour and Greens ran numerous petitions when in opposition and you just assume National would too?

      They probably have, but in this case Bridges has assured they won't keep any contact data.

      • Incognito 14.2.1

        So, when will the petition be submitted to the House of Representatives and how can the signatories be verified as genuine?

        • Pete George 14.2.1.1

          I don't know how that process works, but in general can't, no online petition can. It's easy to use fake and multiple identities. Much like on blogs.

          • Robert Guyton 14.2.1.1.1

            "It's easy to use fake and multiple identities."

            So, Simon's petition, useless then.

            • Incognito 14.2.1.1.1.1

              Not if you have name, e-mail address and then IP address for verification.

              Petitions are serious stuff, mostly, and used to lobby our politicians to pay attention to an issue and take specific action. Otherwise, it would be vexatious and cynical, wasting the precious time of our Representatives, and who in his right mind would want to do that and why?

          • Robert Guyton 14.2.1.1.2

            Pete's going into battle for Bridges and battling hard. Coz he's worth it!

            • Pete George 14.2.1.1.2.1

              You're making false accusations again Robert.

              Why do you think Bridges is worth what?

              • Robert Guyton

                If only Pete would adopt the hit & run style of commenting!

                • You'd rather not be called to account for making false accusations?

                  • Cinny

                    Pete, here's an example to back it up. This one is regarding the petition the nat's were running with their car tax narrative …. here's a snippet from the article:

                    The National Party 'Car Tax' ads all look quite similar – same messaging and same link through to the stopthecartax.nz website.

                    If you click on the ads, you can sign a petition on the stopthecartax.nz website. What impact or use this petition will have is highly debatable.

                    Its primary purpose appears to be to harvest email addresses. You can't sign the 'petition' without handing yours over.

                    And sure, there's the usual disclaimer about them using it to contact you but it's also likely they'll use it to create what's called a 'custom audience' on Facebook.

                    This feature allows you to load customer data like email addresses, mobile phone numbers and postcodes into Facebook, which then anonymises that data and matches it to unique Facebook IDs.

                    This then creates an audience that can be used for more ads.

                    Here's the article, via Stuff, via Newsroom from April 2019

                    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/114795111/anna-connell-battle-lines-drawn-in-race-for-election-clicks

                    • That's from August last year. I'm well aware of contact harvesting techniques used by various parties in the past.

                      But on this petition Bridges has explicitly said National won't retain any contact details from this petition. So far I haven't seen any evidence that they are, assuming the emails sent were standard automatic responses/acknowledgements to signing the petition.

                    • Incognito []

                      But on this petition Bridges has explicitly said National won’t retain any contact details from this petition.

                      All I can find on this is a Tweet by Henry Cooke stating:

                      Simon Bridges says the National Party will delete all the data they get from the quarantine petition – no ifs no buts.

                      So, please show us where Bridges “explicitly” says what you claim he’s said. I think you’re making up things so I need to see some evidence.

                      People have received follow-up e-mails, Pete, and they’re more than just an acknowledgement of signing the petition. It’s all in the Twitter thread that you linked to @ 14.2. Have you read it yet?

                    • Cinny

                      Yes, that's why I dated the article.

                      Sorry Pete, but along with most NZer's, I simply do not trust simon.

                      Often people won't opt out when they get the reply email.

                      It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

                      Edit I can’t see where simon has explicitly said they won’t keep peoples contact details. There’s nothing about it on their petition page. All I can find is the tweet you posted. Is there any other evidence to back it up apart from Henry’s tweet?

                    • alwyn

                      You don't seem happy that e-mail addresses are required, as you highlight above "You can't sign the 'petition' without handing yours over."

                      That isn't a choice of the people promoting the petition. It is a rule laid down by Parliament. People "signing" the petition must provide the e-mail address or their signing will not be accepted. This is explained here

                      https://www.parliament.nz/en/get-involved/have-your-say/guide-for-petitions/

                      "Electronic petitions: People will need to enter their name and email address on your petition page."

                      Nothing says you have to collect signatures of course but I'm sure that you will get a great deal more attention if you can collect as many signatures, and in such a short time as this one seems to have.

                    • Incognito

                      Thanks Cinny, that fits nicely with the gist of the Post 🙂

            • Incognito 14.2.1.1.2.2

              To be fair on Pete, I don’t think he’s batting for National or battling for Simon Bridges per se but arguing for and from a more principled PoV. In other words, he’s taking exception with some of things I’ve said, which is perfectly ok.

              I’ve written this Post because I take exception to things the National Party does and I believe they are doing NZ politics and us a disservice.

              I’d like to think that this is generally a driver and motivator for the Authors on this site for writing about stuff that and people who are doing things that they consider to be counter-productive or harmful even to our society at large or to a segment of society.

              Similarly, Authors here are time-poor and wouldn’t waste their time on writing about nobodies who are not worth writing about. For some reason, people of certain political persuasion seem to think that our writings are personal, divisive, polarising, and/or partisan and use these as labels to attack and criticise us with while in fact we tend to rail against these exact approaches in politics and (social) media. However, you cannot rail against something without pointing at it.

              When you stick your neck out, there are always those who’d like to try chopping off your head. Head-choppers are usually shallow uncritical thinkers and followers and often intellectually lazy cowards. Not worth our time either.

  14. Chris T 15

    I have avoided here as I knew this thing would turn politicised.

    Having read this thread and a couple of others, I have found I am sadly right.

    People are losing jobs and businesses are going under ffs.

    Arguing over who is more evil, right or left is just stupid.

    • arkie 15.1

      People are losing jobs and businesses are going under ffs.

      I would think that what is of more immediate importance is that people are getting ill and dying, but hey.

      Jobs and businesses will return, most people are not resurrected though.

      • Left_forward 15.1.1

        Spot on Arkie.

        Chris T, just read the OP and you might even get the point. The right’s obsession with money over people just doesn’t get any traction… the wheels are slippin’ badly. Time to rethink your fundamental priorities.

  15. Tess 16

    I dont think your article stacks up.

    Ultimately all decisions Govt make about covid 19 measures require them to balance preventing the spread of the disease with the adverse impact on the economy and businesses, which are mutually exclusive goals whatever spin is put on it, and public opinion. This petition shows public opinion and so gives public opinion on quarantine at the border a stronger voice in that decision that it otherwise may have had.

    • Cinny 16.1

      What the petition and national failed to disclose is that NZ simply did not have the accommodation or facilities to quarantine thousands of people at that time.

    • Incognito 16.2

      Thank you.

      Yes, Government has to balance public health with the economy. However, they are not “mutually exclusive” or opposing goals but actually go hand in hand. The impacts of this balancing act are not felt equally at the same time, e.g. short-term pain for long-term gain.

      This petition shows public opinion and so gives public opinion on quarantine at the border a stronger voice in that decision that it otherwise may have had.

      I disagree. The planning for mandatory quarantine had been underway for some time and had been clearly signalled by Government. There was no need for extra ‘pressure’ two days beforehand and National knew it.

      A petition is not an opinion poll although there is an element of opinion in it, of course. In some ways, a petition is a self-selecting and single-answer opinion poll; only one answer can be selected and we’ll never know how many people would be opposed to it or undecided. National decided to pull a self-serving stunt and used an ill-justified petition as their tool.

      As I mentioned in the OP, Colmar Brunton had just done a poll. If National wanted to gauge public opinion, they could have asked their bestest best friend at Curia. But that wouldn’t have given them the same kind and level of exposure not to mention those thousands of e-mail addresses.

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