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Not a good day for an April Fool’s joke

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, April 1st, 2020 - 24 comments
Categories: blogs, David Farrar, Dirty Politics, dpf, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

April Fool’s day is one of those customs that seem to survive.  Everyone is aware of it and the first thing that you do when you see an unusual news item on April 1 is to question its authenticity.

Quite often it can be funny.  But today, with the nation battling to hold back a pandemic, does not seem to be a day for certain forms of humour.

Particularly those that suggest that the Government is doing something rather extreme about Covid-19.  Trump’s America shows what happens when misinformation is spread widely.

But National pollster David Farrar thought it would be a good day to suggest that the Government was imposing limits on how far people can walk from their home, with the figure being set at 500 metres for people in urban areas.  And our cellphones would be monitored.

This is actually an important issue.  To stop localised spreads of the disease people should limit how far they travel from their home.  In Dublin for instance there is a restriction, set at 2 kilometers, for people leaving their homes for exercise.  

The proposal makes as much sense as energy efficient standards for light bulbs in a world facing climate change.

DPF however thought he would happily foment some mischief.

What is funny is that so few of his commenters realised it was a joke.

First out of the blocks was this comment from some guy whose name was previously apparently offensive:

These are absurd restrictions with no epidemiological rationale to support them. The utterly draconian step of monitoring cellphones tells you everything you need to know. This is a full-blown effort to institute a functioning police/surveillance state which will not be dismantled after the lockdown without a serious fight. I despair that there is not one single voice in Parliament at the moment that could be a functioning component of such a struggle against totalitarianism. Labour and National are well and truly captured by Chinese influence and I suspect that this is a factor in what is happening right now. What we are seeing globally is open warfare of a new and dangerous kind. It is aggressive globalism, i.e., Communism, pitted against resurgent Nationalism. Our Dear Leader, formerly President of The Union of Socialist Youth, a direct offshoot of the 2nd Communist International, is destroying our free culture with the dedication of true cadre.

Then there was this comment from Krazikiwi:

I’m staggered. This is an outrageous breach of civil liberties. Our so-called leaders have morphed into totalitarian thugs virtually overnight.

Andrei chipped in:

Oh hail to the mighty big brother and the ultimate nanny state under big sister Jacina (sic)  Ardern.

It is clear from the nestled comments that it dawned on Farrar’s herd that it was an April fools joke.  But not after some pretty out there comments were made.

The post is in very poor taste.  And as the policy is something that other nations have imposed, discussions about it should be conducted in a respectful manner, and not in the crazed kneejerk response seeking way that Farrar has specialised in.

24 comments on “Not a good day for an April Fool’s joke ”

  1. Ad 1

    All those fooled commentators: a great SIS harvest to generate fresh files on hard-right loonies.

    If only Farrar had gone proper outrageous like said the government was going to take away all guns for the duration of the crisis.

    Now that would have been an even better SIS file harvest.

  2. riffer 2

    It's getting no fun to go over there and wind them up. I used to be able to engage with them and have a bit of a convo, perhaps understand a bit of what made them tick the way they did.

    But alas, the place has gone total conspiracy theory over the last couple of weeks.

    A hive of madness. I even had to contact David personally as a couple of them decided to doxx me in an attempt to shut me up.

  3. weka 3

    very poor taste and grossly irresponsible from someone with his platform. Hard to see this as not also being about politicking for the election. Maybe it wasn't intentional, but is just the default position now, whipping up fear around the evil communists. Trumpian.

    Quite stunning is the commentariat's obliviousness to the irony of being fearful of Labour going surveillance state when Bill English had a whole plan for that that he was actively rolling out before the 2017 election.

    • Wayne 3.1


      You are reading too much into it. I know DPF well enough to know it was his kind of humour. I don't think he anticipated quite the reaction he got, which is why he rapidly changed the headline. To make it obvious that it was a joke.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Did he delete his social media posts? Did the changed headline go out to his social media? What about the people that have already read and shared the original?

        This is classic DPF. Instead of taking the post down, or moderating his various spaces, he thinks a headline change will fix things. My point about the politicking stands. He's a very experienced political activists and professional pollster. He knows exactly what he is doing. Even if he misjudged the original, he's still leaving it up because it serves the purpose.

        • observer

          Yes, it's the oldest trick in the book.

          Say it without saying it. Then … "I never said it!".

          I went round to a guy's house last night. I told him he had a lovely house, and it would be a real shame if anything happened to it. A real shame.

          Obviously I was only admiring his house.

      • joe90 3.1.2

        Yeah, we know all about his kind of humour.

      • Incognito 3.1.3

        It shows how tone deaf DPF is.

      • tc 3.1.4

        yes dear, a DPF apologist now. Weka sums him up nicely at 3.1.1

      • greywarshark 3.1.5


        That's the point – it is his sort of humour, warped and insensitive apparently. Why didn't he pretend that he thought that Labour was going to have a shoe-in later this year? That would be my sort of humour. His is very laboured! Hah hah.

    • Gabby 3.2

      But wasn't that just for poor people? They don't have freedums do they?

      • weka 3.2.1

        I'm sure the middle classes believe that National wouldn't go after them and was just instead targeting welfare recipients. But as far as I could tell it was going to roll out across the whole health system, and then various govt departments including MSD and IRD. I think the middle classes were going to be in for a rude awakening. Thankfully the change in govt stopped it.

  4. AB 4

    Farrar doing some field-work on what attack lines to use in September. The (largely fictitious in a contemporary context) notion of left authoritarianism is always a promising vein to explore for propaganda purposes. Forced to stay in your home and do nothing but stare at that energy-efficient light-bulb that Helen Clark ordered you to buy? Imagine how that grates on the thrusting, entrepreneurial soul of the Kiwiblog Randian superhero.

    • woodart 4.1

      those thrusting entrepreneurial souls who hate the gov and all it stands for should stand up and say NO, we wont take ANY gov money as protest… (tui ad right there)

  5. RedLogix 5

    When the ground shifts you have to rebalance. In an epidemic authoritarianism is the correct move.

  6. observer 6

    People believed it because Farrar's "joke" is no more absurd than Hosking's "sense".

  7. mac1 7

    This April Fool's Joke is by a Fool, for the fools, in the Shakespearean sense. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespearean_fool

    He speaks to the groundlings and to some of the nobility. The groundlings were the poor and uneducated who were there for the weapons fighting, the songs and the clowning; the nobility because the Fool could introduce ideas outside the morality and conventional wisdom of the time. In a sense he was Trumpian, being of the dominant class but also separate and populist with his appeal to the groundlings. The Fool is the adviser and a public voice of the otherwise unmentionable, a paid stirrer on a straw horse.

  8. gsays 8

    "Hey hey, look what I nearly stepped in."

  9. Cooper oil 9

    "We only want the meta-data"


    "Nothing to fear , nothing to hide"

  10. Bazza64 10

    The wife played an April fools joke on me this morning. Told me Pita Pitt was deemed an essential business, my food greed over rode my normal querying mind & I was ready for a takeaway feed tonight.

  11. Well yes, but amidst all the ranting from Righties who got fooled there was also a gentleman from the left who fell for it – and his take was the complete opposite:


    Maybe I am in the minority, but I have no problem with this. Everyone loves to think they should be able to do what they want, but what they don’t seem to want to touch upon is that the more people who do that the more the lock down is undermined.

    As long as this is for the duration of the lock down I am 100% okay with this. To not be okay with it, and to not have a better solution, is IMO to say “I don’t care about the lock down and no-one should enforce it in any way that works.”

    Yes, to police tracking phones.

    Yes, to airports being full on quarantine zones with hazmat suits like in China, where they take it seriously and don’t just hand out pamphlets.

    Let’s do this as well as we can, and learn from it, and move beyond it with as little harm as possible.</blockquote>

    Scary no? But there are always people like that.

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