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Open mike 01/01/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 1st, 2022 - 140 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

140 comments on “Open mike 01/01/2022 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Richard Shaw is Professor of Politics at Massey University. His book The Forgotten Coast was published in November.

    Andrew Gilhooly, Richard’s maternal great-grandfather, was born in Limerick, Ireland, six years after the end of the Great Famine [he features in the rugby team photo, above]. He was one of 10 children of tenant farmers. In 1874, Andrew left his homeland for Aotearoa. He soon joined the Armed Constabulary and in 1881, Andrew was one of the 1589 men who invaded and ransacked Parihaka. For the next four years he was garrisoned at the pah as part of the post-invasion enforcement squad. Gilhooly eventually acquired three farms, 412 acres on confiscated Māori land, between Parihaka and the “Cape Egmont” lighthouse.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/23-11-2021/the-forgotten-coast-a-pakeha-wrestles-with-his-family-history-at-parihaka

    The history of the West Coast leasehold system is, I suspect, even less well understood than that of the invasion and plunder of Parihaka. Briefly, in 1882 the government began restoring to Māori some of the land it had confiscated 20 years earlier.

    Bizarrely, however, responsibility for the administration of these West Coast reserves was vested not with the Māori owners but in the hands of a government-appointed public trustee, who was tasked with acting for the benefit of “the natives to whom such reserves belong” and for “the promotion of settlement”. Those two requirements are, of course, fundamentally incompatible, and it was the second that won out.

    By 1912 some 193,996 acres had been notionally set aside in reserves in Taranaki, but 120,110 of them had already been leased to settlers by the trustee via 21-year leases. And these were no ordinary leases. From 1887 they could be renegotiated without the approval of the land’s owners, and from 1892 they came with a perpetual right of renewal, effectively (and quite literally) locking Māori out of their own land.

    https://theconversation.com/learning-to-live-with-the-messy-complicated-history-of-how-aotearoa-new-zealand-was-colonised-172219

    Strangely, this was enabled by PM John Ballance, via the Land for Settlements Act 1892. Ballance was a supporter of Maori rights!

    he strongly supported the rights of Māori to retain the land they still held – many other politicians of his time believed that acquisition of Māori land was essential for increasing settlement. He reduced military presence in areas where strong tensions with Māori existed, and made an attempt to familiarise himself with Māori language and culture.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ballance

    The New Zealand Liberal Party was the first organised political party in New Zealand. It governed from 1891 until 1912.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Liberal_Party

    One suspects the paradox of Ballance was produced by tacit racism. Or the guy was schizoid! I can't think of any other explanation…

    • Gezza 1.1

      He was likely just a typical "enlightened" colonial administrator of his time; believing in colonisation as bringing civilisation to the natives, but with a kindly heart & a paternalistic sense of fairness perhaps rare among colonial government Ministers at that time, Dennis?

      As native minister he pursued an enlightened, if somewhat paternalistic, policy aimed at protecting Māori land from private sale. He removed a substantial number of armed constabulary from sensitive areas on the grounds that their presence in large numbers aggravated tension between Māori and European. Ballance visited Māori throughout the North Island and made an effort to acquire some proficiency in their language.

      It was at his suggestion that Horonuku Te Heuheu Tūkino IV of Ngāti Tūwharetoa gifted land in the central plateau of the North Island for the establishment of Tongariro National Park in 1887. But while his willingness to consult on Māori affairs enhanced Ballance's reputation as compared with that of his predecessor, John Bryce, he did not revise Bryce's policy of reducing expenditure on native affairs, and Māori hopes that Ballance's Native Land Administration Act 1886 would restore to them control of their land were not fulfilled.

      Interesting to note that:

      In his last months in office Ballance supported moves to enfranchise women, a reform of which he had long been an advocate. Speaking in the House in 1890 he declared: 'I believe in the absolute equality of the sexes, and I think they should be in the enjoyment of equal privileges in political matters.' Once female enfranchisement passed the House of Representatives in 1892, however, he sought to delay its implementation until after the 1893 election, believing that the majority of women were politically uneducated and that their vote in the coming election would not be to the Liberals' advantage.

      In his support for women's suffrage Ballance was strongly influenced by the views of his wife. Ellen Ballance was prominent in the growing feminist movement in New Zealand and was vice president of the Women's Progressive Society, an international organisation. A thoughtful, intelligent and politically astute woman, Ellen shared fully her husband's political interests. She regularly attended Parliament to listen to the debates from the gallery, and she was highly regarded in Wellington's political circles.

      The personal qualities John Ballance possessed fitted him well for the task he faced as premier. He was kindly, courteous and considerate and displayed great patience. He was a man of honesty and integrity. As a result he attracted extraordinary loyalty among his cabinet and party.

      https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2b5/ballance-john

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        Yes, I suspect you're right. Ballance did the balance – that required to retain governance for his party. Balancing the predominant settler sentiment against the progressive trend that was to culminate during the reign of his successor, Seddon, producing the only genuinely radical parliament we've ever had.

        An archetypal liberal, represented in our era by folk like Ardern, Trudeau, Blair. Progress occurs incidentally, via retention of the status quo. Scratch the progressive veneer these folk paint upon themselves, and you reveal the conservative beneath.

    • KJT 1.2

      Or. He had the attitudes and knowledge of his time.

      While being a bit more aware of fairness to Māori, and Women, than many of his contemporaries.

      Judging people by current cultural mores is both unfair and historically inaccurate.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Stuff's politicos have some interesting predictions for this year:

    • The centre-left bloc of the Labour and the Greens remain ahead of the centre-right bloc in polling by the end of 2022, but the difference will be a lot smaller than it is now.
    • Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet reshuffle sees Nanaia Mahuta lose the local government portfolio. Moving Mahuta away will help to dampen the vitriol from those riled by the prospect of Māori involvement in governance of water entities, and allow her to travel more as foreign minister.
    • The Government will not back down on its overall Three Waters reform plan, however.
    • The reshuffle also sees Labour’s Deborah Russell become a minister, and Jan Tinetti promoted.
    • At least two National MPs will announce they will retire at the end of this term. Among the contenders are: Michael Woodhouse​, Todd McClay​, Ian McKelvie​, Stuart​ Smith, and Jacqui​ Dean.
    • Labour’s Rongotai MP Paul Eagle will announce a run for mayor of Wellington. Those on the political left in Wellington will despair, but the Labour machine will get behind him.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300484261/the-year-that-might-be-stuffs-political-predictions-for-2022

  3. Dennis Frank 4

    Matriarch dies aged 86:

    Maresca, a tiny woman with great charisma and film-star looks, was the author of her own mythology. She made headlines at the age of 18 when she murdered her husband’s killer in broad daylight – an act of revenge made more dramatic by her youth and beauty, and the fact that she was six months pregnant. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she declared at her trial.

    Gabriella Gribaudi, a professor of contemporary history at the University of Naples, said: “Pupetta Maresca was one of the old school of women bosses – she was ahead of her time. There have been many others since. Women have a much more prominent role in the Camorra than in the other mafias, just as they do in the rest of society in Naples.”

    Maresca used publicity to protect herself and to draw attention away from her two brothers, both gangsters. After the notorious serial killer Raffaele Cutolo launched a new criminal organisation to take on the traditional Camorra families, in 1982 she called a press conference and denounced him as a “power-crazed madman”. It was astonishing for a person associated with the mafia – let alone one so glamorous – to make a public declaration, and the press went mad for it.

    Women such as Anna Moccia, “the Black Widow”, and Maria Licciardi, “the Little One”, are figures of considerable power in the Camorra. Moccia had four sons, and when her husband was killed she took the decision to fight rather than flee, and sent her 13-year-old son into the Naples courthouse with a gun to shoot his father’s killer. Licciardi took the reins of the clan after her brothers went to prison. Her nephew, known as “the Little Prince”, carried out a series of hits on her command. “Both women wiped out their enemies over time,” said Gribaudi. “And they ran the clan’s business affairs very successfully.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/31/she-understood-her-power-the-death-of-mafia-boss-pupetta-maresca

  4. aj 5

    • Bill 5.1

      Here's a morally righteous ‘bluecheck’ cultist to go with your dimwit ‘bluecheck’ cultist – 😉

      • Shanreagh 5.1.1

        Agree with this 'Testing positive after refusing to get vaccinated? Different issue.'

        I can understand that someone who had done everything they could to avoid Covid ie vaccines, masking physical distancing then getting it would be feeling sad, disappointed etc…..feeling guilty would not be beyond the bounds of possibility. Also anger at someone having given it to me.

    • McFlock 5.2

      lols true that

    • Shanreagh 5.3

      Replying to Arron Hoyland in AJ’s post. What a great point!wink

  5. ianmac 6

    NZ Herald but not prominent in the headlines. Should be shouted from far and wide.

    'We're probably the only capital city in the world that hasn't had a single patient in intensive care with Covid (in 2021). And I would suggest we're probably one of the few cities in the world that has an intensive care unit that hasn't had a patient with Covid…..

    'It's not luck, it's simply decisions that were made, and our government for whatever reason chose to listen to the science experts who have advised a way through this.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/icu-doctor-thanks-heroic-kiwis-for-protecting-health-system-from-covid-19-in-2021/LZZCYDHL5DSABHSZPXEVGU5TUQ/

    • mac1 6.1

      Exactly, ianmac. If we want truth and trust we rely on facts for these. Facts and science drove the government's response, and we are able to trust and rely on that response.

      How would we have endured in countries driven by other motivations? Where would we be in terms of reliability in trust and truth? We have only to look at the rabbit hole response from that fortunately few who have lost their sense of trust, truth and rationality.

      They fear, fret and fulminate instead.

      And thanks to our teachers who were able to graft into us enough sense of the value of science and reason for us to accept such a lead.

    • Blade 6.2

      ''It's not luck?"

      I would beg to differ in some regards. For starters we are a very small country with a herd mentality thanks to our tall poppy syndrome. That was a great help for the government when they made decisions on the fly after the first lockdown. In fact I would say luck was a major factor behind Labour winning their first term election and their past Covid responses. To be fair we don't know what constraints their contract with Pfizer contained.

      However, their luck has run out. Labour has a big problem looming. And that is this country will not tolerate another lockdown.

      • KJT 6.2.1

        "Country won't tolerate another lock dowwn". Or you?

        New Zealanders on the whole, will go with a lockdown if there is good reason for it. As we have seen.

        • Blade 6.2.1.1

          Not this time – you can expect major disobedience should another lockdown be called. That will play into the hands of anti vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. And our loving government will have little choice other than to call the army in? I said previously the proposed road blocks over the Xmas break may have been a flash point for trouble. I passed one outside Gisborne being taken down by police. Therefore it was no surprise to me when the idea of road blocks over the holiday break was scrapped. Wise heads had obviously done the numbers and implications of such action. They saved the country from violence in my opinion. However, there will be no such wriggle room should another lockdown be called. Either the government goes hardline… or anarchy rules. I have my popcorn ready.

          • KJT 6.2.1.1.1

            Yes. There will be a noisy minority.

            Just as we have now.

            The majority will carry on with trying to keep things working, and people safe, as we always do.

          • Bill 6.2.1.1.2

            Plans for the street party already laid in down this way.

          • Robert Guyton 6.2.1.1.3

            The " anti vaxxers and conspiracy theorists" want "major disobedience" that would require calling the army in?

            Kindly folk, all.

          • weka 6.2.1.1.4

            I said previously the proposed road blocks over the Xmas break may have been a flash point for trouble. I passed one outside Gisborne being taken down by police. Therefore it was no surprise to me when the idea of road blocks over the holiday break was scrapped. Wise heads had obviously done the numbers and implications of such action. They saved the country from violence in my opinion.

            They're not roadblocks, they're checkpoints. Do you have any evidence that the police decided to not do them because they feared violence?

            From the NZP website,

            Travel into Northland

            Police checkpoints are operating for northbound travellers entering Northland from Auckland.

            You will need to show your My Vaccine Pass or a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before crossing the boundary to enter Northland. You do not need to follow these requirements if you are transiting Auckland without stopping — for example travelling directly from Hamilton to Northland.

            The checkpoints will be on:

            • State Highway 1 at Uretiti
            • State Highway 12 near Maungaturoto

            The checkpoints will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

            https://covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/life-at-red/travel-and-accommodation-at-red/travel-at-red/

            Looks like they intend to shift to spot checkpoints at some point. Hardly a case for violence, it's normal this time of year to have such checkpoints for drink/driving.

            I can't find anything about checkpoints in Gisborne being used, but they were requested and the police said no,

            https://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/local-news/20211215/police-say-no-to-checkpoints/

            Maybe the one you passed was for booze.

  6. vto 7

    so people are hoping for a better 2022 than 2021

    2021 was fine

    deaths were no higher than normal

    the roads were less clogged

    the lands empty

    the pressure was off

    the economy boomed madly

    sure, many people suffered some hard times due to covid, but really, the only reason it is news is because of its profile.. people suffer hard times always, but if you are alone in that then it is no news

    bring on more of the same i say

    sans masks but

    • mac1 7.1

      "Sans masks." Shakespeare said it all. Everything else is commentary…."second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

    • Graeme 7.2

      Well in our little part of Aotearoa 2022 is going to be absolutely devastating. 2021 was a year of people grasping from one false hope to the next, in the hope that 'normal' would return and their hopelessly unsustainable situation would recover and they weren't going to be totally wiped out.

      In three months our lease ends and we walk away from a business that's been my partner's life for 50 years, and mine for 30. We'll be ok, I've got good income outside the business and the pension isn't far away, and we've been able to transition parts of the business into something that works online.

      Two years ago we had 60 odd artists and suppliers around the country. About a third of them, mainly at the commercial end folded within months of the first lockdown and most at the artist end have had to find something else to do or gone back on a benefit as they don't fit in the work force. We and other galleries allowed them to lead independant, and in many cases quite prosperous lives, I can't see some of our artists recovering that.

      When we leave our landlord will struggle to get another tenant, a lot of premises around town have become vacant, some really good, and none have re-let. The town's expected to have a commercial vacancy of 30-50% in the CBD in 6 months. Going to be fun for the landlord class as they find their equity evaporating, and the equity side of the equation works against rent reductions, the value of the property is based on rental return, reduce the rent by 50% and you're having a difficult discussion with the bank.

      While you say "people suffer hard times always", generally that is the result of their own actions and decisions. I our current situation many people have had their lives turned upside down and have been asked to make incredible sacrifices so that the majority of Aotearoa can enjoy a pretty normal, and as you rightly say, pretty good 2021. I found that paragraph callous and disrespectful of the sacrifice many people have made to allow you to enjoy the past year. It's a comment more suited to far-right discourse.

      • vto 7.2.1

        it is absolutely not the result of their own actions and decisions john key and my point has flown over your head. I woukd guess you have never really suffered

        And the whole “sacrifice” thing is also misplaced.

        These things happen to people all the time. The fact of quantity is distorting. It should in fact highlight what so many always suffer but that doesn’t seem to be the case as shown by your “own actions and decisions ” bullshit

        • Graeme 7.2.1.1

          Maybe you should have another go at stating your point.

          • vto 7.2.1.1.1

            here are some "own actions and decisions "…

            Setting up a whole industry and business entirely reliant on tourists and jet planes without thought to risk of pandemic war civil unrest or anything else similarly likely to bring it all to an instant stop.

            Entirely predictable

            Your own action and decision

            • Graeme 7.2.1.1.1.1

              How do you earn your living and do you ever go on holiday, or go to a bar or cafe?

              If everyone followed your risk profile advice we wouldn't have many jobs or have much fun.

              • vto

                Such risk doesn't mean dont do it, does it.

                It means have a plan for the eventuation.

                Clearly

                You know this

                p.s. sorry if my posts yesterday came across a bit heartless, it seems to be a bad habit of mine. I do have sympathy for peoples plights, and suffered myself on more than one occasion the last 10 years. Mine were those solo risk eventuations which resulted in an entirely different reaction from people – no sympathy, more 'haha tall poppy' shit. Hence my posts. One person suffers, no sympathy, 100 people suffer, plemnty sympathy

                p.p.s. I am in qtn now and see the things you describe. Also, my business is one of the riskiest known. Been at it for 30 years, suffering the ups and downs and all the shit that can be thrown

                • Graeme

                  All good.

                  Yep, risk appraisal and mitigation is what makes or breaks a business, and at a personal level as well. Asking what you're not insured for can bring up some interesting answers.

                  Enjoy the energy of Whakatipu, and look at the human element as an expression of that energy, for better or worse.

      • RedLogix 7.2.2

        I found that paragraph callous and disrespectful of the sacrifice many people have made to allow you to enjoy the past year.

        A very good point that in all of our discussions around the 'greater collective good' – it's really nothing more than the sum of all individual experiences.

        And it sure reads that your experience sucks.

        • Graeme 7.2.2.1

          It's the experience of our tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries. And the people who supply them.

          Our prognosis will most likely be not that bad, we had strategies in place for a fairly significant upheaval, that's what 50 years in tourism prepares you for, they happen. We're looking around at a lot of businesses and individuals who weren't as prepared and there's going to be some tragedies. Hopefully appropriate support will be in place for them when they need it.

          The weird thing about our situation is that pre covid we were 65% domestic from Paymark figures. Post covid over the counter sales and foot count have averaged 15% of pre covid. Our accountant says that's good around town for. But go 6km down the road to Frankton and the place is going off better than ever. Wider Queenstown's population has evidently increased by 20% and our home has increased in value by about 40%. Strange times.

          But it's good to see the bar across the lane 3/4 full for lunch today for the first time PC. Would normally be chocka on NY day and they'd be turning the covers through as fast as they could. It's laid back and conversational, most people are masked and scanning and there's a nice vibe around the town.

      • weka 7.2.3

        Sorry to hear that Graeme. I usually read your comments, and your views about Queenstown in the past year or so have been more upbeat than this.

        While you say "people suffer hard times always", generally that is the result of their own actions and decisions.

        I was a teen in the 80s and my dad was caught up in the neoliberal redundancies more than once. We were ok, mum had her own career and the grandparents were well off, so we were never going to go hungry. But it was very hard on my dad personally.

        Since then we've had a hard core subset of society that's been held in perpetual poverty. Not of their own doing but by economic design and political will. I found your sentence above to be more akin to right wing narratives, which surprised me.

        As always I point to the inevitability of hard times because of climate (and now the pandemic, and possibly a big quake), and, not quite sure how to say this, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but there is a feeling of relief that the middle classes are now beginning to feel the pinch. Not in a revenge kind of way, but in a phew, maybe now we can get on with addressing poverty and climate because we all have a better idea of what it's like to have our lives disrupted and undermined outside of our control.

        We stand on a knife edge, where NZ could fall one way into social breakdown and people retrenching to positions that shore up their own security (a natural enough reaction), or where we grasp the nettle and get on with figuring out how to create new economies that are resilient and sustainable. You always strike me as firmly in the latter camp.

        Queenstown strikes me as a petri dish. Full of potential for going either way in its own style. Pity there's not a local body election this year.

        • Graeme 7.2.3.1

          I'm a victim of the late 80's bullshit as well and am excluded from any employment that involves a HR department. My partner is the same. So we've built a life outside that as best we can.

          I very much get your point how people are drawn into the servitude of welfare. We had a couple of artists that we managed to build up to the point they were able to move out of the clutches of welfare and have a bit of space in their lives and budgets. Until the market for their work evaporated. They are now in the clutches of WINZ and anti vax / government / anything conspiracy theories and are completely unreachable. There has to be a better way that doesn't destroy people's self esteem. This is where I was coming from about the sacrifice is much wider than just the owners.

          Resurgence Support did a lot to pay the rent in Queenstown CBD in latter part of 2021, and has kicked the eventual unwinding down the road by a few months. Tourism businesses have been putting in almost superhuman efforts to keep going and meet the obligations of leases, banks and their employees. In our case I'm out doing heavy physical work at 63 to still have a deficit of several thousand each month. Probably not that sustainable.

          The country has done very well to be where we are now, better overall economy than most, and much less morbidity than most. But you're right we're on a knife edge right now and could easily be tipped into utter crap. Not helped by some whos aren't the sharpest tool in the shed doing their best to make that happen. Another surefire way to bring it about is to negate the sacrifices sectors have made to get us where we are and vilify people from those sectors. We're all in this together for better and for worse.

          Whakatipu will endure and keep making those that live here strong. The challenge of creating an economy beyond property and tourism has been ongoing since humans first arrived here 800 years ago. We may be on the verge of something around innovation and tech, but I'm not holding my breath, think that will be just an extension of the past sector of short term residence / long term tourism where people move here, buy a house and live here, generally grossly under-employed, for a couple of years until they get sick of going backwards by a considerable amount each month proportional to lifestyle. A very dry acquaintance commented that the principal driver of the Queenstown economy was cashburn. You get to observe some spectacular blazes. There's really no well paying jobs here or high value industries.

          I'm more hopeful of the green hydrogen thing spawning a major green industrial base in Southland and Otago.

          • Blazer 7.2.3.1.1

            All you need is an injection of foreign capital.

            Your mayor Jim Boult lobbied for a special exclusion for foreign buyers re Queenstown…you know it makes…sense.blush

            • Graeme 7.2.3.1.1.1

              The "exemption" Boult lobbied for, and got as a work-around, was to ensure the continuation of several large developments at the very top of the market aimed primarily at overseas buyers. They were / are also major drivers of high wage jobs around the place, both during construction and ongoing operation of the properties. I and three of the nine people down our little road derive all or most of our income from this side of the local economy and if it went there'd be more carnage than we're seeing or likely to see from tourism's demise.

              It's also being remarkably resilient, owners are keeping up the properties. But in most cases they've gotta, covenants…pages of

              • Blazer

                ' They were / are also major drivers of high wage jobs around the place, both during construction and ongoing operation of the properties. '

                Can you expand on that please.

                • Graeme

                  The properties are very upmarket, large and complex, with top quality materials, fittings and workmanship. Not unusual to have 100 top tradespeople onsite. Construction can take a couple of years, they are big builds. The grounds will be to a similar standard.

                  Once they are finished they have to be maintained. Again this requires a lot of people to do it required standard. NDAs resemble small novels so you're looking at quite competent, and expensive people. It's not minimum wage stuff. One neighbour wears out a big topend golf course mower each year mowing the lawns on four of them, two of his clients are New Zealanders. He's very happy.

                  • Blazer

                    I see an elite community…attracting hedge fund managers ,oligarchs and the uber wealthy…in general…all NZ residents..of course.

                    What a great gain for NZ.

                    • Graeme

                      In my experience the offshore ones, on average, tend to put more in than they take out and can be quite good, sometimes exceptional. There's also a sizeable subset of the demographic that's born and bread in New Zealand, that can take a lot more than they give.

                      I'd much rather have Mutt Lange in the community than Russell Coutts

      • KJT 7.2.4

        Well. It wasn't "his own actions" that sent a local drainlayer bust after an entire winter, a few years ago, where it was too wet for him to do any of his contracted jobs.

        No one really cared about his, "misfortune".

        Farmers at the same time got "flood relief"!

        Tourist and other industries are being helped by the Government, with Covid. But they are still complaining it is not enough. What happened to Capitalism?

        • Blazer 7.2.4.1

          Capitalism is but a mere ideology,it has many manifestations..the most popular being…'crony Capitalism'.

          It works for…some/few.

          • Blade 7.2.4.1.1

            Capitalist principles worked for China's economic recovery…pity about the communism their population lives under. If you have a better ideology to live by, let's hear it?

            Must agree about Crony Capitalism and help for farmers (KJT). If you go into business and fail that should be your tough luck. Of course WINZ benefits should go the same way…to be fair. And that's what I hear consistently from the Left – 'it's about fairness.'

            • Blazer 7.2.4.1.1.1

              Have you ever compared the rates of -homelessness,incarceration,gun crimes,fraud,human rights violations ,and corruption re China vs U.S.A…

              You may be surprised…Chinese are free to leave…most americans can't afford the..air fare.

              • Blade

                Yes, on the surface it would seem China is a clear winner, and I don't deny that in some regards. But, China is a ticking time bomb, held together by a repressive government. A government terrified by the thought their population may revolt. They are so paranoid their latest thing is making football players cover tattoos, or have them removed. Housing, pollution, very complex state and regional body political interfaces that are breaking down. The divide between city and rural folk are all becoming problems.

                Chinese are never free to leave in the truest sense. They are expected to support the mother land no matter where they go. Remember the Chinese Party started in NZ that pledged their support to China? Migrants also leave relatives behind, and if worst comes to worst, China will send agents to the West to deal with identified trouble makers.

                I follow a Chinese MMA fighter who now has to wear a clown mask every time he fights because he beats up Chinese Kung Fu masters to show them the western way of fighting is superior. His social credit score is now so low he can't use public transport and other amenities. His crime is disrespecting Chinese culture. I don't think America is there yet.

                • Blazer

                  ' A government terrified by the thought their population may revolt. '

                  You mean like what happened in the U.S when anarchists stormed Capitol Hill and the congressmen were in fear of their…lives!laugh

                • RedLogix

                  The divide between city and rural folk are all becoming problems.

                  Much more of a problem than most westerners imagine. Here is a Caspian Report on the extent and implications of this:

                  The most interesting observation being – that China is really two separate nations, one a highly developed country of wealthy coastal cities, the other a very poor one in the interior. And that if the former could exist on it's own it would by now be liberal, democratic nation just like say Taiwan.

                  But because it's geopolitical security needs demand the CCP retains control over the vast and relatively impoverished interior – it cannot let go of it's authoritarian overreach.

                  • Blade

                    Excellent clip.

                  • Blazer

                    Do they have their own..'.rust belt'?

                    Oh dear ,should WA cede from Australia?-Texas from the U.S.A?

                    What an unusual circumstance…not!

                    • RedLogix

                      Watch the clip – the comparison your making does not apply.

                    • Blazer

                      @Red…watched the whole thing…there is nothing unique about Chinas metro/rural divide,the regional wealth variations exist in most countries.

                      The conclusions made are facile and irrelevant.

                      Maybe they should build a wall…and get ..Mexico to pay ..for it.

              • RedLogix

                most americans can't afford the..air fare.

                Median US income is around U$67,000. Air fares are not that expensive.

                However to be fair the official 'poverty rate is around 11% so yes there are a lot of Americans living it tough. But this is nowhere near 'most'.

            • KJT 7.2.4.1.1.2

              Are you sure about that?

              State control and Socialism worked well for the USA after WW2. The largest State controlled organisations, ever! Current US capitalism currently seems to be heading them to "also ran".

            • KJT 7.2.4.1.1.3

              It is in societies interests that people do not go homeless and starve. Apart from the moral obligation.

              Which is why we need welfare.

              Business, of course, we all know is a gamble.
              Business failures are an essential ingredient of Capitalism.

              Risks go with the big bucks.

              However trades and the like are not really a business in most cases. You just work for a greater number of bosses!

        • Graeme 7.2.4.2

          If only the rest of the economy was as organised and had a union as strong as the farmers…. it makes the trade unions of 70's look like a pack of pussies.

          Doubt your local drainlayer had to put his business and life on hold so others in society could enjoy good health and a buoyant economy. And having been around the civil trade a fair bit there's more to that story than the weather.

          Support for tourism has been pretty modest apart from wage subsidies and resurgence that went to other sectors that qualified as well. A lot of it (strategic asset programme) was to protect operations from predatory offshore investment in the early days of the pandemic. This was successful, highly targeted and undersubscribed. The biggest 'support' for tourism has been the MIQ programme, that's keeping the hotel chains afloat, just. But most of the rooms here are mothballed and the operation is scaled back as far as possible.

          There's also a small programme administered by the Chamber of Commerce providing support for tourism business transition. We've drawn on it to get a very modest amount of legal advice for our exit. Talking to the administrator the focus is having a resource there to prevent landlords, banks and creditors being arseholes. It's expected to be undersubscribed too.

          There was also the arbitration programme to resolve rental disputes from the first lockdown, again undersubscribed, this time grossly, because disputes sort of evaporated with the prospect of compulsory arbitration.

          • Blazer 7.2.4.2.1

            ' to prevent landlords, banks and creditors being arseholes.'

            Good luck with that!They are the backbone of the…economy!crying

          • KJT 7.2.4.2.2

            I know what it is like to have your business losing money over a long period through something you have no control over. Also similarly losing a waged job through something I had no control over.

            I wouldn't wish either on anybody.

            There should be more help for people in both situations.

            The effects are probably worse for most people losing a waged job. They normally have much less to fall back on, especially if it was a low wage job, than someone who owned a business.

            I do have an issue with those who complain about not enough help if their business goes down, while they oppose a reasonable level of welfare for other unemployed.

            However not sure what a Government is supposed to do, when businesses do not have a viable future. Propping them up, like Tiwai point, is an expensive and usually futile, exercise. Imagine the kickback if Government took them over.

            • Graeme 7.2.4.2.2.1

              At a business owner level the tourism unwind won't be too bad if the owner has good equity, like well north of 50%. They'll be able to start again without having to downtrade. Ex Queenstown or Wanaka not too much issue with a downtrade, but ex Westland another story.

              The carnage here is going to be amongst the landlord set. The way commercial leases work encourages high debt levels, and when things go south the mess splatters far and wide.

              After the '87 crash most of the carnage in Queenstown was in commercial property when a couple of large developer landlords went spectacularly tits up. It spread to take most of the construction businesses in town. Absolute mess.

              There's super prime retail units in CBD that have been vacant for 18 months, and anything that becomes vacant doesn't relet. There will inevitably be rent reductions to get new tenants and cashflow, the resulting reduction in property value will put people underwater. The alternative is properties being kept vacant to hold values and equity up, but cashflow being cut right back, impacting the local economy in other ways. Both messy.

              • Dennis Frank

                At the risk of seeming non-empathic, capitalism is famous for operating on a boom/bust cycle, so I don't get why any business operator would not operate in accord with that traditional philosophy.

                So not doing prudent risk management is unwise. That said, I acknowledge that business folk are as inclined to fall into the rut of the legendary kiwi complacency stance as the rest of us. smiley

                Not pointing at you Graeme – just a general observation. So I thought it good practical socialism for the govt to subsidise all them businesses back in 2020. I'm unaware of them continuing that the past year. Perhaps, being neoliberals, they have reverted to doctrine and are letting market forces do a bit of culling.

                Doctrinaire rogernomes have been thin on the ground lately. Even Prebs, mouthing off yet again the other day, doesn't seem to be pushing the party line by scolding the govt for doing the rescue thing. Perhaps pragmatism has infected him. Would be refreshing to hear him recycle James Shaw telling everyone when he became Greens leader "we have a hybrid economy now". Not just China doing both capitalism & socialism simultaneously! But that would be progress – too hard for those trying to revert to the old normal…

                • Graeme

                  Our risk management profile pre covid was well in excess of most and that approach served us very well, we'd be in a very bad way if we hadn't taken that approach. We got there by pretty standard risk analysis approach to our business.

                  But we didn't talk about it around town much, we would have been seen as the nutcase fringe. Most businesses didn't see the possibility of a sudden and enduring stop to cashflow.

                  I too have to wonder why.

            • pat 7.2.4.2.2.2

              "There should be more help for people in both situations."

              Only short term…..is 2 plus years short term?

              Propping up unviable businesses is pouring good money after bad and ultimately dosnt help anyone (except perhaps those holding the debt)….the resources (mainly labour) are better used elsewhere, perhaps in the conversion to an energy efficient economy.

              • RedLogix

                Propping up unviable businesses is pouring good money after bad and ultimately dosnt help anyone

                I could be really provocative and ask why the same logic does not apply to people? devil

                • KJT

                  People are an essential.

                  And. The society/economy exists for the people in it. A business exists primarily to make money for the owner.

                • pat

                  Please be provacative….and the same logic does apply to people (in economic terms)…after all ultimately all 'business' is people

                  • RedLogix

                    I think you can see that just throwing money at businesses doesn't work – it's much harder than this to help them. Hell you don't even know if you can help them.

                    Much the same with people, helping them as individuals is hard, although for different reasons. The left would be smart to be more honest about this.

                    • pat

                      Yes it is hard…and not everyone will be able to transfer, but id suggest if you have a choice between no job and a job youve never considered, most will take the later option…especially those with a significant working life ahead of them…..the govs role is to enable that transfer.

                      Ultimately those non viable jobs will dissapear anyway.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I agree with this. The best help we can offer people is to reduce or eliminate the stupid problems they face. It's rarely just one thing that takes someone out, it's usually a cascade of irksome idiot things that go wrong one after another – until the bottom drops out and they cannot cope with the complexity anymore.

                      And none of this needs to be overcomplex. If we simply went and talked to say a 1000 kiwis living on the bottom of the ladder, and listened to their life stories – I bet you could come up with a list of 10 common obstacles they kept on tripping over, and 3 of them would account for 80% of them.

              • KJT

                Thinking more of reasonable welfare rates or even a decent UBI.

                Don't see the need for a time limit.

                Only a small fraction of people are on welfare for more than two years.

                Most of them for good reasons, such as children, health or capability.

                If we need to prop up a business. Which we, in reality, do to a great many of them, it is likely they are a net cost, not benefit, to our society.

                • pat

                  What is our greatest current limitation?…..labour.

                  Why would we support people in non viable industries (hoping against hopethey will become viable) when we need, desperately skills in other areas?,,,,the alternative is to import (either directly or indirectly) the wherewithal.

                • RedLogix

                  Thinking more of reasonable welfare rates or even a decent UBI.

                  Which is why I've advocated for a UBI since forever. The universal feature is the psychologically most important aspect.

                  The difference is that any targeted benefit or intervention is always received at the wrong end of an inequality gradient. It's always conditional, always subject to rules and always precarious. It undermines human agency.

                  By contrast a UBI is just there – as of right. It's entirely over to you to make what you will of it. It respects and develops personal agency, that will to find a way out of the difficulties and problems that have kept you at the bottom of the ladder.

              • Graeme

                The difficulty in a quick exit is the lease situation. Most commercial leases have 3 – 7 year terms and personal guarantees. That makes exit rather tricky and any government exit programme ripe for abuse. Once the government starts wading into commercial contracts all hell will break loose and unaffected businesses will climb aboard looking for a slice of the action.

                I think the way it's being handled is probably the best option going for the stuffed businesses and owners, the landlords, and banks. It's giving businesses a chance of rebuilding, and things a chance to come right.

                Now that it's apparent that inbound tourism won't be happening in the next few years, or maybe longer due to ongoing covid, changes in airline thinking and uncertainty around travel insurance, 'coming right' isn't going to save New Zealand tourism from it's complete loss of social license in country. Unfortunately a lot of the industry leaders aren't ready to accept this and are still demanding immediate opening of our borders.

                Who's going to come here if we do is moot, Australia's opening blew up in their face with Australia currently on most countries' high risk list, making travel uninsurable and mandating a spell in MIQ on return.

                • pat

                  That commercial lease problem may be a bit overstated however…especially considering we are 2 years into an emegency situation,and the fact many of those leases will have considerably less time to run.The impact on commercial real estate values may be problematic, but then investment carries risk and the returns generally compensate…..and as with the labour it will occur anyway even if a bit delayed.

      • Ad 7.2.5

        Graeme, beautifully articulated and a brutal story.

        Needs to be turned into a post. Would you mind?

      • woodart 7.2.6

        a lot of what you say was coming already(commercial buildings untenanted,etc), with things like art galleries(i have had two ),antique shops etc, going the internet way, and not bothering with an overpriced shop, with all its extra costs. covid has just condensed a few years of what was inevitable into 18 months . got nothing to do with politics even though far too many think it is.

        • Graeme 7.2.6.1

          Tourist / travel retail is a lot more tactile and interactive than more known things like antiques. We've had a lot of success online with some lines, and a complete failure with others.

          We have one line that has some New Zealanders disclaim "Oh, it's just a fucking tourist shop", and storm out, if they happen to glance a piece hidden in the corner, but going gangbusters online to New Zealanders. Having trouble figuring that one out.

  7. Blazer 8

    Natural resistance and reinfection for C19….

    Not sure whether Global Research is an acceptable source around here,but quite interesting all the same.

    How Likely Is Reinfection Following COVID Recovery? The Role of Natural and Innate Immunity – Global ResearchGlobal Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

    • joe90 8.1

      The best authors.

      /

      A top Trump appointee repeatedly urged top health officials to adopt a "herd immunity" approach to Covid-19 and allow millions of Americans to be infected by the virus, according to internal emails obtained by a House watchdog and shared with POLITICO.

      “There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD," then-science adviser Paul Alexander wrote on July 4 to his boss, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs Michael Caputo, and six other senior officials.

      "Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…" Alexander added.

      https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/16/trump-appointee-demanded-herd-immunity-strategy-446408

      • dv 8.1.1

        Well the latest infection rates in the states, might be leading towards herd immunity

        Yesterday 572,000

        Day before 476,000

      • RedLogix 8.1.2

        Along with the virus we also seem to get this novel idea that humans, at least from a public health perspective, have no immune system. Quite the breakthrough!

        • Sabine 8.1.2.1

          Along with all of that it would do again good to remind ourselfs that the lockdown and all the other jazz was not implemented to prevent death per se but to prevent our healthcare system from collapsing. What did we call it when it all started? Flattening the curve of infections.

          In the meantime in OZ the healthcare system is starting to 'fray' at the edges as it is elsewhere with to many patients coming in, staff getting sick in huge numbers etc etc etc.

          A mild sickness can be causing the same damage albeit slowly then a hard sickness causes fast.

          https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/01/nsw-hospitals-resort-to-flying-nurses-in-from-overseas-as-staff-are-begged-to-take-extra-shifts-amid-covid-crisis

          • RedLogix 8.1.2.1.1

            Hildebrand again nails it.

            Well the problem with lies is that they always catch up with you and the problem with this one is that Australia — or at least the more sensible parts of it — is now finally actually doing what we were supposed to be doing more than a year-and-a-half ago.

            The goal is now to simply to keep Covid numbers to a level that doesn’t overwhelm our hospital system, just as the original goal had been before it was hijacked by the states on the advice of more nervous epidemiologists.

            • Koff 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Think I would always listen to health experts rather than the reckons of a right wing libertarian journalist working for a Murdoch newspaper. Hildebrand's article in news.com.au is all over the place. He comes to the conclusion that a high vaccination has kept Delta at bay quite successfully and should keep infected people out of hospital in the Omicron surge, but fails to state what exactly would have kept the virus from overwhelming hospitals before vaccination. He was criticized for labelling Qld and WA as "extremist states" for keeping borders controlled in September this year, but failed to mention (like Scomo) that Coalition controlled states like Tassie and SA did exactly the same.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.1.2.2

          Every person who has ever died of an infectious disease…had an immune system. All the people who died of the black plague? They had an immune system.

          But yes, the development and behaviour of the current virus involves a complicated relationship with our individual and collective immune systems.

          • RedLogix 8.1.2.2.1

            So on this logic are you're telling us that the immune system plays no role in public health because?

            • Sabine 8.1.2.2.1.1

              Our immune system here is so weakened that we had a major RSV outbreak just a few month ago that also caused some death, and that was simply just a bog standard illness that comes around every year. And that outbreak damn near got our underfunded, understaffed, and under resources health care system to almost breaking point.

              Just as a reminder, our hospital system is still underfunded, understaffed and under resourced. Nothing has changed on that since the arrival of Covid.

              • RedLogix

                Yes – that's an important point. Our public health system is sub-optimal on so many fronts.

                I admire and respect the sincere, intelligent, hard-working individuals in the system, but they're as much captives of it as the rest of us are.

        • Shanreagh 8.1.2.3

          Public health works on a population basis.

          The immune systems of healthy people are not routinely firing on all cylinders.

          I've always thought that the way public health dealt with immune systems was to look at it the other way by counting disease or 'unhealth'. So in a pandemic we look at co-morbitities that impinge on a healthy immune system so:

          • age
          • physical fitness
          • obesity
          • known weaknesses of circulatory and breathing systems.
          • people who are known to have immune systems that are weakened by cancer, radiotherapy, some diseases.

          Once these parts of the population are looked at then perhaps what is left are those who have more or less functioning immune systems. In the normal run these people could be expected to get a disease and if it did not kill them would leave them with antibodies to combat the next round.

          Early on in the Covid journey it was found that the antibodies left in those initial infections were neither strong nor long lasting so any faint idea about herd immunity being possible or the ability to stand up to variants had to be put aside. Covid was such serious illness for many people that it was not ethical really to be happy for the disease to run through our populations and possibly give them immunity which would be weak and shortlived.

          • Bill 8.1.2.3.1

            Early on in the Covid journey it was found that the antibodies left in those initial infections were neither strong nor long lasting

            Found out by who? Reported by who? Any reliable source for the contention that naturally acquired immunity is weak?

            In your comment you already covered off the vulnerable, but then go on to say

            Covid was such serious illness for many people that…

            No it wasn't. Somewhere in the region of 80 or 90% of deaths from Covid were in the oldest of age groups, with the rest falling mostly on those with serious co-morbities.

            • weka 8.1.2.3.1.1

              Covid was such serious illness for many people that…

              No it wasn't. Somewhere in the region of 80 or 90% of deaths from Covid were in the oldest of age groups, with the rest falling mostly on those with serious co-morbities.

              Older people and people with health vulnerabilities still add up to a lot of people. It's not just those that died, it's those that got long covid, and it's those that would have died and got long covid if we'd allowed covid to run free.

              Also, it's a fucking shitty way to die. Public health specialises in reducing such things as much as possible.

              • Bill

                Yet again (ie, not for the first time in response to one of my comments) you're implying I suggest (or have suggested) letting covid "run free"

                I've never suggested such a thing, so please just stop insinuating I have.

                Shanreagh was suggesting Covid was a serious illness for those with no identifiable vulnerabilities. It isn't and wasn't.

                We could have and should have treated covid with the leaky vaccines in the same way we would have treated any other viral outbreak if all we had was leaky vaccines – ie, targeted use.

                By not doing that, and by also insisting on universal booster shots, we've been playing Russian Roulette with the possibility of creating a truly killer virus. That we've got Omicron and not some scythe variant is down to dumber than dumb luck (at least for now) given the way we have deliberately messed with the viruses environment.

        • joe90 8.1.3.1

          Yup, worked out real well if the object was to kill two to three times more people /capita than your neighbours.

          • RedLogix 8.1.3.1.1

            Then again the actual situation may have been more complex that a crude comparison would suggest.

            Among the first 15 deaths due to covid-19 in Stockholm County, six were reported, by the Swedish-Somali medical society, to be of Somali origin (March 24). Considering that only 0.84% of the Stockholm County population was born in Somalia (n=8,178 by December 2019) this is an astonishing high rate.

            And that's dated very early on, I've seen it claimed that during those first two waves almost 50% of the deaths were from this tiny group consisting of less than 1% of the whole population. That's potentially an enormous confounding factor.

            Also it's worth noting the Finnish public health system has long been way ahead of the rest of the world on VitD supplementation And the Norwegians eat substantially more oily fish in their diet than their Nordic neigbours and especially the unfortunate Somali population in Sweden who retained their traditional diets.

            This is just a small sample of the often obscure confounding factors that arise when making comparisons between countries.

            • weka 8.1.3.1.1.1

              not sure what your point is there. That confounding factors somehow makes the number of deaths less relevant?

              • RedLogix

                It's only relevant to the comparison that joe90 was making between to 'Sweden's neighbouring countries' – presumably Norway and Finland. The assumption made in that claim that "the object was to kill two to three times more people /capita than your neighbours." is that the only difference between Sweden and it's neighbours was it's no-lockdowns policy.

                But that isn't the case, there a number of other ways that these countries differ that may offer a stronger causal explanation. This is true of pretty much all comparisons between countries and populations everywhere, which is why we constantly get caught up in these heated threads that go nowhere useful.

          • mauī 8.1.3.1.2

            Prof. (of Public Health) Shahar points out that Sweden's mortality in the 2020/21 flu year matches their 2017/18 flu year. A better comparison, using the same country, people, etc rather than across different countries. https://shahar-26393.medium.com/not-a-shred-of-doubt-sweden-was-right-32e6dab1f47a

            Also, I would point out Sweden's mortality figures are going to be inflated as more of the virus is spread through the populace, so more chance of it being picked up by tests, and associated loosely with deaths.

            Then there's the impact on mortality of turning society upside down for a single disease, which we seem to be refusing to look at too.

            • joe90 8.1.3.1.2.1

              And folk who lost their lives during mortality surges in March – May 2020 and January this year were going to die, anyhow?

              • RedLogix

                If you carefully read the reference maui gave, the answer to your question is pretty much yes.

                Continuation of the line, which was fit by the statistical model, yields the following estimates: In 2018–2019 there was “mortality deficit” in Sweden of 300 per million people (-3.3%) whereas in 2019–2020, the pandemic year, there was excess mortality of 364 per million people (+4.1%). Excess mortality following mortality deficit, and vice versa, are well known and expected, as the main source of mortality is an elderly population with limited life expectancy. (The sequence “excess after deficit” is, of course, better than the reverse order.)

                Assuming the excess mortality in 2019–2020 “fully balanced” the mortality deficit in the previous flu year, the true excess mortality in Sweden was less than 1% (about 700 deaths).

                I’m not trying to be dogmatic about this – quite the contrary – what I am saying is how easy it is to reach wrong conclusions from data. And it’s not just ordinary people like us who struggle with this.

        • locus 8.1.3.2

          No, that's not what Sweden has been doing for some time. They ditched the 'herd immunity let it rip' approach after logarithmic covid infection rates early last year. Their government restrictions and recommended controls have been similar but tougher in some aspects than NZ's for most of 2021, and some rules regarding large gatherings remain stricter than here.

          https://sweden.se/life/society/sweden-and-corona-in-brief

          • RedLogix 8.1.3.2.1

            Quote from your link:

            Sweden’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been about taking the right measures at the right time, because different measures are effective at different points in time. The country’s response has been partly based on voluntary action. For example, rather than enforce a nationwide lockdown, the authorities have given recommendations: to stay home if you've got symptoms, to keep a distance to others, to avoid public transport if possible, etc.

            You will also note that the most recent round of restrictions dates from just a week ago in response to the very rapid rate of increase in Omicron infections.

            From 23 December 2021, the following restrictions and recommendations apply, according to the Swedish Health Agency:

            Overall quite different to NZ and many other nations. Still essentially based on trusting their people to mostly do what is personally sensible for them.

            • locus 8.1.3.2.1.1

              In 2020, Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell initially criticised mandatory measures like mask wearing in shops and occupancy limits in public indoor spaces favouring promotion of voluntary social distancing, mask wearing and other infection prevention controls.

              "You will also note that the most recent round of restrictions dates from just a week ago in response to the very rapid rate of increase in Omicron infections"

              This statement is true only in so far as additional restrictions have been imposed in Sweden a week ago

              By December 2020,

              "both the Swedish King and Prime Minister claimed they felt that the large number of reported Covid deaths meant that Sweden's COVID-19 strategy had been a failure."

              As of 28 December 2021, there had been 1,303,663 confirmed cases and 15,297 deaths from Covid19 in Sweden

              In January 2021,

              "the Swedish government passed legislation limiting freedom of assembly by temporarily banning gatherings of over 50 individuals, banning people from visiting nursing homes, and physically closing secondary schools and universities."

              In April 2021: Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a news conference.

              "When the strain on healthcare eases and the spread of infection drops, only then will the government be ready to start lifting restrictions, but we are not there yet."

              These ongoing restrictions which continued throughout 2021 included: mandatory closure of restaurants at 8.30 pm, shops and malls only allowed limited numbers of customers. Nursing homes, secondary schools, sport venues and public pools remained closed to visitors.

              • RedLogix

                Still your implication above that Sweden's lockdowns were similar or tougher than NZ's doesn't stack up.

                From your quotes above, it looks like they acted to protect the elderly in nursing homes, and put in place some restrictions that would limit super-spreader events in indoor settings. All pretty obvious stuff I think most people could live with. And while they have seen some anti-restriction protests, they were small beer compared to what we've seen even in Australia.

                • locus

                  My comment was to debunk this statement in 8.1.3

                  "Herd has worked out ok for Sweden thus far."

                  I never stated that Sweden had lockdowns.

                  I stated that Sweden had controls and recommendations in place throughout 2021, (some of these were similar to, and some were tougher than NZ controls), and that these controls are not consistent with the 'herd immunity' approach

                  • RedLogix

                    Not seeing it sorry. If they didn't have multi-month lockdowns then they got nowhere near NZ's control measures.

                    Everything they have done is consistent with gradually developing herd immunity over time and ensuring they kept the curve sufficiently flattened to prevent health system overload. There was never a goal of 'elimination'.

                    When Sweden first went down this path the pushback was immense, the media and blogs were full of it, how it was going to lead to catastrophe and 100,000's of deaths. And when this never happened and their current trajectory shows the strategy worked, the narrative gets switched to claiming they did the same as everyone else after all.

                    You think we can't spot what you are doing here?

                    • locus

                      You think we can't spot what you are doing here?

                      WHAT! Spell this out please.

                      All I am saying is that Sweden did not get to where it is following a herd immunity strategy. This initial approach had to be modified.

                      If there is anything that is "unsaid" in what I've written, it is that NZ's and Sweden's Covid19 strategies have got closer. And that is not a controversial statement – as Sweden clearly introduced controls, and in NZ we have clearly moved away from 'lockdowns' as a first response

                      If you think I'm saying anything else, spell this out

                      I’m not going to war with you RL, and I don’t know why you’ve made this personal

                    • RedLogix

                      If your interpretation of 'herd immunity strategy' is 'do nothing and let it rip' – at no point did Sweden commit to anything like that. They always said they were going to calibrate their response to the circumstances – and to use the least force necessary to keep the curve flattened.

                      But they never committed to 'elimination' and never to mass lockdowns. Like NZ did.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well I could have cut to the chase quicker if I'd spotted this data point sooner:

                    The Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) project calculate a Stringency Index, a composite measure of nine of the response metrics.1

                    The nine metrics used to calculate the Stringency Index are: school closures; workplace closures; cancellation of public events; restrictions on public gatherings; closures of public transport; stay-at-home requirements; public information campaigns; restrictions on internal movements; and international travel controls.

                    You can explore changes in these individual metrics across the world in the sections which follow in this article.

                    The index on any given day is calculated as the mean score of the nine metrics, each taking a value between 0 and 100. See the authors’ full description of how this index is calculated.

                    The upshot is that the calculated numbers are:

                    • NZ : 65.28
                    • Sweden: 19.44

                    NZ's lockdowns were around 3 times more stringent than Sweden's.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      RL (@11:21 pm), you linked to the COVID-19 Stringency Index (in this thread @9:58 pm), and presented the 14th Dec. 2021 (for NZ) and the 4th Dec. 2021 (for Sweden) data point to compare the stringency of NZ's and Sweden's responses to COVID-19.

                      • NZ : 65.28
                      • Sweden: 19.44

                      NZ's lockdowns were around 3 times more stringent than Sweden's.

                      NZ's lockdowns were not around 3 times more stringent than Sweden's, and that's all I have to say about that. "You think we can't spot what you are doing here?"

                    • RedLogix

                      Take it up with the source of the data, I'm sure they'll appreciate your input.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Take it up with the source of the data, I'm sure they'll appreciate your input.

                      It’s a great site for data. Click on the NZ map to display the timeline (chart) of NZ’s COVID-19 stringency response, and then add (overlay) Sweden's COVID-19 stringency response chart – too simple?

                      If you prefer to believe “NZ’s lockdowns were around 3 times more stringent than Sweden’s“, then go right ahead – just don’t understand why you would continue to cling to that particular fiction.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well they are at the moment – nice for them no? And the chart clearly shows NZ went through some periods of extreme controls that Sweden never did and it's not at all likely any NZ govt could reimpose them if it wanted to.

                      Yes the two countries have taken different paths through this pandemic, as pretty much all nations have. But patently Sweden never went down the extreme path of 'elimination'.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      And, as those overlaid charts show (thanks for the link), from 8 June – 11 Aug 2020, and again for most of the period from 24 Nov 2020 to 1 June 2021 (about eight months all up), Sweden's COVID-19 Stringency Index was ~3 times that of NZ's. Whereas NZ's Stringency Index has been 3 – 4 times Sweden's for maybe the last three months.

                      And yet an unquestioning reader might actually believe this sad

                      • NZ : 65.28
                      • Sweden: 19.44

                      NZ's lockdowns were around 3 times more stringent than Sweden's.

                      What these charts suggest (to me) is that our govt’s strategy to limit the freedom of COVID-19 to spread, injure, and kill (0.001%) has been more dynamic than Sweden's (0.15%). Well done Team – there’s really no place I’d rather be.

                    • RedLogix

                      You can quibble all you like – the reality is that Sweden never went to the extreme 96% levels of control that NZ did for many months.

                      And is still maintaining at very high levels. And that is the sole point of the thread that you seem to be determined to derail for reasons that seem more petty than pertinent.

                      Well done Team – there’s really no place I’d rather be.

                      Have you any idea what a smug prick that makes you sound? In the meantime my 96 yr old father has gone through his second Christmas isolated and alone in his rest home. As have many thousands of others.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      You can quibble all you like – the reality is that Sweden never went to the extreme 96% levels of control that NZ did for many months.

                      Absolutely agree, but that's not what we're quibbling about, is it? wink

                      According to the data you linked to, this comment is inaccurate:

                      The upshot is that the calculated numbers are:

                      • NZ : 65.28
                      • Sweden: 19.44

                      NZ's lockdowns were around 3 times more stringent than Sweden's.

                      I wouldn't harp on about it so were it not for the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic, and I hope we can both agree that dissemination of misinformation should be discouraged.

                      Perhaps we could agree on a less inaccurate statement.

                      During early periods in the pandemic, Sweden’s COVID-19 Stringency Index was about 3 times higher than NZ’s for a cumulative period of about 8 months. Since October 2021, NZ’s lockdowns have been at least 3 times more stringent than Sweden’s.

                      Of course that doesn’t have quite the impact of the original, but it is more accurate, imho.

                      In the meantime my 96 yr old father has gone through his second Christmas isolated and alone in his rest home.

                      Thanks; that helps me to understand where you're coming from. I'll read your future opinions relating to the pandemic with that in mind. We've all had to make sacrifices during this pandemic, some more than others. Dad gets out of MIQ on Tuesday evening, pending a fourth negative test result.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      You can quibble all you like – the reality is that Sweden never went to the extreme 96% levels of control that NZ did for many months.

                      Two more points – it's a stringency 'index', not a percentage, i.e. an index value of 100 does not equate to 100% control (whatever that might entail.) The highest Strigency Index value for China is 82, and ~70 for Sweden. Plus NZ has not spent "many months" at "extreme 96% [sic] levels of control" – it was 55 days, tops.

                      Btw, no-one's paying me for this fact checking wink

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Comparing NZ's and Sweden's Covid-19 Stringency Index since NZ adopted a strict (and imho prudent) suite of precautions (to curb Covid-19's freedom) in late March 2020, NZ has 'enjoyed' two extended periods (14 May – 11 Aug 2020, and 31 Aug 2020 – 15 Aug 2021) during which NZ's stringency index has been less than Sweden's.

                    That's more than 14 out of 21 months, during which time (according to Swedish health authorities) ~0.15% of their population tragically died from COVID-19 infections (cf. 0.001% in NZ).

                    Not that it's a competition, of course, but there are those who will attempt to spin these comparisons to belittle the efforts and evident achievements of team Kiwi – to what end I could only guess.

                    • RedLogix

                      but there are those who will attempt to spin these comparisons to belittle the efforts and evident achievements of team Kiwi – to what end I could only guess.

                      Pay attention to the thread. It arose in the context of locus claiming that Sweden's COVID response had been equal to or even more severe than NZ's. There was never any attempt to belittle anything NZ has achieved.

                      during which time (according to Swedish health authorities) ~0.15% of their population has tragically died from COVID-19 infections (cf. 0.001% in NZ).

                      Again you may want to pay attention to the thread. maui above gave this reference that looks at this number from a more nuanced perspective.

  8. Hanswurst 9

    I know that Mark Richardson is very much persona non grata around here, but as a cricket commentator, he really is class, and a genuinely funny chap. Happy New Year, everybody.

  9. Anker 10
    • Happy New Year everyone.
    • I find Grant Elliot an excellent commentator too.

    NZ 94/1……..

  10. joe90 11

    For the Phish fans.
    (started 2.30pm NZ)

  11. Anne 12

    Compared to the fake versions spread across social media (yeah… Hipkins has given the word spread a whole new meaning 😮 ) here is a relatively impeccable Covid prediction from the real scientists and experts – not the fake versions:

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-why-2022-and-omicron-variant-will-mark-the-end-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/JZXFOI5E22XSUTMF6PAOBTYV6U/

    Lets hope they are correct!

    • Bill 12.1

      I'm quite surprised to read such a level headed and sensible piece in a legacy publication.

      On the social front – Vaccination of 5 yo and up put on hold? Passports gone by the coming winter at the very latest? Mandating workplaces in an Omicron environment impermissible?

      The only way I can imagine things going awry is if the already observed and studied possible phenomenon of administering a leaky vaccine on a universal basis kicks in.

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