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Open mike 07/07/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 7th, 2020 - 132 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 …

132 comments on “Open mike 07/07/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    What part of supply and demand does our coalition govt not understand?? It has tripled the housing problem since taking office:

    The waitlist for public housing hit a new record in May, with close to 18,000 eligible households waiting for a state or community home. Of the 17,982 households waiting over 16,000 were “Priority A” – meaning they had been identified as being in urgent need. The waitlist has ballooned in recent years, trebling from the 5844 households on the waitlist when the current Government was elected in September 2017. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300050573/waitlist-for-public-housing-hits-new-record-as-coronavirus-economic-crash-bites

    This is a classic case of left/right collusion, and organised whining from both sides in an attempt to distract the public just makes Labour/National irresponsibility more evident. Commentators here may even figure it out. Eventually. Clue:

    There was "annual net migration gain – 55,800 (± 1,600), up from 50,200 (± 200)." https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/international-migration-april-2019

    And then there was " annual net migration gain – 71,500 (±1,700), up from 49,600 (± 200). https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/international-migration-march-2020

    What part of "let's keep moving" in the wrong direction don't Labour folk understand?? When you import three or four times as many people as the number waiting for a house to live in, you make the problem three or four times worse. Government MPs will require remedial courses in primary school arithmetic to work this out! 🤢

    • gsays 1.1

      I am willing to bet, amongst the landlord politicians, there is nothing wrong with their maths when it comes to: rental income, tax write-offs, interest rate %….

      Do we believe in ghosts? They have plenty of dwellings going spare.


      Perhaps it is time for squatters rights with a sunset clause tied to the waiting list for housing.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        Much simpler would have been TOP's CCT that ensures all assets are taxed at a certain minimum rate on an annual basis. It might not fully eliminate the problem of ghost houses, but it would certainly increase the incentive to balance the cash flow by ensuring the home was occupied.

        • Incognito

          Sounds like rates to me and these, together with fixed bills for water, power, insurance, etc., have not prevented those ghost houses.

          • RedLogix

            That's true enough, although without those fixed costs there might also be a lot more empty houses.

            The way a CCT works though is well adapted to this problem. Take your average $1m Auckland house. It would be deemed to have a 'risk free rate of return' of 3% or $30,000 pa income that would be treated as an imputed income, and bundled into the owners total tax position even if they earned no income from the house.

            If however the property earned the same $30,000 as real income from a tenant, then none of the CCT would apply, the real income would be taxed instead. There's a pretty powerful psychological incentive at work too.

            I have to think a CCT would move the needle in the right direction, even if it only halved the number of ghost houses, this would still be a good thing.

    • Incognito 1.2

      How do you propose stopping Kiwis returning to NZ? Apparently, there are about one million waiting to hop on the plane back home. That will screw up any plan trying to deal with ‘demand & supply’. The problem with this ‘debate’ is that people seem to assume that net migration is mostly driven by people from ‘India, Pakistan, or Korea’. Those people should vote National or NZF, the parties for the un-thinking.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        I wouldn't stop them. You make a fair point. Does our stats dept publish separate numbers for returning kiwis? If so, we can quantify the proportional effect. I cited the past couple of years because it constitutes most of the period that the coalition was enacting its housing policy. Those figures allow us to contrast the appearance of solving the problem with the appearance of immigration stats making it worse…

  2. mac1 2

    So, National via new spokesperson, Nicola Willis has told us that they were wrong to sell state housing during their last term in government.

    Is this the beginning of a blood-letting purge of the stupidity of that nine year shameful shambles?

    Is this the result of Paula Bennett's resignation and consequent reallocation of portfolios with Muller's accession?

    Is this a tacit admission by National that it can't win in 2020 and instead is flensing, sloughing off and discarding all that dross of poor management and policy?

    Problem is, it's still the same people just moved up the ladder a little as others got pushed off.

    Where's the philosophic, spiritual and psychic renewal they need? From the religious right?

    They need a good penitential progress, with flagellation and the tolling of beads………..

    • Incognito 2.1


    • Tiger Mountain 2.2

      Ms Willis sounds like she preloaded on coffee for this interview. She lies by omission several times, and is plain wrong on other points. Salvation Army and other social agencies would not touch Nationals flogged off state houses with the proverbial.


      More people are on the waiting list now because they see a possible chance of securing a home with the Labour Govt. whereas National was on a “defund–run down–sell off” strategy regarding state housing.

      • Chris 2.2.1

        Salvation Army's discussion's with Key's government fell over because they couldn't reach a deal – good result but was disappointing the discussions took place at all.

        What did happen was that the filthy rich and despicably corporate community organisation called IHC stepped in, under its disguise 'Accessible Housing', and bought a whole stack of state houses. Price for IHC is no barrier because they're loaded. They then got to work kicking tenants out they didn't like to make way for their grandiois plans of dominating the disability housing sector with the aim of fattening its ill-gained coffers even more.

        • Tiger Mountain

          IHC operate under the “Idea Services” name in my area, and they are not great employers or service providers. Given that they substantially run on taxpayer funding they should be more accountable.

          • Chris

            Idea Services, like Accessible Housing, are companies wholly owned by the overarching incorporated society IHC. The law reports are littered with employment dispute cases. Their hands are filthy.

          • Draco T Bastard

            IMO, the whole point, from some politicians view, of having a private outfit run on taxpayers money is so that they aren't accountable. Much easier to fleece the taxpayer that way.

    • Gabby 2.3

      More likely, get the new kid to say we don't do it again, so we can deny it when we do it again.

    • RedBaronCV 2.4

      Can we send her a list of all the other things Nact should not have done so that she can do a bulk apology and reset. BTW does John Key have much influence over the current nat management of Todd & Nikki?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.5

      Where's the philosophic, spiritual and psychic renewal they need?

      Not happening. They're conservatives and its their job to conserve all the bad stuff that everyone else realises is bad.

  3. Adrian 3

    It appears from the Stats March 2020 figures quoted by Dennis that offshore NZers reacted earlier than previously assumed to the threat of Covid and started coming back well before lockdown and resident NZers changed their minds about leaving equally early. Maybe we are more intelligent and aware than we give ourselves credit for. Of course the evidence that this is true is our reaction to the compliance with lockdown compared to just about every other country in the world.

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      There may be some real basis for your reasoning but seems to me it would only account for a small proportion of the whole. The stats I cited go back to March 2018 which was early in their term, eh?

      I just had a look: “migrant arrivals in the March 2020 year, New Zealand citizens were the largest group with 42,800 (± 800) arrivals… For migrant departures in the March 2020 year, New Zealand citizens were the largest group with 35,700 (± 600) departures.”

      So net returning kiwis around 7,000, about 10% of net incoming migrants the past year…

  4. peter 4

    Reply to Mac1:
    Discarding the poor management and policy? So, let me think about that.

    They had the genius of Key and English and Joyce, et al, wizards of the age (not to mention Nick Smith, chuckle) and their grand Comprehensive Housing Plan. Turns out that was shit.

    Now they have the A Team, made up largely of flunkies from the last lot (not to mention Nick S) who have The Answers and I am to believe and trust them.

    Where there is a Willis there is a 'No Way.'

    • mac1 4.1

      She was part of the renewal flouted with Bridges standing meaningfully grouped in the corridors of power. She is right to abjure the previous policy, of course. National's problem is partly that it is factionalised, and a sizeable contingent of illiberal and rural men competes with a group of liberals including some women like Willis. No way because the will to change properly is not there in the broader party.

      Lprent summed it up very well in a post yesterday talking about middle management style and practice- there is little room in National for expansive and coherent long term thinking and planning.

      I talked about this with the tradesman working here. I mentioned the middle management style of some firms like Fonterra whose practice was to delay bill paying to creditors when in business.


      My tradesman knows about this style of business by the wealthy, giving me chapter and verse of the non-practice of wealthy local businessmen clients.

      Limited men of limited vision and goals.

      • Peter 4.1.1

        Surely a bit harsh with 'limited men of limited vision and goals.' The vision's there, about that trade being their road to the bigger bach, bigger car, more expensive house. Bugger about the holiday in Hawaii this year.

        • mac1

          Mammon, Peter, Mammon. The vision itself is limiting. It's not only what they envision, it's that the vision limits their possible understanding that there is more than their own greed.

          A person looking down a telescope of course has good vision; but of what, of how much, since so much is unseen?

    • Loldevil "Where there is a Willis there is a No Way" Brilliant.

  5. Anker 5


    haven’t read all of this yet. But the first two paragraphs were a good start.

    • Andre 5.1

      Central to the pamphlet’s argument are two contentious claims: first that border restrictions are likely doomed to fail as a pandemic-busting strategy, and second that long-lasting border rules of the current form are economically unsustainable. Here is where a genuine conversation might start, if indeed the authors were serious about it.

      On the first point, the pamphlet says simply “at what point will New Zealanders accept less than absolute elimination? Such a goal is likely unrealistic over a long term”. That’s the full extent of argument offered. Yet elsewhere the authors acknowledge absolute elimination is possible if "we are prepared to continue aggressive and foolproof testing and quarantine at the border for a long time". So having Covid-19 reintroduced into the community at a "predetermined very low level" is a choice, not destiny.

      Something these 're-open the border' calls seem to ignore is the strong likelihood of some sort of vaccine or treatment or prophylaxis getting developed in a very short time period from now. The current situation of the disease continuing at unacceptably high levels overseas making our strict border controls the right answer is unlikely to be the new normal.

      So a bit of patience to see what plays out is in order here, rather than a rush to take on a lot of risk for the sake of a few benefits flowing mostly to the already-privileged parts of our society.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        Considering that young adults in the USA have deemed it more important to party than protect their community, I'm punting that they'll head to the worst case outcome … more than 200m cases and 1 -2m deaths. Not to mention tens of millions with long term complications. Combine this with an election that has no good outcomes on offer, a generation determined to have a social justice revolution and anything could happen.

        That will take the USA offline from a global perspective for around a decade; and what happens next is unlikely to be pretty. We are heading into dangerous territory and the correct response is caution and watchfulness; we may have to adapt to some bad surprises very quickly.

        Events here in Australia are alarming, it looks like Victoria is close to loosing control and the first new cases arrived in NSW this morning. This astonishingly adapted virus exploits every possible weakness in our defenses.


        • Draco T Bastard

          I'm punting that they'll head to the worst case outcome … more than 200m cases and 1 -2m deaths.

          Perhaps it'll wake them up to the failure that is capitalism and individualism. After all, if they'd acted as a community rather than warring tribes, things wouldn't have gotten so bad.

        • SPC

          They risk a revisit of the year 1918.

          The Spanish flu began in Jan 1918. But a lot of people died in the second wave Sept-Dec 1918.

      • Adrian 5.1.2

        Don't rely on any promises of a vaccine. It appears that the only survivors of Covid that have longer lasting antibodies are the ones that got near lethal doses of the disease, it therefore follows that possibly any vaccine to be effective will have to induce a very strong reaction to the dose. Polio as I recall had the same problems and in fact my father and sister had quite severe reactions to it with high fevers and feeling dreadful for a few days. Admittedly that was over 60 years ago and I'm sure the technology has improved but if it is the case that I'm even half right the anti-vaxxers and the chattering classes will quickly undermine any effective rollout.

        My bet is that there may have to rely on a treatment rather than an effective vaccine.

        • Incognito

          Incorrect. You should not limit your thinking about immunity to Covid to antibodies only but also include immune cells such as T-cells.


          • greywarshark

            I think you'll find this piece in Scoop very interesting.

            Comparing Denmark Versus Sweden On Coronavirus
            Tuesday, 30 June 2020, 11:04 am
            Article: Eric Zuesse

            Some good stats from the end but all worthy of study:

            Whereas Denmark’s death-rate on June 28th is 104, Sweden’s is 523. Denmark’s rose from 103 to 104, and Sweden’s rose from 499 to 523.

            Sweden’s unemployment rate rose from 6% in December 2019 to 9% in May 2020. Denmark’s was 3.7% till February 2020 and shot up to 5.4% by April 2020.

            And – Sweden and T-cells giving longer coverage than antibodies.
            Jul.2/20 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/122011921/coronavirus-was-sweden-right-study-suggests-significantly-higher-covid19-immunity

            And further down in Scoop page – a new aspect: Binoy Kampmark:
            Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

            • Incognito


              The death rates and immunity are two different things. The first was allegedly caused by poor management and exposure of vulnerable people. The second may be induced by exposure of invulnerable people. Given that nobody really knows how an individual might respond to infection it seems prudent to limit exposure to anyone even if they have no known risk factors.

              • greywarshark

                So as an older person I should wear the simple mask I have whenever I go out you reckon. I'd like to think I was safe but all the same, not yet?

                • Incognito

                  Do you live in Sweden?

                  • greywarshark

                    But I got the idea that there were people out there who were able to pass it on though not having signs, perhaps these invulnerable people.

                    We are going to have to keep opening up at the border for some various reasons and might not be able to catch all the 'carriers'.

                    And I wonder what the attitudes of the international floating population are. They come in quietly in their yachts, boats and possibly some virus too.

                    • Incognito

                      You should do what’s best for you under the circumstances and depending on your condition. You may want to ask your GP.

                      And what Andre said @ 2:52 pm.

                • Andre

                  Wearing a mask in NZ now won't do any harm, and may give you a bit of protection from catching colds and flu. Plus, people won't think you're weird like they might have three months ago.

                  But for now, COVID had been eliminated within NZ (all current known cases have been detected in isolation facilities and the patients kept in quarantine) so COVID is just not a concern for anyone going about their daily business here.

                  • greywarshark

                    Thanks Andre. I have been going around trustingly, but there is so much to think about without Covid that I am wondering if I should make an effort and not get all relaxed but keep a level of wariness.

                    And it gets out and about so readily, looking at Victoria, NSW. Here we only have to get a maddened National party-animal roaming the streets and who knows who it would affect. May have to be brought down with a tranquiliser dart full of spirulina juice before it bit someone.

            • RedBaronCV

              This should be the end of the open plan, hot desking office hopefully.

              At the bottom end the chairs and screens need massive readjusting each time and at the top end I've seen close to bare knuckle fights from some who didn't want to be near certain individuals (even though they carried nothing infectious.

        • Andre

          Back when the polio vaccine was being developed, the only real options were killed or weakened viruses. Now there's a whole lot of other options – of the 17 candidates that wikipedia lists as already in human trials, only three are based on inactivated virus, and none on weakened virus.

          It is indeed possible that idiot anti-vaxxers will hinder the uptake of a potential vaccine. After all, idiot anti-vaxxers basically killed the rollout of a vaccine against Lyme disease. But the impact of COVID is so substantial I suspect that if an effective vaccine actually gets developed, idiot anti-vaxxers will be more nuisance than real obstacle.

          Here's a useful quick summary of the current state of COVID vaccine development.


          The big open question at the moment is whether anyone anywhere will take a step into the ethical minefield of doing challenge trials, where vaccinated volunteers are deliberated exposed to the disease. As opposed to the usual method of simply following the vaccine trial participants to see how many get infected just going about their lives. Getting data the usual way for a disease that's still as rare as COVID still is would take fkn forever, so there's quite a lot of pressure to go to challenge trials.

          But in any case, to be useful to the point of enabling the resumption of trade and tourism, a vaccine or treatment or prophylaxis doesn't have to be completely effective. The existence of modestly effective prophylaxis against malaria makes tourism to tropical areas feasible. Even though quite a few tourists still get malaria, the prophylaxis knocks the risk down to acceptably low levels, and takes a bit of an edge off the disease for most of those who do get it making treatment and recovery easier and faster.

          So if a vaccine and/or treatment and/or prophylaxis simply reduced the effects of COVID down to the level of being just like a bad flu, that would be enough for resumption of a lot of what is on hold right now.

          • Draco T Bastard

            So if a vaccine and/or treatment and/or prophylaxis simply reduced the effects of COVID down to the level of being just like a bad flu

            A 'bad flu' kills.

            Influenza spreads around the world in yearly outbreaks, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 290,000 to 650,000 deaths.

            Your prophylaxis will make it so that fewer will die but some still will. Still, it may be low enough for business as usual to make a profit.

            • Andre

              The point being that's it's not necessary to reduce the risk to effectively zero – in fact it would be foolish to expect that. What is needed is to reduce the risks and harms to a level a bit lower than we routinely accept for other health issues. If we get a further reduction in risk and harm at negligible extra cost – bonus!

              Too often we as a society hold ourselves back and impose silly costs on ourselves by requiring extremely stringent risk and harm reduction in one area, while being astonishingly lax in other broadly similar areas. GMOs being a case in point where we have effectively banned them here while allowing mutation-bred organisms with barely a batted eyelid.

          • greywarshark

            Is it possible that before travelling you will get an innoculation as is the case with a lot of diseases that need protecting against?

            • Andre

              That's the easy answer for NZers wanting to travel overseas. The tougher question is protecting NZers from overseas people that want to visit here.

              Hypothetically, if a vaccine is developed, we could require proof of vaccination before allowing entry, as some countries still do for yellow fever vaccination and some used to require for cholera. Even though the cholera vaccine was fairly low effectiveness (60%ish) and didn't last long (a couple of years).

    • RedBaronCV 5.2

      Good story – points out some major flaws and issues they didn't even bother addressing.

      I can see us getting better testing and cheaper do it yourself checks ( spit on the paper strip daily) before we have widespread vaccinations.

  6. Peter chch 6

    Another Twyford stuff up, hiring health economists to do a complex logistics/transport analysis.

    As if it not enough the idiotic Twyford stuffed up Auckland Light Rail and Kiwibuild, the PM allows him to continue and waste yet more money on inappropriate reports that go nowhere. I guess the $2M wasted is not real money though, just taxpayers money.

    Even a retarded chipmunk could see that using Manakau Harbour is a non starter.

    With Twyford, Kelvin Davis and that other idiot Lees-Galloway still there, I think Labour will struggle in September.


    • Adrian 6.1

      Browns report was biased in favour of Northland simply because he had vested interests there being an elected official and therefore it skirted over the other possibilities.

      If the Government had taken Browns report as verbatim it would be accused of not looking at other options, so Twyford did do the right thing to get another opinion.

      I think Northport is the only one that makes sense though.

      • Peter chch 6.1.1

        Agree re Browns bias and need for a second report, but Health Economists to study a complex and long term logistics policy?

        The inadequacies of the consultants for the role handled to them is pretty obvious. Manakau is never going to be a starter, due to shallowness, bar and shifting sands and environmental impact, access for road and rail and so on.

    • mac1 6.2

      The report quoted was, for all but one paragraph, an attack based on Brown's opinions. He of course has expertise in the matter but it is his report that is being criticised for not reporting on all options.

      There is, in this whole report, one paragraph which gives the view of the government.

      It is this.

      "However, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Transport Minister Phil Twyford approved $2m for another report after stating Brown's study had left unanswered questions about alternatives."

      Alternatives plural, note. Brown's report was incomplete, they say. Let's see the entire picture, they say.

      Imagine this scenario. "Government goes ahead on plans for new port based on incomplete report".

      The article is another attempted 'gotcha' piece, and has little objectivity in putting government's point of view.

      Did the reporter read any report, discuss with Robertson, before pronouncing?

      He acknowledged that Twyford was unavailable for comment and that Goff was not well informed enough to comment.

      So we get an attack piece because reporter could not wait for more complete information.

      I'd say that we all could have waited a short time for more informed comment than a reportedly '’grumpy’ writer of a rejected first report.

    • KJT 6.3

      Doing a comprehensive study before committing billions to a transport project is simple common sense. Unlike just, "build more roads".

    • Peter 6.4

      Manukau is so ludicrous it shouldn't have even made it to the non-starters list.

      Whoever has suggested it will probably move on to suggesting a 2.5km aeroplane runway be constructed on the top of Mt Everest.

    • Just Is 6.5

      Hey Peter, since you're happy to criticize ministers for actively trying to make improvements, I was interested in your opinion on on the Christchurch rebuild, and how competent the then Govt was rebuilding the city, I've certainly seen many comments myself, none portrays a competent Govt response, so. what's your view since your so quick to critisise other ministers for attempting to be Thourough.

      • OnceWasTim 6.5.1

        "Hey Peter, since you're happy to criticize ministers for actively trying to make improvements,………"

        Sorry to say @ Just Is, but I'd pick you up on the first part – i.e. the "actively trying to make improvements"

        More like a Minister that's a damn sight better than anything the gNatz might dream up BUT deciding the easiest option is to kick the can down the road a teeny weenie bit further and call for another report.

        Come on …………. ffs. Even the shipping companies are saying that getting insurance if this sort of diversionary shit goes ahead will be difficult.

        Probably the only thing Manukau might be good for is shipping cement from the SI West Coast – but oops – that's right, they even did away with that.

      • Peter chch 6.5.2

        The rebuild by the then government was ok. The CCC effort has not been.

        And you think it is somehow wrong to criticize lame duck Ministers like Davis, Lee's Galloway, Twyford and Clark? So you think it should be government by a flag, whether blue or red, rather than competency?

        • weka

          Peter, I shifted your comment about charities out of the front end, because it was borderline whether it might cause legal problems for the people that own TS and I wanted other authors to take a look at it.

      • Peter 6.5.3

        You may have meant Peter chch. I praise all Ministers (including the Prime one) doing their homework. I mean it's essential. They could do everything the CasinoKeyJoyce way.

        However, you look at a map to the Auckland region and see the Manukau Harbour and say, "That could the the major port of Auckland." Then you look at history, topography, geography and reality and say, "but that would be the most bloody insane idea in ever come up with."

    • Muttonbird 6.6

      Do we know who commissioned the first report (Brown's), and why that report came back 'incomplete'?

      If that's down to Twyford too then the whole thing is a cluster-f like Kiwibuild and light rail. Too much of what he does is controversial and that's just in the procurement phase. What's with this ambushing of process which has happened with Infratil and light rail, and now two competing reports for a new port?

      Twyford gets these reports done but hasn't told anyone the overall vision!

      I thought you were supposed to have a vision and framework about what you wanted to achieve, then get a report which looked at all the options within that framework, and then vote on the best one.

      Twyford seems to haven no idea what is best practice on how to make a decision. Perhaps after Kiwibuild he's scared of pulling the trigger. If so, have to get rid of him and Chippie can do it.


      • OnceWasTim 6.6.1

        Christ! There goes that "best practice" again. That was trotted out this morning by Worksafe – who in their defense as to questioning over their inability to investigate complete bloody fuckups said: "It's best practice".

        I'd hate to think what a bloody shambles would be like. But then again, in the absence of a Minister interested in supporting investigative journalism, I guess the next best thing is for the dispossessed to resort to PR spin. And prostitution is after all legal – unless of course you're a stuck immigrant trying to feed yourself and wondering what's going to happen with the next visa application at great cost.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.7

      "The Brown report started with a conclusion — wanting to move the Ports of Auckland to Northport — and worked backwards," Goff said.

      "It failed to engage with stakeholders and was quite frankly a shoddy opinion piece not based on facts."

      Seems that the problem was that the first report was BS and that it should be Brown giving the money back.

      I suppose, if they did increase the port in Manukau, the canals would be back as a viable option.

    • millsy 6.8

      Moving PoA to Northland is now dead in the water. This report was commissioned solely to kill it off.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Bomber does cultural analysis of new political party: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2020/07/07/the-special-madness-of-the-nz-public-party/

    I was asked to appear last night on Te Ao with Moana on Maori TV to discuss the rising phenomena of the NZ Public Party which is led by the charismatic Billy Te Kahika.

    Firstly it’s important to state that I don’t think Billy is being deceitful or malicious, he genuinely believes the things he’s saying and I’ve seen him play guitar. I don’t think you can play guitar that well and have a spiteful soul. I think Billy is a product of the post-knowledge death of experts culture we now live in.

    The allegation, as I was able to piece together, is that Covid 19 is a bioengineered virus weapon that is helped in its spread by 5G technology (which apparently weakens your immune system) and was purposely released in Chinese labs to help inspire chaos that would allow for a shadowy one world Government to come out of the UN to take over the planet.

    In fact there have been dozens of accidental releases from the L4 Labs and the risk analysis suggests that there is an 80% chance once every 12 years that a dangerous pathogen will be accidentally released from an L4 lab. The L3 and 4 Labs in Wuhan were working on the bat virus and there were complaints in 2018 that they weren’t secure enough.

    China’s obtuseness about when and where the virus started doesn’t help of course. Their claim that it originated at the Wuhan wet market simply isn’t true. The timeline clearly shows the virus circulated into the Wuhan wet market and super spread from there and the latest research suggests it had been floating around well before then.

    Occam’s Razor suggests what is most likely to have happened is probably what has happened, and I don’t think Billy TK appreciates how incompetent the UN is.

    Your average classroom of 5 year olds would have more chance of an armed bank robbery while kidnapping the Prime Minister than the UN does of setting up a shadowy one world Government.

    Bomber goes on to several further paragraphs explaining why some global conspiracies are better than others. Great to see him in fine form, getting readers properly revved up on a cold wintry morn… 🤩

    • mac1 7.1

      "I think Billy is a product of the post-knowledge death of experts culture we now live in."

      I'd like to see more elaboration and discussion of this which flies in the face of the entire education I received regarding knowledge and logical reasoning.

      Is it that single issue campaigners and conspiracy theorists are at odds with knowledge and reasoning, and populist politicians are giving them credence?

      Thank God for science and reasoning, I say. 66 days without Covid-19 community transmission, informed by proper science, good advice from civil servants, listened to by compassionate political leaders, compared to what populist politicians who pay more attention to their egos have allowed elsewhere.

      • JanM 7.1.1

        You have to realise that not everyone eats at the same table in the education system – have you come across the concept of cultural capital?

        • mac1

          No. I see from a quick scan it's a 70's sociological concept. I never studied sociology and I predate that anyway in terms of Uni. Any pointers?

          • JanM

            Essentially it presents the idsa, in education anyway. that teachers will tend to acknkwledge and address pupils they share cultural and class understandings with and overlook others therefore disadvantaging them.

          • JanM

            I predate it too but I went back again as a 'mature student' lol

      • mauī 7.1.2

        I would praise the sound reasoning too – we're using the same simple public health measures that worked in a pandemic one hundred years ago.

        But 100 years of scientific development hasn't been much help to us at all.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Estimates of the global death toll from Spanish flu range from 17 – 50 million, at a time when the global population was ~1.9 billion. So probably at least 1% of all humans succumbed to Spanish flu.


          I hope that 100 years of scientific and technological development/evolution will mean that the global death toll from Covid-19 will be less than 80 million (roughly 1% of the current global population). But it's not the same virus, and there are no guarantees – viruses evolve too!

  8. Grafton Gully 8

    "Farmed salmon offers a very compelling environmental and human health story by comparison with other farming systems in New Zealand. Farmed salmon has a very low carbon footprint, low water use and low ‘land use’ from input of raw materials compared to all other animal farming systems. Farmed salmon are a very healthy choice for consumers offering significant health benefits over other animal protein sources. These two factors mean that there is and will continue to be a growing demand for farmed raised salmon for the foreseeable future."


    • joe90 8.1

      Meanwhile, Antarctic animals starve as krill are plundered so we can enjoy that nice, pink salmon.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        I don't know where to look these days so as not to feel sad or guilty or despairing. That image of a polar bear perched on some ice is so telling. We could save the small group of cattle on that piece of hillside near Kaikoura. We can kill off coral at a distance, but the polar bears and other animals we can see that adapted to ice is hard to see; some are raiding rubbish tins on land. We need to learn the trade; that is all that will be left for many of us as the financiers frig around with out trade and systems and laws and personal initiative and intelligence.

        We have to learn to make-do with the resources in our own area and cut our utter reliance on overseas trade. And bring in a good local currency to enable people to find their own trading networks. We will be similar to the polar bear with shrinking resources. Get good family and/or friend and neighbour interacting networks is the way. You can't always rely on family, but need to look at people to see if they are genuine and get the support going. Townspeople could get friendly with horticulturalists, smallholders, and help out at busy times, spend some time on the farm. Put them up when they have to come in for day visits to hospital etc. or just enjoy some event in town.

  9. joe90 9

    Marvelous…many people are saying..

  10. joe90 10


  11. observer 11

    Update: no community transfer of Covid in NZ. Over 60 days since last case.

    13 days since leader of the opposition said he suspected community transfer.

    2 days since he sat in a large crowd at a rugby game, with no mask.

  12. swordfish 12

    From an unfinished 2014 draft post on my Blog:

    Pinpointing Party Strongholds :

    Labour: Strongest Booth: Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Otara, Manukau East, South Auckland. Labour Party-Vote 82%.

    All contenders were low income / heavily Pasifika areas, including booths in Eastern Porirua, Mangere & (above all) other Otara booths. Pasifika populations ranged from a little over 60% in the catchment area around Cannons Creek School (Porirua), to more than 70% in parts of Mangere & more than 80% around each of the Otara booths.

    A fitting stronghold given Sir Ed's affinity with the Labour Party & involvement in the Citizens for Rowling Campaign in 1975.

    Google Maps Streetview of Sir Ed Booth.


    Otara, of course, is one of the poorest urban areas in New Zealand – wasn't for nothing that Pauly Fuemana ironically styled his pop duo Otara Millionaires Club. The median Personal Income was (2014) around just $15,000, compared to $30,000 in Auckland as a whole, $35,000 in Devonport-Takapuna on the North Shore, and $43,000 in East Auckland. (What's more, within Otara, the neighbourhood around the Ed Hillary booth stands out for having a particularly low median Personal Income – $13,500).

    Similarly, Otara suffers unusually high Unemployment – around 22% compared to Auckland's 8% … scores a maximum 10 on the Deprivation Index, is home to unusually high proportions of manual labourers and very low numbers of Managers and Professionals,

    The neighbourhood surrounding Cannons Creek School, meanwhile, is clearly Labour’s stronghold within the Wellington region.

    National: Strongest Booth: Lee Stream School. 40km NW of Dunedin, Clutha-Southland. National Party-Vote: 96%.

    Google Maps Streetview of Lee Stream booth.


    Other contenders included Poolburn in Central Otago's Ida Valley (Nats 92.5%), the small South Taranaki settlement of Pihama (90.7%) & Dorie in the South Rakaia area of Mid-Canterbury (90%).

    Unsurprisingly, all rural communities.

    If I remember rightly, Whitford, Stonefields & one of the Remmers booths were the Bluest places not only in Auckland but within Urban NZ as a whole.

    Greens: Strongest Booth: Onekaka, Golden Bay, West Coast-Tasman. Green Party-Vote: 54.7%.

    Golden Bay Hippie / New Age community. Many Neils, not so many Riks, Vyvians or Mikes.

    Other contenders: Aro Valley (a state unto itself), Wellington Central (45.4%). Wellington High School, Mt Cook, Wellington Central (40.8%), St Paul's Lutheran Church, Mt Cook, Wellington Central (37.7%).

    Never got around to doing NZF. Ultimately lost interest in the whole thing.

    That was 2014 … these days, with huge numbers voting in Advanced Booths, pinpointing strongholds becomes are much more difficult task.

    * I combined both the General Electorate & Maori Electorate vote to capture all voters within each booth's catchment area.

    • Ad 12.1


      Do us a favour and catch up with yourself.

    • RedBaronCV 12.2

      Love it.

      I wonder if in those 90% plus Nat communities whether people run around giving each other the evil eye trying to work out who actually doesn't "support the team".

      Personal favourite though was the remote SI booth a couple of decades back that voted 100% to legalise cannabis.

      • swordfish 12.2.1

        Vaguely remember that … West Coast-Tasman booth IIRR … & what made it particularly poignant was that it was one of the old mining Labour strongholds of the early-mid 20C … have a feeling it was either Denniston or Millerton but can't be entirely sure … from staunch Labour to Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis bastion.

        On National intimidation of voters … apparently quite a lot of that in Rangitikei in the late 70s after Bruce Beetham scored his spectacular By-Election victory in a traditional Nat stronghold. Voters in certain communities there were threatened by young farmer activists that the Muldoon Govt would know who they were if they defected to Social Credit. And there’d be serious consequences.

        • RedBaronCV

          Yeah I can imagine national doing that.

          I always wondered if the cops raided that west coast settlement on Monday morning. They were prone to doing things like that back then.

        • greywarshark

          That's interesting I wonder how much of that mentioning ‘serious consequences’ still goes on. Quiet, standover tactics.

          I read through the summary of the McDonald-Guy case and was amazed at the damage that McD was prepared to do and someone go with him to help or was he pushed? And then there was a report that all had been cleared up and settled between McDonald and the Guy family so they were on good terms again. But the wife had had her puppies bashed on the head or something, and I don't think one would ever forgive or forget that. In town the cops would be round. What happens in the country? Does the one resident cop miles away, say okay I've made a note, let us know if it happens again? And they had a place set on fire too.

          I encountered strange behaviour when driving through a quiet farm area – chap passed me and made the hand gesture of shooting in the head, apparently I had been going too slow. Violence by gesture, antipathy anyway.

          I wonder how much intrinsic violence lurks amongst those green and pleasant lands.

  13. joe90 13

    Atlas Bludged.

    • I Feel Love 13.1

      Awww, cute, just like our own bastions of the free market & supermen, The Tax Payer Bozos.

  14. Fireblade 14

    191 new cases in Victoria today.

    • Gabby 14.1

      Odds on the bluebloods getting locked down in their macmansions with the police all around?

      • Muttonbird 14.1.1

        At 2550km that is a tough border to police. How are the cobbers going to do it?

    • Fireblade 14.2

      Breakdown of today's new cases in Victoria. 37 linked to known outbreaks. 154 under investigation. Zero from returning overseas travelers.

  15. SPC 15

    Foreign students will not be allowed to stay in the US this autumn if their universities have moved classes fully online, unless they switch to a course with in-person tuition.


  16. observer 16

    OK, now I'm starting to believe he really is satire:

    National Party leader Todd Muller has again described the government's handling of border quarantine as shambolic.

    In response to the Air New Zealand announcement, Muller said any New Zealander who wanted to come home should be allowed to return.

    He said it was the government's shambolic handling of the border in recent weeks which had put the facilities under pressure.


    I mean, where to start with this? The one-word vocabulary? The nonsensical line that more Kiwis are coming back because of the quarantine facilities? As opposed to say, escaping from countries in the grip of a pandemic? The facilities are under pressure because people are in them. Where else would they be in Todd-land? It doesn't make any kind of sense … political, medical, mathematical, anything.

    • McFlock 16.1

      I wonder what the one word to describe muller's party leadership might be? The word to be used incessantly in place of any more nuanced criticism?



      Maybe a portmanteau: hambolic? lackadaisedandconfused?

    • SPC 16.2

      Zombie economics requires us to be open to community spread and the death of the aged and infirm.

      Todd Muller will oppose the euthanasia legislation becauase he is pro life, but he is encouraging risk to the lives of fellow New Zealanders because he serves mammon.

      The life of the god of the haves and sacrifice of the weak, its called herd immunity becuase the herd goes on its way and the weak are left behind to be eaten by predators (in this case a pandemic virus ravaging the body).

      To use a past National campaign ad, throwing the old and infirm overboard.

    • AB 16.3

      But Todd has 'business experience' – so he can instantaneously and 'seamlessly' scale complex systems to handle increased load without any deleterious effects. 'Business experience' turns dull boys into magicians.

    • Barfly 16.4

      To Todd Conehead it makes political sense – as does endlessly repeating the word "shambolic" he is an arsehole end of story

    • Fireblade 16.5

      Todd's unimaginative repetition is bland and boring, but it does reflect his conservative and visionless persona quite well. Simon Bridges word salads were far more entertaining.

  17. Muttonbird 17

    When NZ announced a 4 week lockdown from 26 March there were many on both sides of the Tasman saying NZ had got it wrong and you didn't need to be so strict because, the economy or something.

    We eradicated the disease with this approach and our government was widely praised for it but still there were critics many pointing to Victoria's much less strict Covid 19 measures.

    We had the National Party who got very upset at the positive coverage Jacinda Ardern got for our strategy.

    The breaking news today is Victoria is considering a 4 week lockdown of its own, as if they have finally realised what is required to get on top of this pernicious disease.

    Imagine how much better the health and economic outcomes for Victoria would have been if they'd just done what NZ did in the first place.


    • Stunned Mullet 17.1

      Weren't you arguing for no or little lock down in NZ and likening this corona virus to a bit of a 'flu' just a few months ago ?

      • Barfly 17.1.1

        Diversion trolling much there SM?


      • Muttonbird 17.1.2

        Sure, I was alarmed in early March when the world started shutting down. I felt at the time certain countries were over-reacting. That changed of course when the full picture became clear.

    • Muttonbird 17.2

      Red card, Melbourne. Six week suspension.

  18. Pataua4life 18

    What about NSW, Queensland, SA, WA etc. Only reason Vic is in the poo is lax isolation protocol. Hmmm that sounds like something I have heard before.

    NZ got bloody lucky, Vic not so much

    • observer 18.1

      You must have been hiding from the news for ages if you think what happened in Victoria "sounds like" NZ in any way at all.

      I can teach you how to use a search engine called Google, it will give you all the details, just ask.

      I'm sure you are disappointed and you need the virus spreading in NZ, but you'll just have to keep watching the 1 pm updates and hoping for the worst.

    • Muttonbird 18.2

      Or, the breach in NZ was not as serious as those in VIC and the holes in procedure were not as serious either.

      More likely you have been captured by our tabloid like media.

    • gsays 18.3

      "NZ got bloody lucky,…"

      No luck involved, good leadership from good advice, followed by high levels of compliance, compassion, care and patience.

  19. ianmac 19

    I keep on thinking that the cooperation of the 5 million is down to the remarkable leadership of Jacinda and Bloomfield. Just amazing that so many were on side!

    Wherever there is expansion of infection there is indecisive leadership and Muller is demonstrating just how awful his leadership would have been

    And his continuing undermining of the confidence of New Zealanders is unforgivable.

    Muller. You are fired!

  20. ianmac 20

    Hamish Walker supplied the spreadsheet of those in quarantene and supplied by Michelle Boag!

    Oh boy!

  21. calltoaccount 21

    Wonder how Boag got the spreadsheet? If it was done in a way that looks / is malicious (as opposed to ‘shambles’), then Nats are done for. Yay!

  22. Eco Maori 22

    Kia Ora


    Support for drug addiction is needed.

    That's is cool investing $761 million dollars to help council fix their water infrastructure.

    Ka kite Ano.

  23. Eco Maori 23

    Kia Ora

    Te Ao Maori Marama.

    Te Kaumara never says how sweet it is.

    Read NZ that's cool telling Matariki storys with high profile tangata and orchestra music.

    Congratulations Rangi for your prize in teaching Maori tamariki science.

    Ka kite Ano

  24. Eco Maori 24

    Kia Ora

    The Am Show.

    Global warming is causing all sorts of problems around the world.

    Science has great subjects for tamariki to study.

    Ka kite Ano

  25. Eco Maori 25

    Kia Ora

    Te Ao Maori Marama.

    In a few years time we will see all this good mahi of planting trees and other plants in the wetlands and around Awa thriving and filtering the Wai

    Its good to see some Iwi getting compensation for their Tipuna loss.

    Ka kite Ano

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