Open mike 08/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 8th, 2020 - 304 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 …

304 comments on “Open mike 08/04/2020 ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    The media has so let the country down during this pandemic. Yet again, we've got RNZ leading the news with a reckon from an articulate middle class person about testing. FFS, we are thirteen days into this thing and you are still running lazy anecdotes? WTF is Guyon Espiner doing, isn't he paid to be an onto it sleuthing roving reporter free to leap into any story? Or is it to hard when the material isn't handed to you on a plate in a Tauranga cafe?

    It took an aside in this puff piece from the Washington Post – – to reveal something new about the decision to go into lockdown:

    "…A group of influential leaders got on the phone with her the following day to urge moving to Level 4.

    “We were hugely worried about what was happening in Italy and Spain,” said one of them, Stephen Tindall, founder of the Warehouse, New Zealand’s largest retailer…"

    Now, that is news. A glimpse into how the decision was made that informs us a little of the power structures of our country and how they work.

    Some Mum giving just her side of the story and bitching about how the system failed her expert epidemiology is not a story.

    On Twitter, Tova O'Brien has responded to the pile on of almost unrelieved criticism with the usual thin skinned response you get from our journalists – playing the victim, refusing to engage with even the sincere and reasoned critics and blocking people left right and centre. presumably when Mediaworks collapses and she is unemployed she will be genuinely puzzled that nobody really cares.

    • I Feel Love 1.1

      I just thought this morning that during the Dirty Politics era many of our journalists were aware (a majority I'd wager), yet none revealed what was going on, except Hager.

    • Janice 1.2

      I agree that RNZ is focusing on negative hearsay. This morning’s woman who didn’t get a test, I am sorry for that, but did people expect all systems and people running them to be up to speed immediately in this new era that nobody has been in before. The other morning, they had some self-entitled woman complaining about being unable to get her appointment for fertility treatment. It is getting beyond stupid. The more negative anecdotes they run, the more moaning people they will get contacting them. Let's have some proper news please, we may as well listen to talkback.

      • Sanctuary 1.2.1

        One take away I have from the David Clark story is that the press gallery are not intellectually equipped to deal with complex news stories. They want conflict, gotchas and a horse race where they play a role as arbiters and manufacturers of public opinion.

        They fell upon the Clark story with the ravenous appetite of people who have been starved of the diet they know best and who have felt diminished by the reign of experts and good decision making. Demanding Clark’s head on a platter has been as much about re-assuring the egos of the press gallery journalists they are still important as anything else, IMHO.

        I’ve not heard anyone who doesn’t have a partisan axe to grind outside the press bubble giving a big shit about the 20km drive to the beach – a lot of people just pulled a guilty face at the news.

        Frankly, a lot of press gallery have come across as determined but also a bit dim. And stubborn stupidity doesn’t much to recommend it, really.

        • bill

          I’ve not heard anyone who doesn’t have a partisan axe to grind outside the press bubble giving a big shit about the 20km drive to the beach – a lot of people just pulled a guilty face at the news.


        • lprent

          They fell upon the Clark story with the ravenous appetite of people who have been starved of the diet they know best and who have felt diminished by the reign of experts and good decision making.

          Yep. The 20km drive was a failure by Clark. Mostly because he was acting like a dumbarse – who should have known better. Personally I’d count that as a first strike – it heightens my attention to him as a possible successor to such tone deaf political luminaries as Shane Jones or David Shearer.

      • mac1 1.2.2

        Talk back is terrible. My radio headphones yesterday got knocked from RNZ to talkback by mistake, and I heard some shock jock defending himself from a young woman who had taken him to task for his criticising what the PM was wearing on the daily press conference.

        I despair for our media at times. Bring back Aunt Daisy, I say. At least her recipes were useful.

        • Ah, Mac1, Aunt Daisy – who reportedly said on national radio "It's a lovely day and the sun is shining up my back passage!"

          You have to be a certain vintage to even know who Aunt Daisy was. Yes, her recipes and general good sense were legendary.

          • RedLogix

            Her husband was one of my grand-uncles Fred Basham. My mum was very fond of them both. A lost era …

          • mac1

            Heh. I thought that was what people who have their heads in the sand say.

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.3

      "Some Mum giving just her side of the story…bitching…”

      Misogyny, much?

    • RedBaronCV 1.4

      Did "influential leaders" really do that or are they just trying to grab the credit?

      • Carolyn_Nth 1.4.1

        Yeah. And what is the evidence that their phone call prompted to make her decision on lock down? other than say, all the medical, behavioural and economic modelling they have been doing for over a month?

    • mauī 1.5

      The odious Radio Neo Ziberal.

    • Cinny 1.6

      While this is going on everyone is looking to the news for answers.

      Media have the opportunity to lift peoples spirits or spread unrest and anxiety, some, (especially the talk back hosts) appear to be doing the later.

      This in short has the ability to genuinely affect peoples mental health, and the media outlets responsible should be held directly accountable for it.

      Health professionals are now advising people to switch off the news, as it is having such an ill effect on mental wellbeing.

    • Wensleydale 1.7

      Anyone expecting quality journalism from Tova O'Brien has probably suffered some sort of catastrophic brain injury.

    • lprent 1.8

      Thanks for that article. I wrote a post around it..

  2. Andre 2

    Ok, now the lockdown is starting to bite.

    Yesterday I could feel my arteries going soft and squidgy, and my usual remedy to firm them back up is eight slices of pepperoni, tomato sauce and cheese awesomeness on a thin and crispy base. Not allowed right now.

    I could make one myself, but the home efforts lack the oversalted, sugared, grease-dripping, negative-nutritional-value gloriousness of the real thing.

    So the desperation move is buying a frozen one from the supermarket, and since I needed other stuff, off I went. Disaster. Frozen pizzas were all sold out, except for the vegan ones. Not even any plain vegetarian ones with real cheese that I could put my own pepperoni onto. Just fukn vegan.

    It's going to be a long two or three or six weeks.

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      I have two apartment dwelling friends who despite losing access to the gym have lost weight during this lockdown, simply because they have had to cook at home instead of takeways/eating out for dinner four times a week.

      • Andre 2.1.1

        Yeah. I'm guessing a lot of people are breathing a bit easier too because of reduced air pollution.

        • mac1

          And the near silence. Sipping a home brew and listening to the country side on the other side of the river and thinking that this must have been what it was like in the days before motorised traffic. The sound of ducks wings striking the water as they took off, the magpie in the distance, fantails flitting for flies, and the neighbours' cats moaning in the asparagus fern.

          • Adrian

            Stay away from those cats Mac ,…they might have The Virus !

            • mac1

              I don't think they were passing viruses in there, Adrian. Copying fleas, more like, as one cat had another cat upon its back to bite 'em……

          • Andre

            It's just occurred to me – I can't hear dogs barking. Except every now and then playing on the beach when the tide is lower. I guess with their owners home they're not getting bored. Normally on a weekday there's some just making noise for the sake of it every few minutes.

            • mac1

              Andre, I think you're right. The working couple next door are at home and their two dogs were a barking nuisance. Now they just watch me walk past in the ROW and no territorial defence from them. And the neighbourhood is bark free.

          • Cinny

            Hehehe 🙂 Our cat has joined us two nights in a row for a walk around the block, it's super amusing for the girls and I.

            We are loving the fantails at home too, they are absolutely gorgeous social birds.

        • Sanctuary

          The views from the mountains in Auckland have been spectacular with the clean air.

        • alwyn

          "reduced air pollution.".

          That is hardly surprising given that you are currently unable to make pizzas like the one you describe at 2 above.

          What something like that must do to your stomach! No wonder there is dreadful air pollution in your vicinity during normal times. Please tell me that 2.1.1 is not an accident and you meant to bring a little humour into our day.

          If it was an accident it is as bad as the quote from Aunt Daisy at

  3. ScottGN 3

    Whatever it was the Radio NZ thought Guyon Espiner was going to achieve for them in his new role as roving reporter a la Bernstein and Woodward it hasn’t worked. Maybe he’s just a news anchor after all?

    • arkie 3.1

      He has been doing a stand-up job of running lines of the big-pharma lobby group Medicines NZ in undermining Pharmac.

      Walters says the drug companies are playing in an emotional space, and they know how to get what they want. Often the best way to do that is keep their own faces out of the public eye.

      “They set up these campaigns, and they make sure they push out those heart-warming stories in order to create awareness in the public of people that are suffering, but also to build that momentum of calls for these drugs to be funded.

      In New Zealand a lot of that work is done via the main pharmaceutical lobby group Medicines NZ.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.1

        He does seem to like his "scoops" delivered in nice cellophane and with a big ribbon around them.

      • ianmac 3.1.2

        As an amateur cynic, I suspect that the Big Pharma is behind those big heart stringing causes used to convince us that Pharmac is a disaster. I wonder if those individuals who were used for the publicity program wake up one morning and discover that they were used in the same way that family members of murder victims were/are used to bolster the SSTrust. Tragic and unscrupulous.

        • arkie

          They obfuscate but with a little sleuthing you can find Medicines NZ's connection to most of these stories.

        • Stunned Mullet

          Yeah those deaths and side effects during the lamotrigine switch all just fake news … fluoxetine shortages …fake news…. delays in funding new medicines…. fake news

          Clearly all an industry plot.

  4. Andre 4

    Seems to me yesterday's COVID-19 update included a hopeful marker.

    For the first time time since the crisis started, more victims were moved to "recovered" than were added to "probable and confirmed". In other words, yesterday there were fewer known active infections (918) than there were the day before (924).

    To be sure, it's noisy data and it's not a definite sign of a turning point, but it's a hopeful signal nonetheless.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1

      That would mean R0 has dropped below 1 (i.e each infected person is infecting less than one other person) – which is the entire point of the lockdown. Great news if it pans out.

      I think I read they got R0 down to 0.4 in Wuhan.

    • Carolyn_Nth 4.2

      Can't find a link to a quote on this, but I thought Bloomfield said the percentage of Covid-19 cases directly related to overseas contact was in the 40s, while the majority of "community transmission" was related to the clusters they are monitoring

      – though they are also looking to see if there have been other outbreaks that they have so far missed with their testing.

      • Andre 4.2.1

        I'd be really interested to see that kind of data in even more detail.

        Like how many of the new cases are recently repatriated kiwis that showed symptoms and were put in quarantine on arrival, how many were recently repatriated and released to self-isolation that developed symptoms, how many were in the bubble of a recently repatriated kiwi that never showed symptoms etc.

        Even if it's just to see if there's any basis at all to the idea of mandatory quarantines for all arrivals, or if that push is just a mindless kneejerk.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Yes, yes yes we've all heard about the alien invasion and frankly the gallery are bored at our efficient military response and the imminent victory of the earth over our erstwhile genocidal opponents from across the galaxy.

    What the Press gallery says the people REALLY want to know is a) Is it true the defense minister went out during an alien air raid to rescue his pet bunnies in direct contravention of the take cover rules and b) what is your response to this nice middle class person claiming they saw the aliens last November using their home made telescope and were not taken seriously when they rang and left a message on their local MPs electorate telephone number?

  6. Janice 6

    BTW when will the police stop Simon from his weekly family escape to Wellington on the basis that he is entitled as the leader of the opposition?

  7. Muttonbird 7

    Israel health minister, who claims coronavirus is ‘divine punishment’ for homosexuality, tests positive for COVID-19

    According to The Times of Israel, Litzman, 71, has been accused of violating his own ministry’s guidelines on social distancing in order to continue to attend prayer services.

    Last week, asked if lockdown restrictions would be lifted before Easter, (Litzman) said: “We pray and hope that the Messiah will arrive before Easter, the time of our redemption.

    “I am sure that the Messiah will come and take us out as God took us out of Egypt. We will soon be free and the Messiah will come and save us from all the world’s troubles.”

    Aren’t we lucky to have David Clark!

    • millsy 7.1

      Oh Christ, Israel just keeps getting better and better.

      Worth mentioning as well, they stopped teaching evolution in their schools.

      Makes me even more angrier that Corbyn was forced out, he was the only mainstream western politician that wouldn't toe the line on that country.

      • Paddington 7.1.1

        Corbyn (and his brand of Labour) was 'forced out' by the voters of the UK who saw them as poison. It's great to see Labour pull the rug from under this piece of work

        • Morrissey


        • millsy

          Yeah, well your mate Blair said he was fine and dandy with creationism being taught in the schools he privatised. Corbyn would have had creationism thrown out of every school in the UK by lunchtime had Labour won. He is the only major party leader in the country who accepts Darwin's findings as truth.

          • Paddington

            He was also the only party leader who admires Marxism. Whoop de doo.

            • KJT

              It must stick in your craw, the UK, USA, New Zealand, and most of the world are coping with the virus, and the economic effects, using, "socialism".

              And. It is working.

              Pity Britain that they elected an arrogant prat, instead of Corbyn.

              • Paddington

                No, they aren't using socialism. They are using government funds raised through taxation from a mixed market economy. Now that must stick in your craw!

                • KJT

                  Actually. They are "printing money".

                  To keep those failing businesses, going.

                  So. When it is over the people who do the work of keeping everything going, can go back to doing it.

                  • Paddington

                    Do you actually know what socialism is? It's easy to look it up in a dictionary. Remeber the bit about " collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods ".

                    • KJT

                      Depends on your dictionary.

                      You mean like we have in the Nordic countries?

                      All countries are mixed economies. The successful ones have a State collective share of the economy of 50 to 60%.

                      As a pragmatic “Capitalist” myself I know which ones are “best for business”.

                      New Zealand State share, has dropped to 30% and it was showing in our collapsing infrastructure, disappearing high added value industries and dropping, wages, with only immigration and runaway asset speculation showing any rises.

                  • Paddington

                    " All countries are mixed economies. "

                    I don't know about all, but there are certainly some who have implemented predominantly socialist policies (, whereas most, and certainly the most successful, having implemented predominantly market policies.

                    The 'Nordic' countries are certainly not socialist ( They are on the same paradigm as NZ, a strong social welfare system funded by market economics.

                    • KJT

                      By your own definition , "collective control of production etc", the Nordic countries are more than twice as Socialist as Venezuala, and more socialist than China, where the State owns 31% of businesses!

                      Claiming they are not "Socialist" is as accurate as saying the USA, doesn't have State intervention.

                      Venezuela, like many other countries, has been destroyed by US sanctions designed to “make their economy bleed”. Fuck all to do with socialism.

            • millsy

              Nothing wrong with Marxism.

              Might be worth pointing out that there was no homelessesness in the USSR.

              • Paddington


                " The official fiction that there are no homeless people in the USSR has fallen victim to glasnost. "


                "Under the impetus of Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or greater openness, the Soviet press has made some intriguing revelations.

                It seems that brodyagi (tramps) and bomzhi (persons of no fixed address) are to be found living in coal bins, garbage dumps, railroad stations, abandoned houses–and in special detention centers run by the police."

                You were saying?

              • KJT

                Even though a large number were housed in the Gulags.

                But then, if you look at the imprisonment rate, for being poor and black, in the USA.

                Mind you the USSR, was democratic and socialist, (Marxist version) for all of two weeks after the revolution.

                Having said that, I know a few Russians, that have emigrated here, that reckon the Soviets were a lot better than the current, kleptocracy. At least under the Soviets they had, food, jobs and housing.

                • Paddington

                  The USSR declared homelessness 'illegal' in order to try to end it. It was a dishonest, evil regime that manipulated statistics until their economy collapsed and the truth was revealed. Sure they housed and fed some people, like the elites. But for huge numbers of russians, soviet life became a living hell.
                  And you don’t seriously think the gulags compared to US prisons today?

                  • KJT

                    The old. " It's Ok, because someone else did worse".

                    Don't you have anything better to support your position?

                    • Paddington

                      Where did I argue that? Socialism is not the 'worst of a bad bunch'. It is, to plagiarise Sam Harris, the motherlode of bad ideas.

                    • KJT

                      "The only thing wrong with Socialism, is that it allows fools to survive to adulthood, to claim that it doesn't work".

                    • Paddington

                      "The only thing wrong with Socialism, is that it allows fools to survive to adulthood, to claim that it doesn't work".

                      There are some great quotes around, granted. But I submit to you that there were none funnier than Reagan.

                  • KJT


                    "Sanitary and living conditions for an estimated 2,000 homeless people along Los Angeles’ Skid Row are so severe that the United Nations recently compared them to Syrian refugee camps".

                    • Paddington

                      Are you still saying this didn't happen in the USSR?

                    • KJT

                      Never said anything of the sort.

                      I'm not a supporter of totalitarian Governments, whatever ideology they pretend to support.

                      I mentioned some observations, from people who lived under the Soviet regime, who I now work with.

                    • Paddington

                      "I'm not a supporter of totalitarian Governments, whatever ideology they pretend to support."

                      All good. Me neither.

                • RedLogix

                  Having said that, I know a few Russians, that have emigrated here, that reckon the Soviets were a lot better than the current, kleptocracy. At least under the Soviets they had, food, jobs and housing.

                  Survivor bias.

                  Incidentally having actually lived and worked in Russia for a period I can first hand inform you that the food was largely terrible, the jobs were allocated often regardless of interest, talent or capacity, and the housing uniformly dull. I lived in a standard 13 story Soviet apartment block; the grim novelty was interesting for a while, but truly nothing you or I would choose.

                  Yes in one sense they had 'safe' lives, but in every other sense they had traded their freedom to make their own lives, to risk triumph and failure, to become truly human. Most of us do not truly value this until it is taken from us; then we find that getting it back is much harder than losing it.

                  • Gabby

                    You've certainly got around haven't you.

                  • millsy

                    "I lived in a standard 13 story Soviet apartment block; the grim novelty was interesting for a while, but truly nothing you or I would choose. "

                    I tell you what RL, there are a lot of people in boarding houses, motels, cars and bus shelters in this country who would gladly move into the 13 story Soviet apartment blocks that you hated. And I bet the rent would be way cheaper than what you charge.

                    " the jobs were allocated often regardless of interest, talent or capacity,"

                    A lot better than having people trudge round applying for jobs they would never get because they had a shoplifting conviction when they were 16. No unemployment and people could just walk into a job when they finished school.

                    "food was largely terrible"

                    Same deal here.

                • alwyn

                  The best description of the Soviet system was probably

                  "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.".

                  The worst thing about the place was the amount of their production that went to the military. Estimates were that it was around 50% of their total production. Ultimately the whole thing collapsed.

                  The USA is a system where about 3% goes to the military. That is less than Russia today but more than the 2% or so of China.


            • Morrissey

              He was also the only party leader who admires Marxism.

              What do you mean by that? What evidence do you have that Jeremy Corbyn is anything other than a moderate, mildly reformist mainstream thinker who is no more radical than Jacinda Ardern or any other democratic politician?

              No, on second thoughts, don't even try. Looking back at other things you've written on this otherwise decent forum, you really don't have a clue.

              Your quoting of Sam Harris confirms the general impression of haplessness.

              • Paddington

                Corbyn described Marx as a "Great Economist".


                I take your other comments comparing Corbyn to Ardern as satire.

                • Morrissey

                  Marx was a great economist. You really are clueless.

                  • Paddington

                    No, he wasn't.

                    More the point, we’re discussing Corbyn. And there are reams of refernces to his marxist leanings. Google it.

                    • Morrissey

                      So what was he? A great cricketer or something?

                      A word to the wise: someone who quotes Sam Harris as an authority should not be attempting to participate in political/philosophical discussions.

                      I see that you’ve quoted Ronald Reagan as a humorist as well.

                      Not looking good for your reputation, my friend.

                    • RedLogix

                      lol … Sam Harris is a million times better known than any of us. Like Paddington I disagree with many of his positions, but I can listen to his reasoning without wanting to puke. Unlike Marx who seems to have been a vile human being in every sense of the word.

                    • Paddington

                      " Like Paddington I disagree with many of his positions, but I can listen to his reasoning without wanting to puke. "

                      Indeed. I'm a theist, and yet two of my favourite thinkers are/were Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Both atheists.

                    • Morrissey

                      lol … Sam Harris is a million times better known than any of us.

                      So is Donald Trump. So is the Christchurch shooter. What legitimacy does that confer on him?

                      Like Paddington I disagree with many of his positions, but I can listen to his reasoning without wanting to puke.

                      You have an extraordinarily tough constitution then. How do you feel about his rabid advocacy for Israel's depradations in the Occupied Territories?

                      Unlike Marx who seems to have been a vile human being in every sense of the word.

                      Really? Perhaps you could you expand on that statement, which is remarkably light on evidence.

                    • Morrissey

                      ….two of my favourite thinkers are/were Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Both atheists.

                      Why are you even mentioning their atheism? That has nothing to do with why you support their views on other matters.

                  • Paddington

                    I didn't quote Sam Harris as an authority. I plagiarised a wonderful expression he coined.

                    Now to Marx.

                    " A GOOD subtitle for a biography of Karl Marx would be “a study in failure”. Marx claimed that the point of philosophy was not just to understand the world but to improve it. Yet his philosophy changed it largely for the worst: the 40% of humanity who lived under Marxist regimes for much of the 20th century endured famines, gulags and party dictatorships. Marx thought his new dialectical science would allow him to predict the future as well as understand the present. Yet he failed to anticipate two of the biggest developments of the 20th century—the rise of fascism and the welfare state—and wrongly believed communism would take root in the most advanced economies. Today’s only successful self-styled Marxist regime is an enthusiastic practitioner of capitalism (or “socialism with Chinese characteristics”). "


                    I would describe Marx as a great thinker, but he was possibly more a Philsopher than an economist. Perhaps he should have stuck to that.

                    • RedLogix

                      In his letters to Engels it's crystal clear that Marx fully anticipated the constant need for the 'violent overthrow' of the middle classes. The genocidal impulse was baked in at the very beginning, as with all totalitarian revolutionaries, the ends always justifies the means.

                      Setting aside some of the more vituperative accounts of Marx's personal life isn't straightforward, but it's clear from even those trying to present an even-handed version, that Marx was pretty much a failure at everything he touched. And unpleasantly so at that.

                    • Paddington

                      "…that Marx was pretty much a failure at everything he touched. And unpleasantly so at that. "


                  • Paddington

                    Morrisey, Reagan's humour was reknowned. Just for you:

                    A terrific collection of Reagan humour

                    And for one of the best political speeches ever delivered That will be the best 29 minutes you’ll have spent in a while.

                    • Morrissey

                      Morrisey [sic], Reagan's humour was reknowned [sic].

                      No it was not. He cracked a few jokes, but he never said a thing that could pass for wit. Clinton was sharper, funnier than Reagan. So was George H.W. Bush and his son. So was Obama. So is Trump.

                      Maybe you thought his Trumpian joke that "We begin bombing Russia in five minutes" was funny?

                  • Paddington

                    "How do you feel about his rabid advocacy for Israel's depradations in the Occupied Territories? "

                    I know that was directed at RedLogix, but unless you can understand the historical, religious and cultural nuances of the Isareli/Palestinian conflict, it is better not going there.

                    • Morrissey

                      Good Lord, you have a nerve. It's clear from your comments you know less about "the historical, religious and cultural nuances of the Isareli [sic]/Palestinian conflict" than probably anyone else on this forum.

                      Enough of the prim and inappropriate lectures from you.

                  • Paddington

                    "Why are you even mentioning their atheism? "

                    It's responding to the "I disagree with many of his positions, but I can listen to his reasoning without wanting to puke" comment from RedLogix.

                  • Paddington

                    " A GOOD subtitle for a biography of Karl Marx would be “a study in failure”.

                    No, he wasn't. His ideas have pushed millions of people into authoritarian regimes blackened by starvation and state sanctioned murder.

                    • millsy

                      What about the millions of Americans who die each year because they dont have health insurance?

                      Or is it 'the market' in action?

                    • KJT

                      Always funny when people talk about economists, or philosophers, they have never read.

                      The ones who quote one sentence, from Adam Smith's two main books, are the funniest.

                      Especially when they follow Friedman, Von Mises, and Hayek's delusions. Even if they don't fully understand them.

                      Which have led to poverty, death and blighted lives, for millions, in right wing States.

                      And. Are currently killing people in so many Western countries.

                    • Paddington

                      "Or is it 'the market' in action?"

                      Not having health insurance is nothing to do with the market, any more than not having vehicle insurance.

                    • Paddington

                      "Which have led to poverty, death and blighted lives, for millions, in right wing States. "

                      'Right wing' is far more than an economic proscription. In fact it is not, in and of itself, an economic system at all.

                  • Paddington

                    "It's clear from your comments you know less about "the historical, religious and cultural nuances of the Isareli [sic]/Palestinian conflict" than probably anyone else on this forum. "

                    You don’t know anything about my knowledge of the subject. I have a very jaundiced view to the actions of both the Israeli's and Palestinians over time, but I understand the context’s at play. I sense you are an apologist for terrorism.

    • Stunned Mullet 7.2

      'There have been reports of extreme and homophobic statements from some hardline religious leaders of different faiths concerning coronavirus.

      Rabbi Litzman, however, is not among them. What’s more, had Israel’s health minister made such a statement, it would have caused an uproar within Israel, an overwhelmingly liberal and gay-friendly society. A story of this nature would certainly have made headlines in the Israeli press, including the many professional English-language news sites that are easily accessed by journalists the world over.

      So where did this story come from? A Pakistan-based website and a progressive secular humanist site that got it from… the Pakistani site.

      This is an unfortunate demonstration of how easy it is for fake news to spread from illegitimate sources.'

      • Muttonbird 7.2.1

        And the violation of the rules set by his own government?

        This is just the worst in what has been a whole series of baffling and outrageous moves by the health minister in the time of corona, which have included mainly attempts to obtain exceptions from the rules of social distancing, like an attempt to exempt the ritual baths and the synagogues from the prohibition on congregating. And this, even though it was known very well that these are key nodes of contagion. Thus, Litzman was working supposedly for the benefit of his community but in actuality he has done it more harm than anyone else.

        God's chosen people!

        • Stunned Mullet

          Yep pretty odd from a health minister….and highlights the dangers of cobbling together coalitions with fringe (or religious) parties.

    • Gabby 7.3

      I have FIVE CRISP NZ DOLLARS for the reporter who asks him if this means he is homosexual, then runs a story under the headline Health Minister Denies Homosexuality.


      • alwyn 7.3.1

        That's all right Gabby. I have it on very good authority that Ronald Reagan was far worse than that. He wasn't a homosexual. He was a practicing thespian!

  8. Ffloyd 8

    And here we go. David Clarke being roasted by NZR yet again. How long can they keep this going?
    And what about Simon? Why is he not attracting the media’s attention? People are missing the point about his reasons for being able to just take to the road whenever he wants under the guise of HOLDING THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT! What if he has an accident which requires the assistance of ambulances,police,tow trucks? Or the requirement of a hospital bed, nurses,doctors, hospital equipment like ventilators and he obviously would insist on his family visiting.
    And does he have staff coming in to do his LOO bidding? So many questions to be asked. Go on Tova. Have at it. TOVA….. where are you when the hard questions need to be asked. NZ needs to know the truth behind SS’s road trips.

  9. ScottGN 9

    Poor old Simon. I almost felt sorry him on Morning Report this morning. He started off playing so nice. Didn’t have a bad word to say about David Clark, sympathised with the PM and the rock and the hard place he assumed she was stuck between even in the face of Susie’s unrelenting efforts to get him to be, even just a little bit, snarly. Clearly the Opposition has got the memo from the country about the mood we’re all in even if the Press Gallery hasn’t.

    Things went a bit pear-shaped though when the interview turned to the necessity of his marathon commute from Tauranga to Wellington. His work was vital he said, so vital in fact that the very foundations of our democracy depended on Simon doing his work. Work we’re told, may well be even more vital and important than the work of the PM herself. And no, he wasn’t driving to Wellington because of the dodgy internet that bedevils Tauranga. In fact he never said that Tauranga was a shithole with useless wi-fi, not even with his mates on Newstalk ZB.

  10. RedLogix 10

    What baffles me is how come China is reporting zero new CV19 cases when epidemiologists in the rest of the world tell us the we are going to have to live with this virus until we either have a vaccine or we get to 60% 'herd immunity'.

    China has been reporting zero new indigenous cases since last Friday. If they keep this up for another 10 days or so this means they will have effectively eradicated the virus from within their borders. They haven't got a vaccine, they haven't reached herd immunity, and we're told that everything the CCP says is gospel truth, so exactly what are they doing that the rest of the world doesn't know about?

  11. Anker 11

    Extreme lockdown measures red logix. That is what China has been doing. Closing down a city of 11 million people, it’s province and the whole country.

    this seems to be the only way to do it

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Extreme lockdown measures red logix. That is what China has been doing.

      From my link above:

      While some have been reluctant to claim victory against COVID-19 just yet as the true extent of community transmissions is not known, University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely believes Australia does have the infection under control and has bought itself time to consider what the next steps should be.

      In his opinion, Australia has three choices and each of these come with potentially serious consequences.

      In order for Australian life to return to normal, there are only two ways that the virus can be defeated, either a vaccine is found or Australia develops “herd immunity” which means about 60 per cent of the population, or 15 million people, need to be infected.

      So we can either wait it out for up to 18 months and hope the vaccine is developed quickly, or we can slowly infect Australians, knowing that some people will die.

      Extreme lockdown is clearly a critically useful measure at the outset of a pandemic, but it's not a viable measure to end one.

      • Adrian 11.1.1

        My guess is that because the virus can not live outside a host body it will eventually die out under the strict conditions we have now. Hopefully.

        • Andre

          The question becomes how do we manage things in the event that we successfully eliminate the virus here in NZ, but it is still present and circulating at low levels in the rest of the world.

          • weka

            Or not low levels but continues to have waves with peaks of large outbreaks that kill people.

            Does anyone have a good read on the 60% thing? Is the theory that this would eradicate CV?

            • Andre

              SARS-CoV-2 is infectious enough and has already spread far enough that global eradication is very unlikely to happen until there is a vaccine that can be given worldwide, and a concerted worldwide effort to stamp it out. Like with smallpox, or where we're almost at with polio.

              The most common pattern of disease that doesn't have a vaccine is most of the time enough people are immune that there are just a few isolated pockets that aren't really very visible that keep the virus circulating until the non-immune population builds back up high enough to sustain an outbreak. Which duly happens. Then the immune population becomes high enough to damp the outbreak down and things calm down until the non-immune population builds back up again. Rinse and repeat. Check out the pre-vaccine history of diseases such as measles.

              • weka

                That assumes a vaccine will be effective at the level of measles or small pox, rather than say influenza. Do we have any sense of that yet?

                I'm one of the last generations to have had measles as a child. It was routine for kids to get measles, mumps, chicken pox and rubella. That's not a situation of a few isolated pockets flaring up, that's a situation where presence of those viruses is normal. Flu would be the more serious end of that spectrum in terms of covid.

                We may find that over time corona virus becomes less contagious, and there are less serious cases of covid.

                I don't know enough about the other SARS-COVs to know where SARS-COV2 sits in relation to all that.

                • Andre

                  There haven't been any previous vaccines against human coronaviruses. Either they aren't a serious enough problem to bother, such as the small proportion of colds caused by a coronavirus, or have apparently been eradicated prior to a vaccine being developed (SARS and MERS) so the vaccine efforts were dropped.

                  So there isn't much history around about vaccines against coronaviruses in general to make guesses about efficacy, how long immunity lasts etc. Nor is there much history to go on for how the viruses are likely to evolve. Although I've got tickling is the back of my head that there is a vaccine against an animal coronavirus.

          • Grantoc

            By managing our borders effectively.

      • Carolyn_Nth 11.1.2

        How to move from lock down after "eliminating" the virus nationally, or holding it to a very low level, to lower alert levels has always bothered me.

        A vaccine or ways of medicating or "curing” Covid-19 seem a couple of years away. For Skegg, and presumably the NZ government, the plan seems to be to keep some very strict controls in place: strict border controls and quarantines for anyone (re)entering the country; continued rigorous surveillance testing so any new outbreaks can be responded to with increased (localised?) alert levels; etc.

        So, returning to anything like pre-Covid life is a very long way off… if ever.

        Will those countries that develop a fairly high level of herd immunity come out of it earlier?

        Or, are we now on our way to a new normal where there will always be a risk of a pandemic from yet another new virus? If so, a certain amount of restriction on or monitoring of international movements will need to be maintained. Plus we would need to maintain a well-prepared health system, and extensive testing, track and trace systems.

        Plus as much as possible, a whole new focus on contactless social and work engagements.

        • KJT

          Eventually it will die out, within months, if it cannot spread to more hosts.

          However the US foolishness, will ensure there is a source of recurrent infection for months, if not years.

          • RedLogix

            However the US foolishness, will ensure there is a source of recurrent infection for months, if not years.

            So far only your beloved China has eradicated the virus.

            • KJT

              You are funny. I've already made it perfectly clear that I have no regard for the Chinese Government either.

              Repeating the US's delusional view of their "exceptionalism" is just fantasy talking.

              • RedLogix

                A country that runs a Navy that is larger than the rest of the world combined (not to mention any of the rest of their capacity) is pretty much by definition 'exceptional'.

                That the left in this country has made a fetish of shitting on everything US for at least the last 40 years doesn't change some simple undeniable facts. Since WW2 we have suffered no great power war and unprecedented growth in human development almost everywhere. Facts that most lefties cannot even bring themselves to say without bile rising from their twisted guts.

                This post-WW2 US initiated and led order is now coming to an end. It was never an ideal system, and had many moments of madness. The Yanks did their level best to screw it up many times, yet here we are the ungrateful beneficiaries of a system that is about to crumble around our ears.

                Good luck with that.

                • Gabby

                  It's the yankistanis who are ripping the world order apart in order to reshape it for their convenience. The size of their navy has nothing to do with their aholeness.

                  • RedLogix

                    Try imagining a world without the USA. Go on tell us how much better it would be; I'll make it easy, start with the outbreak of WW2 …

                    • McFlock

                      Meh. That just delays the Soviet victory and, sure, results in Soviet domination of continental Europe, but the Nazis still lose.

                      Without the Soviets, the Nazis win.

                      Unless you want to go further back, and make Mexico a much larger and more dominant nation, and have the Eastern Seaboard still under British constitutional control, in which case Britain wins and the empire lives on, because their American territories got into WW1 in 1914 not 1917 (1918 proper).

                      Or maybe you meant literally without a land mass in the current US borders? Well then, Hawaii is an independent kingdom and an important trade hub for ships that pass through the great Canadian/Mexican sea. And the currents will be different.

                      That's the trouble with yankophiliacs: most arguments aren't thought through.

                      I love the ideals in a lot of the founding documents, but the USA is not "exceptional" in the foreign policy sense of the word ("American Exceptionalism" is shorthand for "we'll do whatever we want without diplomatic constraint, because we're awesome"). Its founders were hypocrites, and its leadership is traditionally corrupt (some more than others).

                    • Gabby

                      Like 1775 you mean? That wasn't hard.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes. The Russian army essentially defeated the Nazi's at Stalingrad, perhaps the single most insanely brutal battle of all time. Without the US the Soviets would have had zero resistance to occupying a devastated Europe and UK.

                      The Middle East would have carried on with it's genocidal wars as usual, the rest of the world wouldn't dare ship oil out of the Staits of Hormuz.

                      The Maoists would have by sheer dint of numbers (and assuming an alliance with the Soviets) eventually annihilated the Japanese and then by marxist revolutionary logic would have expanded their empire over the whole of Asia Pacific.

                      Assuming the USA did not exist as a united entity, but as a group of loosely affiliated nations, was pretty much just a bystander in all of these events, their natural default position of collective isolationism would have only been reinforced.

                      This is the truly odd thing most people don’t get about the USA, just how economically and geographically self-sufficient it is. They really don’t need and often don’t give a fuck about the rest of the world, a place they hold in quite dim regard.

                      Alternative histories are all well and good, but it's impossible to logically posit the modern world absent the singular entity we call the USA. If nothing else the world you and I grew up in would have been very, very different places indeed. Whether better or worse is hard to tell … but as I've asked a few times, with no good answers, if you had to pick an empire to be enslaved under right now … USA or CCP?

                    • McFlock

                      it's impossible to logically posit the modern world absent the singular entity we call the USA.

                      Dude, you're the one who said we should try imagining a world without the US. Job done.

                      Some alternatives are better than today, others not.

                      But yes, the USA is a fact of life. Like piles and foot corns, but on occasion like roses. At the moment, it is a fact of life like a cesspit dangerously close to the local water source: it will infect everyone.

                      edit: In answer to your final question, I would point out that without the USA, north american resources would have been deployed in 1914, the war might have been over by 1916, the relative brevity would have made the ToV less punitive (no Nazis, stronger Weimar Republic), and the Russian Revolution might never have taken place. So my choice is “Rule, Britannia”.

                      Further edit: also, no Great Depression. And without a unified entity, no Revolutionary War because no single alliance with France.

                    • KJT

                      The Middle East wars, are a result of meddling from the West.

                      Without the USA, with support from Britain, France and Germany, they would have fizzled out long ago, if they ever occurred.

                      It is the USA which is blockading Iran. Preventing "freedom of the seas".

                    • RedLogix

                      Up until WW2 Rule Britannia was the ultimate expression of empire; start with merchantile dominance, then the necessity of providing protection to shipping lanes and/or routes compels a military evolution, then expansion of empire to justify paying for it all, and finally cultural hegemony of a character varying between benign and brutal. Empire is always a one to many network, everything goes back to the centre, everything is taxed, levied and regulated by the centre. This has been the repeated pattern for thousands of years.

                      What so many lefties here have failed dismally to understand is that the US led post WW2 order was never an empire. It was legitimately a hegemony, it dominated many conversations, but in essence it was not interested in occupying territory, imposing taxes and subjugating millions of people. The reason is simple, unlike all empires that came before, the Americans could develop perfectly well without one. Apart from some oil and some materials, the USA simply didn't need to go to the bother of conquering the world in order to grow. Today if you subtract off NAFTA, their trade with the rest of the world is probably <5% of their GDP.

                      The only thing the USA really asked of it's global alliance is that you be on their side against communism. And from time to time they'd intervene if they perceived you were cheating on the deal.

                      The problem with this deal is that they won. Once the Cold War was over they now had a global system they didn't really need anymore. And from Clinton onward they've been quietly running it into the ground. Trump merely made it obvious, COVID19 has brought it into sharp relief. The Americans are going home, from their pov they no longer want to be exposed to an unstable, unreliable world that shits on them at every turn. They want out … think Brexit on a global scale.

                      This of course leaves the rest of the world hanging, Australia and NZ especially, in a very exposed position. Too small to matter much, too far away for the logistics to work, and entirely expendable. We need to think through what this will mean to us. Sooner than we imagine.

                    • RedLogix

                      Without the USA, with support from Britain, France and Germany, they would have fizzled out long ago, if they ever occurred

                      Your ignorance of ME history and culture is impressive. It has been perhaps the most unstable, dangerous part of the world since we invented agriculture. (Europe and China being the other two main contenders for the prize).

                    • McFlock

                      Just because they're shit at empire doesn't mean that they aren't one. The semantic difference between "empire" and "hegemony" is simply the degree to which they openly express control.

                      The Soviets and Americans in Afghanistan were just playing the same "Great Game" as the Russians, Ottomans, and British.

                      Anjd Aus and NZ are in the same boat as every other small power when empires struggle.Try and take a middle ground so you're not a target, and don't jump on the winner's team too late.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Gordon Brown has pointed to the need to eliminate the virus globally, not just country by country. eg there should be an end to bidding wars for PPEs etc.

            He is correct in that the virus will not be eliminated or die out, if poor countries don't have the resources to control or eradicate it.

            • bill

              'Never mind' the bidding wars on masks, introducing or increasing sanctions on countries like Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela isn't the flashest of things to be doing right now (and never was).

              Apparently Afghanistan has 3 ICUs. I guess that's par for countries that have been impoverished.

              Shall we move on to contemplate the lack of running water for millions of people who are advised to repeatedly wash their hands?

              Gordon Brown is being a disingenuous twat. UN bodies like the WHO already exist to operate at the global level. That he wants an even more overtly 'western' world body to police and monitor the world says all we need to know on his thoughts around internationalism and cooperation.

              edit Sorry, but lol.

              His last line – “Nothing should prevent what is mass produced in and for one country, being also mass produced for other countries.”

              Yeah. If only there was a place called China and an ideology that promoted globalisation.

        • weka

          I'm assuming new normal and we won't be able to go back to what we had before. I think this is a good thing, there's a big opportunity here to mesh this with designing systems to address CC and the ecological crises.

          If we eliminate covid, then our relationship with travelers from overseas will have to change drastically. Personally I hope it's the death of mass tourism, which is a highly vulnerable industry that was going to fail under climate change anyway and which has been causing major problems in terms of overdevelopment.

          Mandatory quarantines at the border could become a business opportunity but I hope this is for essential travel only.

          • weka

            I also understand that the NZ strategy is to get to a point where we can manage small outbreaks that happen from time to time. I'm not yet convinced of the eradication idea, but would be interested in the science on that.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              OK. So the PM, in response to questions today in her stand up, gave advice to businesses on how to prepare for a drop to alert level 3.

              How will they be able to implement social/physical distancing among staff and customers? What systems will they have in place to enable contact-tracing of anyone who enters their premises?

              She said they are preparing more advice to businesses about preparation for an end to level 4.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            I also would like to see the end of (pointless) environment degrading, mass tourism.

            It also is a drain on local resources, and degrading of public life. In Auckland I have found those big cruise ships to be a blight on the physical and commercial landscape. It makes for a degraded experience for locals trying to get about, and just trying to enjoy being outdoors.

        • Forget now

          We always were at (and repeatedly warned that there was) "a risk of a pandemic from yet another new virus". The new normal is that people may actually take some notice of that now. My greatest corona fear is the more infections there are, the greater the likelihood of a new more lethal varient evolving!

    • Treetop 11.2

      Does China rely on anyone for anything other than food imports?

      • Gabby 11.2.1

        Well there are the tech inventions they steal.

        • Treetop

          Intellectual property rights is a big issue.

          • KJT

            One of the reasons for the rise of the US economy, after independence, is they refused to recognise and pay for, any UK, property rights, including intellectual "property".

            "Do as I say, not as I do".

            They are, even now reluctant to recognise other countries patents, while their own "Patent trolls" pinch innovations from all around the world.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 11.2.2

        Minerals and fossil fuels I expect.

      • RedLogix 11.2.3

        China is exceedingly dependent on materials imports. While they import relatively few goods and services, their manufacturing sector is highly dependent on energy, ore and food imports to survive. Many of the source nations are located in unstable regions, or demand the creation of neo-colonial structures to ensure local compliance.

        Worse still many of these materials have to be shipped through exceedingly vulnerable shipping lanes and choke points like the Strait of Malacca they do not have the capacity to defend.

        Then there are the demographics, a rapidly ageing society that cannot depend on young people to drive domestic consumption and a govt that derives it's legitimacy solely on the proposition that the people will tolerate their authoritarian thuggery as long as the CCP delivers growth. Well that calculus is all coming under a lot of examination.

        Yes the CCP has delusions of celebrating the 100th year of the revolution as triumphant masters of the world, with the Middle Kingdom firmly back at the centre of all things … but it remains to be seen quite whether things will work out this way.

  12. pat 13

    "Fast-forward to now. We see international travel almost at a standstill, global trade shrinking fast, and barriers to movement rising everywhere. This time, it’s for health reasons rather than economic or political ones, but the effects are the same.

    But this is more than trade war. It’s trade war on steroids… and it is going to get worse."

    A new autarky?….think its safe to assume at least a move in that direction.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      A new autarky?….think its safe to assume at least a move in that direction.

      That way lies a reversion to the era before globalisation got underway in the mid-1800's. In a word … empire …. in all it's naked brutality.

      Not safe at all.

      • pat 13.1.1

        There are degrees of autarky….but whether you view it as a positive or a negative is irrelevant…the point is it is happening and as the article notes is increasing.

        • RedLogix

          Yes it's happening alright, and well before CV19. The US for instance has been slowly but surely retreating into it's default isolationism since the end of the Cold War. Trump's MAGA slogan was the last hurrah, CV19 is just the nail in the coffin of US internationalism.

          How you can claim that a view on the matter must be 'irrelevant', strikes me as weird. Of course there are degrees of autarky, but in the general rush to the exits from the present global order … no-one seems interested in discussing what must logically replace it.

          Broadly we have two options, a reversion to merchantile/militaristic empire … or a refreshed, reset and re-invigorated global order. Imagining that life will just more or less carry on as it did before is delusional.

          • pat

            Its irrelevant in our ability to affect its progress….the paradigm isnt set in the minnow economies…we simply react.

            And see something of a self contradiction in the acknowledgement of degree and the switch to a binary position.

            • RedLogix

              Its irrelevant in our ability to affect its progress….the paradigm isnt set in the minnow economies…we simply react.

              Right there. You've implicitly agreed that the decision will be made by the great powers … empire.

              Now pick which one … the CCP or the USA?

              • pat


                tell me a time when the dominant powers didnt write the rules?

                • RedLogix

                  Do they always have to? After all the rest of the world outnumbers the USA and China combined … maybe we should just gang up on them 🙂

                  • pat

                    thats the same argument about democracy…all we need to do is get the numbers to vote in the policies we want…and yet here we are.

                    • RedLogix

                      No it's the same argument used to excuse small nations like NZ not having to bother about climate change because nothing we could do would make any difference ….

                    • pat

                      Its a similar problem….you can call it an excuse if you like….the reality is climate change will require international co-operation for an effective response just as international trade requires international co-operation but the fact remains both problems require a set of rules/guidelines that are agreed and those countries (or industries/vested interest) with more power have more influence in what those guidelines will be….consider if the US determined that CC was its most important issue and decided that they were going to require carbon accounting from every country wishing to do business with them what the result would be worldwide.

                      …and then consider the impact if NZ did the same thing

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes … the great powers exercise an outsized influence because they have scale, they're more connected and central to the decision making process.

                      Now imagine what we could do if we went to the next big leap in scale … if we really did create a global federation of nations that had real authority, and real democratic accountability … just imagine what that could get done.

                      Keep in mind that for 10,000 years or more everyone thought slavery while an undesirable thing, was inevitable and normal. Until suddenly it wasn't.

                    • pat

                      Some heroic assumptions there

                    • RedLogix

                      That's the point of my last para.

                      10,000 yrs ago no human on earth could have imagined our modern nation state and this high tech, intensely connected global world of 7.5b people. Anyone even faintly suggesting such a thing would have been accused of 'heroic assumptions' … at best.

                      So my question to you is simply this; is there any fundamental reason why the vision I have outlined above is not possible? Is where we are at now the apex of all human political evolution? That we can never devise a system with a broader and more capable scope than the nation state?

                  • pat

                    I wouldnt argue its not possible but I would argue it is so exceedingly unlikely it is unwise to ignore other more realistic options in its pursuit

                    • RedLogix

                      Every thing of human invention was 'exceedingly unlikely' until it suddenly was. Then it was regarded as obvious.

                  • pat

                    "Every thing of human invention was 'exceedingly unlikely' until it suddenly was."

                    ah well there we differ again for as Newton said "we stand upon the shoulders of giants"

                    • RedLogix

                      A family stands on the shoulders of it's members, a nation on it's citizens. So exactly what is so hard about the idea of a united humanity standing on the shoulders of it's nations?

                      To me it's logical and inevitable; I'm just waiting for everyone else's imagination to catch up with the 'exceedingly unlikely'.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "To me it's logical and inevitable; I'm just waiting for everyone else's imagination to catch up with the 'exceedingly unlikely'."

                      "Logical and inevitable", or fanciful? Hope you're a patient soul RL.

  13. A 14

    US Debt approaches that trillion. Here is Mike Maloney discussing the last 30 years of recession, Fed buying shares in public companies now. Makes me think that Harry Dent who predicted US treasuries were the safest place to be right now and gold is not the future might be right when he says the sharemarket will return to highs, perhaps even the highest yet in a couple of months. And then of course the USD will die, possibly dragging us with it…maybe we will be able to limit the effect.

    Plenty of charts as usual. Calls this the Zombified: USA. That's been the case for awhile now, as Maloney says 30 years.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      The US dollar remains the core reserve currency of the world. (The last month has of course seen a rush back to US dollars for safety, demolishing arguments that the era of the dollar is over).

      What this means is that total US dollar debt should not be solely compared to US GDP. Because it is the nearest thing (and an imperfect thing at that) we have to a global currency, it needs to be seen in that light as well. This of course is not an easy thing to quantify …. Keynes bancor would have been a far more elegant scheme.

  14. ScottGN 15

    The idiot who fired Captain Crozier has resigned after recordings of him berating sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt were leaked to media.

    • Forget now 15.1

      Really? Trump's gone?

      Oh, I see. You mean that the patsy he used to get underlings to toe the line has been discarded once they became an inconvenience. So; business as usual then.

  15. Sabine 16

    And the supreme court in the US just forced people in Wisconsin to go vote in person. The democratic Governer tried to block voting in person. But then, the republican and moral conservative majority decided that going to vote in person is the godly thing to do.

    Can't make this shit up. The US is a failed state.

    • joe90 16.1

      The GOP knows many of their voters are likely to disbelieve in C19, and will turn out to vote when Dem voters won’t. Of course some will die, bit it's a small price to pay to keep the GOP in power.

      btw, the five conservative justices who voted to disallow remote voting voted remotely

      • Andre 16.1.1

        The main thing that is at stake right now is a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Most of the other things being voted on are primaries.

      • Macro 16.1.2

        As I posted last evening on yesterdays Open Mike, Democracy is severely under threat in the US. There are markedly less voting places in areas of largely democrat influence, compared with numerous voting place in the Reg areas. The gerrymandering by the Wisconsin Reps ensured that despite a 54% vote for the Democrat candidate in the 2018 election the Repugs took 63 of the state's 99 assembly races.

        Voting queues in Democrat areas:image

    • bill 16.2

      Joe Biden was also encouraging people to get out and vote in Wisconsin…just as he did in the lead up to the Illinois, Florida and Arizona primaries.

      The Ohio Governor, Dewine (Republican) pulled that state's primary on "health and safety" grounds after judges ruled against postponement.

      Maybe there's a reason why the Democratic Governor in Wisconsin can't follow that lead?

      • Andre 16.2.1

        The Democratic governor of Wisconsin tried several things to postpone the election and extend the deadline for postal voting, and was overruled by Repug majorities in the Wisconsin legislature, the Repug majorities in the Wasconsin courts, and finally by the Repug majority in the US Supreme Court.

        • bill

          Why didn't he just throw "health and safety" (ie – public emergency or whatevs) at it?

          That worked for DeWine in Ohio. What's so different about Wisconsin?

          • Andre

            Different states have different laws.

            In particular, after Evers was elected but before he was sworn in the Wisconsin Repug majority legislature and Scott Walker (the previous Repug governor) stripped a lot of powers from the governor. With a particular focus on removing governor's powers over regulations affecting worker's rights, health and safety, and voting rights. Though I'm not sure if that affected anything Evers could conceivably have done in this particular situation.


            • bill

              In Ohio, DeWine got the Director of the state's Department of Health to close all polling stations. In other words, the governors own powers aren't a question – just their smarts?

              • Andre

                Governor's powers and the powers of the various state governmental departments all vary widely from state to state. They all have their own, different constitutions and structures. For instance, Nebraska's state legislature has only one chamber while all the rest have a lower and upper chamber of some description.

                That one governor and state government department has the power to make a particular order or perform an action says nothing whatsoever about whether the governor of a different state could do something similar.

                • bill

                  Yup. I get that Andre. But we're talking about the power of a state's department of health – not the power of a governor or whatnot.

                  As per the link (above or below), Andrea Palm was at the very least signalling an openess to "shutting it all down". I could guess (just a guess mind) that she'd have to be requested to put shut down orders in place because "jurisdiction" and "boundaries"or whatever.

                  Of course, it might be the case that public health holds no sway in Wisconsin and that the DoH has no power and their orders no effect. But that would be an incredibly odd state of affairs, no?

                • bill

                  Mayors sent a letter asking that she exercise the emergency powers delegated to you under section 252.02 of the Wisconsin State Statutes.

                  Evers was also copied into the communication.

                  As noted in that Common Dreams link (citing a Politico piece) – The plea from the mayors could mirror a move that took place in Ohio. After a court declined to postpone Ohio's primaries, which were originally scheduled for March 17, Gov. Mike DeWine's top health official shuttered polling places. The move did not formally postpone Ohio's primary but effectively did as much…

                  All in all, it looks to a neutral observer that Evers may have been making a show of things and actively avoiding doing anything substantive.

                  • Andre

                    Evers wasn't sufficiently authoritarian dictatorial for your taste? Got it.

                    Never mind what laws might have been in the way of taking the actions that those mayors may have ignored or not considered.

                    Or maybe there were other considerations not discussed in the various links thrown around so far.

            • bill

              From April 6

              "In-person voting, by definition, inhibits our ability to physically distance. The recent consolidation of polling locations in many parts of Wisconsin would result in mass gatherings. In-person voting would, without questions, accelerate the transmission of COVID-19," Wisconsin Health Secretary Andrea Palm said Monday. "And an increase in the number of cases in Wisconsin would result in more deaths."

              And yet…

              • Macro

                bill this went all the way to the Supreme Court. It is a very contentious ruling by the 5 Republican appointed Supreme Court Justices over the 4 dissenting Democrat appointed Justices – the ruling which now becomes Federal Case Law will now apply across all states. It is an appalling decision and has effectively undermined any pretence of democratic process existing in the US.

                A very good analysis is here:


                The Supreme Court’s disturbing order to effectively disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsin voters

                American democracy is in deep trouble.

                The Supreme Court’s Republican majority, in a case that is literally titled Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, handed down a decision that will effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters. It did so at the urging of the GOP.

                The case arises out of Wisconsin’s decision to hold its spring election during the coronavirus pandemic, even as nearly a dozen other states have chosen to postpone similar elections in order to protect the safety of voters. Democrats hoped to defend a lower court order that allowed absentee ballots to be counted so long as they arrived at the designated polling place by April 13, an extension granted by a judge to account for the brewing coronavirus-sparked chaos on Election Day, April 7. Republicans successfully asked the Court to require these ballots to be postmarked by April 7.

                All five of the Court’s Republicans voted for the Republican Party’s position. All four of the Court’s Democrats voted for the Democratic Party’s position.

                The decision carries grave repercussions for the state of Wisconsin — and democracy more broadly. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg notes in her dissent, “the presidential primaries, a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, three seats on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, over 100 other judgeships, over 500 school board seats, and several thousand other positions” are at stake in the Wisconsin election, which will be held tomorrow. Of all these seats, the state Supreme Court race, between incumbent conservative Justice Daniel Kelly and challenger Judge Jill Karofsky, is the most hotly contested.

                • bill

                  Yeah, but Macro, that's all about extending postal votes and such like. It's not about postponing the elections. As the Gov of Ohio found out, a way (the only way?) to do that is sidestep all the procedural/legal nonsense and have the Dept of Health slap "shut down" notices on polling stations.

                  Evers didn't do that in spite of the state's Health Sec signalling a willingness to act.

                  As an aside, tribal Democrat good/Republican bad crap doesn't help matters . Neither party has an exclusive claim to goodness or cuntiness.

                  Biden wanted the in person vote to go ahead. As did others from both the Democratic and Republican camps. I see no reason to believe that Evers wasn't just indulging in a bit of showmanship and bullshit, and a fair bit of circumstantial evidence by way of the Mayors letter and the statements by the Health Sec to suggest that he was.

                  • Macro

                    I think you misunderstand just how serious the current threat to Justice (the 3rd wing of Government) in the US is right now .Yes you can witter on about bad republican just as bad democrat, but to do so is to seriously miss the point. The villain in the piece is McConnell, and the right of the GOP who essential have been using the past 6 years of GOP Senate majority, to first restrict the appointment of progressive minded Justices, and in the past 3 years, to openly rush through many young unqualified right wing conservative judges to senior positions in the Judicial system thereby ensuring that any hope of progressive action is doomed from the start.

                    As of April 1, 2020, the United States Senate has confirmed 193 Article III judges nominated by President Trump, including 2 Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, 51 judges for the United States Courts of Appeals, 138 judges for the United States District Courts, and 2 judges for the United States Court of International Trade.[2


                    This is why the Republicans support Trump – and in particular the religious right wing because of their hatred of abortion, human rights, LGBTQ and anything pertaining to a progressive agenda.

                    With the Courts now heavily stacked with right wing conservatives for the next 3 decades any real hope for progress in the US has been effectively stamped out. This will be the Legacy of Trump and McConnell.


                    • bill

                      That's a whole other conversation and entirely beside the point I was making – that a Health and Safety order could have by-passed all the judicial nonsense just as happened in Ohio.

                      The Governor didn't explore that avenue in spite of several mayors copying him into a letter they sent to the state's Health Secretary asking that be done – a Health Sec. who seems to have signaled an openess to taking such action.

                      Maybe he had good reason for not going down that route. And maybe the Health Sec has a good reason for not making a unilateral decision.

                      Or maybe it's just all just so much politics from actors of both camps who view voters as expendable widgets.

                • joe90

                  Wisconsin is gerrymandered AF and holding on to the state supreme court is crucial to the GOP maintaining control.


                  Tuesday’s mess of an election in Wisconsin is the culmination of a decade of efforts by state Republicans to make voting harder, redraw legislative boundaries and dilute the power of voters in the state’s urban centers.

                  The Republican-dominated state legislature, which has held a majority since 2011, due in part to gerrymandered maps, refused to entertain the Democratic governor’s request to mail absentee ballots to all voters or move the primary. Then the State Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservative justices, overturned the governor’s ruling to postpone the election until June.

                  Now Wisconsin is conducting an election that the state’s largest newspaper — which previously endorsed Republican leaders including former Gov. Scott Walker — called “the most undemocratic in the state’s history.”

                  Here’s a look at how it came to this point.


      • Sabine 16.2.2

        to be honest i have no fucking idea what he says.

        But the reason these guys are voting in person, in 5 places only rather then 180 as usual, is because the conservative supreme court manned by Roberts and Beerboy Kavanough (who btw are not in person hearings atm casue VIRUS) thought it was aok for the people to stand in line, in rain, hail, to vote in person. Reason? A conservative Judge needs to be re-elected by hook n by crook.

        frankly i don't give a flying fuck about Biden – i would hold my nose, use a barge pole, full body hazmat suit and vote, but this is bullshit.

        Oh and these are not queues in Democratic areas, these are the queues in ALL areas, as 175 polling / voting locations have been shut down bar 5.

        Fuck me but this is getting dumb.

  16. Muttonbird 17

    Nearly 2000 deaths in one day in the US. Trump's doing well, isn't he?

    • Andre 17.1

      Yup. More Americans have died from COVID-19 than died from 9/11 and the subsequent Afghanistan and Iraq wars added together

    • Sabine 17.2

      well as he stated, if 'only' 100.000 – 240.000 die he did a good job, also he is not responsible for anything, is not a shipping clerk and WHO is at fault.

      next question? And please make it not a nasty question asked by a women of colour.

      • RedLogix 17.2.1

        Right now that 'nasty millenial woman of colour' that everyone likes to hate, Tulsi Gabbard, would probably be the best person to be in the White House.

        Do you think she'd put up with the bullshit for more than 300msec?

        • Sabine

          she would swallow it. 🙂

          good grief, dude, is that all you got?

          because the lady from hawaii is nowhere to be seen and the women of colour who are told they are nasty and not loyal enough are African American journalists who do their job, while their white male counterpart do fuck all.

          bye felicia.

          • RedLogix

            Suddenly Gabbard isn't a woman of colour enough it seems. Just nasty …

            • Sabine

              Just in case that you don't know, and it seems you don't:

              Gabbard was a wanna be presidential runner to nowhere whose best job options now are either with Fox or RT. And once she has that job she will be a women of color who might ask nasty question of the puddle of runny shit seriously, why don't you go back to extort the goodness of landlords like you, you might make more sense.

              It really does not behoove you well to pretend to be dumb, racist and dense.

  17. Ad 18

    It was a smidgen early for the Washington Post piece IMHO.

    We are going to get inevitable comparisons between ourselves and Australia's own economic and social impact responses. Their social lockdown not as strong, their economic hit not as hard. What's the measurable difference?

    The sentiment is awesome – let's just wait until we're clearer that the curve is stabilising.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • lprent 18.1

      We are going to get inevitable comparisons between ourselves and Australia’s own economic and social impact responses.

      WTF: Where in the hell did that response come from? Diversion city?

      Of course she wasn’t comparing our responses to aussie. She was writing an article for publication in the US.
      I didn’t mention aussie apart from using an ABC article for an example on maths.

      But if we’re going to diverge into a completely separate topic to my post I’ll push this to OpenMike…

      We are going to get inevitable comparisons between ourselves and Australia’s own economic and social impact responses. Their social lockdown not as strong, their economic hit not as hard. What’s the measurable difference?

      The responses have also pretty damn variable across the Aussie states which means that a cross-analysis is going to be somewhat hard – even between Aussie states. Not to mention the large differences in the economies between NZ and aussie.

      • Ad 18.1.1

        The structure of your article was to compare an international media response from a reporter who had covered a number of countries, to the responses of our local politicians. So no, not a diversion.

        From today onward we are going to get a lot more of these comparisons – whether they are fair, or comparable, or reasonable, or not. Australia is the one we will be compared to the most, in particular because their media already actively compares their leadership to ours.

        We locals of course have optimism bias, and the reporter I believe shared the same optimism bias as a local – but it was too early to make the judgement she made. She should have waited until the curve was clear.

        • mpledger

          The daily new case rate per million is about the same between NZ and Oz but Oz has a much higher daily death rate. Part of that is because we made the oldies go into isolation earlier – my father was being told to stay home about a week or more before we went into level 3 – so in NZ it is the young 20-29 who are over represented amongst those catching it.

          • Ad

            Yes the hard comparisons will arrive once both New Zealand and Australia are released – area by area – from the highest restrictions.

            From that point on we get to see whether New Zealand's deeper recession and slower recovery was worth the health benefits of lockdown, or whether Australia's less uniform and less extreme lockdown measures provided for lower health outcomes in the next months but a shallower recession and a faster recovery.

            All the comparisons are odious, but they are going to start coming in thick and fast..

          • Koff

            The new case rate is now about the same betwen Oz and NZ, but the new case rate per million population is 5 times larger in NZ now than Oz,although both seem to be declining. This may be because Australia started the infection curve before NZ or because the testing rate was far higher in Oz than NZ initially (NZ getting much better now). The deaths in Australia are more because of the particularly high numbers of older Aussies on cruise ships that incubated the disease and then returned already infected. There have been some spectacular blunders like the Ruby Princess after sailing to NZ returned to Sydney and NSW authoriites and the ABF allowed everyone to leave willy nilly despite evidence that passengers had COVID-19. Now a subject of a criminal investigation in NSW.

  18. Treetop 19

    Australia has 6,000 cases and 50 dead (figures are rounded up). That is a lot of deaths for Covid-19.

    • Koff 19.1

      That's correct, but the comparison emphasises just how hard it is to compare different countries properly. The death rate in Australia reflects the number of older people who have been on disease ridden cruise ships. Australia's new case numbers are now lower than NZ's and declining, despite the higher fatality rate. Each state and territory is now virtually shut off from the rest. Rules on physical distancing and staying at home, restrictions on movements are comparable to NZs everywhere, although not quite as strict. Scomo and state and territory premiers are constantly reminding Australians that their version of the lockdown won't be eased any time soon. Like NZ, Australia has benefited from the fact that the vast majority of infections came from overseas and from a younger cohort (apart from the cruise ships). There have been more blunders and more confusion at times compared to NZ, but generally the governments seem to be more on top of it now.

    • Incognito 20.1


    • mac1 20.2

      And will he claim travel expenses for his trips to Wellington and back? How big will his travel bill be during lockdown? All MPs should have to lodge claims for their travel over this period. Then we'd see…..

      Or we’d save some money from the lying bastards’ false claims…..

    • Cinny 20.3


  19. Tony P 21

    Damn. John Prine, another victim of Covid 19.

  20. Cinny 22

    Fist pump moment from this parent. WOOO HOOOOO Thanks Mr Hipkins:)

    Yeah !!!! Dedicated TV channel for educating the kids during the lock down.

    Awesomesauce, because some in our local rural communities struggle with the net, this is such good news for them 🙂

    • Fireblade 22.1

      Excellent smiley

    • millsy 22.2

      A educational TV service has been proposed in one form or another for about 50 years. I read somewhere that the Kirk government were even going to have TV2 as an educational channel, but I think Roger Douglas chopped the idea (no suprises there).

      Glad to see it finally got off the ground.

      • Carolyn_Nth 22.2.1

        I don't think it will be a permanent thing. They are planning to use Maori TV for the Te Reo home schooling, plus I suspect they'll use TVNZ's pop-up channel – the one they use on occasion for international sporting events.

    • Macro 22.3

      This really excellent news and long overdue – I might even watch it myself 🙂

    • ianmac 22.4

      Devil in the detail. Channels will run 9 to 3pm according to Min of Ed..

      If that is for one cohort it would be crazy for kids to be watching the screen for 5 hours daily. So I guess it must mean a couple of hours for each cohort. An interesting challenge to make that seem relevant to a wide range of kids. Not against it at all but await the details

  21. observer 23

    As the number of new Covid-19 cases drops, there's more and more talk of coming out of lockdown. Partly genuine optimism, partly cabin fever, and partly unhelpful media noise.

    This is a problem, because the options are not "lockdown" versus "no lockdown". It's about whether we move from Level 4 to 3. That's all. Not a VE-day party on the street.

    Level 3 includes:

    – mass gatherings cancelled
    – public venues closed (eg libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, amusement parks)
    – alternative ways of working required and some non-essential businesses should close

    So next time you hear somebody say "Only X days until I can go to the gym / get my dumplings" … might want to set them straight. (This advice applies especially to all uninformed talkback hosts, which is all talkback hosts).

    • weka 23.1


      What do you think the main differences are between L4 and L3?

      • observer 23.1.1

        The line "some non-essential businesses should close" is the one that will need to be firmed up. It suggests that local shopping centres will start to see some activity – fruit and veg, butchers, maybe cafes (although hospo is a tricky one). And more travel to/from those areas

        There's going to be a lot of disappointment, any way it's done. (Haircut? Non-essential I'd say, and a real close contact … but you can see how many arguments there will be).

        • Carolyn_Nth

          As I recall, the PM today in her press conference said there will be more details in future about what is allowed when we go down to level 3: eg some schools may be allowed to be open, but not be allowed to have assemblies, and seating [robably would need to be arranged to enable social distancing, etc.

      • satty 23.1.2

        I certainly hope the bakeries are open under L3 again; I'm baking bread as we speak here. While I'm relatively good at baking and cooking – thanks Mum – the German / French / Italian bakeries here in Wellington produce a little bit nicer bread and I see them as essential, support-worthy services all year round (incl. times of pandemics).

        • Carolyn_Nth

          As from a couple of days ago:

          Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was forced on Monday to clarify that if butchers or greengrocers already have an online delivery offering, they're an essential service.

          Newshub understands the Government will consider this week whether businesses who don't already have an online platform will be able to set one up.

          The article mentions it applies to bakeries as well. So maybe check if any of your favourite bakeries sell online & do home deliveries?

  22. bill 24

    In SpainMs Calvino, who is also deputy prime minister, said the government’s ambition was that UBI could become something that “stays forever, that becomes a structural instrument, a permanent instrument”.

    And I didn't know that Iran already had a UBI.

    I'm not convinced that UBI would be the best way to ensure that we don't go back to those pre-covid days, but for while the economic impacts of the virus continue….

    • KJT 24.1

      To restart the economy, we need to ensure money to circulate, gets in the hands of those who will spend it.

      A UBI, is a good way of doing it.

      As you know I support the idea in principle.

      Long term, unless we change our current settings, especially housing and taxation, it will either be too little to make a difference, the TOP, version, or too expensive and will end up mostly in the hands of landlords.

      • weka 24.1.1

        Why UBI instead of mended welfare?

        • KJT

          I will be pleased, if we even get the welfare working group recommendations, actioned, at this stage.

          Though a lot of middle class now becoming the "Bludging benes" , they despised, and finding out how truly miserly it is, we will see a lot of pressure to raise welfare.

          It will also, as even the US republicans have figured out, fill the need to put a lot of money in the hands of people that will spend it, to get trade moving again.

          • weka

            I suppose I am asking hypothetically, in an ideal world, a good UBI vs good welfare, why we might want a UBI. What if the dole was made freely available to those that need it? No stand downs, no bullshit from WINZ, no abatement rate. Essentially a UBI but instead of paying it to everyone, pay it to those that need it.

            • pat

              need it?…or want it?

              • weka

                either? Make the criteria loose enough that we don't have to squabble over who gets it, but it won't automatically be given to Gareth Morgan or even my upper middle class siblings who have very secure jobs and careers.

                • pat

                  well if its need then we already have it …whether its sufficient is another argument

                  • weka

                    the rate of benefits aside, currently we don't have a needs based system. We have a system that puts barriers in the way of people all the time. A needs based system would look at people's actual needs and address them.

                    • pat

                      that wouldnt be a UBI then, or even a limited or targeted UBI (like National Super)…a UBI dosnt personalise to needs.

                      Indeed a UBI on its own would have less ability than the current welfare system to address personalised needs…and thats saying something

                    • weka

                      depends on whether the U is universal or unconditional. I'm suggesting the latter. Rather than paying everyone, make the payment available to those that need it and make that unconditional.

                      We can make it what ever we want.

                    • pat

                      whether its unconditional or universal its still a set payment that is not individualised….to meet those requirements would require an additional process/system and then already we are moving away from one of the main suggested advantages of simplicity and low bureaucracy and therefore administrative cost.

                    • weka

                      not sure what you mean there Pat. The dole is a set rate, it's not adjust to individual situations. In that sense it's universal across those that get it. I'm suggesting we make it unconditional (remove all the bullshit around thinking people are lazy and have to be forced to work).

                      But any UBI will always need welfare bolted on, the system of additional payments that are individual needs based. This is because not everyone will be able to work to make up the shortfall in income. Any UBI without welfare bolted on will immediately put vulnerable people in worse poverty and will create and even worse neoliberal hellscape than we have now. A UBI that gets rid of welfare is the right's best dream.

                    • pat

                      "But any UBI will always need welfare bolted on, the system of additional payments that are individual needs based"

                      And seldom is that considered when UBI is promoted. It is one of several weaknesses I see in the whole UBI proposition and struggle to see why so many think its a cure all

                    • weka

                      yep, me too. I'm tending now to look more at whether mending welfare is a better proposition, or the hybrid of the two.

            • KJT

              I can see what you mean.

              If we could accurately target welfare to only those in need?

              But we already know targeting is expensive, inefficient and often gets to the noisiest, rather than the neediest.

              If we don't have an abatement rate, then it becomes a UBI.

              We should get rid of steep abatement rates that mean someone earning just above the welfare rates, effectively, has a higher marginal tax rate, than a millionaire.

              • weka

                Maybe not *only those that need it, but more those that apply. Instead of giving it to everyone including those that don't need it.

                "But we already know targeting is expensive, inefficient and often gets to the noisiest, rather than the neediest."

                Do we? How much of that is logistic? Poor system design? WINZ punitive culture?

                I think I'm suggesting a UBI/welfare hybrid. There are good things about our welfare system, we often lose sight of them because of the neoliberalisation of the system.

                • Chris

                  Part of that hybrid must surely be individual entitlement i.e. no relationship status for benefit purposes.

                  The concept of relationship status is inescapably fraught. It's near impossible to administer the legal test properly and all over the country peoples' lives are needlessly turned upside down on a daily basis, all because the state has the power to tell people that because of the so-called "nature" of their relationship with someone else, that someone else should be providing financial support as well, so there's no entitlement to a benefit. Families are ripped apart, people end up with huge debt or are thrown in prison. It's crazy. If benefits were individualised none of this would happen.

                  Individual entitlement should be seen as a first step towards fixing the current mess.

            • Chris

              When you say no abatement rate are you meaning no income test? This would mean entitlement regardless of income, which is getting pretty close to a UBI. I guess that could still leave an asset test but even main benefits aren't asset-tested.

              • weka

                I meant the abatement on additional income. But yes, the asset test also needs to be addressed. Too many beneficiaries have been asset stripped by WINZ.

                • Chris

                  I wholly agree that the thinking needs to go beyond the confines of a welfare v UBI model, for all of the reasons you've already raised here and elsewhere. This isn't as easy as it sounds, though, because as soon as we start talking about a needs-based system without the complexity, judgementalism, administrative cost etc, the question becomes one of how to determine need. This in turn brings back the idea of assessing a person's income and means testing generally. The income test in our current welfare system is the machinery that in a general sense defines its targeted nature, as opposed to a universal approach which is the basis of a UBI.

                  An important practical and achievable way forward in the short term I think is getting rid of relationship status. Individual benefit entitlement is very relevant to the targeted/universal/welfare/UBI question. Whilst it wouldn't create a fully universal arrangement straight away (if indeed that ends up being something we want) it's necessary for beginning to address the problem. What it would also do of course is straight away dispense with the impossible task of determining who should be financially responsible for another person based on an examination of the "nature" of a relationship between two people, the establishment of large debt, prosecution, imprisonment and so on. But it's also very relevant to making sure that efforts made to fix the welfare mess head in the right direction.

      • RedLogix 24.1.2

        or too expensive and will end up mostly in the hands of landlords.

        If you really hate your landlord that much, go to the bank and buy a house. And don't come whining at me that it's 'too expensive'. Do you imagine anyone gave free houses to your landlord?

        • KJT

          I have a house.

          I decided to be "part of the solution, rather than the problem," and started a real business, a while ago now, building houses!

          And. If houses are too expensive for landlords, it is their own fucking fault. Speculating in house price rises.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            KJT, RedLogix chose to believe that your comment @24.1 impugned the integrity of landLORDs, so by his ‘logic’ you must be a tenant.

            His 'lordly' response @24.1.2 (“buy a house“; “don’t come whining at me“) was both funny and sad.

            Sir you have got to help!” said the tearful man at the door. “There’s a family I know very well that is in desperate need of money. The father has been out of work for over a year, and they have five kids at home with barely any food to eat. The worst part is that they’re about to kicked out of the house and will be left on the streets without a roof over their heads!”, the man concluded with a heart wrenching sob.

            Well,” said the man at the door, “that really is a sad story. Why don’t you come inside and we’ll talk a little more about it.

            So how much money is needed exactly?” asked the man when they were both seated. “Oh it’s really terrible”, said the man starting up again, “why just for the rent $3000 is needed by tomorrow otherwise they’ll be kicked out onto the streets.” “How do you know so much about this situation?” asked the man as he reached for his cheque book. “Well,” said the man breaking down once more “they are my tenants.wink

            • KJT

              The really sad part about Redlogix statement, is that in many cases, the tenants are, giving free houses to their landlord.

              With almost no investment by the landlord, the rent is paying all the loan and capital costs for the house. Leaving the landlord with a substantial asset, debt free, after a few years, which, until now, has appreciated in value, nicely.

              So many of them are the same people who rail against giving "free money" to those that need it, such as their tenants.

              • Chris

                And in many small towns where there's high unemployment people can't get loans to buy houses so are paying more in rent than what mortgage repayments would be. House prices are relatively lower than in other areas so mortgages repayments are often easily manageable, but rents are high because rental property demand is high which is caused by the fact the unemployed can't get a mortgage. Landlords in those situations are increasingly out-of-towners, from the larger cities.

  23. Forget now 25

    For me, the biggest difference between level 3 and 4 is that I will be able to again socially spend time with people, and then not spend time with people. The; all the same crew, all the time, bubble is getting a bit stale…

    And babysitting!

    [Supposed to be reply to weka at 23.1]

  24. RedBaronCV 27

    A question

    Why isn't there a list of the employers receiving the subsidy. The search function can either be too broad so employers can't be identified or they may have used a name they are not usually known by.

    And looks like another bunch getting the subsidy rather than chopping high end wages,

    New Zealand Rugby 2018 reports suggests 6 executives share $3.6 mill , 2019 not yet published and the cut is apparently 20%. So give or take a few hundred thousand 6 people getting around $2.9 million. Hard to say what the subsidy is as there is no listing for New Zealand Rugby on the site.

    Decent of them to insist us taxpayers raise a loan to protect their salary.

    "However, subsequently NZR has clarified that the cuts are in fact by 20 per cent. "NZR staff (including All Blacks management) and the board have had a 20 per cent cut, which was able to be kept to 20 per cent thanks to the Government wage subsidy," it said in a statement on Thursday."

  25. joe90 28

    He's good.

    "We’re talking to all the great faith leaders… the pope… Joel Osteen…"

  26. Fireblade 29

    A survey commissioned by Kantar, the parent company of Colmar Brunton, showed that 88% of New Zealanders trust the government to make the correct decisions around the response to Covid-19. Results also showed that public trust in the New Zealand government is 83%.

    Note: The survey was taken between April 3-5, so before the David Clark story broke.

    • alwyn 29.1

      Are you surprised?

      That is pretty well normal for polls after such events. Did you know that in polls by Gallup in the US George W Bush got a 90% approval rating in a poll done about 10 days after the 9/11 attack?

      It bettered the 89% that his father received a week or so after the finish of the destruction of the Iraq Army in Kuwait in 1991. Of course about 15 months later George HW was down to 29%.

      This is what I expected and why I think she will go for an early election, probably in early June. It'll wipe out the Greens and NZF but I think it is her best chance of winning.

      • ScottGN 29.1.1

        I don’t think many of us in here are the least bit surprised alwyn.

        And as for Dubya he got a second term of course, which had seemed improbable before 9/11.

      • alwyn 29.1.2

        I should have added one. Just after the Bay of Pigs, which was probably the greatest stuff up ever by a President in my lifetime Kennedy got his highest ever approval rating of 83%. Go figure.

        • ScottGN

          Yeah but the stuff up wasn’t apparent at the time, at least not to the wider American public. You’re looking back with the benefit of hindsight of course.

          Anyway, like it or not, I think there will be a more enduring element to the support the PM us getting from us all now. The times are extraordinary and the course she has charted is extraordinary, these events alone will likely see her elevated to that (miserably) small club of our very best prime ministers.

  27. AB 31

    "What's remarkable about the lockdown isn't the hue and cry about the economic damage–it's the absence of any critical curiosity as to how our economy became so fragile that only the wealthiest contingent can survive a few weeks on savings or rainy-day funds.

    A healthy, resilient economy would be able to survive a few weeks of lockdown without a multi-trillion dollar bailout of every racket in the land. A society that wasn't threadbare financially and socially would be able to function and accept individual sacrifices for the common good"

    Finally found someone saying the thing that has been confusing me this week. Not that I agree with everything in this piece by CH Smith – he's American and therefore rabidly anti-statist. But his core point is important – will the crisis make us circle back to the question of what an economy is for? I guess not.

    • RedBaronCV 31.1

      Exactly.Apart from a small piece in Scoop by Gordon Campbell & Shane Jones having a crack at Fletchers the media seem to have given this the big swerve. No attempt whatsoever to investigate whose trotters are too deep into the trough and why. They just print the corporate press releases verbatum.

  28. joe90 32

    Ugandan policeman loses it over people breaking covid 19 curfew.

    (nsfw language)

  29. joe90 33

    Assorted neo-Nazis/facists ensconced in a Thiel-backed mass-surveillance venture with access to invasive data and inside info on law enforcement and national security operations. What could possibly go wrong.

    Advanced facial recognition technology poses a mortal threat to privacy. It could grant the government, corporations and even average citizens the ability to capture a photo of anybody and, with a few keystrokes, uncover all kinds of personal details. So when The New York Times published an exposé about a shadowy facial recognition firm called Clearview AI in January, it seemed like the worst nightmare of privacy advocates had arrived.

    Clearview is the most powerful form of facial recognition technology ever created, according to the Times. With more than 3 billion photos scraped surreptitiously from social media profiles and websites, its image database is almost seven times the size of the FBI’s. Its mobile app can match names to faces with a tap of a touchscreen. The technology is already being integrated into augmented reality glasses so people can identify almost anyone they look at.

    Clearview has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, BuzzFeed reported earlier this year, and FBI agents, members of Customs and Border Protection, and hundreds of police officers at departments nationwide are among its users.


    Big Brother, it turned out, was wearing a MAGA cap.

    A Mysterious Hacker

    Little is known about Ton-That, a 31-year-old Australian hacker who moved to San Francisco in 2007. He made a name for himself two years later by unleashing a computer worm that phished the login credentials of Gmail users. Ton-That showed no remorse after journalists traced the worm to him— he simply set up another phishing site.

    By 2015, he had joined forces with far-right subversives working to install Trump as president. They included Mike Cernovich, a Trump-affiliated propagandist who spearheaded the near-deadly Pizzagate disinformation campaign; Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, a neo-Nazi hacker and the webmaster for The Daily Stormer; and Pax Dickinson, the racist former chief technology officer of Business Insider who went on to march with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    In this far-right clique, two of Ton-That’s associates loomed larger than most thanks to their close connection to billionaire Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member and Trump adviser: Jeff Giesea, a Thiel protégé and secret funder of alt-right causes, and Charles “Chuck” Johnson, a former Breitbart writer and far-right extremist who reportedly coordinated lawfare against media organizations with Thiel. And according to new documents obtained by HuffPost, Johnson appears to have received funding from Thiel for a startup that the Southern Poverty Law Center would label a “white nationalist hate group.” (Johnson has filed suit against HuffPost in Texas over a January 2019 article about his visits to members of Congress to discuss “DNA sequencing.”)

  30. Ad 34

    Well it's good to see the government working with industry on a plan for the future of the New Zealand tourism industry.

    It will I hope be a pretty dramatic plan.

    We were so lucky to have the launch of the entire Lord of the Rings series nearly 20 years ago, which just happened to fit hand in glove with our 100% Pure branding.

    We need equally amazing luck and imaginative genius if we are to get a further wave of a different kind of tourism in 2021 and beyond.

  31. joe90 35

    There goes the herd immunity theory.

    At least 51 patients diagnosed as having fully recovered from the coronavirus in South Korea have tested positive a second time after leaving quarantine, according to officials.

    The patients from Daegu all tested positive in a “relatively short time” after they were given the all-clear from their initial infections, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said, according to the government-funded Yonhap News Agency.

    Researchers in Shanghai hope to determine whether some recovered coronavirus patients have a higher risk of reinfection after finding surprisingly low levels of Covid-19 antibodies in a number of people discharged from hospital.

    A team from Fudan University analysed blood samples from 175 patients discharged from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre and found that nearly a third had unexpectedly low levels of antibodies.

    In some cases, antibodies could not be detected at all.

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