Open mike 19/02/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 19th, 2022 - 81 comments
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81 comments on “Open mike 19/02/2022 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    A very interesting article about an interview with Dr Bryan Betty, the medical director of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners. He was also interviewed on NewstalkZB at around 5.07 last night if anyone wants to find that on "the week on demand".

    Betty was expressing his concerns that the strong focus on Covid of recent years has meant other important aspects of health care have been neglected.

    Dr Betty said he was also concerned that Covid-19 was putting a freeze on things like healthcare programmes, including childhood immunisation rates, which he said had fallen to 76 percent.

    ""We need to be de-escalating this down to get into a position where most of us are just going to have a mild to moderate illness, that we're going to get through like any respiratory illness in winter, and we need to be moving on, and perhaps the way we're approaching it at the moment is causing more problems than good, and we may have reached a pivot point with that.""…..

    ""I'm really worried about measles or whooping cough showing itself up again. And these are actually dangerous conditions that I believe could have the potential to start to be with us again because Covid is dominating our discourse at this point."

    GPs were also raising concerns about the pressure as many people seek advice about Covid-19, he said."

    Betty realises there is still a risk of severe illness with Covid, but in the Newstalk ZB interview made the point that the common flu causes about 500 deaths per year also, and we have learned to live with that.

    The problem is that the strong emphasis on Covid has meant that other very sad stories are starting to appear, such as this one:

    "Canterbury District Health Board chief medical officer Dr Helen Skinner confirmed three general surgery patients – one cancer surgery and two cardiac/thoracic surgeries – were postponed on Friday “as there was no capacity in ICU”."….

    "A February 18 presentation to Canterbury District Health Board clinical leaders, seen by Stuff, reveals Baxter is far from alone in her experience.

    It reveals about 1000 general surgery elective procedures have been cancelled since March 2020 – including more than 350 cancer surgeries.

    Patients had suffered “unprecedented cancellations of elective general surgical services” and this was causing “significant concern” and “moral distress amongst the workforce”, the presentation said."

    What I have said above is not meant to minimise the concerns about Covid, and some of the terrible suffering some are enduring.

    However, it does show that focussing on one major health issue can result in many others suffering or being put at risk due to so many health resources being diverted to tackle one problem. So, perhaps it is time to change tack with Covid, especially if Omicron does become the dominant strain, and the more dangerous varieties such as Delta start to disappear.

    • Belladonna 1.1

      It's also been very difficult for those organizations advocating for continued screening and vaccination programmes & medical/surgical treatment to get any air time – and cut through the Covid concerns.

      None of them are denying the reality of Covid risk. But they are saying that there are other treatable health risks which *also* kill Kiwis. It does you no good to miss catching Covid in 2021, only to die of a treatable cancer in 2022.

      The delays, as far as I'm aware, have not been through pressure on hospital resources due to Covid cases, but rather through the shut-down of routine (and even emergency) testing during the hard lockdowns (particularly in Auckland, which bore the brunt of it).

      And, I'm not aware of any plans to increase resourcing in these screening/vaccination programmes- let alone for treatment – to deal with the backlog of cases.

      • tsmithfield 1.1.1

        I think also due to capacity being reserved for a potential influx of Covid patients. Something on the news about it the other day. And that they now have sealed ICU rooms so that a ward can be used even if a Covid patient is present.

  2. francesca 2

    Betty realises there is still a risk of severe illness with Covid, but in the Newstalk ZB interview made the point that the common flu causes about 500 deaths per year also, and we have learned to live with that.

    So Betty thinks we can get to 500 covid deaths and then turn the spigot off?

    We'd be having to learn to live with a lot more than 500 deaths with no public health measures at all.And there is still so much we don't know about the long term effects of covid, no matter what variant .It's a novel coronavirus , the precautionary strategy is a no brainer.

    Having said that, there is still so much to learn about the MRna vaccines too, long term, they are also a novel vaccine for humans

    • tsmithfield 2.1

      No, you misread that. He said we have around 500 common flu deaths per year, and that we have learned to live with general flu, and other respiratory diseases, and that Omicron is in the ilk of those.

      • Shanreagh 2.1.1

        And he says this while we are in the upsurge phase of Covid Omicron. That is nuts.

        • tsmithfield

          You have no argument with me. You are arguing against one of the top doctors in the country.

          I suppose, as a general practitioner, he has great concern not only for Covid patients, but also all those others who are being mistreated by the health system as a result of that, such as the cancer patient in that second article I posted.

          • Shanreagh

            Minimising the risk of Covid does not advance the argument for keeping other health services going. Also I think the argument that there have been delays to accessing services has been patchy. Some DHBs are maintaining services and screening. Others, because of the impact of Covid on their wards etc have not been able to.

            The idea that this patchy service is a result of Covid is disingenuous. For years & years the health sector has been the political football with all manner of crazy set-ups. There were inequities of access before Covid and Covid has brought them out in stark relief.

            Hopefully the move to review the health set-up will give a focus to population based healthcare ie the funds being based on the needs of the population served by the hospital together with best practice for advanced medical and surgical care ie so we have say 3-4 hospitals that are focussed on this…..not every single hospital needs to have say, a linear accelerator.

            I venture to say that falling immunisation rates has been a problem for years and years ie pre Covid, and is going to get worse the more the nutters and those influenced by same get an earful of anti any vaccine madness.

            My next door neighbour is a surgeon at our local hospital says that anti vax sentiments around any vaccination is and has been a huge concern and that hospitals are often put under pressure by those who have decided not to be vaxxed or whose care givers have decided for them. Think measles, whooping cough, flu etc etc

            So people not getting the flu injection and then having lifelong asthma as a result etc.

            Articles about whooping cough and the pressure on pediatric wards are standard here in Wellington and have been for many winters prior to Covid.

            Not denying that we need to focus on this but to raise it now seem like binary thinking to me and not recognising the health threat now

            • tsmithfield

              I think vaccination rates previously were a lot higher than mid 70s, though someone may correct me on that.

              But it stands to reason that vaccination rates would be lower during the pandemic. I think people are scared about going out, so may be less likely to take their kids out to get vaccinated.

              So far as medical treatment goes, the article I linked to pointed to a large number of deferred operations since 2020, which would suggest the pandemic was to blame.

              Again, probably not surprising if that is the case. All sorts of projections were being given for Covid hospitalisations, and I think the health system was making provision for that.

              • Shanreagh

                Immunisation rates have, I understood been trending down for some years…prior to Covid. I know that they were trending down in mid 90s when I was working in a high level helath org and

              • Shanreagh

                Immunisation rates have, I understood, been trending down for some years…prior to Covid. I know that they were trending down in mid 90s when I was working in a high level health org and that was when we set up sets of Maori health providers as young Maori mums were not connecting with Plunket etc.

          • McFlock

            He's doing his job by advocating on the issues faced by his sector.

            Meanwhile, secondary and tertiary care specialists are also getting busy.

        • Blade

          It's not nuts. It's reality. Doctors can't hide behind the curtains in fear of Covid. They must minister to the publics health issues and needs. Covid in reality is the least of their problems compared to the backlog of patients with non related Covid issues.

          • Gypsy

            And "He also said more attention needs to be given to non-Covid child immunisation rates, else falling jab rates could trigger outbreaks of whooping cough and measles."

            Doctors are rightly raising these concerns, because a serious health crisis is building in the background that is going unattended.

      • Ed1 2.1.2

        The 500 number may have been correct pre-covid, but as I understand it that has lowered significantly with a much wider vaccination last year for influenza. It did not stop all deaths, but saved most. It is debatable whether free flu vaccines should become a regular annual event for all.

  3. Blade 4

    Kiwi ingenuity with a No8 wire solution?

    How much longer before New Zealand becomes the ''must watch'' space for a democratically elected government in serious trouble of losing control of their country?

    • Ad 4.1

      I have never seen a government lose control of the narrative faster than this.

    • observer 4.2

      Well apart from all the other times in all the other years in all the other cities in all the other democracies like London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Washington, a hundred other American cities …

      I believe some of them may even be on the internet. Have a look some time.

      Ottawa today: police with riot gear, guns, gas masks. Happening right now.

      Wellington: Barry Manilow.

      Of course if you want tear gas and tanks you should say so. You probably do. I'd settle for towing.

      • alwyn 4.2.1

        I think I would rather have the Ottawa situation rather than have Mallard's mad choice of moronic Manilow music inflicted on me.

        • aom

          The problem is that Wellington has a bunch of picnickers who want both Ottawa and Manilow, along with anything else they can commandeer.

      • aj 4.2.2

        "I have never seen a government lose control of the narrative faster than this"

        Well apart from all the other times in all the other years in all the other cities in all the other democracies like London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Washington, a hundred other American cities …

        Yes. Give them a break. As if they haven't had enough to deal with over the last two years. Very easy to criticise in hindsight.

        Look, for my mind the pandemic has let loose a kind of panic in some people. The fear, perhaps, of dealing with something like this has tipped otherwise reasonable people over the edge, and this is being capitalised on by the hard core RW activists both overseas and within New Zealand.

        Everyone else is simply tired of having to deal with the sea of changes to our lives but most people just soldier on and do what has to be done.

        Governments are the meat in the sandwich, and we all know how well our response has been to date. Not perfect, but amongst he best outcomes in the world.

        Anyone who thinks the people in government, health, police, MIQ etc etc have enjoyed the last few years is dreaming. They must be exhausted, and despite clots like Ian Taylor suggesting they went on holiday, bullshit, the pandemic is relentless and they will be working long long days, going to sleep thinking about the work that has to be done and waking with those things first on their mind.

        They have had to make a lot of very difficult calls and the mandates are amongst them. Rather them than me doing this.

        They have all my gratitude for their mettle, for taking the advice of health and science, and they deserve some compassion.

        • Blade

          You had a excellent post in my opinion until you wrote this:

          ''They must be exhausted, and despite clots like Ian Taylor suggesting they went on holiday, bullshit.''

          Technically, you are correct. In reality government members were on roster.

          Then we must consider the fiasco over RATS…you know, the tests you can buy from vending machines overseas.

          And let's not forget Chris Hipkin's korero on that issue. There's a word I want to used by cannot.

          Incidentally, I have tried explaining to some fellow Tories, why Labour winning the election was the best thing out for National. They just couldn't rap their heads around that statement. If they read your post the penny may have dropped.

        • tsmithfield

          “Yes. Give them a break. As if they haven’t had enough to deal with over the last two years. Very easy to criticise in hindsight.”

          I agree with you to a point. I do think the government is on hiding to nothing in this situation.

          Would National have done any better? Maybe not. It is one hell of a problem for any government to deal with.

          But the problem for the government is that they are in charge. They had all the positive press when things were going well in the days of elimination. Now, the government is being judged, rightly or wrongly, for the way they are dealing with this phase of the pandemic.

          I do think it is a good time to be in opposition at the moment.

          • observer

            Fair comment overall.

            I'd give Luxon some credit for what he isn't saying … so far. If he's tempted, I hope more experienced heads in his caucus will dissuade him.

            He's not yet said "Ardern must sack the Police Commissioner" or similar. Good for a headline, maybe a poll boost. Very bad as a precedent.

            • Blade

              He was on TV news tonight. He said something about Labour needing a plan.

              I wasn't paying too much attention because he's a waste of space.

              Instead of prattling on about Labour's short comings, what's National’s plan?

              For him to peek out from behind the curtains means pollies are just waking up to how serious this situation is becoming.

              ''He's not yet said "Ardern must sack the Police Commissioner" or similar. Good for a headline, maybe a poll boost. Very bad as a precedent.''

              Please tell me you are joking? Costa should be gone by lunchtime under a National government.

    • McFlock 4.3

      lol so they actually did the #dumbkirk thing

      • Blade 4.3.1

        Yep, you said they would do something like that I believe?

        • McFlock

          Joe90 posted the twitter thing here when the clownvoy was still in transit.

          But you know twitter things, usually if it's too funny to be true it's not true. Takes a while for the actuality to wriggle out, sometimes, unless there's an actual pic or video of the very thing and nothing has been added to the tweet.

          Of course, now there's a realist chance of riots or worse, it's not so funny.

  4. Joe90 5

    But focussing on one major health issue ……..


    "Even a mild case of COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year after diagnosis, a new study1 shows. Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from COVID-19 than in similar people who hadn’t had the disease.

    What’s more, the risk was elevated even for those who were under 65 years of age and lacked risk factors, such as obesity or diabetes.

    “It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, it doesn’t matter if you smoked, or you didn’t,” says study co-author Ziyad Al-Aly at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and the chief of research and development for the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System. “The risk was there.”"

    • Belladonna 5.1

      Unfortunately, with Omicron loose in NZ – there is nothing that can be done about the risk of long-Covid.

      All you can do is slow down the spread – and spread out the potential load on the hospital system. [Not saying that this isn't a worthy aim]. That doesn't reduce the numbers of people who are going to catch Omicron – it just spreads it across more months – so has zero impact on the numbers with Long Covid (it doesn't matter whether you caught it in March or June – the consequences are the same)

      No one knows what the risk factors are – apart from the fact that they don't appear to be associated with any of the co-morbidity factors which increase the risk of severe Covid symptoms. So, you can't even decide that you're in a high risk group, and self-isolate.

      Interesting interview on RNZ Saturday morning with Kim Hill – Chris Smith UK virologist saying that the data isn't in for the Long Covid impact of Omicron (because not enough time has passed) – but that he's picking that the percentages will significantly reduced from Delta. He bases this on the sheer numbers infected with Omicron, and that if the LC rates were similar to Delta, they'd be overwhelmed with LC cases – and they're not. [My paraphrase]

      He also commented that they are guesstimating that at least 50% of the Omicron cases are completely asymptomatic. They can't prove this, because you don't go and get tested if you don't have symptoms. But commenting that significant numbers of people are being detected with Omicron through routine testing, when they present to hospital with a completely unrelated health issue [I'm thinking: broken leg, car crash, giving birth, etc.]

  5. Molly 6

    Missed this in January – busy in the garden – but an interesting point for discussion as to the 'why?'

    Guardian – Women 32% more likely to die after operation by male surgeon, study reveals

    For each of the 1.3m operations they analysed, the sex of each patient and details of how their procedure had gone and also the sex of the surgeon who carried it out.

    They found that men who had an operation had the same outcomes regardless of whether their surgeon was male or female. However, women experienced better outcomes if the procedure had been performed by a female surgeon compared with a male surgeon. There were no gender differences in how surgery went for either men or women operated on by a female surgeon.

    Conclusion of the study found on JAMA:

    Conclusions and Relevance In this study, sex discordance between surgeons and patients negatively affected outcomes following common procedures. Subgroup analyses demonstrate that this is driven by worse outcomes among female patients treated by male surgeons. Further work should seek to understand the underlying mechanism.

  6. Anker 7

    a story about two women in Kings Ora houses who have been terrorised by a neighbour who threatened to kill one of them. Why hasn’t he been evicted? I thought there was some progress on this

    • Belladonna 7.1

      Looking at this article, I don't see any change in the operational stance of KO.

      KO regional director Graeme Broderick:
      "If a tenant receives three warnings within 90 days, Kāinga Ora can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy."

      Note, he's not saying they will apply to end the tenancy.

      I would have thought that 3 official warnings in 3 months is a pretty high bar (given the required 'investigation' time and allowing for a response from the tenant) – and anyone reaching that level should be automatically referred to the Tenancy Tribunal.

      And, actually, 3 warnings is much too high a bar, for someone who has committed actual assault and criminal damage. One instance should be sufficient for KO to understand that the current housing situation is not suitable for either him or his neighbours. This is the kind of situation which could go on forever: assaults someone, gets sectioned for a couple of months, return and repeat.

      I think this is business as usual for KO. Rights of the disruptive over-ride the rights of the community.

      Also, he's been sectioned to the Mental Health unit – so the house has been empty since July, but he still has the tenancy. I thought we had a critical shortage of KO housing? I doubt this is the best use of scarce housing resources.

  7. gsays 8

    Another great day to be a NZ cricket fan.

    South Africans desperately fighting to avoid an innings defeat in Christchurch.

    34/3 against a well rested, motivated bowling attack.
    This first hour is mana from heaven for us tragics

    Trent who? Just kidding. What depth the team has.

    Edit 34/4, Henry has a wicket 2nd delivery of the day.

    • dv 8.1

      Nope 4 wkts!!!
      Over by lunch?

    • Shanreagh 8.2

      Yes I always have a quick squizz here to see if it is a good time to ring my partner……so I won't for the moment……wink

      He follows NZ when NZ is playing and England when England is playing. Bit of a toss-up when Eng is playing NZ. He was born in England lives in NZ.

      • gsays 8.2.1

        You should be good around lunch time.

        What to do for the next two days?devil

        • Shanreagh

          He says he will be coming up the Kapiti Coast with me tomorrow! Might have to recognise the greater power I think and head up by myself!

    • Patricia Bremner 8.3

      Our whole family gsays.devil

    • Puckish Rogue 8.4

      I didn't think this would be the result (at least notas quickly as it happened), a good old fashioned shellacking from start to finish

    • aj 10.1

      Anyone notice how much Biden as slipped in his public speaking in the last 4 months.

      No-one seems to want to acknowledge he's stumbling and barely coherent at times.

      CIA’s final report: No WMD found in Iraq

    • francesca 10.2

      If The US had kept true to its promises in 1991 we wouldn't be now subject to the threat of catastrophic war in Ukraine , and quite possibly a nuclear disaster.

      Putin is wanting the West to honour the deal that led to German reunification , the conditions were that Nato would not move an inch to the East.This has been scoffed at and called Russian disinformation, but the transcripts have been found .

      Der Spiegel has published the findings in the last few days

    • Subliminal 10.3

      Whats with the "just" announced. This has been "just" announced for a couple weeks. At present, the civilian population is being evacuated to Russia.

      Seems that this humanitarian effort is more likely to allow the present line to be held or for any break through by Ukraine to be obvious to the whole world without putting civilians at risk. It also takes away any opportunity for any side to stage any false flag horror against civilians.

      Russia remains consistent in declarations of no intention to invade. At this point in 2015, the Ukraine was given the opportunity to move through the contact line only to find themselves trapped.

      With no civilians to deal with nor horrors for them to endure, Russia has no need to intervene. If the Ukraine wishes to test their newly bought Western military hardware, they will need to move through the contact line. If they don't it will be more of the waiting game while those from the Donbass who wish will be assimilated into Russia. Western war hysteria is getting a bit old now. We've heard enough from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya.

      • francesca 10.3.1

        Its been known for a lot longer than 2 weeks .But for der Spiegel to be publishing now signals the German wish to get the Minsk accords on the move.

        • Subliminal

          Well they are certainly getting the hurry along now after 7 years. On the day that Sholz was last in Moscow, the Duma passed a bill to allow the President to recognise the LDNR as an autonomous region. Of course, this would break the Minsk agreement but it would allow the newly formed Republic to invite in the Russians as peace keepers. Germany and France are being asked to take their responsibilities in regard to Minsk seriously. But it will involve standing up to the US and the fracturing of Nato. Which is why Russia believes the only way to solve the crisis is to deal with the US directly up till the time nations like Germany and France are prepared to act in the interests of their nations rather than vassals that are only allowed to trade where directed by a US that acts only in its own interest.

          • aj

            Sting's 1985 song. No less relevant today than it was then.

            In Europe and America there's a growing feeling of hysteria
            Conditioned to respond to all the threats…..

    • weston 10.4

      Wonder if "the significant intelligence capability " is the same one that determined a family in afganistan in the last days of the US withdrawal was making a bomb prompting a drone attack that killed all of them , when in fact dad was filling water bottles from a garden hose as the whole world saw .

      • aj 10.4.1

        Murder of 7 young children, I think. No justice, ever.

        Blinken channelling the Colin Powell speech at the UN.

        Just lie after lie after lie.

  8. Blade 11

    I get tired of posters trotting out NZs low Covid death rate as an indicator of how well this government has handled the pandemic, and how lucky we are to have had such a great government watching over us.


    Welcome to the obverse side of the government's pandemic response. The government isn't responsible for all the stats in the link below. But their Covid response is a major contributor in my opinion. Of course, older folk with mental illness aren't part of this article. They would also have high numbers coping with mental issues.

    • Ad 11.1

      The broader background mortality stat changes would be fairer, rather than cherrypicking.

      • Blade 11.1.1

        ''The broader background mortality stat changes would be fairer,''

        I agree.

        Let father time provide those stats.

        • Ed1

          We saw a decrease in overall mortality for the first year of the pandemic – more vaccinated for flu, more staying home if showing any symptoms. It is part of why housing got harder – we even put rough sleepers under cover . .

    • The Unliving 11.2

      I get tired of posters trotting out NZs low Covid death rate as an indicator of how well this government has handled the pandemic, and how lucky we are to have had such a great government watching over us.

      So, objective reality doesn't suit your narrative. What does a better outcome look like to you?

      The government isn't responsible for all the stats in the link below. But their Covid response is a major contributor in my opinion.

      It is to be expected that a pandemic would negatively affect mental health. Do you think people would have been happier with rampant COVID?

      The Government's handling of COVID-19 has had public approval of up to 80%. Incidents of serious self-harm have been increasing for some time. I would imagine factors such as poverty, inequality, uncertainty of the future, and the negative impacts of social media would explain far more of those mental health stats than New Zealand's largely successful handling of COVID-19.

    • observer 11.3

      Of course mental health is under strain. It's a pandemic.

      It would be under strain if the government had followed any of the other approaches by other governments, from herd immunity to total lockdown, along the scale from full freedom to no freedom. If there was a pain-free answer, who found it?

      But there was certainly lots of misinformation and speculation over the past 2 years. Suicides up, that was a common chorus. Evidence? No.

    • McFlock 11.4

      Do you know the difference between a hospitalisation and a death?

  9. aj 13

    Jin Russell is very good and this is a great thread.

  10. Ad 14

    Top work Nico Porteous with another Gold!

  11. observer 15

    The sudden discovery of Dr Bryan Betty (see upthread) is the perfect illustration of how medical expertise is completely ignored by anti-vaxers … until they find a convenient straw to grasp.

    He has been a voice of reason throughout the pandemic. But of course he has been promoting vaccination in the MSM, so … ignore.

    Today he commented again in the MSM – which has suddenly become a messenger of truth!

    Anyway, since he has now been placed on the Approved Opinion List, let's just remember what he's been saying all along. Thank goodness the anti-vaxers now believe him! We can get 100% vaccinated now …

    "As health professionals working on the frontline of the pandemic for the past 18 months, we have seen the devastating effects of the virus first-hand. We are committed to keeping our communities as safe as possible and is why we continue to highlight the importance of vaccination."

    "If there is only one thing you read about COVID-19 today, make it this," says Dr Betty.

    COVID-19: The vax facts

    1. So far, over ten million people around the world have died from COVID-19.
    2. As well as being deadly and highly contagious, the virus can have serious long-term side effects called long Covid.
    3. Without the vaccine, almost everyone will get the virus.
    4. Those infected without being vaccinated are at least 20 times more likely to get dangerously ill. This is even higher for Māori and Pacific peoples.
    5. Once administered, the vaccine is cleared from the body within a few days, leaving the body’s defenses strengthened to fight COVID-19.
    6. If vaccinated, you are less likely to spread the virus to your whānau, friends and workmates.
    7. The vaccine is FDA approved and safer than either the contraceptive pill or common pain relief such as paracetamol.

    (emphasis added)

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 15.1

      "The sudden discovery of Dr Bryan Betty " by the the anti vaxxers.

      On Point , Observer !

    • tsmithfield 15.2

      Don't lump me in with "anti-vaxxers" please. I am absolutely pro vaccine, and double jabbed and boosted and actively encourage others to do the same.

  12. Ad 16

    A Russian invasion would throw the global economy into disarray (

    Since President Biden is now completely sure that the Russians are serious about invading the Ukraine, there would not only be geopolitical shockwaves and human tragedy, but it also could upend markets and strain the global economy


    • The largest country on earth by land mass, Russia is a commodities giant, ranking as a top producer of natural gas, oil, nickel, palladium, copper, coal, potash, wheat and more.
    • Disruptions to Russian exports — either at Russian President Vladimir Putin's say-so or due to sanctions — would drive up commodity costs, adding to global inflationary pressures and supply chain disarray.

    State of play: Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas and crude to the European Union.

    • Oil prices briefly jumped above $96 a barrel on Monday — the highest since 2014 — as investors grew skittish about continued access to Russian crude.
    • Natural gas is an issue too. Europe — particularly Germany — is most exposed should supplies of Russian natural gas stop flowing. More than 20% of Germany's gas flows from Russia, so a gas shutoff to the European economic and export giant could hurt growth and reverberate throughout global supply chains.

    Yes, but: The impact of a disruption of Russian raw materials would be broader. It's difficult to predict how the dominoes would fall.

    Worth noting: High prices are also incentivizing American energy production.

    What we're watching:

    • Inflation: If oil prices hit $120 a barrel — as analysts think could happen if Russia invades — that could make the recent inflationary surge more long-lasting than economists now think. (Central banks are watching. More on that later.)
    • Autos: An invasion could break another link in the rickety auto supply chain. Russia is the world's biggest supplier of palladium used in catalytic converters that scrub auto emissions.
    • Wheat: Russia is the world's third-largest wheat producer — Ukraine too is a massive wheat farmer — and prices for the grain could spike on an invasion, even without major disruptions of shipments. (That's what happened during Russia's 2014 takeover of Crimea.)
    • Aluminum: When Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska — who controlled Russian aluminum producer Rusal — was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2018, it set off a 30% price surge."

    It would certainly complicate Minister Robertson’s forecasts for Budget in May.

    • adam 16.1

      Begs the question, why are the US putting the largest peace time sanctions on Russia in history- if it's the economy they are worried about?

      Now they talking about more sanctions against China.

      Worse, in the sanctions is a clause to remove Russia's ability to trade at all. This is mad, jingoistic crap.

      • Ad 16.1.1

        They would I expect calculate that trade sanctions would still cost less than actual escalating European war.

        • francesca

          Billions for the arms industry though .Got to keep those factories running ..Flooding Ukraine with lethal weaponry won't stop a war in the Donbas,

          Zelensky is now emboldened to mount an attack , with the US propaganda machine providing cover via its "false flag " bs.With a compliant media turning the other way until the Donbas fights back

  13. mango 17

    Does lprent know the front page hasn't been working all week?

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  • New Zealand’s minerals future
    Introduction Today, we are sharing a red-letter occasion. A Blackball event on hallowed ground. Today  we underscore the importance of our mineral estate. A reminder that our natural resource sector has much to offer.  Such a contribution will not come to pass without investment.  However, more than money is needed. ...
    2 hours ago
  • Government sets out vision for minerals future
    Increasing national and regional prosperity, providing the minerals needed for new technology and the clean energy transition, and doubling the value of minerals exports are the bold aims of the Government’s vision for the minerals sector. Resources Minister Shane Jones today launched a draft strategy for the minerals sector in ...
    3 hours ago
  • Government progresses Māori wards legislation
    The coalition Government’s legislation to restore the rights of communities to determine whether to introduce Māori wards has passed its first reading in Parliament, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Divisive changes introduced by the previous government denied local communities the ability to determine whether to establish Māori wards.” The ...
    5 hours ago
  • First RMA amendment Bill introduced to Parliament
    The coalition Government has today introduced legislation to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling some of New Zealand’s key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries. RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop says the Government is committed to  unlocking development and investment while ensuring the environment is ...
    6 hours ago
  • Speech to Employers and Manufacturers Association: Relief for today, hope for tomorrow
    Kia ora, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou kātoa Tāmaki Herenga Waka, Tāmaki Herenga tangata Ngā mihi ki ngā mana whenua o tēnei rohe Ngāti Whātua ō Ōrākei me nga iwi kātoa kua tae mai. Mauriora. Greetings everyone. Thank you to the EMA for hosting this event. Let me acknowledge ...
    7 hours ago
  • Government invests in 1,500 more social homes
    The coalition Government is investing in social housing for New Zealanders who are most in need of a warm dry home, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. Budget 2024 will allocate $140 million in new funding for 1,500 new social housing places to be provided by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), not ...
    1 day ago
  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
    2 days ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
    2 days ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
    2 days ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
    2 days ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
    2 days ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
    2 days ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    2 days ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    2 days ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    3 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    4 days ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    5 days ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    6 days ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    6 days ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    6 days ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    6 days ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    6 days ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    1 week ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    1 week ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    1 week ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    1 week ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    1 week ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
    1 week ago
  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
    1 week ago
  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
    Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says. “The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    1 week ago

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