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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.

  8. joe90 9

    A Message To You Rudy

  9. Poission 10

    Biden just announced that Russia is to invade the Ukraine.

    • 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.

  10. 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?

  11. Puckish Rogue 12

    Scratch a liberal and a fascist bleeds

    I hope these two people are all right:

  12. aj 13

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

  13. Ad 14

    Top work Nico Porteous with another Gold!

  14. 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.

  15. Ad 16

    A Russian invasion would throw the global economy into disarray (axios.com)

    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

  16. mango 17

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

  17. Petition smashed thru 50,000 today (over 10k signatures in 1 day!) — up to 58,000 as of this evening — please sign

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    4 hours ago
  • New RBNZ board takes up role from 1 July
    Members with a range of governance, financial and technical skills have been appointed to the Reserve Bank Board as part of the shift to strengthen the Bank’s decision-making and accountability arrangements. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021 comes into force on 1 July 2022, with the establishment of ...
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    4 hours ago
  • New measures to help manage COVID-19 as country stays at Orange
    New Zealand to remain at Orange as case numbers start to creep up 50 child-size masks made available to every year 4-7 student in New Zealand 20,000-30,000 masks provided a week to all other students and school staff Extra funding to schools and early childhood services to supports better ...
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    6 hours ago
  • NZ to join International Court of Justice case against Russia
    Aotearoa New Zealand will join Ukraine’s case against Russia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which challenges Russia’s spurious attempt to justify its invasion under international law. Ukraine filed a case at the ICJ in February arguing Russia has falsely claimed genocide had occurred in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as ...
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    6 hours ago
  • New advisory group provides enduring Māori expertise for Te Aorerekura delivery
    The Government has taken another step forward in its work to eliminate family violence and sexual violence with the announcement today of a new Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group. A team of 11 experts in whānau Māori wellbeing will provide the Government independent advice on shaping family violence and sexual ...
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    9 hours ago
  • Making work better for Kiwi women
    Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan was launched today by Minister for Women Jan Tinetti – with the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work. “This Government is committed to improving women’s working lives. The current reality is that women have ...
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    10 hours ago
  • Good Employer Awards celebrate food and fibre sector
    The food and fibre sector acknowledged its people and leadership at last night’s 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, a time to celebrate their passion towards supporting employees by putting their health, welfare and wellbeing first,” Acting Minister of Agriculture Meka Whairiti said. “Award winners were selected from an extraordinary ...
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    12 hours ago
  • PM's comments to NATO session
    Kia ora koutou katoa.  It is a rare thing to have New Zealand represented at a NATO Summit. While we have worked together in theatres such as Afghanistan, and have been partners for just on a decade, today represents an important moment for our Pacific nation.   New Zealand is ...
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    14 hours ago
  • Veterans Minister announces new focus on mental health for veterans and their whānau
    Te Arataki mō te Hauora Ngākau mō ngā Mōrehu a Tū me ō rātou Whānau, The Veteran, Family and Whānau Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy Framework “We ask a lot of those who serve in the military – and we ask a lot of the families and whānau who support ...
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    1 day ago
  • Minister to advocate for Small Island States
    Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio has been appointed by the United Nations and Commonwealth as Aotearoa New Zealand’s advocacy champion for Small Island States.  “Aotearoa New Zealand as a Pacific country is particularly focused on the interests of Pacific Small Island Developing States in our region.  “This is a ...
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    1 day ago
  • Increased support for households to pay local council rates
    An estimated 100,000 low income households will be eligible for increased support to pay their council rates, with changes to the rates rebate scheme taking effect from 1 July. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced increases to both the maximum value of the rates rebate, and the income threshold ...
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    1 day ago
  • He Oranga Poutama expanded into four new regions
    A long-standing physical activity programme that focuses on outcomes for Maori has been expanded to four new regions with Government investment almost doubled to increase its reach. He Oranga Poutama is managed by a combination of hapū, iwi, hauora and regional providers.   An increase in funding from $1.8 million ...
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    1 day ago
  • Wellington’s rapid transit option progresses to next stage
    The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay, a new tunnel through Mt Victoria for public transport, and walking and cycling, and upgrades to improve traffic flow at the Basin Reserve. “Where previous ...
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    1 day ago
  • Keynote remarks: Tech 4 Democracy Summit, Madrid
    To Provost Muniz, to the Organisers at the Instituto de Empresa  buenas tardes and as we would say in New Zealand, kia ora kotou katoa.  To colleagues from the State Department, from Academia, and Civil Society Groups, to all our distinguished guests - kia ora tatou katoa. It’s a pleasure ...
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    2 days ago
  • On June 28, 2022, a meeting took place in Madrid between the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting Spain to participate in the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as one ...
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    2 days ago
  • More young Kiwis able to travel and work in Spain
    A six-fold increase in the Aotearoa New Zealand-Spain working holiday scheme gives a huge boost to the number of young people who can live and work in each other’s countries, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón made the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Scheme announcement ...
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    2 days ago
  • Supporting local government candidates
    A significant barrier has been removed for people who want to stand in local government elections, with a change to the requirement to publish personal details in election advertising. The Associate Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty has taken the Local Electoral (Advertising) Amendment Bill through its final stages in Parliament ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt passes law to protect consumers in banking and insurance sector
    New financial conduct scheme will ensure customers are treated fairly Banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers to be licensed by the FMA in relation to their general conduct Sales incentives based on volume or value targets like bonuses for selling a certain number of financial products banned The Government ...
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    2 days ago
  • New law paves way for greater supermarket competition
    Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores paves the way for greater competition in the sector, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said. The new law is the first in a suite of measures the Government is ...
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    2 days ago
  • Vaccine mandate for border and corrections workers to end
    The Government has announced an end to the requirement for border workers and corrections staff to be fully vaccinated. This will come into place from 2 July 2022. 100 per cent of corrections staff in prisons, and as of 23 June 2022 97 per cent of active border workers were ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand's Commonwealth relationships strengthened at CHOGM
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has concluded a visit to Rwanda reaffirming Aotearoa New Zealand’s engagement in the Commonwealth and meeting with key counterparts. “I would like to thank President Kagame and the people of Rwanda for their manaakitanga and expert hosting of this important meeting,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “CHOGM ...
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    2 days ago
  • Emergency monitoring centre opened to keep New Zealand safer
    Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty officially launched the new Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting (MAR) Centre at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) today. The Government has stood up the centre in response to recommendations from the 2018 Ministerial Review following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and 2017 Port Hills fire, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Waikato Expressway speed limit to change to 110km/h
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the announcement that a 110km/hr speed limit has been set for the SH1 Waikato Expressway, between Hampton Downs and Tamahere. “The Waikato Expressway is a key transport route for the Waikato region, connecting Auckland to the agricultural and business centres of the central North ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government listening to sector on NCEA
    Following feedback from the sector, Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti, today confirmed that new literacy and numeracy | te reo matatini me te pāngarau standards will be aligned with wider NCEA changes. “The education sector has asked for more time to put the literacy and numeracy | te reo ...
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    2 days ago
  • Further Aotearoa New Zealand support for Ukraine
    $4.5 million to provide Ukraine with additional non-lethal equipment and supplies such as medical kit for the Ukrainian Army Deployments extended for New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) intelligence, logistics and liaison officers in the UK, Germany, and Belgium Secondment of a senior New Zealand military officer to support International ...
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    3 days ago
  • Electoral changes will bring greater transparency for voters
    Changes to electoral law announced by Justice Minister Kiri Allan today aim to support participation in parliamentary elections, and improve public trust and confidence in New Zealand’s electoral system. The changes are targeted at increasing transparency around political donations and loans and include requiring the disclosure of: donor identities for ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government invests to minimise gambling harm
    The Labour government has announced a significant investment to prevent and minimise harm caused by gambling. “Gambling harm is a serious public health issue and can have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities. One in five New Zealanders will experience gambling harm in their lives, ...
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    3 days ago
  • More free flu vaccines and a second COVID-19 booster to groups at risk of hospitalisation
    The Government has widened access to free flu vaccines with an extra 800,000 New Zealanders eligible from this Friday, July 1  Children aged 3-12 years and people with serious mental health or addiction needs now eligible for free flu dose. From tomorrow (Tuesday), second COVID-19 booster available six months ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government backs action to drive strong wool growth
    The Government is investing to create new product categories and new international markets for our strong wool and is calling on Kiwi businesses and consumers to get behind the environmentally friendly fibre, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today. Wool Impact is a collaboration between the Government and sheep sector partners ...
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    4 days ago
  • Veterans Minister pays tribute to service and sacrifice at Korean War commemoration
    At today’s commemoration of the start of the Korean War, Veterans Minister Meka Whaitiri has paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of our New Zealand veterans, their families and both nations. “It’s an honour to be with our Korean War veterans at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to commemorate ...
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    5 days ago
  • Matariki projects star in latest round of Tourism Infrastructure Fund
    Minister of Tourism Stuart Nash and Associate Minister of Tourism Peeni Henare announced the sixth round of recipients of the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF), which supports local government to address tourism infrastructure needs. This TIF round will invest $15 million into projects around the country. For the first time, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Matariki speech 2022
    Matariki tohu mate, rātou ki a rātou Matariki tohu ora, tātou ki a tātou Tīhei Matariki Matariki – remembering those who have passed Matariki – celebrating the present and future Salutations to Matariki   I want to begin by thanking everyone who is here today, and in particular the Matariki ...
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    6 days ago
  • First Matariki holiday marked across New Zealand and the world
    Oho mai ana te motu i te rangi nei ki te hararei tūmatanui motuhake tuatahi o Aotearoa, Te Rā Aro ki a Matariki, me te hono atu a te Pirīmia a Jacinda Ardern ki ngā mahi whakanui a te motu i tētahi huihuinga mō te Hautapu i te ata nei.    ...
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    6 days ago
  • Minister to attend second United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker will represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the second United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, which runs from 27 June to 1 July. The Conference will take stock of progress and aims to galvanise further action towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, to "conserve and sustainably use ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports innovative dairy sheep sector to scale up
    The Government is boosting its partnership with New Zealand’s dairy sheep sector to help it lift its value and volume, and become an established primary industry, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “Globally, the premium alternative dairy category is growing by about 20 percent a year. With New Zealand food ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Buller flood recovery and longer term resilience
    The Government is continuing to support the Buller district to recover from severe flooding over the past year, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today during a visit with the local leadership. An extra $10 million has been announced to fund an infrastructure recovery programme, bringing the total ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government outlines plans for future COVID-19 variants
    “The Government has undertaken preparatory work to combat new and more dangerous variants of COVID-19,” COVID-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall set out today. “This is about being ready to adapt our response, especially knowing that new variants will likely continue to appear. “We have undertaken a piece of work ...
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    1 week ago
  • Next steps for NZ UK free trade agreement
    The Government’s strong trade agenda is underscored today with the introduction of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill to the House, Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “I’m very pleased with the quick progress of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill being introduced ...
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    1 week ago
  • Five new members join education Youth Advisory Group
    A ministerial advisory group that provides young people with an opportunity to help shape the education system has five new members, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said today. “I am delighted to announce that Harshinni Nayyar, Te Atamihi Papa, Humaira Khan, Eniselini Ali and Malakai Tahaafe will join the seven ...
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    1 week ago