Open mike 19/08/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 19th, 2020 - 237 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

237 comments on “Open mike 19/08/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Nat leader exposing border failures seems effective, but declaring a Nat govt would do the job properly is unconvincing. If the border control shambles is produced by public servants unable to collaborate or even follow instructions, obviously the same outcome would occur if a National minister was (nominally) in charge of the process.

    While still in the House, she tweeted her criticism of Ardern's response. "Really interesting verbal gymnastics from the PM today in [Question Time] trying to justify her statement of 15 July that all frontline border staff were being regularly tested." Collins said that eight weeks after that, some 63 per cent of Auckland staff had not been tested.

    Posturing in parliament doesn't solve the problem. The problem seems to be due to poor coordination of the govt depts involved, right? How can politicians mouthing off at it correct the situation? Media can't cope with reporting the problem due to inability to discover who in the public service is getting it wrong.

    So the PM has laboured under the delusion that the public service was implementing decisions made by her govt two months ago, and can only express disappointment at the news that implementation hadn't been happening – or, at best, only partially.

    If bureaucrats can keep using anonymity to evade accountability for failure, we can't expect National to do any better than Labour – bureaucrats are the ones with the real power over the situation, and they are either useless or can't be bothered getting their act together. Winston said yesterday that someone ought to be held accountable but didn't specify who – the system stops him discovering who screwed up.

    I wish we had honesty about this from both major party leaders. It would be refreshing to see them admitting the real nature of the problem. That ought to be happening when they discuss the situation in parliament. Pretending that one lot can do better than the other is merely a sham to con voters.

    • Wayne 1.1

      Speaking from experience, I can say that having to answer questions in parliament does ensure Ministers are on top of their portfolios. Ministers will make sure they ask the right questions of officials, they will follow up.

      That is the value of public accountability in parliament. It forces better performance than does a closed system with no public accountability.

      Yes, the failures are very public, but they are also more quickly fixed.

      An essential part of a democracy.

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        What I'd like to see happening in parliament is this q+a: What are the names of the public servants who were given the job of establishing the border control systems to stop the virus re-entering? What areas of operation were they each responsible for?

        This is in accord with the principle of transparency in governance. Traditional Nat/Lab collusion in evading such implementation in the past derives from complacent assumption that the public have no right to know. I believe we do. If public servants have a shaming potential gearing their thinking, they are more likely to avoid the misbehaviour that will produce the shaming.

        Designing systems with negative-feedback incorporated to produce suitable outputs has been conventional in technology for a very long time. It is also part of nature. Ongoing failure to improve democracy via such design is evidence of inadequacy.

        • RosieLee

          And clear KPIs to be enforced in their performance reviews.

          • Draco T Bastard

            KPIs can actually bring about poor performance:

            But, once those KPIs are linked to incentives, they stop being a navigation tool and become a target an individual has to hit to secure their bonus. And, as soon as that happens, the individuals involved can become very creative in how they can manipulate the information or their behaviour to ensure they receive the incentive.

            And, yes, I have seen that happen and so have other people that I know.

            KPIs are not a magic fix.

        • Ad

          That is so stupid.

          Would you like the names of Police? How about the names of public hospital psychiatrists? And all those lab technicians? What about the names of all the security guards and customs workers? Let's keep going and go for the names of all the teachers that might have been in contact as well? All the Defence Force personnel? And of course all the nurses?

          Why don't we just lock them all in a great big shipping container, throw in a knife, and open it up in the morning?

          At some point the blood lust for blame is just rage.

          • Dennis Frank

            What a feeble apology for institutionalised incompetence! You do realise that operational reporting occurs in the private sector, and produces efficiencies as a natural consequence, and this has been happening since the 19th century if not earlier?? So why the hell do you expect the public sector to be eternally hamstrung by bad design?

            • Ad

              If you want a court of inquiry or Parliamentary inquiry, then propose that.

              Not a witch hunt.

              Asking for the naming and shaming of public servants is categorically wrong.

              • Dennis Frank

                What kind of moron would take such inquiries seriously?? Have you ever seen anything other than cover-ups from them?

                I expect the public service to operate to the same standards of accountability as everyone else. If you have operational responsibilities, you are accountable to all stakeholders for their performance.

                Trying to excuse institutionalised moral corruption isn't a swamp you ought to be wallowing in. Extract yourself.

                • Ad

                  You expect too much and show zero empathy for frontline staff.

                  Clearly you have no-one close to you working in this situation.

                  Stop your frothing for blood. It achieves nothing except more rage. People are not to blame for the spread of the virus: people are the solution.

                  Inquiries in this country are regularly carried out and quite effectively, and they go through a series of levels of severity.

                  We should expect to see multiple structural adjustments across all kinds of public department after this – the Simpson Report is just a start to what is in front.

                  • RedLogix

                    Totally with you Ad; if operational staff were exposed to public witch hunts and shaming the entire system would fail. No-one would be willing to do the work.

                    The chain of public sector accountability starts at the top and works it's way downward. The reason why the top managers get the big salaries is because they are the ones exposed to this risk. Ordinary operational staff are not paid for this.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    You & Red are chewing your own red herring. I never specified operational staff. They just follow orders. I specified managers of operations. I meant those who either failed to give orders to implement govt policy, or failed to report that the orders they gave didn't produce the intended outcome.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I never specified operational staff.

                      Yes you did right here:

                      What are the names of the public servants who were given the job of establishing the border control systems to stop the virus re-entering?

                      Yes, the people doing the job are, as a matter of fact, the operational staff.

                • Gabby

                  This is the kinder gentler Dennis is it? You got a bee lodged up your tailpipe or sutin?

            • Incognito

              You do realise that operational reporting occurs in the private sector, and produces efficiencies as a natural consequence, and this has been happening since the 19th century if not earlier??

              Indeed, we need a smaller government and state sector and need to privatise as much as we can and possibly more \sarc

              The flaw in your otherwise flawless thinking is that private and state sectors are the same. They aren’t. This kind of corporate thinking AKA dogmatic neoliberal orthodoxy has taken over many of our public institutions such as universities, hospitals, and DHBs. And people wonder why it is not working out so well …

              You do realise that the manager’s wet dream of operational reporting is drowning and suffocating institutions because it creates its own bureaucracy? The answer always seems to be “more” while, in fact, less is more.

              The problem with operational reporting and so-called feedback loops is that they are too general. Instead, they should be highly specific, focussed, and targeted. Only then can you ‘measure’ something properly without a whole lot of noise that needs to be filtered out AKA ‘analysed’.

          • I Feel Love

            Agree with Ad, disagree with public doxing, it is why we have the leaders, they are the public face, why they get paid the big bucks afterall. Public naming & shaming & chucking juniors under busses is what I'd expect Collins & Brownlee to do, to appease the Mervs on talkback & the Hootons in newsprint. Fuk that.

            • Gabby

              On the other hand, public servants who lie to their ministers should be seeking employment in the private sector pretty smartly.

              • Dennis Frank

                Yeah but that's an outlier likelihood. I suspect the lack of implementation resulted in fuzzy upward reporting, such as `yeah, yeah, we're getting a round tuit', the ole MoW spade-leaning strategy recycled ad nauseum.

                You're on the right track though. Someone, or some, in the public service do seem to have got away with setting up the govt &/or the DG. Such scurrilous behaviour deserves serious consequences. My faith that they will happen in due course is zero – due to too many precedents fading into history…

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          I'm prone to making mistakes (although I do try to learn from them), so that trait would probably rapidly exclude me from public service if I was silly enough to seek such a role under Dennis' proposed regime of naming and shaming.

          • Dennis Frank

            If you are referring to mistakes in scientific operations, the parallel would be whatever communal decision-making gets triggered by them. You could make helpful suggestions deriving from such professional experience. By analogy, you could then suggest how similar corrective measures could be incorporated into the public service.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Mistakes in general, Dennis, in general. We all make 'em, ‘some’ more often than others. "A gradual decline of cognitive function and concurrent loss of brain volume is an expected process even in healthy aging." Normal Cognitive Aging

              Non-lethal mistakes are the best ‘teachers‘, IMHO. Also IMHO, a clear distinction should be made between (simple) mistakes and self-serving or malicious decision making whenever possible.

        • Stuart Munro

          I agree – the quasi-corporate presumptions of neo-liberalism devolved enormous power to civil servants. With that power should come accountability and responsibility. The scoundrels who granted the Bottle O migrant exploiter over 100 work permits need to be fined and sacked – in effect they exported over 100 NZ jobs. They were his de facto accomplices.

          • RosieLee


          • JanM

            Ah – that's getting close to it! And you can be sure the 'scoundrels' will be high up in the chain and have important rw connections. More than just rooting out one group of bad eggs there needs to be an investigation and overhaul of the entire public service!

        • anker

          Denis, I tend not to read what you have written, because there it is most often too long………….

          Having been employed in a DHB 20 years ago, let me assure you that clinicians are held to account quite rigoursly (as are their managers)……In health so much can go wrong and we knew back then, if it did we would undergo a very thorough review, sometimes with a lawyer (district inspector) involved. Same with KPIs Rosie Lee.

          But by all means let's name all these health professionals and administrators doing the heavy lifting with the virus at the borders. Such a popular job and I am sure others will be lining up to do it……

            • SPC

              I've heard a report about this on RNZ. There is a lot of stress over the budget, board and staff. And between them and the Ministry.

              It would appear the Health Board needs the increases in funding it gets just to maintain services, and needs a separate funding stream – shovel ready project job creation to fix up/replace earthquake damaged buildings still being used.

              More generally, all health boards and a few councils are burdened by historic debt – this localised/regional burden continuing when government debt is so cheap is surprising.

              I'll leave aside the issue of some of the building accounting cost HB's are subject to, that needs review given government debt costs also.

          • Wensleydale

            I tend not to read what Dennis writes too, but for entirely different reasons.

      • Tricledrown 1.1.2

        First thing you have said that I agree with for a very long time.

    • ScottGN 1.2

      Honesty is one thing we almost certainly won’t see from anybody in this. Hipkins’s mea culpa to the House yesterday will be about as much as you get from the government and in order for National to get any electoral benefit from the shambles they will need to convince us that they would be able to do a vastly better job. There’s plenty of dick waving to come.
      I wonder though if Reti has departed from National’s script with the blessing of his leadership?

      As for Winston, it’s election time and he loves to be an opposition politician.

      • anker 1.2.1

        Scott GN. what is the shambles????????

        Perhaps you are agreeing with the Donald "we don't want that here"

        • ScottGN

          Oh I don’t know anker? Repeatedly assuring the country that front line border staff were indeed all getting tested, only to have to admit that in reality it was just 40% when the inevitable outbreak occurred, and you’d just put the country’s largest city into Level 3 restrictions, might just be the teensiest of own goals wouldn’t you say?

          • Just Is

            But the testing regime is in now way responsible for or a causation of the current outbreak, so, even if the testing had been covering all employees, we still would've had this outbreak as no one in border Quarantine has, or has had the same strain as the current outbreak.

            • ScottGN

              That may well be. But the government’s response to the outbreak would have been much better received if they weren’t also dealing with accusations, correct or otherwise, that they had failed to deliver on their earlier rhetoric around testing of frontline staff at the border.

          • anker

            ScottGN …….shambles. = A state of total disorder………..

            No its a shambles doesn't wash. The fact that we are in level three shows its not disorder. The testing at the border of returnees was working well. Securing the facilities from escapees………..testing and contract tracing working to contain the cluster. Unprecidented numbers being tested.

            So I have to say Scott GN, describing it as a shambles is bull shit.

          • Ed1

            I guess it depends on who you mean by "front line border staff", and how often you expect testing to happen. Quite reasonably baggage handlers at an airport may get tested less frequently than nurses in a quarantine facility, or even only tested if they show symptoms. There are a huge number of people doing different jobs – what do you mean by front line border staff? If for example everyone is to be tested twice a month, then rather than doing everyone on one day, it may be reasonable to start testing in a staggered way. After two weeks, there may be quite a few of those workers still not tested, but there may have been less of a shambles than trying to test everyone in a week . . .

    • Tiger Mountain 1.3

      they are either useless or can't be bothered getting their act together

      The third option is deliberate undermining by “someone”… doesn’t happen? Well I would put forward MSD and Immigration as two likely places it does, and the top and Parliamentary levels of the National Party e.g. Boag, Woodhouse and Falloon.

      • Just Is 1.3.1

        Plenty of evidence there are people who would deliberately try to undermine the Govts efforts for political gain.

    • Treetop 1.4

      Collins needs a good sharp shock a day working as a cleaner at the Jet Park Hotel might do it. Her attitude is unhelpful because she needs to be part of the solution and not adding to the problems which the government are trying to fix. Collins is entitled to ask balanced questions so a process is as reliable as it can be.

    • lprent 1.5

      The only real way to detect these kinds of issues is to go and walk around sites periodically and ask questions from front face people. Not only politicians, but also their trusted staff.

      • Dennis Frank 1.5.1

        Yeah, exactly. That reality-check ought to have been included as part of operational design, so that managers discover non-compliance asap. Two months in a pandemic crisis is way too long to wait for operational feedback!

        • Draco T Bastard

          That reality-check ought to have been included as part of operational design, so that managers discover non-compliance asap.

          And that's where economics comes in. It's something that's simply impossible to do to the degree that you're demanding.

          No process is perfect and it simply cannot be.

      • SPC 1.5.2

        The constant with risk management, is what can be done better – and this should be continuous and on-going. Best practice – kaizen, is not an end but a process.

    • Stephen D 1.6

      ISTM the both the opposition and the media are looking for scapegoats. While a typical human reaction, we all want someone to blame, this would be highly inappropriate right now. Once this pandemic is well under control, and we are all at level 1 or 0, then is the time for the full inquiry.

      While we are still in the middle of it, all scapegoating would do is create a climate of fear among all border workers. It may suit Judith, but it would hamper any decent border control.

      • Dennis Frank 1.6.1

        Scapegoating is a red herring. Knowing who is responsible for operational areas eliminates covert behaviour that is anti-public by design. It changes the operational incentive-structure, tilting it in the direction of appropriate decision-making.

        Govt inquiries routinely mask lines of accountability, so it is naive to expect them to expose those who let the side down.

        Border workers ought to fear infection produced by bad management. If they know managers can’t hide, they will have more confidence that the system will work.

        • Ad

          Most Ministers ought not to know who public servant is undertaking which action, unless it is criminal. And even if charges have been laid, that is an operational matter for their management and for the Police.

          • Dennis Frank

            So now you want to exhibit a lack of knowledge of how complex systems operate. As if to distract everyone from the real issue: public safety endangered by anonymous incompetent bureaucrats, plus current govt made to look hopelessly inadequate in consequence. Make you feel good?

            • Ad

              Actually I feel nothing but gratitude for the thousands of public servants, volunteers and contractors who are indeed keeping us safe.

              Try it.

        • Stephen D

          So what you're asking for is perfection from every health sector worker. Having had some experience with the health dept, good luck with that.

          • Dennis Frank

            Why do people persist in reading stuff into comments that isn't actually there?? Take what I wrote at face value, why don't you? Nobody's perfect, we just need to own our performance consequences.

            • Stephen D

              Absolutely agree, just not in public. Nobody likes to be called out by the boss in front of the rest of the world. Deal with it at work, have the inquiry when the time is right.

              • Dennis Frank

                Fudging moral responsibility never works. And I agree that being called out for personal failures is unpleasant, but public safety weighs more heavily in the balance, eh? Tolerating the status quo, in which public servants use their cloak of anonymity as a cover for laziness, has no moral basis.

            • woodart

              you are full of it dennis. own our performance consequences! what stone have you been living under for 40 yrs? try getting what you are asking for out of ANY large organisation, gov or private . the modern way is to avoid responsibility and hide behind a wall of secretaries, put off by bad telephone answering systems ,and ever less face to face service. try getting your downed copper phone line repaired, what a circus. your phone provider sends a request through to chorus ,who pass it on to downer, who then MIGHT pass it on to yet another link in the chain, who then will look for the cheapest self employed technician with a ladder and pliers. getting names out of any of these links is like getting truth out of trump.

              • Dennis Frank

                Look, you don't solve a social problem by institutionalising it. Defeatism is the wrong attitude to adopt. Social reform is the suitable response to such problems. That means adopting a sensible design solution.

                • woodart

                  you also dont solve a problem by coming on a political website and jumping up and down . in my case, I got off my arse, got off the internet, and did some actual legwork. try it……

                  • Dennis Frank

                    jumping up and down

                    I specified the structural problem in our govt that keeps inflicting this type of bullshit on us, then suggested a suitable design of reform to solve that problem.

                    If that look like jumping up and down to you, improvement of focus may help to clarify your vision. Can't do wood art unless you can see the design in your mind that your art is deployed to produce out of the wood!

                    • woodart

                      cant do wood art by jumping up and down and expecting others to take note of your jumping up and down, when you jump up and down all of the time. as somebody else on here stated today, "dont bother to read your posts, dennis ,because they are too long" . putting up posts every two minutes gets the same results. a gigantic "meh"

      • anker 1.6.2

        110% Stephen D…..

        I know the system should have been up and running with testing border staff. It didn't get rolled out fast enough……..managing a pandemic has not been done before in our life time. They are having to develop and implement systems that normally take years.

        I also know if I was one of those border workers who was refused a test, I would have tried to get one at my GP's, talked to my union and written to Hipkins, Bloomfield and Ardern………….I am not meaning to blame the victim here.

        There use to be an add on the tele in the 60's LV Martin "its the putting right that counts"…. I am going with that.

    • bwaghorn 1.7

      Collins hasnt exposed fuck all, she jumped on the band wagon once media got the story, if the useless old crone had been being a proper opposition leader they would have exposed this weeks ago .

      • I Feel Love 1.7.1

        That made me laugh bwag, for another laugh listen to the Morn Rep interview, Collins spends 5 or so minutes criticising the Tracer Ph App, then has to ask Corin Dann what the Ph App actually does coz she doesn't know! But, she's going to reveal a better one.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.8

      If the border control shambles is produced by public servants unable to collaborate or even follow instructions, obviously the same outcome would occur if a National minister was (nominally) in charge of the process.

      And would, as a matter of fact, be a hell of a lot worse as National would be contracting the whole out to the lowest bidder in the private sector.

      So the PM has laboured under the delusion that the public service was implementing decisions made by her govt two months ago, and can only express disappointment at the news that implementation hadn't been happening – or, at best, only partially.

      What news about that? So far, I haven't seen any indication that the implementation hadn't been happening.

      I wish we had honesty about this from both major party leaders.

      Honesty isn't confirming what you think is happening bet telling everyone what the evidence shows.

  2. How to be a covidiot!

    Should be compulsory reading for all conspiracy theorists from Big G downwards!

  3. ScottGN 3

    Justin Trudeau has appointed Christia Freeland (Canada’s version of Megan Woods) to the role of Finance Minister after securing the resignation of Bill Morneau in an attempt to mop up a damaging conflict of interest scandal.

    Freeland will remain Deputy Prime Minister (an uncommon role in Canada’s version of Westminster cabinet government) but will give up the special job of heading intergovernmental relations that Trudeau had given her to try and sort out the fraying relationships between Ottawa and the Provincial governments.

    • ScottGN 3.1

      Trudeau has just prorogued the parliament in Ottawa. The House of Commons is in summer recess so effectively what he has done is suspend all parliamentary business including committees probing the ethic controversy that’s consumed his government until the GG delivers a new speech from the throne when the house resumes on Sep 23.

  4. gsays 4

    So how much money do we spend to get a CEO who can make it rain?–but-its-not-the-ceos-fault

    What about someone who doesn't worship at the altar of markets or read the holy scripture of balance sheets?

    How about someone who can get the leaks fixed? 50 million litres a day. A day!

    Someone with the creativity and charisma to get Aucklanders to think and act to conserve water.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      All reticulation systems leak. The older they are the more they leak.

      Non-profit organisation Water New Zealand data scientist Lesley Smith said Auckland had a lower leakage rate than the rest of the country. For Auckland's 13 percent loss, the rest of the country averages about 18 percent.

      She said to find and fix leaking pipes was not easy, and often resource-intensive.

      "It's an expensive exercise," Smith said. "Water loss from pipes that are hidden underground are very difficult to identify and very difficult to rehabilitate.

      As cities get older, pipes that were installed many decades ago tend to fail, and this inevitably drives the leak rate up. The good news is that modern piping materials and techniques, especially fusion welded HDPE plastic pipes installed to a good standard have a much lower leak rate and much longer lifetimes. As these new pipes become a larger fraction of the system and older ones more fragile ones are replaced, the total leak rate will decline. Reticulation managers everywhere are in a slow race between the rate of failure of older pipes and the rate at which they can replace or fix them.

      Every water supplier is aware of the issue, and most will endeavour to spend their maintenance budget as effectively balance the cost of the leaks against the cost of upgrading the pipes. Basic asset management 101.

      There is a fair bit more to this if you are interested.

      A good 2010 NZ overview.

      But in short the global leakage range in developed countries is 8 – 24%. For the whole of NZ it’s about 18%. Auckland is doing OK at a bit over 13%.

      • gsays 4.1.1

        Thanks RL, I wI'll give it a read after work.

        You have touched on, what I think, is the crux of the issue. The neo-liberal approach to business. Concern for this and next year's balance sheet.

        It's cheaper to just buy more water than to treat water as the taonga that it is. Perhaps if Auckland adjusted the KPI.s for the next CEO of Watercare, so that they were to become global leaders of water reticulation.

  5. ScottGN 5

    Collins is not doing herself any favours on Morning Report just now. She gets herself into a tangle whenever anything technical comes up.

    • RosieLee 5.1

      So why does RNZ give her the oxygen? Dann allowed her to repeat and repeat the same garbage. Where is Kim Hill when we need her?

      • ScottGN 5.1.1

        I thought Dann did a pretty OK job of trying to keep her on track actually.

        National knows what a gift this is for them, especially considering the terrible state they’re in. That was obvious from the moment the news broke a week ago. Don’t expect them to give it up anytime soon.

        As for the government, well you’d have to be a blind acolyte not to see that they have dropped the ball big time with the border testing fiasco. Why somebody wasn’t detailed from the ministry to absolutely make sure this was getting done properly is unfathomable. It’s not like we didn’t already know opaque and intractable the wallahs in the health ministry are.

    • Pat 5.2

      Very Prime Ministerial…..not

      • ScottGN 5.2.1

        Judith doesn’t have to look prime ministerial just yet. The government, thanks to its apparent inability to learn anything from the quarantine testing shambles a couple of months ago when the two women were let out untested to drive up and down the country, has given National the lifeline they were desperate for. Don’t expect them not to use it.

        • I Feel Love

          only if National had not gone bonkers the last few months, if this was their first foray into criticism, but they're their own worse enemies. No one has forgotten only a few weaks ago they were screaming "open the borders".'

          • Byd0nz

            Exactly. NZ would be in a total lock down and a lot of us oldies would be dead had the Nats been in power with their open border plan putting money first over keeping people alive. That point must be stated over and over.

        • Pat

          "Judith doesn’t have to look prime ministerial just yet"

          On the contrary, thats exactly what she needs to present…a viable alternative

          • ScottGN

            There’s plenty of time for Judith to adopt the mantle of PM-in-waiting as we get further into the campaign. Whether she is successful at that only time will tell.
            Right now though her job is to attack the government over what are obvious slip ups with testing of front line border staff. Part of National’s election strategy is to cast the government (and the PM particularly) as good at the talk and poor at the delivery. Unfortunately this latest episode is great boon to them in that endeavour.

            • Pat

              plenty of time?…I think not, voting can begin in 45 days, and the public having expected to vote considerably earlier will have largely nailed down their preference…Collins' performing as she is gives them little reason to reconsider

            • woodart

              so when does collins need to look like a PM in waiting? tomorrow,? three weeks? six weeks? think most people have already made their minds up on who to vote for, so collins should have looked like a PM in waiting, the day she got the nod to led the nats.

              • ScottGN

                Oh I think Judith will be wearing the mantle of gravitas befitting a potential PM about the time she and Ardern face off in the election debates – or at least she’ll be trying to. Hopefully her inner nature will get the better of her.

                • woodart

                  so, she will be doing it for the undecided voters then? because her acolytes have already decided she;s the one, and everybody else is already tuned out. election debates are like cooking shows, cheap programming for bored invalids.

          • I Feel Love

            Ben Thomas was asked if the Nats looked like a Govt in waiting, he said "ask me in a few weeks", ha!

        • anker

          Scott the govt learnt that tighter systems needed to be put in place for the people isolating and they did that…….tighter testing, tighter social distancing and tighter patrols in the facilities. To say the govt learnt nothing from 2 months ago, simply isn't true

          • I Feel Love

            The Govt response has been world class, the proof is the state of the rest of the world.

          • ScottGN

            Sure after the last embarrassing slip up they moved to put the proper protocols in place for returnees. Great.

            That doesn’t distract though from the fact that there has been something of a chasm between what the government told us was happening with testing frontline border staff (as opposed to people returning and in quarantine) and the reality on the ground.

            It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone, practically every western government has been badly tripped up by covid at one point or another. Ours was never going to be any different.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Our government will continue to make mistakes.

              It would be mischevious to imply that the NZ government and public health service strategy (Covid-19 elimination), and the response of the team of nearly five million, isn't different to that of the US, UK, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Ireland, etc. etc. And our Covid-19 health outcomes are different too – go figure.

              “We don’t know how lucky we are in this country”

              • ScottGN

                Of course, I don’t for a moment think our response has been anywhere near as chaotic as other governments. And we’re right to be proud of what we’ve achieved. But, as the PM herself has been saying, Covid is a tricky bugger and there will be missteps along the way.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.3

      Jude be nimble, Jude be quick, Gerry jump over the Covid stick.

      Jumping candlesticks was a form of fortune telling and a sport. Good luck was said to be signalled by clearing a candle without extinguishing the flame.

      National leader Judith Collins is distancing herself from her party’s earlier stand on allowing international students to isolate in university accommodation, refusing to endorse it as a current policy.

      Instead, she and border policy spokesman Gerry Brownlee both told media that National would release its full Covid-19 border policy later this week.

      This is a welcome acknowledgement by the leaders of the opposition National party that responding to the health threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic requires that policy and responses be adjusted as we learn more about how this virus spreads, compromises health, and kills.

      Is there someplace Collins and Brownlee would rather be?

      We don’t know how lucky we are in this country

    • mauī 5.4

      Judith "I'm confused.. about the App" Collins.

      Sounds like she expects it to work like some radar detector, setting off an alert when you're within 500km of a recent Covid case.

      • ScottGN 5.4.1

        She seemed to really struggle to understand how the covid app was supposed to work.

        • I Feel Love

          Or she's purposely sowing seeds about how complicated it is to use, spreading chaos and fear, it's too hard to use and "no one understands it".

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.4.2

        I downloaded it and am using it – seems easy. As easy as many other apps – if you can't use it, you probably also can't use your camera app, twitter etc.

        • ScottGN

          I agree. I use it every day. It’s easy and it’s never failed to read any QR code I’ve scanned so far.

          On Morning Report this morning though Collins seemed to conflate the job of the covid app and the general population using it with the task of health officials contact tracing backwards from a confirmed case. I’m not sure if that was just not understanding on her part or a deliberate attempt to confuse the two?

          • I Feel Love

            My ph won't accept it, but I keep a diary & I fill out forms wherever I go, and I see plenty of others scanning, no seems to want to be seen as a dickhead. And this is in L2.

            • ScottGN

              Probably we should have all still been using it in Level 1. We might not be in this situation if we had.

          • AB

            I heard it and my first instinct was to assume that she was stupid – but more charitably put it down to a brain-fart under questioning from Dann. She seemed to think that the app was intended to trace the pathway of infection between individuals. I shouted at the radio – "that would need us to all have a bloody QR code on our foreheads and scan it for everyone we meet".

            A Covid Card that everyone carried and which recorded the unique ID of every other Covid card it came within 2 metres of, would do something like that. Don't know if it is even possible though.

        • mauī

          Yeah, with some reluctance I've started using the app too. Much quicker than doing a pen and paper sign in, and trying to find out what the time is, etc, and your details aren't on display for everyone to see.

      • Incognito 5.4.3

        I have difficulty believing JC has difficulty understanding the app. It seems to me a ploy to create a perception that it is complicated and that she’s just an ordinary Kiwi just like Sir John. NB JC joined Twitter in August 2012 and has been a prolific tweeter. Does she understand Twitter?

  6. halfcrown 6

    Answer to ScottGN @ 5 7.34 am

    Yeah, I heard that. She is also telling porkies (why I am I not surprised) she has stated that "some people" are coming forward saying they were REFUSED the covid19 tests. Air Commodore Webb stated to John Campbell on Breakfast that EVERYBODY involved in the border security was OFFERED the test, (but it was voluntary until recently) but 60% declined being tested.

    Here we go again the slime from the right is starting the dirty politics again. Someone wants to challenge Collins with the statement she made.

    My opinion for what it is worth I am so pleased we have had an incompetent government running the show up to now, with all the glitches, if we had the likes of Goldsmith, Brownlee with all the "wants" by the whinging right, it would have been a complete and total disaster. Let's not forget that this virus is a new threat to NZ – it's a real testament to the Government that we have ended up as world leaders in our response – it's just a pity National and those on the right don't seem to acknowledge this.

    • ScottGN 6.1

      They’re politicians, they all tell porkies or at least blur the truth to suit themselves, they’re hardwired to do it.
      And don’t get me wrong I recoil in horror at the thought of Collins and Brownlee and the rest of National in charge too. But the government have made this mess for themselves. There’s going to be a few hard days at the office for Jacinda and co while they try and get on top of it.

    • tc 6.2

      Dirty that rubs off. Not only on national but the grubby media who echo it without question.

      • In Vino 6.2.1

        Because it is clickbait – gets them attention, circulation and advertising revenue.

        An utterly corrupt way to run any news medium.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.3

      Judith Collins, RNZ this morning, running the old “several people working the border have approached me and said they were refused tests” line is just a variation on the Woodhouse “homeless man”.

      It does not matter if it is a fabrication, if it cannot be refuted 100%, or even if it could! the doubt has been implanted in public consciousness and a political hit scored.

      This is a Labour own goal–again–and it will continue if they do not clamp down hard on the underminers in the public service. There has to be senior officials taking the piss and just not doing what they have been asked to. The other leg is leaving often low paid workers on border control and expecting top level results.

      • Wayne 6.3.1

        If Judith says "several people working on the border have approached me…" then that has happened. In my experience politicians (irrespective of party) don't deliberately lie. If they say something as direct as that, then you have to accept it.

        • tc

          Yes dear.

        • solkta

          You take the piss, surely? It must take a lot of practice to do that unintentional lying. I think John Key was a master at that.

        • Stuart Munro

          That may have been true of you – but the statistical confidence of your colleague's utterances is less than chance.

          • solkta

            That may have been true of you

            Possibly, but with the memory issues it probably wasn't obvious.

        • SPC

          If, when they do not say who refused the tests, there is no ability of media to corroborate.

        • I Feel Love

          Homeless Man, Merv, just asking questions and your own "I forgot", ffs, Dirty Politics! Pull the other one Wayne, jeez.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Not forgetting this shrill shill for the opposition National party:

            In a statement Boag said the last few days "have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics"

            You are the company you keep.” “Though you may be wise, foolish friends will eventually destroy you.

          • Shanreagh

            What is the story with the 60% rate of border employees refusing to be tested? Is this a cultural thing? It seems extraordinarily high. Surely something can be written into employment contracts that their conditions of employment require a test. After all forestry workers have mandatory drug/alcohol tests, and some of these are embarrassing to do, women especially. Not saying that there would be termination consequences, as there are for forestry workers, but surely their employment contracts can be looked at to make it more or less compulsory unless…..then give some exceptions. 60% is way way above the exception rate that you would expect.

            Or if no testing then no work in MIQ facilities/borders?

            This rate of non testing puts everybody at risk.

        • AB

          Judith's dishonesty lies not in stating that some people had told her that they had asked for tests, and been refused them. This probably happened – though I expect they were deferred or told it was unnecessary rather than 'refused'.

          The major dishonesty lay in implying that because this had happened, it could not be true that (as Ardern had asserted) that some people had refused to have tests.

          It is likely that both occurred – because we are dealing with a seething mass of humanity and all the inevitable stupidity, paranoia and instransigence you get with people.

          What might be marginally interesting is the relative proportions of the refused and the refusers. Though not really – life is too short and Collins too-plainly barking for me to care.

        • aj

          In my experience politicians (irrespective of party) don't deliberately lie. If they say something as direct as that, then you have to accept it.

          Homeless man.

        • Draco T Bastard

          In my experience politicians (irrespective of party) don't deliberately lie.

          Yeah, they do. Especially National Party ones.

  7. Thankyou Steve Kilgallon – you deserve a promotion to NEWSROOM

    Just a few excerpts …..

    "Then there are offshore education agents, which the government could require to be licenced." (Basic stuff really)
    It could also make course providers in New Zealand do more to prove their worth" (Calling NZQA's "Comms people" )

    (AND it could at least use foreign media in an applicant's country to warn of charlatans, and stop removing a presence in the countries being targeted in a way NZ Post would be proud of.)

    " …. if you’re going to promote a pathway to residency, then have a genuine pathway to residency, rather than one where you have to be exploited.”

    "If the [government] are taking in students, they have to think of their futures too – not just the money you are taking from them…,” says Bhavdeep Singh. “If you can’t afford to settle that many students, why are you taking them in? "

    – “It is embarrassing: Today I would have to tell people I spent $30,000 to come to New Zealand to work for five years for $10 an hour and not earn anything. Now I have to start again.”
    – "Bhavdeep Singh laughs at the business courses he studied. “The education I was getting here I can compare to like my tenth grade school.” "

    (Some courses would have been better to have been called "Howto Suck Eggs" for the bargain price of $30k)

    To which I'd add: Ensure immigrants use good Immigration Advisors who act on behalf of the immigrant (such as those quoted in the article) rather than in their own self-interest – such as the 'vertically integrated' ones MBIE once promoted who happened to be running a shitty PTE on the side, or a tinpot security firm, or labour hire company, or even an orchard or (in the past) a bloody beauty parlour. (Your own Companies Register might provide a clue as to who they might be)

    And of course the article focuses on Punjabis predominantly, but a similar situation applies to immigrants from other regions.

    • Tricledrown 7.1

      Overseas workers on work Visa's are not allowed to change employer.

      So far to many employers take advantage.

      • OnceWasTim 7.1.1

        Indeed! That's also one of the bigliest problems.

        There are a heap of others of course in the 'Bizzniss of Immigration' even before we get to consider various attitudes towards an immigrant.

        Things like the economic work unit that is the immigrant should not expect to have the same ambitions or lifestyles we might enjoy ourselves – such as the baggage of a wife and children.

      • Craig H 7.1.2

        Depends on the visa – working holidays and partnership work visas don't have an employer on them, for example.

        Even if people do have an employer on their visa, it can be varied or a new visa applied for with a new employer provided a new job can be found.

        Part of the problem is not just the employer being on the visa, it's that the employees don't realise they still have options, and don't always have the time or money to explore those options.

    • observer 7.2

      Yes, good report from Kilgallon.

      The visa scam and exploitation was one of the worst things National did in government, and they still haven't been held to account for it. Whenever you hear a Nat say "economic growth" remember how they did it – and the consequences that still linger today.

      (and to avoid any doubt, that criticism is not aimed at the migrants themselves, but at the corrupt exploiters and the government that enabled them)

  8. swordfish 8

    Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 Poll

    (August 12-16 / 1000 Respondents)

    Asked which parties voters would prefer Labour to govern with if it won a second term …

    Lab governing alone: 35%

    Lab & Green: 22%

    Lab & NZF: 13%

    Lab + Green + NZF (Status Quo) 4%

    Other: 9%

    Not Sure: 17%

    Support for Labour governing alone was higher among older New Zealanders aged 60 plus (46%) … support for a Labour-Green government was more popular among younger voters. Thirty per cent of those aged 18-29 wanted it. (paywall)

    • Dennis Frank 8.1

      Interesting, eh? My take is that the PM will conclude from this that the current format is not replicable, in principle. So she's likely to try for a Labour only govt during the campaign, while retaining sufficiently flexibility to preserve the fall-back options of Labour-Green & Labour-NZF if voters make those viable.

      • swordfish 8.1.1


        . So she's likely to try for a Labour only govt during the campaign

        Possibly … but may be ill-advised … as I suggested a few weeks ago, might be an idea for Ardern to downplay the prospect of governing alone.

        At the same point in the run up to the 2002 General Election, the Clark-led Labour Party was sitting on precisely the same rating (53%) in the Colmar Brunton … only to fall 12 points to 41% by Election Day.

        NZES analysis suggests this was partly a corollary of the impending Election result appearing a fait accompli (thus suppressing turnout)… but also that Clark's initial decision to campaign vigorously for a Single-Party Govt (on the basis of stability & her personal popularity) alienated voters (particularly on the Left) … seen as arrogant, dictatorial & a reversion to old-fashioned FPP-thinking. (Campaign Mini-scandals Corngate & Paintergate simply reinforced this mood). A hefty chunk of intending Labour voters subsequently swung elsewhere … first & foremost into non-voting. Luckily for the Party, the Nats' plunge was even steeper.

        Whenever NZES polls on attitudes to the Electoral System, it always finds substantial majority support for MMP & Coalition Govt among Left voters & majority support for FPP & single-Party Govt among Nat supporters.

        Hence, while many of the 400k newly-acquired former Nats might be more comfortable with a sole Labour Govt … to hold on to a sizeable segment of core Labour voters*, Ardern may just need to downplay any sense of arrogance or entitlement around the issue.

        [* Incl Green & NZF-friendly Labour voters]

        • Brendan

          Can we reliably see Labour slip in the polls after this week and if so by how much? Where will they go? If you were attracted to Labour by Ardern’s positivity and their relative success, repulsed by National’s shambles, but feel let down by the latest outbreak, where do you go? And I’m talking about those middle-class educated urban swing voters who aren’t going for the fringe parties. Will they stick it out with Labour, find someone else, or not vote? What’s the word on the street?

          • swordfish

            . What’s the word on the street?

            Well, as a long-time crack cocaine-dealing jewel-encrusted Pimp on the mean streets of Wellington's Lower Eastside Red Light District, my mind's focussed more on diabolical liberties taken by pond-sucking scum against my honour,
            Ya Dig ? ….
            … currently strutting along Vivian St muttering: Bitch better have my money !!!

          • greywarshark

            I think people should stop being cocks – weather-cocks that is. Don't swing with every breath of change, stick it out and stay left. Be firm and stay with a decision, the future for you relies on you having values about people and the environment, that hold to a reasonable standard. We can see which Parties care in general about these two matters – Labour and Greens do, others not so much or at all. It's easy to make up your mind when you look at things overall and don't react to every bit of positive or negative news. Follow the upward trend and don't be deflected. That is all.

        • Dennis Frank

          Yeah, that all makes sense. On reflection, could be she's savvy enough not to fall for the hubris option…

        • Gabby

          I think she'll say labour are happy to govern with any who share their values and policies.

      • ScottGN 8.1.2

        I can’t see Ardern actively campaigning for a majority. And in any case if this last week is a sign of things to come the chances of it actually happening are diminishing rapidly.

        • I Feel Love

          That is the impression I get from Adern, she's happy to be in charge as long as everyone wants her to be, whereas Collins wants to be in charge whatever anyone thinks, win at all costs. It's personal with Collins, ego driven.

      • greywarshark 8.1.3

        Labour may get some of the oldies at present with Winnie, and if there were enough of them to sway decisions, they may decide to go alone, with other positions as you say DF. And what will we progressives get then?

        More of the same, look here at the national GDP etc and not much at all at anything else. Deal with dissension using the new passport-ready scanning system, and 5G to smooth out the bumps for a quicker pace on the way to – the stars? Baby it's cold out there, bad enough on the streets, they don't make cardboard as thick as they used to.

    • Ad 8.2

      IF the Greens get back in, they could just do what they are doing now and have a little agreement with a few things to tick off. It wouldn't hurt.

      • ScottGN 8.2.1

        Possibly. But if it’s a Lab/Green configuration after Election Day I think the lure of a place finally at the Cabinet table will be too much for the Greens to resist.

        • Ad

          More importantly they would need to be asked.

          • ScottGN

            You reckon? If the Greens numbers are needed to form a government of either stripe then they can probably start demanding don’t you think?

            Personally I think the Greens are positioned to do best out of this latest testing slip up. They are far enough away from the scene of the crime to keep their hands clean and Labour’s chances of being able to govern without them are diminishing.

            • Ad

              I'm almost out of reckons for this election.

              But Labour will be much more wary about the tail wagging the dog as it did last time.

              And I think the Greens have the eq to get that.

              I think the whole conversation will be excessively polite.

              • ScottGN

                Me too. Though if I was the Greens I’d be practicing my iron-fist-in-a-kid-glove routine.

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

    Sane, sound and sensible advice from Kiwi GP. I'm sure someone will have posted this here on TS already, but it will do not harm to repeat.

    As well as the professional recommendations, there is hope and optimism and a message that a diagnosis of Covid19 does not necessarily mean death and debility.

    Should be compulsory viewing…especially the breathing exercises and the polite idiot's guide on how our lungs work.

    • weka 9.1

      did you mean that to start at 15 mins? If not, I'll edit it to start at the start.

    • weka 9.2

      that was really good, thanks. I also appreciated her positive attitude, and the home management is possible messages (with the caveat on when to get help. She probably could have emphasised that a bit more).

      • Rosemary McDonald 9.2.1

        Thanks for the edit…(distracted..other part of brain mentally tackling the tree that succumbed to the gales in the Far North overnight.)

        It is the positive message that captured me. That, and her treating her audience like autonomous beings. With the right tools and education, beating this disease (that we are being constantly told by a breathless MSM is a death sentence for many) is doable.

        Her target audience is India (and Sri Lanka? The same video is dubbed in Hindi and Tamil) where access to medical treatment can be difficult, if not impossible. Here too, early on, the message was that the hospitals would soon be overloaded…and that treatment would need to be rationed. It pays to be resilient.

        I saw the Spinoff clip this morning…we've been taking Vit C, Zinc and Vit D for months now, and coincidentally I bought Betadine liquid just yesterday. Of course, we always have soda bicarb in the house. wink

        This is just the sort of empowering stuff that needs to be put out there. Good on the Spinoff for taking a punt and featuring it.

        • SPC

          I got the Betadine gargle back in March. Not the soda bicarb yet.

          Vitamin D and to a lesser degree zinc are well known.

          This guy thinks everyone who gets infected should have their Vitamin D levels tested and given mega doses if necessary, and all those over 60 should be taking a daily does (the same for Polynesian/Maori especially if with health issues).

          Lying people on their front is mainstream hospital practice for this, they use maternity mattresses for the obese.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Back in the day, in the UK, taking cod liver oil was considered almost mandatory…especially for children. My partner has been taking it as he has developed a spinal injury /autonomic dysfunction manifestation that has him losing conciousness if he even slightly overheats. I am working outside for some of each day so I probably don't need it. Peter has taken zinc for some years to help with skin integrity and the post leukeamia Vit C absorbtion. Every little helps…

            The Vitamin C supplements used to also be officially recommended and gargling with salt or soda bicarb was 'prescribed' by the doctor. A few drops of the old Betadine…iodine…to slap down the virus…makes sense.

            What doesn't make any sense is why our Ministry of Health hasn't produced something akin to this video…they could be pro-active. Build community resilience, making folk less dependent on an overloaded health system.

            • SPC

              With the Vitamin D, the skin produces less from sunlight as we age.

              I remember cod liver oil in the home when I once was young. There are the fish oil omega 3 capsules around now. And of course tumeric also assists with inflammation.

          • Matiri

            Vitamin D3 is available on prescription in NZ – one 50,000IU capsule per month is Pharmac’s recommended dose, although some GPs will increase the frequency. My GP does that as I have an auto immune disease.

        • weka

          It's a very different message than would come from the MoH too 😉

  10. SPC 10

    Pelosi calls back Congress early and changes to US Mail have been suspended.

  11. ianmac 11

    The huge effort that the Government and Health has put into creating a huge new program/process in such a short time is miraculous. It baffles me that those who condemn the whole process on the problems that have and will arise. Shambles? Debacle?

    From nothing to something earns applause doesn't it?

    • I Feel Love 11.1


      • SPC 11.2.1

        For mine they've done well from a weak position back in March.

        The background is they did not prepare well between the WHO pandemic warning in 2016 till then. Not surprising National were in office at the time, and response required more ICU beds and more trained staff (they did not even ask HB's to check whether their reserves of equipment were still fit for use).

        Our strong lockdown approach which made elimination an option/possible was informed by our relatively weak health system, poor health of many New Zealanders (obese/diabetes etc) and likelihood of quick spread in vulnerable communities due to overcrowding – housing costs.

        From weakness to an effective response. All a bit shaolin, not confronting the threat (allowing community spread) but avoiding it with flexibility and balance.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          I give credit to frontline staff, and confident messaging from Ardern. And a small population where but for a few degrees we're all related. Leadership from the Ministry has been at best, variable, at worst, woeful.

          They were warned…we should all do our homework on this and give our vote to the party which commits to a complete purge and overhaul of this dysfunctional and rogue Ministry. I suspect Ardern finally realises she can't trust them to do what they're told… or trust what they say they're doing they are actually doing.

        • lprent

          The background is they did not prepare well between the WHO pandemic warning in 2016 till then. Not surprising National were in office at the time, …

          Longer than that. Effectively little had been done since the 2000s.

          The Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 wasn’t actioned. Labour got booted in 2007.

          From memory the old parts of the health act related to pandemics was an antique from before the 1970s and at that was just amendments from a 1950s rewrite of legislation from the 1920s.

          But yeah, they hadn't funded anything.

  12. xanthe 12

    I am disgusted by the attack on our front line clinical staff and those here who have been sucked in.

    There is no "failure" "catastrophy" or any other derogatory term just people making triage decisions apportioning provisions in the context of demand overload. To attack those in hindsight for making decisions that had to be made at the time is just sad!

    So far there is (despite huge effort) no understanding of the mechanism of escape of the virus or even if there was any escape or some other vector.

    Discussion.. blame.. bulshit. pointscoring. and undermining the ability of our clinical staff to make decisions on the ground is all completely counterproductive at this point.

    Should we at some point in the future have an understanding of the mechanism of community release then that will be the moment for reasoned discussion of how to close any gap… but still without blame

    so much political sewerage every three years does huge harm

    • I Feel Love 12.1

      Yes, and all those workers, health staff, border, hotel, police, army, the magnitude! But a bunch of know it alls on blogs and Twitter can do better.

  13. Andre 13

    This longish CNN piece ruminating about the US conventions has a few insights relevant to NZ and elsewhere:

    In an eloquent passage, Dole, a World War II veteran whose small Kansas town supported him during his grueling recovery from grievous wounds in battle, presented himself as the catalyst to restore a more caring and connected America.

    "Age has its advantages," Dole declared. "Let me be the bridge to an America that only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in action."

    Only a few minutes after Dole spoke those words at the GOP convention in San Diego, Begala recalled, the phone rang at his home in Austin, Texas, where he was watching the speech. Begala's caller was someone he described as "a certain resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," in other words his friend and client, Clinton.

    "I don't believe I would say that," Begala recalled the then-President telling him that night. "I said, 'Why, sir? It was beautiful.' He said, 'No one wants a bridge to the past.' He saw that from the jump, as the words came out from Dole's mouth: Elections are always about the future, not the past." (my italics)

    … The result, Begala recalled, was that many voters assumed he [Clinton] was a child of privilege, "a wealthy ne'er-do-well tooling around in his father's Alfa Romeo living off of a trust fund."

    In fact, Clinton had been raised in difficult circumstances by his mother and an alcoholic stepfather. Much of the convention, including a riveting biographical film, was devoted to providing those details for voters. The effort culminated in Clinton's acceptance speech when he pledged to govern for "the forgotten middle class."

    "I am a product of that middle class," Clinton dramatically declared. "And when I am president you will be forgotten no more."

    Bill Clinton faces a cheering audience after taking the podium to deliver his acceptance speech as his party's presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in New York, July 16, 1992.

    The underlying message, Begala noted, was that Clinton's "values grew out of his experience and his agenda grew out of his values. … Every word of that speech was trying to build that bridge from biography to values to policy."

    Biden, with his throwback locutions and extended Washington pedigree, is unlikely to ever strike younger voters as someone personally attuned to their experiences. But, these former convention strategists say, he might establish the same connection Clinton did between his own setbacks and the strains so many Americans feel today.

    In local terms, who is trying to build a bridge to the future and who is trying to build a bridge to the past?

    Who has a relatable and aspirational backstory that's shaped their values and goals? The one that worked a fish'n'chip shop as a teen still in school, or the lawyer for wannabe tax dodgers as an entry to decades of attack politics?

  14. Muttonbird 14

    Duncan Garner's 'eyes and ears' in MIQ, Dubai property lawyer Michael Ljunevich, is upset. Seems he has been breaking rules inside quarantine by mixing with other cohorts and didn't like it when Megan Woods called him out.

    Having been in Dubai so long, Mr Ljunevich seems to have forgotten the concepts of both collectivism and personal responsibility.

    • ianmac 14.1

      Wonder how Ljunevich knew that the people that he was mixing with were those at the end of their stay? And if they were, wouldn't they protest at his presence which could infect them and ruin their release?

      • ScottGN 14.1.1

        Yeah it totally doesn’t make any sense. You’d be mad to even share space having a gasper with a newbie if you were on your final days quarantine. This absolutely smacks of a Garner set up.

        • RedBaronCV

          I like that Megan – good value. She seems to have stopped just short of saying – where is the personal responsibility here that the right wing preach to everyone else?.

          Other than that – I think this joker maybe needs another 14 days in quarantine just to be sure he hasn't mixed incorrectly. – paid for by him of course. He should be on the naughty step.

  15. ScottGN 15

    216 new cases and 12 deaths in Victoria. Slowly and painfully heading in the right direction.

  16. Just Is 16

    All this whinging and whining that "Testing" hasn't been upto the the expectations of some here.

    I have yet to see a single shred of evidence that the current outbreak is linked to " a failure of testing staff", whether front line or support.

    There are some people who would very much like to see a failure in procedures surrounding Isolation and Quarantine, only for political gain.

    Such is human nature.

    We still can't rule out a deliberate attempt to "trip up the Government", after all that has happened over the recent months and the History of some political parties to attempt to skew opinion and deliberately undermine the efforts combined with the "Conspiracy Theories"

    We know we have political parties who will say and do Anything to get elected, anything, there is No bottom line.

    History, unfortunately, proves this point.

  17. Byd0nz 17

    It is true that things at the border have had problems, but lessons have been learnt and the battle against the virus continues, it could be worse, the Nats could have been in charge with their open the border line and NZF with the trans tasman bubble should have been happening. So while the Bat attack may ring bells for some at this very momment, their nature will soon enough trip them up again before the election, it is a long time for them yo susrain attacks about the border. The Nats would have had the border open and many more elderly would have died, that seems just collateral damage in Nat thinking.

  18. greywarshark 18

    This is what really makes me angry about the way women are too often treated – objects of perversion. The reason that this man would be so nutty is a broad field of discussion that doesn't relate to anything natural in men, but a society off centre from understanding of oneself and acceptance of what it is to be a person in balance, and what part our culture plays in our thoughts of our sexuality as well as gender. This seems to be a never-ending journey.

    It happened in NZ. Often what you read is some imported piece of sensation. No, it mentions town in NZ.

  19. Dennis Frank 19

    Commenters here today have seemed like a gaggle of turkeys gobbling about christmas. Awareness of the danger to Labour of the current situation has apparently not yet penetrated. Ben Thomas flags the problem while criticising National's response:

    A serious communication breakdown between officials on the ground and ministers in the war room is unacceptable, but a failure to account for how it happened is worse. This is the second time assurances about testing at the border have turned out to be simply untrue, and the second time ministers have been caught by surprise.

    A government agency that can’t or won’t execute policy is an embarrassment in normal times, and a serious risk to public safety during a pandemic.

    He also points to the flaw in representative democracy that keeps the shit happening:

    accountability to the public can only occur through ministers in a democratically elected government.

    • weka 19.1

      which assurances were untrue?

      • weka 19.1.1

        This apparently,

        Ardern and Hipkins then assured the public that the main line of defence against infection of border staff was the use of PPE and daily health checks of employees.

        I don't really know what people expect. We, humans, don't have a full grasp yet of how covid is transmitted, although that knowledge is growing each day.

        MoH, by it's very nature, will be working conservatively. This means that they take the best advice from mainstream science that is available and develop policy from that.

        As Micky pointed out in his post, some people seem to think that we should have a 100% system by now, but the only way to do that is to lock the borders completely, stop importing anything, and test everyone. Which would patently be ridiculous.

        The MoH aren't perfect, we need a competent Opposition and MSM to keep holding the govt to account. Unfortunately we don't have a competent Opposition, we have a dangerous one, and I'm not sure the MSM is always up to the task either. Almost like they're humans rather than machines.

        Put up some informed and considered and referenced critique of the MoH and I'm all ears (I can certainly point to some weaknesses in the system).

        • SPC

          For mine, I'm a fan of two weeks isolation in the room (maybe exception for testing elsewhere on day 3 and 12 or for any health concerns). Stuff from the room goes out in bags picked up with tongs and is into a wheelie bin.

          And staff have 6 weeks on (expected to socially isolate when not at work during these weeks – with the regular health checks during these weeks, temp etc) and 6 weeks off on full pay (passing test first, and passing another test before returning to work).

          • weka

            I guess if we were having infections of staff that might be useful, but we've had a single case that seems to be connected to Q staff right?

            • SPC

              Continual improvement of the isolation regime is the way to reduce risk.

              • weka

                Constant wingeing about it, or politicised attacks won't help that.

                • SPC

                  That’s sort of beside the point. Any governments focus should always be based around doing things better, and this has nothing to do with opposition criticism or media stories, but best operating practice.

                  • weka

                    are you saying that the current govt doesn't?

                    • SPC

                      No. And you will note they have constantly made changes since the regime came into place and they will make more changes yet. And at a much faster rate than applies to other areas of governence – because this task is taking on a important role in our security, safety and economic.

    • Craig H 19.2

      Which agency are we talking about?

      Border agencies i.e. MBIE (Immigration NZ), Customs, MPI, Maritime NZ? Airports e.g. Aviation Security, the actual airport staff? Airline staff? Seaport staff? Shipping, cargo, freight staff?

      Health agencies? MoH, DHBs, primary health providers, Maori health providers and agencies? GPs?

      Quarantine facilities? Hotels, security, NZDF?


      I mean sure, blame the government, but it's not like it's a small system out there either.

      • Dennis Frank 19.2.1

        blame the government

        That's the problem I suggested a solution to. I disagree with those leftists here who prefer to let the Nats get away with pretending it is a coalition stuff-up, when it seems obvious that public service non-compliance caused the threat to public safety.

        So, rather than allowing the cover-up to succeed, via trad left/right collusion, outing those who failed to implement instructions ought to happen. Don't allow them to evade accountability – the precedent that sets ensures future repetition!

        • Incognito

          So, rather than allowing the cover-up to succeed, via trad left/right collusion, outing those who failed to implement instructions ought to happen. Don't allow them to evade accountability – the precedent that sets ensures future repetition!

          So much confusion and bias packaged together that it is almost impossible to unpack.

          A “cover-up” implies deliberate intent. Not always the case.

          Who knows what you mean by “trad left/right collusion”? Only you do.

          Following instructions only works if they are crystal clear and unambiguous. Some instructions will have unintended and unexpected consequences even when they’re followed ‘to the letter’.

          Outing is one of the worst ways of achieving institutional responsibility. People will duck responsibility out of fear of making a mistake and being ‘outed’. They will hide, they will obfuscate, they will delay. Look at what the OIA achieved; the exact opposite of accountability and transparency. The ‘no surprises’ policy aimed to avoid embarrassment and has almost completely neutered Ministerial accountability and turned civil servants into political body guards.

          You seem to be stuck with the old-school carrot-stick model. We’re not dealing with children here! Your tar & feathers ideas are utterly impractical and outright dangerous for fostering a positive feedback culture!

  20. greywarshark 20

    From Dennis Frank 19 – Important points:

    A government agency that can’t or won’t execute policy is an embarrassment in normal times, and a serious risk to public safety during a pandemic.

    He also points to the flaw in representative democracy that keeps the shit happening: accountability to the public can only occur through ministers in a democratically elected government.

    Another flaw though, Ministers can't choose or easily refuse, the civil servants they work with. And these people generally are not known to the public, yet they decide how policies are implemented, and Ministers' powers are curtailed. Who decides on the country's course, the Captain or the crew at the wheel, and the way that things are run, if the orders are not followed, then who has the real power?

    • Dennis Frank 20.1

      Yes, you've echoed my concern nicely. The problem is built into the structure of our democracy. It allows delinquent public servants to defeat the government of the day.

      The system is not fit for purpose in the 21st century. It needs to be reconfigured, using the rationale of harm minimisation. It is a key part of the social contract. Let's hope the border control tightens sufficiently in the interim; but not fixing the problem makes us vulnerable to worse situations in the future…

      • In Vino 20.1.1

        OK,,, But your idea of naming the guilty would not work in that way.

        It would not reform the system overnight, and the public would see the Govt as scapegoating people to shift the blame.

        Back to your drawing board, please.

  21. Sabine 21

    The Fat Dog posted up yesterday that their staff has gotten their tests back, all negative. This just to point out that businesses, specially the small and very small businesses are taking this very seriously, have put in place not only procedures, but prespex windows/seperators, remodelled their cafes, shops, businesses to allow for social distancing, for keeping the staff / customers/ delivery dudes/ettes safe etc at great cost to them, as there are no government grants available to them for this purpose.

    This is to say that there is not guarantee that this virus will not do damage, or will be able to run rampant at some stage. But chances are this will only happen if a. the business sector don't give a fudge – which in NZ they do, they do very much care well at least the small / micro businesses, b. the government don't give a fudge – which in NZ they do, maybe not to the degree i or others would like them to do but they do, and then the public at large. And hte public at large as seen over the last few days are quite good about it too, the worst offender so far – old people – like seriously, oh, honey i don't care if i die ,i am old, Oh i don't want to wear a mask it is so uncomfortable, besides i am old, oh i don't know how to work this app, seriously can you not just serve me, plus a few of the CT and Qanon crowd. But the old people? Oh good grief.

    The young ones are pretty good about it, they just order online, and do curb side pick up. The really young ones wear masks without a fuss if hteir parents wear them. But those 60+ started to piss me off.

    The reason i have my plague door made is that i can't be arsed to be polite to people that want to whinge about hte government tracing/tracking all their doings (have you checked your bank statement lately?), can't be arsed debating if wearing masks is an inconvenience or just politesse, it is the easiest to just simply keep them out of the shop altogether and serve them at the door.

    So to the ones that want businesses to be better, try harder with less and stop asking for the wage subsidy, businesses already do, and you have to have a 40% loss to actually get the much vaunted $480 (after tax – cause gotta pay tax) per week, to keep that business open rather then join the unemployment queue.

    Maybe a small advertising campaign about mask usage, app usage and standard politesse while dealing with people in shops doing their jobs would be good. Because they are the ones bearing hte brunt of the idiots of this country.

  22. greywarshark 22

    I wonder how superior the writer of this piece on uk universities is? Perhaps the universities that are struggling are the ones that country really needs to get its head out of its own back history. The Institute for Fiscal Studies recently announced that 13 universities in the UK face "a very real prospect" of going bust.

    This is a heads up and you will have to trace back to get the story.

  23. ScottGN 23

    Ardern is getting control of the narrative back. Great work. And in the process demonstrating just why the opposition was right to fear her appearance at the daily briefing.

    • ianmac 23.1

      YesScott. Today at 1pm, she smoothly and calmly shifted the rhetoric back to a more reasonable level. Even the stupid questioning petered out.

  24. Adrian 25

    Brilliant. Telling security company management that they are shit is long overdue. That’s called taking control. Well done Jacinda.

    • RedBaronCV 25.1

      Sounds like a good call. That way they know whether or not the testing has taken place as mandated. The contract health staff were replaced by DHB staff a while back.

      Be good to see if returnees could do more of their own cooking and cleaning – in appropriate facilities.

      I also wouldn't want anyone trying to take Ash out of the equation – replacement might be a horror.

    • AB 25.2

      Good to see it acknowledged that the profit motive tends to (though not invariably) undermine the delivery of social goals. Shame there weren't enough old heads around to tell them that before they came up with the KiwiBuild idea.

      • gsays 25.2.1

        I agree, great idea. Now that MBIE does it for their security, it's time for DHBs to follow suit and employ it's own, better trained, better paid security.

    • aj 25.3

      And inserting several times into the conversation the reminder that private security staff are on shit wages

    • Tricledrown 25.4

      Those security companies are all a joke minimum wage poorly organized Zero hour contracts poor training hiring dodgy people.

  25. Sabine 26

    oh boy this is a sobering read..on sexual violence, getting people to believe you and getting justice or well trying to getting justice

    • RedBaronCV 26.1

      Yep – pretty standard from the courts. Along with offenders raising harm to their grandmothers, partners and family, visa status, ( not that they thought of them earlier) mental health issues etc etc. There have been some sentenced who struggle to see that they are doing anything wrong.

      But Kmart needed better responses to prevent evidence being deleted. Business who will frequently call the cops for every bit of shoplifting. Staff ( although likely to be young and minimum wage) and security should have arrived a lot sooner and the manager should have been onto it a lot earlier.

  26. ianmac 27

    QT today only 10 questions. (Yesterday 11.) So I guess it will lead to another 20 minutes of Collins trying to catch out Jacinda.

    Q2 Hon JUDITH COLLINS to the Prime Minister: Is she confident her Government moved at an appropriate pace to put in appropriate measures to manage the risk of COVID-19 re-emerging in the community?

    Q6 Hon JUDITH COLLINS to the Prime Minister: Is the resurgence plan she referred to on 11 August publicly available, and is it being rolled out as effectively as she believed it would be?

    • mac1 27.1

      Just saw Judith Collins on TV before going into the Chamber. She looks flat. She did as well yesterday at Question Time. We'll see soon how she sparks up in the House.

      Leader of this Opposition must be a stressful and draining job………..

      • Robert Guyton 27.1.1

        She didn't "spark up" at all but did seem aroused by the news that Heather and Sir Brian are aboard!

        • ianmac

          Question Time was a great opportunity for the Opposition to "roast" the Government. Collins failed miserably to even make a dent. A lacklustre pointless exercise. The Ministers were well prepared and answered every question well.

        • ianmac

          You are right Robert. Heather and Sir Brian are aboard and Collins is incensed in her leading General speech now.

          • mac1

            And Hipkins in reply to Collins was very strong spelling out the mixed, confused messages from National that were reactive to supporters' pressure rather than based on science or logic. He called Collins out for the scaremongering that she was doing, and especially pointed out the hypocrisy of criticising the government for not using regulatory powers earlier when National opposed the bill that granted those powers.

            Hipkins made the point to Collins, who is now touting the shining light of Harvard-trained Dr Shane Reti, that she should have listened to him much earlier in the game, rather than to play the dangerous game of conspiracy and stupid exaggeration.

            Shaw called Browning out for just that later in the general debate.

      • Gabby 27.1.2

        Codger's coaches have apparently instructed her to talk like a robot. So as to seem more human, I guess.

  27. ScottGN 28

    Way back 5.1.1 at 8.16 am this morning I wondered why nobody had been detailed to knock heads together and actually get the results that the government had told us they were getting. Today Ardern has appointed Heather Simpson and Sir Brian Roche to do just that.
    You’re welcome 😊

  28. observer 29

    It's never a news headline when a thing that is feared, isn't really happening. It just fades out of the news.

    So it seems Rotorua, Tokoroa, Taupo etc do not have significant covid spread or clusters after all. Even though they have had thousands of tests – and stayed at level 2, not 3. The rapid response is working well. But it's success, it's good news, so it's not a headline.

  29. Peter 30

    Does anyone know how much Stuff and NZME are paying as finders fees for coming up with some moaning grizzling or bitching person because by their reckoning everything was not 10000000% perfect about some isolation facility?

    Or someone who was incensed that a security guard 'looked them strangely' or somesuch.

    Or broke a fingermmnail which indicates health and safety concerns with the facilities were non-existent and border control procedures were totally out of control and so J Ardern should resign.

  30. ianmac 31

    Convirus Legal decision.

    Melissa Nightingale incorrectly wrote in the Herald:

    The first nine days of the national lockdown were illegal but justified, the High Court has ruled.

    Words matter and the actual was:

    The court has agreed the statements conveyed New Zealanders were required – under threat of police enforcement – to stay at home in their bubbles, despite the fact it was not legally supported at the time. ie Unlawful.

    Illegal means it broke the Law. Unlawful means that there were no Laws about this to break.

    • lprent 31.1

      Yeah. I do wonder about the lack of basic training in civics that journalists gets.

      • In Vino 31.1.1

        I am a secondary school teacher, and listening to/reading our journalists, I am sorry to say that many have poor language skills, and would not know the difference between uninterested and disinterested, or infer and imply, let alone the difference between illegal and unlawful. Civics would probably not help them.

    • JohnSelway 31.2

      True however if the police arrested you in that 9 day period and detained you that would have been an illegal detention.

      Did anyone get arrested, charged or fined in that period? I wasn’t in the country at that time.

      • Pat 31.2.1

        dont think anyone charged/fined in early period…initially the police were implementing an 'education' programme

      • Muttonbird 31.2.2

        Who cares!

        • JohnSelway

          I’m curious to know if anyone could take them (the police that is) to court is all.

          • lprent

            From what I remember, the police were only arresting for the usual offences then.

            But if I am wrong then anyone convicted under the act can appeal their conviction.

            But it is kind of hard to see a way that anyone could take a civil case against the police.

            They could try for the Police Complaints Authority.

      • Andre 31.2.3

        Dunno. All we were hearing about at that time was David Clark going mountainbiking and taking his family to the beach. Maybe that's now retrospectively OK and he can have the Health portfolio back.

        • JohnSelway

          Doubt it – it was still the wrong thing to do, lawful or otherwise

        • Tricledrown

          There are unwritten laws of society one of them is don't be a dick every party has them at the moment National seem to have a majority.

          • In Vino

            Yes, if one checked the list of their full names, many would have the first name of 'Richard'.

            Sorry – that is just a negative attack that adds no value.
            May I add that Judith accused Jacinda of ‘verbal gymnastics’. My riposte would be that Judith is not capable of verbal gymnastics. When she speaks she reminds me (verbally) of a poor little toddler clomping about in an infants’ ballet class into which she should never have been put.
            I guess that is pretty negative too, but I think Judith asked for it.
            When will Judith stun us with some eloquent wit?

            • Incognito

              When will Judith stun us with some eloquent wit?

              Dunno, but I do look forward to her speech on Saturday night around 9:30 PM.

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