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Open mike 22/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, April 22nd, 2020 - 247 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step up to the mike …

247 comments on “Open mike 22/04/2020 ”

  1. UncookedSelachimorpha 1


    Coronavirus: Simon Bridges receives huge backlash to Facebook post criticising lockdown extension

    National leader Simon Bridges has defended himself after receiving an avalanche of negativity on a Facebook post criticising the Government's Covid-19 response.

    One comment with close to 6000 likes from Monique Wilson said "I did not Vote Labour but what I am proud of is the way Jacinda [Ardern] has lead us through this unprecedented time. Thank goodness Simon your not leading us through this because I'd put my hand on my heart and believe we would be in a worse situation."

    Over 7500 people gave an "angry" reaction to the post while 5700 did a "laughing" reaction – compared to 2800 likes.

    But Simon had it covered:

    "There will be a bunch of different views, I know there are views online," Bridges said.

  2. ScottGN 2

    Another day in lockdown, another train wreck interview by Bridges on Morning Report. Newshub has a poll running online – Who should be leader of the National Party. I voted for Simon of course. He’s doing a great job.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.2

      Cast your vote for Simon here

      • Muttonbird 2.2.1

        The three other options are worse. Far worse.

        • ScottGN

          Yeah. Ideally they keep Simon. And he spends the next 5 months permanently on the back foot. But the polling must be terrifying the hell out the troops.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Save the worst for later – hopefully will wreck their chances at the election after this one, too.

    • Cinny 2.3

      Tory morning TV asking for a new tory leader by way of a poll… double dang!!

      Edit.. just checked out the poll, simon is coming in last. That will be the first and last time I ever vote for slick

      • RedBaronCV 2.3.1

        It's the blatant hypocrisy of it all. When did any right winger worry about the financial or mental health of any individual that they tossed off the employment register into the unemployed? Only now when it's affecting their pockets – they need to be crystal clear that they are worrying about the mental health of the wealthy only.

    • Andre 2.4

      He'd fit right in in Texas.

      “We’re crushing the average worker,” Patrick told Fox NewsTucker Carlson. “We’re crushing small businesses. We’re crushing the markets. We’re crushing this country. … There are more important things than living, and that’s saving this country.”

      “I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die,” he added. “But we gotta take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”



    • I Feel Love 2.5

      He's saying Australia are doing it better because businesses over there choose to stay open or not, it's their choice, basically because they're leaderless. Here we've been lead, and the fact people have pretty much followed shows we're being lead well. I know a lot of health care workers and other essentials are being thanked, I would also like to thank my fellow NZrs, especially after seeing the crazy that is the USA, thank you everyone.

      • Wayne 2.5.1

        Scott Morrison is on all time high in terms of voter support. Aussies reckon he is doing a good job. Obviously he he learnt something over the bushfires.

        I have seen a few of his press conferences. They are all very professional and will be reassuring to most Australians. Unlike in the US.

        • Molly

          I have a couple of friends in Australia, who find their PM to be inconsistent and to an extent, harmful regarding the Covid situation there.

          Of course, one is in the medical profession and is dealing with the fallout for the wellbeing and anxiety of medical staff, while the other is working in the already pressure-cooker environment of Serco's contract with the government, dealing with the influx of benefit applications and hardship grants.

          The same conferences may reassure those who don't come face-to-face with the contradictions or ineptness in real life, and instead take them at face value, or as political prowess.

          • Paddington

            I run 2 businesses in Australia. I have a large number of business and personal colleagues who live in Australia. Virtually unanimously they say ScoMo has done a good job.

            As of this morning, Australia and NZ have the same # of deaths per capita. Australia has a lower # of cases per capita than we do (261 v 300). That's despite having the disadvantages of being a Federal system.

            We have come through this health crisis well. The economic is going to a blood bath.

            • pat

              If we are doing anecdotes, I have family in Australia and to date 2 have lost their jobs and 2 have been told theyre probably going to….the marginally less restrictive lock down isnt going to save Australian business the same as it will not here….and the opinion of the Australian Gov remains the same…F'ing useless.

            • I Feel Love

              And had we not had as stringent lockdown as we had, the death rate would have been higher. Australia has months of lockdown ahead.

              • Paddington

                You don't know that, you can't know that. Australia has followed a lockdown 'light', and have achieved better results.

            • Macro

              As of this morning, Australia and NZ have the same # of deaths per capita. Australia has a lower # of cases per capita than we do (261 v 300).

              (my bold)

              Australia does not include probable cases of infection as NZ does – eg if you exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 in NZ and are directly linked to a confirmed case (ie live in the same bubble) then you are put down as a probable case, and included in the official count of active cases. That does not happen in Australia so you are effectively comparing apples with oranges.

              • Paddington

                Are you tyring to say that when someone does in Australia they don't know whether it is covid or probably covid?

                From what I can see, the data is being prepared based on WHO definitions.

                • Alice Tectonite

                  Australia reports only lab confirmed cases. New Zealand reports both lab confirmed cases and probable cases. If you are comparing NZ & Aus, then you should be using confirmed cases only.

                  Confirmed totals to this morning are NZ 1113 and Aus 6647 (source NZ MoH, Aus DoH).

                  • Paddington

                    You’re wrong. The comparative data uses WHO definitions.
                    But even using your data, the numbers are the same per capita. So at worst Aus have achieved the same result without the severity of economic hardship.

                    • Alice Tectonite

                      If you had actually bothered to look into the data, you would see that the figures on worldofmeters for New Zealand are the sum of confirmed and probable cases from NZ MoH data. This is not consistent with WHO definitions which are confirmed cases only.

                      1,451 (worldometers total) = 1,113 (confirmed) + 338 (probable)

                      WHO data for NZ = 1107 (not yet been updated with latest day(6))

              • Paddington

                Yesterday NZ had 6 new cases. Australia had 2.

        • RedBaronCV

          Scomo always looks to me like the cowcatcher at the front of of a train. He may be out in front but it the state premiers who are standing at the engine controls.

          • Wensleydale

            You mean, State Premiers like Gladys 'Koala Murderer, Ruby Princess, Light Rail Failure, Public Service Job Slasher' Berejiklian?

            Worst Leader In Australia

            Dear New South Wales, you have my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. As an expression of Aotearoa's sympathy, we'd like to offer you a free gift… Simon Bridges. Take him. Go on. Please take him. We'll actually pay you to take him. After Gladys' light rail shenanigans, you obviously need the money.

  3. Ad 3

    Good to see that both Republicans and Democrats confirm the unanimous interdepartmental intelligence that the Russians did interfered in the 2016 election, and that they are likely to do so again.


    Trump has repeatedly questioned the assessment, which was also confirmed by former special counsel Robert Mueller in his report last year. Mueller concluded that Russian interference was "sweeping and systematic," but he did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.

    Robert Mueller was hounded by Fox News and fired.

    But he was right all along.

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, said in a statement that his panel "found no reason to dispute" the intelligence community's conclusions, saying they reflected strong tradecraft and analytical reasoning. He said the agencies' conclusion that such election interference is "the new normal" has been borne out in the three years since it was published.

    "With the 2020 presidential election approaching, it's more important than ever that we remain vigilant against the threat of interference from hostile foreign actors," Burr said.

    The Senate report endorsed the core conclusions of the intelligence community assessment that Russia had interfered on a grand scale in the 2016 US presidential election and that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed the interference. "The Committee found that specific intelligence as well as open source assessments support the assessment that President Putin approved and directed aspects of this influence campaign," the Senate report states.

    Bipartisan report. Heavily redacted, meaning they got all the secret briefings.

    One in the eye for all those foolish people who denied the evidence all along.

    • weston 3.1

      YAAAAWN why the fuck should we care ad ???The americans have been interfereing in other countries elections for a couple of hundred years .As far as i can see theyve never stopped either engineering coups or indulging in lower level interference since they came into existence !!

    • bill 3.2

      Good to see that both Republicans and Democrats confirm the unanimous interdepartmental intelligence that the Russians did interfered in the 2016 election, and that they are likely to do so again.

      Thank you for today's mirth Ad 🙂

      A couple of bucks worth of facebook advertising by a Russian company looking for clickbait dollars on adverts that were mostly placed after the election, while those that were placed during it, had at best, only the most tenuous of links to the US Election, sure is the way to go if getting a puppet in office is the goal.

      Putting joke Jesus wank ads, Buff Bernie ads and arm-wrestling Jesus ads that 'no-one' saw aside, all of everything connected to Mueller and conspiracy added up to about the same as the price for a barrel of oil at present – hell, when the Internet Research Agency said it would turn up in court, all charges were dropped ffs!

      One in the eye for all those foolish people who denied the evidence all along.


      • mauī 3.2.1

        But, but, but the Russian meddling was based on a solid foundation… one of the key planks being the Steel dossier.. a report so full of holes it's just embarrassing to mention now – https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/horowitz-report-steele-dossier-collusion-news-media-924944/

        Then there's the other plank, that the investigation into Russian collusion only began because Mr Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign person had been in contact with the Russians through a mystery foreign professor, and later managed to spill the beans in a drunk conversation to an Australian official.

        Papadopoulos's own account is much more compelling than the above, and much less idiotic spy novel.

    • KJT 3.3

      Trump was bred in a Chinese lab. to stuff up the USA. True story.

      • bill 3.3.1

        I hear the evidence would undermine national security and is being kept secret. The fact they're keeping it secret means it must be big cheese, aye?

      • Shanreagh 3.3.2

        No No that's not right. It involves bats and the Adam and Eve story. Also may be something extra-terrestrial involved with the bat to account for the orange colour.

        • KJT

          Isn't there a cricketer involved there somewhere?

          There is always a cricketer, in anything to do with, bats!

        • Treetop

          Maybe something more closer to home and not extra-terrestrial an orangutan, that would account for the orange colour.

    • adam 3.4

      Thanks Ad, your always good for a laugh.

      Next you'll say cambridge analytic is a figment of people's imagination…

      Your a few days late to celebrate the Muller report anniversary – sheesh that must hurt a whole year and no conspiracy theory to soothe you to sleep at night. The bat shit crazy rants on MSnbc are still there bro, I'm sure you'll find some new conspiracy theory to cling to.

  4. Andre 4

    Oh well, looks like hydroxychloroquine isn't the dirt-cheap miracle COVID cure after all.


    Still, I haven't got COVID, so those 300 G&Ts a day must have worked somehow, right? Surely medical advice from the Dotard of Doltistan and his minions has to be right. Yeah? Musta been the alcohol content.


    • miravox 4.1

      There will be a lot of people in the US with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis heaving a very big sigh of relief that, after Trump's hype of hydroxychloroquine led to shortages, they will be able to get the medication they need suppress their disease.

      • Andre 4.1.1

        What I found most gobsmacking about that part of it all was the numbers of doctors and other health professionals committing outright fraud to stockpile supplies for themselves. All kinds of issues around competence (because they fkn should have known better) and ethics.

        • miravox

          Business ethics come before health ethics when trying to make money as a medical businessperson in a pandemic, right?

        • AB

          It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that health systems get corrupted by money. Everything else does, so we can't expect those involved in healthcare provision to be saints who are mysteriously superior in their ethical composition. Problems are usually structural, rather than the result of bad people.

    • Macro 4.2

      No worries – they have all been vaccinated!

      • Andre 4.2.1

        Moronavirus can inoculate against lotsa things.

      • Cinny 4.2.2

        That was funny, when it happened the MAGA crowd in chat went nut's…..LMFAO…

        I just realised, that clip is from the stream I watch. Golden State Times…they turn on a 'hot mic' before trump enters to pick up on anything reporters might say.

        More concerning were the numbers they were discussing regarding LA. But I couldn't hear it so well, in that twitter clip the audio is clear as. Thanks for posting.

        Their stream is live now waiting for trump…. and their hot mic is on, if you want to listen to the reporters chatting

    • Rosemary McDonald 4.3

      I view with a large dollop of skepticism any article that begins with a nod to the myth that Trump discovered this 'cure'. He didn't. And it may be useful if we tried not to discount any potential therapy just because that twat latched onto it.

      Others have studied the use of this drug as part of the treatment of those suffering pulmonary effects of viruses over many years….and some of these are proper studies, peer reviewed and everything.

      Unlike the "study' that is the focus of the Huff and Puff headline. The article, if you read it, in between drinks, states quite clearly that the 'study's is in fact no study at all.

      • joe90 4.3.1

        A small Brazilian study was canned because of an increased risk of a fatal heart arrhythmia but the drug does turn up in a review of other treatments.



        this too


      • Andre 4.3.2

        Showing your lack of reading skills there, Rosemary. It didn't " nod to the myth that Trump discovered this 'cure' ", it said "widely touted by President Donald Trump".

        The study does indeed have limitations that don't make it definitive, mostly because of a relatively small sample size (368 patients spread across 3 regimens), and that it is a retrospective look at already existing data rather than a pre-registered study looking at the progression of patients strictly following a test protocol.

        Nevertheless, it's a lot more credible than what was used to promote hydroxychloroquine and HCQ plus azithromycin. Because it compared the results of those using the substances to those receiving a similar standard of care without the substances. Nor did this study drop patients out of the study for unexplained reasons, unlike what was used to promote the HCQ treatments.

        But sure, if you're still a believer, go ahead and link to studies you find more believable.

      • Stunned Mullet 4.3.3

        Rosemary is correct that there is no good peer reviewed data HCQ in COVID 19.

        Currently there are a number of blinded comparative studies in ANZ, North America and the EU looking at the utility of HCQ alone and in combination with lopinavir/ritonavir for the treatment of COVID 19 and HCQ alone for prophylaxis in healthcare workers.

        These will be extremely informative if the infection cycles around the globe for the next 12-24 months or longer.

        • Andre

          SM, I'd be interested in your overall take on HCQ and HCQ plus AZ given what is publicly known now.

          FWIW, here's mine:

          there's a little bit of clinical evidence HCQ might have some effects against other respiratory viruses, but nothing positive or timely enough to actually bhe of use

          there's a little bit of in vitro evidence and theoretical reasons why HCQ might have some effects against COVID

          if it was beneficial against COVID it would be huge because HCQ is long out of patent and is easy and cheap to make.

          the hype for hydroxychloroquine got started by that french Bornstein-lookalike touting Plaquenil on the basis of a study that had no controls, wasn't blinded, and dropped subjects out (that others have alleged were doing poorly when they were dropped)

          better designed and conducted (though still not good) studies have not found beneficial effects, and increased risk of really bad outcomes

          • Stunned Mullet

            Yep pretty much agree with everything you've said.

            I think the controlled blinded studies that are going on around the world at the moment will be reasonably definitive in relation to HCQ and lopinavir/ritonavir, although they won't answer questions of drug resistance.

            There's a reasonable amount of work on other pure antivirals ongoing which may give an answer if there's anything currently available with utility against this coronavirus within the next 3-4 months hopefully.

            If I was to wear a tinfoil hat I might suggest that the manufacturers on Asia of HCQ have pushed reports of it's efficacy a little to strenuously over the last couple of months on the back of Trumps bombast. Prices and sales ex Indian manufacturers have increased a fair bit over that time frame.

            Before we get too smug in NZ we should remember that the NZ public is also susceptible to claims about the use of medicines and OTCs – I have it on good authority that the public purchased around $2 million of liposomal Vit C during March @ around $40 for a months supply.

            • bill

              the NZ public is also susceptible to claims about the use of medicines and OTCs

              The barely ever mentioned fact that NZ is one of only two countries to allow drug manufacturers to advertise prescription only medicine directly to the public speaks to that.

              • Stunned Mullet

                Liposomal Vit C is OTC med.

                There is close to zero advertising of prescription medicines in NZ, can't remember last time I saw one.

                The biggest rort I can remember is when the company promoting a natural health product called lyprinol (I think it was a green lipped mussel extract) piggybacked off some dubious data on it's effects in cancer and sold millions to only get slapped with a 50k fine.

                • bill

                  My comment was on the "susceptible" front and I didn't mean to suggest that Vit C was anything other than a mail order or over the counter substance.

                  It's been a few years since I watched any TV, but there was not "close to zero" advertising of script only medication when I was. The ads were in a specific format – older woman and older guy doing a "Readers Digest" type punt for drug a, b or c that you could ask your doctor to prescribe for ailment x, y or z.

                  Maybe they've dropped off, but NZ and the US are the only two countries that allow such advertising.

                  • Stunned Mullet

                    Yes you're right – still just NZ and USA very few if and Rx advertising in NZ now – although like you don't watch many ads on any MSM.

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    Bridges on the polls; "We can dance around these things, Suzie"


  6. Muttonbird 6

    Paula Benefit's Tweet said it all about her. So entitled, dismissive and mean. Unable to strike a balance in a comment, she can't help herself attacking the left in public.

    Clearly proves she is not a leader but an attack dog straining at her leash.


    • gsays 6.1

      Thanks for that, I clicked on the link and had a geez, now I feel the need to shower.

      Wire brush and dettol, as per the big yin's advice.

    • millsy 6.2

      As the old saying goes, nothing is true until it has been offically denied..

  7. Andre 7

    Yet another bipartisan investigation concludes that Russia meddled substantially to try to help put Emperor PalPutin on his throne. And will try to do so again this year.

    Gonna be interesting whether the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes the campaign actively colluded, or that the clumsy incompetent attempts to collude like the Trump Tower meetings never actually amounted to anything and all the various bits of aligned shitfuckery were just convergences of interests.


    • Cinny 7.1

      Read that this morning Andre. Wonder what agent orange will say about it, he was slagging off the FBI big time yesterday. trumps propaganda broadcast starts at 9.30am our time.

      Tuesday's bipartisan report, from a panel chaired by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, undercuts Trump's years of efforts to portray allegations of Kremlin assistance to his campaign as a "hoax," driven by Democrats and a “deep state” embedded within the government bureaucracy.


      • Andre 7.1.1

        "Fake news" and "hoax" have always worked for Danger Yam before, no matter how strong the evidence. No need to change what works.

    • Macro 7.2

      Yeah – that is a Biggly!

      The GOP finally realizing they are on a hiding to nothing continuing to support the orange liar in chief?

      • Andre 7.2.1

        They've probably been worried about that since not long after Crassputin took that ride down his fake-gold escalator. But their job-security problem remains, they simply cannot afford to piss off the MADAmorons if they have any interest at all in winning their next election.

    • Alice Tectonite 7.3

      Don't worry, the local Trump fans and deep anonymous pizza types will be along shortly to explain how it's all a misinterpretation.

    • adam 7.4

      Woohoo another round of conspiracy theories from the centre left.

      Wonder if we will get more bat shit crazy conspiracy theories for 4 more years if trump wins again, probably.

    • RedLogix 7.5

      It would help a lot if the Americans were not so consistently, criminally incompetent in their dealings with the Russians.

      The biggest mistake they keep making, and they do this everywhere, is imagining they if they could remake all the nations of the world in their own image, then peace and prosperity would be assured for all time. After all they not unreasonably conclude that if the USA remains the most desirable destination for global immigration, why not simply make the rest of the world like the USA?

      I see it more as a tragic mistake than a malicious one. The USA remains the world's largest economy, the most capital rich, and the one least dependent on global trade. This insulates them from the challenges and difficulties most other countries struggle with.

      In particular the USA always misreads the Russian military intent. The Russians live in a vast, undefendable nation covering 11 time zones. In the Far East they keep China's expansionary ambitions in check with a covert threat of nuclear annihilation. The European Russian homeland is located at one end of the wide open Northern European plains that lack defendable features. To their South they face a number of non-Russian ethnic minorities always motivated to break away and cause trouble.

      They have a deep demographic crisis, and a birth rate that struggles to reach replacement. And among the ethnic Russ peoples themselves the numbers are worse; a dreadful mix of working class poverty, HIV, a heroin epidemic and endemic alcoholism constantly erodes stable family formation. This is a people with a bleak future and their leaders know it.

      Worse still they have almost zero cultural experience with democracy and representative leadership. Their elite class is drawn largely from their top military and intelligence services and there are precious few of them. In many respects they are very smart and capable people, often doing reasonably well with the crap hand they've been dealt, but all this means Russia is not a political nation is any sense the West tends to think of it as.

      If you want one word to summarise Russia it's this … defense. More than anything else this is a people under existential threat in many directions. Yet they lack the military clout to conclusively create the security they crave; thus they fall back on meddling and influencing events beyond their borders to try and gain what paranoid advantages they might. The West misinterprets much of this as hostile, when mostly it's just tragic.

  8. Treetop 8

    Susie did not allow Bridges enough time to give a full answer. When it comes to small business Bridges did not have an alternative, other than to copy Australia. To say he had been receiving a lot of emails from small business I would have liked to know what the main concerns of small business is. Maybe it was what the National Party would offer/do.

    Small business owners know that Covid-19 has changed the income people have. Some businesses will sink and others may do well online or producing a new product.

    I can understand that unemployment is not something small business owners would want for theirselves or their staff.

    There is no magic wand.

    According to Dr Tedros Covid-19 has not peaked globally.

    What I read 2 days ago on the Daily Mail UK was disturbing. 30 mutations and 3 strains. The European strain is 270 times stronger than the weakest strain.

    I would have liked to hear what Bridges had to say about ECE opening. The welfare of the youngest children does not appear to be a priority for Bridges.

    • joe90 8.1

      The daily heil cites a small and yet to be peer reviewed study as gospel?

      Say it ain't so.

      The sample size in this most recent study was remarkably small. Other studies tracking the virus mutation usually involved hundreds, or even thousands, of strains.

      Li’s team detected more than 30 mutations. Among them 19 mutations – or about 60 per cent – were new.

      They found some of these mutations could lead to functional changes in the virus’ spike protein, a unique structure over the viral envelope enabling the coronavirus to bind with human cells. Computer simulation predicted that these mutations would increase its infectivity.

      To verify the theory, Li and colleagues infected cells with strains carrying different mutations. The most aggressive strains could generate 270 times as much viral load as the weakest type. These strains also killed the cells the fastest.


      • Treetop 8.1.1

        I probably needed to reread the part about the viral load being 270 times greater and not stronger.

        Thanks for posting a link.

    • I'm no Bridges or National fan at all but I didn't think Susie Ferguson was fair in that interview.

      There is plenty of truth in the argument that Australia is doing as well as NZ on the Covid-19 issue. In fact we may be in a gigantic bubble with them in a couple of months time.

      Having said that, Bridges carping stance is a disaster.

      Also, the problems with tracing people he carps on about can probably be largely put down to 9 years of John Key/Double Dipton government favouring lower taxes for their mates and private healthcare rather than the public health service.

      • Treetop 8.2.1

        Is there a country anywhere which had an up to date tracing system which was sufficient for such an infectious virus which can be asymptomatic?

        That is the question I have for Bridges.

    • Sacha 8.3

      he had been receiving a lot of emails

      At least his internet is fixed then.

      • Incognito 8.3.1

        I too get loads of e-mails from ‘small businesses’ but they tend to get stuck in the SPAM trap and deleted before I (can) read them. So many beautiful e-mails, the best ones.

        • Treetop

          As for those beautiful emails, the get rich quick ones are the best which ask for your credit card or banking details.

          • Incognito

            I find that they help me to memorise and remember my credit card number. It is such a bigly number.

    • KJT 8.4

      One of the persistent myths, is that National is better for (small) business.

      The fact that small business has always done better under left wing Governments, seems to go unnoticed.

      • Stunned Mullet 8.4.1

        Rather than what government is in power I suspect small business in most cases does better when the economy is chugging away comfortably

  9. joe90 9

    It's almost like people think the great leap backwards will be a good thing.

    Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

    – Carl Sagan.

    Angry and armed protesters shout down authorities and call for the imprisonment of a democratically elected leader.

    In a neighboring state, another irate gathering is marching on a capitol and demanding change, or else.

    I’ve seen episodes like these while reporting on conflict and unrest in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, and elsewhere.

    But I never expect to see it in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, like we have in recent days. Protesters furious with the shutdown orders and social distancing, some waving Trump flags and others bearing swastikas.

    For years I kept one eye on the hysteria and extremism that’s been brewing in America while I covered atrocities half a world away.

    Now that I spend more time in the states covering the Rust Belt and Appalachia, I must admit: I’m more afraid now than I ever was in a war zone.


  10. aj 10

    As limited school opening is quite controversial – and an ECE spokesman on TV last night almost called BS on Bloomfield – may I offer these links, which support Bloomfield's stance.

    Boy with Covid-19 did not transmit disease to more than 170 contacts

    School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review

    Go straight to the discussion section of that second link to shorten the read.

    • Andre 10.1

      Locally there would have been a wealth of info coming out of the Marist College cluster.

      • aj 10.1.1

        The symptomatic student at Logan High in Dunedin did not lead to a cluster.

      • Stunned Mullet 10.1.2

        Agree – while not conclusive it would be interesting to know whether the cluster consisted mainly of adults, children a mixture of both and details of transmission in the cluster over time.

    • Treetop 10.2

      I would take the cautious approach and close ECE and schools for another month. Then I would reopen schools for college students for a month to see how socially distancing is working.

      No one really knows how at risk all children are. I object to children being used in an experiment.

      A solution needs to be found so that children have a carer when absolutely necessary. I would not like to be a parent of a dependent child sending my child/children to ECE or to school.

      The science needs to be known about the virus and how transmissible it is in sweat, fecal matter and not just in droplets.

      • Cinny 10.2.1

        My youngest, her teacher rang yesterday to ask if she was going back under level 3.

        We said, no thanks. He said that was a good decision.

        I've a dear friend who works in ECE will give her a call and find out her thoughts.

        • Treetop

          I know children are resilient, I also know children can be anxious.

          What measures do the Ministry of Education have in place to assist children who are so anxious in a school setting that they cannot learn?

          I feel that just enforcing physical distancing is going to create anxiety.

          What is a teacher going to do, tell a kid off for standing too close or not coughing into their elbow?

          Any sniffle and children will be sent home. Not a lot of teaching will get done in a classroom setting and how well children will be able to concentrate at school also bothers me.

  11. observer 11

    The Epidemic Response Committee is set to continue next week, even though Parliament will be sitting again.

    That seems sensible, it's a useful forum. But it could be very awkward … it is chaired by the leader of the opposition. National's Mark Mitchell is also on the committee.

    What will they do if Mark Mitchell becomes leader of the opposition? Do they change the passwords to make sure Simon can't join in? Do they let Simon take Mark's place on the committee, so he can ask questions to Mark? Will the National MPs still loyal to Bridges start arguing with their new leader?

    Coming soon, live on TV …

    (correction: Paula Bennett, not Mark Mitchell.)

  12. ianmac 12

    "Closing schools and childcare centres probably had only a minimal effect on reducing Covid-19, but is causing major social damage, the Ministry of Health says."

    "Educational institution closures come with significant and enduring adverse impacts on health, education, economic and social inequities."

    An interesting report explaining why schools should open.


    • Stunned Mullet 12.1

      I read the embedded report in the article yesterday evening and was less the overwhelmed by it.

  13. aj 13

    In the clip below, a recent Hardtalk interview with David Nabarro.

    "A medical doctor, international civil servant and diplomat, who served as special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. He also led the UN's response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti and previously served as the special envoy on Ebola. In September 2016, Nabarro was nominated by the UK to stand for the post of director-general of the World Health Organization"

    I only caught part of this live and intend to sit down shortly and watch the full 24 minutes this morning. WHO will continue to be scapegoated for it's handling of this pandemic and Nabarro, in the part I watched, was staunchly defending the response by WHO and China. But already the blame game is in full swing with a lot of fake news generating xenophobia. Sadly, as ever, people take too much from the MSM as truth.

    Kevin Rudd suggests 'When you're looking at culpability for the coronavirus around the world that culpability is shared by multiple institutions starting from the internalities of the Chinese state with the late notification of the disease outbreak in Wuhan, through to the internal politics of the WHO, through to the poor and late responses by governments around the world to the public warnings issue in January by the WHO." and in this link dated 6th March nails it:

    It has been stunning to witness the general absence of solidarity, empathy, and compassion for the Chinese people, particularly those in Wuhan, who have stoically endured a living hell. How would (or will) Manhattan, London, Sydney, Toronto, Berlin, Paris, or Delhi fare under the same circumstances? Indifference to the suffering of others gets us absolutely nowhere in marshalling an effective global response to what is demonstrably a global crisis.

    Well Kevin, we now are now finding out who Manhattan, London, Sydney, Toronto, Berlin, Paris, and Dehli handing it, and as you hinted, the answer is a telling indictment on the governments of many of those countries.


    • RedLogix 13.1

      It has been stunning to witness the general absence of solidarity, empathy, and compassion for the Chinese people, particularly those in Wuhan, who have stoically endured a living hell.


      While I've been vehement in my condemnation of the CCP, it has to be said the USA has failed almost as spectacularly but in a quite different fashion. Both nations have shed a great deal of credibility as world leaders over this event.

      It's fascinating to compare the nature of governance of both countries as a study in contrasts; China is not an easy country to govern, major geographic zones and huge ethnic minorities and surrounded by hostile neighbours, it has only ever been united when ruled by the energetic, militarily competent and authoritarian Han people of the great northern Yellow River basin. The CCP response to COVID-19 was a classic example of how such regimes operate.

      The USA is quite the opposite, naturally wealthy, capital rich, with the most defendable borders in the world, the USA is much more a federation of states, each with considerable political and sometimes economic power. It all hangs together prosperously without the necessity for overbearing or indeed even particularly competent federal government. COVID-19 has exposed this lack of cohesive and competent governance quite cruelly; Trump being merely the most luridly visible tip of the dysfunction.

      Over the next few years both nations are going to react to this crisis of credibility, but in quite different ways. Watching this space is going to be very, very interesting indeed.

      • aj 13.1.1

        this lack of cohesive and competent governance quite cruelly; Trump being merely the most luridly visible tip of the dysfunction.

        It is a flailing and failing state.

        • RedLogix

          If it were any other nation I'd have to agree with you; but the USA has so many fundamental advantages in terms of food, energy and security, a geography that prints money and a demography that will enable a consumption led recovery … they can make mistakes that would be the finish of most others.

          The Americans will do what they always do when events slap them in the face; lose their shit and overreact. Right now though matters are made worse by a political system in complete turmoil, the alliances which make up both the Democrats and Republicans are in a process of rebalancing themselves and this process is not yet complete. Once that is sorted, we may see some actual adults take charge again.

          Expect a lot of turmoil, maybe even disaster, but there is no way in hell you can look forward to the USA being a 'failed state'.

          • aj

            I said failing, not failed, and I don't think anyone would look forwards to becoming a 'failed state', by whatever definition you would wish to chose.

            The term has no coherent definition and it's use open to criticism. But there are obvious failings and the list is long, starting with the obvious: the inability to provide public health services to all, political corruption, incarceration rates, racism, and quite frankly a broken democratic process. Two thought provoking articles for lock-down reading…

            A country’s success or failure must be measured against its inherent potential.

            The U.S. Is a Failed State

            • RedLogix

              The definition of 'failure' must be very flexible indeed if the nation with the largest economy, and the most desirable immigration destination anywhere, is to be counted as failed.

              Compared of course to their potential I have to agree, they have fallen short, but there are no grounds to imagine they will not and cannot turn this around.

              I quickly scanned your links. One of them makes this point:

              Very few countries have as large an amount of natural factor endowment as the United States. To be sure, its natural riches and other assets provide a strong buffer, making it much less likely that the country will ever fail outright.

              That confirms the point I am making; the Americans cannot stuff this up no matter how hard they try. So lets put that possibility aside; they are going to be around for a long time to come, and will still have by far the worlds largest navy and military for a long time to come.

              There is a reason why US politics dominates so much of our time here; we all instinctively know this … despite all the anti-US bigotry and paranoia on display, the USA still matters and will go on mattering for a long time to come.

              Indeed there is a good argument to be made that this COVID crisis will slap them out of their narcissistic culture wars, sort out their adrift political system, rebuild their domestic industry and get on with fixing the lists of broken things your links outline. They are perfectly capable of this; as Winston Churchill dryly put it "you can count on the Americans to do the right thing, once they have exhausted all other options".

              • Ad

                Red I try and be optimistic, but you are spectacularly optimistic.

                • aj

                  slap them out of their narcissistic culture wars, sort out their adrift political system, rebuild their domestic industry and get on with fixing the lists of broken things

                  I'm inclined to agree with Ad. I think there is a will to do that within their society – I'm reading Abdul El-Sayed's Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic during our lockdown and there are plenty of progressive groups in the USA. But they are splintered, ineffective at anything but a local level and locked out of national politics by the GOP/DNC vicegrip on power. (Don't expect any change from Sleepy Joe even if he flukes an election win)

                  I have hope for them, but not optimism.

  14. A 14

    This is around 1/3 of an email from The Dollar Vigilante (TDV). Posting here just so you get an alternative viewpoint on what is going on, although I don't necessarily agree with anything he says it's food for thought. He is quite extreme.

    The media and its masters have heavily mocked and sneered at "conspiracy" predictions from those who have been predicting that the elite are just waiting for the right moment to roll out their ‘mark of the beast’ technology to remotely identify and control every single human being on the planet, thus sealing their plans for a one-world government.

    • FACT: On 4 April 2020 Bill Gates states that mass public gatherings will not come back "at all" until we have mass vaccination.
    • FACT: MIT is working on a "quantum tattoo" that will mark you with an invisible identifier while also delivering a vaccine…at Bill Gates’ direction and funded first and foremost by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    • FACT: In the Book of Revelation [13:16-17], written about 2000 years ago, the Bible warned us about being branded with an ID code: "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark…"
    • FACT: Microsoft owns International patent #060606 (#666) which is a cryptocurrency system using humans who have been chipped as the "Miners".

    As we are drowned by the sheer millions of numbers of virus data spewed out daily by the propaganda machine, people are anxiously waiting to line up for their chip, willing to do just about anything to get some sense of normalcy back in their lives.

    In my walk and talk with Lucy today, I unpack my evidence for saying the coronavirus is being used as a cover for a new, digital financial system, complete with a forced vaccine/nanochip which will create a full, individual, digital identity.

    I think he gives Gates way too much credit. Mega wealth means lots of advisors so if there is a plan it was probably a group effort with money the central focus.

    What frightens me most is that Gates is pushing for immunity from lawsuits related to the vaccine. Just look at what a mess India was left in after the Gates Foundation went in there…they are still in court. Expanding this to a global level is irresponsible.

    For me the big takeaway here is that any choice made around removing privacy, centralization of currency should be very carefully considered.

    • joe90 14.1

      What frightens me most is that Gates is pushing for immunity from lawsuits related to the vaccine. Just look at what a mess India was left in after the Gates Foundation went in there…they are still in court.

      Congratulations on topping your conspiratorial claptrap with a lie.

      Some media reports have suggested that all health related collaboration with the Gates Foundation with National Health Mission (NHM) has been stopped. This is inaccurate and misleading. BMGF continues to collaborate and support the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.


      • adam 14.1.1

        joe90 you pushed a conspiracy theory for years here, is it any wonder conspiracy theories are now common fodder on the left and right?

        Edit: note to A – your comments are bat shit crazy and truly in the realms of conspiracy theory tin foil lala land.

  15. Janet 15

    When “shit comes to shovel “ it is natural that we look to our families first for support; emotional , physical and financial. This is a time when families should be helping each other more. It is harder in NZ because we are often not congregated in the communities that we were born in. I am thinking about the children that may have to go back to school next week because their parents can think of no better solution. I am thinking that if two parents work , maybe , just one returns to work – remember there will be many families with parents who cannot go back to work for one reason or another. I am thinking of grandparents who could transfer to the bubble of a family that needs an at home carer or the children could transfer to the grandparent’s bubble for a time. I am thinking about members of an extended family in work helping out family members who need food or funds. Families help their own families first. It is a natural human response to an overwhelming challenge/change.,

    • Treetop 15.1

      Pooling resources within families is good when it comes to the welfare of children, providing it is in a safe enviroment and the person has the resources to pool.

  16. mpledger 16

    My colleagues at Victoria, Otago and Auckland University and I have put together a survey about how people are getting or not getting to Medical Centres (GPs, nurses) to look after their health during level 3 and level 4 lockdown.

    There have been some people here mentioning issues around that so I thought it might be of interest. Here is the official blurb with the link to the survey…


    The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives, including how we see or talk to doctors and nurses in the community. Take our survey (click here: https://bit.ly/3cpy16D) to tell us what you think about these changes.


    • joe90 16.1


    • Macro 16.2


    • Carolyn_Nth 16.3

      Done as I am one of the people who has posted on TS about this topic.

    • Treetop 16.4

      Do you know when public use medical labs will reopen and how GP clinics managed during the lockdown?

    • RedBaronCV 16.5

      Who is funding this please? We have seen a number of academics (e,g the law professor on Pundit – complete with very simplistic maths) advocating for one course or the other basically based on their opinion but without the significant trials or surveys or peer reviewed papers that should accompany academic pronouncements.

      A lot of it didn't really engender any trust in academic independence so could you please elaborate.

      • Carolyn_Nth 16.5.1

        The focus of the survey was on the operation of GPs and clinics, and how individuals perceived and responded to them. There was little pointing to systemic problems in our health system, which impact on how GPS and clinics operate.

        • RedBaronCv

          I was a little concerned after some academics ( and some are way out of their lane) appearing to be supporting predetermined RW positions – there have been discussions on here. Didn't want the results to turn up in Simon Bridges inbox ( although it looks to be overflowing) and be weaponised against certain groups.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Well, the first page of the link has this about the ethics clearance from the Uni and statement it's funded by the Health Research Council of NZ.:

            About the researchers

            We are a group of researchers from Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Otago and the University of Auckland. We do research on how well the health care system is working in New Zealand.

            If you have any questions about this research, now or in the future, please contact the lead researcher:

            Dr Fiona Imlach (Senior Researcher) from Victoria University of Wellington at [email protected] or 022 563 6565

            This research has been approved by the Human Ethics Committee at Victoria University of Wellington (ID: 0000028485). If you have any concerns about the ethical conduct of the research you can contact the Human Ethics Committee Convenor (Dr Judith Loveridge, email [email protected] or telephone (04) 463 6028). The research is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

            The HRC is responsible to the Minister of Health

            • RedBaronCv

              Thanks but I'll still have to excuse myself. Can't remember the last time I went near the GP. But I won't get the family record overturned- one member has been only twice in 55 years.

  17. joe90 17

    Four years ago.

  18. Tricledrown 18

    Simon Bridges is finished when Paula Bennett says she's got your back Simon you are a goner.

    National's history shows when their leaders are very unpopular they don't waste time .

    • AB 18.1

      Not sure – only a fool would want the Opposition Leader job at the moment. However Paula may be calculating that she has only a short window of opportunity before Christopher Luxon is deemed to be leadership-ready.

      Bridges has got the approach to C-19 wrong. He should have been saying, "I support the government's decisions and actions – and I believe that NZ is very lucky in having governments of both stripes that respond well in a crisis – just like we did with Christchurch." Then you just sit back and wait for the inevitable irritation, frustration, fraying of consensus and fatigue that will give you opportunities to be critical. We are still very early in this – compare to Christchurch – it's like the early days when Bob Parker went from likely loser of the mayoral election to super-hero on the back of popping up on tv regularly and merely sounding organised and compassionate.

      I think Bridges got it wrong because it's the opposite strategy that had worked for him up to this point. Being a pugnacious hard-right jerk had been keeping National at 40%. Difficult to change mid-stride. I almost felt sorry for him today – but cancelled that thought when I remembered how toxic he would be in government for the poor and working class.

    • bwaghorn 18.2

      If national had any fucking brains they would get rid of bennet at the same time as bridges. Hes an arsehole and shes nasty piece of work

  19. RedLogix 19

    Negative oil prices this week garnered some brief attention, after all the notion of a negative price for anything has new novelty value if nothing else.

    But on digging a bit deeper, it's the portent of something much bigger. The specific part of the oil market concerned is called West Texas Intermediate. This is just one bottleneck in the global network where production surged ahead of pipeline shipping capacity, leaving some producers with nowhere to put their crude.

    This was unusual, but not the big one coming down the road. The real sucker punch will come sometime in June when the world runs out of storage. The numbers are fuzzy because not everyone shares accurate data, often because they're lazy or secretive, but on current plausible projections, sometime early June everything starts to overflow.

    This will leave many producers with no choice but to shut in their production wells.

    The Saudi price war started out as a tiff with the Russians over carrying the burden of a production cut. It has since expanded into the Saudis targeting the end markets of every single one of what the Saudis’ consider to be inefficient producers. The Saudis are now targeting markets serviced not just by US shale and Russia, but those serviced by Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Chad.

    With their immensely deep pockets the Saudis can sustain negative prices well past the point where they can crush their global competition. Some producers like Russia who drill in frozen ground will be forced to redrill before they could ever start up again. However this plays out, there will be massive disruption to physical production processes everywhere … taking offline a substantial fraction of global supply for maybe a year or so.

    The US will respond by banning imports of foreign oil and will keep their strategic shale oil going, albeit at marginal prices. They will have the scale and heft to protect their energy independence.

    Everywhere else I've listed above will see their oil income plummet to zero. The petro-economies that have kept many compromised, sometimes evil, ideological regimes afloat is crumbling. Consider just Iran for example, already their economy is hammered by sanctions (due to their nuclear ambitions), COVID and now what oil earnings they have are going as well. The only thing holding this nation together right now is it's incredibly efficient and brutal internal security apparatus. (On another thread we're debating the privacy implications of app based movement and contact tracing … I was so tempted to say 'pffffft … first world problems'.)

    In a world where the USA no longer cares so much about secure oil supplies and global trade, the prospect of a horde of already dangerous or compromised nations going feral in response to the same existential economic crisis at the same time … looks very ominous indeed.

    • Keeping the US shale industry going at these prices would require a massive subsidy-it's not going to happen.

      • RedLogix 19.1.1

        If US industry propped up their domestic production at say $40 per barrel, this is pretty much the sort of price they have been paying anyway in their own domestic currency. They can happily run their economy at this price quite independently of the rest of the world. Energy independence for them has a strategic value above and beyond economic concerns.

        After all if the Saudi's have deep enough pockets to drive the global oil price negative in order to crush their competition, what makes you think the US isn't capable of protecting itself from the same play?

        Besides, if you want to claim the US cannot afford to subsidise their way out of this mess, this logically puts all the other oil producing nations I listed in a far more fragile position.

      • Macro 19.1.2

        Fossil fuels are furiously lobbying for, and receiving, largesse from the US government

        The UK-based think tank InfluenceMap recently did an analysis that tracks corporate lobbying in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. It found that, across the globe, the oil and gas sector has been the most active in lobbying for interventions, seeking, as CIEL summarizes, “direct and indirect support, including bailouts, buyouts, regulatory rollbacks, exemption from measures designed to protect the health of workers and the public, non-enforcement of environmental laws, and criminalization of protest, among others.” In Canada, Australia, and the UK, the industry is arguing that it must be subsidized and deregulated in order to survive.

        In the US alone, the industry is seeking access to a range of stimulus funds, relief from a variety of pollution regulations, and use of the strategic petroleum reserve to bolster prices. Journalist Amy Westervelt is tracking at least a dozen other lobbying efforts.


      • Gabby 19.1.3

        They'll get what they want with a snap of the fingers.

    • AB 19.2

      "The US will respond by banning imports of foreign oil and will keep their strategic shale oil going, albeit at marginal prices. They will have the scale and heft to protect their energy independence. Everywhere else I've listed above will see their oil income plummet to zero"

      The US might also be making the calculation that such a scenario would hasten the destruction of the governments of Iran and Venezuela.

      • RedLogix 19.2.1

        True enough, though neither scarcely need much help to be put out of their misery.

        But it's the Saudi's making the destructive play here, the US is primarily going to put it's strategic energy independence first and foremost and we can hardly snipe at them for that.

        • KJT

          The USA has destroyed both countries, with, "squeezing their economies until they bleed".

          So, the competence, or not, of their Governments is pretty much, immaterial.

          Though, oil prices collapsing will intensify the suffering in both countries.

          • RedLogix

            Both countries have made fatal miscalculations.

            By pursuing their nuclear program Iran made itself a serious threat to Israel and Saudi at the same time. The US has just two interests in the region, protecting Israel and keeping the global oil supply flowing, which put Iran firmly at the top of the US ME shitlist.

            By building trade links first with Russia and then with China Venezuela ensured they placed themselves right at the top of the US Latin America shitlist. The US may well have tolerated a socialist govt in Vene, but not one that allows other major powers footholds into the western hemisphere.

            Here's the thing, it's not like the USA goes around making life miserable for nations just for the fun of it. There are over 200 nations on planet earth and large majority of them are not subject to sanctions. Just the ones that really park large trucks up the nostrils of US foreign policy.

            I never claimed the US was a necessarily an always benign or virtuous power, but most countries find it possible to get along with the Americans. But the leaders of Iran and Venezuela have been too incompetent and/or stupid to work this out.

            • KJT

              Venezuela's leaders, like any that challenge US, corporate dominance, and many others in South America, never had the choice.

              Iran, was going along with the USA's limitations on nuclear weapon, development.

      • Adrian 19.2.2

        And the Saudi royal family, the only thing keeping them going is the money for buying off the the indigenous native born Saudis. When that runs out they are toast.

      • Mpk 19.2.3

        If the Saudi pockets were so deep they would not be so desperate to end their war in Yemen. Oil is their only revenue.

        The shale oil industry in the US is dead and will not be able to be resuscitated. The US recognises this which brings us to Venezuela.

        The Venezuelan govt enjoys good support in spite of the attempts by the US to strangle their economy. Juan who again?? In recognition of this the US has upped the ante by indicting Maduro with narcotics trafficking?! Colombia? Never heard of it!

        With the terminal state of US oil independence fully recognised, Venezuela is in the sights of the US military.

        Remember Abrams? https://theintercept.com/2019/01/30/elliott-abrams-venezuela-coup/

        Well heres what he's been up to recently. https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-shale-oil-plunges-trump-admin-takes-aim-venezuela/266710/

        • RedLogix

          The shale oil industry in the US is dead and will not be able to be resuscitated.

          Quite the contrary. In recent years US shale oil at around $40 per barrel now has the second cheapest all in production cost in the world, second only to Saudi. Their other feature is that you can stop and start them on a dime, and sink a new well in a matter of weeks.

          Predictions of US shale oil being 'dead' have been around for at least 15 years, and since then both volumes and prices have only improved. With the current consumption crisis they're going to have to re-balance the industry, and a lot of the majors will soak up the more vulnerable small players, but it's not going anywhere.

          Once the US has filled up all it's storage at rock bottom prices, all it has to do is prohibit OPEC oil imports on the grounds that it is being 'dumped'.

          • Mpk

            Oh. Well. That will be interesting. What do you expect to happen to the US dollar when in your scenario Saudi Arabia becomes a failed state?

            • RedLogix

              In all the uncertainty of the past few months, there has been nothing but a rush back to the US dollar. The worse it gets the more the US dollar will rise. It remains firmly the world's primary reserve and trade currency.

              As for Saudi … that is a much more complicated story. They have two threats, controlling their own internal population and Iran, and the two are closely linked. Plus their second most important export is terrorists.

              The Iranians have by far the most capable military left in the region, while the Saudi's have the least. What capacity it has is largely mercenary, and no-one pays them enough to die in the desert for someone else. At the same time that large desert provides the Saudi's with protection from land invasion from Syria while at the same time leaving their oil production facilities highly exposed on the Persian Gulf. The first target in any conflict will be the Saudi oil production. (Already has been a few months back …)

              Look for a highly asymmetric conflict and attempts by the Saudi’s to find allies in the region now the US is backing away. Without a sponsor the House of Saud will likely collapse and most of the world will cheer at that, but the consequences for Europe and the Far East still heavily dependent on the supertankers arriving daily, will be much more troubling.

              • Mpk

                I can'thelp thinking that all the debt in the shale oil industry is going to be way too much for anyone to be interested in the near term. Production flow tapers way faster than anywhere else. My reading is that break even is closer to $50 than 40 and is the most expensive to extract bar maybe Canadian and then theres the quality issue. My hope is that it does die cause fracking has got to be the greatest negative environmental assault of all fossil fuel extraction. Also if this is the most expensive and least efficient on an energy return for input basis the US will be shooting itself in the other foot by setting import restrictions that tie it to such inefficiency. Hence I would be very surprised if they are not looking at a play on Venezuela as an area closer to home and easier to control as they have completely lost any influence in the middle east and as with most bullies would prefer to take on someone percieved to be a lot weaker than Iran

                • Ad

                  It will hit Alberta and Saskatchewan, and as a percentage of the economy it therefore hits Canada massively.

                  Much more than it will hit Dakota or North Dakota.

    • Adrian 19.3

      One funny thing about West Texas Intermediate is that there is bugger all of it, it is actually just a metier of price, the amount of WTI is miniscule in world production terms.

      • RedLogix 19.3.1

        Yup. That's my point, what we saw this week was only one small canary keeling over.

  20. Tricledrown 20

    Wayne you carefully avoided the Fact that he learned from Jacinda how being decisive and humble is what works.

  21. Carolyn_Nth 21

    Many countries, like NZ, are having difficulty accessing adequate PPE for all those who need it. Internationally, countries are competing against each other to purchase supplies.

    Decades of austerity have compromised health systems like the UK's NHS (and maybe to a lesser extent, NZ's – at least compared with England)

    This twitter thread explains how poor the NHS system is in accessing and distributing PPE in England, because of a poor and fragmented system. Wales and Scotland have better systems. The thread begins:

    Spent the day talking to PPE suppliers/medical staff The picture which emerges is an English procurement system which has major issues at both national and local level Not all these problems began during this crisis, some seeds sown a v long time ago

    There are also reports overseas that PPE are designed for male bodies, and that they don't fit the average female body very well, compromising their effectiveness. This reminds me of Alison Mau's report that female staff in NZ rest homes had been given PPE which included ill-fitting goggles.

    The UK Independent reported today:

    Female NHS staff at risk due to not being able to ‘access protective gear correctly sized for women: ‘They tend to be designed to the size and shape of male bodies. This is in spite of the fact that 75 per cent of NHS workers are women,’ says British Medical Association spokesperson

    This includes filtering face masks that are not available in smaller sizes for women and ill-fitting gear that is uncomfortable to wear for any length of time.

  22. weston 22

    Gonna be a good season for wild field mushrooms folks starting from a few days ago .For those who dont know theyre really easy to dry and a few jars put aside now can be a real bonus down the track when you need something extra in the soup or stew pot .

    • gsays 22.1

      Absolutely, I have had 'em for brekky yesty and dinner last night.

      Sliced, hot pan, butter, sliced garlic, let them sizzle for half a minute, then add mushys and let them stew away for 5 mins, reduce the juices (put pan on high till most of the juices have ‘gone’) handful of fresh chopped parsley and a good crunch of salt (or lemon juice) and black pepper.

      I haven't tried drying them despite enjoying the dried shittake from the Chinese supermarket.

  23. NZJester 23

    Stories are starting to pop up online with stuff like this on MSN;

    I am told from sources within the National Party that moves are underway to dump Simon Bridges as leader.


    Are Bridges days numbered as National leader and does a faction within the party have the numbers to roll him?

    Will we see Mark Mitchell promoted to opposition leader or will he be severely punished ?

    • gsays 23.1

      Will we see Mark Mitchell promoted to opposition leader or will he be severely punished ? "

      I would of thought the former is evidence of the latter.

  24. Stunned Mullet 24

    In relation to the government support program I found my self scanning who'd applied last evening.

    Can anyone advise why we're (the taxpayer) paying entities like Qantas and Air China ?

    • weka 25.1

      Time to upscale health systems and gear.

      • Sacha 25.1.1

        Yes, that significant extra money this week for contact tracking and public health unit staff and IT won't be the last.

      • Ad 25.1.2

        Curiously they are doing the opposite right now and seriously downsizing the new build of Dunedin Hospital.

  25. Stephen D 26

    The SFO are releasing their report on NZ1. What’s the state of play with their report on the National Party? Or have I missed it?

    • Muttonbird 26.1

      They charged everyone but the National Party for the National Party's receipt of dirty money.

      • Ed1 26.1.1

        Has anything happened since?

        • Muttonbird

          Not sure when the next court date is.

          It is Ross and friends in the dock. They will try to show coaching and intent from the wider National Party and individuals within it while he National Party will try to isolate Ross as a lone operator whose decisions were his own.

          The interesting bit for me, and I don't don't if it will even be within the scope of the trial, is the role Nat HQ (GM Greg Hamilton)had in communicating that the donation had to be spilt and individual names were required.

          If Ross can prove there was direction from the Nats on this while they had knowledge that it was in fact one donor then it all gets a bit difficult for National.

          In that event they will probably throw someone under the bus. They’re good at that.

          • alwyn

            I think your memory is at fault on this MB.

            Can you provide anything that shows Hamilton said the donation had to be split. As I remember it Ross declared that there were 8 donations and Hamilton asked him for the names and addresses of the donors so that the party could comply with the Electoral Act.

            Where did you get this story about Hamilton wanting it to be "broken up"?

            • Muttonbird

              Hopefully that is what the court case will sort out.

              By the way, where did you get the story that Ross declared there were 8 donations?

              • alwyn

                ""The Botany Electorate of the National Party received eight donations, and Mr Ross declared eight donations to us," he said in a statement."


                • Muttonbird

                  Lol. Incredible you'd post that article as a defence of National HQ.

                  It clearly shows Hamilton was aware this was a single donation spilt to avoid disclosure. This is against the law.

                  This is what I and most decent New Zealanders will want to be presented and considered in court.

                  • alwyn

                    I'm afraid that on this we are just going to have to agree to disagree. That article seems to leave Hamilton entirely in the clear. He was asking who the donors were, all of them. He needed all the names and addresses to ensure that the people involved were New Zealand residents and therefore legally allowed to donate to the Party.

                    There is nothing there that can possibly be construed as "Hamilton was aware this was a single donation spilt to avoid disclosure"

                    It certainly appears to have been quite clear to the SFO that, in spite of JLR's attempts to smear Bridges and the Party that they were not involved in any corrupt activity. The SFO didn't charge anyone in the National Party did they? Are you suggesting that the SFO is corrupt?

                    I fear that you are allowing your antipathy to the National Party to overcome any rational thinking on the subject.

  26. RedBaronCV 27

    Reserve Bank is looking to enable property speculators and landlord investors. Good going Mr Orr.

    RBNZ is looking to chop all LVR restrictions which includes not just those for owner occupiers but property investors as well. Since it's not too difficult to avoid the OIO restrictions on foreign buyers – does a flood tide of speculative capital ( some of it from overseas) buy up property on the market to keep it in the rental sector? Some thing similar happened in the USA after 2008 when distressed property was all vacuumed up by the big players?

    The press release suggested they would ask for:

    Feedback from key stakeholders will be collected for seven days, with a final decision to be made shortly afterwards.

    That is not you or me. But if we want to we can contact the RBNZ – not that that made the press release.

    Members of the public wishing to provide feedback on the proposal can do so by emailing [email protected]


  27. RedBaronCV 28

    And the ANZ thinks that the young people and the old people should pay for this.How about your over entitled directors and senior staff paying tax at say 90% on incomes over $.05million


    • ianmac 29.1

      Hell DS! I read the Brill post and was appalled at the intent.

      But what was worse I read every comment on the Farrar Blog (100s!) and nearly every one condemned Jacinda and Bloomfield and their actions coping with Covid 19.

      I need to know what those opposing the Government think but this just awful. Sickening.

      The brightest comment near the end came from one who wrote that National would have done the same and that the Opposition has not proposed other choices beyond fiddling with dates and sizes.

      DS please do not make me do that again. Off for a shower!

    • Incognito 29.2

      I read your blog, good one. I didn’t read the whole KB one.

      For some reason, the number of suicides is often used as some kind of indicator of the social cost of an economic downturn. However, to state the following is grossly misleading:

      On a net basis, eradication will cost the lives of many New Zealanders

      This is based on the assumption that during economic downturns, life expectancy declines, which appears to be ‘common sense’ and even made it into a quote uttered by Brad Pitt in a movie called The Big Short. However, the reality is much more complex and it is in fact the opposite, economic recessions are generally associated with reduced mortality rates and positive increases in life expectancy changes.

      In other words, that chap – is that his real name? – who wrote the KB post is ignorant at best and not up to date with the literature or simply bullshitting with selective and incorrect interpretation of cherry-picked material to suit his narrative. In any case, it does not make for a constructive academic or public debate, for that matter. I doubt the writer has any background in epidemiology but is nevertheless convinced of his own opinion being fact.

      • Andre 29.2.1

        There's been a chap of the same name as the writer of the Kiwibog post that's been quite an active climate change denier – if that's any help in working out if it's a real name.

        • Incognito

          Thanks, but I can’t be bothered checking out ignorant dilettantes spreading mis- and/or dis-information. It would be slightly different if they were to comment here using the same name/alias and spouting the same BS.

      • joe90 29.2.2

        MP for Kapiti during Muldoon's first term.

        • Incognito

          Crikey! An ancient ex-politician moonlighting and masquerading as pseudo-expert on pandemic response and writing anti-Government propaganda on KB. Is that Plan C?

  28. alwyn 30

    "Teaches me to trust Twitter".

    But have you learnt your lesson? Or will you do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day.

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

    [It is too for you to stay on topic, isn’t it? – Incognito]

  29. Muttonbird 31

    Rent Strike Aotearoa.

    It's bold and I applauded the passionate activism but the reality is that renters and their families in New Zealand have become second class citizens and constantly live in fear of their landlord and agent masters who have enormous power and often use that power in stand-over tactics.

    The voices of ordinary renting families and individuals have been crushed over the decades since the beginning of the 4th Labour government and they are literally too afraid to speak out on anything for fear of being turfed out of their homes.

    These are the tried and true means of oppression.


    What is interesting is the organisers clearly recognise the medium term effects for renters coming down the tube. This is one of the options for activism, my bold:

    Taking action to prevent evictions (likely in 3+ months)

    It's going to get messy…


    • Molly 31.1

      Hi Muttonbird, from someone who has tried to be a responsible and respectful landlord the blanket assumption that we are all alike is misguided. As mentioned, we are landlords by default. We have deliberately charged less than the interest what it costs us to own and maintain the property, because we factored that we will get the capital gains at some point in the future.

      Three couples who have lived with us, on our property, have been able to save for deposits and are now in their own homes. Checking on the Tenancy website, we are in the lowest quartile for our area, and for the size of the unit. That doesn't take into account the inclusion of gardening, and all utilities.

      So, despite all this, and spending around 70% of our income on servicing the mortgage, a blanket call for a rentstrike is gathering pace. Our tenants have already had two weeks rent free since Covid Alert 4, despite being paid via the wage subsidy and being in a better financial position than us.

      Any general strike that disregards any efforts or concerns of landlords who try to act respectfully and responsibly, is a problem. Communication between the people – who are both tenants and landlords – is better. We have spoken to our tenants who have assured us that they are receiving their subsidies, and are in a position to keep paying, and if that changes they will get in touch.

      We will be grateful to receive that, and have indicated that to them, and told them that if that changes we are ready to talk. What is the problem with that approach?

      • Muttonbird 31.1.1

        Hi Molly. The problem is that you are in the minority of landlords.

        While the government has done a lot of work with banks to provide home-owners with official relief if they chose it on top of the wage subsidy, it is up to tenants to approach landlord in what is and always has been a power imbalanced relationship.

        In short, there is no official backing for tenants the way home owners have received, they pretty much have to beg and wait as always.

        Rent Strike Aotearoa is born out of that frustration.

        • Molly

          While I agree that there are landlords that act without care, a general strike makes the assumption that all landlords are the same. Along the lines of – all employers are bad, all farmers are environmental vandals, etc.

          It is the generalisation that is of concern.

          If we. personally, take the accumulated interest on offer from the bank – it's not a gift of money – our already past retirement mortgage free date will be extended – most likely beyond our lifetimes. All efforts to extend a home to tenants at a reasonable cost will amount to nothing in terms of doing more than what is required, and treating our fellow citizens with care.

          If I was a tenant, with the financial resources to pay for the rental of my property during this time, I would have no hesitation in doing so. However, given the nature of people, I would also think that there would be many who – given the opportunity via a general rent strike – would avoid doing so.

          Any policy that only considers the lowest common denominator is a problem, (and also that those under financial stress are ONLY the the tenants.) The reasoning behind this proposal makes that premise.

          The more equitable proposal is if tenants could access loans from the NZ govt in order to meet their tenancy commitments. Landlords and tenants would then have the same relief – and the same accompanying pain. And once again, would need to communicate effectively to ensure everyone gets through as intact as possible.

          • Muttonbird

            The more equitable proposal is if tenants could access loans from the NZ govt in order to meet their tenancy commitments. Landlords and tenants would then have the same relief – and the same accompanying pain.

            That hasn't been proposed though. Bring it on. I see RSA's activism as a call to arms to get some sort of recognition, access to relief and equal treatment.

            If I was a tenant, with the financial resources to pay for the rental of my (home) during this time, I would have no hesitation in doing so.

            If you have to look after a young family and have no idea when or if the work is going to come back you will want to keep as much as possible close to your chest and stretch it out as far as possible. <i>That</i> is human nature. It's not, as you claimed, straight out avoidance.

            If we. personally, take the accumulated interest on offer from the bank – it's not a gift of money – our already past retirement mortgage free date will be extended – most likely beyond our lifetimes.

            I like dramatic comments for sure but I think you are being over dramatic with your claim that the mortgage extension from this would go beyond your lifetimes.

            All tenants are wanting is medium term relief – they'd be happy to pay the extra interest in a 'holiday' scenario. Currently that holiday is only officially available to home owners not renting families. They have to rely on all sorts of variables and uncertainties.

            • Molly

              " If you have to look after a young family and have no idea when or if the work is going to come back you will want to keep as much as possible close to your chest and stretch it out as far as possible. <i>That</i> is human nature. It's not, as you claimed, straight out avoidance. "

              My partner supports a family of five, two of whom just started their first jobs in the last month. For several years, we had an additional three young adults for which we received no payment and minimal board $40/wk for food. You once again make the assumption that ALL tenants have family stresses and financial strain, and ALL landlords are in a financial position to weather this situation without concern, and have no family to consider.

              " I like dramatic comments for sure but I think you are being over dramatic with your claim that the mortgage extension from this would go beyond your lifetimes. "

              Currently, we will pay off our mortgage at 72 years of age. Part of that is because we have chosen to charge a lower than market rent for our not longer required attached granny flat. If we accumulate the interest on our current mortgage for three months, that will be an additional $14,000 accumulating interest for the next 17 years, resulting in a $30,000 extra payments using compound interest at 4.5%, the six month relief package would be an additional $60,000. A hard reach for superannuitants, and no guarantee we will be in a position to pay during the next nine years which would take us to the average age of NZers. No drama, but unlikely to be achievable. We are representative of the many who have found housing a very high cost, but who have endeavoured to meet that cost in order to provide for not just our own family but others.

              I have also advocated for better, affordable housing and changes for policies regarding housing on this site and in public submissions for many years. I am trying to view your stance as objectively as possible, and perhaps are failing to do so. But although I have told you that the cost of that proposal will be financially devastating to us as an example of a different tenant/landlord experience, you disregard any diversity from the implied all tenants are not financially secure, all landlords are bloodsucking leeches.

              Solutions to difficult problems are often complex. I'm often surprised by those who propose simple blanket solutions that often produce compromises and damage elsewhere, and consider it acceptable collateral damage.

              I'm pointing out the damages that may occur when generalisations are made without regard for diversity or well-functioning tenancies and tenant/landlord relationships.

              You are doubling down.

              • Muttonbird

                Sorry, but I just don't buy a six month mortgage holiday is going to add $60,000 to your mortgage. If a six month mortgage holiday adds $10,000/month for six months then something is wrong either with your bank or with the the system we are using.

                • Andre

                  Not too strong on your 'rithmetic, Muttonbird? Don't take it personally, most people aren't too clued in on the effects of compounding interest over long time periods. But that lack of understanding is sadly something that keeps people slaves to debt for a lot longer than they otherwise might be.

                  Molly's figures are entirely plausible.

                • Molly

                  This conversation about differences is not just about our personal experiences. I just used our personal situation as an example to you, to remind you not make assumptions. I'm actually quite uncomfortable with putting personal details online in this manner. But you are questioning my integrity, so…

                  (Our mortgage is just over $1,100 a week. Thirteen weeks of non-payment is $14,000. $14,000 at compounded daily interest of 4.5% for seventeen years results in an additional $30,000 to be paid by the end of the loan. If that is wrong, then point it out, but don't disregard my input because it doesn't meet your expectations.)

                  Banks already offered the three month holiday, this is not a new service. It has already been available for those under financial stress. But there will be a few homeowners (landlords or not) that will be dreading having to make that further financial commitment. It is not a monetary gift – stop referring to it as such – it is an extension of already existing credit – with a punitive result in financial terms.

                  Advocate for an extension of Accommodation Supplement for those who need it.

                  Because I do agree we should be providing for those in need.

                  I disagree with the proposal because tenants are not the homogeneous demographic that you have chosen to stereotype and champion. Neither are landlords.

              • Gabby

                I shouldn't think your tenants would strike then.

                • Molly

                  Rentstrike are advocating for a general – or universal – strike. This is regardless of ability to pay, under the premise that landlords have been given relief.

                  Whether our tenants would pay (debateable) is irrelevant to the bigger picture. Too many asssumptions about what landlords have access to, and that all tenants are in financial straits create a badly defined problem, that is then solved with a universal badly designed solution.

  30. joe90 32

    Sneak peek at National's next caucus meeting.

  31. alwyn 33

    A couple of years ago the New Zealand Government said that they were confident that they could eradicate the cattle disease M Bovis from New Zealand. I haven't heard anything about this in the last six or so months but I was reminded of the subject by this coronavirus outbreak.

    The cattle disease would seem to be an easier thing to get rid off. After all you can just shoot any cattle that have the disease. Does anyone know whether the attempt to eradicate it worked in the end?

    • joe90 33.2

      Google is your friend.

    • bwaghorn 33.3

      Still finding new farms . It's a very tough bug to test for apparently! Maybe if national had of acted when it first arrived we would have had a chance .

      Not sure whether they still think they can beat it .

      Cant see how this compares to covid as covid kills lots of people quickly.

      • alwyn 33.3.1

        Your reply isn't quite as hopeful is it? You are just a little bit tough on National aren't you? It was only discovered by a Vet in July 2017, which was only 2 months before the election. What did you expect to happen in that time? I fact I wonder if it even got up to a Minister prior to the Election.

        Are you just as judgemental about the present Government who took a further 8 months before they decided to try and eradicate it?

        Thank you for the information. I had almost forgotten about the whole thing and was reminded of it by the fact that eradication was being attempted. It wasn't anything else or that they are comparable diseases.

        • bwaghorn

          I heard it was 2015 ?

          But if national had of bothered to get nait working properly tracking would have been much easier.

          It's only since labour got in that the whip has been cracked around nait compliance
          Edit july 2017 is right . Nationa couldnt possibly achieve anything of huge importance in 2 months I guess

        • McFlock

          I had almost forgotten about the whole thing and was reminded of it by the fact that eradication was being attempted.

          Dude, I'm really trying hard to remain neutral on the idea that you're a paid liar sowing alarm and despondency from a list of work-grouped talking points, as opposed to you just being a moron who thinks their indefensible position is only indefensible because of left wing lies (rather than it genuinely being stupid, brutish, and fundamentally wrong) so therefore your daily contortions and outright inventions to defend the indefensible are the products of logic and integrity in a hostile situation, but bullshit comments like that make it difficult..

          • alwyn

            I really don't have the slightest interest in what you think. I used to have some sympathy for what you had to say because you had shown that you could appreciate one of the finer things in life. You had a taste for a fine cigar.

            Take the habit up again. It might give you a more rational, and less bitter, attitude to life.

            Did you read what you just said before you posted it? Try reading it now. If you have any sense left I'm sure you will blush with embarrassment.

            • McFlock

              It was fun to construct that comment. Almost as fun as the thought you have any concept of embarrassment.

              but for your tl:dr, it said that you're a shameless liar and propagandist and the only remaining question is whether your motives are mercenary or mere stupidity.

        • Peter

          A bit tough given the timeframe? You mean like the census?

      • McFlock 33.3.2

        It compares because Alwyn thinks of people as cattle, maybe? But how they think most farmers think of cattle.

    • Grafton Gully 33.4

      You'd have to exterminate the infected possums to get rid of M. bovis Alwyn you've got until 2050.

  32. David Mac 35

    Should we be concerned about a nation of 1.4 billion people that lock down the population of Wuhan by welding up their apartment building gates and hand delivering meals to each door. Whilst under these severe restrictions, anyone that wanted to was free to get out to the international airport and fly all over the world.

    Should we not see this for what it is?

    We had a wedding in Bluff, one guest was coughing, 90 are down with the voodoo.

    Georgia in the US are opening up Nail salons, gyms and tattoo parlours….I think they're dancing with the devil.

  33. Treetop 36

    With a bit of luck the anti vax brigade will not notice my comment.

    I am waiting to see what the research into childhood immunisations and Covid-19 is. If there is a connection with children being protected. I would not think it is the BCG as it is no longer given routinely in some countries.

  34. David Mac 37

    Park the CCP

    Give China back to the beautiful Chinese people.

  35. David Mac 38

    They need to drop a C and become the Chinese Party, the CP. I think it's cool that nobody owns the land up there. It's owned by them all but the concept loses appeal when just a few power junkie exploiters are milking the goat dry. What can you do with that much goat milk?

  36. David Mac 39

    Delivered Pizza are on a race to the bottom.

    Cheap pizza cuts costs on ingredients, most overheads are invariables, hourly rate for the chef, power for the oven, delivery, the box etc. To get a $13 dollar pizza down to $11 takes deliveries of more than one pizza to the same address or Mozzarella that is selected from the lower range of Mozzarella available…elastic muck.

    Like with cars, phones and lingerie. The good coin is being made at the premium end of the market-place.

    If I wasn't old and content I'd be looking to launch a national Pizza chain that put chunks of Snapper, mussels and squid on a Deep Dish Seafood Pizza and Charged $40 for the tantilising pleasure. Meat lovers, yep, we got venison on there.

    Don't focus on what we've lost, focus on what we haven't got yet.

  37. arkie 40

    Guyon Espiner cracks another case!

    Pharmac has frozen plans to fund a lung cancer drug that would have helped at least 1400 patients a year, saying it can no longer afford to make the investment.

    Chief executive Sarah Fitt told RNZ that Pharmac was concerned about rising drug prices worldwide in the Covid-19 pandemic and that it could not commit to funding the drug now – but still hoped to in the future.

    Lung cancer patients and their advocates are devastated and said they had been given false hope.

    Keytruda is available in New Zealand but patients must fund it themselves.

    For Michele James, 57, and her partner Clive, that had meant selling their Wanaka home.

    Patient Voice Aotearoa spokesperson Malcolm Mulholland said it was rare for Pharmac to engage in an RFP and then pull the plug.

    "They have very much given false hope to lung cancer patients, especially when you look at the numbers involved," he said. "There are some 1400 patients that could potentially have their lives extended for five years or more by the funding of this drug."

    The above article focuses on personal stories before moving on to some strong words from Patient Voice Aotearoa. This organisation is assisted by Medicines New Zealand, the big pharma lobby group. From a 2019 NewsHub article after they had run a bunch of paid-content articles for Priorities New Zealand, which is owned and managed by Medicines NZ:

    Last week, a global study ranked New Zealand the worst in access to funded modern medicines of 20 OECD countries.

    Out of 304 modern medicines funded internationally, between 2011 and 2017, only 17 were funded in New Zealand.

    This latest report has added fuel to the raging debate over medicines funding in New Zealand, and criticism of Pharmac’s budget and process.

    What wasn’t mentioned in media reports was that the report was not only commissioned by pharmaceutical lobby group Medicines NZ, it was also carried out by US multinational IQVA.The global provider of analytics and contract research to the medicines industry is an associate member of Medicines NZ.

    In recent months, Newshub has run a series of health stories sponsored by Priorities NZ. The sponsored content focused on patient stories, with the common theme of calls for unfunded medicines, treatment or devices.

    Priorities NZ is owned and managed by Medicines NZ, something that was not declared by Newshub.

    Patient Voice Aotearoa has also been associated with Medicines NZ in online discussions, but it does not receive any funding from the lobby group. Mulholland said the trustees don't get a dime.

    But PVA is given access to Medicines NZ's research and information.

    Mulholland said there was no issue with the independence of the research produced or disseminated by Medicines NZ, adding that it was so difficult to get information from Pharmac, this was the only option.

    Pharmac was the reason New Zealanders had access to some of the cheapest medicines in the world, which meant New Zealand could afford more drugs for more people, he said, adding that he believed the model had proven its worth.

    “It’s important that we don’t undermine the strengths of Pharmac… including its independence and its ability to negotiate a good deal from the pharmaceutical companies.”

    Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry pushed hard to get its products publicly funded, including through paid content on news websites and funding lobby groups.

    “That is all perfectly legal, but I’m not convinced there is the same level of scrutiny applied to the industry that there is to government agencies,” Minister Clark said.

    Pharmac needs to be publically defended, and the Minister is correct in saying more attention should be paid to the advocacy of Medicines NZ.

  38. David Mac 41

    Piece. I've never been much of a speller but you know what I mean.

  39. David Mac 42

    Trump, ha, cuddled into dropping the term 'China Virus' and now it's The Plague.

    If we were after a mouthy roasting uncouth President to let China know what he really thinks…Geeez, reluctant as I am to say it…If any US leader is going to say it…of all contenders Donald is most likely to say "What the hell are you up to over there with that Dragon, I'm sending Rambo, Arnold, Pacino and the guys over for a sniff around.

  40. pat 43

    "The precise scale of Guayaquil’s tragedy remains unclear although few doubt the number of deaths far exceeds Ecuador’s official nationwide death toll of 507.

    Viteri said independently gathered figures from cemeteries and graveyards suggested the death toll in Guayaquil alone could be more than 8,000."


    "Last week, official data suggested the number of deaths in Guayas province – of which Guayaquil is the capital – leapt from a normal average of 3,000 to nearly 11,000 in the six weeks between the beginning of March and mid-April."

    "Soldiers and police have cordoned off often poorer virus-hit neighbourhoods, enforcing strict lockdowns, and a municipal taskforce made up of medics, firefighters and city workers has gone house to house looking for potential cases while sanitary workers have disinfected and fumigated public areas.

    Authorities have also created a corpse-collecting taskforce and distributed cardboard coffins to bereaved families."


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