Open mike 23/02/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 23rd, 2022 - 181 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

181 comments on “Open mike 23/02/2022 ”

  1. Blade 1

    More racism from a government who seems to have endless dollars to throw at Maori and Pacific Island communities.

    We are two years into the pandemic and these people still can't get their act together?

    $140 million! What that could fund to get urgent cancer treatment for patients through private healthcare providers.

    How will this money be accounted for?

    But the good news for liberals is this quote confirms your suspicions – I'm just a racist redneck. Quote:

    ''The Pacific Minister said it was important for the public to know that although the money was going to Māori and Pacific health provider groups, they did not discriminate.

    They helped people from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

    "They are serving everybody. Why? Because of those values and beliefs that we're all in this boat together."

    Now that is true. I know that for a fact. But how many European visit Maori health providers? How many want to?

    A team of 5 million? No, a nation split in two along racial lines.

    • vto 1.1

      There is a lot of old bollocks in that blade, but this just for a moment… "We are two years into the pandemic and these people still can't get their act together?"

      Why would a people trust a government and a monarchy which has shat on them for the last 170 years? The british and nz governments have sought to undermine their people and their cultures, steal their land under zero pretences or fashion a whopper to provide pathetic excuse to do same..

      .. nup

      .. in the same way the poms dont trust certain people around their islands due to past practices, neither either do maori trust people who have been shafting them since forever (improved of late if I might suggest)

      try thinking about things from the perspective of maori

      it might help

      • Blake should just try thinking!

        It might help.

      • Blade 1.1.2

        Having been on the end of racism, VTO, I am quite capable of seeing things from a Maori perspective.

        I personally believe it's more upbringing than historical grievances that drive many Maori social and health disparities.

        But, yesterday you wrote this:

        ''It is very clear that dividing people into two is a recipe for disaster… yet this is what those promoting te tiriti as a 'partnership' want. Creating two types of citizen within one nation doesn't work… never has and never will and now we have seen a working example in our very own backyard.''

        I agree 100%. But I can't see how you mark a demarcation line between what you have written and race based funding for Maori to combat Covid?

        • vto

          Sure, I can see how you wont be able to see that ..

          but to give you a hint… check the other parts of my posts yesterday which referenced the need to mitigate and compensate for the wrongs done

          Talkback radio might be simple blade but life is never black and white.. it is all shades of grey…

          subtlety blade… your loud one-liners go nowhere but into the wind

          you should stop listening to the ignorance on talkback and sharpen up …

          • Blade

            ''Sure, I can see how you wont be able to see that ..''

            Sounds a little patronising.wink

            'But to give you a hint… check the other parts of my posts yesterday which referenced the need to mitigate and compensate for the wrongs done.''

            No need. Historical wrongs, which are being addressed by treaty claims have little to do with lush Covid funding for Maori only. Unless of course you want to draw a long bow. But if you do that, Maori are beyond reproach over any of their actions, or non-actions, which seems to be the situation at the moment.

            You are like all our political parties – you are practicing pragmatism. You have no core set on principles to guide you….hence your convoluted reasoning.

            ''Talkback radio might be simple blade but life is never black and white.. it is all shades of grey.''

            So are blogs, social media and TV news…all are quoted regularly as source material on this blog…why not talkback radio?

            Son, you need to put more effort into your posts when dealing with me.

            • vto

              listen boy, for a start your fourth paragraph is simply wrong.. but as I already explained, talkback participants' ability to see any colours other than black or white has historically been non-existent… as you are so clearly showing again for all and sundry

              As for my own principles, again, have another look at those posts, it was entirely about principle – the principle around not having two classes of citizens, with that principle trying to fit alongside the complexities and machinations of te tiriti issues.. this is the reality of life blade – application of principles within the realities of our complex lives

              you are too singular and simple for life's realities

    • Sabine 1.2

      'WE' are not in the same boat, 'WE' are in the same storm.

      And in that storm some find themselve on superyachts with staff at hand to cater to their whims, some are in paddle boats, some are holding on to a piece of wood, whilst others are actively drowning.

      • Blade 1.2.1

        You mean like people who have lost their jobs?

        How come I saw Maori at my local doctors surgery lining up ( sitting to be precise) for the jab?

        What makes these Maori different? How come they didn't need funding…to get off their arse and get a jab.

        Have they caught a ''Maori only ''virus that transforms them into non procrastinating Maori, who gulp, have taken their health into their own hands?indecision

        • Sabine

          no that is what you mean.

          I only mean that we are not in the same boat, but that we are in the same storm.


          • Blade

            Oh, I get it. We are in the same storm, but in different lifeboats, even though we all have access to the same life boat if we want. But some may need a better model because they have concerns about the standard model life boat.

    • Incognito 1.3

      To a hammer everything looks like a nail.

      If you had provided an obligatory source link for your quote it would have provided some important context, which you conveniently omitted from your comment because it did not suit your narrative.

      For example:

      The $140m will go to up to 160 Māori and Pacific health providers around New Zealand and is in addition to the Care in the Community boost announced by government officials last week. [not behind firewall]

      $140 million! What that could fund to get urgent cancer treatment for patients through private healthcare providers.

      Is that an attempt at irony?

      Pasifika and Māori are performing poorly in the NZ cancer stats, but I’d hazard a guess that they are not a major customer group of private healthcare providers.

      • Blade 1.3.1

        ''Pasifika and Māori are performing poorly in the NZ cancer stats, but I’d hazard a guess that they are not a major customer group of private healthcare providers.”

        I wonder why? Any guesses apart from colonisation, racism, lack of funding? You know, the usual liberal tropes.


        ''Young Māori (aged 14–15 years) had a much higher prevalence of tobacco smoking than non‑Māori in the same age group. Māori adults were almost 3 times as likely as non-Māori adults to smoke (RR 2.71, CI 2.47–2.97).''

        Ah, but there's a reason:

        Researchers say history predisposes Maori to having higher rates of smoking than other ethnic groups in New Zealand, and this is passed on from parents to children like a contagious disease. … For non-Maori females it started much later, post-World War II.

        • Gypsy

          Hi Blade – can you post a link to the source of your quotes please.

        • Incognito

          Since another Moderator has now banned you, this is for the record.

          You ask, rather disingenuously, if the “usual liberal tropes” such as “colonisation, racism, lack of funding” are responsible for Pasifika and Māori performing poorly in the NZ cancer stats. You then provide your own prejudiced ‘reason’ of smoking.

          Cancer stats are more than just tables of cancer incidence. They also include mortality rates, for example.

          As we all know, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, obesity, etcetera, are correlated with cancer incidence. And smoking, of course. However, early detection & diagnosis, access to treatment, and treatment options are important factors that determine the outcome. There’s also an issue with access to private healthcare providers and I’m certain that you work out the main reason for that.

          These are all areas where Pasifika and Māori lag and are falling further behind.

          To close the gap and improve outcomes for all cancer patients, targeted measures are arguably a sensible approach. However, they’re met by self-confessed “racist redneck[s]” such as you as racially divisive. Similarly, with any attempts to protect those same and other low socio-economic communities against Covid.

          In effect, any attempt at improving racial inequities through targeted/tailored approaches is attacked as racially/socially divisive; the tortoise is simply not allowed to catch up with the hare.

          Your biased and selective (and unlinked) quotes, e.g. based on your “[s]imple Google search under Maori smoking rates” (really?), and your usual “racist redneck” tropes and sub-text such as self-responsibility, together with your superficial judgement of people based on their appearance such as “rough Maori hanging around” confirms for me that your self-description is entirely accurate.

    • Shanreagh 1.4

      My sister and brother in law got their initial vaccinations and follow-ups from the local Marae health provider down in Southland after the invitation went out in their small community that everyone was welcome, they had vaccines to spare. This was well before mine via age group bands.

      Coming from Northern HB we know that we would always be welcome to go to a clinic on a marae as they are happy to help everybody.

      My immunocompromised friend here in Wellington was contacted by her Dr over a weekend and he suggested she go to Pipitea Marae where there was a massive vaccination effort underway. She just got in her car and off she went. Again well before the rest of us.

      So what you are suggesting is a load of old turnips (sorry turnips)

      • Blade 1.4.1

        Just out of interest…can you read. Does someone write your posts?

        ”Coming from Northern HB.”

        Well, talk of the devil. I’m from there, too. You don’t present like a Northerner. Are you pulling my leg?

        Old turnips indeed…or just turnips?

        • In Vino

          Shanreagh's writing is perfectly comprehensible to a literate person.

          • Blade

            ''The Pacific Minister said it was important for the public to know that although the money was going to Māori and Pacific health provider groups, they did not discriminate. They helped people from all backgrounds and ethnicities. They are serving everybody. Why? Because of those values and beliefs that we're all in this boat together."


            Now that is true. I know that for a fact. But how many European visit Maori health providers? How many want to?

            Like you say, In Vino, Shanreagh's writing is perfectly comprehensible to a literate person.

        • Shanreagh

          I was responding to this

          But how many European visit Maori health providers? How many want to?

          Just to let you know that many do. I gave two anecdotal examples – Southland and Wellington.

          My Mum's family settled on a farm there in 1898. My Dad came in the 1930s. Sister and I born and brought up there surrounded by lots of relations in a really mixed up family ethnicity-wise.

          Proud Wairoan. I feel the spirit 'calls' to go back every time I visit there.

          I would have no hesitation in going to a marae for health treatment – why would I?

          • Blade

            Yep, I understand where you are coming from.

            Let me expand on my comments.

            You rightly point to Maori health providers offering help across all sectors of society in smaller communities…and in some larger cities.

            My point is as a percentage, very few Europeans will be seen by Maori health providers.

            I'm sure many European would feel apprehensive turning up at a marae with rough Maori hanging around, or fearing they may do something wrong, cultural wise. ( many Maori are scared of doing something wrong on the marae)

            So, when it renders down. Maori get funding basically for themselves, and as I understand it, with no accountability.

    • weka 1.5

      But the good news for liberals is this quote confirms your suspicions – I'm just a racist redneck.

      Well you did just say that you think people with cancer should get more money rather than brown people, and implied that Pākehā wouldn't want to use Māori health providers, so 🤷‍♀️

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Good to see our govt putting money where it's green mouth is:

    Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced the new Regional Strategic Partnership Fund (RSPF) will invest an equity stake of $2 million in the company, Geo40.

    Traditional lithium mining left a heavy carbon footprint, Nash said. But the Geo40 programme involves recovering the mineral from mineral-rich brine leftover from geothermal energy production, and returning the water to the geothermal field. By 2030 more than half of new car sales in the Northern Hemisphere were expected to be electric vehicles, he said.

    "This is a game-changing programme of work. If we can successfully build up Geo40's green technology to commercial scale, New Zealand could become an international leader in technology for the sustainable supply of lithium, and help to build lasting action on climate change.

    "It could also help meet New Zealand's 2050 carbon neutral target and create jobs to support the economic recovery. Expanding geothermal energy and advanced manufacturing opportunities in Taupō will be significant to diversify its local economy."

    The government has previously invested in Geo40, with a $15m and equity funding from the Provincial Growth Fund in 2019.

    I hope Rod Oram will do an update on the economic prospects for the operation in the current global market.

    • Blazer 2.1

      Alot of this research happening all around the world.Feel good project imo.

      'outsize water consumption — half a million gallons per ton of lithium produced '

      The dark side of green tech | Cognoscenti (

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        There's a deep Green principle involved: true-cost accounting. So if the Greens were in control of the process I'd expect the business case to be made to cabinet accordingly. That means all the environmental downsides get costed in.

        In the Americas, lithium production is centered high in the Andes, near where the borders of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile meet. On the salt flats of the Atacama Desert in Chile, vast rectilinear pools of pale green and blue brine pumped up from underground evaporate slowly, leaving purified lithium salts to be harvested for export.

        The indigenous Likanantay people who live in the area are split. Although the lithium operations provide much-needed jobs, many Likanantay foresee inevitable ecological damages that threaten the local flora and fauna as well as traditional livelihoods. Scientists have evidence that aquifers drained of lithium-rich brine are drawing in groundwater from other freshwater reservoirs that the people rely on for domestic purposes. Similar tensions have arisen in neighboring regions of Argentina and Bolivia.

        Can we trust Labour not to make the same mistake? I'm agnostic. I'd trust James to keep his eye on that ball but the rest of the Green caucus is too busy doing wokeism. Trust the public service? No, I don't. Happy, however, to concede the possibility that they are making a genuine attempt to adopt Green thinking & incorporate Green decision-making into their normalcy…

    • Bruce 2.2

      I think it would be easier, cheaper and a lot better to the environment if this government could overcome their fear of green solutions.

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        Impressive, Bruce, but it would have to hold up under the scrutiny of replication to deserve govt assessment. A lobbyist for the nascent industry would therefore need to get an independent scientific body to test the claim.

      • mikesh 2.2.2

        As I understand it, batteries are merely storage devices, so no additional power is being created.

    • Ad 2.3

      All power to them for trying to make money but…

      Why do we need to produce lithium here?

      We are never going to have a large scale battery manufacturer in New Zealand.

      • Dennis Frank 2.3.1

        Why do we need to produce lithium here?

        We don't, which was why I was hoping for Rod Oram to appraise the viability. If our product can be branded as Green on an authentic basis it would give it a qualitative edge in the global market – provided cost is not a disincentive!

  3. Dennis Frank 4

    There's a good account of how the antivax movement is rooted in the broader natural health community here:

    Perception that doctors were operating as drug-pushers, peddling for pharmaceutical industry, spread amongst kiwi non-conformists back in the 1970s. During the 1980s it then swept through mainstreamers too. Rightists reacted like this: if it takes drugs to keep worker rats running on the treadmills of capitalism, so be it. Leftists reacted like this: I must obey as usual, therefore I will happily pop my pills & run on my worker treadmill. Those who were neither rightists nor leftists got into natural health instead.

    Now the children & grandchildren of that third group – who have never known any approach to life other than self-reliance – have to defend themselves against the state.

    The Stuff reporter does well in exploring how motherhood is driving this defence strategy, and how communal solidarity is thereby generated. Normals who blindly conform as usual will be horrified…

  4. Herodotus 5

    Contract tracing: a few days ago I was confirmed with covid. Called by my Dr, MoH have passed that to locals. She then processed thru a list; health condition, mental well being, does my household need any assistance etc good stuff. I asked what about my covid app at sites of interest, she didn't know and nothing from the MoH. Has the usefulness of contract tracing died none of my mates have been sent any txt or other messages, how does anyone know they have been at a site I was and is a close contact other than my me calling them? Otherwise what is the value of scanning anymore ??

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      I hope it isn't to bad and you pull through and emerge fine on the other side.

    • Belladonna 5.2

      My experience of being a 'close' contact was that the notification came through 7 days after the original contact tested positive. Which was entirely useless.
      Our isolation period was done and dusted – 2 days before we received the notification.
      In this instance, the original case, reached out to us – and we went into self-isolation for 5 days (which made 10 days since the last contact with the affected person). No Covid symptoms.

      The contact tracing system is entirely overloaded, and the automated notification has never worked effectively.
      Scanning is, at this stage, a bit of street theatre. Most of the venues that you scan into (your local dairy, supermarket or takeaway coffee shop) – have very, very low rates of transmission (i.e. you're pretty unlikely to catch Covid there). Where you are likely to catch it is in homes, or catching up with friends and family – where there are no Covid QR codes to scan; and workplaces (though the majority of those have fairly strict separation requirements, now).

      • Matiri 5.2.1

        You can get a QR code for your home.

        • Incognito

          Indeed, I've got one.

        • Belladonna

          Yes, I know you can. The numbers who actually have them and use them are statistically insignificant.

          And, given the above point about the contact tracing and notification systems being overloaded – and therefore not actually notifying anyone in a timely fashion – the fact that you can add more codes into the system, isn’t particularly useful.

      • Herodotus 5.2.2

        I will pass onto everyone out there – How you forget how annoying a sore and "hot" throat is when going to sleep.

        Yes my household only had to isolate same experience to you Bella for at home for 5 days. I have visited some of the venues that have a higher spread gym.

        Should the forecast of doubling every 3 days and this peaks 3-6 weeks time. That is the 2000,4000,8000,16000,32000,… I cannot see based on these figures that we within NZ are prepared to cope. I hope our PM is TOTALLY wrong and the peak hits earlier and has minimal impact.
        Thanks for the kind words even if some of my comments may not be to everyones appreciation

    • Ad 5.3

      Everyone: be good to Herodotus.

      He is the father of history itself, and will I am sure be able to recount our recent history in exceptionally balanced detail.

      When good and wise people get Covid, Herodotus had a neatly applicable line:

      The most hateful grief of all human griefs is to have knowledge of a truth, but no power over the event.

      You hang in there Herodotus.

    • Patricia Bremner 5.4

      I thought you called all close contacts yourself now, or email or text them . Fluids and rest. All the best.

      • Herodotus 5.4.1

        Some close contacts are unknown to me those who I played sport against and had a post game drink in the club rooms. Same would apply attending a party e.g. Castle St. I am sure most would not know all the attendees. (I have heard that there is a surge in numbers testing positive in Dunedin), but that those positives are being recorded not in Dunedin where the test were conducted but where they are registered with their local doctor, so it could be in Auckland.

        I also have heard that the transferring from MoH/DHB's (?) to local doctors in passing on the test results and follow up's had been thrusted up the Drs without any consultation from MoH. Placing additional strain locally instead of having a fully resourced central system that can benefit from scale. Wasn't that part of consolidating DHB's wonder why that reasoning is not now being followed in this case.🤔

    • Anker 5.5

      Take care Herodotus. All the very best with your recovery!

  5. Sanctuary 6

    Watching Putin's rambling carry on yesterday was pretty sobering stuff. He rejects the right of Ukraine to exist and looks hell bent on re-creating the USSR. Russian troops in Belarus are now staying permanently – expect the annexation of that country. Any Russian attack on the Ukraine is not the done deal people seem to think it will be. The Ukrainians have as many troops as the Russians and they've been lavishly aided by the west. Any war would be a blood bath, especially as the Russians are too clumsy to fight in any way except through full scale indiscriminate application of artillery and airpower.

    But the biggest worry was Putin's rambling and angry historical revisionism. He looked like he has seriously lost the plot.

    • vto 6.1

      Russia and Ukraine

      England and Wales

      Would England like it if Russia had its bombs in Wales?

      • Blazer 6.1.1

        U.S foreign policy has always been about double standards.

        When Gorbechov agreed to the reunification of Germany,the west guaranteed there would be no expansion of influence further east.

        Nato then proceeded with an encirclement strategy of Russia.

        Europe should be left to resolve the Ukraine issue.

        Uncle Sam only has 2 real allies in the world-U.K and Australia.

    • Dennis Frank 6.2

      His mention of Ukraine being part of the Russian empire suggests a view of historical continuity that doesn't concord with current political reality. Same as China re Tibet!

      China's UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said Beijing welcomed and encouraged every effort for a diplomatic solution, adding that all concerns should be treated on the "basis of equality."

      "The current situation in Ukraine is the result of many complex factors. China always makes its own position according to the merits of the matter itself. We believe that all countries should solve international disputes by peaceful means in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter," Zhang said.

      Perhaps he believes everyone ignores history, but history informs us how China defied UN agreements when it invaded Tibet. His gamble that nobody will point this out will only pay off if all other current political leaders prove themselves useless.

    • weston 6.3

      I havnt listened to it yet but when you say he appears to have lost the plot find me a western counterpart who could speak for an hour in any sort of rational way without reading from a speech word for word ?Biden certainly couldnt and neither could Borris without coming across as a total clot .

    • mikesh 6.4

      The Ukraine "belonged" to Russia long before the 1917 revolution and the formation of the Soviet system. As In understand it, Kiev was once, about 1000 years ago, the Russian capital.

      • joe90 6.4.1

        Moscow and a good part of Eastern Europe once belonged to the Mongol empire. Should Mongolia claim Russia back?

    • Adrian 6.5

      Wasn't he reported to be sick with cancer or something a few months ago?

  6. aj 7

    When one ignores the posturing (on both sides) and looks at the issue from both an historical and geopolitical perspective, this is a certainly another big moment in history. Hello multi-polar world.

    The main goal for the US is to replace Russian gas supply via Nordstream (a European project) sell it at an inflated price, yet not having the infrastructure to do so. The consumer pays.

    As for the hypocrisy – Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, conflicts ignited by the West after encouraging, aiding and recognising secessionist movements in those countries. And then the NATO war against Yugoslavia.

    1938 – France and UK ceded to Germany a piece of Czechoslovakia without the consent of Prague.

    The list becomes endless.

  7. observer 8

    Wednesday morning weekly ritual. Settle in with a nice cup of fresh coffee, turn on TV/radio, check the stopwatch … wait for it … there it is!

    Christopher Luxon with John Campbell on TVNZ Breakfast: "I used to run an airline."

    Thanks for letting us know, Chris!

    • Muttonbird 8.1

      "I used to run an airline."

      Really? I did not know that…

    • Ad 8.2

      Unless he can show he can run a shop half as coherent as the Ardern government, he's not going to be able to defeat Ardern in 2023.

      I don't particularly like Ardern but truly Ardern just minces him in Parliament.

    • Blazer 8.3

      He steers clear of the 'turn around' tale these days.

      You would think he ran Air NZ (which of course has long depended on tax payer support to survive)…single handed.

    • Matiri 8.4

      Meanwhile his successor Greg Foran gets very positive reviews. How would Luxon have coped with the collapse of air travel?

    • AB 8.5

      Some journalist should pose a hypothetical for Luxon:

      "Say you were running an airline (we hear you once did), and a volcanic eruption occurs in the US Pacific Northwest in a week's time, can you give us a timeline for a return to normal flight schedules to all US and Candian airports? We must have this certainty now, because you know, 'business'."

      If the answer is that it depends on things like eruption size, the type of material ejected, how high into the atmosphere it moves, wind direction and other weather patterns – then the silly, shallow man should be laughed out of the studio. And you can be certain that if he was in that situation with an airline – he would be preaching to his staff about agility and being flexible, responding to changing circumstances, not boxing yourself into corners, managing risk, etc, etc.

      The guy is no.4 in the parade of reckless clowns we have seen leading the Nats since 2020. Probably spent far too much time being deferred to in corporate meeting rooms.

      • observer 8.5.1

        "Probably spent far too much time being deferred to in corporate meeting rooms."

        It's certainly true that he has no experience of political scraps, which is vital for any successful leader ("learn more from defeats than victories", etc).

        Nominated for candidacy in Botany, not a fight. Wins Botany at the election, not a fight. New MP, becomes spokesperson for something or other, invisible for a year, not a fight. Gifted the leadership because the caucus didn't want Bridges, not a fight.

    • Graeme 8.6

      It’s only a matter of time before someone adds the phrase “damn near into the ground” to that protestation.

      There’s a view in tourism that Air New Zealand went backwards from the huge turnaround Fyfe achieved. Under Fyfe ANZ was the airline of choice for inbound North Americans, and they said so. Once Luxon took over United was better.

  8. Ad 9

    On December 16 last year the UN tabled a resolution that called for 'combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism.

    Explanation of Vote at the Third Committee Adoption of the Combating Glorification of Nazism – United States Mission to the United Nations (

    The only nations to vote against it were the United States and the Ukraine.

    You can see the US Delegation explanatory in the link. So the vote went 130-2.

    It's time to re-state what Russia wants, shorn of Putin's speeches or Biden's drool:

    They are:

    • NATO guarantees that it will not deploy missiles in nations bordering Russia. (They are already in place from Slovenia to Romania, with Poland to follow);
    • NATO to stop military and naval exercises in nations and seas bordering Russia;
    • Ukraine will not become a member of NATO;
    • the West and Russia to sign a binding East-West security pact; and
    • the landmark treaty between the U.S. and Russia covering intermediate-range nuclear weapons to be restored. (The U.S. abandoned it in 2019.)

    These amount to a comprehensive draft of a peace plan for all of post-war Europe and ought to be welcomed in the West.

    Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Minsk in 2014 and signed an interim peace deal, which expired yesterday. Ukraine agreed to offer autonomy to Donbas, now the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

    With the US now pouring arms and political interference into Ukraine, the Minsk agreement has never been given a chance.

    Since the end of the old Cold War, NATO has sought and gained more and more members right up to Russia’s most sensitive border.

    Over 30 years NATO has generated bloody aggression in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and each time broken solemn promises to pull back.

    The US was given a very clear signal in Georgia that Russia eventually has limits to weapons being pointed its way by the US.

    I'm beginning to think a US_dominated NATO is the problem here, moreso than Russia.

    • Byd0nz 9.1

      Amazing summary Ad. I take back all my negative thoughts regarding some of your posts

      • Ad 9.1.1

        I aim to be an annoying and thoughtful social democrat.

        There are plenty of policy areas I stay well clear of since I have nothing useful to say on them.

        If it gets really interesting I'll do a proper post on the Ukraine situation, not just s set of points.

        • aj

          I'm beginning to think a US-dominated NATO is the problem here

          Indeed. NATO is an extension of the US military. We may wish that not to be so, it's sometimes hard for westerners to be objective in these matters. The MSM is in lockstep with the US (so called) "Intel" community. Look at the media coverage in the last few weeks. Almost a total and hysterical regurgitation of US Govt talking points. Practically no attempt at putting Russian point of view forward.

        • Shanreagh

          Thank you AD. Please do think about a post. I am keen to get a good handle on what is going on. I come from a background of intense scepticism about US peace broking and expansion a la Vietnam.

          I had not heard about the gas situation so that as well as diplomacy there is naked trade as well….I know 'trade follows the flag' but why would the US want to 'interrupt' an existing trade arrangement for the gas? Is it so it can swing that part of Europe around to US facing?

  9. francesca 10

    Well that's a surprise from you.I agree totally.

    That anti Nazi resolution has been presented every year at the UN , without fail NZ along with the other 5 eyes countries and the EU has gutlessly abstained .Probably because the resolution is co sponsored by Russia.I asked Winston Peters why we had abstained one year.He replied through his office that "we" had problems with freedom of speech issues

  10. gsays 11

    Winston having a few things to say.

    He opines that the case numbers are poppycock and that the actual case numbers are many factors above what has been reported, if overseas is anything to go by. With 100 in hospital and 1 in critical care.

    Dialogue is the way forward.

    It is refreshing to hear a precise speaker. Contrasted with one woman who claimed the harbour was full of waste, and another, a lawyer for the mosque victims, who maintained Muslim gun license applicants were literally tipped upside down and shaken during their vetting.

    • Robert Guyton 11.1

      Was the "harbour" woman" also the "clotted lamb" woman?

      • gsays 11.1.1

        Sorry Robert. Not sure what you mean.

        • Robert Guyton

          It was a joke – there are some truly daft "thinkers" amongst the crowd at the Occupation. I would find it "refreshing to hear a precise speaker" from inside of the protest. I've followed hours of video, some sent by friends who are camped there, and haven't yet been satisfied by what's been said. On the contrary, I've been, at times, appalled.

          • gsays

            Ahh I see.

            Another example of imprecise talk would be Ms Wiles on the radio just before lunchtime.

            She tried to compare having to boost Pfizer's coffers at 3 monthly intervals, with the 10 year tetanus shot.


            I can see why faith in legacy media is eroding at the rate it is.

            • francesca

              Actually I became very sick of Wiles and her bouncy playschool cheeriness while explaining patiently to us why masks weren't necessary as the virus wasn't the earlier days of the pandemic Then of course a total turnaround,but no acknowledgement of the previous unwarranted certainty

              And I disliked her fudging of statistics over the risks of myocarditis from the vaccine (16 year old boys being at highest risk)

              She blithely said there was more risk from myocarditis from the virus

              But not in that age group Siouxsie

              • Robert Guyton

                So, she learned, as more information became available?

                What is she, some sort of scientist!!!


                • gsays

                  How do you glibly explain away her contrast of Pfizer's experimental drug and Tetanus boosters?

                  She does no-one any favours, in fact as a former Scientific Communicator of the Year, it was deliberate misinforming.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Can you explain your point around tetanus and Covid vaccines, gsays?

                    • gsays

                      Wiles thought she would helpfully provide context for us about boosters and other (proper) vaccinations.

                      She then reckoned we need 7 Tetanus shots. So Pfizer OK

                    • Macro

                      Wiles thought she would helpfully provide context for us about boosters and other (proper) vaccinations.

                      She then reckoned we need 7 Tetanus shots. So Pfizer OK

                      I guess ignorance is your excuse – but suppose you were fortunate enough to live to the ripe old age of 70 years, then you should probably have 7 tetanus shots to ensure your protection against tetanus. (ie one shot every 10 years)

                      “Even though it happens rarely, people can still get tetanus and experience serious or deadly effects. There is no cure for tetanus, and no definitive proof that you will have lifelong immunity with childhood vaccinations alone. So for now, the CDC continues to recommend booster vaccines every 10 years to help your immune system protect against these infections. ”

                      So I don't see what your truck is with Dr Wiles recommendation of continued booster shots for Covid – particularly when the virus evolves at such a rate.

                    • gsays []

                      My truck with Wiles use of false equivalence.

                      Comparing a tetanus vaccine and decades apart boosters, with Pfizer's drug and the ever changing narrative of needing more and more of it and it's rapidly diminishing efficacy.

              • gsays

                I agree about, what I hear as, a patronizing tone.

                Harder to hear if you are shaking pom-poms though

            • Robert Guyton

              Yeah! What does she know???


              • Shanreagh

                Well as one who had a tetanus injection way back then have had a couple of possible tetanus inducing episodes since, picking up a broken bottle at the beach, sliced top of thumb almost off, and stepping back onto a rusty nail while sorting firewood they don't wait round to check how long since they just give you one. As you get older your immune system can become less effective.

                I find this 'I don't like her so I disregard her message' to be quite tedious to be honest. If the person has sensible stuff to say then listen, turn the picture off if you don't like her hair. It is of the same ilk as people not getting the vaccine because 'somebody told them to' ie cutting thioer nose off to spite thier face.

                As there is now an alternative to the mRNA vaccine

  11. francesca 12

    There were credible leaders at the Ihuamatao protests.There was also a coherent unity

    Which person/s should Jacinda have dialogue with in your view.?(Because I do agree, dialogue between rational parties is necessary)

    But" the protesters" is too vague.

    I sure as hell don't want to see Jacinda standing on Parliament's steps having acid and human shit thrown at her.

  12. Dennis Frank 13

    Lady Deborah Chambers QC told AM this morning:

    It seems to me, now that the facts have changed and we are dealing with a much milder form of the virus, the Government is breaching its obligations under the Bill of Rights in terms of protecting our fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the ability to go in and out of New Zealand."

    Chambers' comments come after she wrote an opinion piece in the NZ Herald questioning the powers on Wednesday. In the article, she said the closed borders and mandatory managed isolation requirements "cannot be demonstrably justified as reasonable".

    Chambers said New Zealand's legislation sets out a series of rights that are subject "only to such reasonable limits as can reasonably be demonstrated and justified in a free and democratic society".

    However the govt's legal advice may differ. Probably does! The QC could perhaps entertain everyone by launching a prosecution? Competing legal opinions are often good for a laugh. How many different interpretations of reasonable are there?

    • Muttonbird 13.1

      Omicron arrived in Australia early December, and NSW + VIC immediately let it rip. Soon after, Queensland was forced to open its border due to political pressure. Since then these are the Covid deaths in Queensland:

      To 04 January 2022 – 7 lives lost

      To 23 February 2022 – 468 lives lost

      That's 461 lives lost to Omicron in six weeks (or a mixture of Delta and Omicron).

      Perhaps, Deborah, in your privileged and shuttered world it looks mild, but it doesn't me.

      • higherstandard 13.1.1

        NSW and Vic didn't 'let it rip' there were still directives in place regarding isolation, testing, mask wearing etc. Whether these were followed by the public is another matter.

        Around a hundred people on average die per day in NZ from various causes – assuming we had a similar experience to Queensland we may have an increase of up to around 10% during the worst of the outbreak.

        • Muttonbird

          Ok, happy with those Queensland figures, are you? Makes sense.

        • Koff

          My (limited) experience here in Queensland is that there has been a very high degree of compliance with mask mandates since the Omicron outbreak started. Also, a lot of older people have deliberately kept out of crowded places. Only 7 people died in the first 18 months of the pandemic but I think Omicron caught all the states that had agreed to open up mid December on the hop. There have been a lot more people in Australia who have had serious illness and have died than expected, partly because the actual numbers have been huge and also because aged care residents in federally funded age care homes have been badly neglected. The booster programme hardly started when Omicron had already arrived. Watching the NZ figures, it's been a month already since Omicron arrived, but still only 1 person in ICU, despite the rise in case numbers. (crosses fingers!)

          Just on the "mild" Omicron variant that Winnie and others seem to think exists, here's Rod Jackson's two bob's worth

          The point is about the mildness of Omicron is that its effects are muted by vaccination. Take away the jabs and it's probably as virulent and dangerous as the original variant.

        • gsays

          Any indication of case numbers for that fatality rate?

      • dv 13.1.2

        AND pop about size of NZ too.

    • Ad 13.2

      It would be interesting to see Chambers QC defend some of the Wellington protesters.

      But I suspect they don't pay as much as the divorced wives of multi-millionaires seeking their pound of flesh. Which is what she does for a living.

  13. Molly 14

    Both the Herald article and the judge repeat the excuse of the perpetrator of assault:

    "…On January 22 his partner prepared him sausages with the wrong condiment and Sheard became enraged and punched her to the right side of her face."

    "Judge Brandts-Giesen said despite it being a difficult time, if someone prepared a meal for you it was tactless to complain.

    "It's completely unacceptable to lash out because she had the wrong condiment on your sausage," he said."

    The judge, did however put it context, and sentenced accordingly, I mean he didn’t have a history of dietary complaints – or being caught.

    Violence did not feature at all in Sheard's history, he said.

    Judge Brandts-Giesen sentenced Sheard to 12 months' supervision and ordered him to pay the woman emotional harm reparation of $400.

    "This really was not an impressive effort at all and you should be thoroughly ashamed of it.

    "Nobody deserves to be struck at all and the reason for it was frankly unbelievable."

    I can't recall in all my City & Guilds training what the right condiment was for sausages. Does anyone know this safety information?

    How difficult is it for a reporter to write?

    "On January 22, Sheard became enraged and punched his partner to the right side of her face, excusing his assault by saying that she had prepared him sausages with the wrong condiment."

    • The Al1en 14.1

      I’m not getting your point. I read 'wrong condiment' to mean not the one the person wanted, eg red sauce instead of brown, or English mustard instead of the shitty kid stuff.

      If that was the claim/defence of the defendant, there’s nothing against the victim, women in general or sausages because the press and judge quoted the abuser’s words.

    • Shanreagh 14.2

      "On January 22, Sheard became enraged and punched his partner to the right side of her face, excusing his assault by saying that she had prepared him sausages with the wrong condiment."

      I see your point Molly and agree it reads better the way you have written it. The way it is written originally normalises that it is acceptable

      a) to hit someone

      b) it is normal to hit a woman

      c) the source of the reason for the/any assault is normal

      d) then for the purists that there is an accepted condiment for sausages

      e) sounds like the baby is used to/expects someone to serve up his meal on a plate complete with condiment…….

      'Jeez Wayne'

    • Ad 15.1

      What makes me particularly angry reading that is that this government have been in power since 2017 and with plenty of time to train up local people to be nurses, doctors, and anaesthetists.

      We were promised by this government that staffing levels would improve.

      The fact that borders were closed is no excuse: the government has had time to train its own people right here.

      You would have thought that with a serious crisis hitting New Zealand about once every two years for a decade we would have been match fit.

      • bad politics baby 15.1.1

        I wish people were protesting about this instead of the useful idiot debacle on Parliament grounds!

      • Adrian 15.1.2

        You really need to pay more attention, Nursing intake is up at the Polytech my wife teaches at by about 25%. not sure about the rest but probably similar. I takes 3 to 4 years to train a nurse, much, much longer for a doctor. I understand that the Maori intake for Doctor training is up substantially at Otago. You can't just hire a kid out of school and call them a health professional. Your timeline is well out, Labour got in at the end of 2017, any influence would have been marginal for the January intake in 2018, at best growth in enrolment would have been noticeable in Jan 2021, which was a hugely disruptive year for for teaching any technical and hands on skills, it was mostly all done on Zoom. 2023 is the earliest likely uptick in numbers of nurses, 2025/6 for doctors. Both these cohorts are being very heavily targeted by Australian agents offering airfares big wages and moving costs etc. You could try stopping them from leaving but good luck with that, breaking God only knows how many laws to do so.

      • mac1 15.1.3

        It can take up to six years to be a qualified doctor.

        Another five years to be an anaesthetist.(1 year learning to spell the word!)

        5 years to train as an ICU nurse.

        Becoming a nurse practitioner can take anywhere from six to eight years of education and training.

        late 2017- early 2022 is 4.5 years.

        Expect to see the first nurses starting from scratch under a Labour term in 2023, doctors in 2024 and anaesthetists in 2028.

        So, Ad, who should you be getting angry with?

        The government from, say, 2008-2017?

        Then there are all the tradies we need now, the horticulturalists, teachers etc. All have three plus years training, minimum.

        We relied too much on immigration to fill these roles, just as we relied on immigrant labour for the jobs needing far less training.

        Work forces on the cheap, training-wise. That was not a sound decade or two of planning.

        • Ad

          A nursing course degree is three years.

          Teachers are three or four tops.

          Agree we've relied on immigrant labour for too long: our rest homes are mostly staffed with foreign RN's on $25 an hour or worse.

          But it is the Labour government that has had the time to do it. They promised they would in 2017 on the election trail.

          The anger is about to get intense with 10,000 health workers going on strike shortly.

          10,000 health workers vote to strike | New Zealand Doctor (

          • mac1

            So you agree then that your anger expressed at this government for not providing doctors or anaesthetists is misplaced?

            A primary teacher is a minimum 3 year course. For secondary, a minimum three years for a bachelor's degree plus a year TTC.

            That, of course, is assuming that in the first two months of assuming office the new government, hobbled by NZF in coalition, could identify the numbers in shortfall in teaching, health, the trades, agriculture; then, proceed to ensure that the training facilities could handle greater numbers; then go out and persuade thousands of young people that they could find careers in these areas; all this pre-covid.

            We operate on a too short planning period. We look for easy solutions. We have relied too much on business seeing that recruitment within NZ is desirable and needs financing and fore-planning. Instead they went overseas for labour and expertise.

            We have relied on under-performing middle management for too long. We have for too long relied on cheap solutions- from pay to planning to training to housing. My area struggles to house the workers and managers it needs for grapes, forestry, dairy, building, fruit and fishing, because they left it to others.

            The nurses know that they can earn more overseas. They know they are paid less than their work deserves.

            Yet employers grizzle at paying a living wage. Not a high salary- a living wage. Enough to live on. To raise a family on.

            The anger-raising conditions are decades in the making. We allowed for tax breaks, fast money concerns, exploitive industries, overseas ownership syphoning profits overseas, luxury accommodation for foreigners seeking tax breaks and safe havens.

            We now face a pandemic.

            And the well-off cry hard done by………

    • Sabine 15.2

      And yet nothing was done to increase capacity in our hospitals, hire new nurses, train new nurses or nurse aids, import nurses and doctors from overseas who would have wanted to come here, not help kiwi nurses and doctors who are overseas providing these much needed services there to come back to NZ and so on and so forth.

      That was/is the thing we all knew – we might not all wanted to admit it, but we knew if we are honest with us – that our underfunded, understaffed, overworked and underpaid staff will not be able to cope more then a few days before it all falls apart.

      And yet dear Andrew Little is busy to dismantling the system that so far has gotten us through this mess as good as they could given the resources they got vs the resources they want.

      You want to think this is grim? Wait until it is winter, and people are spending most of their time at home – overcrowed ,under heated and throw in some hunger , and accept that what happened last year during he kiddies flue outbreak will repeat again this year, plus Omicron 2.0. Yei! Good times!

      Here, have a spoon full of hope as that is the best they can do.

      And i would like to point out that this current government was first elected in 2017 as a coalition government and got re-elected as a majority government in 2020.

      So while Andrew Little might complain that all the issues that they have from the days of National, sorry mate, you had a full term to at least address the understaffing, underpaying of our health sector, and then you had another two years during this current pandemic to increase staff, pay and such. You and your government choose not to do so. That is on Labour.

      But then this is the man who stated that he did not go to a GP conference 'to get licked up and down'.

      Health Minister Andrew Little faced tough questions from GPs today, which he later welcomed, telling reporters that he's "not here to be licked up and down".

      I am really happy tho that he did not think he was entitled to that type of activity.

      So yes, our health system not coping was to be expected and anyone who did not expect it fooled him'her'them – selves.

      • Adrian 15.2.1

        You are completely wrong Sabine.

        • gsays

          Sabine is far closer to the nub of the issue than you are.

          I have posted here many times with stories of understaffing, poor/junior skill mix, full hospitals and a lack of resources.

          Little argued against and muddied the waters during the recent pay rounds.

          She is also correct with the warning about winter. The waves of COVID have come in our summer. Couple that with the chronically poor housing stock and overcrowding.

          Point out where either of these things is incorrect or retract your statement:

          "You are completely wrong Sabine."

          • Adrian

            Yes gsays, and if you do the timeline and read what Mac1 wrote it all goes back t0 inaction under National. it doen't happen by bloody magic, Labour in at the END of 2017, so 2018 to do the recruiting of potential kids to be doctors and nurses, 19, 20 and now 21 to train them and doctors in 22 and 24.

            Remember nurses got a big pay rise at the start of 2020.

          • Adrian

            Nurses got a big pay rise at the start of 2020, and equity top ups since.

            Nurses often say they only strike under Labour governments because those are the only ones that listen to them.

            I have answered the training timeline below and so has Mac1.

            There is a lot of competition for the kind of people who are intelligent enough to be able to complete a nursing or doctoral degree, well above the average in fact.

            It is not that an attractive job, unsociable hours, 7 day a week shifts and spread over 24 hours. You cant just shut the doors at 5pm and bugger off. Sick people need 24 hour care.

            You are often dealing with ungrateful people at their worst.

            If you are so concerned why are you not a nurse or doctor.?

            Sabine is not closer, I have been intimately involved for in this work for 35 years.

  14. We should all be concerned about how our testing system has already become overloaded and we are only at the start of this pandemic.

    On the newstalkZB news last night at 5.00 pm (should be able to find it on demand), it was pointed out that the system was under considerable pressure at around half of what the government had stated it could handle.

    I did hear Little, I think, interviewed on this a few weeks ago on ZB. I think he said he had been assured the system could cope with 70000 tests a day which is far below what the system is struggling with now. I assume that is what the news report last night was referring back to.

    Five days for a PCR test result is next to useless. People may well have recovered before they even know they were sick.

    If we were able to purchase our own RAT tests,
    as is the case in Australia

    that would have taken the pressure off the testing system.

    But I think we are a long way from being in that position.

    • Even better, here is a link for the mismatch between testing capacity as advised by the government, and the reality of the situation:

      "Questions have also been raised about why labs are already under such strain well below New Zealand's stated maximum testing capacity, with the Opposition accusing the Government of using misleading figures to overstate the state of play.

      In late January, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall announced the Government had increased the nationwide capacity for Covid PCR tests “from a maximum of 39,000 tests a day to a baseline of 58,000 tests”.''

      I think, in the interview I heard from Little, that 70000 tests was for surge demand, but could not be sustained long term.

      But still, the system is struggling at well below what the government said they had increased capacity to.

      • Poission 17.1.1

        The testing is well within the PCR capacity,wether the labs are overloaded with other needs is an open problem.

        As both the lab workers and testing labs are after increased $$$$ an open mind is often useful.

        • tsmithfield

          tbh I don't blame them for wanting more money. Are you implying that they could be deliberately creating a crisis to further their pay demands?

          • Poission

            They are using a little poetic license to enhance their bargaining positions ( both workers and labs)

            • Sabine

              they have been bargaining now for 15 month and have rightly called and end to bargaining.

              Union organiser Will Matthews said the planned strikes come after 15 months of "fruitless negotiations", and showed the depth of their frustration.

              "We are now in a position where strike action is our only remaining option to get the DHBs and the government to listen, and to come to the table with an offer that ensures fair pay and treatment for our members.

              "There are over 70 groups of workers who will take strike action: from laboratory workers – who are responsible for the swift testing and return of Covid-19 tests and Covid-19 contact tracers to sterile supplies technicians who clean and sterilise all surgical equipment prior to procedures – New Zealand needs each and every one of these professionals. And yet many of them don't even earn a living wage."

              But then, who needs these people and don't they know that sacrifices need to be made and besides, living wages that is for better people.

    • Koff 17.2

      When the PCR testing systems became (quickly) overloaded in Australia, huge queues and very frustrated people were the result. It was almost impossible to get RATs – they weren't available. Now the case numbers have passed their peak(s) and half way down the slope, there isn't so much a problem with testing, so it's back to PCRs and the RATs that have now arrived in better numbers have been used for school kids and workers.

    • Blade 17.3

      In that regard the government has been a complete failure. I wonder if folk will remember this fiasco when at the voting booth? I have my doubts.

      That private enterprise offered help to the government and was turned down is the most reprehensible aspect of this unfolding situation.

    • Adrian 17.4

      Like in Australia, Yeah Right, at up to $240 each for a $6.50 kit.

  15. I'm a little bit amazed that your news source is NewstalkZB to be honest even though you may have a point.

    But then I concede I am a bit of a news snob these days.

  16. If there is this sort of delay with test results, then the daily reported numbers must be essentially meaningless.

  17. Stephen D 20

    One of our problems with our Covid response is our success. With only 55 dead, Joe and Jane Public doesn’t know anyone who’s died, and probably doesn’t know anyone who’s been unwell. Therefore they don’t need to take any warnings or actions too seriously.

    Perhaps if we’d had hundreds/thousands die, people would be a little more circumspect.

    • observer 20.1

      Yes, it's absolutely the difference between painful lived reality and the carefree one we can invent.

      Same applies to the modelling. Each new outbreak or variant has been met with measures that prevented the potential disaster, and so fools (some with media columns) told us that proves the modelling was wrong and those measures weren't necesssary after all. Stupidity squared.

      Even a few weeks ago people were saying "Where are all these Omicron cases you scared us with? Thousands daily, was it?".

      And now it is thousands daily, and nobody says "we demanded living with Covid, and now we've got it, so thank you for giving us what we wanted."

      John Key? Disappeared.

  18. Adrian 21

    According to news reports I've seen up to 90% of the people in the queues are asymptomatic. Its just middle class panic, and if you doubt that take a look at how new and flash the cars are.

    • Shanreagh 21.1

      It is a bit that way with some of the types of cars/campervans/utes/SUVs at the protest or going to the protest. I don't get the feel of oppressed or hard done by workers.

      • tsmithfield 21.1.1

        That is where a good supply of RAT tests is missing. If people could order their own tests, as is the case overseas, then the "worried well" could just test themselves rather than waiting 8 hours in line or whatever it is now.

        • Adrian

          The one problem with that is that the available ones are shit, made by opportunistic arseholes for a quick buck, the usual story. The shortages are for the ones that are the most reliable hence the big demand.

        • Shanreagh

          Gee that's a thought….I'd like to have my own MRT scanner to see if my brain functions when i am worried.

          The supply of RAts is under control and prioritised as the following shows from Newshub

          "The Ministry of Health has announced that Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will be used as the primary test at Auckland community testing centres (CTCs) from today to help meet demand for testing as the Omicron outbreak grows.

          The move, which is part of the ministry's planned testing strategy, follows RATs being rolled out to CTCs in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Southern yesterday to be used in conjunction with PCR tests in those centres.

          RATS will be rolled out to CTCs at other centres across the country this week. The site will determine which test (PCR or RAT) is best for you.

          In Auckland, if people feel uncomfortable doing a RAT or a staff member identifies it as being appropriate, they may still get a PCR test.

          It was anticipated that as the outbreak grows, more people would have COVID-19 and there would be more close contacts who need to be tested.

          The increased use of RATs in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of our response will relieve pressure on the PCR testing and reserve it for those who are unwell and more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19.

          The new testing regime in Auckland will mean symptomatic people and/or asymptomatic close contacts whose RAT is positive will be considered a case and do not need to be verified through a PCR test. This will further relieve pressure on the system. This change will also be rolled out to other centres.

          After testing, people will need to record their result in My Covid Record, as well as advise their employer. If you cannot access My Covid Record, then they should call 0800 222 478.

          Although there are still significant global supply constraints, we have secured the delivery of enough RATs to help New Zealand through a widespread Omicron outbreak in the coming months. There are currently 6.9 million RATs in the system with around 14.7 million expected by the end of the month.

          The growing outbreak across the country has resulted in laboratories no longer being able to pool their PCR testing capacity, which had previously helped reduce pressure in areas with high case numbers. There is a current baseline capacity of around 31,000 PCR tests per day."

    • joe90 21.2

      The worried well.

      • Shanreagh 21.2.1

        They do exist. They have the reputation of clogging up health agencies. Of course the big risk is that they may be worried and not well.

        In the meantime I am over hearing in shocked and grumpy voices

        the borders must open – well little Johnny/Jane Govt has announced a plan for this

        everyone should have RATs well little Johnny/Jane Govt has announced a plan for this

        drop the mandates well little Johnny/Jane Govt has announced they will be reviewed once the need for health precautions has past.

        NB little Johnny/Jane when the country is going into the upsurge stage of Omicron is not the time to remove any health precautions……Doh

      • Molly 21.2.2

        They may need a negative test result to go to work after being contacted as a close contact.

        • joe90

          Like everybody else, close contacts are only tested if they're displaying symptoms. If they're symptom free, they don't need to be tested before returning to work. As part of the Contact Exemption Scheme, critical workers obtain an order for a RAT from the MOH and if positive, get a follow-up PCR test.

          • Molly

            There have been delays in getting RAT tests, and Ministry information changesfrom call to call. Businesses also have their own systems on top of Ministry advice, depending on staff levels.

    • Incognito 21.3

      It is too easy for some boys to get distracted by shiny cars with leather interiors, walnut panels, and mag wheels, I presume.

      Unfortunately, you didn’t link to the news reports that you’d seen, but with the rapidly increasing test positivity rate (11.79% on 21 Feb) it seems that being asymptomatic is a red herring.

  19. Blade 22

    The legacy of Jacinda and her mind control.

    I can't understand these people. If they are that worried about Covid, and the possibility of people not wearing masks in public spaces, for Pete's sake stay at home, close the curtains and hide in the wardrobe.

    • Barfly 22.1

      "The legacy of Jacinda and her mind control."

      Did your tinfoil hat protect you from her mind control?

      • Blade 22.1.1

        Yes, mine has a seventh chakra release coil that ejects subjective mind wave forms broadcast at the general population through a persons morphogenetic field, and thus into their subconscious mind.

        Quite simple really…for those in the know.

        But what of the ordinary citizen who knows nothing of these things?

        Well, they become sheeple and vote for either Labour, National, Greens or ACT.

        A very sad state of affairs.

    • Dennis Frank 22.2

      She was just executing official advice – as any PM would do during a pandemic. You aren't going to claim that Luxon wouldn't, right? Nor Seymour, if he was PM. Any PM who tried it on would get a caucus rebellion voting to replace them real fast!!

      But the situation you're pointing to is extremely nuanced:

      While face masks are mandatory on domestic flights at all settings of the Covid-19 Protection Framework, those with exemptions are not required to wear them. There is no legal requirement for people to carry or show an exemption card, which means it is sufficient for passengers to state they have an exemption. Airlines are not allowed to ask why someone is exempt from the mask requirement.

      Only the Labour Party could create such a ludicrous situation. Even the Nats – simple-minded since birth – would know better. Any legislation has to be enforceable. It's just common sense.

      With over 3000 new cases today according to Stuff, any airline traveller has good reason to be paranoid about maskless passengers! Presuming those masks do actually keep the omicron bugs out, of course…

      • Muttonbird 22.2.1

        A large part of New Zealand's response has been based on trust and compliance. If it's a Labour thing to trust people to comply in the middle of a 1 in 100 year pandemic, then I'm proud to say I support them.

      • Blade 22.2.2

        'Good points.yes

      • Jimmy 22.2.3

        Yes I can't get my mind around how stupid it is that if you have a mask exemption, you do not have to show it. There seems to be a lot of people with mask exemptions!

        • Grey Area

          I've felt this has been a weakness in the Covid protection strategy from the beginning. Any exemption from any required required mask-wearing should only have been issued by someone like a GP and should have needed to be produced when requested.

          The process of people basically being able to say they are are exempted but not having to prove it has always been a nonsense and has baffled me.

          I’m sure there are some people who may need to be genuinely exempt, but the rest just seem to be taking the proverbial.

    • The Al1en 22.3

      Aside from the inside of a plane not being a public space but a controlled environment, and mask wearing is a pandemic requirement for domestic air travel, you did get the link in your post correct.

      • Blade 22.3.1

        Well, this is what I would do. Copy the whatever you want to copy from my post. Post it on Google.. and hey presto!!…you will quickly be taken to the source of what I have posted, or not. You can then make your own determination.

        Give that a go, Miss Marple.

        ”Aside from the inside of a plane not being a public space but a controlled environment.”

        Do you think the passenger would have made such a fine distinction? We could argue the semantics in a broader sense.

        [lprent: Nah – lets to it this way. Lets reduce our workload.

        Banned for 2 weeks for wasting moderator time.

        You need to get less arrogant and learn to listen to moderators. This is our site – you don’t make the rules. We do. We prefer that if you want to quote then you need to substantiate the quote.

        That means we don’t have to read people badgering you to find out where you parroted your wisdom from. After all this site is for robust debate – and that means we want to hear your opinions not those of a lazy parrot.

        The way to smooth discussion and reduce the work of moderators is to leave a link, and write your own opinions on what you quote. To be relevant to others, that means you need to source it. That is because quoting something out of context is just another way of lying. I suggest that you learn to link if you want to write comments here, otherwise I too will be arrogant.

        I’ll just keep doing exponential bans until you learn how to link or leave permanently. ]

    • Ad 22.4

      We are now 3,400 cases a day and you think Prime Minister Ardern is in control?


      This government won't be able to get back on message until May Budget.

      March is going to be a month in which the reservoir of civic stability is going to be drawn down to the last few litres.

      • Adrian 22.4.1

        You are an arse Ad, you were told last month that this would be the case.

        [Tone down the insults – Incognito]

        • Incognito

          Mod note for you.

        • weston

          When every half doz commenters take cheap shots at the gov you have my sympathies adrian i can understand your irritation unlike incog who having been back for five mins feels the need to throw his weight around why he thinks ad needs him to hold his hand ive no idea !

          • Incognito


            Irritation is no excuse or justification for insulting others on this forum, especially if you have nothing else of substance to say in your comment. It is the equivalent of throwing excrement in somebody’s face – a soft & flexible rubber sex-toy would be funny, at least.

            Please re-read the recent post on moderation:

            As you can see in #2, Ad is not a moderator; he’s a commenter and an author.

            He rang me and begged me to hold his hand and stop him being insulted by others here. Of course, I obliged, because comrades have each other’s back. \sarc

            I’d also like to draw your attention to #6 and #7 in the same post.

            HTH and happy commenting here, without the insults angel

          • lprent

            I know incognito as a moderator and occassional author.

            You may prefer incognito to involving my interest. I like producing pureed indignation for my amusement.

      • Koff 22.4.2

        Do you expect Ardern to personally wrestle with the virus? Omicron isn't interested in May budgets. The key indicators are hospitalisations, ICU numbers and deaths. Compared to the same stage of the Omicron outbreak in any of the Australian states and territories NZ's figures are exceptionally low. I assume this is because NZ's outbreak occurred later in the booster progtramme and the virus has so far been kept out more effectively from aged care homes.

  20. McFlock 23

    Not often I have sympathy for a nat, but their dude is lucky to be alive, albeit severely fucked up. Fell off a platform, apparently – multiple broken bones.

    Take care when working at height, people.

  21. Just Saying 24

    It's time to bond them to service in NZ for a few years, just as we used to bond school teachers for a couple of years after graduation.

    There have been some medical personnel come through from O/S in the last couple of months. Well, three that I know of and have talked to. The crisis was a perfect and mostly missed opportunity. At that time we were a popular destination but especially hard to get into. The quarantine barriers to essential workers were ameliorated far too late and extra money should have been released and on hand.

    There were experts warning that this virus could not be eradicated from very early on – and at the cost of breaking the censorship and speaking out, of ostracism, reputational loss, and potentially long term career damage. And it was an informal, wider consensus months ago. That censorship may have been understandable for a short period, but it may have cost humanity and the world dearly.

    It was said months ago that a million extra people starved to death in the developing world due to the lockdowns. I'm guessing that number would have doubled by now.

    I offered to spend the hours going back and finding the links but the comment was just ignored. I tried to post a couple of little things that I thought might not scare the horses on TS too much.

    The clusterfuck aspects, (and I'm not pretending it was all clusterfuck) of this novel international consensus should not surprise long time watchers of politics. But what is to come is the scale of human tragedy that mistakes within tight censorship came to cause. And the information trickle is likely to gain momentum pretty quickly.
    damn this was supposed to be a reply to an I think, much further up.

    • Rosemary McDonald 24.1

      But what is to come is the scale of human tragedy that mistakes within tight censorship came to cause.

      And oh, how effective has that censorship been that (at a guess) 2/3 of the population sincerely believe there has been no censorship.

      The tragedy is not only the lives lost (because it was decided that Our Only Hope was Vaccination) but that at least 1/3 of the population (at a guess) have lost all trust in Governments, Science, Medicine and the Fourth Estate. (Capitalized because I still believe these institutions are Important.)

  22. Just Saying 25

    Hi Rosemary,

    I think in many cases there is great effort going into maintaining that 'not knowing'.

    One of the joys of age is recognising a particular patterns. In this case it is where enormous aggression is spent playing the opposing player, while the ball is all but ignored. As if the whole point is turned on its head.

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    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by SueEllen Campbell Until recently, Antarctica’s ice has seemed surprisingly stable. In contrast to the far north, the southern continent’s massive ice sheets, glaciers, ice shelves (ice that floats on the ocean), and seasonal ice appeared to be reliably frozen: Enough snow fell ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s Persistent Rail Issues
    Over the last few weeks in our weekly roundup we’ve commented on the frequent delays and cancellations that have occurred on the rail network this year since the rail network went back into full operation on the 22-Jan – with Kiwirail proclaiming they had ‘successfully delivered summer holiday infrastructure upgrades ...
    1 week ago
  • National calls in its preferred consultants (again)
    The Government has called in the same economics consultancy that worked on its aborted foreign buyers’ tax to now help design a replacement for Three Waters. Castalia Advisors’ Managing Director, Andreas Heuser, is to head a Technical Advisory Group that Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says is to “contribute specialist ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Daughters of Derbyshire: Accepted
    A very nice bit of news on the writing front. My 4300-word historical fiction piece, Daughters of Derbyshire, has earned itself an acceptance. The acceptance? The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast: To clarify (and it’s probably worth clarifying, given my recent output, like Blackberry Picking), this is not a sex ...
    1 week ago
  • That was Then, This is Now #30 – Lobbyists, transparency, and National's confusing messages
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.That was then…"We'd also like to see a transparent, publicly accountable register of who's doing the lobbying and who they're lobbying for." - Nicola Willis, National deputy leader (in Opposition), 4 April 2023This is ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago

  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    22 hours ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    5 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    6 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    7 days ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    3 weeks ago
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Step Closer for European Union Free Trade Agreement
    New Zealand has moved closer to ratifying the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the First Reading of legislation to bring the Agreement into force being held in Parliament today.   “Almost a decade after preparatory talks first began on an FTA with the European Union, I’m pleased to ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Continuing support to community flood resilience
    The Government is contributing more than $15 million to support councils and communities to build flood resilience in three regions, following the 2023 severe weather events. “Last week I announced funding of just under $12 million for Wairarapa and Northland flood resilience projects, these further projects bring the Government’s contribution ...
    3 weeks ago

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