Open mike 27/01/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 27th, 2022 - 144 comments
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144 comments on “Open mike 27/01/2022 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    So, the government has jumped the shark with respect to RATs by 'consolidating' 'confiscating' tests from private businesses. However it is described the effect is the same to the businesses affected.

    In this post I am not going to go into the spooky Orwellian feel of this, the doublespeak and spin used by the government and Bloomfield to justify this move, or how the government has been exposed as hopelessly unprepared.

    Rather, I want to discuss the logistics of what the government intends to do.

    Listening to Bloomfield on ZB last night, and the reporting on TV1, the government intends to distribute the tests based on a criteria they still haven't determined. Apparently it is going to take about two weeks to do this.

    Once the criteria is established, I assume businesses are going to be able to apply to the government for tests. I think businesses are going to try and shoe-horn themselves into the criteria, often by embellishing what they do in order to get some desperately needed tests. So, the government could be inundated with many thousands of applications.

    Someone is going to have to work through the applications and weed out the wheat from the chaff. This is going to take a long time, and won't be a perfect science. So, I think it is highly likely that by the time tests actually reach businesses they won't be needed.

    The other silly thing is that many of those private businesses that were importing directly themselves are probably going to businesses that meet the government criteria once they get that decided. So the effect is going to be that deserving businesses get their tests a lot later than they otherwise would have.

    • Sanctuary 1.1

      The media outrage over this highlights how narrow and uninformed the world view of the great bulk of our MSM journalists is. Thomas Coughlan at the Herald has gone completely off the deep end for example.

      It is hard to blame them. For the last twenty years at least journalism as a career has mainly been seen as a stepping stone into more lucrative marketing and PR gigs, and those who take the vocationally focused journalism qualifications on offer in our neoliberal degree factories are subject to a narrow curriculum. A liberal education is deeply out of fashion and one of the victims of that is history, an endangered topic in deep peril of vanishing completely (along with most other humanities) at our university and functionally extinct at our polytechs.

      So it is most unlikely that MSM journalists are aware that completely laissez-faire markets and narcissistic hyper-individualism as an organising principle is simple one way of running an economy and a society and that the state, in times of emergency, has enormous – and legitimate – powers it can exercise.

      Media hyperbole is as often as not a result of journalists existing in a context free zone informed entirely by business lobbyists and the paradigms of the existing order.

    • weka 1.2

      So, the government has jumped the shark with respect to RATs by 'consolidating' 'confiscating' tests from private businesses. However it is described the effect is the same to the businesses affected.

      In this post I am not going to go into the spooky Orwellian feel of this, the doublespeak and spin used by the government and Bloomfield to justify this move, or how the government has been exposed as hopelessly unprepared.

      This is rather meaningless. Unless there is actual evidence that the government confiscated test, I'll accept that what they in fact did was to say to their international suppliers that they want priority on orders from now on. And the international suppliers agreed.

      Misrepresenting that as 'confiscation' is just bullshit. Confiscation would mean going and taking tests from businesses.

      And seriously, why do some people think that in the kind of market economy we have globally, that a large buyer shouldn't out bid smaller buyers? Or that a business has an entitlement to buy something that they don't have a contract for?

      • tsmithfield 1.2.1

        The point I was making that so far as the businesses that were expecting the orders is concerned, the effect is the same however it is described. But it is what it is.

        The main issue I raised, which you haven't responded to, is the logistical problems the government will likely have in trying to administer the RATs and distribute them best to where needed in a timely fashion.

        The problem I see is that by adding layers of bureaucracy to the process, the supply of tests will basically stall, and no-one will end up getting them in a timely fashion.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          The point I was making that so far as the businesses that were expecting the orders is concerned, the effect is the same however it is described. But it is what it is.

          Yes, and I'm saying that basically lying about the situation as well isn't helpful.

          The main issue I raised, which you haven't responded to, is the logistical problems the government will likely have in trying to administer the RATs and distribute them best to where needed in a timely fashion.

          I didn't respond because it sounded like supposition based on not a lot. Sure, there might be logistical delays, but I can't see an alternate plan being offered other than saying that businesses should be allowed to have priority over the government in purchasing tests.

        • Bearded Git 1.2.1.2

          tsmithfield…it's called "for the common good" mate. A concept little understood by the Right, especially Mr. Seymour.

          Just take a look across the Tasman at the shambles that ensued when the market was allowed to dominate the RAT market.

          (The silver lining here is that this has probably sealed ScoMo's fate at the upcoming federal election.)

        • Tricledrown 1.2.1.3

          Businesses will small orders weren't able to jump the que.

          Manufacturing Delays from being inundated by orders .

          So faux outrage.

          Confiscating none have been confiscated.

          But the brothel on the northshore stockpiled while nurses doctors ,police,emergency services truck drivers,supermarket workers,meat processors.

          All missed out.

      • weka 1.2.2

        Ashley Bloomfield,

        I have no powers to seize the assets or the testing capacity of private companies.

        https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/heather-du-plessis-allan-drive/audio/dr-ashley-bloomfield-maori-input-has-fed-into-omicron-plan/

        RATs are discussed from start of audio.

        Re companies that had orders in as well,

        … we will be engaging directly with those businesses, just to see what their needs might be, and if they need rapid antigen tests at the moment, to support the plan, then of course we will be working with them to supply those.

        My emphasis. ie businesses generally cannot use RATs now off piste. My understanding of that is that there is a global shortage of tests, and that we need to keep them for when we actually need them, and there are public health reasons to be mostly using PCR tests at this phase of omicron response.

        Basically Bloomfield is saying that it's better for the government to distribute test to get them to where they are most needed, as opposed to letting the market determine that. He wants the government to have enough supply to be able to make sure tests go where they are needed.

        Yes, it's a pandemic and the government wants to control supply of testing, but not absolutely. Bloomfield also says that he expects in a few weeks the orders to businesses from suppliers will resume.

        • tsmithfield 1.2.2.1

          The government should never have got to this situation.

          They have known for months that RATs are going to be needed, since businesses started lobbying them last year and the government eventually agreed to a pilot program that was implemented in October last year that allowed a small number of large businesses to start bringing them in, as I pointed out yesterday.

          So, the government has been aware for a long time that RATs are going to be an important tool in a Covid outbreak.

          The fact that there is a global shortage of these tests now is no excuse for government inaction. We could be the best stocked nation in the world for these tests if the government had pulled finger a lot earlier.

          • weka 1.2.2.1.1

            That may very well be true. I wasn't following that issue last year.

            Did the Australians do the same thing? They seem to have a shortage.

            • tsmithfield 1.2.2.1.1.1

              We are looking at this pre-emptively because we expect many of our larger customers are going to require evidence that our staff are likely Covid-free, and also to ensure that staff are covid free when interacting with other staff in our business..

              Since we can't get RATs we are considering the RAKO saliva tests as an option. My understanding is that saliva tests are more accurate. But they are also quite expensive. We have been quoted $75 per test. And it takes 10 hours to get a result back. And it is not clear we will qualify to get RATS from the government.

              Our company supplies and services compressed air equipment. We have a number of hospitals on our books, and a lot of major food producers.

              We would probably consider ourselves critical, especially in the case of hospitals, where compressed air is essential for hospitals to function.

              But will we qualify for RATs from the government? Who knows.

            • tsmithfield 1.2.2.1.1.2

              Goes to my point. Governments generally are useless at this sort of stuff. They should have been well stocked up also.

              • FAB mouse

                The company complaining that they can’t fulfil some orders and saying govt should have stockpiled earlier don’t explain why they didn’t stockpile earlier themselves ??

          • weka 1.2.2.1.2

            would you mind explaining how your business will use RATs once available?

            • tsmithfield 1.2.2.1.2.1

              We are looking at this pre-emptively because we expect many of our larger customers are going to require evidence that our staff are likely Covid-free, and also to ensure that staff are covid free when interacting with other staff in our business..

              Since we can't get RATs we are considering the RAKO saliva tests as an option. My understanding is that saliva tests are more accurate. But they are also quite expensive. We have been quoted $75 per test. And it takes 10 hours to get a result back. And it is not clear we will qualify to get RATS from the government.

              Our company supplies and services compressed air equipment. We have a number of hospitals on our books, and a lot of major food producers.

              We would probably consider ourselves critical, especially in the case of hospitals, where compressed air is essential for hospitals to function.

              But will we qualify for RATs from the government? Who knows.

              • RAT's are not very accurate. The problem is they only get it right 79% of the time-that is they produce 21% false negatives, which means these 21% will wander around the community while infected.

                "home tests correctly identified 78.9 percent of people who did have the virus and correctly identified 97.1 percent of people who didn’t have the virus."

                https://www.healthline.com/health/how-accurate-are-rapid-covid-tests#at-home-tests

                RadioNZ keeps reporting the pro-business line that that false positives are the problem; this is not the case; only 2.9%.

                • Tricledrown

                  Bearded Git your clickbait headline only 2.9% false positives doesn't match up to the figures you provide.

                  RATs don't pick up asymptomatic early infections and this link has no relavency to Delta or even harder to detect Omricon

                  Read your link it doesn't back your claims.

                • Tricledrown

                  Read a little further into your link it shows a list of rapid antigen test manufacturers and each efficacy.

                  The 4 manufacturers tests compared the worst providing 45% accuracy the best55% accuracy of infection.

                  Bare in mind these are an average with some people tested only 40% of infections were picked up.

                  Also these figures are for the alpha variant not delta or Omricon.

                  Facts pleases just cherry picking the 2.9% out of the complete set of figures is disappointing.

                  • Fair enough Tricledown I didn't read it in enough detail, but what you say is backing up my point in spades-that RAT tests are semi useless- isn't it?

              • weka

                how would you use the RATs if they were available? Would you be testing all staff daily? or what?

              • Shanreagh

                Hopefully all your staff are vaccinated and had or having the boosters. That is the minimum that other businesses would expect I am thinking together with constant mask wearing..

                Good on you for thinking ahead and noting that you may have to wait a little bit longer for your order to be fulfilled.

                RATs are not a substitute for not wearing a mask or not being vaccinated in my view.

          • Craig H 1.2.2.1.3

            We didn't need them until Omicron arrived, and they have a limited shelf-life, so ordering a bunch of tests with 2 month expiry only for them to expire before Omicron got here would have been unhelpful.

          • Tricledrown 1.2.2.1.4

            Rats tests have only a 2 month shelf life.

            Then every country and business in the world are chasing after them.

            The govt ordered RAT last year still waiting for delivery.

            It's easy to be critical but what would have National done .

            Cut health funding more for tax cuts prior to elections.

            Charge people for tests and vaccinations.

            ie increasing prescription charges from $2 to $5.

            National and ACT with ACT'S large tail wagging National would have opened the borders and let it rip.like Boris,Trump,Macron etc.

    • Enough is Enough 1.3

      The fact the criteria has not yet been established is beyond comprehension. I can not see how the MoH didn't think before this week that they might need to prioritise the distribution of RATs and how they would assess that.

      I have huge sympathy for the businesses who had the foresight and did the right thing by ordering millions of these tests last year. As an employer you have legal and moral duties to protect the health and well being of your workers. A key way to satisfy that duty is by minimising the risk of people bringing COVID into the workplace. The only real way to do that is regular testing. That will be very difficult to do if your business does not meet the still to be defined criteria.

      • tsmithfield 1.3.1

        A lot of small businesses are going to be wiped out through this.

        The isolation rules mean that some smaller companies might not be able to function for a month or more.

        We are lucky in that most of our staff can work from home, and so we can spread our risk. For those companies that require all their staff in one location, and don't have sufficient staff to run separate shifts, it is going to be a major problem.

        • Enough is Enough 1.3.1.1

          I have just spoken to someone who is is a live example of how this will play out.

          She has a catering business, and 3/4 of her staff worked at Soundsplash over the weekend. Despite the MoH providing next to no information on the exposure yet, all of her staff are today being tested and self isolating.

          Business is closed until all of those test results are provided which will likely be at least 48 hours.

      • weka 1.3.2

        Here is the initial criteria,

        A critical worker is identified by their employer as a role within a critical industry as broadly defined by government that requires a person with particular skills who:

        • is required to undertake their role in person at the workplace; and
        • is in a role that must continue to be performed to either prevent an immediate risk of death or serious injury to a person or animal, orprevent serious harm (social, economic or physical) to significant numbers in the community.

        This approach will mean that critical workers who are close contacts will be able to return to work early, provided they return a negative RAT every day that they are at work throughout their required isolation period or as otherwise appropriate to their work setting.

        They will only be able to go to work, not anywhere else – this protocol allows for return to work only. It does not mean that it ends isolation periods early.

        https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/testing-and-returning-to-work-during-omicron

        That makes way more sense to me than testing every employee in NZ every day.

        • Enough is Enough 1.3.2.1

          And if you are not a critical worker?

          Hospitality for example which is going to be one of the very high risk industries but can hardly be considered critical.

          • weka 1.3.2.1.1

            yes, some businesses are going to be badly affected by omicron. As far as I can tell the government is doing a balancing act between public health response and damage limitation on the economy including businesses.

            • Enough is Enough 1.3.2.1.1.1

              Yep, and owners of of those high risk businesses, and employers of people who depend on that business operating, will have no tools available to them to protect their workers. It is safe to assume that they will all be affected at some point in the coming months.

              I accept choices have to be made, but I am very uncomfortable about this.

              • weka

                Uncomfortable yes, and very stressful. It's a whole new covid ballgame now.

                …will have no tools available to them to protect their workers…

                We all have tools, lots of them. Vaccination and boosting, good mask tech and technique, hand washing and sanitising, social distancing, good ventilation, working from home where possible and taking appropriate precautions there, people not going out to close contact events, paying attention to symptoms, getting tested, self isolation and so on. As well as the government controlled mandates and choices individual businesses are making.

                (and for those that this works for, vitamin D, getting good sleep, making sure one's diet is healthy and not overloaded with sugar and so on).

                And everyone is in the same boat really. RATs don't stop someone from getting omicron.

                • Enough is Enough

                  Just to clarify, my opinion is framed from a worker's perspective. Some business (and therefore many jobs) will not survie the closures that result from half their workforce having to self isolate.

                  Getting COVID is inevtiable for most of us. But keeping those infected people away from the workplace so that a business can continue is going to be a very difficult thing to do.

                  • weka

                    How we get covid matters. How fast and where it spreads matters. Timing matters. That's why some workers have to stay home.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      Yes we are in total agreement on that point. Workers with COVID must remain at home away from healthy workers.

                      The issue we are going to face is we won't know those infected people are in the workforce transmitting the diesease because we won't be testing them.

    • Tricledrown 1.4

      Ad lord haw haw would be proud of your description.

      No confiscations taking place.

      Foward orders are being commandeered for a coordinated approach so supply lines and health professionals police essential services can be maintained.

      We have seen overseas where supermarket shelves are empty hospitals are running out of staff. Aged care facilities struggling with no staff and outbreaks of covid.

      Ad get real this is a real emergency political point scoring is undermining our health response .

      Brian Tamaki style outrage is what you are projecting.

      We all need to work together to defeat the Pandemic.

      In war time those who undermined our war effort were treated as outcasts .Because a disease doesn't look like an enemy its easy to be anti everything to health iniatives.

      Those undermining the health iniatives are right up there with the antvaxxers.

  2. john2 2

    don't you realize these businesses only want these tests so they can on sell them & make some money.

    • Sabine 2.1

      you have a link to support your claim here?

    • Cricklewood 2.2

      Nah most are used for staff testing as a safety measure. I had to have one and wait before entering a large business premise in Auckland last week.

      Basically with the huge business cost of a shutdown due to quarantining staff Rapid Tests are a very cheap extra layer of protection.

    • Jester 2.3

      Rubbish. They want them so they can quickly test staff so the business can actually carry on operating which is pretty sensible and good planning (unlike the govt that has dropped the ball).

      • Tricledrown 2.3.1

        Jester While our hospitals are overun and most of the staff isolating at home.because essential services don't have tests.

        Jester your are blind to the consequences of selfishness.

        • Jimmy 2.3.1.1

          Perhaps essential services would have the RAT tests (like some businesses do) if our government had actually got off their ass and ordered them back when they were advised to instead of now having to "consolidate" as Ashley says other businesses orders!

          • McFlock 2.3.1.1.1

            What's the expiry date on the RATs?

            • Jimmy 2.3.1.1.1.1

              Don't know the expiry date but the test have a shelf life of 12 to 15 months normally.

              • McFlock

                Normally?

                One brand of test seems to meet that ballpark when left forgotten in a warehouse. Others – maybe not so much.

                • Jimmy

                  They are a bit like having milk in the fridge. You normally use before it expires.
                  But of course, the govt would of have to have actually ordered them earlier.

                  • McFlock

                    lols. An unlinked "normally", again.

                    Stockpiling hundreds of millions of RATs requires knowing when we'll go from a low-covid environment (where we need the sensitivity of pcrs to stamp out covid) to a higher-covid environment (where pcrs are overloaded and we need the speed of RATs to slow the spread of covid through individual institutions).

                    Now, we might get a year's supply at usual levels (i.e. regular testing for border staff etc), depending on the brand, but then we'd still be massively understocked in a high-covid situation.

                    Or we could hold onto them for a bit, and then ship them somewhere else in the hope we're supplying people who need them with tests that are still good, being close to their use-by and having had unknown conditions during transit.

                    Or we could have a small stock and order the extras in when it looks like we'll need them, which is the current situation.

                    • Jimmy

                      "Or we could have a small stock and order the extras in when it looks like we'll need them, which is the current situation."

                      Or we could just requisition other peoples (companies) orders which is the current situation (as we forgot or were too slow).

                    • McFlock

                      see, no worries.

        • Jester 2.3.1.2

          Essential services would have tests if the government had ordered them earlier.

    • Grantoc 2.4

      This is an incredibly naive comment. The businesses buying RATs prior to the governments moves to centralise the purchasing and distribution of them are generally involved in providing essential services to NZ communities.

      By buying these tests employers are meeting their health and safety obligations to their employees and their customers.

      Further they have set up systems to manage their use efficiently. Involving MoH in their purchase and distribution will inevitably be disruptive, clumsy, slow and inefficient.

  3. Adrian 3

    The government has moved decisively to cut off the opportunistic arseholes who have tried to make extreme profits from importing RATs and bloody good job too.
    It is already happening with masks according to a Stuff article.

    • tsmithfield 3.1

      When I did an economics paper we studied the effects of price controls and the hurricane Hugo disaster.

      The upshot was that governments invariably make emergency situations worse by trying to control prices, supply etc. Plenty of information on this online. But here for an example.

      https://fee.org/articles/hurricane-hugo-price-controls-hinder-recovery/

      • Tricledrown 3.1.1

        Tsm Where did you dig up that dodgy bit of bs.

        NZ is nothing like the US let alone a Republican state with a minimalist bearaucracy and private health insurance etc.

        • tsmithfield 3.1.1.1

          Below is a link to something a bit more substantial on the topic if you want.

          One of commodities that was affected was ice. Due to power being knocked out, there was a sudden demand for ice so people could keep freezers of meat cold and the like.

          The price of ice shot up and price controls were brought in to cap the price due to the public outcry.

          The effect was that there were shortages as there was no price incentive to keep up the supply of ice. Thus, it became a case of first in first served so far as ice was concerned.

          People who wanted ice for frivilous things such as keeping alcohol cool in parties would get their ice if they got in first. But then the ice ran out for people who really needed it and would have been happy to pay the inflated prices.

          The same sort of thing occurred with equipment such as chainsaws etc. When price controls were bought in, shortages occurred which hindered the recovery.

          The lesson from all this was that price controls make things worse, especially in a crisis.

          https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=Vui5DQAAQBAJ&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=price+controls+hurricane+hugo&source=bl&ots=ZxvhNXsZx8&sig=ACfU3U2VR6FKaUI8L0aihp9hE-HtUhVP9Q&hl=en&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwiCjaynvdD1AhXzldgFHawHDYMQ6AF6BAgeEAM#v=onepage&q=price%20controls%20hurricane%20hugo&f=false

          • Tricledrown 3.1.1.1.1

            Once again irrelevant this is nothing but economic propaganda .

            GWBush president at the time Republican governor.

            I read another article on hurricane hugo.The Republicans don't help in disasters ,they want Individual responsibility that means you have to insure your self up to the eyeballs with a separate disaster insurance which only the wealthy can afford.Republicans hands off approach.Republicans don't want any form of welfare for all and want insurance companies to prosper .

            So trying to bring price controls in a state that doesn't have the capacity or desire to have govt involved in any aspect of their lives is futile and a false equivalency.

            Looking at NZ price controls on doctors visits and prescriptions has worked relatively well.

            Where in the US no such mechanism that's why so many in the US can't get access to healthcare or the medicines they require.Tsmithfield

      • joe90 3.1.2

        So entrepreneurial price gouging has an unfortunate effect that puts poorer people at a special disadvantage but people with entrepreneurial spirits who see an opportunity to reap large rewards wouldn't gouge prices, right?

    • Peter 3.2

      And therein you suggest another angle in a complicated scenario – a "there is more to this than meets the eye" – angle.

    • Sabine 3.3

      Would these opportunistic arseholes be the ones that have signed a charter last year and together with the government started to import tests, which these opportunistic arseholes paid for themselves, to test out their use as a tool in the fight against Covid?

      https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/rapid-antigen-tests-now-being-trialled-by-new-zealand-businesses/

      The trial begins this week with 29 businesses across a range of sectors, after the 300,000 tests arrived in Auckland late last week from Australia. As Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall announced last week, the initial focus of the trial will be on large businesses, including airports, energy producers, food manufacturers and retirement homes. The Government, MBIE, the Ministry of Health and the trial businesses are working at pace to determine how this testing can be used more widely across other New Zealand businesses.

      MBIE Deputy Chief Executive Te Whakatairanga Service Delivery Suzanne Stew said the trial will allow participating businesses to roll out rapid antigen testing in the workplace to help them meet their health and safety obligations, to give their staff confidence they’re working in a safe environment, and to support the COVID-19 economic recovery.

      Earlier this month, 29 businesses came together as a collective to ask the Government if they could import rapid antigen tests. MBIE and the Ministry of Health then worked at pace with the trial businesses to find a way to make testing available that was relevant for New Zealand businesses. The 29 businesses have signed up to a charter, which will be the foundation for this trial.

      …………

      Procured by Auckland Airport via medical supplies wholesaler and distributor EBOS Healthcare, the 300,000 Abbott PanBio COVID-19 Ag Rapid tests are being funded by the 29 participating businesses.

      here is what you can find at MBIE after the trial ended……

      Overall the businesses involved in the trial learned a lot, adapted as they saw fit and kept communicating with their staff. They shared their experiences openly, and often took ideas from the other businesses. While there were a few bumps along the way, all of the businesses reported that they adapted quickly and reviewed processes as they needed to. They were all happy with the outcome of the trial, and have committed to continuing to share their experience with MoH for the coming month or so. At the end of the trial, 23,285 tests had been administered, with 14 positive results and 96 invalid results.

      https://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/news/lessons-learnt-from-rapid-antigen-testing-trial/

      Here is a heartfelt thank you letter from Food Stuffs to the government for allowing them this 'trial'. Very arseholish of them.

      https://www.foodstuffs.co.nz/news-room/new-zealand-businesses-get-the-green-light-to-import-rapid-covid-19-tests

      We thank the Government, MBIE and the Ministry of Health for their quick response to our request to import rapid antigen tests and we look forward to working with them as our essential workforces start using the tests in the days ahead,” Mr Littlewood said.

      Or maybe you are talking about these opportunistic arseholes here? From August 2021 – which also is a long long time ago.

      In April 2020, the government banned all point-of-care tests unless they are approved by MedSafe, and MedSafe has not seen fit to approve any tests.

      and they have a point here, but then nothing could be done about that point since it was raised, obviously,

      Pedants might argue that this does not constitute a ban, but banning anything that has not been approved while deciding not to approve any options sounds an awful lot like a ban. It is unclear whether MedSafe has even evaluated any options.

      The most plausible justification for the ban is that the government feared people would fail to report positive results, or would take undue comfort in early negative results before viral load increased, and contribute to outbreaks.

      https://www.nzinitiative.org.nz/reports-and-media/opinion/new-opinion-81/

      but this also happened last year…….

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/10k-rapid-antigen-covid-tests-gathering-dust-after-the-government-withholds-its-approval/UC3QNDYCTV5DXUQM2QCTZC4KT4/

      A medical supplies company is calling on the Ministry of Health to let it distribute 10,000 rapid Covid-19 antigen tests – tests that are currently "gathering dust" in a Wellington warehouse.

      Surgical Supplies Director Leigh Thornton said various different companies – including the likes of Fletchers and Vector– are lining up to buy the kits to be used by their workforce.

      The Covifind self-testing kits – produced by multi-billion dollar Indian medical device manufacture Meril Life – are 98.7 per cent effective and, through an app, provide Covid-19 tests results in 15 minutes.

      I really would enjoy if so called lefties would actually try to remember more then just yesterday. The government has shot itself twice in the foot in regards to these testing kits, and now is found wanting and scrambling, and 'consolidating' the orders others have placed in order to prevent looking severely out of step, out of touch, and even a few weeks behind.

      Omicron was a slow wave across the ocean, everyone could see it arrive, and like good kiwis instead of getting away from the shore, they flock there to watch the tsunami arrive. Maybe we should have Covid parties and just get over with it. s/

      • weka 3.3.1

        fucks sake. Gathering dust? Or being held until we actually need them. Which we don't this week.

        I'd like someone to explain how businesses intend to use RATs if they were given them this week. Are they going to wait for the MoH's say so on using them, or are they going to start now? How specifically would that work?

        • Sabine 3.3.1.1

          Virgil my partner goes into high risk areas every day of the week, every day of the year. And you and everyone else here on this board want Virgil to do that as it makes your life so much easier when the machines that everyone expects to work actually work.

          At the moment, end of every day Virgil sits there and compares the site that were visited to those that may be an issue, i.e. contact. If a site shows as a 'contact' site, Virgil will get a nasal test, i will get a nasal test. I have had quite a few of these now since Covid showed its face, in fact we have had so many that the guys at the testing station know us know.

          We would really be happy for Virgils company to distribute these tests to us directly, so that instead of going clogging up the govt site, we can do a simply test at home and only have a nasal swap if a test comes up unclear or positive, or really the site visited was more then just a blib. I guess you could call that personal responsibility in managing ones own life and livelihood.

          I can see a company like Food Stuffs do what is done elsewhere, provide these rapid tests for people that come to offices, or warehouses, to protect its work force there.

          I can see a company like Silver Fern demand the same, negative test before arriving at work. Btw, these are some really sensitive industries here, as not everyone in NZ lives on a nice property with food growing and a few hens for eggs.

          What we have now, is nothing other then the tests via government, which btw, are not compulsory, and thus the same people that would not divulge a positive test will simply not get tested at all. What have we won?
          Nothing. People will simply not get tested at all. Well done Labour!

          What it does show me though is the fact that since the 'ban' in 2020, not one risk analyst at the Government has come up with the idea that maybe these tools are just that, tools, and that they should be made available to businesses that can distribute these across its own work force and thus remove some of the pressure on the nasal swap teams and lab teams.

          To recap, since April 2020 Medsafe has had the option of making these kits 'legal' and it failed to do so. The question remains why. The question remains, Qui bono? And last for hte Labour Party the question remains, Quo Vadis? Where do you go from there. The damage is done.

          • weka 3.3.1.1.1

            Bloomfield just clarified that the ban was on individual's importing tests from overseas, and the rationale was that there are a lot of dodgy tests out there. Businesses were still able to order approved tests.

            Tell me, if RATs were in widespread use today, how would the government contact trace? How would it know which people with positive tests were omicron vs delta? How would it know where omicron outbreaks were happening? Information critical to the public health response (as opposed to workplace processes).

            Tell me, how would your partner's workplace use RATs today, in the context of the public health response and three phase plan? I actually think this could be done, and listening to Bloomfield above he seems to think so too, so tell us the how.

            • Sabine 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Did you see where I am ONLY talking about 'businesses' odering, paying and distributing these tests to their own employees and business partners/visitors etc?

              That is not the same as people importing it on their own.

              The reason we are scrambling here is not because businesses did something that was not approved – as above i posted ample links to point out that this disucssion with Businesses and Govt is / was an ongoing thing, it is because the Government did not think we would need these tests in large numbers, despite the world showing that they have a place in the tool box against covid.

              Fact is that the businesses that have their order consolidated and pushed ot the back of the queue are businesses like Food Stuffs, Silver Fern, Mitre Tens etc etc etc, but i guess all these workers can just suck it up and play russian roulette with their health a, and b. have their brains tickled every other day, lest the government looks foolish and without a ball in their hand/court.

              And frankly Weka, i don't need to tell you this, its been told many times by others with better words and the Government fucked up, and it is continuing to fuck up in this regards. They got cought out by their own hubris and self importance.

              Maybe not all businesses are 'opportunistic arseholes' as called by Adrian? Maybe in this case the opportunist is the Government that failed to procure a "tool" in large enough numbers to distribute it across the nation. But then, maybe this Government can not be allowed to fail, as Covid is the only thing they got to some extend going for them.

              I am done having this discussion Weka. The Government had since April 2020 to be forward thinking with regards to these Self tests, which btw are no more then a standard pregnancy test – get properly tested if it comes back unclear or positive – and they really thought that they don't need them, or could do with out. Well, i guess Covid don't give a fuck as to what the Government thinks.

              And also please stop pretending that the public is just out there waiting to get to piss on one of these tests and then pretend it did not happen. Right now, people simply don't get tested at all.

              • weka

                honestly, I'm having trouble following your points.

                Here's the MoH page explaining the ordering ban. Which wasn't a ban exactly, it was just that you has to go through the MoH to get approval. This was to stop the importation of useless tests. Hence businesses were still allowed to import, individuals weren't. If you are saying that businesses weren't allowed, please explain.

                https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/assessment-and-testing-covid-19/rapid-antigen-testing#business

                That's different from the issue this week of the government outbidding the NZ resellers.

                You didn't answer my questions. I don't think all businesses or even most are arseholes. I do think that there is a clear conflict between the needs of individual businesses and the public health response. I have no problem accepting that this might be a result of the MoH being slow to move on RATs.

                But here we are. Do people honestly want businesses to take priority over the MoH?

              • Molly

                My partner is also an essential worker, and was part of those when the elimination strategy that had an employer who had foreseen the necessity for individual workers to have a quick way to test so as reduce the likelihood of the entire workforce being infected or isolated.'

                They had purchased RAT tests pre-emptively with the understanding that elimination at some point would be abandoned.

                I consider his employer, and those like them to be businesses that provided unforced support to their employees, and should get kudos for doing so. They are now unable to use this strategy at the moment, as they go through the process with government.

        • Peter 3.3.1.2

          It's just another example of a mish-mash world and times. Dennis Frank (below) gets into the Hickey-Bradbury notions about capitalism and socialism.

          Socialist approaches are wonderful and welcomed by capitalists when they're in the shit or see some advantage in it for themselves. And loathed the rest of the time especially when there's direct advantage to be gained for themselves.

          • weka 3.3.1.2.1

            Listening to Bloomfield on ZB (above) this was the conclusion I came to. Some companies throwing their toys out of the cot because they got caught up in a public health issue and probably weren't paying attention to the collective good and are so used to neoliberal rules applying.

            • Sabine 3.3.1.2.1.1

              The businesses that have worked with the government on a trial have not been paying attention and are throwing out their toys?

              Seriously, it is the fault of businesses that in 2022 – 2 full years into the Covid mess, we don't have a simple tool as a self tests?

              Yeah, Right. Tui. Must be the businesses, can't be anything else.

              • weka

                The businesses that have worked with the government on a trial have not been paying attention and are throwing out their toys?

                No, the small handful of businesses that decided this week to use the National Party and MSM to stamp their feet about not getting what they want during a global health crisis.

                Instead of going ‘wah, wah confiscation’, they could have talked about the actual issues and how they need to be resolved.

                Seriously, it is the fault of businesses that in 2022 – 2 full years into the Covid mess, we don't have a simple tool as a self tests?

                Fuck off Sabine. If you're not going to listen to what I am saying, at least don't make shit up about my argument.

              • Tricledrown

                Tests for omricon are not very accurate .

                One of your other complainers posted the efficacy of RATS some where between 40% and 70% efficacy varying with each individual averaging 55% for the best brand 45% for the worst.That was for the original variant not Delta or omricon or the more evasive omricon b-2 variant.

                So these RATS are only going to slow down the spread.

                One person who came out of isolation had numerous negative tests yet 2 days out of isolation he tested positive after feeling sick.

                • Incognito

                  So these RATS are only going to slow down the spread.

                  RATs do not do such a thing. They get phased in progressively as we move to Phase 3, as per yesterday’s announcement.

                  • Shanreagh

                    Yes Incognito. If people listened to Assoc Min of Health yesterday, the PM over the weekend and actually read the policies/processes they will find out about the staging.

                    Much heat but not much light here on TS, obviously based on those beacons of unbiased reporting, the media. Surely 2 years in we know better than to try to get best info from the media? Especially when we have dedicated ways of getting information

                    https://covid19.govt.nz/

                    The priority for RATs is for essential workers and especially useful for a test the day of proposing starting work after having had Covid. Surely the use for essential workers is the best use in our staged process especially if there is a shortage and a timing issuing for how long the RATs last for.

            • aj 3.3.1.2.1.2

              Thank you Weka for so patiently explaining this situation, which shouldn't be too hard if people have been listening.

              As usual the govt can do no right here. If they had left RAT totally in the hands of private enterprise, god forbid, they would be getting hammered from the other angle.

              It's all politics.

      • Tricledrown 3.3.2

        Sabine NZ initiative is a right wing think tank formally the business round table.

        The Indian made rats you have posted in your link claim to have a 95% efficacy which is bs.

        This cheap political point scoring is undermining the govts initiatives.

  4. Jenny how to get there 4

    '
    Fail:

    National Party in another embarrassing backdown.

    Ironic really, in that the whole purpose of the petition was to embarrass the government.

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/omicron-backdown-national-drops-now-from-end-miq-petition-says-govt-s-home-isolation-pause-justified/ar-AAT8Cmm?

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      Governments and opposition should change their views as circumstances change. This is good and hardly an embarassing backdown.

      When the petition was launched there were hundreds of kiwis self isolating at home with delta, while vaxxed kiwis abroard with negative tests were being denied the ability to do the same thing.

      Then omicron hit and things changed.

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        Dunno about changing the wording of petitions mid-campaign, though.

        Stop one, start another.

      • Jenny how to get there 4.1.2

        Enough is Enough

        27 January 2022 at 11:49 am

        Governments and opposition should change their views as circumstances change. This is good and hardly an embarassing backdown…..

        "When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?" Winston Churchill

        Nothing wrong with that.

        However…..

        I would be incensed if I put my name to a petition, and then found out that what I had signed up to had been altered before it was handed in.

        Changing the wording of a petition after people have already signed up to it crosses a moral line.

        I agree with McFlock. If the original wording is no longer fit for purpose, if the situation has changed, best to abandon it and start again.

        Embarrassing? Lazy? Immoral? Opportunistic?

        Much

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Economist & entrepreneur Bernard Hickey pays a compliment to the left:

    “The Labour Government, supported by the Greens, presided over policies that accidentally on purpose engineered the biggest transfer of wealth to asset owners from current and future renters in the history of New Zealand.”

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2022/01/27/accidentally-pandering-to-the-rich-on-purpose/

    Although, to be fair, he probably didn't intend it to be interpreted as a compliment. Bomber has a surprisingly sober view:

    In a nutshell, what Mr Hickey seems to be saying is that in an unabashedly capitalist nation, a government elected on the strength of middle-class (i.e. homeowners) votes, made sure that the massive transfers of cash required to keep the economy afloat in the midst of a global pandemic went to capitalists, and the people whose votes they really, really, really didn’t want to lose

    He then makes a subtle point via a survey of the capitalist parties in parliament:

    Labour, an unabashedly capitalist party, holds 65 seats. National, another unabashedly capitalist party, holds 35 seats. Act, a fanatically capitalist party, holds 10 seats. The Greens, supposedly not a capitalist party, but one which has, to date, done nothing to suggest that it is an anti-capitalist party, also holds 10 seats. Which leaves the Māori Party, an ethno-nationalist party which appears to be okay with capitalism – but only if it’s Māori capitalism – with just 2 seats.

    The point being that no parties in parliament have declared themselves anti-capitalist.

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Pragmatism rules. No party wants to present itself as anti-Roman. Socialists ran away to hide in the 1980s & haven't been seen since. The victims of the inequality-producing system conspicuously continue to avoid the challenge of becoming politically active and leveraging their numbers. No surprise that capitalism wins by default. Winners take all when losers can't be bothered playing the game…

    • Gezza 5.1

      That Daily Blog article is by Chris Trotter, Dennis. Not Bomber.

      The problem any anti-capitalist party would have in NZ is selling itself as able to successfully deconstruct the current economic structure & successfully manage an economy without capitalism.

      • Jenny how to get there 5.1.1

        Maybe rather than trying to deconstruct the whole system, anti-capitalists should start organising to solve the intractable existential problems that capitalism just cannot solve.

        • DukeEll 5.1.1.1

          maybe that's why we don't see anti capitalists? either they can't organise as well as capitalists can or they can't agree what their anti-ness then isn't anti..

          New Zealanders don't vote for negativity

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.2

        Obviously I was in a passing phase of brain fog, but that does explain why it was a sober analysis! And I agree with your delineation of the problem.

        Except that the stance I adopted 30 years ago in the Greens economic policy working group was a synthesis rather than a negation or opposition and I still feel that's the best alternative. It uses a conciliatory basis. Efficiency & progress then derive from applying a suitable method. The method I advocated was to identify key principles on the left & right that seem essential (equity & enterprise being primary) and eliminate the shit parts of the left & right.

        Do that and you get something new that is resilient by design. Included in the synthesis were Green principles such as true-cost accounting (to eliminate the socialisation of business costs) and the financial transactions cost tax to harvest the process of capitalism (which I viewed as socialism worth supporting)…

    • pat 5.2

      No compliments anywhere…indeed the opposite.

      The RBNZ, government and business have been given the largest of serves by Bernard Hickey's research…..any response from those served is likely to be awkward.

      He has just been interviewed on RNZ…the link should be available soon.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    The top global gun may get pointed at Russia; https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/26/investing/swift-russia-ukraine/index.html

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told lawmakers on Tuesday that his government was discussing the possibility of banning Russia from SWIFT with the United States.

    "There is no doubt that that would be a very potent weapon [against Russia]. I'm afraid it can only really be deployed with the assistance of the United States though. We are in discussions about that," Johnson said.

    What is SWIFT?

    The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication was founded in 1973 to replace the telex and is now used by over 11,000 financial institutions to send secure messages and payment orders. With no globally accepted alternative, it is essential plumbing for global finance… Excluding Russia from SWIFT would cause its economy to shrink by 5%, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin estimated in 2014.

    SWIFT unplugged Iranian banks in 2012 after they were sanctioned by the European Union over the country's nuclear program. Iran lost almost half of its oil export revenue and 30% of foreign trade following the disconnection

    Russia does have an alternative if the top gun swivels at them:

    Moscow established its own payment system, SPFS, after it was hit by Western sanctions in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea early that year. SPFS now has around 400 users, according to Russia's central bank. Twenty percent of domestic transfers are currently done through SPFS

    • Blazer 6.1

      Boris is grandstanding.

      As 40% of european energy relies on Russian supply,cutting off SWIFT would mean the Cold War would become …a war of frozen corpses.

      There is no ready substitute for Russian energy …supply.

      • francesca 6.1.1

        Oh but Blazer

        The Germans will welcome that expensive freedom LNG gas courtesy of the US

        German industrialists are gagging to pay the extra cost and the extra carbon miles to get it

        But umm, there's a problem

        The White House's plan is complicated by the fact that the world's LNG producers are already churning out as much as they possibly can. Reuters reported that the companies contacted told the U.S. government officials that global gas supplies are tight and that there is little available to substitute large volumes from Russia

        https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/us-talks-with-energy-producers-supply-europe-if-russia-invades-ukraine-2022-01-25/

        Why the fuck is it so hard to give Russia some security guarantees, cheaper in the long run, as the German commander said before he was in effect sacked for offering unwelcome advice.(An apology was not enough to save his job)

        • Tricledrown 6.1.1.1

          Germany and Europe will just stop shutting down their nuclear reactors if gas supplies are cut.

    • francesca 6.2

      Back in 2014 , after Crimea voted to rejoin Russia (as it had in previous referendums)and this time Russia accepted, Russia was threatened with being banned from SWIFT by the US

      Which wasn't greeted with a greta deal of clapping from Brussels

      But to Swift managers, the move looks dangerously capricious and partisan. And they fear it would prompt non-western countries to create rival systems, to protect themselves against any future US threats.

      https://www.the-american-interest.com/2014/10/03/sanctions-on-russia-could-backfire/

      An international neutral banking facility becomes a US weapon, thus undermining it's credibility and usefulness

    • Ad 6.3

      A pretty strong encouragement for Russia, China et al to form al alternative to SWIFT.

      Both China and Russia have independent settlement programs at various stages of implementation. China launched the Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) in 2015, an independent clearing system with the RMB as the quote currency. Similarly, Russia has been developing its own financial messaging System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).

      Both systems are now in position, making it relatively easy to build an independent Russian-Chinese financial system by linking the two.

      • Blazer 6.3.1

        A great step for mankind that will meet with approval…everywhere.

        Let's face it ,we all abhor….monopolies!wink

  7. francesca 7

    The Russian invasion is not quite as imminent and not quite as full scale as we thought

    Western intelligence seems to be a little slow to cotton on

    (Even though the Ukrainians themselves have been pointing it out for weeks)

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/26/focused-russian-attack-on-ukraine-seen-as-more-likely-than-full-scale-invasion

  8. Ross 8

    Jacinda Ardern is a “nasty human being” and the media here is “pathetic” and “gutless”. Are we becoming an international joke?

    https://m.facebook.com/GBNewsOnline/videos/rita-panahi-we-are-not-immortal-everybody-dies/2070682556430296/?__so__=permalink&__rv__=related_videos&locale=ne_NP&_rdr

    • weka 8.1

      RW commentators ranting from a place of ignorance. FFS, NZ isn't pursuing an elimination model. Why bother even listening to this if they can't get basic facts right?

    • Robert Guyton 8.2

      You wish, Ross.

      Seen the photo on the mask-wearing post?

      Perhaps there's something in what you say…

    • observer 8.3

      GB News? Seriously?

      Sure. Jacinda became an international joke when she was ambushed by a birthday cake.

    • Peter 8.4

      Are we becoming an international joke? No. The international joke is that individuals with severe intellectual capacity see themselves as founts of knowledge.

      "New Zealand is spiralling out of control" with its '"totalitarian" PM?

      The tragedy is that the ravings of lunatics like Wootton suck in and pander to cretins amongst us.

    • Ross….that sort of rubbish should come come with a warning.

      ScoMo, Boris or Jacinda. Tough choice that one-give me the woman with the soft voice any time.

    • Tricledrown 8.6

      Ross the far right news gb news .

      Jealous of Jacinda .

      A bunch of old white incell males wanting to go back to the days of British empire.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.7

      Yeah, one time I got so drunk I got in a fight, puked all over someone's lawn and on my shoes, took my shirt off and started dancing and screaming in the flowerbed! When the cops came and got me I had passed out under the walnut tree and pissed my pants!

      The people who owned that garden must have looked like idiots – just "pathetic" and obviously "nasty human beings" – absolute jokes.

    • Blazer 9.1

      What an indictment on this Govt.

      'Tony Blair in …high heels'….indeed.angry

      • pat 9.1.1

        This will hurt Labour (and be an increased source of questioning by the Greens) I expect the public pressure will build as things get harder for more and more…pressure to claw back, pressure to denounce, and pressure to provide alternatives.

        Hickey has put numbers to and laid bare responsibility for the reality many are experiencing….mainly those who have till now supported Labour and the Greens.

  9. Here is a link on the critical worker situation just forwarded through to me.

    https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/testing-and-returning-to-work-during-omicron

    Here is where the system is going to collapse and become meaningless:

    "Beyond this, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will develop an online portal – similar to that used for the Business Travel Registration system – to allow individual business to apply for critical worker status. This system will be called the Critical Services Register and more information will be made available to businesses shortly about this."

    So the portal still needs to be developed. Firms need to apply for critical worker status. Decisions need to be made who qualifies. Then tests need to be distributed. I expect thousands of firms will be applying.

    Given the speed of the Omicron wave, I doubt any of this will be happening until after the crisis is over.

    • weka 10.1

      Didn't the government say yesterday they think phase two will probably start in two weeks?

      That MBIE page looks clear to me.

      1. the government is engaging this week with businesses "to ensure that critical workforces have been identified and registered, and that there are sufficient supplies of RATs for those workers when needed."
      2. the portal is being developed for registering
      3. they're asking businesses to self assess in the first place.

      If I were in your situation I would phone MBIE and ask for a timeline on the register, and further guidelines on whether your business is likely to qualify (I would guess yes, but I'd check because you need to plan)

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        I will try that. But I expect it could be a bit difficult getting through.

        Here is an interesting interview with David Seymour. I realise it is from the wrong side of the fence here, but he makes some really good points.

        https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018828168/act-leader-david-seymour-on-govt-s-omicron-response

        I agree with him that the harsh isolation rules will put people off getting tested at all. Especially if they have to sit at home for weeks trying to survive on the meagre offering from the government when their sick leave runs out.

        So far as critical workers go, he makes the point that we might not see the refuse collection people as essential at the moment. And I doubt they would meet the criteria in the first instance, anyway.

        But if they all get sick and can't collect rubbish for three weeks, we may change our minds. And, uncollected rubbish could become a health hazard as well.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          I would be surprise if rubbish collection isn't considered essential, a la "prevent serious harm (social, economic or physical) to significant numbers in the community."

          Yes, phoning MBIE or many government departments often takes a long time to get through. Phoning WINZ requires waits of up to an hour. I usually arrange to be doing something compatible while on hold.

          Speaking of which, remember March 2020 when the government first started rolling out the initial pandemic response, and prioritising funding for businesses? Beneficiaries had to wait for any financial assistance, which meant that going into lockdown many couldn't buy masks, extra hand washing supplies, or extra food so they could stay home and not have to be exposed to covid in places like supermarkets.

          What managers and business owners are experiencing is stressful. Really stressful in fact. This is the nature of shitty situations.

          My own view is that we should be adapting and preparing for another round of this this year past this wave of omicron. We might get really lucky and omicron settles into a pattern that is more manageable. But we actually get better at crisis management if we adapt rather than holding on as if its going to be over soon.

          Teaching resiliency skills would be a really good move right now, maybe this is something someone could look at helping businesses with.

          • tsmithfield 10.1.1.1.1

            I fear for the viability of many small businesses in this.
            I agree with the stressful aspect. Perhaps there could be some help provided for businesses through the EAP?

            A lot of small businesses don't have sufficient staff to run several shifts, and have no choice but to intermingle in their operations. Mass sickness and isolation rules could leave them without income for a month or two.

            I don't know if the government is looking at the wage subsidy program again. So, they may be left to their own devices.

            Also, when a lot of these businesses are forced to shut for a period of time it is going to have a huge knock on effect for the economy.

            For instance, my son owns a powder coating business that is one of the busiest in Christchurch. Luckily he has plenty of cash reserves to see himself through this. But if he is forced to close down for a month or two, there will be a huge backlog of work that other businesses can’t get finished and charged out.

            The effects of this are going to be far greater than many realise.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              where are you getting the month or two thing from?

              • One person gets sick. Everyone has to isolate. Another person gets sick. Everyone has to isolate etc etc.

                Where contact is unavoidable then this could impact businesses for a long time.

                • weka

                  One person gets sick. Everyone has to isolate.

                  So if a worker in Mitre10 gets covid all the staff have to self isolate? I don't think so.

                  Looking at the MBIE and MoH links, it's not clear what they consider a close contact, but I doubt very much that it's every person the case talked to or walked past.

                  https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/testing-and-returning-to-work-during-omicron

                  https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-response-planning/omicron-community-what-means-you

                  https://covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/life-at-red/

                  • Enough is Enough

                    I think you will find most of your Mitre 10 workers will want to get tested and self-isolate, regardless of what the MoH says. If someone is at work while transmissible, then the prudent and responsible thing for any employer to do is stand down the workers who were on the same shift until they have returned a negative test. Which will likely take days.

                    People will do what they feel needs to be done to look after themselves and their whanau. They won’t be scrolling through the MoH website to find out what to do.

                  • I am talking about small businesses with unavoidable close contact.

                • Tricledrown

                  If you look to overseas jurisdictions the peak infections rise rapidly then fall away.

                  But if you think this pandemic is finished it won't be over till variants stop mutating.

                  What happens if another variant pops up Omricon b-2 is already in circulation its not known how serious it is yet but it looks more transmissible than omricon.

                  Belly aching ain't going to fix it.

                  Businesses may have to close we might go into a recession .We may have another wave of a more virulent covid.

                  Expecting the govt to fix everything when the Ministry of Health has been cut to shreads so we can have tax cuts and small govt.Then when things go wrong blame the govt is ironic.

  10. Tricledrown 11

    In WW2 everybody was on the same page all working to defeat a common enemy.

    Most are on board but the few who aren't are making the loudest noises.

    Who do we follow those extremists who want to score cheap political points.

    Or our highly educated health professionals.

    • Peter 11.1

      Do we need to follow highly educated health professionals? or highly educated anyones?

      I saw a newspaper heading this morning: "If only Jacinda Ardern was more like Scott Morrison."

      Who needs highly educated health professionals or anyone here? Let's just be Scott Morrison.

      I didn't read the opinion piece. It was by someone called Mike Hosking. Reminded me of pulling the petals off daisies, "He loves me, he loves me not," etc., ad infinitum, Hosking and his love affair with Morrison, Gladys Berejiklian, anything Australian, anything not New Zealand or Ardern.

      • satty 11.1.1

        When is he moving to Australia?

        I guess he doesn't see it as the country of "milk and honey", otherwise he would have gone a long time ago. Probably would be back after a couple of years like Paul Henry.

        All just empty slogans.

  11. I think the government would have been better to use saliva tests as from Rako for return to work testing.

    https://www.rakoscience.com/

    Saliva testing may be more accurate than PCR testing for Omicron anyway.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/14/health/saliva-testing-coronavirus-omicron.html

    And is non-invasive it gives a relatively quick result which would be fine for returning to work, which the government is intending for the RAT tests.

    If they had done that, then private industry would have been able to get their tests and use them as intended, for screening workers. As it is, the government in trying to solve one problem has just created another.

    • It's never that simple tsmith, though this is from 4 months ago:

      Meta-analyses of recent studies suggest that saliva is useful for detecting SARS-CoV-2; however, differences in disease prevalence, sample collection, and analysis methods still confound strong conclusions on the utility of saliva compared to nasopharyngeal samples.

      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34259552/

    • Incognito 13.2

      You’ve set off my ignorance detector.

      You do know that Rako’s saliva test is actually a PCR test and not a RAT, don’t you?

      You do know that, as such, the saliva sample has to be analysed at an accredited lab with the same turn around as for a nasal sample, don’t you?

      Do you know what the “R” in RAT stands for?

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        Fair enough. I should have qualified the type of PCR: e/g saliva vs nasal.

        The turn around is quicker than nasal PCRs according to what we have been quoted by Rako: They are saying average time of 10 hours for a result.

        • Incognito 13.2.1.1

          How do you know that that is “quicker”?

          A RAT is much quicker, isn’t it?

          • tsmithfield 13.2.1.1.1

            A RAT is a lot quicker. For this reason it is ideal as a screening tool for keeping infected people away from the workplace as much as possible, which is what a lot of companies are wanting them for. The government are now intending these be used for return to work tests, taking them away from the intended purpose industries were bringing them in for.

            But when the consideration is someone returning to work, then the extra time for a saliva test probably isn't such an issue given they have been off work for quite awhile anyway.

  12. McFlock 15

    Pfizer has announced the start of trials to assess their omicron-targeted vaccine.

    So they've developed a vaccine, lab tested it, and did FDA paperwork to get authorisation to start human use, decided the study scope and population, and are ready to begin trials at… 8 weeks from the new variant being identified, and over the holiday period as well.

  13. ianmac 17

    Big topics for we mortals to just read and wonder

    TV Poll out at 6pm tonight.

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