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Open mike 27/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 27th, 2020 - 192 comments
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192 comments on “Open mike 27/04/2020 ”

  1. Janice 1

    So Auckland has a water crisis again. After the 1994 water shortage, we were told that the only thing to prevent this happening again was to set up a water treatment plant to take water from the Waikato River. I can't remember, but I assume that there was an increase/surcharge on the rates to cover the cost of this. If this plant is still working why is Auckland facing water restrictions again? As far as I am aware the Waikato River hasn't run dry. If the plant is not still working, why not? Was it transferred to Watercare as part of Rodney's super shitty?

    • JanM 1.1

      They have been taking the maximum allowable from the Waikato for several months now and the dams are still below 50 per cent.
      You'd better start doing rain dances and stop taking 30 minute showers!

    • Cinny 1.2

      Maybe a desalination plant could be part of Auckland's future?

      • Wayne 1.2.1

        Or just a second pipeline from the Waikato. I understand the current pipeline takes less than 2% of the river flow. New Zealand has zero need for a hugely energy intensive process like desalination.

        • KJT 1.2.1.1

          True. Desalinisation is both energy intensive and expensive.

          More storage and maybe a second pipeline.

          Whangarei to has water shortages, after no significant rain for months.

          Pleased we are no longer on tank, with 9 in the house at present.

          May be a new norm with AGW?

          • Adrian 1.2.1.1.1

            Probably not, this has been a quiet SW Pacific cyclone season, pretty much only one significant one so far. The reason is that all three main drivers of our, and Australias , weather, El Nino/La Nina, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annual Mode have been in modes that are least conducive to rain in NZ.

            Australia's Bureau of Meteorology have very good maps and descriptions.

            There have been ex tropical storms coming down from the tropics but they have passed to the East of the North Island because they have been pushed east by the predominant SouWesterly wind pattern and the highs following them.

            The SWesters have also made this summer surprisingly cooler than normal, it hasn't felt like it because the sun has been shining.

            Careful what you wish for, the dams are only full when it pisses with rain all summer.

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.3

      I always conserve water, because in Auckland, water usage costs.

      It may only be the wealthy who can afford to over-use it & thus can make cut backs.

      • Cinny 1.3.1

        True, that slipped my mind, we are on an excellent bore here, if we had to pay for water I'd be watching our use like a hawk.

    • Andre 1.4

      I've got tickling in the back of my head that Watercare has things underway to take more water from the Waikato, particularly at high flow periods, so the dams can be used more for storage against long dry spells.

      I've had a quick look online, but nothing particularly recent popped up. The article linked below appears to be from 2016, but has a good summary of the things I vaguely recall.

      https://www.waternz.org.nz/Story?Action=View&Story_id=141

      note that the proposed maximum take of 350 million litres per day works out 4 cubic metres per second, the mean annual discharge of the Waikato is 350 cubic metres/second. AFAIK Karapiro has an operating consent condition of a minimum discharge of 140 cubic metres/second except in extreme conditions when it may go as low as 80.

  2. Blazer 2

    Lifes a lottery of luck….'an ounce of luck is worth a ton of judgement'!

    When I see the push for Nationals new wunderkind Sir Christopher Luxon based on his business prowess I look at the present situation at Air NZ.

    The new C.E.O is eminently qualified to follow on from Luxon and his 2 predecessors.

    Like John Howard as aussie P.M,they also reaped the benefits of boom years fuelled by the rampant rise and rise of the FIRE economy.

    Foran has the challenge of dealing with C19 and its deep impact , a monumental task.

    John Key has pulled the pin on his directorship at Air NZ,what timing!

    He is happy to endorse Luxon's economic credentials.

    How 'lucky' can you get!

    • JanM 2.1

      Oh won't it be fun when we are ruled by a 'christian' conservative with a reputation as a bully! I hope by that time I'm too old to care!!

    • Treetop 2.2

      When did Key pull the pin?

      Was his term up?

    • Muttonbird 2.3

      Fifth or sixth day straight John Key has been on the front page casting a shadow over National Party leadership.

      Simon should be feeling ill but I expect he is too stupid.

  3. ScottGN 3

    Interesting that, as far as I can tell, Stuff hasn’t published this piece by its own Political Editor in its NZ papers.

    https://www.theage.com.au/world/oceania/saint-jacinda-ardern-s-lockdown-has-not-silenced-her-critics-20200424-p54n37.html

    • KJT 3.1

      The memo must have gone out to all the right wing propaganda outfits.

      "Use the Communism, dog whistle"

      "The only shops open are supermarkets, for which there are often Soviet-style queues".

      Someone should tell them, the Soviet Union, which was a totalitarian dictatorship, anyway, not communist, has been replaced by a gangster run "free market" capitalist hellhole, decades ago.

      • Foreign waka 3.1.1

        Hi KJT, I hope you keep well.

        In the 70's the then still existing Soviet Union had an odd supply system. From the other side of the iron curtain we were smug and laughing about the supply of certain product one week and another product group the next. Huge cues in front of the doors, hoarding as no one knew when they will get i.e.washing powder again.

        Yes, we were smug because we had no such problems. It showed us however, that all those issues are man made and revolve around profit, status and power. (Must sound familiar to the US right now)

        Whilst we in NZ are getting a wider range of goods, many times staples such as bread is completely sold out by 8am. Long cues, often 2-3 rows deep means that there is up to 1.5 hrs wait until you can get into the store. Since it is the only shop open you have no other choice.

        I cannot see for the life of it why bakeries, vege shops and other food stores are not allowed to open. If social distancing is maintained, there should be no issues. But then again, issues are man made and revolve around profit, status and power.

        • Sacha 3.1.1.1

          Not just about customer numbers. Restricting food sales to only supermarkets was also about keeping supply chain workers to a minimum.

          Supermarkets got a massive market advantage in exchange. Let's see how they honour that over coming weeks and months as many of those smaller retailers and suppliers shift to online sales or go bust.

        • KJT 3.1.1.2

          Hi. Same.

          I understand the need to keep shopping outlets to a minimum. And delivery chains.

          Supermarkets made sense.

          Not good for small businesses still having to pay overheads and leases. Though.

          A lot that have managed to keep going, the pent up demand may make up for it.

          Our small family business, has at least two months prebooked, as soon as we get to level two.

          Very pleased our local butcher was still able to deliver at level four.

          Supermarkets were handed a huge advantage. Let’s hope they return it to local communities, with living wages.

        • Paddington 3.1.1.3

          I agree with you totally about bakeries etc. But those decisions are symptomatic of the way we have approached Covid. The severity of the lockdown imposed on NZ has achieved no more favorable health outcomes than Australia (who have implemented a far less proscriptive policy). Yet for that comparable similarity in results, we have done far more damage to our economy. The OECD estimate that we will experience one the largest economic contractions in the world, at 30%, whereas the Australian economy is forecast to decline by 22%.

          • Poission 3.1.1.3.1

            That is also problematic in the way they use say GDP as a metric for contraction/expansion.If a substantial part of the population stays home an obeys the rules,retail says contracts as does tourism and travel.However car accidents also decrease so there are fewer fatalities, accident victims,and insurance claims.Fewer accidents also mean smaller payouts to health care providers,less work for panel beaters (and less wear and tear on vehicles) which decreases gdp,but increases for some their wellbeing and also spending.

            There is also a decrease in crime of certain types,meaning less work for lawyers,police,prisons etc.medical centres have also seen decreases in patients,also suggesting a gdp metric constraint.

            • Paddington 3.1.1.3.1.1

              Those 'constraints' apply equally in both countries, no?

              • Poission

                You would presume so.Hence the NAB results are telling with a halving of profits for the 6 months ending march 2.6 billion 2019/ 1.3 billion 2020.

                Credit impairment charge (1,161b) Group.

                The NZ banking (bnz) was however an increase in profit 562m2020 from 2019 532.There was also an increase in tax paid by the BNZ of 13 million and a Credit impairment charge decrease of 2 million.

                https://www.nab.com.au/content/dam/nabrwd/documents/reports/corporate/2020-half-year-results-announcement.pdf

                The BNZ profit may have been larger,however in march NZ decided to pay off 500 million on interest bearing credit card debt (in total)

                • Paddington

                  I'm not sure that any of that makes GDP invalid as a measure of economic activity. Sure there are limitations, but it is is still the standard measure for economic growth and contraction.

          • KJT 3.1.1.3.2

            Friends in Aussie tell me they wish they had the certainty for their businesses we have in New Zealand. They had to open, because everyone else did, customers are to frightened to come and they don't have any Government help. I think the forecasts about Aussie are optimistic. And it varies State by state, in some things they have had a tighter lockdown than us.

            • Paddington 3.1.1.3.2.1

              In virtually everything, they don't. And their Covid data is skewed by the fact that they had to deal with all the cruise ships. Less restriction, similar results. Australia has got this about right. We haven't. More and more commentators are starting to realise this.

              • In Vino

                More wishful thinking presented as fact by him who knows it all.
                It will be quite a while before all this pans out and such verdicts can be made. You risk making a big Charlie of yourself at this early stage.

                • Paddington

                  I'm using data as it stands now. Things can change, but as it currently stands, Australia has outplayed us.

                  • Incognito

                    Didn’t know it was a competition. Cricket or rugby, this time?

                  • Alice Tectonite

                    What data? Data source? Measures used for comparison?

                  • Tricledrown

                    Paddington so they should as Australia spends 1/3 more than us per head of population on healthcare.plus Australias private health sector is much bigger than ours.

                    But for all of that NZ has much less cases in Intensive care or hospital.

                    There are no winners in this pandemic

                    • Alice Tectonite

                      NZ also has fewer confirmed cases per head and has done more tests per head.

                      Overall both countries have done not too badly when compared to US, Europe, etc. Considerable variation within both countries too (e.g. NSW, TAS higher than other states/territories, differences between North and South Islands).

                    • Paddington

                      If we have far less cases in the hospital system, then historical health spending may not be so much of a factor. The issue I'm addressing here is the merits of the comparative approaches. Australia seem to have at the worst equal health outcomes, and their econmy is forecast to contract considerably less.

                    • Tricledrown

                      Paddington show us your evidence reading Australian newspapers shows up your pathetic fearmongering.

                      Because Australia has a much better public and private health sector they have 7,000 contact tracers we have 200 going up to 400+.

                      Because Australia has 7,000 contact tracers they have been able to contain the corona virus under less restrictive lockdown. Years of health spending cuts under National has weakened our response lucky we have had a tougher lockdown so our health systems can cope.

              • KJT

                What happened to Sweden, you were all talking about a few weeks ago?

                Too embarrassing to remember, now?

                • Paddington

                  Sweden? When was I talking about Sweden? There is a lot to admire about the way we’ve handled Covid. But I'm increasingly hearing people far more qualified than you and I doing the job the media should be doing asking the tough questions. Given the damage the government has done to the economy repsonding to Covid, I sincerely hope they've got it right.

                  • KJT

                    The damage the virus has done to the economy.

                    Not, The Government.

                    Except in your fantasy world.

                    • Paddington

                      If the Government has got the response wrong (even by degrees), then yes the government has damaged the economy. There is an increasing number of qualified voices expressing exactly the same doubts I am, including people such as Sir Ray Avery, Ian Harrison and Dr Peter Collignon.

                    • McFlock

                      To be fair, one of those is pretty close to his lane.

                      But his argument in the media doesn't seem to think confidence intervals exist. Not sure the Aussies count probables, either.

                    • Alice Tectonite []

                      @McFlock

                      Aus data is lab confirmed only, no probables. Amazing how many people who should know better include probable cases in their comparisons, almost like they want to make NZ look bad.

                    • KJT

                      Trotting out "experts" who like to pontificate on things way outside their area, along with fudging statistics, seems to be a frequent, thing, with our right wing.

                      Too difficult to get someone, who actually has expertise in the particular area, to agree with them?

                      It's almost as though they don't like, facts!

                    • Paddington

                      "Trotting out "experts" who like to pontificate on things way outside their area…"

                      Did you even look at who these people are?

                      Ray Avery is a Pharmaceutical scientist. You can read his concerns here https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL2004/S00122/the-statisticians-that-killed-new-zealand.htm.

                      Ian Harrison is a (former) RB economist. In this paper http://www.tailrisk.co.nz/documents/Corona.pdf he severely criticises the modelling used by the government to support the severity of the lockdown.

                      These are qualified voices expressing genuine concerns that we could have gone about this with far less social and economic damage.

                    • KJT

                      Yes. I know who they are.

                      And recalled some of their "pronouncements, in the past.

                    • Paddington

                      "Yes. I know who they are. "

                      And yet you accused them of pontificating " on things way outside their area, along with fudging statistics…"

                      Care to retract now that you acrually know who they are?

                    • Tricledrown

                      Paddington if the government hadn't made the tough lockdown call you would be blaming the government for the death toll much larger economic downturn and the no doubt elongated lockdown.

                    • McFlock

                      @Alice interesting – when I used NZ probables vs Aus numbers, Aus squeaks under the bar.

                      When I used NZ confirmed vs Aus numbers, it's the other way around.

                      Far be it for me to accuse Paddington's experts of fudging the numbers, though. Either way both countries are largely equivalent in cases so far.

          • pat 3.1.1.3.3

            "Variations in the impact effect across economies reflect differences in the composition of output. Many countries in which tourism is relatively important could potentially be affected more severely by shutdowns and limitations on travel. At the other extreme, countries with relatively sizeable agricultural and mining sectors, including oil production, may experience smaller initial effects from containment measures, although output will be subsequently hit by reduced global commodity demand. "

            https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecd-updates-g20-summit-on-outlook-for-global-economy.htm

            Tourism 3%Australian GDP and 6% NZ GDP for starters.

            • Paddington 3.1.1.3.3.1

              And Australia rely on exports of minerals, for example, which will be hit hard by a global economic slowdown. While NZ farmers will most likely save our economy from more serious problems as we become even more a foodbowl for the world. And yet despite these two factors, 30% still trumps 22%.

              • pat

                read the commentary again.

                • Paddington

                  I read it right the first time. It's why I specifically mentioned minerals and food exports. Mineral exports are more closely linked to economic activity than food. People have to eat.

                  • pat

                    "Variations in the impact effect across economies reflect differences in the composition of output.

                    Not extent of lockdown provision

                    "..may experience smaller initial effects from containment measures, although output will be subsequently hit by reduced global commodity demand. "

                    The initial impact does not reflect the longer term and in the longer term is not a result of local actions.

                    The takeout is what minor differences there may be between Australia and NZ responses is largely immaterial to the economic impact.

                    • Paddington

                      You missed this from your own source:

                      “Mr Gurría stressed that the implications for annual GDP growth will ultimately depend on many factors, including the magnitude and duration of national shutdowns…”

                      Did you not see that bit?

                      …or this bit…

                      “The impact effect of business closures could result in reductions of 15% or more in the level of output throughout the advanced economies and major emerging-market economies. ”

                      The extent of business closures is tied to the nature of each lockdown.

                      The takeout is that the differences in the lockdowns does have a significant impact on the forecast economic fortunes of the respective countries.

                    • Poission

                      The markets are also affected by what the customers think,being their own decision makers they have their own ability to manage their own risks.

                    • pat

                      Indeed i did…now would you like to note the difference in "magnitude and duration" of the Australian and NZ responses….they are marginal at best, to date….as is the impact.

                    • Paddington

                      "they are marginal at best, to date "

                      Rubbish. I run businesses on both sides of the tasman – I know there are considerable differences. Australians have been able to visit family, schools are open, they can buy food from butchers and greengrocers, get haircuts, public transport operates at a far higher level, weddings and funerals have continued, and businesses have been able to operate (eg restaurants and cafes have been able to operate takeaways). I could go on, but the differences are considerable.

                    • pat

                      The difference is negligible…if you run businesses on both sides of the Tasman you will soon discover that fact…when a model running on the edge goes in to a declining spiral it dosnt matter whether that decline is 22 or 28%…youre buggered either way.

              • KJT

                Why don't you just have the guts to say it outright, instead of pussyfooting around.

                What you really wanted.

                "We should have accepted the collateral damage. What is the deaths of a few old people compared to my bank balance. But, make sure you vote for me before you die. "

                • Paddington

                  Australia, as at end March, had more Covid cases in the 20-29 age group than the 60-65 age group, despite the cruise ships. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/31/australians-in-their-20s-have-more-confirmed-cases-of-coronavirus-than-any-other-age-group). That makes a nonsense of your already silly comment.

                  Australia has had a less severe lockdown, have much the same health results (and less deaths per capita, which again makes your comment look silly), and are likely to have far less severe economic problems.

                  To quote William F Buckley “put that in your pipe and smoke it”.

                  • KJT

                    And as someone said. "Counting your chickens".

                    We’ve already shown you are bullshitting.

                    • Paddington

                      I've already shown you can't read statistics. And it was you who raised the spectre of 'deaths', when Aus have less deaths per capita than we do.

                    • KJT

                      You’ve shown nothing, except you are prepared to quibble about the size of the parachute, before we even reach the ground.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Less than 3 months after Aussie and NZ had their first cases of Covid-19, Paddington determinedly makes the case for Australia's response to Covid-19 likely causing "far less severe economic problems". That may be correct, but surely it's too early to tell. Tbh, I don't get the obsession with comparing NZ and Aussie – apparently the National party once campaigned on closing the income gap between the two countries.

                      https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1007/S00446/wage-gap-with-australia-blows-out-over-50.htm

                      It must be mystifying and frustrating to some that a large majority of NZers seem quite OK with the NZ government’s and public service’s responses to the Covid-19 challenge.

                      Cox’s analysis shows that New Zealand’s lockdown had been far more successful than Australia’s.
                      “Our lockdown was more effective and we certainly couldn’t have gone another week before we did that. That would have been a mess, otherwise.”

                      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12327959

                    • Paddington

                      ""We knew Scotty from marketing was going to stuff it up…"

                      Well you won't be listening to them again eh?

                  • Paddington

                    "Tbh, I don't get the obsession with comparing NZ and Aussie…"

                    If we are to measure the governments performance (and let's face it the media aren't), we need a viable comparison. Australia is the best we have.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      An international comparison is not always essential for measuring government performance. Sure, it may help in some cases, but it's clear that the vast majority of voting NZers think the government's response to Covid-19 has been pretty good so far. How many of those NZers compared NZ and Australia when forming their opinions? [Hint: This is a trick question wink]

                      Look, I get why some people might seek to characterise the NZ government’s Covid-19 response as sub-optimal, and of course it was. But that’s hardly surprising, given what they were faced with. And I think that most of the NZ public get that, and understand that their government acted in good faith and with the immediate health of all NZers as the first priority.

                    • KJT

                      Comment from someone I know in WA.

                      "We knew Scotty from marketing was going to stuff it up, so we started social distancing, and keeping away from pubs and restaurants, ourselves".

                    • Paddington

                      "And I think that most of the NZ public get that, and understand that their government acted in good faith…"

                      I have no doubt they did. I like our PM. But based on what we know today, we have been outplayed by Aus.

                      "An international comparison is not always essential for measuring government performance."

                      Yes but it is one of a very few measures we have. How else do we judge whether or not the measures taken were correct?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      IMHO not everything has to be seen as a competition. Yes, the NZ government's early phase response to the Covid-19 pandemic may have been (much) better than most, and (slightly) worse than a few, depending on what metrics you chose for a comparison, but that's less important to me than knowing the response was considered and effective in keeping most NZers safe. The government's response, and that of NZers, seems to have achieved that goal. Hooray!

                      Of course there are many people who are preoccupied with who/what is ‘the best‘, and whether one country has ‘outplayed‘ another (an odd lens for examining a pandemic response?), but it simply doesn't interest me that much smiley

                    • Paddington

                      "but it simply doesn't interest me that much"

                      It interest me for two reasons.

                      1. If we've got it right, we have buggered the economy for good reason.

                      2. If we've got it wrong, we've buggered the economy unnecessarily.

                      We live in depend upon a global economy. That isn't going to chnage. We simply have to compete internationally. It's a fact of life.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Phrases like "we've buggered the economy unnecessarily" seem hyperbolic; out of touch with reality even. Certainly many individuals and businesses (small and large) in both NZ and Australia will be "buggered" financially/economically, and both the NZ and Australian economies will take a big hit from the Covid-19 pandemic.

                      The international tourism and international tertiary education 'industries' are effectively 'buggered' in both countries, and some commodity export industries will be doing it hard (don't know anything about this other than what I read), although if (and it's a big ‘if‘) trans-Tasman travel 'takes off' again then this might benefit NZ more than Aussie.

                      Tbh, don't really understand how any differences between the NZ and Australian government Covid-19 responses will influence the extent to which global trade activities in each country will be 'buggered', but I'm happy to be schooled on this.

                      IMHO it's too early to tell if any government's response to Covid-19 has "buggered the economy unnecessarily" (although you could perhaps make that case for countries that were slow to respond and/or responded 'weakly'), but with only two new Covid-19 cases in NZ today, and business activity starting to ramp up (with more to come in a week and a half), it could be worse.

                      https://covid19.govt.nz/businesses-and-employees/businesses-and-services/doing-business-at-alert-level-3/

                      I'm doing my bit – Indian takeaways tonight smiley

                      One last point – I doubt it will be possible to accurately determine how many more NZers would have died from Covid-19 infection if the NZ government had adopted the Australian response measures. Maybe it would have made no difference, but nobody knows. So your comments begin to read like a beat-up, but I do admire your determination – are you missing TV sports entertainment?

                    • Paddington

                      "… but I do admire your determination – are you missing TV sports entertainment? "

                      That and missing getting out the boat I only bought a few weeks before the lockdown! Maybe I'm just getting grumpy. Hope you enjoyed your indian!

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Yes thanks, and two more to go – they're worth supporting so win-win.

                      Hope you'll be able to take your boat out on the water once NZ goes to level 2.

    • JanM 3.2

      Probably not a good idea now tbey've got the begging bowl out!

    • Gabby 3.3

      'Police state'? I guess the fkwt smuggled his article out of the gulag secreted in his reckon hole.

      • I Feel Love 3.3.1

        And forgetting to mention the Soviet style queues of media outlets receiving their bail outs. But yeah, "police state" FFS, basically negates the whole article really. In Aus there was a story about the cops walking into a funeral to make sure everyone was keeping their distance, "we don't know how lucky we are".

      • McFlock 3.3.2

        "reckon hole" lol

    • Muttonbird 3.4

      Luke Malpass is a wrong-un, and Thomas Coughlan took over from the National Party embedded Stacey Kirk.

    • Incognito 3.5

      Whenever is a checkpoint a roadblock?

      When it suits your narrative.

    • AB 3.6

      Alan Jones's statement a few months ago that he was "sick of that woman" suggests that there's a cohort of aging, conservative Aussie blokes who are up for a bit of Ardern-bashing. So the story might play better there than here.

      • Sacha 3.6.1

        They may have regained some froth by getting rid of Raelene Castle, the limp old codgers.

        • I Feel Love 3.6.1.1

          I've also noticed the absence of the RW lines "she's a weak leader". Actually I've noticed the lack of RWs.

        • Blazer 3.6.1.2

          Forget her gender Castle was hopeless.

          She made a complete mess of the Folau incident.

          • woodart 3.6.1.2.1

            yeah, imagine taking the word of a christian, who promises not to be a bad boy(again)

  4. Cinny 4

    Agent orange is not holding a whitehouse briefing for the second day in a row.

    But dang… he's raging on the twitter.

    • Morrissey 4.1

      Trump and his regime of criminals are a horror show. Unfortunately, over the last three and a half years the Democratic Party and its media megaphones have squandered all their credibility by chasing a chimera.

      • Gabby 4.1.1

        No coordination = Pooty said 'leave it all to me.'

      • The Unliving 4.1.2

        Yet less than a week ago we had this from the US Senate: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/21/senate-intel-report-confirms-russia-aimed-to-help-trump-in-2016-198171

        For that tweet to state that the whole thing was a "complete scam" on the basis of a transcript of a *single* meeting between the FBI and George Papadopoulos (who went to jail for lying to the FBI) is ridiculous.

        • Andre 4.1.2.1

          Well, yes. But by god, the mozzie has made up his mind and he's going to repost here all the internet kooks and cranks he can find that fit his preconception until the end of time. Big picture view of all the evidence be damned!

          • Morrissey 4.1.2.1.1

            all the internet kooks and cranks….

            The Clinton campaign's absurd and now almost abandoned conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is the tool of a vast, masterful Russian conspiracy involving "Russian bots" manipulating millions of gullible Americans—"Russiagate"—has been dismissed by, amongst others: Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Aaron Maté, Matt Taibbi, Jonathan Cook, John Pilger, Nicky Hager, Norman Finkelstein, Chris Hedges…

            Which of those commentators would you call "kooks" and which would you call "cranks"?

            https://fair.org/home/tips-for-a-post-mueller-media-from-nine-russiagate-skeptics/

            https://www.truthdig.com/articles/matt-taibbi-and-aaron-mate-on-how-russiagate-helped-trump/

            • Andre 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Apologies. I forgot to include the category 'useful idiots'.

              Just outta curiosity, what opinions has Nicky Hager expressed about russian shitfuckery in the 2016 debacle of an election in the US? If he actually said anything at all, I missed it.

              • Morrissey

                "Useful idiots", are they? That Stalinist chestnut may not be quite as colourful as the epithets you dream up to ridicule Trump, but it's about as convincing.

                I'm amused to see you doubling down on your "Russian shitfuckery" claims.

                • Andre

                  Go on, tell us what Nicky Hager had to say. He's the only one of your list whose opinions I still value.

                  • Morrissey

                    If you don't value the opinions of the most respected intellectuals and journalists in the United States, Israel, and Australia, I don't believe your claim that you "value" the opinions of Nicky Hager.

                    • Andre

                      You're avoiding backing up your implication that Hager has expressed an opinion that there is some kind kind of conspiracy or hoax involved in the reporting of russian election interference.

              • Sacha

                You didn't miss anything. Expect a blustery breeze from Northcote to continue.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      I heard there was significant complaint building that all the major networks were running Trumps briefings in full. They have no need to run his briefings in full, even if they are mentioned, as c-span does it anyway.

      Don't know what was going on there, but I am glad the administration pulled the plug on the briefings, as Trumps perspective on anything was impacting how people reported issues relating to treatment of the virus.

      • Morrissey 4.2.1

        The major networks have little credibility.

      • Foreign waka 4.2.2

        I think there were actually a lot of people inquiring about injecting and/ or swallowing of disinfectant. If I understand this correctly already one person died. This is a debacle for the camp Trump. I suspect that the possibility of lawsuits for wrongful deaths can be an issue.

        • Sacha 4.2.2.1

          He made the mistake of lying about something most of the public can tell is wrong. Naturally some of them needed to try it for themselves. Gawd bless amurca.

      • Treetop 4.2.3

        Trump needs to wake up and start delivering free Covid-19 testing and affordable universal health care as this is needed. I get the impression that doctors need to be an accountant when it comes to delivering health care due to the questions of costs they are asked by health consumers during a consult.

        Just what does Trump think when he says Covid-19 testing is free and there are hidden charges. I cannot think of another issue which is more serious and that it can affect anyone. Trump's management is poor, he has not grasped how important testing is, if he had there would be long lines of people in every state where testing is being carried out.

    • Sacha 4.3

      Boy is he ever raging on the twitter..

      • Sacha 4.3.1

        Naturally, twitr hosted a swift response..

      • Tricledrown 4.3.2

        Grumpy Gump can't even spell.Pity they don't have a Noble prize for Stupidity.

  5. Morrissey 5

    Oh NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O! That zombie Larry Summers is back. no

  6. Peter 6

    An observation on the announcement of Level Four ending and a media hack looking for any angle to turn it into a controversy.

    Mondayisation is sort of strange now.

    I learned last week that there are no such things as 'business days.' They always used to be a thing. They aren't any more because there are people working every day. Mike Hosking told me that. He's always good for information.

    All days apparently are ordinary days, they're working days, they're all business days. It's just that they have different names. One is called Tuesday, one is called Friday … The working week is Sunday to Saturday, or Thursday to Wednesday or whatever.

    A bit weird to tune in this morning to hear Hosking, (he's good for information, I learn so much from him) to find however he's not working today. Apparently in his house it's not an ordinary day, a business day. That's the sort of life experience that sees him getting the call to tell us what's what and define it for us I suppose. He'd know.

    • weka 6.1

      he did seem confused the other week, where he works on weekends but doesn't work on weekends.

      • Peter 6.1.1

        A part of that which struck a chord in our house was how his working in the weekend fits into the persistent narrative heard from his supporters over years.

        A teacher lives in our house. One of those one working "9.00 'til 3.00 and has half the year off" people.

        By the same logic Hosking works from 6.00 'til 9.00am. He has the same sort of 'time away' as teachers. (Not getting at him for being at home in school holidays.)

        I guess when you're an expert on how the world should be you only need a short time to dispense your genius. Including telling teachers they need to get into the 'real world.'

    • Foreign waka 6.2

      Hi Peter
      Thank you for a good laugh today 🙂

  7. RedLogix 7

    In other news, while the rest of the world is consumed with COVID news, the CCP has been busy:

    This is the reckoning we had to have. The rise of China was never going to be risk-free.

    The coronavirus crisis has revealed what should have been plainly obvious: China and the West have been on a collision course.

    While China has been on the march, the West has been asleep — seduced by China's wealth and deluded into thinking that the Communist Party would either collapse, or abandon everything it stands for and embrace liberal democracy.

    I don't fully agree with all of Stan Grant's pre-suppositions here; personally I think there are good reasons to think the CCP faces bigger risks than he allows for. But he makes his case well and it's worth a read.

  8. Reality 8

    Peter, I like your irony! Mike Hosking seems to blurt out anything whether it is logic or not. Hope he doesn’t start swigging from a bottle of disinfectant. After all a highly respected and intelligent and sane leader thinks it’s worth considering.

    • Sacha 8.1

      More endorsement too.

  9. Muttonbird 9

    Article here describes the dangers of placing the economy over people's health and safety.

    RW government in Lombardy refused to lockdown industry. Result? 14,000 dead.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12327725

    • Carolyn_Nth 9.1

      Same AP article on Stuff.

      And the take home for me is that it indicates why it was good that NZ closed borders and went to lock down when it did.

      Like Lombardy, NZ did not have the capability to deal with such a pandemic because of cut backs to our public health system under neoliberalism. We did not have the capacity in hospitals, the resources, PPEs, etc., or the capability to do the amount of testing and track and tracing required to deal with the pandemic. Aussie had some better resources in place.

      The lock down brought breathing space to build up these capabilities. A couple of weeks before lock down, NZ was sending swabs to Aussie for C-19 testing. Now, NZ is doing a higher proportion of testing per 1 million of population than Aussie – and we have confirmed more cases.

      • Adrian 9.1.1

        We had about 30% spare capacity in ICUs in normal times, should we have had 10 times as much? Especially when very good medical and governance reactions meant that ICUs have had considerably more spare capacity for the last 4 weeks. Each bed requires a lot of staff for cover even on 12 hour shifts.

        And it is not just equipment needed, can the system afford huge numbers of highly trained intensive care nurses sitting around waiting for the air raid siren to go off every 100 years or so or to be fair every 20 to 50?

        Remember Chch brilliantly managed over 100 unfortunate people last year at no notice.

        • Carolyn_Nth 9.1.1.1

          We did not know what we were dealing with and we have learned a lot in a month. there is still much more to learn about this virus. And yes, we did need to free up that ICU space.

          Going relatively early meant that this only happened for a bit over 4 weeks. In places where they put in lock downs at a relatively late time, when the C-19 horse had already bolted, the health system has become so overloaded they can't cope.

          Now, going into Level 3, Bloomfield has said there will be more non-C-19 hospital appointments issued, plus the cancer teams have worked out a strategy for seeing those who need urgent attention. In the UK, they dithered, and there is still not attention given to those who require urgent non-C-19 screening or attention.

          I am someone who has a non-Covid hospital appointment with a specialist tomorrow. This is for a possible growth in my throat. The GP referred me for this last Tuesday and she told me I would get an appointment in 3-4 weeks. She probably was going by the usual time period in the public health system. That is a couple of weeks shorter than the lock down.

          The relatively early lockdown has bought time for the health system to build up safe procedures, systems and resources. So, for instance, I've been told not to go into the department before 5 minutes before my appointment time. This is to keep the number of people waiting there to a minimum.

          I am very happy with the early lock down, and how it's been managed.

          • Macro 9.1.1.1.1

            Wishing you all the best for a positive outcome tomorrow Carolyn.

            • Carolyn_Nth 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks, Macro. It's concerning that they are treating my case with urgency.

              However, it'll be better in the long run if it is a growth.

              • Macro

                it'll be better in the long run if it is a growth.

                Yes indeed. And if it is not, you will be able to rest easier as well. 🙏

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  You were right, Macro. It's nothing to worry about, will go away eventually…. and I will definitely rest easier.

                  The hospital experience under level 3 was interesting.

                  Spaces marked on the floor to keep people at a distance from each other. Security at entrance checking your entrance. Got directed to a guy at a desk near the entrance, and showed him a printout of my appointment letter. he rang upstairs to check if they are expecting me, then told to go up in the lift.

                  In the waiting area, only one seat in a row is to be occupied. As I left the specialist's room, I used one of the hand sanitiser dispensers on the wall to clean my hands.

                  • Macro

                    I'm pleased to hear that Carolyn.

                    Interesting how well the hospitals are coping. I had to visit the medical centre here the other day to pick up a prescription – You have to ring up first and they will prepare it and you can pick it up at a given time. They drop the parcel down onto a table for you to pick up – there is a flexible screen so the pharmacists are fully protected – and off you go. All works superbly – no waiting around.

    • Poission 9.2

      Nothing unusual from a historical perspective.

    • Stunned Mullet 9.3

      RW government in Lombardy refused to lockdown industry. Result? 14,000 dead.

      That's your only takeout from that article ?

    • Mpk 9.4

      And heres a good article comparing the results from the neighbouring state of Veneto where the threat was recognised and immediate action taken. Pretty much gives the difference between she'll be right individualism and the active measures that can only be initiated by collections of individuals acting with the best interests of mutual aid.

      https://consortiumnews.com/2020/04/24/covid-19-lessons-from-lombardy/

  10. Morrissey 10

    Whistleblowers for Assange

    "Justice for Julian Assange in USA? In a court in E Virginia where the jury is selected from a popn. where 85% of the popn. works for the CIA, NSA, DOD, DOS … In a court where nobody has ever been acquitted! Gonna get a fair trial?"

    —NILS MELZER, Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

    • Mpk 10.1

      Not to mention the hearing in the UK where the judge, Baraitser is pretty determined to make Assanges remaining time in the UK a living hell. If you scroll to the bottom of this page and read up you will get a pretty good idea of what it means to be a political prisoner trying to get a fair trial.

      Sorry. That page was a bit long. First day of hearing is here. Theres 4 days which you can find on the site.

      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-1/

      • Morrissey 10.1.1

        Baraitser belongs in the same company as Roland Freisler and Andrey Vyshinsky.

  11. Janet 11

    A premium article in The Herald

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12323535

    “Costco Wholesale is the world's second-largest retailer after Walmart and it said last winter that it would be open here next year, selling 20-30 per cent cheaper than elsewhere.”

    “Overseas Investment Office has cleared the application for Costco to buy the land from NZ Retail Property Group.”

    Does NZ really need this ?

    20-30 % Cheaper . Why ? Not NZ made for sure.

    • Sacha 11.1

      Low-wage economies attract discount retailers.

    • Paddington 11.2

      FYI there is a major NZ supplier of manuka honey selling product to CostCo in Australia. If the NZ product is competitive, CostCo will carry it.

  12. Grumpy 12

    Hate to be a bit picky but how come using today’s MoH figures we appear to have MORE people recovered than have been confirmed with the disease?

    How can one recover from a disease when it was never confirmed they had it?

    • Andre 12.1

      We include probable cases in our total case counts, which makes our case numbers significantly higher than equivalent places (such as Oz) that don't include them.

      Probable cases are in two categories. There are those with the symptoms, but have returned a negative test. I'll guess these are being included because of the known high percentage of false negatives from the test. There are also those with symptoms that are known close contacts of confirmed cases who haven't been tested.

      Some of the probable cases end up getting moved out of the total case count. Dunno exactly what the criteria, but an example of that happened today. Today 5 new cases were announced (4 probable 1 confirmed), but 6 probables were reclassified as not a case, resulting in our total case count decreasing by one.

      Note – 27 April: There are five new cases today, one confirmed and four probable cases. Six cases that were probable yesterday have been reclassified as under investigation or not a case following discussion with MOH. This results in a net decrease in total cases by one.

      About the data:

      • Source: This is provisional information taken daily at 9am from a live database, EpiSurv (ESR) and is likely to change as more details are provided about individual cases.
      • Confirmed cases are people that have had a positive laboratory test. For more details please refer to Case definition of COVID-19 infection.
      • A probable case is one without a positive laboratory result, but which is treated like a confirmed case based on its exposure history and clinical symptoms.
      • Recovered cases are people who had the virus, are at least 10 days since onset and have not exhibited symptoms for 48 hours, and have been cleared by the health professional responsible for their monitoring.

      https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-current-situation/covid-19-current-cases

  13. Graeme 13

    WTF

    Police are investigating a major break-in at a South Auckland car rental yard where almost 100 vehicles were stolen on Friday night.

    Inspector Matt Srhoj, Counties Manukau West Area Commander, told the Herald it is believed around 100 vehicles, registered to Jucy Rentals, were stolen from the company's Mangere yard.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/almost-100-stolen-rental-company-one-night

    Now you don't just pull that sort of thing stumbling home after a few quiets. Someone thought about that for a while.

    Insurance job????

    Repo????

  14. Jake 14

    "But, do we want international tourism as it was?"

    YES,… because: It was all a HOAX.

    The Covid-19 HOAX can be seen in the way Covid-19 spread.

    It spread to the whole world but jumped over the major Chinese cities.

    You know Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, etc. On March 16, more than 3 weeks after the lockdown,

    Beijing Municipality had 442 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 20 million),
    Shanghai Municipality had 353 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 23 million),
    Guangdong Province had 1,357 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 104 million),
    Hong Kong Region had 141 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 7 million).

    Get that… it didn't appreciably spread (before or after the Chinese lockdown) to any of the major Chinese cities.

    But it massively spread (before the Chinese lockdown) to Iran and Italy.

    How's that?

    Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province.

    The Washington Post reported that 5 million people left Wuhan between January 10, i.e., the start of the Chinese New Year travel rush, and the lockdown.<0>

    Get that… five million leave Wuhan for elsewhere, but do not appreciably spread the disease.

    How's that?

    And what about Africa?

    As of April 16, there were only 16,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in all of Africa.

    Get that… only 16,500 cases in all of Africa.
    Africa, which has seen massive Chinese investment accompanied by over a million Chinese workers.

    How's that?

    http://www.preearth.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1184

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

    [You look like you might be new here. Have a read of the About and Policy so that you get a sense of how things work here. There is an expectation that people will be able to back up claims and argue their points – weka]

    [some bold removed – weka]

    [permanent ban for spamming the site with covid conspiracy theories. Commenting here is a privilege and there are boundaries on acceptable behaviour. Spamming is viewed very dimly – weka]

    • weka 14.1

      mod note for you above. Please lay off the excessive use of bold to please, it looks shouty and makes it harder to moderate.

    • greywarshark 14.2

      Jake Has just found out about Covid-19. He/she is shocked at the blatantly naive way that the country is showing its credulous infantile and foolish beliefs in the obviously fraudulent scientific studies that are being produced to destabilise the World! Thank you Jake you are onto it now you have woken up after your coma, and your mind is clear. But I think that you have stretched your mind too far, and like a degraded rubber band pushed to the limit, it has snapped. /sarc

  15. joe90 15

    The dumbest people on the planet.

    • AB 15.1

      It's hilarious of course, but I'm worried that you are denying these people 'agency' by calling them dumb. Say – like a Bernie bro claiming that a Biden supporter had made a mistake (or had been unduly influenced) in thinking Biden was more electable. Which we are told is an atrocious denial of the 'agency' of the Biden supporter. I guess one person's agency is another's stupidity, and vice versa?

      • Morrissey 15.1.1

        Those people are dumb. They're batshit stupid. Trouble is, when someone like Daniel Dale says it, it carries no authority, because he works for an organisation that is donkey-deep in the most foolish conspiracy theory of the last fifty years.

      • Anne 15.1.2

        I'm worried that you are denying these people 'agency' by calling them dumb.

        They are ignorant and poorly educated which in my book comes to much the same thing as stupidity. Talking such unadulterated rubbish gives them no agency at all.

      • Gabby 15.1.3

        They've got dumb agency though, that's the best agency.

    • bill 15.2

      The dumbest people on the planet.

      Given how atrocious so-called news is, it's no surprise that people cast around armed with their tribal bias ready to latch onto more or less 'anything' that might reinforce their sense of knowing.

      With these two women it's a conspiracy no less grounded in reality than the three years of Russia Hoax that many embraced.

      It's all fucking fcked.

  16. Morrissey 16

    People like Daniel Dale spend their time tweeting about how they are "just staring at" such idiocy. It's a pity that his Olympian contempt for these particular fools doesn't extend to the people who have been pushing similarly deluded nonsense about Russian masterminds controlling that puppet Trump for the last three years.

    Oh, that's right: he's a CNN correspondent. I note that his Twitter feed is full of contributions by such thoughtful and responsible people as David Frum, William Kristol, and Rick Wilson. So at least a few sniffy Republican Party factionalists think he's a smart commentator.

  17. Sacha 17

    Covid tracing app for NZ in 2 weeks, privacy watchdog reassured about it https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/415214/covid-19-new-zealand-contact-tracing-app-due-within-two-weeks

    Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said he was confident the government had followed a robust process to ensure that data collected by the app will be used appropriately.

    He said he has been working with the Ministry of Health on the project and his office will be keeping an eye on how the data is collected and used.

    • Scumbag Andy 17.1

      Two weeks ago I had reason to contact the police using the non emergency system for a covid related matter – someone I didn't know needed checking up on. A few days later I got an enquiry on the matter from a market research company that has clients all across government services. The email used information I had not given them, and that could only have come from the police. Not only was what they used illegal to use, someone had really gone to some trouble to dig it out, but was too fucking dumb to realise I would notice.

      The moral of the story is if you think any of this stuff is managed by responsible trained staff, or legal, you're in for a surprise.

      • Sacha 17.1.1

        I would not trust the police with it – not enough ethics in their training or culture.

  18. ianmac 18

    Salman Rushdie published a novel in 2019 called "Quichotte."

    I like the line where his character declared that the country (USA) was in a state of "Errorism". How apt.

  19. I Feel Love 19

    Well howabout that, modelling from a month ago predicted 20 deaths, and here we are at 19… of course I'm not suggesting there won't be more I just found these https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/27/new-zealand-coronavirus-deaths-during-lockdown-could-be-just-20-modelling-suggests curiously accurate…

  20. joe90 20

    The US only beat them by to it 15 years.

    • Anne 21.1

      I sense a bit of pot and kettle there.

    • ScottGN 21.2

      Undoubtedly the Nats have internal problems and no doubt amplified by Bridges’ clumsy handling of the whole Covid crisis. But this is got to be one of Tova’s specialty beat-ups that she periodically likes to float out there.

      • Fireblade 21.2.1

        Simon's problem is that accusations of weak leadership and poor judgement aren't going away. He's now a liability for the National Party, not an asset.

    • Cinny 21.3

      Maybe Dr. custard is a little bit worried about his seat with the election coming up…

  21. joe90 22

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