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Open mike 29/01/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 29th, 2022 - 313 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

313 comments on “Open mike 29/01/2022 ”

  1. Herodotus 1

    With the climate progressing the way it is. Why are we building a train set to the airport? I thought that air travel will dramatically reduce in support of decreasing emissions and to save the world. But no we want to facilitate air travel.
    And if some believe a train set is worthy. Why not double track and loop the track to continue this to Manukau ?

    • weka 1.1

      yep, my thoughts exactly. Probably people making decisions believe that soon there will be a fuel that replaces avgas and is economically viable (environmentally viable is probably not being considered). There could be, but it seems a big risk.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        The airport also employs over 10,000 people, most of whom are locals.

        Once the system is complete they can leave their cars at home.

        • Herodotus 1.1.1.1

          There are workers who live in Manukau and looping will include these guys as well as those further south that the rail picks up eg Papakura etc cannot see why the manukau link has not been discussed as much of the land is level and there is farm land and an old quarry land that could be utilised 🤔 and ad I have read how PT are linked but still why not a loop track there is nothing out there I can find on the topic or that it has even been even thought of.

          If climate is an issue what is the future of air travel for passengers ??

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            The Auckland Rapid Transit Network map has been around for a while and includes connections to Manukau, and from Manukau up Te Irirangi then Botany Downs then Pakuranga then Panmure.

            RTN map with mangere change – Greater Auckland

            The Airport-Puhinui rail station was completed last year as was the bus lanes.

            Panmure to Pakuranga is complete.

            Pakuranga to Botany Downs is in detailed design them on to construction.

        • weka 1.1.1.2

          there are a lot of short and medium term benefits for sure.

          • Ad 1.1.1.2.1

            Come up to Auckland some time and see the task at hand with some of the completed network components.

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.2

        My letter to the editor, The Southland Times, published this morning.

        (a little long for a comment, but not too long 🙂

        "The serious issue of climate change has been shunted into the background by Covid and the actions we’ve had to take to avoid harm from the virus.

        The gases that cause climate change, however, continue to be released into the atmosphere, and the temperate keeps rising as a result.

        Those of us (that’s all of us) who are putting those gasses up into the air, try to play the issue down, ignore what’s happening, or deny any responsibility: it’s the most frustrating factor in doing something effective about climate change.

        Car drivers continue to drive. Industry chimneys still pump greenhouse gases into the air, animals on farms pass “wind”, or rather methane, just as before, despite scientists’ clear warnings.

        Covid, it seems, will pass, thanks to our community efforts. Climate change won’t, especially if our efforts remain too little and too late because of our fondness for making excuses.

        The Government has signalled its intention to take action and in response, industries like agriculture and transport have looked for ways around making the changes, challenging the proposed solutions vigorously. Our cows will burp less, farmers say, we’ll stop burning coal…eventually, says industry, we’ll use public transport, car drivers (very few) say, but it doesn’t add up to much at all. Gases continue to flow upwards, the temperature continues to rise.

        What can the ordinary person do then, while the big players excuse their own behaviour?

        Certainly, it’s worth pressuring the big gas-producers to stop their behaviour and we can support the Government in their efforts to reduce New Zealand’s overall contribution to greenhouse gas production, but at home, what can be done by the ordinary person to make a difference, so that they can be part of the solution, rather than the problem?

        That’s the easy part.

        Simplify.

        Grow your own food (not all of it; we’re not ready for bananas down here, yet, but it may not be too long…) Having a veggie garden means fewer trips to the supermarket for you and thereby fewer truck deliveries from out of the region to supply those supermarkets. Diesel-powered delivery trucks are major contributors to greenhouse gas levels. You can reduce the need for them.

        Compost everything that can be turned to soil. Well managed compost, applied to your garden soil, becomes a “sponge” that holds carbon-based gases and keeps them from floating off into the air. You’ll also have less in your rubbish bin and the truck won’t have to stop at your gate as often.

        Walk more. The soles of your shoes produce no greenhouse gases as you walk; your car however, has a terrible reputation when it comes to pumping them out, so the more time spent using your legs, the better. Plus, you’ll be able to encourage other climate-conscious walkers as you get about.

        Choose carefully what you buy. If the product had to be freighted-in from afar, it’ll have added to the problem: buy local; getting your products and produce from nearby eliminates the issues of transport and its air-polluting downside.

        Lastly, a “don’t”: if at all possible, don’t burn coal! The problem gasses that coal burning create are among the worst exacerbators of climate change and giving up the coal-burning habit is a significant action for anyone who values a settled, reliable, pleasant climate for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

        It’s not the responsibility of the ordinary person-in-the-street to save the planet from overheating: it’s industry, manufacturing, farming and transport who should be stepping up and owning that, but it seems they will just keep finding excuses not to act, so that leaves you and I to lead the way and make the changes. Individually, we can’t turn the tide, but at least we can be ready for whatever’s coming, and confident that we tried our best."

        • Ad 1.1.2.1

          Individualising your climate change response is the same as privatising it.

          The government policy leadership is getting stronger, but will be clearer still once Minister Shaw releases his Carbon Reduction plan in May, close to the Budget.

          Your "ordinary person-in-the-street" is precisely the same person who participates in "industry, manufacturing, farming and transport".

          When we see regional or local councils stepping into the community with bold policy, each "person-in-the-street" will know they are not alone. And until such councils do that, this government is going to keep stripping the powers and functions off them.

          So primarily this task rests, like COVID, with Cabinet making major calls and funding them, and making that leadership signal as strong as possible.

          I do not know why COVID hasn't given you hope that such change is possible.

          • Robert Guyton 1.1.2.1.1

            Yes, Ad.

            But industry and local governance are forever prevaricating and the "man" in the street knows this and it creates torpor. My intention is to encourage the ordinary person (well, those few who bother reading a letter so long as this one) to engage, no matter how tenuous the connection to significant change in the climate; it's the climate of promise and positive thinking I want to foster.

            I certainly do expect that, in part as a result of the Covid response, the response to climate change will improve – using the Covid model to initiate change much faster. Cabinet will make and fund major calls, but those agencies I criticise will try to block those, as is their style. I believe also, that the general public and their soft-pressure can bring change quickly as well, and when aligned with a central Government practiced in effective management of a crisis, achieve great things. Hence my letter 🙂

            • Ad 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Our industrial owners are so concentrated that the great majority are fully keyed into climate policy formation – even moreso than the "person on the street". That IMHO is not a thing to worry about by itself.

              The test for Environment Southland will be in how their 2022 budget funds the programmes you speak of, and their responses to the impending RMA changes and 3 Waters legislation coming up.

              Even in Southland the capacity to grow the base of engaged people a wee bit more could start with ES engaging with ICC forming common climate policies and programmes.

              It's never going to work just lecturing people with the same old stuff.

              • Robert Guyton

                The councils of Southland have already amalgamated their climate planning – we met some time ago to discuss the issues, following pressure from "a councillor" to declare a climate emergency.

                Nobody's lecturing. Climate change features in almost every discussion ES has, in the council chamber and perhaps in the engine room of the council as well. Despite our publications though, the public don't engage with us to any significant extent, on the issue. They've plenty else to think about presently, but I'm wanting to keep the kettle boiling, metaphorically, so that the language isn't lost. When central Government acts, I don't want the public to be too startled.

                • Ad

                  What evidence do you have that "meeting together to discuss issues" has led to greater public engagement within the Southland and Invercargill public about climate change issues?

                  Do you do integrated budgets on common line items, for example?

                  Your tone in the letter is precisely lecturing. Telling Southlanders to grow their own food is pretty weird when they are some of our largest and most efficient food producers.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Not sure I'm grasping your meaning but…the meetings, plus the background action in the council chamber and the various departments of the councils, have been broadcast as items of information in the local papers and our own council magazines, website etc, though that wasn't the intention of the amalgamations or the discussions; those were to actualise CC policies new and developing. My intention with penning my own statement/letter, was to revive the issue a little – I was writing as an individual, not a councillor.

                    As to telling Southlanders to grow their own food, I'm not sure that,

                    "what can be done by the ordinary person to make a difference, so that they can be part of the solution, rather than the problem?

                    That’s the easy part.

                    Simplify."

                    is "telling", more sharing my view on what's doable, but it could be received as dictatorial, I suppose. In any case, your belief that Southlanders are "are some of our largest and most efficient food producers." is referring to the agriculture industry here; dairy in particular, and isn't the audience I'm writing for, but they too would be wise to maintain a good paddock garden for their own vegetables, walk more than they do now, buy local to support the smaller growers and producers of the region and lastly, leave the coal in the hole 🙂

          • Ross 1.1.2.1.2

            I do not know why COVID hasn't given you hope that such change is possible.

            Too funny, though I suspect inadvertently.

            Children continue to die in their own driveways despite an easy fix being available. If Governments find resolving that too onerous, and they do, you obviously have considerable optimism to think they can sort out the planet’s ills.

            • Ad 1.1.2.1.2.1

              It is not the government's responsibility to stop you running over children in your own driveway. It is your responsibility.

              • Ross

                It is not the government's responsibility to stop you running over children in your own driveway. It is your responsibility.

                It is not the Government’s responsibility to “save” you from Covid. It’s your responsibility.

                It’s not the Government’s responsibility to pay the dole, it’s your responsibility to get a job!

                It’s not the Government’s responsibility to worry about so-called hate speech, it’s your responsibility to respect my right to free speech.

            • Patricia Bremner 1.1.2.1.2.2

              A programme is in place for this… get your ducks lined up Ross

    • tsmithfield 1.2

      I agree. Could be a big white elephant like the Christchurch Convention Centre, which I doubt will do very well given the trend towards Zoom meetings rather than face to face.

      I think the nature of business travel in particular has changed forever due to this pandemic and climate change.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        Not sure how often you observe the public transport numbers in Auckland, but:

        – Double tracking of the rail lines hasn't been a white elephant

        – Dedicated busway up the North Shore wasn't a white elephant

        – Dedicated busway to Pakuranga wasn't a white elephant

        No major public transport investment in Auckland's last 30 years has failed other than ferries, which got a specific PTOM carveout from National.

    • Ad 1.3

      The light rail route decision is part of a broader network.

      They have published how all the modes link together across Auckland often enough.

      If you want to see how it all fits together, the best place to look is http://www.greaterauckland.org.nz

    • Foreign waka 1.4

      You know that Air NZ is 52% majority owed by the taxpayer/government. Air NZ got billions and then some to keep afloat and now they get access easing too. In the end, we all pay for all of it, worth billions of taxpayer money. Just add it to the bill, inflation is nothing to worry about. (sic)

      What is needed are better corridors to international flights to connect to domestic ports, more buses to get to Britomat and thus the public transport network in Auckland and I think this would cover it. Tourism won't be taking off in a hurry. We need to spend this obscene amount to eliminate poverty, provide housing etc… Of cause this is not pandering to the interests of the trickle down brigade 🙄

      • Ad 1.4.1

        It's a public transport investment; it's focused on equity for travel, and on CO2 decreases.

        All the reports that went into the mode decision are in the public domain if you want to check out the actual analysis.

        Home (lightrail.co.nz)

    • Molly 1.5

      " Why are we building a train set to the airport?"

      The cynic in me would say it's because of the added value it will give to the developers of the residentially zoned land out there who have exhibited great influence over local government for a long time. Add to that the influence and support of Greater Auckland, and we have a done deal.

    • vto 1.6

      Herodotus, you and many others get the wrong end of the stick in this debate/issue.

      Imo travel will increase. Very significantly. There will be a lot more travel, by a lot more people, a lot more often.

      You are conflating the issue of energy type with travel, and that is wrong. It is the carbon burning which you are concerned about. But travel will in the future be powered not by burning carbon but by other means.

      Human history is one of travel. We are curious, we want to see what is around the corner. Humans have steadily travelled more and more and more and there is no reason to see that trend stopping. You are being tripped up by energy type, but the desire to travel is much bigger than that.

      To detail that up a bit – cars… there will be a lot more of them, they will be smaller and soft, they will be partially autonomous, and partially controlled (on motorway no overtaking, no speed control, it will act more like a conveyor belt which your car is pulled under when you enter said motorway). The energy will come from rails in the road which you drive over, or similar.

      Travel will continue on the up and up. Energy will change form.

      If you think that the non-use of carbon spells the end of human travel I would suggest this hasn't been thought through in depth.

      2c

      • DukeEll 1.6.1

        It’s not that it hasn’t been thought through, it’s envy shrouded in a Luddite argument.

  2. pat 2

    "Covid-19 will likely eventually become endemic – even the Covid-19 response minister says so. For many that phase won’t begin when coronavirus meets the textbook definition, it will be when society deems the risks acceptable.

    And different sectors of society will get there at different times."

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/explained/127600150/vaxxed-and-done-or-vaxxed-and-cautious-nzs-differing-omicron-risk-perceptions

    Or when something more pressing draws our attention.

    • arkie 2.1

      I don't think the government has communicated clearly why they have changed strategies so dramatically. Saying 'omicron is different' doesn't explain their continued dedication to a plan implemented before omicrons emergence. My feeling is they are pretty sure the electorate won't like their reasoning.

      • pat 2.1.1

        You may well be correct however as the concluding paragraph of the article notes we wont collectively implement a response…..we are destined to drift out of this at varied timeframes largely irrespective of 'strategy'.

        • arkie 2.1.1.1

          we wont collectively implement a response

          The question again is why, isn't the point of government, public health and society itself about collective, communitarian responses? At this point the die is cast, but I remained concerned for those among us most at risk.

          • pat 2.1.1.1.1

            The 'why' is because we are human…we all have different motivations, perceptions, and resources, despite commonality.

            I expect that those at heightened risk will be treated with care (in the main) …we will do what we usually do….muddle through.

    • Bill 2.2

      They fucked up, fucked people over with intent, and are now trying to sidle away. (My reading).

      But if that vaxus info I posted below is borne out, I can envisage a fair few people opting for a "guts for garters" response.

      Cue the "political middle men" jockeying for position off the back of having elevated themselves on a platform of contained condemnation… before leading the world in exactly the same clownish way it's been misled up until now.

      • pat 2.2.1

        Think thats a bit harsh.

        The way Omicron behaves has changed everything, so what was rational before becomes less so now.

        There is no denying the health success to date and as is pointed out frequently imagine the potential had another group of politicians held the levers?

        A thankless task.

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          How's about the psychological and emotional impacts caused by lock-downs and mandates get weighed against whatever the claimed benefits are?

          Childrens social and educational development retarded.

          Jobs lost, careers wrecked and marriages broken.

          Small family run businesses bankrupted (many more to come).

          Or how about the general fucking hate and fear that's been cultivated in a subset of the vaccinated (ie, the Covidians).

          • Ad 2.2.1.1.1

            Bankruptcies and insolvencies are tracking fine compared to the last 4 years.

            Insolvency By The Numbers: NZ Insolvency Statistics re June 2021 – McDonald Vague (mvp.co.nz)

            Divorce rates are up on 2020 but continue to trend strongly downwards, together with marriage rates.

            Marriages, civil unions, and divorces: Year ended December 2020 | Stats NZ

            Both unemployment and under-utilisation rates are extremely low – lower than September 2007 and still falling.

            Unemployment rate | Stats NZ

            • Sabine 2.2.1.1.1.1

              but the number of people on benefits goes up and up and up again, nothing to see here.

              lol.

              • Ad

                9.9% of working-age population on a benefit in 2016

                11.3% in 2021

                Increase of 1.4% over 5 years.

                More foolish catastrophising without an ounce of facts as usual.

                • Sabine

                  Maybe you can answer me these questions as i really i struggle with this.

                  One hour worked per week takes you off the unemployment list. Are you employed if you work only say 5 hours a week and the rest you don’t – and you are not a retired person or a stay at home parent who only works for pin money?

                  Non employed people who have a partner who earns a dollar to much to allow these unemployed people an unemployment benefit are they counted as employed or unemployed or are they listed nowhere?

                  And since when is 11.3 % unemployment the best a government can do, or is that only the case when it is a so called 'lefty and progressive' government that posts these numbers. Would you state the same if hte government were N/A for example.

                  11.3 % is not a good unemployment number.

                  And i neither catastrophize nor omit facts either, i just don’t agree with you. And lastly, unemployment in NZ is catastrophic because the treatment of people on a benefit, any benefit for that matter is as inhuman under Labour as it was under National.

                  • Ad

                    I can see you're struggling. Go ask MSD.

                    11.3% is the number on benefits – and there's a lot more once you put old people's NZSuper benefits in as well.

                    • gsays

                      I know of a few folk in my limited circle that do not have a job because 'mandate', none of them are going to show up in MSD's stats.

                      The damage done in a relationship can be irreparable but not lead to a divorce.

                      To blithely quote stats and infer nothing to see hear in disingenuous. These real, non fiscal consequences are too readily ignored from some on the other side of the bridge.

                  • The Unliving

                    And i neither catastrophize nor omit facts either

                    You literally did both of those things in the following comment:

                    but the number of people on benefits goes up and up and up again, nothing to see here.

                    lol.

                    So an increase of 9.8% in September 2016 to 11.4% in December 2016 (or 10.2% to 11.7% from MSD's numbers for Dec 2021) is going "up and up and up again"? That number has actually decreased from 12.4% in December 2020.

            • Foreign waka 2.2.1.1.1.2

              There are also other ramifications that, following logic that plays out.

              For any action there is a reaction. If business cannot find skilled labor and productivity rates impact further down the line with this model of working from home solutions are sought trying to find a way out of this chaos.

              When a company can achieve the same outcome with half the workforce, coupled with increased use of IT/robotics in warehouses it will be felt by all. Add the debt bubble, the printed fiat currency that has devalued the money but shifted investment into property for return. Consumption slows, benefits grow, tax take decreases. This now fuels inflation and making the middle class becoming the new poor. Naturally, divorce becomes a luxury and women will for the most part wear the brunt. Reality, it is what it is.

              • Ad

                Agree with robotics – and as many orchard owners are showing, the time to implement robotics is right now when staff are very, very hard to get. Fewer crap jobs is good.

                Consumption decreasing is also a good thing overall, so long as it's not primarily driven by lack of money being spent. I can't see good stats on the causal origin of the change other than working-from-home anecdotes.

                Divorce or stay together – I'd agree economically women get off worse on average. Not so sure in other respects.

            • tsmithfield 2.2.1.1.1.3

              Most of these things are lagging indicators, so just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't.

              • Ad

                Every statistical set lags because they record things that have happened.

                There's no useful economic projection for New Zealand at the moment. Brian Easton comments on that today.

          • Sabine 2.2.1.1.2

            these are all acceptable sacrifices to be made by others. s/

          • pat 2.2.1.1.3

            As I have said to you before Bill, Im inclined to agree that the mandates are counterproductive, especially now there is such a high vaccination rate, and that I thought it would be quietly dropped….why it wasnt I dont know, perhaps success went to their heads.

            • weka 2.2.1.1.3.1

              because they're needed for the boosters. Tha vax rate being higher would help too. We don't know how omicron is going to play out in NZ.

              • pat

                And id suggest if the gov and officials were offered an unconditional 94% (and higher amongst at risk cohorts) double vaccination rate as they became available they would have seized it with both hands.

                • weka

                  I don't know what that means. Offered how?

                  • pat

                    If someone said to the gov and officials that they could deliver a 94% vaccination rate and it wouldn't require mandates (unconditional)….it is a hypothetical.

                    The stated goal was 90% and there was some admission it was aspirational and downright dismissed by others.

                    Id also suggest that the wider public would have been happy to accept the hypothetical offer.

                    When is enough enough?

                    • weka

                      When we're no longer in an acute pandemic I guess. Omicron is dangerous. I can't see the rationale for throwing out some of our tools at this point in time. I agree there are all sorts of problems with the mandates and I think that discarding them as omicron is arriving would be plain daft.

                      If the argument is that some people are being kept from taking free and full part in society, because of the mandates, well, yes. That's what happens when we prioritise the collective good. But many people in NZ have lived restricted lives pre-covid. Think beneficiaries. Or many disabled people.

                      And right now, a lot of people are planning on self-limiting their lives, voluntarily, to protect themselves. Because we're in an acute crisis. The people that feel bullet proof from a covid infection, that's fine, they can still go out and take risks if they want, but the government's job is to look after the public health, as well as the economy, not just look after a bunch if individuals.

                    • pat

                      Then you open yourself up to a level of civil disobedience that requires increasingly dracoian enforcement….that always works out well.

                      Never mind the rank hypocrisy.

                    • weka

                      what rank hypocrisy?

                      I'm not seeing increasingly draconian enforcement against civil disobedience in NZ. I consider civil disobedience a necessary good for society. I just wish the anti-covid protest movements were more competent at it and their politics.

                      And, no-one is saying mandates are forever. The government has already stopped lock downs for now.

                    • pat

                      The rank hypocrisy of unnecessarily prioritising one segment of societies well being over another….sound familiar?

                      Key word here is unnecessarily.

                      It serves no useful purpose to continue to discriminate against the unvaccinated when ..

                      1) we have exceeded the vaccination target determined to provide societal protection

                      2) The active variant evades vaccination

                      As to civil disobedience, I am not referring to anti-vax marches/protests but rather widespread disregard of the regulations.

                    • weka

                      The rank hypocrisy of unnecessarily prioritising one segment of societies well being over another….sound familiar?

                      It's rank hypocrisy, it's neoliberalism being consistent. Labour have always run two NZs, this is no different.

                      Key word here is unnecessarily.

                      It serves no useful purpose to continue to discriminate against the unvaccinated when ..

                      1) we have exceeded the vaccination target determined to provide societal protection

                      Nope. Remember how they originally didn't specify a target? And at the time, various medical opinions were that we needed higher than 90%?

                      And speaking of hypocrisy, since when should we be throwing Māori under the bus instead of waiting until their rates are high too?

                      2) The active variant evades vaccination

                      We still have delta. And vaccination helps limit omicron spread. What do you think the boosters are for? Pretty sure this has been explained well enough recently.

                      As to civil disobedience, I am not referring to anti-vax marches/protests but rather widespread disregard of the regulations.

                      And I'm sure if that happens Labour will adapt its approach .

                    • pat

                      The target was 90% …and being politicians they gave themselves wiggle room. You can dance on the head of a pin if it makes you feel better.

                      And trotting out the low Maori vaccine rate (as so many did for the Pacifica uptake) , have a look at the at risk cohort vaccination rates for Maori (50+) …they are as high or higher than the general population

                      https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-data-and-statistics/covid-19-vaccine-data

                      It is the young cohort that have the lagging rates.

                      As to waiting till theres a bigger problem before doing something about it….well that speaks for itself.

                    • weka

                      The target was 90% …and being politicians they gave themselves wiggle room. You can dance on the head of a pin if it makes you feel better.

                      The eventual target was 90%. And, it was talked about at the time that 90% wouldn't be enough. That's not pinhead dancing, that was medical/public health expert opinion.

                      And trotting out the low Maori vaccine rate (as so many did for the Pacifica uptake) , have a look at the at risk cohort vaccination rates for Maori (50+) …they are as high or higher than the general population

                      https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-data-and-statistics/covid-19-vaccine-data

                      It is the young cohort that have the lagging rates.

                      So? Are you now arguing that we should vaccinate vulnerable Māori instead of 90%+ like we do for other ethnicities?

                      You have to look at the regional variations too, because that's where covid actually spreads. Look at Northland for example.

                      As to waiting till theres a bigger problem before doing something about it….well that speaks for itself.

                      There have always been people who ignored the rules. Right from March 2020. Pretty sure the government is aware of that dynamic and takes it into account in it's modelling and scenario planning.

                      Abandoning useful tools now because eventually people might tire of them isn't useful.

                    • pat

                      Obviously you havnt looked at the data or have misunderstood it…Northland Maori over the age of 50 have vaccination rates equal to the relevant national rate…currently over 95%.

                      I find it amusing that you cite neoliberalism as the driver of Labour's decision…and then support it.

                      Good luck.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      @Pat, what I have been highlighting is that the Maori vaccination rates show a very small Simpsons Paradox effect.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox

                      In this particular case that is to say that the relative rate of vaccination between Maori and non-Maori populations across the whole population shows a wider gap than the relative rate of vaccination in any of the cohorts which make up that population. Or in simplest terms the overall bars are taller than the bars within the cohorts in the chart "Vaccine uptake per rate ratio (unadjusted) Māori and Pacific compared with Non-Māori non-Pacific 12+"

                      https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-data-and-statistics/covid-19-vaccine-data

                      This means any story you want to attribute needs to decide if age is relevant to the behavior (or not). One story is the overall, Maori don't get their vaccinations, or to me the more correct one seems to be, there is a generation of younger Maori who have lower vaccine uptake, while the older generations seem more engaged.

                      However, one of the best ways to protect the vulnerable to covid populations in NZ is to limit the spread of the outbreak. At present that is implemented by hitting a high vaccination and booster uptake, with the boosters mostly contributing to spread limitation rather than direct protection against severe disease. So if were not going back to lockdowns then keeping the best public health tools operational seems like a well reasoned strategy.

                    • weka

                      Northland Maori over the age of 50 have vaccination rates equal to the relevant national rate…currently over 95%.

                      So? Younger unvaccinated Māori are more likely to get covid and take it home to their older folk who only have partial protection from being vaccinated. Then there is omicron and boosters. I don't know why this far in people are still struggling to understand the issues of spread and how we are protecting everyone with complex, interrelated mechanisms.

                      I find it amusing that you cite neoliberalism as the driver of Labour's decision…and then support it.

                      How am I supporting it?

                    • weka

                      However, one of the best ways to protect the vulnerable to covid populations in NZ is to limit the spread of the outbreak. At present that is implemented by hitting a high vaccination and booster uptake, with the boosters mostly contributing to spread limitation rather than direct protection against severe disease. So if were not going back to lockdowns then keeping the best public health tools operational seems like a well reasoned strategy.

                      Exactly.

                      This matters because Bill is also running lines about how vulnerable people can protect themselves and how MoH can protect vulnerable people. This is how the MoH is protecting vulnerable people.

                      Any reason why Māori shouldn't be considered as a sub group within that?

                    • pat

                      @Nic

                      And I imagine why the vaccine uptake ratio chart has been included in the MoH site. And we know the demographics are skewed younger in the Maori population (or older in the non Maori if you prefer)…none of which changes my assertion about comparable vaccination rates.

                      And nothing that changes the effectiveness of vaccination rates when you are talking about above 95% coverage of the at risk demographic….the mandates are now effectively punitive for the sake of it…the law of diminishing returns.

                      One day the boot will be on the other foot…and people wonder how shit happens.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      "Any reason why Māori shouldn't be considered as a sub group within that?"

                      Depends if its clinically relevant. If Maori are some how genetically more vulnerable to covid this could be relevant. But if being Maori is more frequently associated with particular social status and this is effecting the outcomes then you should likely break up the data by social status instead. Unfortunately the statistics can't tell you which way of considering the problem is more correct.

                      I don't see any problem with the MoH publishing that break down, just the brief media flirtation with the Maori are not getting vaccinated was not really understanding that the different generations were responding differently.

                      Overall I think the same policy of achieving high vaccination rates, so the vulnerable population is less likely to be exposed, is a good response for any country. At least given the presently available public health tools.

                    • pat

                      "Overall I think the same policy of achieving high vaccination rates, so the vulnerable population is less likely to be exposed, is a good response for any country. At least given the presently available public health tools."

                      And in that I agree…where it appears we may disagree is what constitutes 'high'….I'd suggest we already have the required level of protection (imperfect as that protection is) so why the need to persecute those that have decided for whatever reason not to vaccinate?

                      Be kind?

                    • weka

                      they're not being persecuted. They're being excluded from some parts of society on the basis of public health.

                    • pat

                      Job loss, excluded from socialising, restricted access to all manner of services….i'd suggest if that was happening to you, you'd feel persecuted…and before you claim thats exactly what happens to the disabled/unemployed, consider whether that makes it right.

                    • weka

                      it's just the wrong word.

                      persecute

                      subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of their race or political or religious beliefs: his followers were persecuted by the authorities.

                      harass or annoy (someone) persistently: Hilda was persecuted by some of the other girls.

                      That's not happening. I thought the ostracisation messaging was wrong, and have said that. Am please Ardern has stepped back from that lately.

                      But, people are not being excluded as a form of harrassment, nor are they being excluded because of their beliefs. Although I'm sure it feels like that.

                      At some point the mandates will have to end. At the moment they assist with public health, that's what they are for, not punishing people.

                    • pat

                      Console yourself with whatever term you like…its persecution on the basis of belief/ trust….its little different than racism , sexism or any other ism you care to name.

                    • McFlock

                      Far closer to "realism" than any of the ~isms you mention.

                    • Bill

                      I was "invalidated" from the workforce some years back, so absolutely understand the limitations placed on the unemployed by lack of economic resource.

                      And I'm not vaccinated.

                      The shit that's come down with "traffic lights" bears no comparison to the limitations that have come from being unemployed – not even close.

                      And we all know that banning a kid from public facilities and extracurricular activities, or banning vaccine injured from society (as happens because “no passport”) has got zero to do with public health.

                    • pat

                      "At some point the mandates will have to end. At the moment they assist with public health, that's what they are for, not punishing people."

                      With the vaccination rate we currently enjoy, and the circumstances we find ourselves in they DO NOT assist public health, that is the point…. they should end now.

                    • McFlock

                      With the vaccination rate we currently enjoy, and the circumstances we find ourselves in they DO NOT assist public health, that is the point…. they should end now.

                      Really? Why do you believe that? What's the math on that? What's the anti-transmission efficacy? The efficacy on serious illness?

                      There is the possibility that we could be a hundred percent vaccinated against a disease, and yet the disease still spreads by itself with an R0>1. ISTR measles comes close on that – it's efficacy requires a vaccination rate of close to 100% to be the primary measure at stopping measles outbreaks from expanding. Sure, at 90% the vaccine slows the outbreaks, but might not be enough to make the disease wither on the vine.

                      With omicron, who knows – maybe it's only a delaying action. But those are necessary when all else fails.

                    • weka

                      @Bill, children aren't covered by the vaccine mandates.

                    • weka

                      @McFlock, yes, and I remember this being discussed in NZ at the start of the vax programme, that we actually needed more than 90%. Which is why I've always said 90%+.

                      The narrative that because it's not total protection it's no protection is really quite a problem now.

                    • pat

                      "Really? Why do you believe that? What's the math on that? What's the anti-transmission efficacy? The efficacy on serious illness?"

                      Whats the math?…Id suggest that once you reach 95% vaccination rate that the efficacy of every percetnage point above that the reduction in transmission is negligible….but more importantly when you consider the differential of transmission rates of omicron between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated that equation diminishes to the point of insignificance…we currently have a vaccination rate exceeding 94%….higher amongst the cohort considered at greatest risk.

                      What are you trying to acheive?

                      if you are capable, show me the math that shows that not to be the case.

                    • Bill

                      @Bill, children aren't covered by the vaccine mandates.

                      @ weka. Maybe you're deliberately playing with words here, but my wee pal, aged 9, cannot take her after school classes, or take part in school sports next term and cannot go to the pictures, or go to the swimming pool, or go to the library, not even to DCC toilets, or get into any place that requires proof of vaccination.

                      Now. If all you can do is argue some bullshit about how "not mandate"….

                    • McFlock

                      The objective of vaccination is to save lives:

                      1: to directly save lives

                      1. via protecting previously vulnerable individuals within the population when exposed
                      2. via the creation of population immunity, so vulnerable individuals are less likely to be exposed

                      2: to indirectly save lives

                      1. via the lessening of pressure on health systems, so people with unrelated conditions have appropriate treatment available
                      2. to maintain the systems of provision and welfare in the community

                      The math is quite complex, and has movable goalposts.

                      The relationship between R0 & population immunity (and by extension vaccine efficacy) was described here, but bear in mind it was put together before omicron.

                      When is enough enough? That depends on the critical vaccination rate against omicron. If that's 97%, vaccination rates less than that just slow the pandemic and provide individual protection. If the critical vaccination rate is 70%, not sure we'd be going to a hundred cases a day in about a week.

                    • Bill

                      @ Weka.

                      Actually. It appears school has been sending out bullshit info to parents around extracurricular activities and vaccination on the grounds (I guess) they reckoned they'd be able to ask for proof. So thank you for that.

                    • pat

                      @ mcFlock.

                      so you cant show me the math….not surprising because it would support what i say.

                      There is no logical reason to mandate with the level of vaccination we currently enjoy when the differential of transmission of vaccinated as opposed to unvaccinated is what has been determined.

                      Mandates are pointlessly punitive.

                    • weka

                      Actually. It appears school has been sending out bullshit info to parents around extracurricular activities and vaccination on the grounds (I guess) they reckoned they'd be able to ask for proof. So thank you for that.

                      Not quite following that, but if they've sent out inaccurate info I hope someone pulls them up hard on that.

                      Ardern said a week ago that vaccinating children was a personal matter for parents and that children wouldn't be covered by the mandate.

                    • McFlock

                      See, I'm not the one making claims like

                      There is no logical reason to mandate with the level of vaccination we currently enjoy when the differential of transmission of vaccinated as opposed to unvaccinated is what has been determined.

                      Let's see the omicron rate in a week to see if the current vaccination level is enough to get the R0 below 1.

                      Heck, I wouldn't make that claim even with the assistance of contact tracing and isolation.

                    • The Unliving

                      @pat You want to see the math?

                      Id suggest that once you reach 95% vaccination rate that the efficacy of every percetnage point above that the reduction in transmission is negligible

                      Your intuition about this is incorrect. In fact, the opposite is true: every percentage point is worth more than the previous one.

                      Take a country with a vaccination rate of, say, 90%. Such a country would have 10% of its population unvaccinated. If that country were to increase its vaccination rate to 91%, the 9% of people who are unvaccinated would represent an overall reduction in unvaccinated of 10%.

                      Logically, it follows that a 95% rate – so 5% unvaccinated – is twice as good as a 90% rate (with 90% being twice as good as 80%, etc.) Essentially, higher rates reduce the probability of large "pockets" of unvaccinated people – Simpson's paradox is relevant here.

                      You'll remember some commentary from various epidemiologists and health experts that 90% would not be enough. Well, this is at least partly why.

                    • pat

                      "Let's see the omicron rate in a week to see if the current vaccination level is enough to get the R0 below 1."

                      Pardon?….nobody, and i mean nobody expects an R0 of less than one with Omicron, until it has run out of hosts to infect….irrespective of vaccination rate…..mandates or not. The best they are hoping for is to slow transmission, which despite your assertion you are unable to demonstrate mandates can be expected to do.

                      We know what the purpose of a high vaccination rate is (we have one), but again what do hope to achieve with mandates?

                    • pat

                      @ the unliving

                      If, and even then it would be marginal, vaccination prevented transmission there may be an argument (but note no modelling to support) however we know that the vaccine does not prevent transmission, rather at best it may reduce transmission by an indeterminate level….we are talking about 5-6% of the population being a little more likely to transmit the virus, probably less than the variation between super spreaders (vaccinated or not) and the general population….and for that we are happy to sanction them.

                      Onya….we reap what we sow.

                    • McFlock

                      works the other way.

                      If vaccination isn't effective enough to prevent transmission, then it falls back on minimising serious cases so the hospital system isn't overwhelmed.

                      That means keeping the number of vulnerable as low as possible, and limiting the access of wilfully vulnerable people to large events.

                    • The Unliving

                      @pat

                      I thought I heard the goalposts being moved. I note you stated upthread that:

                      so you cant show me the math….not surprising because it would support what i say.

                      I have shown you the math, at least to the level I thought was required. Do you accept that the math does not, in fact, support your point of view?

                      Moving on, from Simulating the impact of vaccination rates on the initial stages of a COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand (Aotearoa) with a stochastic model, published November 24th, it states (emphasis mine):

                      As the vaccination rate increases, the number of breakthrough infections (infections in fully vaccinated individuals) and hospitalizations of vaccinated individuals increases. Unvaccinated individuals, however, are 3.3x more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and 25x more likely to be hospitalized.

                      So yes, there is modelling, and it quite clearly highlights the benefits of vaccination.

                      I should admit, however, that the above modelling does not take into account the Omicron variant as it was published before it got loose here. Even so, while we might expect those two numbers above to be different for Omicron (more infections, less hospitalizations, presumably), the picture seems clear enough.

                    • pat

                      how does one keep the number of 'vulnerable' as low as possible?…you are either vulnerable or not.

                      There has been no good case made for mandates in the environment we find ourselves in yet all these so called 'progressives' are desperate to justify treating a segment of our society in a manner they would be appalled with should similar actions target themselves.

                    • Bill

                      @ weka

                      I've lost your comment, but yes, they will be getting pulled up, and in no uncertain terms. Letter came out prior to Xmas asserting that proof of vaccination would be required to continue (in this instance) after school drama classes. And they knew the ages they were addressing of course. (under 12s)

                    • Bill

                      @ the unliving.

                      Two words on vaccination rates and Covid spread. Ireland. Gibraltar.

                      That aside, study showing no difference in infection rate across multiple countries and US states in relation to vaccine rates. But then, that's leaky vaccines for you.

                      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8481107/

                    • McFlock

                      how does one keep the number of 'vulnerable' as low as possible?…you are either vulnerable or not.

                      You can vaccinate as many people as possible. Even only 50% efficacy would halve the number of vulnerable people.

                    • pat

                      @ Unliving

                      it is not disputed that high vaccination rates are important, the debate is about the benefit of mandates.

                      The linked model (for delta) uses population measure ratings for the old level system of 1-4 and calculates the entire population at the same level (the model does not account for illegal gatherings or other non compliance with restrictions.)….what difference the outcome where 94% of the population is C=0.72 (level 2) and 6% C=0.52 (level 3)? for that is where the difference lies….we have the vaccination rate we have but we place different level controls dependent on vaccination status.

                    • pat

                      @McFlock

                      "You can vaccinate as many people as possible. Even only 50% efficacy would halve the number of vulnerable people."

                      In case you hadnt noticed we have vaccinated 94% of the eligible population….those that are vulnerable remain so. The confusion around what the debate is about is astounding…it is not anti vaccination rather it is about the justification for mandates (and the impact on those mandated) when we have a high vaccination rate.

                    • McFlock

                      Dunno about "astounding", but after two years of people “doing their own research”, the continuing confusion is definitely odd.

                      If a vaccine has 95% coverage and is 100% effective, another 100k people getting the vaccine halves the rough number of adults who are vulnerable (assuming 4mil eligible adults).

                      At 95% effectiveness against hospitalisation and 95% vaccination coverage, that's 200k unvaccinated and 190k people who are vaccinated but still vulnerable, 390k overall. If we boost the vax rate to 97.5%, that's 100k unvax and 195k vax but still vulnerable. @1% hospitalisation of infected, and everyone gets infected because "leaky", 3,900 hospitalisations goes down to 2,950. Basically almost a quarter drop in people needing hospital care.

                      Now, that's with a highly effective vaccine. You can do the numbers for lower efficacy rates, and lower coverage rather because I don't think our boostered rate is 94%, is it?

                    • pat

                      @McFlock

                      What you are still attempting to show is the benefit of increased vaccination rates….I say again this is not about vaccination rates, in an ideal world we would have 100% vaccination coverage (and a 100%effective vaccine)….what you are still not showing me is the benefit of mandates.

                      In a population with 94% eligible vaccinated (and whatever the boosted rate currently is) what will be the expected difference in hospitalisations if we didnt have mandates as opposed to having them?

                      In Unliving's model there are values placed on community measures (that may or may not include mandates) that will impact the projected infection rate and therefore subsequent hospitalisation rate…..the 'math' I seek (equation may be a better word) is that numerical effect of mandates…..I maintain that the effect will be negligible, particularly with a variant such as Omicron where vaccination dosnt impact (it appears) the ability to contract or transmit the virus.

                      It may be that it is too difficult to model.

                    • McFlock

                      The benefit of mandates is that either the remaining 6% get vaccinated, or they don't get to go to areas with lots of other people (and therefore higher risk of catching the disease).

                      That means a lower number of people using hospital beds in a pandemic. If you don't see the purpose in that, then I think we might have reached a bit of an insurmountable gap in our mutual understanding.

                  • The Unliving

                    @Bill

                    I don't know too much about the way things are going down in Ireland and Gibraltar – will take a look tomorrow.

                    The paper you cite there is interesting, but has some obvious problems.

                    A response can be found here. A significant problem:

                    The data sources on cases used by [1] do not differentiate case rates among the vaccinated population and case rates among the unvaccinated population. Given the high infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 in general and of the Delta variant in particular, an increase in cases observed in locations with higher vaccination rates might be driven predominantly by the unvaccinated population. This would result in a spurious correlation between new cases and high vaccination rates.

                    There is also fact checking here in relation to Jimmy Dore losing the plot. In summary:

                    Inadequate support: The study has important design and methodological limitations that don’t account for other factors, such as reporting capacity and demographic differences, that can influence the correlation between vaccine coverage and prevalence of infections at the population level. These limitations mean that the study doesn't allow us to draw any conclusions about the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on the spread of the disease.

                    Misrepresents source: Claims that vaccines are useless misrepresent the conclusions from the authors of the study, which support the importance of vaccination, combined with other protective strategies such as handwashing, mask-wearing, and physical distancing.

                    Edit: I seem to have messed up the threading with my reply.

              • Blazer

                Any data on how long boosters are effective..b4 you need another…booster?

                • weka

                  Best guess is that NZ will want to get the new omicron vaccination asap. Whether the boosters will last long enough, I don't know.

                  Once a week or so I google to see what science is saying about efficacy and risk, it's hard to follow, there is contradictory information. Atm I'm still going with avoid getting covid if at all possible. At some point that will probably change but until we know long covid risk and why I'm erring on the side of caution.

                  • mary

                    good on you Weka, you go for it….may need to have 2-3 monthly boosters to do that, but why not if you are happy to,,,all the best

                    • weka

                      I'm double vaxxed and not currently eligible for a booster. Haven't made any decisions about future vaccinations. No crystal ball here.

                • gsays

                  Data schmata.

                  C'mon Blazer, the pandemic response is no longer health driven, but politically driven.

                  Pfizer says 'booster after at least 6 months after 2 nd shot'. The pollies are saying 4 months, with pressure to go to 3 months.

                  • weka

                    why would 4 months be a political decision rather than a public health one?

                    • gsays

                      Because it goes against the manufacturers instructions.

                    • weka

                      that doesn't explain why it's political. What's the political reason for four months?

                      Drugs get used off label routinely. From what I can tell the research showed four month was needed not six month i.e. a health decision.

                    • McFlock

                      Because it goes against the manufacturers instructions.

                      Well, no, it goes against the initial Emergency Use Authorisation from the FDA, which was just prior to omicron being discovered.

                      Those aren't manufacturers' instructions. Those are use authorisations.

                      As more data on safety and efficacy come in, the margin for error on the data decreases, so erring on the side of caution means a smaller gap.

                      On Dec 9 it was 6 months for 16yo.

                      January 3 it was 5 months for 12-15yo.

                      So FDA did emergency approval, medsafe have their own process

                      on 11 November medsafe approved the booster after 6 months.

                      Don't know when they shunted it down to 4 months, frankly I don't care enough to keep googling it.

                      If you can find evidence that politicians meddled in the approval process, that would be dynamite. It's a bureaucratic system that should be aloof from politics, but not unaware of emergencies on the ground.

                    • gsays

                      Sorry, weka, I can not reply directly to your last reply.

                      If it was still a health response then it would be appropriate to follow Pfizers guide, especially as there are no long term trials (beyond what is being rolled out here). Along with lockdowns, regional or otherwise. But, you know, "the economy".

                      I could give a better answer as to why the PTB want 4 or 3 month boosters if I could see the results of the polling they do.

                    • weka

                      just scroll up to the first available reply button in direct line. We figure out to follow that reply name in the Replies list.

                      McFlock addressed some of the issues. But even if they should have followed the guideline, it doesn't follow that the decision was political. What would be the political advantage of 4 months instead of 6?

                  • McFlock

                    It's almost as if the pollies are taking a cautious approach when determining public health policy in a complex and quickly-changing environment.

                    • gsays

                      Again, McFlock, I have run out of reply tags.

                      We are on the same page, your last link essentially says what I read on the MOH site- booster after at least 6 months from 2nd jab. Only difference is yr link is from Medsafe and MOH is citing Pfizer.

                    • McFlock

                      Thing is, the criteria change as information improves, and it's not pfizer that issues "instructions".

                      When the problem was delta and we were still getting wide data on efficacy vs O.G. covid and delta, 6 months was a safe option. Then as more boosters went out, we got more safety data on boosters, and also efficacy against omicron came in. Then there's the actual ability to distribute boosters on top of primary doses.

                      FDA went to 5 months on 3 jan.

                      NZ started planning for boosters at 6 months, pushed it to four just before xmas. But this was based on advice from the technical advisory group, not politicians, taking into consideration the known vaccine safety profile vs the omicron emergence.

                      It's not some big plan to throw vaccines at us when they're not needed. It's a government with a damned good track record in fighting this pandemic (that's killed millions) continuing to make the best calls available.

                • mary

                  Israel is on to the 4th, they started their rollout in mid december 2020, so that approx 3 monthly….

          • Robert Guyton 2.2.1.1.4

            "How's about the psychological and emotional impacts caused by lock-downs and mandates get weighed against whatever the claimed benefits are?"

            How's about the inevitable psychological and emotional impacts caused by any Covid outbreaks in NZ get weighed against whatever the claimed psychological and emotional impacts caused by lock-downs and mandates are?

            • Sabine 2.2.1.1.4.1

              How many people live on your property? How many lived on your property during any of the lockdown? How much time did you spend waiting in a line for a food parcel? Did you have enough money for a christmas ham and holiday?

              And compare that to the numbers of people living overcrowded in West Auckland, South Auckland, Rotorua, and many other places, that have no outdoor spaces to use when in lockdown, that have to wait in a line for a food parcel lest they go hungry, that have to work from home, educate their children from home – if they have internet or can find a hotspot, and house a few extra people cause they have no home.

              Compare your well being to the ones that are currently in lockdown in three motels in Rotorua cause Covid. I am sure you are doing fine. Really. I am.

              And that is what is important. That some are fine, and those that are not, well that is the price to pay for some to be fine.

              • Ad

                If you are trying to say that the statistics haven't caught up with the on-ground effects of COVID making poverty worse, you're probably right.

                Child Poverty Action Group has a few stabs at it on their site.

              • Robert Guyton

                Aren't "those who are not", paying the price for themselves to be "fine" – that is, not ill with Covid?

                • Bill

                  Given the age stratification of Covid, whereby it didn't and doesn't really whack working age people or younger in the absence of comorbidities, there's been a fuck of a price paid by many just so "not unwell".

                  • Robert Guyton

                    "didn't and doesn't really whack working age people "

                    How did that pan out in Australia, where supply lines and essential services were severely hit?

                    Isn't that what will happen here? If you have caught Omicron, stay home, if you are in close contact with an Omicron case, work from home. Seems the workforce will be heavily affected.

                    No?

                    • weka

                      There is the argument that it's wrong to have close contacts self isolate. Or even people who have tested positive but are asymptomatic. People are arguing against slowing the spread and saying that the supply line issues are unnecessary and wouldn't happen if we just accepted omicron.

                    • weka

                      I don't think there is a good evidence base for that argument mind.

                  • weka

                    doesn't really whack working age people or younger in the absence of comorbidities

                    Is the implication here that people with co-morbidities should be treated as a separate class of people within the pandemic response?

                    • Bill

                      Public health ought to protect the vulnerable, not run a deleterious fear campaign.

                      And the chart is a good example of 'project fear' – you're aware it would appear at first glance to fly directly in the face of known medical and scientific facts…until you acknowledge or realise it includes hospital patients where covid was detected no matter their reason for admission, yes? In other words, it includes entirely incidental covid results, and says nothing on the health impacts of covid

                    • Shanreagh

                      I can't seem to respond direct to Bill. I don't think it can be assumed that the 18% in the 20-29 old group, or the 20 % in 30-39 year old people and the 18% in the 40-49 year age group were hospitalised because they had co-morbidities.

                      It is more likely they were very sick with Covid, so sick that they were unable to be nursed at home. Of course some may have co-morbidities but generally people in those younger age groups are not wracked with co-morbidities

                      Otherwise healthy people do get very sick with things even though they are otherwise healthy.

                      I for one am a bit tired of Bill's opinion about the so-called fear campaign.

                    • weka

                      Public health ought to protect the vulnerable, not run a deleterious fear campaign.

                      I'll take my impression as correct then, that you are arguing that vulnerable people shouldn't be protected via a widespread public health initiative.

                      I'm curious, how should MoH protect individual nurses who have asthma or diabetes or heart conditions?

                      it includes hospital patients where covid was detected no matter their reason for admission

                      citation needed.

                    • weka

                      @Shanreagh

                      Yes, the image is just by age (doesn't take co-morbidities into account).

                      We do however have quite a high rate of asthma in NZ as an example. And Māori, Pācific, and low income people are more at risk. I find the whole 'lets treat vulnerable people as a separate class' argument astounding coming from people complaining about vaccine mandates.

                      https://www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/research/key-statistics

                    • Bill

                      that you are arguing that vulnerable people shouldn't be protected via a widespread public health initiative.

                      No Weka. That's a fucking absurd take.

                      People being admitted to hospital were tested for covid, and if they returned a +ve result, they were Covid cases (not necessarily being treated for anything to do with Covid). Look up WHO guidelines or some such is you think I'm making shit up.

                      The secondary attack rate in hospital settings is around a couple of percent. The secondary attack rate at home is about 25%. In other words, hospitals are safer than your living room.

                      There's a long form interview on the above here.

                    • Bill

                      'lets treat vulnerable people as a separate class' argument astounding

                      Just as well no-one is arguing that then. Would you give aspirin to everyone so a few heart attacks were avoided? No? Why treat those at risk from heart attacks as "a separate class" by targeting them with useful health messages/preventative measures/treatments?

                      See how absurd that is?

                    • weka

                      it includes hospital patients where covid was detected no matter their reason for admission

                      Show me evidence that the NZ figures in my image above are not only covid cases, but include people admitted to hospital for broken legs or routine surgery who also had a covid positive test and didn't have need to be in hospital for covid reasons.

                    • weka

                      that you are arguing that vulnerable people shouldn't be protected via a widespread public health initiative.

                      No Weka. That's a fucking absurd take.

                      The problem you have is you refuse to actually clarify. Many times we've gotten to this point where you just deny but won't way what you think.

                      eg, I said,

                      Is the implication here that people with co-morbidities should be treated as a separate class of people within the pandemic response?

                      To which you replied,

                      Public health ought to protect the vulnerable, not run a deleterious fear campaign.

                      Tell me, do you or do you not support the government getting NZ population 90%+ vaccinated against covid and now using boosters to protect against omicron. By protect and vaccinate I mean lessen risk of infection, hospitalisation, death and probably long covid.

                    • weka

                      otoh, maybe don't bother answering that. Here you argue that the government shouldn't have used a covid vaccination programme and instead should have told people how to look after themselves.

                      . https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-28-01-2022/#comment-1855789

                    • Bill

                      Here you argue that the government shouldn't have used a covid vaccination programme

                      Nope. I've consistently argued that vaccinations should have been targeted.

                    • weka

                      that's what I meant. Your position is to not use a universal vaccination programme, and instead to target vulnerable people. This makes vulnerable people more vulnerable than what we are doing now. Maybe that's a worthy trade, but let's be honest that it is a trade and then we can talk about what the trade involves.

                    • Bill

                      Targeting with a leaky vaccine does not expose vulnerable people and is precisely the health response to other viral infections we only have leaky vaccines for.

                    • weka

                      you still patently don't understand how covid vaccines work, nor what public health is.

                    • Bill

                      What the NZ government has done is pointlessly 'vaccinate' millions who were not vulnerable and so never going to wind up in hospital and exposed them to vaccine injury.

                      And even I know a clutch of people who got hit hard in close proximity to injection (1 stroke, 1 heart attack, 2 miscarriages). I know others who have been fairly unwell (mostly balance issues and tinnitus plus one with a 'we can't find what's wrong' diagnosis who was off work for about 8 weeks)

                      This forum is packed with people I suspect to be more socially connected than I am, and yet not a word on vaccine side effects? I find that hugely odd.

                      I do know people who have been reticent to speak of any side effects, because besides thinking they won't be believed, there's some weird shame thing attached to being viewed as failed "good soldier”.

                      That said, things come in clusters. So maybe it's just me who's aware of relatively numerable people getting clattered by these vaccines?

                    • weka

                      What the NZ government has done is pointlessly 'vaccinate' millions who were not vulnerable and so never going to wind up in hospital and exposed them to vaccine injury.

                      Like I said, you just don't understand what this public health initiative is designed for and why it's designed this way instead of your suggestion.

                      And even I know a clutch of people who got hit hard in close proximity to injection (1 stroke, 1 heart attack, 2 miscarriages).

                      'close proximity'. I've been around vax hesitant and anti-vax people for nearly 4 decades. I know this shit inside out. People who tell stories about their cousin's kid being vaccinated with MMR vax and then two weeks later having neurological issues. But they have zero competency to describe a mechanism for injury, and struggle with concepts of correlation and causation.

                      Don't talk about vaguely about close proximity, gather actual data and case histories and get the mechanism for injury theory sorted and run it past a number of medical people who disagree with you so you can test your own understanding of how bodies and drugs work.

                      The only way to establish causation is to do the science. I can think of at least three potential reasons for the miscarriages and proximity that don't involve vaccination as causation.

                      I know others who have been fairly unwell (mostly balance issues and tinnitus plus one with a 'we can't find what's wrong' diagnosis who was off work for about 8 weeks)

                      Again, what's the mechanism?

                      This forum is packed with people I suspect to be more socially connected than I am, and yet not a word on vaccine side effects? I find that hugely odd.

                      I've been listening to Americans online in health circles and I've heard of lots of side effects and reactions. I had my own after the first covid vax last year. I don't talk about it here because it's a political forum and I'm reasonably ok with the explanation that such reactions are part of the body forming an immune response.

                      I do know people who have been reticent to speak of any side effects, because besides thinking they won't be believed, there's some weird shame thing attached to being viewed as failed "good soldier”.

                      Sure, and on TS there was a period of time where that shit was full on. But not any more full on than other debates we've had here. I chose to talk elsewhere about my concerns about the vaccine.

                      That said, things come in clusters. So maybe it's just me who's aware of relatively numerable people getting clattered by these vaccines?

                      No, that's you assigning causation without actually knowing what is happening. The fact that you started your comment with 'proximity' language and ended it with causation language should concern you as a critical thinker.

                      All drugs have side effects. All of them. This is not new. Nor is reactions to vaccines specifically. The covid vaccines were developed in a hurry, I fully expect a range of adverse reactions from mild through to very serious. I consider this a less harm than covid running free.

                      The 'it's all safe and benign' narrative was bullshit and thankfully that's settled down. But we don't actually know what the full range of side effects is other than blunt numbers: we know that lots of people aren't dying from covid vaccination for instance, that would actually be obvious for such a closely scrutinised drug. We know the side effect rates reported in the trials. We know that VAERS etc will pick up obvious issues. Beyond that, we don't know the more complex interrelated issues, because science just isn't very good at that. But that doesn't mean proximity establishes causation or even leans towards it.

                    • Bill

                      I know this shit inside out. People who tell stories about their cousin's kid being vaccinated with MMR vax and then two weeks later having neurological issues. But they have zero competency to describe a mechanism for injury, and struggle with concepts of correlation and causation.

                      I'm not talking about people telling me about someone they know type shit. I'm referring to people I have degrees of direct social contact with.

                      Don't talk about vaguely about close proximity, gather actual data and case histories and get the mechanism for injury theory sorted and run it past a number of medical people who disagree with you so you can test your own understanding of how bodies and drugs work.

                      Uh-huh. You think I should/could gather data? Are you fucking insane? Reporting systems are set up so that, in theory at least, reports of events can be gathered such that any early warning signals get thrown out by the data.

                      I'll give you my loose use of language and correct to "So maybe it's just me who's aware of relatively numerable people getting clattered by these vaccines within days of receiving their vaccine"

                    • Bill

                      And before I go, on your graph and thanks to Belladonna below…

                      The Health Ministry has confirmed that it counts any person in hospital with Covid as a hospitalisation, whether they’re there because of Covid symptoms or complications, or for something completely unrelated.

                      This counting method has skewed statistics worldwide, particularly for reported hospitalisations in kids. That’s because the majority of children who get Covid have either no symptoms, or mild symptoms. So there’s a higher chance the reason they’re in hospital has nothing to do with the fact they have the virus.

                    • weka

                      Funny. Here's my takeaway from that article (repost from reply to Belladonna),

                      Does this invalidate hospitalisation data?

                      No.

                      Covid modeller and Canterbury University professor of mathematics, Michael Plank, says it’s important to count people who go to hospital for something other than Covid but test positive on arrival, as that can reveal undetected virus spread in the community.

                      However, you would ideally separate those cases out from people receiving hospital treatment for Covid, Plank says.

                      Otago University professor of public health, Nick Wilson, says it’s difficult to compare hospitalisation statistics from countries where Covid is widespread with those in New Zealand, where Covid is still pretty rare and therefore most hospital admissions of people with Covid are probably Covid-related.

                      This is why I asked for the NZ system specifically.

                      For adults, it might be more difficult to untangle whether hospitalisation is because of Covid, as an apparently unrelated event such as a stroke or heart attack could have been triggered by Covid infection, Wilson says.

                      This is still a covid death.

                      “In terms of useful information for the public – hospitalisation data on Covid-19 is still a useful guide to general disease severity.”

                      Even the Health Ministry acknowledges the stats are flawed, and is promising improvements.

                      “In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Health will be making changes to its reporting to more accurately reflect the numbers of people who are in hospital for treatment for Covid-19 related complications, rather than Covid-19 cases who have been admitted for unrelated health matters.”

                      That was December 4th, would be good to know if they did change things.

                    • weka

                      @Bill,

                      I know this shit inside out. People who tell stories about their cousin's kid being vaccinated with MMR vax and then two weeks later having neurological issues. But they have zero competency to describe a mechanism for injury, and struggle with concepts of correlation and causation.

                      I'm not talking about people telling me about someone they know type shit. I'm referring to people I have degrees of direct social contact with.

                      Yes, the people I know are talking about people they know. The way you are talking about this is basically the same.

                      Don't talk about vaguely about close proximity, gather actual data and case histories and get the mechanism for injury theory sorted and run it past a number of medical people who disagree with you so you can test your own understanding of how bodies and drugs work.

                      Uh-huh. You think I should/could gather data? Are you fucking insane?

                      Yes, I'm saying this is exactly what people should be doing. Of the people you know who have had vax reactions, get together and write up actual case studies. It's a legitimate form of data collection and analysis. Get good methodology, that can be easily replicated by other people without a science background.

                      I'll give you my loose use of language and correct to "So maybe it's just me who's aware of relatively numerable people getting clattered by these vaccines within days of receiving their vaccine"

                      Thanks, that actually makes sense now. That difference matters, a great deal. Because now we have a phenomena, and we can look at it to see what might be going on. It might be a vax reaction. Or it might be stress. Or it might be coincidence. Or it might be psychosomatic. And so on.

  3. Bill 3

    Safe and…oops? (Trigger warning for those who fail to understand that a blue line is not a red line and health isn't about partisan politics)

    k – Apparently DMED (Defense Medical Epidemiology Database) is quite literally an epidemiological surveillance program designed for the express purpose of detecting surges in illness and injury to make sure the military is combat-ready.

    […]

    Three military doctors have presented queried data to Renz that shows a shocking and sudden spike in nearly every ICD code for common vaccine injuries in 2021.

    In a declaration under penalty of perjury that Renz plans to use in federal court, Drs. Samuel Sigoloff, Peter Chambers, and Theresa Long — three military doctors — revealed that there has been a 300% increase in DMED codes registered for miscarriages in the military in 2021 over the five-year average. The five-year average was 1,499 codes for miscarriages per year. During the first 10 months of 2021, it was 4,182

    […]

    Aside from the spike in miscarriage diagnoses (ICD code O03 for spontaneous abortions), there was an almost 300% increase in cancer diagnoses (from a five-year average of 38,700 per year to 114,645 in the first 11 months of 2021). There was also a 1,000% increase in diagnosis codes for neurological issues, which increased from a baseline average of 82,000 to 863,000

    […]

    It’s important to note that these numbers do not represent the number of individual people diagnosed with various ailments, but number of diagnoses codes used in totality at a given time. For example, someone who has a stroke is obviously going to rack up numerous neurological ICD codes over the course of a year with multiple ambulatory and hospital visits. However, the apples-to-apples comparison from the previous five years clearly shows an unmistakable spike in ailments.

    • Ross 3.1

      Which might help to explain why Pfizer won’t be releasing the raw data until at least 2025 and probably later.

      As well as access to the underlying data, transparent decision making is essential. Regulators and public health bodies could release details such as why vaccine trials were not designed to test efficacy against infection and spread of SARS-CoV-2. Had regulators insisted on this outcome, countries would have learnt sooner about the effect of vaccines on transmission and been able to plan accordingly.

      Big pharma is the least trusted industry. At least three of the many companies making covid-19 vaccines have past criminal and civil settlements costing them billions of dollars. One pleaded guilty to fraud. Other companies have no pre-covid track record. Now the covid pandemic has minted many new pharma billionaires, and vaccine manufacturers have reported tens of billions in revenue.

      The BMJ supports vaccination policies based on sound evidence. As the global vaccine rollout continues, it cannot be justifiable or in the best interests of patients and the public that we are left to just trust “in the system,” with the distant hope that the underlying data may become available for independent scrutiny at some point in the future. The same applies to treatments for covid-19.

      Transparency is the key to building trust and an important route to answering people’s legitimate questions about the efficacy and safety of vaccines and treatments and the clinical and public health policies established for their use.

      https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o102

      • Bill 3.1.1

        A non-political and reasonably thorough and thoughtful breakdown of that BMJ piece…

      • Nic the NZer 3.1.2

        Of course Ross, you'd be happy for the MoH to publish your health records online of course. Or maybe more securely make them available by written request only.

        • Sabine 3.1.2.1

          So when the MOH releases data on how many cancers were treated last year that means that they release your private data if you were one of the cancer sufferes?

        • Ross 3.1.2.2

          Nic

          No one is asking for individual, personal data.

          • Nic the NZer 3.1.2.2.1

            Yes, they are. That is the nature of the raw data, for the study it allows the follow up on individual cases.

            • Ross 3.1.2.2.1.1

              Nic

              You haven’t read the article I linked to.

              Today, despite the global rollout of covid-19 vaccines and treatments, the anonymised participant level data underlying the trials for these new products remain inaccessible to doctors, researchers, and the public—and are likely to remain that way for years to come

              • Nic the NZer

                I see. So your happy to have your health records published online as long as they only put you NIH number up, and not your name.

                P.Doshi is wanting this data to examine his theory that study participants who had symptoms consistent with covid but either were not PCR tested or had a negative PCR test(s) were in fact covid positive, and the efficacy was in fact lower than measured. So maybe you can enlighten us about how the raw data facilitates this.

                • mpledger

                  They don't put your NHI up and for research outside the government, encryted NHIs are provided rather than actual NHIs.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    Absolutely. I'm just highlighting for Ross that there are valid privacy concerns and just assigning participants a number rather than a name will not overcome these in certain cases.

                    If P.Doshi was taking his concerns seriously he would describe what his theory of the issue is in enough detail to allow Pfizer to release the statistical data.

                    • Bill

                      valid privacy concerns..

                      You've deleted that vaccine passport if you ever had one then. Jolly.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Bill, if you do know any organization collecting and publishing databases of vaccine passports please do report them to the MoH.

            • Foreign waka 3.1.2.2.1.2

              If you use data tables and they contain indicators of what type of sickness, you would filter by those and count. This does not really involve personal data in a strict sense albeit it could be drilled down if wanted. Your doctor might want to. Having such data is also helpful in tracing other things as contaminates and their impact on human health (i.e. lead as we have had in the South Island, or fertilizer use, nitrates etc.)

      • gsays 3.1.3

        It has just occurred to me, the parallels between Purdue's tactics with Oxycontin and Pfizer's current drug de jour.

        In Dopesick (I highly recommend it), Purdue Pharma is faced with the predicament that the efficacy of Oxycontin is diminishing. They come up with the concept of 'breakthrough pain', meaning the dose needs to be doubled. Meaning the sales will double.

        Sounds awfully familiar.

        • weka 3.1.3.1

          I fully expect Pfizer to be doing everything they can to make shit loads of money, including over medicalising. Doesn't mean the vaccine is wrong. We live in a complicated world.

          • gsays 3.1.3.1.1

            Amen to complicated, and yet folk are so strident, sure and trusting of Big Pharma.

            shudders

            • weka 3.1.3.1.1.1

              Lol, true. I remember pre-pandemic debates on TS where people were arguing that Big Pharma are on the side of Good. Like fuck. There's a long history of them doing all sorts of shit. We're just beholden to them thanks to capitalism.

              Would be interesting to see what happens with Cuba's vaccine development, to what extend it manages to avoid corruption.

          • Ross 3.1.3.1.2

            We live in a complicated world.

            Or not. Providing a vaccine to those who want or need it, while eschewing lockdowns, mandates and passes, doesn’t seem terribly complicated to me.

            Similarly, allowing a pregnant and vulnerable women into NZ – she happens to be a NZer – doesn’t seem complicated either. Just as well the Taliban are uncomplicated and allowed her into their country.

            • weka 3.1.3.1.2.1

              Or not. Providing a vaccine to those who want or need it, while eschewing lockdowns, mandates and passes, doesn’t seem terribly complicated to me.

              It's not. It's also a terrible public health approach. How to manage an overloaded health system would be a nightmare.

              But that’s not what I was meaning, so I’m sorry you missed my point.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Sen Ron Johnson repugnant Trump supporter chief Republican conspiracy peddler.

      No word that comes out of his mouth can be trusted.

      Bill you still advocating early treatment with ivermectin

    • KJT 3.3

      “300% increase in DMED codes registered for miscarriages in the military in 2021 over the five-year average”.

      Covid causes miscarriages'..

      A more likely cause if there has been a spike since covid.

      But. Don't let facts get in the way of your bullshit.

      • Bill 3.3.1

        I personally know of two in NZ in close proximation to injection. Does that mean injection caused the miscarriage? No. But if a pattern of miscarriages in close proximation to injection occur, or if there are far more miscarriages for injected women, then there is a definite red flag.

        The military's reporting system isn't voluntary (like VAERS) and so can show up signals faster. Is there a signal? If we had the dates of injection, or some data from trials on pregnancy (that we do not have because they were never done), then we'd know. But a 300% increase isn't statistical noise now, is it? And when viewed alongside the other data (that also correspond with VAERS), only an idiot would suggest there's 'nothing to see here'

        Essentially, the info from the military is mirroring the info being thrown out by VAERS, but is far more precise.

        But sure. Shoot the messenger.

    • Tricledrown 3.4

      Thomas Renz conspiracy lawyer sacked for sexual harassment of multiple women from his first job becoming an attorney 2019.

      Failed to sue claiming 45,000 vax injuries.

      He failed to provide any proof the case was thrown out.

      Bill all your links are to conspiracists or conspiracy sites.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.5

      Nice – information from Thomas Renz, a lawyer who works with the My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell and who represents the notorious misinformation group, "American Frontline Doctors".

      " It is a highly visible role for Renz, 44, who passed the Ohio bar exam in November 2019 on his fifth attempt and has limited litigation experience, according to a Washington Post examination of his career.

      Before becoming a lawyer, he worked an array of jobs, including at a nonprofit that told The Post it terminated him and at a rural credit union. Two female employees at the credit union accused him of repeatedly making sexually suggestive comments at work and one alleged he touched her breast in 2014, according to letters the women wrote to the credit union’s chief executive that were obtained by The Post."

      The linked article on “The Blaze” is so full of misleading nonsense I will not argue. Believe this rubbish if you will, but you shouldn't! You really shouldn't. In a nutshell, it is a repeat of the old "misrepresent VAERS data" game, with data that is VAERS-like.

      • Bill 3.5.1

        Information's not from Renz, but from Drs. Samuel Sigoloff, Peter Chambers, and Theresa Long — three military doctors who have leaked data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database.

        Maybe you care to provide wikipedia links for them too, and the DMED, because it's such an august source of untainted information? Or maybe just grow the fuck up and stop casting health into the dogshit pile of partisan politics.

        I mean. Just what are you going to do if the information coming out is even half way accurate? Have you considered that possibility?

    • Nic the NZer 3.6

      So how much did the rate of vaccination in the military increase above average across 2021?

    • Belladonna 3.7

      Weka said "Show me evidence that the NZ figures in my image above are not only covid cases, but include people admitted to hospital for broken legs or routine surgery who also had a covid positive test and didn't have need to be in hospital for covid reasons."

      It does seem to be true – that the 'Covid hospitalization statistics' include both people who are hospitalized 'with' Covid and 'from' Covid.

      Up to now, it hasn't, perhaps been a very significant difference – not a great many numbers overall – but has probably resulted in overcounting of children (in particular)

      "

      The Health Ministry has confirmed that it counts any person in hospital with Covid as a hospitalisation, whether they’re there because of Covid symptoms or complications, or for something completely unrelated.

      This counting method has skewed statistics worldwide, particularly for reported hospitalisations in kids. That’s because the majority of children who get Covid have either no symptoms, or mild symptoms. So there’s a higher chance the reason they’re in hospital has nothing to do with the fact they have the virus."

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/explained/126942505/why-our-covid19-hospitalisation-and-death-statistics-arent-clearcut

      This is in relation to Delta stats (pre-Omicron) but no evidence to show that the MoH have changed the way they count Covid cases (and I'd be enormously surprised if they had)

      • weka 3.7.1

        thanks for this too. Some takeaways,

        Does this invalidate hospitalisation data?

        No.

        Covid modeller and Canterbury University professor of mathematics, Michael Plank, says it’s important to count people who go to hospital for something other than Covid but test positive on arrival, as that can reveal undetected virus spread in the community.

        However, you would ideally separate those cases out from people receiving hospital treatment for Covid, Plank says.

        Otago University professor of public health, Nick Wilson, says it’s difficult to compare hospitalisation statistics from countries where Covid is widespread with those in New Zealand, where Covid is still pretty rare and therefore most hospital admissions of people with Covid are probably Covid-related.

        This is why I asked for the NZ system specifically.

        For adults, it might be more difficult to untangle whether hospitalisation is because of Covid, as an apparently unrelated event such as a stroke or heart attack could have been triggered by Covid infection, Wilson says.

        This is still a covid death.

        “In terms of useful information for the public – hospitalisation data on Covid-19 is still a useful guide to general disease severity.”

        Even the Health Ministry acknowledges the stats are flawed, and is promising improvements.

        “In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Health will be making changes to its reporting to more accurately reflect the numbers of people who are in hospital for treatment for Covid-19 related complications, rather than Covid-19 cases who have been admitted for unrelated health matters.”

        That was December 4th, would be good to know if they did change things.

        • Belladonna 3.7.1.1

          I've looked, but can't find any updated information on the MoH website about any change in the way they report stats.

          I agree that the 'with Covid' info is also useful for looking at undetected spread in the community. But, in an ideal world, I'd like to see these 2 figures separated out.

          And, yes, entirely arguable that a heart attack may be attributable to Covid. Much less so, that a broken leg can be.

          All admitted patients are routinely tested for Covid – regardless of the admission reason (well, I suppose possibly not, if they're being admitted from MIQ and already diagnosed) – in order to protect the other patients and staff from infection from an asymptomatic case.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    Great article by Sir Ian Taylor this morning with a genius solution to the RAT shortage.

    The government needs to actually listen to people like him.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/covid-19-omicron-sir-ian-taylor-how-to-solve-the-rapid-antigen-tests-crisis-in-three-hours/OGZN5JJ7LZC6IPXDGJKBEYNU6Y/

    • weka 4.1

      Now all they need the Government to do is give them approval to wholesale and retail the test, at cost, and work with them to get sufficient supply because at this stage the government does not allow it.

      How does this fit with the governments public health plan? You seem to still be advocating for RATs to be used now rather than in Phase 2, despite the government wanting PCRs used in phase 1.

      How will RAT positive test cases be contract traced?

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        How are you going to contact trace the cases that will never get tested because people will simply not get tested if they think they may have the virus or had been in contact with someone who had been in contact with someone etc, but don't want to risk isolation for up to 20+ odd days if they live in a multiple person household that is not a posh several room villa with several bathrooms and a garage that moonlights as a guestroom? Has anyone answered that question yet? Because that is a thing.

        RAT are not there to replace official tests, they are a tool for those that have high exposure to risk say supermarket workers etc to test at home if they had been at a site that might have had a visitor with Covid and if no positive sign might be able to continue to work, and be able to tests several times during a week.

        They are a tool. Nothing more nothing less. And again, if people really believe that people will abuse these tests, ask yourself how easy it actually is to simply not get tested at all if one is worried about job, income etc. You just don't go get tested and who would know if most will be asymptomatic.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          do you understand that the government intends to use RATs in phase 2?

          I'm asking how the government would contact trace today if RATs were widely available today. In phase 1, when slowing the spread is paramount, and where contact tracing is a critical part of that.

          No-one seems to want to answer these questions, how using RATs now would impact on the public health response.

          • Sabine 4.1.1.1.1

            i do Weka, and please don't imply that i don't.

            but maybe address any of hte points that i have raised, and ask yourself if the Government knows what it does.

            RAT are a tool like a pregnancy test. You use it to confirm a suspicion and then go and have the real thing. Plenty people have given reasons as to why their businesses want these test – i even linked a day or two ago to MBIE and their trial of getting these in and using them, I even linked to a public statement signed by businesses thanking MBIE for this trial (yes, that is how far we have come in this 'free capitalistic' world) and it seems that you only saw the one link – where a company complained that govt did not distribute tests gathering dust in a warehouse.

            what you and other lefties on this page have failed to do is prove how businesses would use these tests 'irresponsibly'.

            Again Weka, they are a tool, for large employers such as Supermarkets, Producers, Schools, Hospitals etc to test staff and visitors to assure some degree of safety. Anyone can rock up and say they are covid free and all these businesses and others institutions at the moment have to take these people at their word, as they have no means to actually test these people. Thanks Government.

            And keep in mind that when the shit hits the fan, and it will, our state approved and state allowed testing stations will not cope, the labs running these tests will not cope, and once you get your test result it might be several days old.

            So how about you explain to me for once how you think what damage these tests can do, when we know that the government services will not cope.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              but maybe address any of hte points that i have raised,

              Right back at ya.

              I understand how RATs work, and why businesses want to use them. I've not seen anyone say that RATs should never be used, or not used at all now (they're already in use). My response was to tsmithfield, who is arguing that RATs should be freely available via the private market now.

              I understand why he thinks that, and why businesses want that. What I'm asking is for that piece of the puzzle to be put into the bigger picture context. How would widespread use of RATs today impact on the government's public health response to covid?

              what you and other lefties on this page have failed to do is prove how businesses would use these tests 'irresponsibly'.

              You're missing the point. It might be appropriate to use RATs widespread now. I just haven't seen any of the pro-business arguments address the wider public health issues. Make the case and see if you are right.

              • mpledger

                A friend was in Spain recently and she said that a negative RAT test can be used for travel so a person can buy a lot of RAT tests and keeps testing till they get a negative test and use that one.

                • Bearded Git

                  You would probably only have to buy 2 or 3 RATs to get a false negative according to the post I made the other day.

          • tsmithfield 4.1.1.1.2

            So far as contact tracing goes, the Brits are on to it.

            As I pointed out in an article I linked to yesterday, each RAT over there has an individual bar code. When people test positive they just scan the bar code and send it back to the NHS. Then the government has a clear idea on the spread of Covid in the community.

            • joe90 4.1.1.1.2.1

              So far as contact tracing goes, the Brits are on to it.

              Sure are.

              /

              In a damning report published today the Public Accounts Committee says “NHST&T has not achieved its main objective to help break chains of COVID-19 transmission and enable people to return towards a more normal way of life” despite being handed an “eye watering” budget of £37 billion over two years – and not managing to spend £8.7 billion of the first year’s allocation. Instead, since the end of October 2020 “the country has had two more national lockdowns and case numbers have risen dramatically”.

              […]

              NHS Test and Trace has been one of the most expensive health programmes delivered in the pandemic – equal to nearly 20% of the entire 2020-21 NHS England budget – but the Committee says it “focused on delivering programmes but outcomes have been muddled and a number of its professed aims have been overstated or not achieved.”

              Only 96 million of 691 million lateral flow device (LFD) tests distributed by NHST&T have been registered – 14% of the total. The Committee says “it is not clear what benefit the remaining 595 million tests have secured”.

              https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/127/public-accounts-committee/news/158262/muddled-overstated-eyewateringly-expensive-pac-damning-on-test-trace-that-has-failed-on-main-objectives/

              • tsmithfield

                I guess its all relative, and a lot of people over there probably think they are doing stink. But they are still miles ahead of us in dealing with endemic Covid.

            • mpledger 4.1.1.1.2.2

              This guy https://twitter.com/trvrb/status/1480610421363003393 , with detailed analysis, thinks there is a 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 reporting rate (1 reported case for every 4 infections) in the UK. So, not great.

          • Molly 4.1.1.1.3

            It seems to be a discussion about

            1. A limited number of RAT's being available,

            2. Whether the planned strategy is the best deployment of a limited number of tests,

            3. How the public is responding to government policy at the moment.

            My thoughts, after reading the comments about this issue.

            1. The need for acquiring access for RAT tests was foreseen by many, including those businesses that looked ahead and placed orders. Instead of finding themselves ahead of the game in terms of looking after their workers, and customers they are now having to socially justify why they should not be provided with the tests they had allocated time and money to acquire. Is the number of tests available so low, that the NZ Govt should push these forward thinkers to the back of the line? I think that's a harsh call to make for businesses that were doing more than what was required.

            2. Is this decision due to the unexpressed government expectation that those taking the RAT's will not report positive tests, and they want to maintain access to the positive test data? If so, I would think that is wrong for the following reasons. Businesses investing in such tests are looking to do so in order to safeguard their workforce. They will be keeping a record of ALL test results to ensure that those who are on shift are negative. Any positive results will no doubt be reported to the Ministry because a. Those workers will need government support and medical assistance, b. If the government provides financial assistance for isolation it will need to be recorded, c. those businesses will want to optimise their workforce supply by isolating those exposed, and returning them to the workforce as soon as possible. If the numbers of tests is the problem, the government should have a priority list of essential service providers that can acquire tests proportionate to their workforce. (Note: essential services should not be the equivalent of the Sistema factory in Mangere).

            At present, in Phase 2 the RAT's seem to be considered useful for essential service workers but it is not clear HOW this assessment is made, or the identification of WHO will be monitored.

            Phase Two is where we will see more widespread use of the test to return-to-work policy where asymptomatic contacts in critical workforces can return a negative rapid antigen test in order to go to work.

            We will continue to manage testing of symptomatic people and Close Contacts with PCR testing but we will be enabling ‘test to return’ for asymptomatic critical workers who are close contacts of cases using rapid antigen tests (RATs). These are people like our healthcare workers and those working in food supply and infrastructure who are key to our response to COVID-19 and also in ensuring New Zealanders can continue to access the services they need.

            RATs will be integrated into our testing system at this phase and will work alongside PCR tests.

            Given Omicron's presence in the community, Phase 2 might happen quite rapidly in terms of time. The lack of detail in this published plan keeps businesses unsure about how they will then implement Phase 2.

            It appears that the RAT's may be provided alongside PCR tests. Does this mean as an extra at existing testing centres? If so, essential workers are required to spend extra time and costs – adding the route to their commute and having the test done, even though many essential workers are low paid wage earners. Also, requiring essential workers to attend the same facility with those getting PCR tests because they have symptoms or are close contacts of known positive cases is not prudent planning.

            An ability for essential service businesses to have in place some sort of testing regimen, that meets the public health requirement for accurate data, while allowing essential businesses and workers to strategise requires a lead time to plan and implement well. In my opinion, the current government publication on this is not enough for that to be done well.

            3. Public response and compliance with current government policies. Seems to be lessening. I can understand businesses who are frustrated with losing their RAT supply at the behest of government to suppliers. By now, our government should have compiled a list of essential businesses and workforce numbers to have avoided those businesses missing out. If they haven't – two years after the pandemic has started, why not? Vaccine passports are also a strange hook to hang your hat on, when as a country we have surpassed the initial 90% goal of vaccinated adults. The Herald banner that records the progress of the vaccination rollout, has reset the banner to include the population of children now being 'offered' the vaccine, so the boosted number is now only 25.8%, and the double vaccinated 58.6%. Even I, someone who agrees with the vaccination programme for adults, considers this shifting goalposts when the game was almost done.

            The Ministry needs to think harder about what is necessary for public health, given that the parameters of the virus has changed, the adult vaccination goal was achieved and their decision to allow the community spread will be viewed as acknowledging the lower risk to health – whether that is true or not.

            • Sabine 4.1.1.1.3.1

              +1

            • Foreign waka 4.1.1.1.3.2

              True and so many other countries are doing that already, we don't need to reinvent the wheel. Why is the government agency so controlling of the information, distribution and dissemination of both?

              • mpledger

                Because other countries have very high rates of infection. RATs aren't very useful while infection rates are low – they aren't good enough to be accurate in such situations.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.3.3

              The conversations I've been in on TS would best be characterised as being about businesses wanting RATs to protect their business, separate to the government's three phase plan. Not saying this is wrong for businesses to take this approach, but that the conversation needs to look at the bigger picture.

              I've mostly been arguing with tsmithfield, who's been making considered, well referenced comments, but still hasn't fully addressed the bigger picture issues.

              My own view is this: the MoH probably dropped the ball on RAT supplies. Whether that was incompetence, burnout, other pressing priorities, ideological or whatever, I don't know. Now that omicron has arrived and we are in the situation we are in, the government has developed a plan that it is in the process of implementing and rolling out to the public.

              The narrative last week about the government stealing tests from private companies has been incredibly unhelpful and I would say detrimental to some extent to the pandemic response. Fuck National, fuck the MSM who played that game, and fuck the small number of business people who thought using National to run that story was a good idea.

              Everyone is having to suck stuff up at the moment. I pointed out the other day that going into the pandemic beneficiaries had to wait for any financial assistance and thus couldn't buy masks, hand washing supplies or extra food going into the first lockdown. Maybe I'm jaded or been on a benefit too long, but to me having to wait and things not working out perfectly and government being cumbersome is normal. Meanwhile, businesses are getting a large amount of support in various ways.

              Had the RAT story broken this week with business leaders leading on solving the problem within the context of the overall public health response, then I think we'd be in a better position as a country.

              Lots of your critique is good, but a few things I disagree on,

              1. I think the MoH will still be focussed as a primary aim on getting vax rates even higher, and getting boost rates very high too. The higher the better for the overall plan
              2. I'm not sure about the whole 'they've had two years' thing. I often think about how they've not had a break in two years (the government or the MoH). That's quite different from most of the rest of us. Hardman NZ culture will tell them to man up, but philosophically I think government also needs to be looked after to do its job properly. Pragmatically they're going to function better.
              3. my understanding about phase one was that the government wanted close control over contact tracing as one of our primary tools for slowing spread and preparing. Afaik, the preparing is still happening. Some of the delay of RATs looks like supply issues, and some of it looks like it's probably not appropriate yet for businesses to be using them whole sale. Systems need to be put in place for one.
              • Molly

                "The narrative last week about the government stealing tests from private companies has been incredibly unhelpful and I would say detrimental to some extent to the pandemic response. Fuck National, fuck the MSM who played that game, and fuck the small number of business people who thought using National to run that story was a good idea."

                If government has in any way made clear to suppliers that priority is to be given to them over existing businesses, then they should have a easily communicated and justifiable reason why, and if part of that reason was the failure to foresee the advent of Omicron and make orders earlier, then just acknowledge it and move forward. The 'stealing' accusation is hyperbole, and should be recognised as such, but the impact on businesses who may now have to revisit their Covid response is that an anticipated tool is no longer available when they expected.

                "Maybe I'm jaded or been on a benefit too long, but to me having to wait and things not working out perfectly and government being cumbersome is normal."

                I think that's not jaded, it's realistic. I think the point that businesses need clarity to give them time to allocate resources, including money and workforce, appropriately to get us through an outbreak is missing from the published three phase plan online. As mentioned, there is little detail there for businesses to work with at present, and some of it – if indeed RAT testing will be delivered for essential workers at PCR sites with possible infected cases – needs adjustment.

                "I'm not sure about the whole 'they've had two years' thing. I often think about how they've not had a break in two years (the government or the MoH). That's quite different from most of the rest of us."

                As I've mentioned before, my partner, who is a manager at his work and his boss, were watching the progress of the virus from the end of 2019. By the end of January, his boss had already asked and received a loan from his bank that would allow him to cover his workforce for three months without income. They are always looking forward. Everyone has been doing this for two years or more, not just the government, and many have been doing in in straitened circumstances. Government officials and MP's, during this time have not had the added stress of financial impact, precarious housing, possible unemployment. Can I add the obvious – it's their job? I don't think it's a hardman call coming forward now, it's concerns from the public who have been supportive and compliant wondering why the changing parameters haven't changed the focus of government response. Some of those changing parameters are government policies. We need to differentiate between valid and justifiable concerns and impacts being raised, and what you would term 'hardman' comments. Addressing valid points improves systems.

                "Afaik, the preparing is still happening. Some of the delay of RATs looks like supply issues, and some of it looks like it's probably not appropriate yet for businesses to be using them whole sale. Systems need to be put in place for one."

                For emergent problems, multiple paths should be designed and ready to go as data comes in. So the Phase 3 plans make sense. However, I don't think there is not enough detail for those that are not government to make plans themselves. Given the likelihood of rapid spread, despite red traffic light – think music festivals, and 500+ wedding attendees – is this lack of detail going to impact on businesses responding adequately when a rapid response is necessary? Surely it would be better to provide information to businesses about how the RAT for essential workers will be implemented, and also how and when essential businesses will be prioritised and receive supplies, when Phase 2 and Phase 3 is entered.

                I can understand government wanting their systems to work as efficiently as possible, and make things easy on their side BUT also believe that some thought needs to go into making it as easy as possible for businesses – particularly essential services – to respond rapidly and effectively.

                • weka

                  Surely it would be better to provide information to businesses about how the RAT for essential workers will be implemented, and also how and when essential businesses will be prioritised and receive supplies, when Phase 2 and Phase 3 is entered.

                  do you think the govt is withholding information? Or that it doesn't have the details yet?

                  My impression was that govt is proactively engaging with key sectors as we speak (at least this is what they said a week ago), and that there was a two week roll out for the register. MBIE gave broad strokes of all this last week and basically said they were working on the details.

                  I suggested to tsmithfield to phone MBIE and ask for timeframes (this is what I would do). They thought it would take too much time to do that, which I found funny because WINZ currently have 60 – 90m waits just to get through to the call centre.

                  • Molly

                    "do you think the govt is withholding information? Or that it doesn't have the details yet?"

                    What I honestly think is that the government doesn't make it a priority to have the details for businesses, as opposed to making it easier for themselves.

                    "My impression was that govt is proactively engaging with key sectors as we speak (at least this is what they said a week ago), and that there was a two week roll out for the register. MBIE gave broad strokes of all this last week and basically said they were working on the details."

                    Working with sectors, and prioritising their need for certainty are two different things. This is flawed reactionary planning.

                    "I suggested to tsmithfield to phone MBIE and ask for timeframes (this is what I would do). They thought it would take too much time to do that, which I found funny because WINZ currently have 60 – 90m waits just to get through to the call centre."

                    You will be well aware then, of the common occurrence of getting conflicting advice from call centre operators. It is realistic for businesses to wait until plans are published before taking time to make adjustments regarding resources, workforce and planning. This delay is caused on the critical path by the government dropping the ball, and businesses will have to make up the difference when Covid sends us into Phase 2.

                    Apologies, weka – not disengaging, but have to leave off commenting for the day. I hope I’ve contributed another perspective. I’ll let you decide whether it’s worthwhile.

              • Molly

                Sorry, missed this:

                "I think the MoH will still be focussed as a primary aim on getting vax rates even higher, and getting boost rates very high too. The higher the better for the overall plan."

                Given the resounding success of the vaccination programme as a response to the Delta strain, and the removal of the elimination strategy, is this focus still necessary?

                Where's the data for Omicron, and cost/benefits of vaccination for children? Is the benefit more to government to stay on message?

                I don't know whether we have the data from other countries yet, rather than statistical models. But the reality is, this message is overexposed and become one dimensional. In line with the traffic light system, large numbers of the vaccinated population are gathering in groups without concern for limits or restrictions. If my perception is true, then the government needs to address that shift somehow rather than double down.

                • mpledger

                  This week I was on Lambton Quay and the proportion of people without facemarks has noticeably shot up. Which seems counter-intuitive given we've gone to redlight … except alongside that is the number of people on Lambton Quay has gone way down. The risk averse are more likely to be staying home.

                  • Molly

                    I am staying home, because I am risk averse, and have someone who is immune compromised living on the property, but amongst my friends and family I am aware that my family response is more and more unusual.

                    I would rather the government took a moment to determine if there is a change in compliance and attitude and finds ways to address it, rather than continue on current messaging and possibly entrench anti-government sentiment when it is not necessary.

                • weka

                  Given the resounding success of the vaccination programme as a response to the Delta strain, and the removal of the elimination strategy, is this focus still necessary?

                  Are you suggesting that the government shouldn't be pursuing high rates of boosters? Why?

                  We still have delta in NZ. Vaccination helps slow spread of both delta and omicron. Why would we not be trying to get and keep vax rates as high as possible. When the vax programme was first being rolled out, medical people were saying 90% wasn't going to be high enough. I've always assumed that the MoH would go for as high as it could get. That's pretty standard public health policy, although obviously there's a trade off for the final %

                  • Molly

                    "Are you suggesting that the government shouldn't be pursuing high rates of boosters? Why?"

                    No. Just had my booster last Monday as a matter of fact, with aspiration, but that's another story.

                    I'm aware of the presence of Delta, and also that if we follow other trends that Omicron will replace that, and the parameters then will have changed. I'm asking if the government is ready for that change, and will messaging change alongside.

                    When I last saw the adult population data on the Herald banner last week before they changed it, the number of unvaxxed was around 6.1%.

                    So if we are not going to mandate, that seems a realistic proportion of NZers that have had the opportunity to vaccinate and are prepared to take the consequences. Of course, we should continue to make it possible for them to make that choice, but at what point do we change the messaging for the 94% that complied?

                    • weka

                      sorry, really not following that. Are you saying that because we're at 94% for 12 and over we should stop the mandates?

                    • Molly

                      "sorry, really not following that. Are you saying that because we're at 94% for 12 and over we should stop the mandates?"

                      No. I'm saying that 94% have complied, there is diminishing returns on repeating the same message to them. Within that 94% are the caregivers and parents of the under 12's. They will be taking their children to get the same protection that they have for the most part.

                      The vaccination priority message is also beginning to cause discord and pushback. They don't need to stop the vaccination promotion and message but perhaps consider prioritising a different message now.

                      An analogy that springs to mind is my experience of attending Te Reo classes a few years ago. Te Wananga gets paid for attendance, not just enrolments.

                      Every class started off with the tutor berating the attendees because of the ones that did not show up for class. We were advised to pressure the non-attendees to show if we could.

                      For me, there was a threefold effect:
                      One, it makes you not want to turn up for class.
                      Two, it makes you resentful of those who did not turn up – even though you have no knowledge of why that was. (In one case , it was undiagnosed leukemia.)
                      Three, by the time the kaiako got around to the class, you were not in the mood to listen, even though you had chosen to be there.

                      From my point of view, this is similar to what is happening due to the vaccination as priority message.

                    • weka

                      ok, well I don't know what message you mean. From the MSM? Or MoH? Or Ardern pressers? I thought the messaging had changed to boosers and the new framework now.

                    • Molly

                      " I thought the messaging had changed to boosers and the new framework now."

                      Boosters for me is still vaccination priority. But I understand you see a distinction between that and the initial shots.

                      Well, given the advice at red for mask wearing is:

                      "We encourage you to wear a face mask whenever you leave your home." maybe emphasising this message would be a place to start.

                      There is significant benefits of public mask wearing to slow down the spread of Covid, and that could be improved.

                      (Usually go the Covid site to look at the updates and messaging. Mainly because I prefer reading, and also, because I expect that those entries will have been well written and edited before posting – so will be very clear in terms of explanation).

                    • weka

                      ah yes, I agree about the messaging around masks. And other tools. Really should be have been doing more on this. I didn't follow the messaging very closely this week about the new mask announcement. I'm getting most of my news from TS, twitter and RNZ, sometimes I go look for specific things. Patchy.

      • tsmithfield 4.1.2

        Governments don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.

        The way that business doesn’t conflict with what the government wants to do but rather enhances it.

        Businesses want to use the tests as screening tools to minimise the amount of omicron in their businesses and thereby the community. An ambulance at the top of the cliff rather than at the bottom.

        • tsmithfield 4.1.2.1

          Further to the comment I just made, the only reason that the government has a staged approach to the use of RATs is that there is a shortage of them due to the governments lack of foresight and sluggish response in this respect.

          If the shortage problem is solved, as Ian Tayor suggests, then there is no reason methods of use can't run contemporaneously, and would be much more advantageous to do so.

          • weka 4.1.2.1.1

            These are good points, and I agree about business bringing things to the table that govt doesn't. Two other aspects to throw in the mix:

            1. the government still has to roll out its essential business registration system.

            2. how would using RATs today, widespread, impact on contact tracing?

            • Molly 4.1.2.1.1.1

              "1. the government still has to roll out its essential business registration system."

              Is there really any reasonable excuse for why this has not happened till now?

              • weka

                dunno, things take time, they've been managing a pandemic for two years.

                What do you think the reason is?

                • Molly

                  From my point of view, they didn't think ahead. It's a failure of planning.

                  (Google "register essential business for covid", and see how the MBIE website is not on the first page – where it should be. Most results are from NGO's or business associations reprinting the form.)

                  However, the MBIE "Business Travel Register" has been up and going since August 2021.

                  Priorities are shown by actions.

                  Planning is a specialised skill. My partner works in an industry where considered forward planning is necessary to operate their time in real time.

                  The Ministry should have the skills to do sufficient planning, alongside administration and implementation.

                  • weka

                    ok, so they didn't plan ahead. What should they be doing now given that?

                    • Molly

                      Start by paying Google ads to make the register the first entry on the page for Essential Business registration?

                      Explain to essential businesses:

                      1. How they will be able to access the RATs when available.
                      2. Are they going to be free for essential services or cost per unit.
                      3. If PCR's are necessary, how and when to register the positive RATs and subsequent PCR results.
                      4. How they will allocate the number of tests available for businesses, so that businesses can try and change manning and rostering to accommodate the number of tests, the possibility of shifts having to isolate all at once, and how those rosters can be changed at short notice in response to staff infections.
                      5. Will their staff have to test at existing PCR sites if not enough RATs are available for public provision? How are they going to ensure that there is no cross infection from other testers if that is the case? (And explain why it is reasonable to put this additional requirement on essential workers.)
                      6. How much time businesses will have when Phase 2 and 3 are announced to implement roster, manning resource changes and allocations, and how quickly RATs will be made available at that time.
            • tsmithfield 4.1.2.1.1.2

              There was an interesting interview on the Newstalk ZB with the boss of Genesis Energy the other day. He was outlining how they were using RATs in their business and feeding the information back to the MOH.

              So, businesses can definitely be part of the solution. I don't think the collective effect of businesses using RATs to help keep themselves viable should be underestimated, and helping the system generally in the process.

          • mpledger 4.1.2.1.2

            I don't know if there is a shortage but if businesses want to send well people home to isolate then now is a good time to use RATs.

            • weka 4.1.2.1.2.1

              how do you mean?

              • mpledger

                In NZ, a random person getting a positive on a RAT at the moment is most likely a true negative for covid-19.

                For example, if you give a random person a RAT test and it's positive and the community spread is 1% of people* and a RAT is 80% accurate then the probability of actually having covid-19 is 3.9%.

                So, in this scenario, ~96% of test positive cases will be well (uninfected) people being required to isolate at home. And it only takes 3 rounds of testing to lose ~50% of your workforce who are nearly all uninfected.

                Here is a good page to play with the numbers…

                https://www.lri.fr/~mbl/COVID19/bayes.html

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                The probabilities all change if there is more information i.e. a person has symptoms or is a close contact or is in an occupation that sees a higher rate of infections than community spread e.g. border worker.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                • In NZ, the community cases are 630 over the last 21 days. In the UK there is a belief that there are 4 or 5 infections for every case so, translated here, that means 3150 infections in 5,000,000 people which gives an estimated community infection rate of 0.063% so the true positive rate is going to be much lower then in the example.
  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Trauma is trending: https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/22876522/trauma-covid-word-origin-mental-health

    It's hot on the heels of awesome, which landed in the dustbin of history a decade or so back due to trivialisation & over-use by zillions of younger-generation airheads.

    The DSM-5, the standard in American psychiatric diagnosis, currently defines it as “actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence,” either as a victim or a witness.

    “Trauma is one of those words that can mean anything,” says Michael Scheeringa, a medical doctor, professor at Tulane University, and author of the upcoming book The Trouble with Trauma. “I was stuck in traffic: That was traumatic. My football team lost: That was traumatic. That’s the way it’s used in our culture.” The word hasn’t simply been watered down, but adopted widely as a kind of cultural touchstone.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    NZF attempt to boost global warming stymied: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/300505223/controversial-pump-station-denied-funding

    The pump system stops an area of low-lying peat soil near Ngatea, on the Hauraki Plain, from flooding, allowing dairy farmers – the largest of which is an iwi-owned collective – to continue farming the land.

    The land is partly below sea level, and draining the soil causes it to sink further as the ancient peat bog shrinks and dries. The current pumps can’t keep up with the subsidence, causing problems for the area’s roughly 20 landowners. As the sea level rises, the land will flood on its own if it is not better drained.

    Obviously nature is reclaiming the land by turning it into a wetland. Greens will like that. Will farmers & iwi fund the global-warming pump themselves?

    • Macro 6.1

      The Kopuatai Peat Dome is all that remains of what was once a large peat swamp which now forms the Hauraki Plains. The Peat Dome is now a Ramsar site. It is the last surviving habitat of the thinnest caterpillar in the world aka "Fred the Thread".

      I've been fortunate to visit the peat dome and hunt for Fred. He's very elusive, living in the stem of the large cane rush (Sporodanthus ferrugineus), which is one of the plants that helps form peat.

      Draining the peat in order farm, and plowing has lowered the surrounding land around the remaining wetland significantly, as noted in the article. Also rising sea levels mean the ground is now under threat from increasing salinity. Peat also needs constant applications of nitrogen. The area was once the estuary of the Waikato River but following the large Lake Taupo eruption and a huge deposit of volcanic ash, the Waikato diverted its path to the west coast rather than the Firth of Thames. The Waihou River and the Paiko River are all that remain of the original.

    • JO 6.2

      Obviously nature is reclaiming the land by turning it back into a the wetland it once was.

      Fixed that second-last sentence for you. But thanks for posting the link. Its implications are far more important than MBIE and a regional council having tantrums that a $9million project could destroy one of the last 10% of our remaining wetlands (and why does the story mention an iwi as the major user of that reclaimed wetland, if not to warn us against responding negatively? Are we being nudged to care more for a human group's rights than conserving a vanishing natural taonga?)

      From the link:

      Ministers were told it would create 60 new jobs, protect the land from flooding for up to 50 years and that, without it, productive farmland would remain exposed to flood damage. Nearby wetlands would also be restored and protected as part of the package.

      The documents released to Stuff list the project’s benefits, however a chunk of the discussion of the project’s risks has been redacted. One briefing notes the possibility of “negative publicity associated with the approval of funding.”

      Indeed. I supported many of NZ First's proposals for the regions, but this one went under the radar. And dry peatlands can burn underground for years when a wise, if not financially profitable for some, solution would be to let them flood again. From the 1980s on I have become very weary of listening to many farmers who think 'bogs' and 'swamps' are a waste of 'their' land and must be drained. That's what happened in the 1960s to our still beautiful but no longer pristine Lake Wairarapa. Now there are several restoration projects there, which hopefully as dry summers lengthen, won't be too little, too late.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    The isolation rules seem to have been drawn up by theoretical boffins who are completely isolated from the real world.

    For example consider a family group Persons, A, B C D.

    In this family person A never gets covid. But each of the others gets Covid.

    Person Person C catches covid on the 14th day of person Bs isolation. Person D gets covid on the 14th day of person Cs isolation.

    But as mentioned, person A never catches covid. Based on the government rules, how long does person A need to isolate for under that scenario?

    • pat 7.1

      In many cases not long at all…the requirements will be ignored.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.1

        Exactly. I think the answer in this case would be nearly two months. But, as you say, many will just ignore the rules because they can't afford to be off work for lengthily amounts of time, even with the government subsidy.

        So, these isolation rules will probably be counter-productive.

        • pat 7.1.1.1

          Thats certainly the take out from the discussions ive heard ….there is sense that not only are the requirements impractical, they will be largely ineffective.

    • McFlock 7.2

      So:

      • a: has that ever actually happened, and
      • b: how is anyone to know at the time B tested positive that A would definitely not get covid ?
      • tsmithfield 7.2.1

        Obviously a hypothetical example.

        But, similar scenarios were discussed on TV1 news tonight in relation to food banks having to support some families for several months.

        • McFlock 7.2.1.1

          Well, yeah, it sucks and the govt should be giving people more money and more actual support.

          But it's better than dying because the wards are full, and then being stored in a container chiller because the morgues are full.

          You seem to forget that everyone in NZ has done lockdown, some much more than others, but everyone's had a taste of it. Look oversees, and people are still sheltering inside because disease stalks the land, lockdowns or not.

      • weka 7.2.2

        there's some bollocks going around about 24 day isolations. Haven't been able to figure out what that's about exactly, but looks like it came from Seymour.

        • McFlock 7.2.2.1

          there's a surprise.

        • tsmithfield 7.2.2.2

          I don't think you should be blaming David Seymour.

          It is on the government if they haven't clearly stated the rules to avoid confusion and misinterpretation.

          BTW, I don't think I have heard anyone from the government explicitly denying the interpretation that Seymour and a lot of others, including the people from the food bank on the news tonight, have been putting on the rules.

          Would probably be helpful if they did clarify the rules if they are not being interpreted correctly.

          • McFlock 7.2.2.2.1

            Hey, I don't have a problem helping out foodbanks.

            But explaining shit to a bad-faith actor like Seymour coming up with hypotheticals that have likely never happened (and I base that on the rough odds against two people in the same household consecutively getting covid on their last day of isolation) is simply a request for an even more far-fetched "hypothetical".

            Anyhoo, the other point is that if someone has confusion about their specific and especially any rare to the point of unique circumstances, they should probably call their guide or the welfare line.

            • tsmithfield 7.2.2.2.1.1

              But it doesn't mean it is unlikely that people could catch Covid at various points through their isolation and that this could impact on how long a well person stays in isolation.

              In some large family groups this could well be the song that doesn't end. Nothing hypothetical about it.

              Anyway, if this is as unworkable as it seems, I think the isolation protocols will collapse very quickly when we suddenly have so many people in isolation that basic essential services cease to work.

              Even if it is "only" 24 days, that is a heck of a long time for needed skills to be out of the workforce, and would exceed the sick leave of most. So, there will be people in a very difficult situation for several weeks at least which ever way it is looked at.

              • McFlock

                Dude, if a significant fraction of people first testing positive for covid do so after 2 weeks of isolation and regular testing, we need to drastically rethink the entire isolation system rather than just clarifying the messaging.

        • Belladonna 7.2.2.3

          The 24 day figure comes from 14 days of isolation for a Covid case, and the required 10 days of isolation from household contacts. The 10 days begins at the end of the 14 days (as that's the final contact with someone deemed to be CV+)

          24 days may be a minimum, at that – especially with large families with little space to effectively isolate.

          Michael Baker says this is not new – these have always been the rules – and we're just noticing now, because of the plan for CV+ people to isolate at home (rather than in quarantine).

          So entirely true. Seymore is indeed making hay with it – but not inventing the situation.

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-new-protocols-could-see-households-isolating-for-up-to-24-days/WFDLK3ALIBLSJJ5RTVUUOON2I4/

          • weka 7.2.2.3.1

            thanks Belladonna. Did they give more details in the announcement on Weds about the three phases? (NZH said they would).

            • Belladonna 7.2.2.3.1.1

              In the Wednesday announcement, they said that isolation periods would reduce at Phase 2.

              "During phase two, the isolation period will drop down to 10 days for cases and seven days for contacts in line with “best practice overseas”. Household contacts will actively be managed by contact tracing services, with close contacts requiring a PCR test on day five."

              https://thespinoff.co.nz/live-updates/26-01-2022/three-phase-response-to-omicron-revealed-isolation-period-to-be-cut-as-cases-escalate

              [I don't actually believe the bit about contact tracing services – these effectively fell over when we were at 200 daily cases – and Phase 2 kicks in when we have 1000 daily cases]

              There's no mention of isolation requirement changes at Phase 3 – but, by that stage, it seems to be accepted that just about everyone will have Omicron – and they're concentrating on highly vulnerable people.

              • weka

                so most likely is that few people will have to self isolate for 24 days, and by the time we get increased infections, the number of days required will drop to 17 for close contacts if they can't separate themselves from the case.

                • Belladonna

                  I'm not at all sure what happens to the original case in these circumstances.
                  e.g. 2 person household. Person A gets Covid and must isolate for 14 days. During that time, Person B in the household also gets Covid.
                  Is Person A allowed to emerge from isolation after their 14 days – even though there is still an active Covid case in the household?
                  It seems unlikely….

                  And from this info – it seems as though almost anyone who lives in a more than 1 person household is going to have to isolate for at least 24 days – and some for quite a bit longer (and, if you're going to catch Covid, then the best of all possible worlds – in getting out of quarantine quickly – would be to catch it as soon as possible so the bulk of the 2nd and subsequent 14 day isolation periods are concurrent with the first one).

                  I do think that most large families will have household isolation periods well in excess of 24 days.

                  And, for most people (except the exceedingly wealthy in McMansions) – the reality is that effective isolation within a household is really hard to do consistently. Especially with the increased invectiveness (is that a word?) of Omicron.

                  While Phase 2 drops the isolation requirements to 17+ days – by that stage, with 1000+ cases a day, I'd say that isolation is going to be pretty ineffective in halting transmission.

                  • weka

                    I thought they were expecting to be at Phase 2 in a few weeks?

                    They still have MiQ places held aside for community cases, so I expect in the cities where those are they will be trying to separate out cases from close contacts in households in the early stages.

  8. Ad 8

    Charlotte Bellis is a complete moron.

    Covid 19 coronavirus: Stranded pregnant journalist Charlotte Bellis' MIQ situation 'unsurprising' – MP – NZ Herald

    Deliberately sent herself to one of the least safe, most corrupt countries on earth. As a career move

    Then stayed as the only structure generating any semblance of public safety – the US-led military – withdrew

    Refused to get on a plane back to Doha which is where her employer was

    Gets pregnant while unmarried in the most patriarchially controlled country on earth, second perhaps only to Qatar (where her partner was) where being pregnant and unmarried is illegal

    Complains when the New Zealand government can't and won't give her a magic carpet ride out of Afghanistan

    Then flew to Belgium, and then chose to fly back to Afghanistan

    Then got special treatment from NZ Immigration anyway

    Then felt the need to write 600 words complaining about her drama

    BooHoo girl grow up. You are a moron.

    • +1000 Ad and shame on the NZ Herald for printing this unbalanced crap.

    • dv 8.2

      Thanks Ad for that background.
      Helpful.

    • Gezza 8.3

      Deliberately sent herself to one of the least safe, most corrupt countries on earth. As a career move

      Says she was deployed there by Al Jazeera (would’ve been by consent, though)

      Then stayed as the only structure generating any semblance of public safety – the US-led military – withdrew. Refused to get on a plane back to Doha which is where her employer was

      Says she returned to Doha, Qatar in September

      Gets pregnant while unmarried in the most patriarchially controlled country on earth, second perhaps only to Qatar (where her partner was) where being pregnant and unmarried is illegal

      Says “For years I had been told by doctors I would never have children.” Also that her partner, a photographer for The New York Times, was in Kabul and couldn’t get out.

      Then flew to Belgium, and then chose to fly back to Afghanistan

      Says “We flew to Jim’s home country of Belgium, but I was not a resident. New Zealanders can only spend three of every six months in the Schengen zone and I had eaten through half of that by the time January came around. We wanted to keep time up our sleeves for an emergency, so decided to rebase. The problem was the only other place we had visas to live was Afghanistan.”

      Then got special treatment from NZ Immigration anyway

      Hasn’t been approved yet, afaik. It sounds like a nightmare situation for her but going public with her story while she’s still in Afghanistan seems highly risky & one wonders what might happen over there now. Have to wonder about her judgement.
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-charlotte-bellis-an-open-letter-on-miq/U4WQGYTJHUP36AGVOBN3F6PJSE/

      • Blazer 8.3.1

        .' New Zealanders can only spend three of every six months in the Schengen zone and I had eaten through half of that by the time January came around'

        So I decided to go back to Afghanistan.

        'For years I had been told by doctors I would never have children.'…so you say.

        The 14 day requirement was clearly too much for her to understand.

        Agree with Ad =a complete ..moron.

    • weka 8.4

      You'd have to be moronic though to leave a woman about to give birth in Afghanistan instead of making it happen so she could come home in time.

      Her story makes sense to me in that she thought she couldn't get pregnant, and was willing to take job related risks (being a foreign correspondent strikes me as a legitimate reason to leave NZ during the pandemic). That changed and it's pretty normal for women's priorities to change once they are pregnant.

      Her opinion piece up against the MiQ bod doesn't make as much sense though. For someone with her skill set I'd have though she could have followed the instructions and rules around application.

      Having said that, pregnancy isn't a medical emergency, so I suspect there's been a slip through the cracks kind of thing happening.

      • Dennis Frank 8.4.1

        The story is growing legs. I just saw her interviewed on the tv news. Some guy didn't need his MIQ spot & offered it to her. Naturally a bureaucrat immediately popped up & said the rules don't allow that. Never heard of the damsel in distress thing & couldn't give a damn anyway.

        The retard then explained that the reason for the rule was that otherwise a black market would develop. Well, hello?! Is the retard pretending to be unaware that a black market of enormous size has been operating in Aotearoa for as long as anyone can remember? If you uttered the word cannabis at the retard, would the dots suddenly connect or would the eyes glaze over?

        Almost certainly a Labour/National voter. Now maybe I'm being unkind and the Nuremberg Defence rationale applies: just following orders. That just shifts the retard identification up an indeterminate number of levels in the public service hierarchy – and the higher up the guilt lies, the more likely the creator knew it was a feeble excuse and they were trying to get away with being a hypocrite.

        Well, succeeding actually. Safe in the knowledge that the system prevents their identity being exposed and prevents the public holding them accountable for moral corruption. Anyway, Labour and National have been accommodating our black market all our lives. The govt can't hide behind that fig leaf…

        • weka 8.4.1.1

          Did you read the MiQ bod at the bottom of the article? They're basically saying they will let her in if she follows the correct process.

          As for blackmarkets, I can totally see why they don't want people buying and selling MiQ spots. Price gouging for a start.

          • Dennis Frank 8.4.1.1.1

            Well, let's hope she jumps through whatever hoops are there then. The thing was looking ridiculous. And bad for Labour.

            Yeah of course a free market would be equally ridiculous. I was just annoyed at the semblance of wilful evasion of the moral need to solve the problem. What part of there's always an exception to a rule were they trying not to understand?

  9. Patricia Bremner 9

    Trust.
    Well personally I trust this Government rather than any business group. When business begin to obey laws regarding pay, and do not need policing and prosecuting to do so, they will earn trust. They are not there yet. The new laws are needed.

    I don't know about others, but I am sick of the negative nellies building bridges for non existent rivers.

    We have real problems and that folk on the left here do not acknowledge progress is disheartening. When invective is aimed at a group doing their best and white-anting starts, none of what you hope for will happen. You are giving the opposition ammunition.

    I have been called tribal an ideologue and othering names by some here. The interesting thing to me is the left voices are being crowded out by a group of right leaning people who appear to have come here to change the discourse, with success sadly.

    They pose "problems" which lead the debate and we have become reactionary. The introduction of esoteric topics is interesting if an effort is made to use common language to engage lay people, otherwise it may be a turn off, and a form of separatism.

    I would like to suggest the left here need to go back to promoting what is important for our survival on many levels, covid and climate, and tell those who act as if their beliefs have not been discussed to the infinite level, to stop repeating jargon and trolling misinformation.

    Does anyone else think this? I am missing some voices here and find I am scrolling. Am I alone in this?

    • Stephen D 9.1

      I’m with you Patricia.

      Some regulars worth reading. But an awful lot of scrolling on by at the moment.

      We’re a left wing blog. While I don’t except everyone to tow the party line, the constant negativity is wearing.

    • Shanreagh 9.2

      No you are not alone. But I have had my fill of some Covid posts/posters.

      In one of my posts last week or before, in reaction to the continued arguing the toss by one in particular poster I suggested a moratorium on Covid postings (I was meaning about mandates, vaxxed or non vaxxed, child vaccines) for a week. I suggested a proviso that Mods be given the option to allow posts to be made should there be a significant change.

      So now we have RATs. Now we have the omicron three phase plan. To be honest I have no problem with Govt taking enough of a short supply to fulfill its public health needs with those waiting getting theirs from later deliveries. I would rather that we discussed the 3 phase plan if we have to discuss Covid/Omicron over and over.

      My long-held view is that a virus that followed the intro of Covid to NZ two years ago. This was called the 'Moaning Minnie virus'. I look on agog on here, while out and about at the increase in just plain unadorned moaning. I had always thought this was not in the stereotypic NZ psyche, that we set to and did or tolerated or helped.

      People, please check that you have not inadvertently picked it up while you have been out and about. Of course the Govt does not have the moratorium on good ideas so rather then moaning on here that Govt does not seem to be picking up on your good idea then write to someone in Govt about it.

      I am sure my idea about a taiho on Covid posts falls into the category of lefty controls……anti free speech and 'it's my 'puter and I'll moan if I want to'. What I am asking is that it takes very little to change moaning post to a neutral one. You can do this by phrases such as 'what do you think would happen', had you thought, etc etc ie being more tentative and less adamant.

      • Patricia Bremner 9.2.1

        Thank you Shanreagh, for both humour and reason.

        I think some one trick ponies have to consider changing the record now and then. I am on record as being disappointed in the rationale for the vaccine rollout as that did not fit Maori demographics. So I am not entirely in agreement with all the programme.

        I am amazed though, how intelligent people seem to accept lies, because they are big and oft repeated. Rules of DP and propaganda. On Jacinda Ardern's facebook page there is a vile group of 90 or so supporting each other in lies. (She gets a cut from Pfizer for each jab#) Look them up, they have one page with little history. Trolls

        For those on benefits here, think of New Zealanders in Australia who qualify for one time help, and then it is penury.

        The NZ benefits are inadequate but have been improved. The debt trap should have to be examined, and after 3 months wiped if it is inadequacy which has forced the borrowing from WINZ. Sepoloni could do better there.

        There is after 2 years, a growing frustration and anger, which is stoked by those wanting to go back to BAU. This is orchestrated to push Luxon and National to the seat of power and is led by stories in the Herald "The PM in-waiting" and "The terrible Government denying…" Giving a distorted view.

        Watch the austerity and cuts followed by tax cuts for the already wealthy, if National get in. We need a third term for Labour and the Greens to cement in the good that has happened and to do other social programmes, and see the end of the pandemic.?

        As I was not mobile for a while, I used to come to an interesting eclectic bunch of Left views here. Now it feels like a foreign country populated by a large moaning group of antis. No Government is perfect, but this one is a huge improvement on those who denied there were any problems. They genuinely care.

        • Blazer 9.2.1.1

          Patricia the biggest critics of the left/Labour are always the left themselves.

          Labour are these days the lesser of 2 evils.

          Can they be proud of..that?

          • Patricia Bremner 9.2.1.1.1

            Blazer, thanks for your reply. This Government has done well in the face of huge travail. This Government put kindness and wellbeing at the centre of their planning. That does not mean they are able to do everything or please everybody I come from a family steeped in Communism and Socialism. Neither worked because of greed. That is the same with Capitalism, any good is subverted by greed. So I see this Government working with a damaged system, trying to do good.

      • McFlock 9.2.2

        In the last day or so I've started and deleted at least 3 replies to antivax denialists.

        Guess I just don't have the space for their special brand of stupid today.

      • Robert Guyton 9.2.3

        Shangreagh – indeed – the accumulation of grizzles, gripes, criticisms, objections, growns and moans about every single aspect of the Government's actions to avert the pandemic has been astonishing! What snipe has remained unused? What barb has been underplayed, what reckon not wheeled out for an airing? It's astonishing to me, that the air isn't a-humm with the whining of the malcontented, the neighing of the nay-sayers and the antipathy of the anti-everything!

        It's amazing anyone can think at all!

      • gsays 9.2.4

        Hi Shanreagh, I would like to think I have been reasonable in asking you to cite something that supports your assertion about nurses and "and maintain vaccination of a range of vaccines most of us have not come across." I, again state, this is not true.

        You have repeated your flatmates claim twice, but nothing more substantial than that. My nursey SO, (who is all gung-ho, pro government Covid response) is bemused as well.

        I didn't pass on your opinion, she and her ED colleagues were fools for not lining up for the flu jab. One controversy at a time.

        • Shanreagh 9.2.4.1

          I have responded to you on this and I am not going to do it again.

          Pl check your replies.

          Several posters put up links to the requirements for Health sciences people and plumbers as also requiring to be vaxxed/keep vaxxed.

          I was talking to my neighbour, a Dr today about vaccinations in the health sector, among other things, and he said was required to certify that he had xxxxxx type of vaccinations (a range of the vaccines) when he started work at CCH.

          My flatmate was required to have the vaccinations before she started her nursing degree. She is required to have boosters etc.

          I don't know what a 'nursey SO' is…….? Nurse ??????

          I said when I was seriously ill a couple of years ago, thankfully prior to Covid it would have given me the heebie jeebies to have been nursed by people who did not care enough about their patients to get a vaccine to protect them. I would ask now & and if no I would act accordingly. He said he could understand that and said that people who were unvaccinated against other common illnesses have often had to be hospitalised, so the problem is not just with unvaccinated presenting with Covid but presenting for other avoidable illnesses.

          My mother who had heart problems twice came home from Mid Central Health hospitals with scabies (Whanganui) and once with some other kind of hospital acquired disease (Palmerston North)……so bad that when she was flown to Wellington by air ambulance for stents she was isolated and nursed by nurses wearing PPE when they found out which hospital she had come from. For a shy, gentle person getting scabies and having some infection from the hospital that made her have to be isolated as infectious and nursed accordingly in Wgtn Hospital was enough to make her cry, several times.

          I could get all concerned about you stating it is not true when I have quoted the background and others have confirmed that there are other occupations where this is required. I am quite sure that my flatmate and my friend/neighbour next door would have no reason to tell porkies to me…..

          The influenza injection is so unremarkable, so ordinary that I am not sure why in a front facing occupation a nurse or other health worker would not get them……do they run all the crazy arguments against them that we are hearing now against Covid vaccines eg 'I trust my immune system etc…….

          When I was still working our employer (Govt Dept) paid for our influenza injections, in a health related agency we also made sure that our employees had access to the whole range of vaccines paid for by the employer eg MMR, rubella, pertussis, influenza on the basis that we were a good employer and that sometimes our employees went to visit hospitals and we did not want them to pick up or share any preventable illness.

          • weka 9.2.4.1.1

            This link (9 years old) implies that the common vaccinations in NZ are voluntary for primary health care workers.

            https://bpac.org.nz/bpj/2012/december/upfront.aspx

            • weka 9.2.4.1.1.1

              I wonder if it is different for hospital staff.

              • McFlock

                Maybe the educational institutions are just after a generational change in attitudes to vaccination in the health sector.

                • Shanreagh

                  The requirement for complete vaccines came from the educational institution she was enrolled to do her Nursing degree with. Canterbury Uni?

                  The requirement to keep her vaccines current came from her current employer. My Dr neighbour had to certify that he had had XXXXXYYYY vaccines on starting and that he would keep these current.

                  Both are conditions of their employment.

            • gsays 9.2.4.1.1.2

              Thanks weka, I found it hard to prove a negative. Asking the wrong question of google.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 9.2.4.1.1.3

              Don't know if having been vaccinated against common communicable diseases (other than the one causing the current pandemic) is a requirement for working in 'front-facing' healthcare roles in NZ, but apparently it is a prerequisite of training for a variety of professional healthcare roles.

              Consensus expert medical opinion is that these vaccinations are worthwhile – vaccination against COVID will probably be added to the list for most ‘on-campus’ staff and students at NZ universities, and I doubt this is a result of some nefarious government and/or big Pharma plot.

              Health Science Screening (Otago University)
              Student Health is responsible for managing immunity screening and vaccinations for all students entering a health sciences division course (Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science, Dentistry, Dental Technology, and Oral Health.)

              Immunisations required (Auckland University)

              Medical schools still calling the shots on student vaccinations
              [NZ Doctor; May 2019]
              Before they work with patients, New Zealand medical school students are required to prove they’ve been immunised for a wide array of communicable diseases.

              It's really not that unusual, and reflects the consensus expert medical opinion about the health benefits of vaccinations.

              Vaccinations (RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin)
              By law, medicine, nursing and physiotherapy (not pharmacy) students are classified as category A healthcare workers and must be screened for and protected against the following [nine] diseases:

              This programme is designed to protect you, and the patients with whom you come into contact, against preventable illness.

              Screening and immunisation are compulsory and failure to comply will result in discontinuation.

              The NZ Doctor link is nearly three years old – it's possible (but unlikely) that the pandemic has resulted in these requirements being relaxed.

              • Shanreagh

                Don't know if having been vaccinated against common communicable diseases (other than the one causing the current pandemic) is a requirement for working in 'front-facing' healthcare roles in NZ, but apparently it is a prerequisite of training for a variety of professional healthcare roles.

                Thank you Drowsy. I have been saying and saying that she was required to be vaccinated before she had started at her degree course

                Her current employment requires her to maintain this vaccination schedule. They send email reminders which are followed up so she can be compliant. She has no wish to be non compliant with such a fundamental requirement so has not tempted them to take action against t her for being non compliant.

                She had vaccines that I had to travel to get, from the vaccination schedule such as yellow fever, and also rubella as she is of childbearing age, etc etc.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Appreciate your insights Shanreagh – I believe in the wisdom of vaccination against common communicable diseases, and the pandemic hasn't changed my opinion.

                  The NZ public health response to COVID-19 inevitably raised the profile of groups promoting vaccine hesitancy, or worse. The actions of Voices for Freedom and their ilk are reprehensible, imho, but it's a free country.

          • gsays 9.2.4.1.2

            This is a classic example of misinformation. You are happy to repeat your flatmate reckons as gospel.

            From memory, Joe cited plumbers and Drowsy cited Dublin nurses. Nothing to do with nurses in Aotearoa

            Obviously, there is a lot at play in the background for you, about this.

            None the less you are incorrect.

            nursey SO = nurse significant other.

            • Shanreagh 9.2.4.1.2.1

              Thanks……so I say to my flatmate people don't believe me when I told them what you told me about

              A) your degree course requiring you to be vaccinated before starting,

              and that

              B) your hospital requires you keep your vaccine schedule up to date and they send reminders to do by email to you do so.

              Of course neither my flatmate nor my next door neighbour are going to tempt fate by ignoring their employer's reasonable requests to maintain their vaccine status, to see how long it would be before they were found out and what action would be taken. Why would they?

              Say what you like…this is what the vaccine requirement looks like through the lens of a reasonable nurse who has no doubts about the science nor her employer's powers.

              • weka

                I don't know how this argument started, but it seems likely to me that student nurses and nurses in hospitals are required to be vaccinated, but other nurses aren't.

                Strange that we can't easily find that online though.

                • Shanreagh

                  What would other nurses be? I thought we were talking about hospital nurses? I guess other nurses and if they are vaccinated, would depend on their employer.

                  I guess nurses who did not do the degree course would not have had the list of vaccines before starting but I don't know. I do know that back in my Mum's day nurses who had trained in the hospitals actively chased every vaccine that came on stream polio, TB etc. They had nursed without vaccines and saw what happened, including some got TB and had to go to sanitoriums to be nursed.

                  Nurses of my own age had some vaccines that were not generally around for the general public such as small pox. You got quite a significant scar from small pox.

                  All I was saying was to recount the experience of my flatmate who works in a large tertiary hospital. Possibly it is because she did a later degree and is at a tertiary hospital la that she had vaccinations to start the degree and requirements to maintain. Later today I recounted what my Dr neighbour who works had the same place, had to do ie certify he had had vaccines and undertake to keep them updated.

                • gsays

                  I think this helps a bit.

                  from yr link:

                  "Updated: 11 November 2021

                  Removed phrase “Vaccination is a personal choice and staff should not be pressured into being vaccinated” as this statement is not relevant in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic and could be misconstrued."

                  • Shanreagh

                    You continue to miss the point.

                    In my particular example the nurse was required to be vaccinated before starting her nursing degree.

                    She is required to maintain the schedule as a work requirement after she started work.

                    These are not new vaccines.

                    The only new one is Covid and she, like many in the hospital, did not have to be told per Order in Council or Regulation or however it was put into force they were eager to get it.

                    I don't know if there is any way it can be put more simply.

              • gsays

                My SO is a senior ED nurse, and as I said earlier, an enthusiastic supporter of the govt strategy. I have an issue with the coercion, diminished autonomy, mandates (without knowing how they will be undone), passports and a rapidly developed drug.

                As for B, I am aware that there is very heavy enthusiasm for annual flu jabs in and around the wards and ED.

                Setting up in the staff room and borderline coercion to comply.

                But it is not mandatory.

                Sub-contracted staff (of which there are too many, they should be brought in house) may be a different story.

                It may seem trivial, but the issue of mandating medication is part of a creeping encroachment that seems more American than Kiwi.

                • Shanreagh

                  If you look at front facing jobs having a job requirement to be vaccinated to protect themselves and other and forget the heavy 'mandate' word it becomes a sensible approach.

                  Many jobs have what we would call onerous starting and continuing requirements. These are not mandates but job requirements.

                  I don't call employer funded and housed annual flu vaccinations 'borderline coercion' just generous and sensible and of course they benefit because work continues. At one of our flu 'events' at the health agency I worked for there was only one person out of the whole staff who did not take part and that was me!

                  I had been getting the flu vaccine ever since getting pneumonia while overseas, then influenza induced asthma. I was about to go overseas just before the vaccine was available and my Dr arranged for me to have one early and I came back just as the event was held. So we had 100% rate. Lots of docs & nurses on our staff.

                  If you have the courage of your anti vaxx convictions, and I respect anyone who has made their decision either way in full knowledge of what they are doing, why is there the need to rehash all of this especially using loaded words that just reinforce and up the 'temperature'?

                  Forcible

                  coercion

                  creeping encroachment

                  There are lots of things we have imported from the US but our approach to Covid including vaccinations is our own. It is not a creeping Americanism. It is a sensible public health measure.

            • Shanreagh 9.2.4.1.2.2

              Obviously, there is a lot at play in the background for you, about this.

              What is at play? That I believe my flatmate and Dr Neighbour about what happens in their hospital?

              Did your 'nusery' not have a degree qualification? That could be a reason for not knowing about this.

              Also they may not work in a hospital or area that made this a requirement and help their staff keep up to date.

              CCDHB is on the ball. We have worked through a process together about keeping ourselves safe, how do we isolate from each, what do we do re bathrooms. I had seen the need for a household plan in the Covid advice…..they have been reminded through their hospital about the plan and added things to cover. We have stocked up and have given ourselves the go ahead to broach the inside Civil Defence kit and the outside wheeli bin of CD supplies!

              Presumably you accept the need for a plan, are making such a plan or does it come into the category of sensible advice like vaccinations and is to be ignored?

          • Patricia Bremner 9.2.4.1.3

            I am so sorry for your Mum. That is awful and a total humiliation. I hope you complained through the advocate system.

            • Shanreagh 9.2.4.1.3.1

              Thanks Patricia. This was totally new ground for us as ‘consumers’. Through working in a health agency I was aware of the shortcomings in many parts of the health sector but nothing really prepares you

              We did complain…..the scabies they met the costs of the Dr's appt and the treatments and we got a sheets from them of what to do……a copy so it must have been happening frequently.

              The hospital bug, nothing from Mid Central Health though CCDHB said they had patients with this bug and alerted them to it every time…..pointed out that it costs to maintain isolation.

              It just seemed basic cleanliness/hygiene was being overlooked.

              It was a terrible time for her and such slackness and the need for good healthcare was one of the reasons she moved to Gore. Sure down there missed a few beats, nothing serious, but by and large the system worked well. She was well looked after.

              Needless to say it is a fear in our family that something would happen to us and we'd have to go to one of those Mid Central hospitals. They were so poor then, on many levels, that to be honest it does not surprise me that nurses & possibly other staff are not being required/reminded to keep themselves vaccine-current.

  10. Foreign waka 10

    This is a very interesting analysis to listen to. And it would be indeed a miracle if NZ Government would be different. We are already in a feudalistic world.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    Looks like something interesting is happening in the islamic world. Take Turkey as an example. A strong leader in total control is using a purist doctrinal stance to repeatedly shoot himself in the foot – shedding public support in consequence.

    In Turkey, Erdoğan's Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has seen a dramatic slump in its support base, as the economy reels from a particularly severe currency crisis of Erdoğan’s own making.

    According to recent official statistics, consumer prices jumped 36.1 percent in December 2021, up from 21.3 percent in November, the highest rate of inflation since October 2002, when inflation had reached 33.45 percent. Owing to Erdoğan’s unorthodox economic strategy of maintaining extremely low interest rates, the Turkish Lira lost some 44 percent of its value against the US dollar in 2021.

    The results for ordinary Turks have been disastrous—GDP per capita has sunk to 2009 levels, while some 3.2 million Turks have fallen into poverty. A recent piece by Nikkei Asia noted that Turks now purchase iPhones as investments – ‘[i]n lira terms, Apple's handheld asset can shoot up in value in mere hours.’

    Despite this, Erdoğan has committed to his eccentric strategy of combating high inflation through the lowering of interest rates, citing Quranic precepts prohibiting the practise of usury. “[T]hey complain we keep decreasing the interest rate. Don’t expect anything else from me. As a Muslim, I will continue doing what our religion tells us” he declared on state television on December 19.

    Taking aim at the independence of the central bank, Erdoğan has thus far dismissed three central bank governors since 2019, and further sacked three central bank policy makers in October. Erdoğan is seemingly alone in this line of thinking—the majority of central banks operating in the Muslim world remain largely autonomous and happy to utilize usury.

    https://quillette.com/2022/01/21/in-the-muslim-world-islamism-is-going-out-of-vogue/

    The prophet, gazing down from above, would approve. "Be strong, my son. Continue to obey the words in my book!" But can he tough it out??

    Inflation is obviously the work of the devil. Funny how it has launched into a dramatic escalation globally all of a sudden. Almost like magic…

  12. Nic the NZer 12

    There is quite a lot going on in economic policy terms in Turkey. Probably getting quite a one-eyed perspective there, and many of the terms may not translate.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=48910

    As it turns out Erdogan's policy of 'extremely low interest rates' has the policy rate at merely 14%.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/turkey/interest-rate

    • Dennis Frank 12.1

      Reuters sees it as a crisis:

      Responding to an exchange rate crisis and spiralling inflation, Turkey's government has implemented a series of measures during the past month to persuade savers, banks and companies to hold more lira rather than foreign currency.

      Having spent billions of dollars supporting the lira in the currency market, the central bank is desperately seeking to rebuild net foreign reserves, which have dropped more than 60% from mid-December to just $7.5 billion.

      https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/turkeys-steps-calm-lira-crisis-bolster-fx-reserves-2022-01-27/

      Kinda seems similar to when Soros bet against the UK govt & won big, so I wonder if speculators are tugging at the rug under Erdogan…

  13. joe90 13

    Like the party where you let one arsehole in the door and then his friend turns up, and then another and before you know it, they're there to stay.

    When an ideological extreme faction with unpopular views emerges, it becomes a threat to the party that hosts it. At first, the party’s incentive is to banish the extremists, lest their toxic ideas taint the party’s brand with the broader electorate. But if the radical faction’s growth is not arrested, the calculus changes, and barring the doors can no longer work. It forms a large enough part of the base that the party can’t afford to alienate its members. The crank wing becomes too big to fail.

    […]

    American opinion on vaccines has begun to separate itself from the rest of the democratic world. Twenty percent of Americans say they are unwilling to take a COVID vaccine, a rate matched globally only by Russia. Among fellow democracies, the next-highest rate of vaccine refusal is 7 percent, or one-third as high. That 20 percent is not uniformly Republican, but partisanship accounts for an increasing share of vaccine refusal. That fifth of the population is not close to a majority, but it is large enough to hold a respected place in one of the two parties.

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/anti-vaccine-republican-party-desantis-tucker-carlson.html

  14. weka 14

    with TOP getting a change in leadership, to Rav Manji, it might be time to revisit TOP's UBI policy.

  15. joe90 15

    They were returning Kiribati missionaries.

    But still, missionaries and disease.

    edit:
    https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/01/25/lds-church-chartered/

  16. Muttonbird 16

    I notice the narrative for Omicron has changed from that of Delta.

    Not much noise from the usual suspects about Maori and Polynesian gangs and prostitutes spreading Covid now it's rich kids from Lindisfarne College and Auckland Grammar doing the damage.

  17. logie97 17

    TV1 News tonight – lack of visas for essential harvesting tractor drivers.

    The husband and wife Groundswell-moaning-agriculturists stood in the vast acres of wheat and beside two or three massive tractors bemoaning the fact that they cannot get these specialised drivers for harvest. Further, they will happily let the crop fall back to tilth. "The sheer incompetence of this government bla bla…"

    Now, apparently there is no-one capable within these shores to do this "highly technical" work. ("They have to be able to know how to turn the machinery around – not just anyone can do it…")

    And then Elma Fudd Luxon, or was it the Mekon, was asked for his comments.

    When are we going to get an interviewer who is going to challenge these bigots and ask some questions?

    One obvious question would be "How much do these "experts" on short term visas get paid?"

    Have the pen-pushing "entitled" agriculturists ever thought of offering careers on their vast estates rather than employing seasonal workers? Doubt it. That might cut into their shareholders bottom lines.

    • Brigid 17.1

      Indeed.

      Of course, ploughing the crop back into the soil would improve the soil structure and fertility and capture C02, so just get a move on and do it.

      Although a wiser farmer would have planted a legume.

      They're just entitled greedy morons

    • dv 17.2

      Heard of training locals?

    • Shanreagh 17.3

      The husband and wife Groundswell-moaning-agriculturists stood in the vast acres of wheat and beside two or three massive tractors bemoaning the fact that they cannot get these specialised drivers for harvest. Further, they will happily let the crop fall back to tilth. "The sheer incompetence of this government bla bla…"

      But that's is what they said last year…….how long do they need to see that they cannot rely on overseas workers while we are dealing with Covid.

      Whispers …..and did a risk analysis early on in the season as to whether it was a good idea to plant things that needed specialist equipment/drivers if these were not in NZ. Or does chasing the mighty $$$$$$ exempt them from being sensible?

      • Foreign waka 17.3.1

        Contract crops, loans from banks for said machinery, land and seed, fertilizer etc…farms follow a business plan that stretches longer than the seasonal fashion frock supply, this is not a back garden operation. Yes, true. Its best to train locals. But by god, look at the cowboys on the road! Many can't be bothered to get a valid driver licence to drive their car. Would you give them the key to a harvester? That machine weighs some 15-18 000 kg and most likely has multi functional applications to operate the cockpit is not far away from that of a plane. To read the manual alone, one has to be highly literate, understand mechanics, IT . These harvesters are very sophisticated machines and cost anywhere from 140 -390 k. To say that locals can just take this on is plain ignorant. I am not saying that farmers needn't address this and even looking at creating apprenticeships, but then again who of the younger generation is willing to actually (!) work on a farm.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combine_harvester

        Farming is the income of NZ, perhaps more respect would be in order.

        • Blazer 17.3.1.1

          When farmers say they cannot operate without filipino farm workers….something is seriously…wrong in the Milk Powder Republic.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 17.3.1.2

          Would you give them the key to a harvester? That machine weighs some 15-18 000 kg and most likely has multi functional applications to operate the cockpit is not far away from that of a plane.

          I've heard recent anecdotes about NZ pilots transitioning to crop harvesting.

        • Shanreagh 17.3.1.3

          I give respect where it is due.

        • logie97 17.3.1.4

          … like the huge amount of respect that the Groundswell brigade have shown in their public statements in their links to the anti-vac movement.

          With the tourism department targeting high-roller visitors, the horticulturists could be waiting a while for their fruit to be picked as well.

          Raise the pay levels would seem to be a good start and start offering permanent jobs. ("…but then again who of the younger generation is willing to actually (!) work on a farm.") Yep you have great respect for the younger New Zealanders right there.

          Forget about your overseas cruises and offer careers of worth.

          • Foreign waka 17.3.1.4.1

            A farmer who works without looking at his/her watch, getting the food out of the ground, earning export money for the country to pay for the education, health care and supply of food for NZlanders? Yes, I respect that. A youngster just getting a handout, not willing to work for living wage level (I have seen that on a number of occasions), yes I greatly disrespect that and with it the attitude that seems to be fostered somewhere.

  18. Drowsy M. Kram 18

    Be prepared for Omicron and get a booster
    A booster dose gives the greatest protection from Omicron. You can get yours 4 months after your second dose.

    Most Kiwis infected with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms. For those interested in protection against severe harm, a booster is your best bet.

    "NSW has registered its deadliest day of the pandemic, with 49 people dying with COVID-19 in 24 hours."

    NSW has recorded more COVID deaths than any single day of the pandemic [29 January 2022]

    The [NSW] premier [Perrottet] said on Friday as school returned and people went back to the office there was “no doubt” case numbers would increase.

    Living alongside the virus means there will be cases of the virus in the community each and every day.

    When mobility increases, case numbers increase. That is the model we’ve moved to in NSW, Australia and around the world.

    • Shanreagh 18.1

      Yippee my booster is tomorrow, Sunday at 4.15pm. Again like I was prior the first lots (and I think so was Weka) I am ridiculously excited to be doing my thing for me and good ol Aotearoa New Zealand. smiley smiley

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