Pandemic to endemic covid-19

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, February 13th, 2021 - 84 comments
Categories: chris bishop, covid-19, health, International, Politics, Social issues - Tags: ,

Back in May, I wrote a post “Covid-19: may be endemic” in which I said

Like measles, covid-19 could become endemic. Never dying out entirely. Needing to be controlled in human denser populations into the indefinite future.

The Standard: “Covid-19: may be endemic

and

That is where I think that this disease will wind up. If I had to bet, and assuming a vaccine, I’d say this will eventually be more prevalent than measles, and less frequent outbreaks than the annual flu. It will be endemic.

The Standard: “Covid-19: may be endemic

That certainly seems to be where this virus is heading. Vaccinating the worlds population to the point that the disease can’t find human hosts to spread to increasingly seems unlikely.

The kind of viral recombination variants (like B.1.1.7 recognised in the UK, and B.1.351 recognised in South Africa) that we are seeing now indicate that a deep penetration into human populations. Certainly sufficient to allow enough shuffling of features from different viral strains to cause a moving target for vaccine immunity and for recovery immunity.

Viral recombination occurs when viruses of two different parent strains coinfect the same host cell and interact during replication to generate virus progeny that have some genes from both parents. Recombination generally occurs between members of the same virus type (e.g., between two influenza viruses or between two herpes simplex viruses). Two mechanisms of recombination have been observed for viruses: independent assortment and incomplete linkage. Either mechanism can produce new viral serotypes or viruses with altered virulence.

Medical Microbiology. 4th edition.

While the emergent effect of recombination strains is often considerable, the effect is usually to cause strain on expected medical capacities, and ignorant barking by stupid politicians (National’s Chris Bishop gave a fine example of such stupidity before New Year).

The Economist has a good leader article on the endemic probabilities of Covid-19. While it is paywalled, you can probably read it without a subscription after jumping through some hoops.

Even miracles have their limits. Vaccines against the coronavirus have arrived sooner and worked better than many people dared hope. Without them, the pandemic threatened to take more than 150m lives. And yet, while the world rolls up a sleeve, it has become clear that expecting vaccines to see off covid-19 is mistaken. Instead the disease will circulate for years, and seems likely to become endemic. When covid-19 first struck, governments were caught by surprise. Now they need to think ahead.

The Economist: “How well will vaccines work?

Which is really going to be an issue with some of the political idiots. Especially those politicians on the right who seem to see a virus as being part of a cultural war rather than something that they can deal with. The level of idiotic foot-dragging by conservative and right-wing politicians in many countries has, in my view, been the primary reason for the depth of the covid-19 pandemic.

The late and half-hearted responses to the spread of a new disease back in the first quarter on 2020 were led by conservative politicians more concerned about short term effects on their economies and election chances than on any clear understanding of disease spread. The crux of the issues that point toward the pandemic reducing to an endemic disease are explained well.

… Although vaccines fail to prevent all mild and asymptomatic cases of covid-19, they mostly seem to spare patients from death and the severest infections that require hospital admission, which is what really matters. Early evidence suggests that some vaccines stop the virus spreading, too. This would greatly slow the pandemic and thus make it easier to alleviate lockdowns without causing a surge of cases that overwhelms intensive-care units. Those findings, and many more, will harden up over the next few months as more data emerge (see article).

However, despite all this good news, the coronavirus is not finished with humanity yet. Covid-19 will continue to circulate widely. There is a growing realisation that the virus is likely to find a permanent home in humans, as “The Jab”, our new podcast, which launches on February 15th, will explore. That has profound implications for how governments need to respond.

One reason the coronavirus will persist is that making and distributing enough vaccine to protect the world’s 7.8bn people is a Herculean task (see article). Even Britain, which is vaccinating the population at a faster rate than any other big country, will not finish with the over-50s until May. To add to the burden, the potency of a jab may fade, making boosters necessary. Outside the rich world, 85% of countries have yet to start their vaccination programmes. Until the billions of people who live in them have felt the prick of a needle, which may not be before 2023, they will remain fuel for the virus.

Another reason for covid-19’s persistence is that, even as vaccines are making sarscov-2 less infectious and protecting people against death, new viral variants are undoing some of their good work. For one thing, successful variants are more infectious—anything from 25-40% in the case of b.1.1.7 which was first found in Britain. Infection is governed by the dizzying mathematics of exponential growth, so cases and deaths accumulate rapidly even if the variant is no more deadly. To get a given level of viral suppression, more onerous social distancing is needed.

In addition, new variants may withstand current vaccines. The ones found in Brazil and South Africa may also be defeating the immunity acquired from a previous covid-19 infection. The hope is that such cases will be milder, because the immune system has been primed by the first encounter with the disease. Even if that is true, the virus will continue to circulate, finding unprotected people and—because that is what viruses do—evolving new strains, some of which will be better at evading the defences that societies have mounted against them.

And the third reason sarscov-2 will persist is that lots of people will choose to remain a target by refusing vaccination. A total of 10m Britons are vulnerable to the disease, because of their age or underlying conditions. Modelling suggests that if just 10% of them declined to be vaccinated and if social distancing were abandoned while the virus was still liable to circulate at high levels, then a tremendous spike in infections and deaths would result.

The Economist: “How well will vaccines work?

An excellent summary of the difficulties involved trying to make covid-19 a rare rather than an endemic disease.

84 comments on “Pandemic to endemic covid-19 ”

  1. Treetop 1

    What is the most concerning when it comes to Covid-19, the death rate or not having access to an ICU bed if required?

    I can see that lockdowns occur to prevent infection to not overwhelm the health system. The model used to allocate ICU beds will need to change or introducing Covid hospitals will probably need to occur.

    • Andre 1.1

      What is the most concerning when it comes to Covid-19, the death rate or not having access to an ICU bed if required?

      Yes. Both. Plus the long-term symptoms and disabilities a lot of the victims end up with.

      But at this stage, it appears the vaccines provide enough protection to bring the death rate, the hospitalisation rate, and long-term effects down far enough that a highly vaccinated population won't need to be any more worried about it than any number of other diseases we live with. Even with the mutations seen so far that are different enough that the existing vaccines only give partial protection.

      That is subject to change at any moment with the appearance of new mutations and new information about vaccine performance and immunity duration, of course.

    • Sacha 1.2

      Need to have the ICU beds with ventilators in the first place before allocating them becomes an issue. We are extremely fortunate in NZ to have dodged that bullet thanks to decisive leadership and action. The first wave would have killed thousands.

  2. RedLogix 2

    This is pretty much the same thesis I presented (albeit with far less authoritative detail) back in October – what happens if the vaccines are not the promised magic wand like they were for smallpox eradication? At that point the realisation is going to sink in that lockdowns will not be tolerated without limit, and border isolation cannot be maintained without failure indefinitely.

    At some point I argued we're going to have to pivot from the strategies that served us so well going into this pandemic – to different ones to help us get out of it. In particular I think we're going to have to open the door wider to exploring non-vaccine treatments that boost the ability of the body to fight off the infection.

    The remarkable aspect of this virus is how closely age related the death rate is – which strongly suggests that understanding this relationship may well hold the best promise to treating what will likely become an endemic disease.

    And of course it begs the question of just how long NZ might maintain it's purist stance of elimination – in the event the wider world gives up on that goal. I realise just how unhappy a question this is – so I do ask it respectfully.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1

      And of course it begs the question of just how long NZ might maintain it's purist stance of elimination – in the event the wider world gives up on that goal.

      I'm happy for NZ to maintain it's health-focussed stance. Most of the wider world gave the elimination goal away early in the ‘game’ – NZ and Australia implemented sustainable elimination strategies and reaped a year of good Covid-19 health outcomes.

      As for notions that "border isolation cannot be maintained without failure indefinitely", and "lockdowns will not be tolerated without limit", imho NZ's system of border controls is performing well, with only minor breaches, and while lockdowns may not be tolerated without limit, the current five-day lockdown in Victoria suggests that limit has not been reached yet, and that most of the team understand what's at risk.

      Things will change eventually, but there's no urgency. Thanks to our "purist stance" we're in the enviable position of being able to introduce changes gradually with a view to retaining the gains made so far. Many developed countries are still grappling with moderately high daily (7-day average) Covid-19 death rates, e.g. US 2,760; UK 754; Germany 518; Spain 488; France 404; Italy 355. Even in Ireland it's 37 – a tragic reminder (if one was needed) that sometimes a "purist stance" is just what's needed.

      The pandemic wasn't over on the 3rd of October and, with over 25 million currently active cases worldwide, it's not over now. No need to get ahead of ourselves – plans are afoot for NZ's next 'baby' steps, despite Hosking's claim to the contrary.

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

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/covid-19-coronavirus-calculation-shows-when-pandemic-is-expected-to-end/UV5EDTOBINBGWRPEVAXT6F4I2Y/

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        The pandemic wasn't over on the 3rd of October

        It damn well should have been. The primary reason for this Northern hemisphere winter surge is Vitamin D deficiency. The failure of multiple govts to take effective action on this has cost huge numbers of lives and amounts in my view to criminal negligence.

        Our personal experience with this has been quite striking. For five years we lived in Ballarat which experiences remarkably long (May – Oct) cool and gloomy winters. Basically we got no sunshine on our skin for six months of the year. (On top of this I worked one of the antipodean summers in the Canadian Arctic.) The first year in Ballarat was OK, but every year after that both my partner and I suffered quite severe bronchial infections that lasted for months. When one of us recovered the other would relapse and then a week or so later the cycle would repeat.

        The last year in Ballarat I had one episode so severe I wound up in A&E.

        The past three years we've been in Brisbane (or tropical work sites) – and not one single cough or sniffle the whole time. This past year we've both been taking 4000 IU of VitD most days – and I did ask for it to be included in my recent bloodwork check up. Result came back at 50ng/l which is exactly in the desired 30 – 80 range.

        I realise this is just a personal data point and is proof of nothing medically – but it is our experience and it's been such a striking contrast I cannot help but be impressed by it.

        I'm not going to bother linking to references – there are so many of them now that anyone who wants to find information only has to type a few words. The various trials and studies show a wide range of hazard reductions, but almost all show seriously worthwhile gains.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1.1.1

          The primary reason for this Northern hemisphere winter surge is Vitamin D deficiency.

          Is Vitamin D deficiency linked to severe cases of COVID-19?
          Sales of Vitamin D have spiked 42 percent since the pandemic began, as early research in the US and other countries appears to suggest a possible link between Vitamin D deficiency and more severe cases of COVID-19.

          Just imagine how much worse that winter surge might have been without the spike in vitamin D sales.

          Supplements for the Treatment of Mild COVID-19—Challenging Health Beliefs With Science From A to Z
          The supplement industry is estimated to be worth approximately $300 billion globally. More than one-half of US adults report taking at least 1 vitamin or supplement for various health reasons, with little evidence of efficacy to support their widespread use. The best evidence to guide clinical recommendations comes from well-designed RCTs (randomized clinical trial). Given the widespread public use of supplements, such as zinc and ascorbic acid, for the prevention and treatment of viral infections, we applaud the COVID A to Z study investigators for adding rigorous science by testing their efficacy and challenging popular beliefs. Unfortunately, these 2 supplements failed to live up to their hype.

          • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1

            Just read the literature and quit with the useless quibbling.

            Vitamin D and RTIs: lesson from the recent experience

            The seasonality of viral RTIs such as those caused by influenza virus and rhinovirus has been recognised from long time and is even considered to be one of the major contributor to seasonal variations in human mortality.

            As matter of fact, a recent large study found that sunlight UV radiation dose is negatively correlated with the percent positive patients for SARS-CoV-2 and for four other common human coronaviruses in the USA, and this association is season-related with lowest vitamin D serum concentrations.

            In a large population survey (6789 participants), the prevalence of RTIs and altered lung function showed a strong seasonal pattern and linear association in the opposite direction to the vitamin D serum concentrations.

            A more detailed study evaluating the link between vitamin D concentrations and ARDS, patients with 25(OH)D3 <20 ng/mL showed a significantly higher odds of ARDS compared with patients with 25(OH)D >20 ng/mL after adjustment for age, gender, diagnostic category, staging and degree of cigarette consumption, (p=0.032).

            Interestingly, when 25(OH)D concentrations were analysed with logistic regression as a continuous exposure in 0.4 ng/mL increments, the odds of ARDS decreased by 17% for every 0.4 ng/mL increase in 25(OH)D (OR 0.83 (95% CI 0.69 to 0.98; p=0.033).

            In another study, it was found that each 4 ng/mL increase in 25(OH)D was associated with a 7% lower risk of lung infection (95 % CI 3% to 11 %) after adjustment for lifestyle, socioeconomic factors and adiposity.

            Therefore, it has been argued that vitamin D status should be taken into account as an important contributor in determining the population susceptibility to seasonal epidemic outbreaks, together with the effects of augmented indoor confinement in wintertime (ie, school) and increased circulating reservoirs of respiratory viruses.

            Furthermore, another large observational study evaluating healthy adults during the fall and winter of 2009–2010, investigated the relationship between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and incidence of acute RTIs (ARTIs).

            The result was that only 17% of patients showing serum 25(OH)D concentrations over 38 ng/mL throughout the study developed ARTIs, on the contrary 45% of those with serum concentrations less than 38 ng/mL did.

            Concentrations of vitamin D over 40 ng/mL induced a significant (p<0.0001) twofold reduction in risk of developing ARTIs including a strong reduction in the percentage of days of illness

            The negative correlation between seasonality (winter) of inflammatory conditions (ie, rheumatoid arthritis) and vitamin D concentrations (UV effects) has been already deeply analysed and it links the immune response with the 25(OH)D concentrations.

            More recently, the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency, (serum concentrations of 12–20 and <12 ng/mL, respectively), was assessed in association with mortality from respiratory diseases during 15 years of follow-up in a cohort of 9548 adults, aged 50–75 years.

            Overall, 41% of respiratory disease mortality was statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.

            Previously, in a systematic review and meta-analysis, 25 randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials (total 11 321 participants, aged 0–95 years) were selected in order to evaluate if supplementation of vitamin D might reduce the risk of ARTIs.

            Interestingly, vitamin D supplementation reduced significantly the risk of ARTI among all participants (p<0.001) and in a subgroup analysis, protective effects against ARTIs were observed in those individuals receiving daily or weekly vitamin D without additional bolus doses, but not in those receiving one or more bolus doses (p=0.05). Among those receiving daily or weekly vitamin D, protective effects were stronger in those with baseline 25(OH)D <10 ng/mL than in those with baseline 25(OH)D levels ≥10 ng/mL (for interaction p=0.006). The lesson from these recent evidences seem to confirm that vitamin D supplementation is safe and might protect at least against ARTIs overall.

            This experience seems today replicated in COVID-19 patients.

            Exactly what are you objecting to here? Early October the rates pretty much everywhere were trending downward and it's my view we had quite enough information at that point in time to have avoided this second lethal wave.

            That people like you demanded 'gold standard RCT' trials before implementing a very safe, cheap and well understood treatment, has now contributed to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths. This may be something you want to have a long hard think about.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1.1.1.1.1

              "quit with the useless quibbling"

              Thought we were debating differing points of view, but by your command laugh

              That people like you demanded 'gold standard RCT' trials before implementing a very safe, cheap and well understood treatment, has now contributed to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths.

              Thanks RL, I do appreciate that you wrote "people like you", rather than 'people such as you" wink As with all medical interventions, efficacy is paramount, ihmo.

              • RedLogix

                efficacy is paramount

                All the evidence I've read strongly suggests that adequate VitD levels (>30ng/l) would have avoided somewhere between 40 – 90% of COVID deaths this past northern winter.

                How much more 'efficacious' do you want?

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  How much more 'efficacious' do you want?

                  The ultimate proof of efficacy is in the pudding. Hope you're right.

    • Treetop 2.2

      There is no going back to previous Covid-19 times. Some changes are greater than others. NZ is fortunate that elimination has worked due to having a purist approach. What other countries do to manage Covid depends on the level of infection and the available resources. NZ can have its own stratergy and does not need to follow any other country.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        There is no going back to previous Covid-19 times.

        A lot of commenters here seem real keen on that proposition. Quite possibly because COVID has had relatively little real impact on their own lives and it aligns with their tendency to apocalyptic thinking.

        Of course COVID will have permanent impacts, but the idea that NZ can maintain the current lockdown/isolation regime indefinitely into the future is ludicrous. We have to start at least thinking past the horizon of the next few months or year.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 2.2.1.1

          There is no going back to previous Covid-19 times.” seems consistent with “COVID will have permanent impacts” – don’t see what all this argy-bargy is really about.

          Of course COVID will have permanent impacts, but the idea that NZ can maintain the current lockdown/isolation regime indefinitely into the future is ludicrous.

          Quite agree – ludicrous. Whoever might have touted such a hyperbolic stance?

    • lprent 2.3

      The remarkable aspect of this virus is how closely age related the death rate is

      Actually that is the norm for most if not all new families of diseases through history. If you start from virtually no-one having any base immunities, then you would expect a death rate concentrated amongst people with weakened immune systems. This is what got seen in episodes like the smallpox or measles into the islands.

      In a reasonable healthy population – new diseases follow a death rate concentrated by age in the more elderly of a population.

      Outbreaks of population 'known' diseases tend to target children and young adults because they are weaned and have less of a immune responses to something they haven't been exposed to in the last 20 or so years. Plus people with weakened immune responses. But older people's immune system have a reasonably high probability of having seen the disease before.

      The classic example was the 1918 influenza, which knocked off people in the west in their 20s preferentially. That was because they hadn't seen a similar epidemic of an H1N1 type, but there had been a less deadly one in the 19th century.

      It is just that we are currently unused to widespread disease these days.

      • RedLogix 2.3.1

        then you would expect a death rate concentrated amongst people with weakened immune systems.

        Which is kind of my point. SARS-COVID-2 seems a relatively harmless virus unless you are already weakened and age seems to be the key factor.

        One aspect of UVB production of Vitamin D is just how much it reduces with age and how older people are less inclined to expose much of their bodies for all sorts of social reasons.

        So far we have excellent COVID/Vitamin D correlations with:

        Season – winter reduces UVB dramatically
        Age – reduces VitD production dramatically
        Skin Colour – reduces VitD production dramatically
        Indoor living habits – both hot and cold climates induce people to stay indoors during daylight hours
        Diet – some populations seem more resistant because they regularly eat foods with a fair bit of VitD
        Supplementation – people in the habit of taking VitD regularly to a decent level are having better outcomes

        Yet for some reason govts have been deeply reluctant to even try this simple, low cost, well understood and very safe treatment – in favour of a ‘vaccines as the magic wand’ approach that as you outline in the OP – may or may not work as well as we hope.

  3. Sacha 3

    Our tourism industry will need to get real.

    • Sabine 3.1

      please define 'industry' in regards to tourism?

      Air NZ? (the private part or the government part, or both?

      the big international hotels?

      the motels chains?

      the independent hotel/motel/b&b operators who are locals?

      the guide tours?

      the big food chains?

      the small cafes/restos?

      the tourists shops?

      the bike shops? the ski shops? the diving gear shops?

      Car / Van rentals (mind most of them are already gone)

      the tourist bus operators?

      the trail guides?

      Camp grounds?

      Doc? Government?

      All of the above?

      Others?

      Seriously, please define Tourism Industry.

      And then define 'get real', as what would/could that entail in todays Covid world.

      • Sacha 3.1.1

        I doubt anybody here is in any doubt how extensive that industry is. Nor how its prospects for the next 2-10 years are likely to be affected by the topic of this post.

        Why would the public spend billions every year to prop up something whose fundamentals have thoroughly changed, rather than fund transition to other activities?

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          The thing that pisses me off is that at the time tourism is collapsing, freeing up workers and infrastructure, we're also hard up against the urgency of climate/eco crises, and these neolib numpties can't see the wood for the trees. They seem to largely lack the imagination to see how things can be anything other than the business model they are used, and I would guess this is part of the struggle to get real. If one can only see the collapse, and the not the rebuild then denial is strong.

          But as Graeme points out, this isn't new. Tourism has long been in denial of climate change change too. No idea why Labour then puts people in to solve the mess who likewise seem to lack the imagination to step out of BAU. Incredibly frustrating because NZ is full of people who do have the imagination, and for some reason we are slow to make the connection.

          • Sacha 3.1.1.1.1

            Same with the bleddy 'shovel-ready' projects last year hoovering up scarce opportunities to make a difference. Gross negligence.

            • Sabine 3.1.1.1.1.1

              While i don't agree with all the shovel ready projects and the funds they received i would assume that some of the money spend is now counting for that 4.5 % unemployment for men. Women sit at 5.4%.

              Again, government can subsidize jobs – hopefully decent future orientated ones, or it can spend its money on unemployment benefits/social welfare, or it can create a surplus that the next government can then spend on the rich of this country via tax cuts. Right now it seems to me that they are opting for #3.

          • Sabine 3.1.1.1.2

            Because they are literally bailing each other out. The rest of the country not so much.

            Tourism industry is just one. Next is the Education Industry. And any other industry that depends on people coming here to spend money.

            And hence why i ask to 'define the industry'. IS one talking about the big player (Air NZ to name one) or is it to bail out the people at the end of the rope that are the ones that will be the hardest hit and will have the hardest time of coming back from it. Maybe that would be the first thing to do is rather then talk about an industry – talk about the part of the industry that can go to never be replaced and then the parts that are good and should be grown, differentiate between big asset holders and their janitors so to speak.

          • Craig H 3.1.1.1.3

            This seems to be the obvious time to rethink tourism, so I share your frustration – by the time we get back to "normal", climate change will have overtaken normal.

    • Graeme 3.2

      A group people are seeing a very dramatic destruction of wealth in tourism and hospitality. It's a grieving process with many stages and unfortunately will be worked through in a very public arena. Heard of someone who paid just short of a million two years ago for a very profitable restaurant in town, they're shutting it down next week. The landlord is pretty much certain to go tits up as well. Of course they'll scream and yell. Whether anyone listens, and gives them any sympathy, well….

      Tourism goes through some huge booms and busts. There were a lot of empty premises in Queenstown in 2009, and after 1987 it took five years before things stabilised. This one has a different mechanism, pandemic rather than financial silliness, although that was getting close to catching up with people (example above) and most of what's gone was sick 12 months ago. A major correction for inbound tourism was brewing before covid, the social license was getting pretty sketchy and the main tourist centres are being abandoned by NZ travellers in the same way the "industry" abandoned the domestic market and packaged and sold the traditional NZ holiday to the world. Roost meet chooks.

      There's a transition happening, it's not going to be pretty but hopefully we'll come out in a better place and some lessons will be learnt. But the upshot is that we're unlikely to see mass international travel for a very long time. Vaccines will only put the world where NZ is now, there's no covid circulating or it's manageable. Until a new variant pops out and the vaccine doesn't work, then everything stops again. International travel insurance will be next to impossible.

      • Ad 3.2.1

        Graeme I sincerely hope you and your team survive this.

        You make products that are high in creativity and productivity and value, and low in mass and weight.

        You continue to do everything you can to change your business to be more online.

        You've weathered so many rises and falls in Queenstown over decades – and your catastrophist Mayor isn't helping.

        I'm wishing and hoping that you make it through.

      • Sabine 3.2.2

        Thanks for pointing out the human cost in nicer terms then i ever could.

        I have said for a while now to my globe trotting friends that they can write travel off for the next 4 years, i have said this here in town to people. And they don't want to believe this, because for many that would mean to go down under, and i guess that is hard to contemplate.

        And as you said, even if we beat Covid faster then my timeline we still won't be going back to anything resembling the before because a lot of people world wide are also loosing their affairs, businesses, jobs and thus are will also be much poorer in the near future and won't have the money to travel here even just for a two week stint, let alone a three month campervan or bike trip.

        Personally i don't want any industry being bailed out, i want the people bailed out via decent unemployment and social welfare benefits added into that a requirement for job search that does not clash with the reality that this year we will more likely then not loose more jobs, more self employment etc then we as a country can create.

        • RedLogix 3.2.2.1

          won't have the money to travel here even just for a two week stint, let alone a three month campervan or bike trip.

          Yet here in Brisbane that exact same industry is booming. The lead time on a new caravan or camper is 6 – 9 months right now.

          • Sabine 3.2.2.1.1

            I doubt that at the moment many people from Europe or the US / Asia are travelling to Brisbane for a campervan currently? So i am not talking about local consumption, but international one. As for the leadtimes, are they running out of spare parts that are not coming in from overseas? Never mind….. .

            Btw, next to where i live is a camper van / rent a box type business. He is doing really well, he is building lots of boxes that people put in yards for their relatives that can't afford rentals anymore, they are popping up in back and front yards everywhere, and some have campers, and i even have a neighbourg with an old huge horsefloat that is converted for the son/missus and child.

            Considering the housing crisis in NZ i would assume the Camper/Box builders to be in great demand for a long long time to come.

          • Graeme 3.2.2.1.2

            New Zealand, and Australia are discovering that international tourism is a net negative to the economy, much more money goes out of the country than comes in.

            The money that would have gone out for the overseas holiday is now being spent on re-creation at home. Around Queenstown it's swimming pools and/or tennis courts, and nationwide, boats. All will be next summer

    • Sacha 3.3

      For those who may have missed it, this is one recent story I was thinking of: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/moral-obligation-help-nz-tourism-companies-if-borders-remain-shut-through-2021-ceo-says

      Chief executive of Fox Glacier Guiding Rob Jewell is one of those operators who relies heavily on the dollars that international visitors bring.

      "The thing is, this isn't just about tourism, this is about survival of our communities," he told Breakfast this morning.

      "With those borders closed until 2022 and businesses that can't attract domestic visitors, the [Tourism] minister said some of those are going to fail, and look, I agree of course the Government can't save every business, but probably the big thing is it does need to save communities and the people who live in them.

      I doubt we can afford to keep all the tourism-dependent places like his alive. If alternative work is not able to be transitioned to locally, people may just need to move. That has happened many times in human history, especially in widespread once-a-century disruptions like this.

      • Incognito 3.3.1

        Government could subsidise domestic tourism for people who can never afford a holiday and/or as reward for special service such as frontline workers in MIQs. Decile 1 schools could organise school trips/excursions or even school camps. Great for nation-building and development, I reckon. Can somebody please think outside the square and use some imagination?

        • Poission 3.3.1.1

          Stagger the school holiday breaks by province?

          • Incognito 3.3.1.1.1

            Yes, good thinking but already rejected by Government and even National doesn’t seem keen.

        • Sabine 3.3.1.2

          School camps would be great. I guess there is a whole raft of kids in either Island that never went to the other parts of NZ.

          • Incognito 3.3.1.2.1

            Anecdotally, there are NZ kids who have never been to a beach! I’m sure there are quite a few who have never been to major NZ city either. Would it not be exciting if young Kiwis could learn first- hand about their country and bridge a few socio-economic as well as cultural divides in the process?

        • Sacha 3.3.1.3

          Great idea. Let's see it planned out.

          • Incognito 3.3.1.3.1

            If only they would scour sites such as this one for fresh ideas cheeky

            • Sabine 3.3.1.3.1.1

              Maybe an open letter of ideas to Labour?

              • Incognito

                Well, it is an interesting question, isn’t it? How best to submit stuff to Government or Labour, which are very different ‘beast’ in all reality, without it ending up in the Deleted folder of some faceless person? How to send a letter that gets results? A bit like cold calling. Any other specific suggestions except for an open letter, which I would have to sign with my real name?

                • Sacha

                  Anything short of an organised campaign or a face-to-face meeting is likely to be unpersuasive. Hence the existence of 'govt relations' consultants to secure the latter.

                  • Incognito

                    The joys of representative democracy where the representatives are well-shielded from undue influences from the people they are supposed to represent and vice versa. The disconnect is always the undoing.

                    • RedLogix

                      "The isolation of the elites" – a theme Jared Diamond returned to in Collapse quite a few times.

                      The thing is it's not all their fault – their roles are demanding and time consuming. They're surrounded by necessary functionaries and technocrats. Talented and capable lobbyists compete for their attention. We expect them to be responsible for broad and onerous ministry's, complex tasks and be across all the details as well.

                      When exactly are they supposed to quietly and without a media circus get alongside the homeless, the disabled and alienated at the margins? In many cases it will be their families who're their only real connection with the wider non-political world.

                      My defense here is of the very human people who we elect to be our leaders. We should treasure them more than we do I think. It's the nature of the system they have to work in that undoes so much of their good intentions.

                    • Incognito []

                      Nothing in your comment suggested that you think the divide could and should be bridged. Since you raised the thorny issue of “fault”, who has the power and will to change it? You seem to defend (!?) the status quo.

                      Chlöe Swarbrick is quite capable of connecting directly and engaging with people/voters via Social Media on a personal level but with a keen eye & ear for issues in the community that are worth knowing about and possibly following up on. Is she Wonder Woman?

                      Anyway, I’m not interested in playing the blame game.

                      Bye

                    • RedLogix

                      Why imagine that I was defending the status quo? My last line stated:

                      It's the nature of the system they have to work in that undoes so much of their good intentions.

                      There is where change needs to happen.

                    • Sacha

                      RL, I agree our Ministers are behaving as the system requires of them. If there is a non-creepy way to do it, maybe we could try to connect with their families and friends as an avenue of influence?

        • Graeme 3.3.1.4

          The main tourist resorts are reaping the reward of ignoring the domestic market for 10 years. Effectively the 'industry' took the traditional NZ holiday and packaged it up and sold it to the world. We found our holiday spots booked out by international visitors, our beaches and picnic spots over run by freedom campers and it was a rare to encounter a New Zealander in a front line job, especially the business owner.

          New Zealanders don't want the product that has developed, and are currently shunning the main tourist centres for other destinations. Over New Year Queenstown and Te Anau were dead, effectively 0, Wanaka, Stewart Island and Catlins had a huge couple of weeks.

          • Sacha 3.3.1.4.1

            Your Mayor does not seem to be taking it well (have not watched the embedded clip, just read the text). https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/travel/2021/02/would-we-slaughter-all-the-cows-queenstown-mayor-says-tourism-industry-won-t-survive-another-year-of-closed-borders.html

            "Queenstown businesses did not cause our borders to close, and yet we're being asked to pay the price," he told The AM Show on Friday, begging the Government for a new wage subsidy package and loans so tourism operators can survive until the borders reopen.

            • Graeme 3.3.1.4.1.1

              One of the dubious pleasures in these sort or times is seeing who amongst the town's worthies has been swimming without any trousers. I'm beginning to wonder about Jim.

              There could be something coming up regarding pandemic planning, or rather lack thereof, going back a few years that won't reflect well on his mayoralty too. Man and town are under a bit of stress, most self induced.

          • Ad 3.3.1.4.2

            We did similar to that for four weeks this holidays.

            We went:

            – 3 nights Landed Dunedin for Christmas, picked up the car, then

            – 6 nights Te Anau and the Kepler Track and Trout fishing, then

            – 1 night Riverton, then

            – 5 nights Catlins at Surat Bay

            – did the punt over the Clutha on the way up to …

            – 7 nights Wanaka

            – Returned car to Dunedin, 2 nights at Dunedin and out back to Auckland

            It was a good epic deep-south thing.

          • Incognito 3.3.1.4.3

            Yes, good point. When I visit a place that’s overrun with tourists I run for the hills although this is partly because I’m a deep-introvert. It’ll be survival of the fittest, i.e. of the ones who can adapt. However, a problem is that unfair treatment, be it perceived or real, can easily create a lot of bitterness and resentment and test the fragile fabric of local communities and society as a whole. Some will take the opportunity to launch populists propaganda aimed at ‘outsiders’. Thus I see the Government handouts and bailouts as a double-edged sword that, if not wielded wisely, can do an awful lot of long-term damage (e.g. think 1984).

        • Craig H 3.3.1.5

          I mean, this was the reasoning behind the various union and employer holiday homes e.g. Marram Trust.

      • Sabine 3.3.2

        Where do you want them to move to?

        This is not just a snarky comment, but a real question. 5+ years ago, people in AKL where told to just move some where where it is cheaper to live….never mind the jobs.

        How many South Island communities that live of tourism in particular do you want to up and move and where too, and to what jobs?

        The last time something like that was proposed Paula Benefit touted a 3000NZD payment to any unemployed person moving to CHCH to rebuild the city. It did not work really well if i remember correctly.

        So the Government can do a few things, help the station to survive the next three years on local tourism. Allow people to stay on the unemployment benefit without sanctioning them for failure to produce a job, helping people at the end of their working life into early retirement, and looking at investing heavily in green alternative jobs.

        Expecting people just to move……is the cheapest cop out ever, and a good way to fuck society over. But then maybe Thatcher was correct, and there is no society, just some people who don't care if other suffer while some do well.

        • Sacha 3.3.2.1

          Heaps of Aucklanders have moved away because of unaffordable housing and living costs. People move all the time.

          Where jobs are located depends on what sort they are. If public funding is involved in fostering them, they had better be sustainable future-oriented ones.

          This is not business as usual. Let's stop pretending that comes without social costs. Some people will suffer. Some places will suffer.

        • Craig H 3.3.2.2

          Payment to move for work rarely works out because the support networks don't move with the person. If it was more than just money, so a house/accommodation was included and they actually sorted out a job beforehand, it might work, but just a straight cash payment isn't enough to compensate for all that goes into moving to a new city without being so high that the public look askance at it (make it $10K and it might work, basically).

      • Graeme 3.3.3

        Why should the State bail out businesses that couldn't plan. Tourism is totally dependant on mobility of people, both internally and internationally. For the last 10 years the biggest threats to this mobility internationally have been war and pandemic. And internally, especially for the Coast, that lovely interaction between the weather, the geology and gravity.

        Where's the business planning to mitigate these risk? Oh right, let's stick the paw out for a Government hand out so we can stick the paw out for another Government hand out the next time it happens.

        • Sacha 3.3.3.1

          It is also a good test of how we will collectively adjust to climate change.

        • Sabine 3.3.3.2

          Should we expect anyone – anyone to have at least two years of rent/mortgage/electricity/rates/etc saved up to be prepared for an event like this so that they don't need government help?

          I find it funny how arguing for better benefits and more leniency for the current and future unemployed is considered helping businesses. That is what i want government to do. That is the one thing really we must now admit, is that we will lose a whole heep more businesses, that could also be yours or mine, and thus we be unemployed. Not only our staff, but us and lower down the chain our suppliers and so on and so forth. And at some stage that will be something to deal with. We can do nothing, or we can start being honest, rather then pretending that there was anyone/someone (inclusive the Labour Party and its leadership) in this country that was prepared for a pandemic that could kill anyone anywhere on this planet within three weeks after catching it, being so highly contagious that wearing a burka seems reasonable when leaving the house to buy groceries, and completly putting a stop to what was 'life' as we knew it.

          What i talk about is stuff that needs to be done on a policy level – legal framework for lease negotiations rather then….just negotiate with your landlord – who is in an equally shit position maybe. Help people get out if they want or must get out.

          Help local economy by raising the disposable income of those that have non at all atm, our beneficiaries. All of them. That disposable income would trickle down, rather then the subsidies aimed at businesses.

          And allow people to understand that the next few years will be slower, quieter and tighter, but feasable, rather then pretend that we are ever going back to what was the norm on March 27 11.59 PM. At the moment we have business as usual – throw a few dollars, complain when that does not work, do nothing more, when the patient is dead ask what could have been done more. Rinse repeat.

  4. McFlock 4

    If we get it to the stage where nobody has anything more than mild symptoms, that's cool, too. Lotsa people walking around with herpes they know nothing about. And a whole bunch of other germs.

    • Andre 4.1

      There's four other coronaviruses commonly circulating in the human population, constantly evolving, frequently causing short duration mild illness. These are just a few of the hundreds of viruses that cause common colds. It may well be that this new coronavirus will become similar.

      Hell, it may even be that if an elderly person that had never been previously exposed to a common cold coronavirus then got it, it might be dangerous to them in a similar way to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But we've all been frequently previously exposed and re-exposed to all the common cold coronaviruses at regular intervals from infancy (when the covid virus also seems to not be very dangerous), so we're all at least partially protected.

      • Treetop 4.1.1

        Do you think that Covid-19 is an actual corona virus and it might need to be reclassified?

      • McFlock 4.1.2

        One thing I'm wondering is what effects the covid research boom will have further down the track. Like in twenty years will the process of isolating and sequencing a virus and then generating an mrna vaccine be at the patient level, rather than population level. Person gets sick, blood test isolates the pathogen, doc gives a jab… Star trek shit.

        • Andre 4.1.2.1

          The work behind the mRNA vaccines has being going on for 3-odd decades. So I'm not sure I'd call it a covid research boom. It's kinda more a case of covid becoming a big enough problem that everyone was incentivised to do their bit to overcome the obstacles in the way of making mRNA vaccines an actual available reality.

          But yeah, that Moderna allegedly had the vaccine made within a couple of days of getting the genetic sequence from China really points to exciting possibilities for the future. (The rest of 10 months or so after Moderna developing the vaccine to actually releasing it under the emergency use authorisation was the trials, clearing the regulators, and gearing up for production)

        • Sacha 4.1.2.2

          Skip the doctor part. It will be available to the wealthy sooner than that; to the word's most poor, never.

        • Sabine 4.1.2.3

          Deep Space Nine, the vaccines arrives but only the new born are free of the disease and the elders still will carry it and die of it. 🙂

          geek out.

  5. Treetop 5

    Iprent it is a serious post which you have put up.

    Is having a purist approach to prevent Covid-19 delaying the inevitable when the border restrictions are lifted?

    • Sabine 5.1

      I hope we manage to get the vaccine here and distributed before the border restrictions are lifted to be honest. I have family overseas and we do not want this here.

    • lprent 5.2

      Depends when the border restrictions lift and why.

      Firstly, the import industries of immigration, students and tourism got hurt. But they really aren’t that economically significiant to the whole economy. Which is why the government have managed to tail off the subsidies without stalling the economy – and Robertson has too much tax money to play with. This has been an interesting proof of something that I have argued for years. None of those industries are very good at generating profit for the country. They are just good at generating profit for some companies and individuals.

      Secondly it appears that real unemployment is down. The revenue gathering export industries haven’t been significantly hit. Internal catchup infrastructure and housing is keeping the domestic economy running.

      So there is no significant economic reason to open up in a hurry. Sure it means that some industries and companies would benefit – but ata significiant economic risk to other running companies and the economy as a whole. Because until the vaccination level hits somewhere above at least 60% – we wind up having wide lockdowns with outbreaks.

      Thirdly, by the look of modelling studies done with B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 in mind, if looks more like an over 90% vaccination rate will be needed to stop the need to have periodic narrow lockdowns to prevent spread.

      Personally I don’t think that we are likely to get those kinds of vaccination levels until late in the year. It qas always expected to start vaccinations around March or April. Currently it looks to me like that will be hit.

      The vaccines aren’t perfect. But they drop the probabilities of requiring wide quarantines and lockdowns to something acceptable for a running economy. ie not like the UK at present.

      • Craig H 5.2.1

        Also, a lot of the brunt of the lost jobs was the migrant work force – if students aren't able to be here to study, they also aren't working 20 hours/week, so the jobs may be lost, but no NZ residents/citizens lost anything. If the work is still there and needing to be done, the hours may have been redistributed even.

        Likewise tourism in many tourist-dominated regions – if that work was primarily done by working holidaymakers and other migrants, and the work is gone due to no international travellers, but so is the work force for the same reason, the actual net effect on employment and the economy is small.

  6. Fran 6

    There are some people who are contraindicated to the vaccines. For Pfizer one it includes people who are allergic to PEG. Are we going to test for this before administering the vaccine? I only ask as who knows if they are allergic to this or not.

    • Incognito 6.1

      It is not common and one’s medical history may contain some hints. When in doubt, don’t take this particular vaccine but wait for another without PEG.

  7. RedLogix 7

    A very good WSJ article from the former head of the CDC on the lessons to be learned from the COVID disaster. It has six major bullet points but the one that aligns with my usual mantra of 'global problems must be met with leadership at the same scale' is this:

    As the lead U.N. agency for global public health, the WHO remains the indispensable anchor of such efforts. The organization has obvious limitations: It has often been underfunded, underpowered and reluctant to criticize governments. But it performs several indispensable roles: providing evidence-based public-health guidance, facilitating international collaboration, openly tracking data and helping countries to strengthen their public-health efforts.

    The WHO needs real reforms to meet its mission. It must be much better insulated from political and geographic considerations in the hiring and promotion of staff, as well as in its assessments of countries and recommendations to them. A stronger WHO could provide robust technical support to governments world-wide, especially through its proposed Global Strategic Preparedness Network.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1

      It would be great to see a better-funded and more politically independent WHO to advise and assist countries to prepare for and deal with pandemics.

      Fortunately the consensus among NZ and Australian health experts was to advise politicians to pursue a Covid-19 elimination strategy. The relative success of this strategy is evident whenever one looks at death tolls in other developed countries.

      The re-imposition of local lockdowns/travel restrictions in the state of Victoria and in the Auckland region in response to the recent threat of community transmission of Covid-19 is what effective Australasian leadership looks like. It's hugely encouraging, as are the recent moves to strengthen border controls. It suggests that both politicians and the wider public understand just how lucky we are, and what's at risk if we don't act as a team in the face of such threats.

      Stamp it out, keep it out.

      6. Don’t wait.

      We must act now: 2021 is the now-or-never moment to improve global resilience in facing future pandemics. We can’t know the character or the timing of the threats ahead, but they are inevitable. There is no time to lose in making preparations.

      Public-health decisions are unavoidably political. Failing to act, in the face of Covid-19’s proof that the world is dangerously vulnerable, would also be a decision. This year, when the urgency of such work is so clear, we must make significant investments to protect and expand global health—or we and our children will face the dire consequences.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        Fortunately the consensus that developed among NZ and Australian health experts was to advise politicians to pursue a Covid-19 elimination strategy to save lives.

        So why do you think they have they so egregiously failed to take other strategies that would have also saved lives?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.1.1

          Really RL, I'm not a mind reader – you'd have to ask them about their supposed egregious failure. Or perhaps you already have some reckons of your own wink

          What I do know is that our Covid-19 elimination strategy has saved lives – hooray!

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.1

            Sheesh – the way the debate goes down here so often I thought everyone was a mind reader. devil

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    There's nothing to sayAnd there's nothing to doStop whispering, start shoutingStop whispering, start shoutingYesterday our government surprised a few of us by standing up for something. It wasn’t for the benefit of people who own holiday homes and multiple investment properties. Neither were there any tobacco companies or fishing cartels ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • “I'm Not Keen on Whataboutism, But What About…”
    Hi,Not sure how your week is going, but I’ve had a pretty frustrating one. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and I think it’s perhaps distilled in this message I got on Twitter:What got me a bit riled up is that it was a response to the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National passing bad policies under urgency
    If National really had faith in its welfare policies, it wouldn’t be ramming them through Parliament under urgency – a step that means the policies can’t be exposed to select committee debate, public submissions, expert commentary, media scrutiny and all the normal democratic processes that this coalition appears to hold ...
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 16-February-2024
    It’s Friday so once again here”s our roundup of some of the articles that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt looked at the Government’s war on Auckland. On Tuesday Matt covered the ongoing issues with the rail network. On Thursday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • The Dawn Chorus for Friday, February 16
    The six things to note in my view at 6.30 am on Friday, February 16 in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Iron In Her Soul.
    “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich NietzscheTELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on ...
    5 days ago
  • Dig this
    Resources Minister Shane Jones yesterday told a breakfast hosted by Energy Resources Aotearoa precisely what they wanted to hear. “We campaigned to rehabilitate relegitimise and stand up for working families who derive their income,  derive their hope and derive purpose in regional New Zealand through a flourishing, growing, forward-leaning energy ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #7 2024
    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    5 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    5 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    6 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    6 days ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    6 days ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know!
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73411 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    7 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    7 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

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

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