Queue jumping the Covid vaccine rollout

Written By: - Date published: 7:52 am, January 27th, 2021 - 96 comments
Categories: covid-19, david seymour, Europe, health, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins - Tags:

The politics of Covid continues.

There have been some attacks on the Government because of the latest example community infection.

For me I am astounded there have not been more.

Of course we should aim for perfection and we need to.  But since March 2020 there have been 102,727 people go through managed isolation and quarantine facilities in Aotearoa New Zealand.  There have been less than a handful of issues so far.  100% success is important when dealing with such an evil virus but everyone should get it into perspective.  And it is a collection of a number of systems that will protect us.  And right now the track and trace system appears to be doing pretty well.

The political discussion has moved onto the rollout of the vaccines and how that is going to happen.

In a highly connected word we are all in this together.  Rich nations getting the jump on the supply of vaccines will not help.  The disease will still sear its way through poorer nations and until the world’s population reaches herd immunity levels no one is safe.

I am no anti vaxer but I am more than happy for the US and UK populations being guinea pigs to make sure that the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines work.  After all they were certified in less than a year which is outstandingly fast when normally it takes at least a decade to approve vaccines.

And AstraZeneca’s vaccine has had some bad publicity recently.  There are reports that the vaccine had an efficacy of 8 per cent in people over 65 years of age.  Given this is the most important sector of the population this news was initially disturbing.  AstraZeneca has disputed the claim and there are reports that the journalist misread the data but I do prefer that any potential bugs in any vaccine are ironed out before mass vaccination occurs.

But this gives the opportunity for the opposition to do what they have done for the past 10 months and claim things are terrible.

This is hitting extreme levels of pathos.

After hoping and praying the protection would fail and criticising the Government for its border response now the opposition is criticising the vaccine rollout response.  In her state of the nation speech yesterday Judith Collins said this:

Almost every other country that we compare ourselves to is rolling out vaccinations as quickly as they can. Our closest neighbour, Australia, has prioritized this with vaccinations starting within the next few weeks.

This means their citizens will be safer. They’ll have the certainty to get back to business. They’ll see international students and visitors return, and life for Kiwis who live in Australia will start to get back to normal.

New Zealanders can’t afford another lockdown. But even more than this, failing to secure vaccinations for our frontline workers, border staff and those who work in and around managed isolation and quarantine shows a massive disregard for the sacrifice New Zealanders made last year. It is not good enough.

We need to match Australia’s schedule. We should be like Singapore, rolling out the vaccine to frontline workers and those vulnerable New Zealanders who need it urgently.

Collins expresses concern that the tourism sector was decimated.  Note to Judith, until the world gets on top of Covid there will continue to be no international tourism.

ACT leader David Seymour has engaged in similar rhetoric.  From ACT’s website:

The Prime Minister and her COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins need to do what they’ve advertised following Cabinet this afternoon and make very clear when New Zealand will approve use of vaccines, when they will arrive in the country, and when vaccinations will begin,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Enough of the ‘front of the queue,’ ‘in lock step with Australia,’ and ‘sometime in the first quarter’ nonsense we’ve had to date.

“These assurances have proved either false or unacceptably vague.

It says something about the mind of a right winger that they think there is an imperative in getting to the front of the queue.  This is a world wide pandemic.  To deal with it we need the world’s population to reach herd immunity levels.  That means this unholy rush to be at the front of the queue is bound to fail because until we are all safe no one is safe.  And New Zealand currently does not need mass rollout of the vaccine.  We need to continue to be virus free.

But don’t listen to me, listen to a group are keen to represent the interests of business.

From Michael Safi at the Guardian:

Hoarding Covid-19 vaccines could cost wealthy countries at least $4.5tn (£3.29tn) in lost income this year, according to a new study that argues vaccinating poorer countries against Covid-19 is not just a moral imperative but an economic one.

The cost of fully funding the World Health Organization’s programmes to deliver Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to developing countries – currently $27bn away from their 2021 funding targets – would be dwarfed by the cost of not doing so, according to research commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce, an international business lobby group, released on Monday.

In the most extreme scenario, with populations in developed economies such as the UK’s largely protected from Covid-19 within a few months but only negligible vaccine doses administered in developing countries, global losses this year would amount to at least $9tn – more than three times the size of the UK’s economy.

Because rich economies are dependent on international supply chains that include unvaccinated countries they would bear almost half the cost of this economic drag, the report said.

“Advanced economies therefore have a clear economic incentive to speed the distribution of vaccines on a globally coordinated basis,” said the team of researchers from institutions including Harvard and Istanbul’s Koç University.

Even if developing countries were able to vaccinate half their populations by the end of the year – an unlikely scenario on the current trajectory – lost global GDP would still amount to $4.4tn, according to the study.

More than 40m vaccine doses have been administered in mostly wealthy countries since December, but middle- and lower-income nations are lagging far behind, with many not projected to be significantly immunised until at least 2025, according to some estimates.

As for the claim that the Government has failed in not securing sufficient vaccine it appears that the world is experiencing similar problems because a manufacturing plant churning out both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine is not producing as much as it had promised.  And the EU is taking steps to ensure that Europe retains much of its production.  From the Guardian:

AstraZeneca had informed the commission last Friday that there would be a 60% shortfall in its vaccine deliveries this quarter as a result of production problems at a site in Belgium. EU officials have informed the company that it must honour its contractual obligations to supply about 80m doses by the end of March.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that officials had requested that AstraZeneca divert doses from the UK to EU member states to make up on the shortfall.

A commission spokesman said: “We cannot comment on comments. However, the commission always insisted on a precise delivery schedule on the basis of which member states should be planning their vaccination programmes, subject to the granting of a conditional marketing authorisation. The matter will be discussed at tomorrow’s steering board meeting. We will re-evaluate the state of play after this meeting.”

Jacinda Ardern is good.  But even she is not able to solve problems relating to manufacturing problems in a Belgian Plant and the European Union taking steps to hold most of the production locally for use by member nations.

Like it or not the Vaccine is no silver bullet allowing us to go back to normal.  Realistically we cannot even consider reopening our borders until herd immunity has been reached and every old person, immunity compromised person and health worker has been vaccinated.  And then we cannot consider resuming bilateral travel until and unless the other country has achieved the same status.  Even with limited transmission happening under herd immunity we cannot afford to open borders with Pacific Nations until they have reached the same status.

He waka eke noa.  We are all in this together.  Queue jumping by the rich and powerful is the last thing that we need.

96 comments on “Queue jumping the Covid vaccine rollout ”

  1. Gosman 1

    NZ does not have to wait for all other nations to achieve herd immunity before we open up the borders. If NZ has herd immunity then we can allow people in to the country who might be carriers and we should be able to handle the situation. We could therefore open up the economy even if other nations have significant outbreaks.

    • Stuart Munro 1.1

      I'm curious as to how you propose NZ should achieve herd immunity before we secure a significant vaccine supply – for which we will be obliged to wait.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      Herd immunity only means that the virus will not spread and increase. It does not stop people from catching it and dying. Are you ok about bilateral travel with Samoa and NZ being responsible for the introduction of the virus there?

      • Sabine 1.2.1

        Maybe that is what should not be done.

        Kiwis travelling and then coming back sick – after all hey left healthy.

        So no bubble with OZ, or the Islands for another year or so. Yes, the petit bourgeoisie will moan and whinge after all they can only renovate the kitchen so many times, one boat is all they need, and they already had tea at the chateau and travel is now what they need. But that could be prevented.

        I have personally heard no one complain about the lack of access to vaccines but i hear people say every day that we need to close the border a bit tighter and throw the book at people that breach quarantine, and maybe keep people a bit more separated in the plague hotels, and maybe even instruct people that are about to leave to not go to 30 shops in 8 days and rather stay home another week, for safety, you know the 5 millions here that are not at fault for much and they too deserve to be kept safe.

        So no travel bubbles, and tighter border restrictions, more tests, better seperation of people that did their quarantine from those that are just arriving. It took three days from day 12 test to infect that women. All that scanning is not preventing that, nor is a vaccine.

      • Gosman 1.2.2

        That is for Samoa (in conjunction with the NZ govt) to decide. I'm not arrogant enough to decide what risks other nations wish to undertake. If they want to stop travel from here that is their right. However we should not continue to keep our borders shut to other nations because Samoa wants to be able to travel here.

    • weka 1.3

      There is currently no vaccine that would enable herd immunity. The vaccines currently available are known to have varying degrees of efficacy at stopping the person from getting covid, the illness associated with corona virus (or lessening the severity), but they still can carry the virus and pass it on.

      We don't know yet if we are going for medium term global (or country by country) elimination or a situation like with influenza where people still get it, but it's seasonal and intermittent.

      • Gosman 1.3.1

        I'm not sure your point. In either cases we have to open our borders eventually and whether the vaccine provides herd immunity or merely reduces the impact of an outbreak is irrelevant. Unless you are advocating we continue to live under a form or national house arrest indefinitely.

        • weka 1.3.1.1

          the other option is we adapt in the medium term to something between what we have now and what we had before.

          If the pandemic is largely uncontained, then there's obvious benefit to NZ in keeping the borders tightly controlled for the forseeable future. This doesn't mean forever, it means that we can't see future solutions from where we are now. But it also doesn't mean 'oh, we can't keep the borders closed forever, therefor we will have to open even if it means people dying/becoming disabled’.

          Herd immunity vs letting covid into NZ again isn't irrelevant. It's the basis upon which everything currently rests. If there is no herd immunity, then you are arguing that we allow community transmission again.

          • weka 1.3.1.1.1

            Also bear in mind that it's unlikely this will the last pandemic.

          • Gosman 1.3.1.1.2

            Your comments mention a vague wishy washy concept of keeping the borders tightly controlled for the forseeable future. What do you actually mean by that? Please specify a time frame you anticipate the borders will be effectively shut for?

            • weka 1.3.1.1.2.1

              there's literally no way to know Gosman. We don't have a full understanding of the virus yet and how infection confers immunity, we don't have a vaccine that will prevent transmission and thus enable herd immunity. It takes time for those bodies of knowledge to develop. We still haven't gotten to grips with the emerging crisis around post-covid syndromes and what that's going to mean. Not sure we even have much in the way of stats on that yet (if covid is like flu, can you imagine what would happen in NZ if a % of people became disabled every year. What would that look like in 10 years?).

              What I trust is that if we centre people and wellbeing, we will use our clever monkey brains to find solutions that work best given the nature of the situation. I'm betting that if things don't improve globally in the next 2 years that we will develop new ways of managing the border and our desire to travel that we haven't thought of yet.

              How many countries in the world have eliminated community transmission? How long for? What's the length of time that can be trusted? What are those countries' intentions and values around this? Those are the more pertinent questions imo.

              • weka

                eg when NSW and NZ has 6 months of no community transmission, would we consider a bubble? What would the conditions need to be? This is such a novel situation that everyone is still developing thinking and adjusting. This is what I mean by we can't see all the solutions yet. In time more will become obvious.

              • Gosman

                What is the point of the vaccine then if it does not prevent transmission?

                • weka

                  some vaccines prevent transmission, some stop someone from getting ill (or too ill). The current crop offer the latter, it's unclear if they offer the former. The latter, preventing and individual from getting ill, matters because that person is way less at risk of death or disability. You can see why they are starting with the front line people, those most exposed to the virus, as opposed to someone like me who has an almost zero chance of exposure atm.

                  It may be that we can develop vaccines that prevent transmission of CV. Or that lessen transmission. Afaik we don't know yet, simply because we haven't had enough time to do those studies and analysis and development.

                  • weka

                    Someone else (Incog? Andre?) can comment on this, but I assume that technically, a vaccine that prevents illness also plays a part in limiting transmission if you can get enough people vaccinated and you use other measures (social distancing, masks, contact tracing, all the things). Both because the vaccinated person is less likely to be infectious, but also the number of people getting sick will drop over time. I think. It's just that that would take more time, and there are all sorts of barriers there, including we don't know enough about the virus and what happens to humans during infection.

                    • Incognito

                      You are correct. I linked to a good explanatory article previously, which is not too technical at all.

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/covid-19-lessons-from-a-plagued-flight/#comment-1774152

                    • Incognito

                      From a fairly recent (dd. 12 Jan 2021) Editorial in the journal Nature:

                      Pfizer–BioNTech say they do not have evidence of what happens to immunity beyond 21 days after the first dose.

                      The JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] adds that: “Protective immunity from the first dose likely lasts for a duration of 12 weeks.” But it has not published evidence to support this.

                      https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00045-8

                    • weka

                      re your second comment, so would it be fair to say the mass covid vaccination programme being run currently is also a large scale experiment? (not saying this is wrong, given the medical, political and social circumstances). And that how it is supposed to work will be worked out as they get more data and gain more understanding of how the virus works and how humans respond?

                    • Andre

                      Pfizer–BioNTech say they do not have evidence of what happens to immunity beyond 21 days after the first dose.

                      That strikes me as an extremely cautious statement given this graph:

                      from: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/12/10/1013914/pfizer-biontech-vaccine-chart-covid-19/

                      If I were a sales weasel for Pfizer, what I'd want to say would be something like 'we have data extending to 112 days after the first dose with no apparent reduction in vaccine-induced immunity over that time".

                      As far as the current rollout, it doesn't strike me as any more or less of a mass experiment compared to large scale rollouts of other new vaccines. As an infant in the early 60s, I was one of the first few thousand given one of the recently-approved measles vaccines, do you want to consider me part of an experiment? It makes no difference to me whether I was part of an experiment or just another one of the mass-vaccinated that happened to be early in the program, someone has to be an early adopter.

                      Just maybe, there will be more attention to data gathering after vaccination compared to past similar events, but that's as much a result of the increasing data-collection in society as a whole.

                    • Incognito []

                      The explanation might be quite simple: all trial participants were given two shots 21 days apart.

                • Forget now

                  Gosman: A vaccine will not absolutely prevent the transmission of any SARS-CoV-2 virus, though it may reduce the duration and amount of viral shedding. However, it will prevent the infection progressing further into the COVID disease, and possible death.

                  But only 95% of the time for those vaccinated with the more promising vaccines. There is not enough data yet to know if the remaining 5% will have the severity of their symptoms reduced as you might hope. Also, how long the protection from vaccination lasts is an open question at this point. And that's without considering the likelihood of further mutations if the virus is not globally quelled.
                  {edit: I see Weka has pretty much answered this already. But I have typed it now, so will let it stand – sometime the same thing said in different words communicates better to different people}

                  • Gosman

                    Let's cut all the technical BS.

                    The vaccine means the virus becomes more manageable and is far less deadly and dangerous.

                    As such once we have achieved a level of coverage in NZ deemed sufficient there is little reason left to keep the border restrictions we have in place now.

                    All this nonsense about having the border protections on for the foreseeable future is crazy. Many people will not stand for an indefinite travel ban if we have vaccinations available.

                    • Forget now

                      I think I will stick with the scientific evidence, despite it being too technical for you Gosman. Nor am I willing to claim knowledge that I do not possess. If that offends you, feel free to scroll past my comments.

                      How many is many people? Enough to change the government, or just enough to be considered a gang if they were to conspire to engage in ilegal activities?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      All this nonsense about having the border protections on for the foreseeable future is crazy. Many people will not stand for an indefinite travel ban if we have vaccinations available.

                      The "foreseeable future" is not what it was. All this nonsense about easing border protections while the number of current COVID-19 infections (~26,000,000) continues to rise is crazy.

                      Can understand why continuing "border protections" would be frustrating to some, but pandemics are part of life. It's possible that international travel will never again be as convenient as it once was.

                      We don't know how lucky we are, and were

                      International Travel Isn’t Impossible, But Travelers Need to Be Prepared

                      Precaution is the name of the game for travel in 2021 and not just by wearing masks and distancing as much as possible. In most cases, international travelers should expect to be tested multiple times throughout their travel experience, both to arrive at their destination and again to arrive home.

                      For the foreseeable future, international travel is likely to be limited to those who either have no other choice or the most determined of leisure travelers. Of course, that’s exactly the point. The CDC—and other countries around the world—are doing what they can to slow the spread of the virus and protect citizens at home. Testing requirements accomplish this both by catching contagious individuals before they can infect others and by discouraging travel altogether.

                    • In Vino

                      Gosman just seems annoyed that vaccines were not invented the way he thinks they should have been. How sad.

                • Andre

                  What is the point of the vaccine then if it does not prevent transmission?

                  A vaccine that is effective at reducing the severity of illness so that very few infected need medical treatment would have the very useful result of our medical facilities not getting overwhelmed. Even if it did nothing to reduce transmission.

                  But it would be very unusual for a vaccine that was effective in reducing disease severity to not also reduce transmission. Simply because disease severity usually correlates with viral loads, and viral loads usually correlate with transmission.

        • Enough is Enough 1.3.1.2

          And that is going to be an interesting discussion.

          It might be a year or two away but at some point we are going to have to open the borders, and when that happens the virus will enter the community, and people will die (in much the same way that influenza has for the past 100 years).

          It doesn't matter if we have 100% uptake of the vaccine, this thing is never going to be eradicated, so we will need to learn to live with it.

          • weka 1.3.1.2.1

            why? If it turns out to be something like influenza, but a much higher death and disability rate, why is opening the borders like they were before inevitable?

            I mean, good luck with the political party arguing that in an election year.

            • Enough is Enough 1.3.1.2.1.1

              We live with influenza. 672 people died from that virus in 2018. That number was reduced to near zero last year because of the border closures and our own social distancing.

              We mitigate the risk of that disease through the annual vaccine campaign, but even then we have hundreds of deaths.

              Covid is not going to be eradicated. I think that much is now clear. So we either close the borders forever, or at some point we manage the risk as we do with influenza. However part of that will be accepting hundreds of deaths.

              • weka

                I don't think the options are that binary. But sure, open the conversation about the acceptable numbers of deaths and disability. First question is, what's the rate of disability? How does this develop? How long does it last? What's the impact on the health and welfare systems? Effects on community, economy? Are health workers more or less susceptible? What are the potential treatments? Does lower level of covid symptoms equate to less change of disability? Why/why not? What's the rate of outliers to that?

                • Enough is Enough

                  They are all fair questions that will need to be answered, which leads me back to my original statement at 1.3.1.2 "And that is going to be an interesting conversation"

                  Maybe my assessment of one to two years might be a bit optimistic, but I stand by that it will inevitably happen.

                  • weka

                    You didn't answer why opening the borders to what they were before is inevitable.

                    My thinking at the moment is that we have no way of knowing how long (which is hard for many people), but I doubt 12 months, and I will be unsurprised by 2 – 3 years unless there are major developments in the vaccine tech.

                    Mostly because the US and the UK dropped the ball so fucking badly.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      I think you have misunderstood me. I said it is inevitable that at sometime the borders will open. That isn't necessarily going to be in the the same way it was before, but part of that will be accepting a degree of risk.

                      The key will be how we mitigate that risk.

                    • weka

                      yes. Gosman's comment implied open like before I think. I see it more as we will need to manage our borders to keep NZ covid free. What that means in terms of actual regs at the border, I don't think we can forsee, or when. Too many unknowns.

                      One of the reasons this matters is that the tourism industry needs to stop acting like the borders will open like before this year, and instead adapt around the new situation.

                    • DukeEll []

                      If you are vaccinated, and carry your vaccine passport, maybe quarantine can be three days. And no one can travel without vaccination.

                      that’s putting it to best use in a travel sense.

                      then extend the vaccine passport to all vaccines and access to government and recreational services. It’s not civically minded of landlords to hold back housing in the event of regulation. It’s not civically minded to expect everything should be available to individuals if they don’t vaccinate.

                    • weka []

                      do you understand that the current vaccines don’t necessarily stop transmission of the virus? Anyone coming into the country, vaccinated or not, needs to be in 14 days MIQ.

              • Pierre

                However part of that will be accepting hundreds of deaths.

                As a morbid warning about the herd immunity strategy, the death toll in Britain just passed 100,000. The latest figure for today was 1,631 deaths. It's not really comparable to your average flu season.

                • Enough is Enough

                  I would suggest Flu without the annual vaccine would be comparable. Maybe not as deadly, but certainly something noone would accept.

                • Andre

                  Covid in a population that's never been exposed before is clearly much much more deadly than flu. So lockdown is clearly an appropriate response.

                  However, it may be that even after a widespread vaccination program, covid is still present but is knocked down in severity to be something similar to the flu. That's the point at which the conversation about lockdown vs a few hundred annual deaths becomes relevant.

                  After all, we've never considered locking down to prevent the few hundred annual flu deaths. If that is what covid becomes after widespread vaccination, why should we do things differently for it?

                  • weka

                    it's more that it's such an unknown. You'd have to factor in the disability rate too. Comparing the two sets of viruses and illnesses superficially doesn't strike me as that useful.

          • Sabine 1.3.1.2.2

            Well, at the moment we can have a good look at all the country that have the virus rampaging around and you know what? They are learning to die with it, rather then live with it.

            At some stage all the countries would like to go back to 'normal', mind our world as we know it died at 12 pm on March 27 2020.

            So the only thing that will happen is that we need to learn to live with the new brave world that we are inhabiting now, and simply hoping that the guy next to me dies rather then I is a bit silly and very simple minded.

            Btw, we are still very much at the beginning of this pandemic, we are still only learning what the complications will be for those that survived the virus and the illness, and at this point we know for certain that we don't have it running free in the Country. Well here is hoping it aint running free in Northland undetected or worse even has travelled elsewhere to the country at the end of the camping trip to Ruakaka.

        • The Al1en 1.3.1.3

          advocating we continue to live under a form or national house arrest indefinitely.

          Are you not free to jump on a plane and travel to any country that will accept you?

          Some house arrest, that is.

        • Brigid 1.3.1.4

          What is it that you personally are missing out on because our borders are still closed?

          What will you gain by having our borders opened? Other than the possibility of contracting the virus of course.

        • Tricledrown 1.3.1.5

          False equivalents is bread and butter for far right wing propagandists.

        • Ed1 1.3.1.6

          "we have to open our borders eventually " – Why? If vaccines are not effective with all current and future variants we may have to retain border restrictions for a very long time.

          "Unless you are advocating we continue to live under a form or national house arrest indefinitely." That is the current situation – we certainly hope travel restrictions can be eased, but when or even if that will be possible is still an unknown.

          Are you advocating we open borders sooner than the government has indicated they will be?

    • Tricledrown 1.4

      Gosman par for your post so different variants arrive in our country which the vaccines we use no longer provide immunisation.

      Just like Seymour who is just trying to make cheap political snipes .It would be smarter if we do wait till upgraded vaccines.

      Given that ACT are courting the gun toting anti govt right wing militia types ,anti vaxxers he might want to change his rhetoric.

  2. Ad 2

    +100 Mickey

  3. Andre 3

    There's levels of useful vaccine efficacy, ranging from completing preventing any symptoms and transmission, down to merely reducing the severity of illness from the disease.

    It appears that the threshold for "efficacy" in most reporting is "no symptoms". But a vaccine that just reduces the severity of disease in the hardest-hit sufferers to just that of a common cold, then it's still a very useful vaccine. The reports I've seen with a bit of nuance around the meaning of efficacy all seem to suggest the various vaccines all are very close to 100% effective in preventing severe illness.

    In terms of reopening borders and protecting our population, I've yet to see much serious consideration to whether we should require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry.

    Personally, I think it's something we really should require. Since requiring vaccination is a public health measure with a long history in travel health measures, I really don't think much of arguments that it's some kind of infringement on freedom, or that it's forcing people to submit to an unwanted medical procedure. Visiting New Zealand from overseas is a privilege, not a right, and if someone isn't happy to do a simple and safe precaution against spreading disease, well, they're the kind of anti-social arsehole we're better off without.

    • Incognito 3.1

      You want mandatory vaccination for returning New Zealand Citizens and Permanent Residents? If they refuse, New Zealand should refuse them entry because they are an “anti-social arsehole we’re better off without? I can see this being demanded by National and ACT.

      • weka 3.1.1

        yep. Next step, mandatory vaccines within NZ and then a burgeoning anti-vax movement spreading into previously pro-vax parts of the community. Even the MoH understands this is not a good approach.

      • Andre 3.1.2

        If we get to the point of allowing non citizens and non-permanent-residents immediate entry on proof of vaccination, then for any citizens and permanent residents that want to come back without vaccinating, I'd advocate for them to be required to do a managed isolation/quarantine, paid for out of their own pocket.

        Unless they've got good medical reason to not get vaccinated, then refusing an available vaccine does make them anti-social arseholes we're better off without. But the basic right of return does (barely) over-ride that.

        • Forget now 3.1.2.1

          Personally, I am concerned about non-vaccinated children (and parents) being on public school grounds later in the year. In my (too frequently ill) experience, those little people do act as a net for any bug that's going around.

          If non-vaccination has a consequence; in paying for MIQ to enter the country as Andre advocates, should there not also be consequences for not contributing to the public good, in the use of public facilities?

          But then, where do you stop? Footpaths are also public facilities.

      • Adrian Thornton 3.1.3

        Sorry to butt in here, but for some reason two of the same comment came up on M Savages cancel culture piece, could you remove one of them please, thanks.

        [RL: Done]

      • Foreign Waka 3.1.4

        Not so fast please.

        People with immune deficiencies and allergies need to make sure that they read the ingredients list of the vaccine (hopefully with their doctor) to make sure they don't have adverse reactions. There is a chance, even if small that a person has not just adverse reactions but dies. As happened in Europe recently albeit the patience were frail.

        Also remember, whilst a person is immunised, they still can be a carrier.

        So perhaps lets not go on a witch hunt and refuse people to come home. It is already stressful enough.

    • weka 3.2

      If the vaccine stops one from being too ill, but still allows the virus to be carried and passed on, what's the point of mandatory vaccines at the border? The person will still have to go into MIQ for 2 weeks.

      • Incognito 3.2.1

        Sterilising immunity is hoping for a miracle but a possibility. We won’t know till the data come in from the large clinical studies.

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          when do you think that will be?

        • weka 3.2.1.2

          I assume we don't know enough yet about how the virus operates. Do we know yet if having covid confers immunity (or what kind)?

          • Forget now 3.2.1.2.1

            We do know quite a bit about how the virus operates, but there hasn't been a lot of time to ascertain; the long term responses of differing human populations to the various vaccines versus natural immunity.

            At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

            We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.

            https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

            That link says 2019, but the page was last updated 20/1/21.

            It is a real problem that there are a lot of scientific corners being cut in the race for a useful vaccine. With taking on the (financial and political) risk for vaccine use, it makes sense that the government wants Medsafe to be really sure that the meds are indeed safe before they are imported:

            Pharmaceutical companies often seek indemnities when developing a pandemic vaccine, because of the need to speed up the clinical trial process…

            Treasury said the indemnity shields Pfizer and BioNTech from any potential legal action over use of the vaccine.

            The government would take on that liability.

            https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/435107/government-grants-vaccine-suppliers-indemnity-against-claims

            • Andre 3.2.1.2.1.1

              There have not been significant scientific corners cut

              The compressed timeframe was achieved by companies taking financial risks by gearing up for the next stage while trials were still underway, rather than the usual process of waiting for results to come in before even thinking about the next stage. Regulatory and approval bodies also sped things up by immediately acting as soon as data was available, rather than their usual process of maybe considering things at their convenience months or even years after data becomes available.

              This piece discusses the timeframe issue in more detail:

              https://theconversation.com/less-than-a-year-to-develop-a-covid-vaccine-heres-why-you-shouldnt-be-alarmed-150414

              • Forget now

                How many of those vaccine trials have a used a Māori vs Pākehā population sample, Andre? I have not seen any myself, and while I haven't been doomscrolling the Lancet as much as I was last year; I think I would have noticed that.

                That's a pretty significant scientific corner cut in my book, at least for rolling out European developed vaccines in Aotearoa.

                • Andre

                  Anyone that considers themselves part of some subgroup that needs specific testing will have a choice when the vaccine is offered to them.

                  They can refuse it. Compulsory vaccination has been ruled out. Refusal may have job consequences such as reassignment to other duties where risk of exposure is lower, which would be fair enough.

                  They can accept the vaccine, and consider themselves part of the trial process. After all, someone always has to go first in order to actually get data, and we can be confident the first group will include a lot of health workers that will be attuned to the possibility of side effects and waning immunity and be aware of reporting procedures.

                  They can accept that sufficient information has already been gathered for them to accept the vaccination as routine.

                  • Forget now

                    So you can't find a link for that then Andre?

                    I will certainly be taking up the vaccine when it becomes available, and recommending it to others. However, I will not be pretending that the accelerated development schedule has not left some questions marks over efficacy for different populations.

                    Also, unless there is a controlled population sample (preferably with double blinded administration), it is hard to say that vaccine recipients will be "part of the trial process". Any data produced from that would be more correlative than causative, and thus require further research.

                    • Andre

                      I'm not going to look for a link to covid vaccine trials specifically for Maori, because I really doubt they exist. I suspect very few other vaccines have had that specific trial either, just like there are very unlikely to be specific vaccine trials for Tuvan throat singers, or for specifically for Masai that follow their traditional diet of milk, meat and blood. There simply hasn't been the vaccine availability to do that trial, yet.

                      That's kind of the natural consequence of being a small subgroup. If members of that small subgroup think they're different enough to warrant special trials just for them, they either have to volunteer to effectively be part of that special trial, wait for the outcome of that special trial (which may be a very long wait), do without the benefit of the vaccine, or accept that maybe they're not special enough to warrant special treatment.

                    • Forget now

                      So; while there have been scientific corners cut, that is not significant to you because you are not personally affected, Andre?

                      Personally I would contend that everyone is a member of at least one small subgroup or other. This quote, while from more of a social-science perspective, does neatly sum up the quandry of compressing research timeframes (though with the pandemic, that's certainly justified in the astonishing rapidity with which high efficacy vaccines have apparently been developed):

                      there is no absolute guarantee that the results obtained in a study will occur in every situation outside the study. In order to determine causal relationships in a test environment, precision is of utmost importance. Yet if researchers wish to generalize their findings, scope and variance must be emphasized over precision. Therefore, it becomes difficult to test for precision and generalizability simultaneously, since a focus on one reduces the reliability of the other.

                      https://wac.colostate.edu/resources/writing/guides/gentrans/#:~:text=Generalizability%20Overview&text=Because%20sound%20generalizability%20requires%20data,one%20can%20generalize%20the%20results.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    In this instance I have no problem with the opposition putting the heat on the government to accelerate the vaccine for our front line workers.

    We have hundreds of low to medium paid people, putting their own health and safety at risk on a daily basis by working within MIQs. It's a miracle none of them have contracted and transmitted the disease to date.

    The sooner those workers are given this added layer of protection the better.

    • The Al1en 4.1

      You're not suggesting the government should pressure medsafe into approving the drugs without them following standard procedures?

      That would be highly inappropriate.

      • Enough is Enough 4.1.1

        Medsafe will complete their standard procedures next week.

        My sister will continue to work as a nurse in an MIQ facility for a further two months before she might the get the vaccine

        • The Al1en 4.1.1.1

          As you probably know, the drug companies won't export to NZ without medsafe approval.

          As Bloomfield has stated

          New Zealand will be ready to administer vaccines to border workers as soon as doses arrive

          So as it’s already going as fast as it can, anyone “putting the heat on the government to accelerate the vaccine for our front line workers” is showboating, wasting their time, unaware of how things work, or all of the above.

          • Gosman 4.1.1.1.1

            Why is it taking so long here if other nations can do it faster?

            • The Al1en 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Because Jacinda hates you so much?

              Or maybe because we're doing so well compared to others the need hasn't been as great.

              First quarter of the year, they said, which is fine by me.

            • Tricledrown 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Gosman it couldn't be more obvious .

              But we don't need to panic.

              Places like the UK rushed certifying vaccines because they have the highest death rate and their health system can't cope thanks to Boris Johnston's dithering response now responsible for 100,000 deaths the worst toll in the developed world.

              Gosman your ludicrous ideas seem to mirror Boris's stupidity

              So the risks of the not fully trialled vaccine are much smaller

              • Forget now

                You mean deaths per capita of course Tricledrown? The USA's 425k (declared – I expect that to have a big jump soon now that Fauci and other evidence based health specialists are no longer been being stoodover to downplay the figures) is a lot more.

                The total number is important because (as I've been telling anyone who'd listen for a year now); the more times a virus replicates the greater the likelihood for a low-probability viable mutation. Say; one that gets around the current vaccines and sets us back to 2020 resources.

    • Anne 4.2

      Umm… have you not been following the news E is E. Time and again Ardern, Hipkins and Bloomfield have reiterated the plan that front line workers will be the first to be vaccinated followed by the more vulnerable among the population.

      But for heavens sake, they can't do it until the vaccine arrives in the country and that is entirely up to off-shore distribution services and out of NZ hands. Neither is Aussie going to come to our aid because they will want all the vaccines they get for themselves.

      The Opposition are playing dirty politics with the pandemic and it makes me sick.

      Btw, I can’t stand that Seymour p***k. He’s another snake in the grass twisting and turning whatever which way he thinks is advantageous for himself.

      • Enough is Enough 4.2.1

        Anne, I am on your side. You don't have to make this an us against them scrap. We can criticise our own team from time to time.

        Is that the same Hipkins that made this statement?

        https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/new-zealand-front-queue-chris-hipkins-says-nation-well-placed-covid-19-vaccine-roll

        • Anne 4.2.1.1

          Yes, I think Hipkins was being a tad optimistic there, but I don't think he was meaning we were near the top of the list of countries receiving the vaccine. Rather, he was pointing out they were well prepared and when the vaccines arrived they were "well placed" to roll them out quickly. Time will tell.

          I am on record criticising this government from time to time, but not in this instance. The attitude the Opposition are taking is mischievous. Are they trying to copy Trump?

          • Enough is Enough 4.2.1.1.1

            Trump didn't give a shit about covid or workers in the US contracting the disease.

            How is advocating for our front line workers to receive the vaccine as soon as possble remotely close to copying Trump?

            • Anne 4.2.1.1.1.1

              I was referring to Trump's habit of spreading misinformation and fake news. Judith Collins and 'thingimybob' Seymour play similar games.

  5. tc 5

    National/act stick to their knitting by sewing discontent via a compliant media.

    Not one reporter reminds collins she was all for herd immunity early on and a uk styled outcome for NZ.

    Disengenous, dangerous and irresponsible so no change from nact. Good post mickey.

  6. Anne 6

    I've been contemplating telling this story for a couple of days but chose to wait until we received more information about the current 'community' case:

    A young relative of mine who joined the Army about a year ago has been home on leave. One of his Army mates has just completed a security stint at one of the isolation hotels in Auckland. He, and his fellow workers were approached by a senior Naval officer and told it was time they went to wash their hands. They started to comply but a senior Army officer told them they don't need to wash their hands and to go back to their stations.

    I've been told there is a certain amount of animosity between the Army and the Navy so that might have had a bearing on the incident, but it does seem to indicate that a degree of laxity has crept in to at least one of the isolation and quarantine facilities.

    This latest scare should be enough to cause them to tighten up their processes again.

    • Sabine 6.1

      I deliver to the plague hotels.

      and its quiet easy, approach the soldier, hand over the package, give details about the business and be gone.

      However i hope that the soldier doing outdoor duties is not in contact with the peeps indoors.

      No barrier, no nothing, a table with the soldiers and two hotel staff, like its a sausage sizzle free for all.

    • weka 6.2

      there's rumours going round about the problems with the particular MIQ facility at issue this week. One can only hope that with each incident wrinkles are ironed out.

      Problems between different sectors strikes me as normal. Not sure how much that can be resolved in the short term, it will be cultural.

    • Adrian 6.3

      Its not like half the country is trying to break into them.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Vaccine pinpricking from Nat and ACT seems little more than searching for an attack line that will be palatable to people that recoiled at Simon Bridges, Judith Collins, and the departed Nat MPs out of sync approach.

    There was always likely to be trouble of some kind with vaccine efficacy, testing, approval, cost, delivery and distribution etc. because the private, for profit, pharmaceutical sector was largely handed the task for OECD type countries. A nice little earn for them.

    Will the likes of Pfizer attend to Switzerland, USA, and UK elites, and follow political orders, before the rest of us are vaccinated–dunno–but “production difficulties” sounds like code for something at this juncture.

  8. Pierre 8

    Also in Britain the Tories are playing fast and loose with the vaccination timetable. The course of vaccination comes in two doses, and the current strategy is to prioritise getting first doses out to as many people as possible, while delaying the follow-up second doses. There are already about six million half-vaccinated people out there, and a lot of unknowns about what effect that will have.

    • tc 8.1

      'fast and loose' would be consistent with the Tories handling of covid from the getgo.

      A recent missive from blojo about quarantine based on where you come from being yet another on the fly call having rejected a blanket quarantine measure.

      It's why they are where they are…..tory ineptitude.

  9. Forget now 9

    Gordon Campbell has a disturbing tidbit about vaccine logistics that has completely passed me by:

    When New Zealand signed contracts with Pfizer, the understanding was that the vaccine would come in vials containing five doses. In itself, this would be a problem for a New Zealand health system more accustomed to single vial, single dose treatments. In December though, US frontline medical staff began finding that under certain conditions, it was possible to squeeze six doses out of each vial.

    In early January, and after a fierce battle with the US Federal Drug Administration, Pfizer successfully won a crucial word change to its contracts whereby the FDA grudgingly and formally conceded that each vial contains six shots, even though it takes a special “ low dead volume” syringe (and ability in using it) to extract that last shot. In addition, not every hospital or vaccinator has that equipment and the necessary extraction skills readily available.

    So… Does the wording of our 750,000 dose contract with Pfizer specify actual doses, or is the wording framed in terms of vials x 5 ? Plainly, we are at risk of being short changed in that Pfizer will be insisting that each vial contains six doses, and not the five doses originally understood. At five per vial, we would be getting 300,000 vials. At six per vial, we would be getting only 250,000 vials. Which is it ? And are all our planned vaccination centres equipped and trained in the use of low dead volume syringes?

    http://werewolf.co.nz/2021/01/gordon-campbell-on-the-risk-of-being-short-changed-by-pfizer/

    Whilst; "indemnity shields Pfizer and BioNTech from any potential legal action over use of the vaccine" (link @3.2.1… above), this would surely be subject to legal action over supply, rather than; use, of the vaccine? I'm not a lawyer, so the specifics of that contract eludes me.

  10. George 10

    Think perhaps of these initial vaccines as just watering down some of the worst effects of the virus and dampening it until the labs can develop more effective ones. It usually takes some years to create and develop a viable vaccine ( from my reading) and these vaccines have been produced in months, largely because of the work laid down before during the previous epidemics of SARS and MERS. And Im just an ignorant lay peasant so dont go quoting me.

  11. NZJester 11

    The big nations control, access to the vaccines and we as a small nation will be very low on the priorities of those companies making the vaccines to give us a supply any faster. Until the rich nations have had their fill we will be unlikely to see any significant amounts offered to us. Due to a 60% lower production level that expected by one supplier the EU is looking at diverting some of the supply originally promised to non EU countries such as the UK for example to make up for the shortfall in supply originally promised to their own member states.

    Where ever possible the rich are are also finding ways to queue jump.

    I just saw a story yesterday about a rich couple that flew a private jet to a remote Yukon area and lied their way in to a mobile clinic to get the vaccine intended for people in a first nations area of Canada. They broke a lot of rules and put high risk people at even higher risk to do it. They are likely to face the laughable fine of $900 each for their actions.

    Private jets are being used to get around some travel restrictions by the rich and to help them jump queues.

  12. Forget now 12

    Fem Sterling has words to say about exploiting vaccine rollouts for monetary (and other) gains. The rest of the video is worth watching for context, but this quote is from the 7:58 mark:

    What SCS wanted to do was to use the real life deliveries of Covid19 vaccinations to promote itself and Euro Truck Simulator 2. But it didn't want to do the hard work of having a backbone and turning off potential customers; even if they are antivax dickheads. So they did what Ubisoft loves doing; exploit the imagery, while trying to ditch all the implications, and baggage, that imagery inextricably carries.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkAZhm5zdrY

    SCS is a Czech company. Czechia has nearly twice the 7day infection rate per 100,000 (443) than neighboring Slovakia (227). Even higher than the UK (359), or the USA (353)! That's the 7th highest in the world (4th of larger countries if you ignore; SB, Gibralter & Andorra – whose small size may be skewing results).

    As infections surge across Europe, the Czech Republic isn’t unique in facing a worrying second wave. It stands out, however, by the delayed response of its government – especially given how fast the new coronavirus spread in the country. On September 18, the chief medical statistician suggested that implementing public health measures on October 1, as opposed to a week earlier, would lead to hundreds of thousands of new cases (and therefore thousands of additional deaths). Yet the government waited for another three full weeks before introducing meaningful restrictions…

    regional and senate elections took place on October 2 and 3, and a widespread hypothesis suggests the Czech government consciously chose to wait until these were over before renewing restrictions, expecting the measures to be unpopular with its core electorate.

    The fact remains that a state of emergency was approved by parliament on September 30 but the first restrictions only came into force on October 9 – and, even then, these were only quite moderate, such as earlier closing hours for pubs.

    https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-what-went-wrong-in-the-czech-republic-149505

    https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#global-counts-rates

  13. georgecom 13

    NZ Herald cartoon today 28/1 shows little judith collins giving her speech about housing and vaccinations. nicely puts it in some perspective, little judith

    As for vaccinations, the likes in England, the US, India, Indonesia, Argentina and Israel are rolling out their vaccination programs amidst lock downs, waves of covid sweeping through their populations and health systems stretched to the limits. NZ meanwhile is over 100 days since our last covid lockdown and, God willing, will continue for another 100 at least.

    The are presently 10 vaccines approved for use or authorised for emergency use in various countries, emergency use meaning they are not yet full tested and approved, but show signs promising enough to permit emergency usage.

    Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna from the US; AstraZenica the UK; Sputnik and EpiVacCorona from Russia; Bharat Biotech from India; Sinovac and Sinopharm (i and ii) and Cansino all from China. The Cansino vaccine is only being used for the Chinese military that I know. Sinopharm has 2 vaccine variants, unsure which one is in use. EpiVacCorona has been approved in Russia but is not used outside the country.

    Speculation and doubt exist about the efficacy of several of the vaccines, notably AstraZenica and Sinovac with different test trials yielding different rates of effectiveness. Some questions also exist about a lack of data for the Sputnik, Bharat and Sinopharm vaccines. Heaven knows about EpiVacCorona and Cansino.

    Pfizer has recently announced a slow down in delivery of vaccines as it reconfigures it's manufacturing plant(s) and most recently AstraZeneca the same. The EU is threatening to ban exports of vaccines manufactured in the Europe to ensure it's 'promised' orders are delivered. Israel, which is leading the world in vaccination rates, is reported to have paid a premium to Pfizer to be at the front of the queue. Brazilian President Jair "little Trump" Bolsonaro questioned the Chinese vaccines and then abruptly did a flip flop and welcomed them in light of few other available sources of vaccines.

    Some the obvious questions for the likes of little Judith and Seymour are – which vaccines would they like NZ to immediately purchase? What price do they want to pay? What plan do they have to accelerate NZ to the front of the vaccine purchasing queue?

    Does anyone think National and ACT have answers to those questions, or is it merely more desperate attention seeking from the same.

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    The Greek Parliament has voted for marriage equality: Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  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 Nietzsche   Chris Trotter writes – TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 16
    Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Stop Whispering.
    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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    7 days 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
  • After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by SueEllen Campbell Until recently, Antarctica’s ice has seemed surprisingly stable. In contrast to the far north, the southern continent’s massive ice sheets, glaciers, ice shelves (ice that floats on the ocean), and seasonal ice appeared to be reliably frozen: Enough snow fell ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s Persistent Rail Issues
    Over the last few weeks in our weekly roundup we’ve commented on the frequent delays and cancellations that have occurred on the rail network this year since the rail network went back into full operation on the 22-Jan – with Kiwirail proclaiming they had ‘successfully delivered summer holiday infrastructure upgrades ...
    1 week ago

  • 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
    2 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
    9 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
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    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
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    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
    6 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    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
  • Step Closer for European Union Free Trade Agreement
    New Zealand has moved closer to ratifying the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the First Reading of legislation to bring the Agreement into force being held in Parliament today.   “Almost a decade after preparatory talks first began on an FTA with the European Union, I’m pleased to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago

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