- Date published:
10:23 am, July 3rd, 2020 - 82 comments
Categories: Economy, election 2020, Free Trade, health, helen clark, jacinda ardern, trade, uncategorized - Tags: americas cup
It is great to see former Prime Minister Helen Clark join the debate about re-opening New Zealand’s borders. We need it. There is no better time for New Zealand to re-launch itself to the world.
The disease has been eliminated within the country, our process of border and quarantine controls now working as intended, and all systems are functioning – better than anywhere else in the world.
It is because of these measures that New Zealand is one of the very few places in the world in which social cohesion has been maintained, health systems have not been overrun, and we are not a set of peoples beset by blame and rage.
There is a paper coming out in the next few days in which previous Prime Minister Helen Clark, her previous Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman, and former CEO of Air New Zealand Rob Fyfe which will debate how to get our border open sooner rather than later.
New Zealand has a couple of outward vectors through which we can do more than just meekly hunker down and repeat the fortress mentality of the Muldoon years – which is where we are.
What our public health actions have done is more than sustain our public safety. They have generated a competitive advantage in which our physical exports are booming and our places to visit are begging for the visitors that have pulled our reliance away from heavy-mass commodities. But they lie empty. We are an engine half-firing.
It would also be pretty easy to sneer at events designed to start us up again such as the Americas Cup 36, when actually the teams are already here, the boats are here, the global media attention is building, and the waterfront from the Harbour Bridge to the Port is within three months of completed. The first signal was Commercial Bay opening two weeks ago.
But Prime Minister Ardern’s strong global brand is not able to properly take advantage of its own strength due to the collapse of the APEC summit and her inability to travel to global speaking platforms. Her failure to stand on the global stage mirrors her country’s inability to take advantage of the competitive lead that New Zealand has right now.
We have all the reasons to lead, but they are not being taken because we are striving for disease-vector perfection in an otherwise imperfect world which will stay imperfect. For the foreseeable future we will be catching occasional internal infections. We can, obviously, deal with it.
What Dr Gluckman has been working on is how New Zealand can actually join with other like-minded nations to use their influence to carve out a middle space within the increasingly confrontational frontiers between China and the United States. More than honest brokers: science brokers.
New Zealand has been a world leader in public health for many times over the last century. Who would recall that GlaxoSmithKlein had its origin under the Glaxo brand in Wellington? Such companies helped pull a younger New Zealand through a very long recession.
It’s time to back ourselves again, as the Nathan family did with the Glaxo brand, or as Prime Minister Peter Fraser did as he played such a critical part in the formation of the United Nations and other key institutions following the end of World War Two. We really are in that depth of crisis.
We are used to thinking of science diplomacy through the AIDS and Ebola and Covid-19 crises as the race to vaccines and therapeutics. This is a new science diplomacy. The science diplomacy we have proven to work is in public health policy which critically does not simultaneously destroy democracy or public debate. That combination puts us in a small handful of successful advanced social democratic economies world wide.
So what we have to sell, among other things, is public policy, and that is the platform our Prime Minister needs to be capitalising on.
Now, plenty will be concerned that this appears to be caving into the National Party and it will become an election issue. Let’s be really clear: opening up New Zealand was going to be the number one election issue no matter what. The polls show over 9% of voters who switch in this time. We will find new ways to lead or we will lose voters by the dumptruck.
Are we going to stay a small defensive country that continues to shrink and remains reliant on exporting apples and meat, or do we have the courage and the capacity to sell our ideas and our leadership to the world precisely when the world needs it?
As Helen Clark, Sir Peter Gluckman, Rob Fyfe and many others have enjoined in debate, and are saying that the answer depends if we can find the ways to open up fast.
A very smart move on the part of Gluckman, Clark and Fyfe et al. In coming out now, they are preparing NZers for a shift to a managed opening of the borders sometime in the near future. They are not asking for the Govt. to open these borders immediately, but to be preparing for the event now.
I have no doubt the government is doing so, but they're not going to frighten the horses so close to an election. The public need time to absorb the facts, debate them, and ultimately accept the inevitable that we have to open up sooner rather than later.
The government will not want to take any risks before the election. In any case, a border reopening will take months of preparation. Just managing the increasing number of arrivals through isolation without mishap is going to keep them pretty busy.
However, it is going to become an election issue. National's bleating about opening the border will not get much traction, but if they came up with a plausible plan then Labour had better have a plan of their own.
So what does a plan look like?
1. We need to be able to cope with the inevitable case that slips through. At the moment testing and tracing don't look reliable enough. Not enough people are scanning the QR codes and nobody is wearing masks.
2. Everyone coming here should have a test with a negative result received before leaving.
3. Source countries and routes will be assessed based on risk, combined with a health check, and people will be directed to somewhere between "be careful and report any symptoms" to "full quarantine".
Will people accept that? At the moment people seem happier to forego the benefits of travel and value of tourism & international students for the relative normality of a covid free country.
Well said. Thanks Barry.
It's a huge task to get the country ready to open up its borders – safely – and I think that is why the Clark, Gluckman and Fyfe trio made their statement today. The govt. need to be planning now and reading between the lines that is exactly what they are doing.
And the public also need to be readied for the gradual opening of the border. We have a part to play too.
No, we are already about 85% firing – and we deserve proper leadership to replace a risky reliance on low-wage sectors like tourism.
Why should all of us shoulder an increased and expensive threat of infection just so a few parts of the economy can avoid changing? Let's have that conversation.
Robertson said the economy was firing at 95% a couple of days ago.
Rob Fyfe is the multi-millionaire who whinged because he didn't get any thanks after doing a bit of public service in a crisis. Tosser.
I think Gluckman was appointed by Key which taints his views by association.
But Helen Clark's involvement is interesting. If a way can be devised to open up to overseas visitors with an infinitesimal risk of Covid 19 running riot, this should be pursued.
My gut feeling is that 80% of Kiwis are more than happy with fortress NZ with its economy running at 95%, and Jacinda knows this. (Remembering here that tourism is only 8% of the economy).
Clark's a landlord isn't she.
Agree with you on that one. But we could look at the traditional partners in the pacific to get additional labour for increasing our export crops.
Lets stop building houses on prime arable land and start growing food that we can also export earning the money to pay for the billions and billions which we have to pay back.
In the long run though, we are not able to shut all doors. NZlaenders have families overseas, professionals come for training or skill sharing etc…
Not sure about the students as most can be done online. As for tourists, well that will take longer and the quarantine needs to be maintained until a vaccine is available.
No. Best option is to increase productivity through the use of automation so that we don't need extra workers. This would be both a restriction on the importation of the virus and better business practice.
Our waterways are already too polluted from farm run-off. We really need to stop thinking that more damage to the environment is the answer.
So? That was actually their choice and not ours and we are not responsible for maintaining their connection. We are responsible for keeping NZ healthy which, presently, means a no-go on travel to other countries.
1/ yes, not no – because automation will kill ALL jobs. Also there has been traditionally people working here from the islands – and NZ has still an obligation towards them- whose well being is dependent on jobs that they can't get in their country.
2/ Runoff/ waterway pollution comes mostly from cattle farms not vegetable plots. You can actually use glass house farming that uses a lot less water and nutrient added can be 99.9% controlled. Plant based protein is on the rise.
3/ So you are saying its those family own misfortune that the pandemic hit? Are you for real? Nz will not be responsible but some facilitation needs to happen, you cannot just take families apart like that. Of cause quarantine rules etc apply. Costs have to be borne by the person that wants to travel.
Your last sentence shows that you have not understood that I said: in the long run. This means in the future. Not right now. Right now we need to keep the border closed except for kiwis wanting to come back home and even so it should be user pays.
In your next comment on 2.3 you talk about R&D. Food biology is one of the most profitable and growing areas. Point 1.
This is a delusion. Automation will free up people to either not work as much or engage in more meaningful work. Both of these will improve lifestyle/living standard for everyone.
But that's not what's happening and will continue not happening because it costs too much which would make NZ grown food too expensive to import for most other countries.
Then, of course, there's the physical reality that we can't actually afford to feed people outside of the country as it breaks the cycle that is required for the growth of that food. Even growing plants requires an input of resources.
No. I'm saying that shit happens and that people's choices have consequences.
You're saying, there, that NZ has to take responsibility for people's individual choices and that we must also everyone else for those individual choices.
I give up – you are unreasonable and clearly have just one point of view that is even with best arguments not debatable.
Productivity has increased over the centuries and there's always been new jobs for people. Hell, despite the increase in productivity we're now working harder than when we were hunter-gatherers. And we really do need to question how many hours people are working.
Do you want NZ to be like this?
Neither I, nor anyone else in NZ, took any families apart – they did. They've just come across a downside that they didn't expect that the world throws up every now and then. Its up to the community to protect itself from the virus which precludes introducing danger vectors because some people want to visit their family.
Your problem is that you didn't provide any arguments. Just another bunch of reckons no better than the hosk's.
Now is the time that the NZ government needs to pushing R&D. Better manufacturing processes, better extraction of resources from the land and their processing into saleable goods. Saleable also includes the renting out of the IP to other nations.
The concern about back-doors built into our internet routers by foreign governments is a good reason to push the development and production of locally produced IT infrastructure. This would be boosted if we have a million or so NZers returning from the Rest of the World. Many would have the knowledge and skills necessary to make a good start.
We're not the backwater farming community that we were in the 19th century and so it's time to think beyond the easy, boring and low return 'industries' that we've been using since then.
I don't get it. You repeatedly praise our public health actions as being he reason for our competitive advantage but then seek to erode those very actions, diluting them for the purposes of maximising that competitive advantage.
It is self defeating. Think bigger.
Our system is well proven strong enough.
It's our leadership that hasn't caught up with our domestic system capacity.
Are you thinking ahead to a time when the compulsory 14-day managed isolation/quarantine period will be lifted, and if so then when might that be?
"Next week the number expected in quarantine and managed isolation facilities is 6481, while the capacity will be 6774."
The NZ clowns writing for the Guardian seem to largely neo liberals moaning about some thing. It doesn't reflect what we are seeing here.
lmao…oh dear…are your eyes brown?
Big Capitalist thinking, take advantage of a shit situation. Better seek advice from Cuba, they know how to function under duress from ' take advantage seekers'.
The maxim holds whatever your politics:
Never waste a crisis.
Prime time to reconsider how we earn money
Why not more boutique specialties like Fisher and Paykel , with their medical devices.More of that sort of thing, less of the bulk tourism .
Why do we always do the dumb stuff of boom and bust , fucking up our environment in the process, and only providing poorly paid jobs, with big profits for the few.
Talk about killing the golden goose!
How long would our reputation as safe last if we open up the borders too soon
From what I can make out its because so many of our politicians have had some connection to farming in their past and can't think beyond that no matter how much proven damage it does.
The former PM just took a dump on the Prime Minister's desk and has harmed its chances of re-election (one can now see why Fyfe was not retained)
Not useful at all, it does however remind us how we ended up with growth via immigration and the price paid by those now unable to own housing and barely cover rent.
This is a non starter but a gift to the political and economic right.
Upon up fast, sounds like the mantra of a hooker offering sex without a condom in return for extra money.
No better time, what during winter flu season, zombie economics of boogaloo.
I wouldn't mind turbocharged immigration if infrastructure and housing reform were similarly turbocharged.
Just to be sure. Your policy on the ground would be open the borders to all, or groups of lower risk countries, but still have the 14 days and 2 tests.
Or is it to open the borders, abandon quarantine and testing, and rely solely on track and trace?
It's to abandon quarantine for a test result, and use track and trace to cover false negatives (while so many get infected during travel its just madness).
So, jeopardising our long term advantage by having a few rich boomers and some travelling salesmen spread the disease to our most vulnerable communities.
Where have I heard that happen before?
Our track and trace is largely people based, it can only cope with lower level numbers of known clusters (esp at Level 1). If unknown incoming foreigners spread we will not know which ones – so we go back to Level 3 fairly quickly and many businessowners will curse the names of these three and those who followed their advice if that happens.
Of course we should always think about the long term. That's why we go on about climate change, etc.
I'd be more impressed if any of these long-term thinkers had the awareness and honesty to say "OK, we did lots of forecasts 6 months ago. We used our mega-brains to tell you how the year would pan out. Turns out we hadn't a clue. None of us did."
Climate change can be measured and forecast. But the virus? We have to guess. I'd rather not base public policy on guesses. Being cautious and protecting lives is fine.
No, really, we don't.
What maths can tell us about the spread of the new coronavirus
The Prime Minister is on to it already in this extended interview on Radio ZB today:
Planning should be based around the known known – no risk during winter flu season. The priority is having the health system cope, and that includes managing the backlog that occured during lockdown being dealt with.
During the winter we bring back a backlog of Kiwis trapped overseas and those in Oz without income after losing jobs and at Level 1 hold an election.
We are already bringing in essential workers (engineers and the like), film workers and Am Cup sailors – but safely via quarantine. For mine I would add professional skiers – here for 2 months after their quaranrtine.
A lot of our advantage is no community transmisison, this is our gold asset – we should focus on quality, not quantity, and via quarantine.
Baby steps is the way to go, the Oz bubble – and maybe some doctors, nurses, teachers who want out of Hong Kong.
And then doctorate and masters students go through hostel quarantine early in the new year followed by year 3 students in Feb (we only have enough hostels for 1/3rd of students) – the normal over 100,000+ would place pressure on housing and employment.
Sounds sensible. Don't let business interests panic us into doing too much at once. Most of them are only here to squeeze the juice out of us and then move on leaving us depleted. They haven't our best interests at heart, first are their own interests short and medium-term, and second they haven't got a heart – just a robotised, mechanised, technoised version for appearance's sake.
Yes, sensible steps, over time.
Unfortunately the need for false hope seems to outweigh the need for honesty. There will be no mass tourism in NZ (i.e. without quarantine) for a very long time. But the sector doesn't want to hear it, and the politicians don't want to say it.
From the sidebar, advice from NZ health academic Tony Blakely who moved last year to Melbourne: https://sciblogs.co.nz/public-health-expert/2020/07/03/kiwi-public-health-doc-reporting-back-from-victoria-australia-do-quarantine-well/
I'm sure Helen Clark talked to Jacinda before this as she is still a sounding board for the PM and really you couldn't ask for a better one. This is about talking through the options and finding out what the country is comfortable with and blindsiding the dopey Nats, as in "Please try and keep up Todd, we are already working on it ".
Advice from the rich and powerful, that will benefit the rich and powerful.
If you read the RNZ story – these clowns are actually saying we should not eliminate the virus but should instead 'flatten the curve' etc – something that is working really badly elsewhere.
" …accept "very low level" transmission within the definition of elimination "
" elimination meant reducing it to a predetermined low level "
" unhelpful shift…from trying to 'flatten the curve' of the numbers infected with the virus at any one time, to complete elimination "
No Thanks! Not so some business people can get back to raking in millions while paying everyone in the tourism industry peanuts and importing third-world labour to suppress wages.
Couldn't agree more – the cost of another lock down even partial is huge.
Fyfe spent his tenure at Airnz chopping at staff wages and conditions
Gluckmann sucked up to Key and never managed to give the scientific advice that the meth testing of homes was a complete crock that cost poorer people heaps.
Not really anybody's hero's are they.
Helen should not lend her name to current politics. unless this is a trial balloon to convince all that we should keep quarantine.(In which case very clever)
I really don't see much public regret for the loss of mass tourism ( but sympathy for some of the local operators)
nor do I see any regret for the loss of excess migration and employment competition – driving down wages and conditions. Young NEETS are still at 25% or so unemployment. The boomers are all still under 70 – send them back to work if you have to
I don't see any public regret for us looking at the possibility of our housing supply actually being sufficient and affordable.
However I do see our so called managerial class and leaders being utterly inflexible and unable to adapt at any level. At the rate of about 1 a day they infest the media moaning about needing to get in low wage migrants.
What they are not saying is:
I've worked with my local community to identify potential workers and would like a course set up to assist with training or course places need to be expanded
I have a plan to tempt back people who left the industry.
I'm offering part time jobs suitable for those with caring responsibilities or who are older and wish to work fewer hours
And FFS Airnz is still being allowed to reposition crew members who have come off flights to high risk places (overseas) on the domestic network without quarantine. Want to sit next to that? Use a local crew member or one who drives even if you have to pay a little extra.
You're confusing Fyfe with Luxon
Fyfe improved the conditions for many staff at AirNZ after Ralph Norris ran it as a lean operation with no payrises for many years.
Luxon, with no airliner experience, did the only thing he knew from Unilever. Maximum profit. Minimum staff. Wages increased far less under Luxon than they did under Fyfe.
Now it has a former Walmart boy, who is following the Walmart model of cut. Cut. Cut. And then rehire staff at lower rates.
And be detrimental to everyone else. Exactly the type of advice you'd expect from the selfish and greedy.
The Pacific Island's should be the only bubble to consider at the moment.
And that doesn't appear to be worth the risk ATM:
According to the Prime Minister today, a Trans-Tasman travel bubble "Is on the horizon and real."
There will be more commentary like this as the scope of operable bubbles evolves.
What everyone is overlooking about that, is that a bubble ends the quarantine for Kiwis returning from Oz.
ATM near all of the risk from Kiwis coming here from Oz is that they share airports and flights with people coming in from Nth America or UK/South Asia.
A bubble would require separate flights, and care getting people through airports safely – because infections do occur at airports.
We may be lucky Victoria is preventing a bubble till September, we do not want any community spread in our winter/converging with flu season.
And our people based track and trace system has to be upgraded to an operational oversight of commercial apps such as Apple and Google now have.
Easy solution, we go back to it being a domestic flight across the Tasman, from domestic terminals.
Quarantine applies to anyone entering TT bubble from outside. here or in Australia.
The three of them can sod off. Gluckman–Key’s man and a sellout, Fyfe–supreme egotist and union buster, Clark–retired, career third wayer. They are pushing a business agenda. Whats that–business has to do well for the sake of the country? Business has been doing very well for 35 years in this country…as inequality and uneven distribution of wealth has caused an unnecessarily miserable life for hundreds of thousands of people.
I would rather peruse the findings of the working class and its allies on where NZ should be going.
Oh well done Ad. Use our success in tackling Covid-19 to enhance our competitive advantage! In other words, BAU but with an edge.
But that’s not at all what we should be doing. With all the emphasis on the pandemic, people seem to have forgotten the greater crisis – climate change.
If we are going to do anything worthwhile about tackling the climate crisis, this pandemic has given us a wonderful opportunity.
We need to rethink how we interact with the world. The focus should be first and foremost, an emphasis on this country. Plastic toys from China – no way! Pork from Israel – no! Nectarines (and tasteless ones at that) from California – no! So stonefruit becomes seasonal again, like it was when I was a kid – well, that’s really tough.
If we actively encourage NZ made, we’ll see a lessening for the need to import all the cheap crap we do. Sure, the Warehouse and K-Mart might do a starve, but our balance of payments will benefit, as will the environment.
Yes, some of the elites might complain, but again we should be lifting the incomes of all NZers so that this country really is a great place to bring up kids.
Reduce, recycle and reuse should be the theme.
This report is issued by Koi Tu supposedly independent research associated with Auckland University. It has issued papers dating back to 2018 but on the surface appears to have been launched on 4 March 2020. It is very opaque about it's funding sources ( although I have a vague memory of accessing this site some time ago and they had more detail?)
Why are they not more open about their funding sources? or are they the usual suspects?
And it has issued some lower grade reports previously per Rod Oram
"But the big local disappoint of the week was the Future of Food report from Koi Tu – the Centre for Informed Futures, founded by Sir Peter Gluckman, a former Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister. "
Looks like there's a hedge fund manager in there.
I've found some of the funders in a down loaded information pack from the site.
and Sabrier's wikipedia entry gives the following information
"Under Sabrier’s leadership, Unigestion was a pioneer in the area of Alternative Investments with activities in the Hedge Fund and Private Equity arenas for over 25 years "
Koi Tu: The Centre for Informed Futures is grateful for the
generous support of our foundation partners:
Andrew and Elle Grant
David Levene Foundation
Kelliher Charitable Trust
Norman Barry Foundation
Sir Peter and Lady Judy Gluckman
The Centre was established in 2019 under the provisional name of the Centre for Science in Policy, Diplomacy and Society (SciPoDS).
Are we going to stay a small defensive country that continues to shrink and remains reliant on exporting apples and meat
Yes and paying our way as well.Trade surplus and on the way to having a close to current account surplus for the first time in a generation.
NZ household bank accounts are the fullest they have ever been adding around 10 billion since january this year,paying off credit cards,and not borrowing for bling (consumer finance)
And then comes the "haircut" called negative interest rates. Watch out for that one. Banks profits are down by 20% and they thirst for the money of others.
It could be that the banks will introduce negative interest rates. Some banks are already close to 0% and that happened even before the pandemic.
But their profits come from people spending and, since the pandemic started, people have stopped doing so and are actually saving. This means that the banks are no longer creating as much money as they were and thus their profits will decline.
As the banks money creation decreases along with the decrease in loans the amount of money in circulation will decrease bringing about a recession – just like the GFC in fact. People saving at an increased rate will increase the decline of money in circulation.
This will put pressure on the government to increase their own spending to prop up the economy which they will do and most likely by borrowing from the private banks putting us in hock for generations for, well, nothing as money itself is nothing and the government can create it anyway.
What this shows, of course, is the failure of leaving the economy to the auspices of the private sector.
New Zealand is as close to fully state-run right now as we've been since 1939.
How's that working?
Better than it has in decades.
Poverty is worse.
Unemployment is worse.
Foodbank demand is worse.
Businesses crippled is worse.
Savings and bankruptcies are worse.
International relations are catastrophically worse.
Ah but the Reserve Bank printing more money is the answer.
So the consequences of the GFC and a pandemic are to be blamed on the state.
The Rogernomes know no shame.
Country by country, the results and consequences of the pandemic are precisely a matter of applied public health policy. Blame is appropriate for a number of governments, and praise for others.
"Are we going to stay a small defensive country that continues to shrink and remains reliant on exporting apples and meat"
Why the fuck not?
If we do open our borders do it for value not fucking volume ffs
Meat and apples are commodities and marginal value-add.
Invite the plague in?? Yeah good one chuckles /sarc
This is the new world.
That's your reality.
It's not real.
given the responses to the border breaches, I think most NZders agree.
There's plenty of room for planning Anker, in the same way governments plan for disasters such as severe cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis etc. We have a tsunami alert system in place but as yet we haven't had to use it. Would you consider it wise to not do anything in advance then we have a major tsunami hit and many lives are lost because we weren't prepared?
The same goes for the future of the country when we open up our borders. There are important safeguards that would need to be in place before it could happen, even if it is initially confined to just the Pacific Islands and Australia. Far better we get those systems in place now so that when the time comes the country is ready to open up safely.
Sitting on our laurels and patting ourselves on the back for doing well thus far is not going to help the country further down the track.
Btw, its Helen Clark – not Clarke.
Helen Clarke would at least be seeking to keep the coronvirus out.
so the idea is that "business" gets to "benefit" from increased travel and the public pays for chasing down covid-19 outbreaks and all the personal cost. have these people made any attempt to estimate the public cost of shutting down a community outbreak? I will guarantee Jacinda has some good advice on that to consider.
Agree to all esp this. I know a number of older people 60+ consciously living level 2 still.
As for contact tracing being the 'be all, end all' it's not. It relies on people co-operating. We have 300-odd people out of isolation not answering phones. The MoH specifically noted, back in the levels 3 I think, for people to PLEASE answer contact tracing calls.
Clark's part of the rentier class. The peasants matter insofar as they rent.
None of the above precludes using the moment to rebuild how we farm and care for this country – particularly in regenerative farming. This is well explored by New Zealand Geographic this week in their most recent edition:
Helen Clark must be going senile.
It's the old left going senile, not Helen Clark.
The old centrist who still knows best. This is we got neoliberalism for 35 years.
It's what we've got from Labour for a century.
2021 is going to make 1987 look like a Mollie Woppie picnic.
This is what we've had from Labour leadership for over a century.
No one else comes close.
Not in a clear mind, anyway.
Actually the most farsighted and penetriating mind we've had since Peter Fraser.
About two months or more back Mike Hosking and Peter Williams got stuck into the Government for not planning what the re-opening was going to be like.
Not actually for not saying what it would look like but saying they had done nothing and were doing nothing.
Making out the Government and all in it had not considered or thought for part of any minute about what was ahead. Put not one second into considering there would be an end.
While it was just at their usual arrant nonsense level of stupidity it pissed me off. They were on the sidelines in their well paid moaning-bitching-finding fault jobs with no knowledge or sense of what it is to have a real job making real decisions with real people's lives in your hands.
I hope Ardern's lot is re-elected. I hope they win enough seats to rule by themselves. Doing that to have that disgusting duo grizzling for three more years of would be lovely.
Good post on an important topic and pressing issue. Unfortunately, some are trying to kill the debate before it even started by killing off the messengers through well-worn character assassination.
Any paper examining policy possibilities for opening up freedom of movement and helping increase economic activity is to be welcomed in principle. Helen Clark is one of a very rare breed who are able to combine personal popularity as a politician, policy nous and proficiency in running a government. Therefore, it would make sense to take what she says seriously. Peter Gluckman is a successful scientist with years of experience advising government, so the same seriousness should be afforded whatever he has to write.
As a "Notices and Features" mention, I welcome this post. On the other hand, I'm slightly at a loss as to what public policy NZ should be selling, and who would be buying it. South Korea would appear to have stolen the march on us in terms of testing für the virus, while NZ's position as a sparsely populated, resource-rich island nation whose only significant neighbour is another (very large), sparsely populated Island, would logically make its experience in terms of border control and limiting spread difficult to replicate in places like Asia, the Americas and Europe.
Additionally, I'm wary of the thinking behind the post, considering that Ad commented earlier on the upcoming paper in the context of confidently proclaiming that National, if they were smart, would go into the election campaigning on a faster opening of the borders and the economy. Leaving aside for a moment whether relaxing those is a good idea or not, it seems to me that the greater part of the reasoning behind this post is electoral, rather than policy-orientated, and the complete lack of any policy specifics strengthens that impression.
Furthermore, Ad stated confidently during the last parliamentary term that National would win the election because of the presence of John Key, then that it would do so because John Key had resigned. National did not go on to form a government. Ad also predicted a crisis of public confidence in our constitutional arrangements in the wake of the 2017 election because of how the coalition negotiations were conducted, citing Germany as an example of how things could be done better. Germany went on to take ages longer than New Zealand to form a government, and no such crisis eventuated in New Zealand. Then there was the more recent post on how the Lab/Grn/NZ1 coalition could still win in 2020, apparently posted from an alternate universe in which it was self-evidently on a path to losing.
On top of that, we have seen on this blog the woeful performance of Todd Muller with that line of questioning in Parliament, and Jacinda Ardern's responses that oozed all the confidence of a comprehensive advance focus-grouping and the knowledge of support for the government's general policy direction. Based on the available information, it does not seem clear that there is an insatiable public appetite for removing restrictions, nor that the current government will attempt to keep restrictions the same. With that in mind, and based on the information currently available on the upcoming paper from Clark/Gluckman/Fyfe, it does not seem at all clear that the latter will constitute an undermining of the current government's attitudes and efforts.
The post seems to be more of a reaction to right-wing talking points than an examination of policy and possibility. I think I'll take it with a large grain of salt.