So the country has reached lockdown stage 3 and a cautious loosening of the country’s restrictions has occurred. Hopefully the trend of reduced occurrence of new infections will occur. I for one will celebrate if and when we reach zero new daily infections.
It has been interesting to see the right’s response to the Government’s handling of Covid-19.
The right wants to present the Government’s response to the virus as a failure.
The angles of attack have essentially been that the Government has been too aggressive and at the same time not aggressive enough. If only they had closed the border quicker but they need to ease off quicker as well so that businesses can get going again. After all it does not matter if we have a new surge of infections, the temporary improvement of business conditions is much more important.
As proof they have offered up Australia. If only we had followed the right wing rule book and emulated what the right wing blokes were doing we could have been in such a better position.
And correlation is clearly causation.
Is Australia doing well?
It appears so. It might be because it is a warm country and flu like infections find it harder to gain a foot hold. Although Singapore’s experience suggests this may not be so helpful but is that dry heat or humidity that is the problem? Or maybe its health system has a really good tracking system and this has allowed its authorities to get on top of outbreaks.
How is New Zealand doing by way of comparison? Far better in terms of numbers. Similar in terms of per head of population figures and in terms of deaths and infection rates. But New Zealand is colder and more urbanised. So the comparison may not necessarily be so accurate.
How is New Zealand doing in comparison to other western nations run by conservate white male leaders?
America is a basket case. Check out this recent graphic I grabbed from the Johns Hopkins Covid website showing daily infection rates for the US.
Here is the UK equivalent.
Slightly more reassuring but not by much.
Here is Australia’s:
Not too bad for a country run by a stale pale male. But let’s look for other examples. How about Social Democrat stalwart Sweeden?
Or Singapore where they thought earlier on they had the infection under control?
For comparison here is Aotearoa New Zealand’s graph from a couple of days ago. We are not there yet. We are tantalisingly close to eradication but there are still new cases appearing each day.
The right is cherrypicking its data. It is claiming that one right wing led country is doing similar so this left wing country has been too nanny state and maybe we should have been allowed to get our haircut and our take out coffee.
And here is the thing. Eradication is really difficult. It is performing whack a mole when you get down to single digit daily infection rates and hoping you captured all of them. Missing two infections will mean there is another one out there. Singular instances of failure are a massive bugger.
Things are getting really ridiculous when right wing politicians claim that the solution to our problem is, wait for this, you will never guess this, I can tell you will be really surprised but here it is, we need labour market reform and more market forces to get us out of this.
I swear that if we were ever invaded by aliens there would be a cluster of right wing politicians claiming that we just need to weaken legal protection for workers and allow rich people to make the decisions for us.
But this is what Paul Goldsmith has suggested in this Stuff article, obviously in the interests of balance between of course we have to do this and you have to be freaking kidding.
Goldsmith has a three point plan.
The first point is that we should end the lockdown as soon as we safely can. Who could disagree with this? Should we end the lockdown before it is safe to do so or should we keep the lockdown in place even though it is safe to end it?
Then he comes out with the Right Wing recipe for pretty well everything with some stylised union bashing.
[W]orkplace rules will be a drag on our productivity for the rest of year; handled well, with clear and pragmatic rules, access to swift testing and PPE, we can regain momentum.”
So much to unpick, workers rights I gather are a drag on our productivity and health and safety concerns can be ignored as long as there is sufficient access to swift Covid-19 testing and enough PPE, which right wing governments have shown is a nice to have.
And there is this pearler.
[T]he core engine of growth will always be private sector investment – men, women and their businesses taking on new ventures, rebuilding their businesses, expanding, hiring people – taking mad risks … Successful economies make it easy for the investment to flow to more productive activities – they welcome investment, they don’t over regulate or over tax, they provide clear and consistent rules, properly enforced, and don’t go changing them all the time.”
We are witnessing the failure of the capitalist system and Paul’s solution is more unbridled capitalism.
So far the country is doing exceptionally well. And the pandemic has exposed the deep flaws in neoliberal capitalism.
I am pleased that the Government clearly has a progressive interventionist approach to what is needed to keep the country going. National’s approach, which is being used in the United States, would wreck the place.