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The Covid election

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, August 6th, 2020 - 73 comments
Categories: brand key, covid-19, jacinda ardern, john key, labour, national - Tags: ,

I normally do not do this, tempting fate and all that.  But the forces behind this election are so strong that it would take a really dramatic event to change current momentum.

Because kiwis are really proud that we are, so far, Covid free.  We celebrate that our team of five million knuckled down and did the hard yards and knocked the bastard off.  There are some really strong cultural and historical themes in that statement, but I am sure you get my drift.

And we are all united behind Captain Jacinda who kept giving us the most rousing of pep talks, who kept telling us clearly and without spin what we had to do to win, who explained the game plan, the tactics we would use and what it looked like as we advanced.

She already had our trust, her handling of the Christchurch Mosque massacre and the White Island tragedy showed us that under pressure she was formidable.

On the world stage she has also been exceptional, and is someone to be really proud of.

Elsewhere throughout the world they are not doing so well.  In fact when you look at democratic countries with right wing male leaders who talk tough they are failing.  Have a look at this graph if you need proof.

I sort of feel sorry for National.  What sort of oppositioning do they do?

This is where they have failed.  They have been all over the place.  At times they critisiced the Government for being too tough, at other times for being not tough enough.  National’s problem was that at various stages it looked like they were actively cheering for the quarantine to fail.  and releasing racist comments and leaking confidential medical information for political gain was just too much for us fair minded kiwis.

And they have just fallen apart.  Six years ago I was in awe of their discipline and their messaging.  Now it is a joke.  And people know it.  The number of conversations I have had while door knocking with erstwhile National supporters who will now vote Jacinda is testamony to this.

The other problem for National is that it is now reverting to type and saying that Labour has been too strict.

In an earlier variation of this argument it said that we should be more like Australia.  You can see from the graph above how that would have worked out.

Then yesterday former PM John Key (remember him?) came out and said that we should let rich Americans into the country so that local workers can become serfs and also let in students who should be privately managed through quarantine because aw shucks it would be fine and the market always delivers.  From the Herald:

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key wants to encourage rich Americans to buy New Zealand property to help reduce the impact of a looming “financial crisis”.

He told Newstalk ZB host Heather du Plessis-Allan that border restrictions should be loosened so that universities and companies could bring in foreign students and skilled workers and pay for their own quarantine.

And he said foreigners buying New Zealand property would provide work for Kiwis whose jobs are disappearing.

“Let’s focus on what we can do. We’ve got this crazy foreign buyer ban,” he said.

“Why don’t we let in rich Americans who want to build a house in New Zealand? Who cares? They’re in Mangawhai or somewhere, they are going to create thousands of jobs.

“Why do we care if someone who lives in New York wants to spend $10 million building a house in Auckland, using NZ craftsmen and NZ tradespeople?”

He has always had these weird ideas.  A few years ago I wrote this post where I concluded that Key wanted to turn New Zealand into a bolthole for the uber rich.

His statement yesterday reinforces my earlier impression.

His suggestion concerning students is also crazy.  A sector of our population more likely to take risks and breach quarantine I cannot imagine, especially wealthy ones wanting to escape their Covid ravaged countries.  And Melbourne shows what happens when you leave quarantine measures to Private Enterprise.

This morning’s Herald poll suggested that most Kiwis by a margin of 68% to 29% prefer keeping the borders as closed as possible.  This is National’s problem in a nutshell.

While I am on the subject I have to question why Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Management did not, as far as I can tell, invite Councillors or Local Board members to the event and why a diversity of views was not offered.  Cheerleading business who just want things loosened up no matter how big the risk should not be in the job description for a Council controlled organisation.

Sure bringing in specific job skills for projects such as the City Rail Link are important.  But clearly kiwis are pretty comfortable with the way things are now and they do not want to risk it.

Which is why at this stage the election result looks like it will be clear cut.  And this is the basic reason why, putting to one side the infighting, the controversies, the loss of senior MPs and the seemingly never ending disclosure of scandal, National is struggling.

73 comments on “The Covid election ”

  1. dv 1

    Don't forget the bonfire of regulations and Tax cuts at the beginning of the pandemic

  2. Adrian 2

    As I said late last night, just how difficult would it be to deliberately releaseCovid into the community and would some RWNJ do it?

    It’s already been done with Rabbit Calicivirus bought in from Australia and propagated in a farmhouse kitchen in a blender.

    Is anyone stupid enough to do it ? To beat Jacinda ?, Yes.

    Has Ashley Bloomfield been warned of this possibility?. My guess is yes again.

    • You_Fool 2.1

      Conspiracy theory, this woman was Michelle Boag

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12354118

    • roy cartland 2.2

      Horrible to admit, but it's definitely a possibility. Why wouldn't they? Throw a few thousand (mostly poor) to the wind to make a buck; societally we do that already.

      It's their only hope, hence Bloomfield's "if not when" announcement.

    • This sort of conspiracy speculation is as nuts as those on Twitter and Kiwiblog suggesting that Ardern might deliberately stoke fear via Covid to control the population.

      • I Feel Love 2.3.1

        I believe it's unlikely, but not an impossible idea.

        • Pete George 2.3.1.1

          It's not impossible that the UN or aliens are using 5G to spread Covid to take over the world either. Maybe the UN is controlled by aliens, but I believe that's unlikely.

          • Robert Guyton 2.3.1.1.1

            Pete George said:

            "It's not impossible that aliens…" & "that's unlikely"?

            Your not certain, Pete? A little bit maybe perhaps, are you?

      • Adrian 2.3.2

        Pay attention PG, it is not Jacinda or anyone else in the Labour govt publicly saying this but why are the warnings getting more urgent, why the ramping up of awareness. Somebody has been told something and it is Dr Bloomfield's job to pass on the message.

        And it has been done before.

        • Anne 2.3.2.1

          All they had to do is look across the ditch at Melbourne and think to themselves: God almighty, this could happen to us so easily. We will have to get ready for the possibility and make sure everybody knows how easily it could happen.

          Add to that the WHO has already warned the world a second wave is coming.

          Enough said. No conspiracy!

      • Stuart Munro 2.3.3

        These things come down to character. There is nothing in Key's character to suggest he wouldn't do it in a heartbeat if he thought he could make a buck out of it. But that doesn't mean he has a sufficiently malleable virologist with a sample ready to go.

        • Roy Cartland 2.3.3.1

          Re character, we've witnessed that time and again from this lot – it's not even a conspiracy, they were quite blatant about it during the days of DP and Crosby/Textor. How hard would it be to pay off a couple of goons to spread a highly infectious virus? Unlikely maybe; but do they want to be in government or not?

          • Stuart Munro 2.3.3.1.1

            I imagine the only thing that has stopped them doing it already is breaking the chain of traceability. Rabbit calicivirus was relatively forgiveable, being implicated in a Covid release would destroy the rest of the rotten husk that is National.

            • roblogic 2.3.3.1.1.1

              Same kind of psycho arseholes that belong to the “National Party Supporters” page on facebook, like Cam Slater, have a record of doing shady shit

            • lurgee 2.3.3.1.1.2

              I imagine the only thing that has stopped them doing it already is breaking the chain of traceability.

              FFS. What idiotic posting. Do you really think the fear of getting caught is the "only thing" stopping people unleashing Covid 19 on New Zealand?

              Kiwiblog would love to show this sort of lunacy off to the world. "Forget Jacinda's Mother of the Nation schtick, this is what The Left really think!"

              Do us all a favour and stop posting embarrassing nonsense.

              • Stuart Munro

                By all means present any evidence you may have to the effect that Key has scruples of any kind whatsoever.

                My cynicism has consistently fallen short of Key’s reality.

                • lurgee

                  You're the flip side of a Trump-MAGA clown, believing Covid is a Chinaplot or unleashed by Hilary or whatever delusion they are entertaining this moment.

                  Proclaim the 'other side' are capable of anything.

                  Which means 'our side' is justified in doing anything to stop them.

                  Its a fascist mindset.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    You're the flip side of a Trump-MAGA clown, believing Covid is a Chinaplot or unleashed by Hilary or whatever delusion they are entertaining this moment.

                    How easily you sum up another's character – be sure to swallow it graciously when they do as much for you.

                    Proclaim the 'other side' are capable of anything.

                    I take it then that you cannot produce any of the evidence of good character that I requested? And there is form of introducing viruses, from Calici to Mycoplasma.

                    Which means 'our side' is justified in doing anything to stop them.

                    That invention is your own. The National party has indeed been in need of significant reform for quite some time – even they know it. Am I not to comment on their dysfunction to placate some timorous anonymous wretch?

                    Its a fascist mindset.

                    Oh, much older than that. But I get it – the Right may employ the arguments of necessity, TINA & such, with impunity for ever. Your argument is one of class – I am not to protest.

                    And yet I do.

              • greywarshark

                lurgee Note to self: 'Do us all a favour and stop posting embarrassing nonsense.'

          • lurgee 2.3.3.1.2

            We've gone from Adrian's (already preposterous) suggestion that "some RWNJ" might deliberately introduce Covid (presumably by hopping on a plane, finding someone with Covid and rubbing up against them, then returning to New Zealand, eluding quarantine and rapidly spreading to as many people as possible, and somehow confounding any sort of track-trace-isolation effort; a bit of a rubbish plan); now we're on to some sort of paid conspiracy.

            Just stop it, it's silly.

      • Chris 2.3.4

        You must've had a very sheltered upbringing, Pete, to live in such naivity. Anyone who's had anything more than fleeting dealings with government know what they're capable of. And those who are perceived as getting too close to the root of governmental power know so doubly.

    • Gabby 2.4

      I hope we're keeping an eye on comings and goings from the yankistani embassy.

  3. It's interesting to speculate what the Natz polling would be if they had taken the high ground from the beginning of the pandemic and fully backed the government. Been positive instead of negative! Co-operated rather than tried to wreck.

    They might still be in the 40s and in with a real chance of getting into government.

    But no, being positive is not in their DNA. They oppose for the sake of opposition. And so their support has bled away to the point where they may manage 25%

    And giving a platform to a has-been like Key just reinforces that they are not fit for government.

    • Just Is 3.1

      The Nats are too stupid and self entitled to consider this option even though if they had of adopted a supportive role with Govt over Covis they would be riding a lot higher in polls.

      Key and rest of them inviting a significant problem to NZ by weakening Border Controls for predominantly the benefits of wealthy are just simply Greedy.

      They have no concern for the economic risks, risks that could effect everyone.

    • I Feel Love 3.2

      I said this when Bridges was Nat leader, Ardern probably would have allowed him to stand with her, possibly even had turns at the daily press briefings, "united front against Covid" etc, what a missed opportunity, thankfully for us really, and like said above the Nats just can't hide who they really are.

      • froggleblocks 3.2.1

        Nah. Maybe a one-off as chair of the covid select committee, whatever that thing was called.

        The reason the PM fronted those was to answer political questions that Bloomfield couldn't, and knowing all the operational matters going on behind the scenes. Leader of the opposition doesn’t have the required knowledge or position to do that job.

  4. Tricledrown 4

    Keys billionaire mate Peter Thiel bought land now it's been unkempt run down.

    No kiwi jobs.

    • Thiel's land is immediately beside Lake Wanaka in an area categorised as Outstanding Natural Landscape. ONL is not meant to be domesticated; it is by definition natural, somewhat wild and unkempt. (Though some of Thiel's land is heavily farmed)

      If he builds a massive house on it with large rolling lawns and numerous curtilage activities that are visible and obviously inappropriate within ONL that will be a blot on the landscape and a terrible shame.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    It's surely an anomaly that now that Labour has for the moment suspended the tribal globalism that insisted mass low-wage migration was really really good for our economy however many rorting employers were turned up, they suddenly have an insuperable lead on the party still boosting that manifest failure.

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    Key's warbling away on talkback now, hosted by John Banks. The Nats "Secret Weapon".

  7. The National Party don't like to think to hard.

    That is why, all they ever come up with is Roads, more roads and Bridges, and now they add tunnels.

    And letting in the rich pricks from America.

    Little Johnny must have a mate up there wishing to escape from the nut job in the White House.

  8. Anker 8
    • With 68% of us wanting the borders as tight as poss, I hope people will start to see Key for who he is…someone who doesn’t give a dam about sacrifice if lives, including the lives of nurses, bus drivers etc looking after things at the border. Only cares about money and the economy. Aside from anything else his ideas are hardly new or inspirational. It was Key who drove the low wage tourist industry during his term. What a legacy.
    • perhaps when he was photographed at an auction with his son bidding on a 1.5 million dollar house, people might have done a double take. A super wealthy guy buying an expensive house for a very young man, who never seemed to think he needed to make a useful contribution (my opinion and I could be wrong) is something to hide, not to publicise. Thank god Key is gone
    • That NZHerald article is paywalled and I refuse to pay for that rag. It would be appreciated if anyone has a few more details of the survey that could be shared here….

    • AB 8.2

      The world is a place they roam around, looking to extract profits by whatever legal means are available – and if they aren't available, lobby governments to make them so. The notions of a country, a people, or the common good, barely exist for them.

    • Anne 8.3

      @ Anker
      National has asked Key to intervene and put a spoke in Labour's wheel. They are hoping he might be able to attract his former supporters back to them by appealing to the streak of greed and entitlement that is never far from the surface. I doubt it will work because its a different ball game to the Key years, but desperate people do desperate things.

  9. Key and co promoting business as usual. ( Sadly a few who should know better)

    The fire sale economic plan which enriches the rich who trickle a few crumbs to the poor, who end up living in cars and vans and lining up to be hired.

    We have been on Key's planet before.

    Many who are struggling now know this Government will endeavour to feed house and keep people safe from the pandemic, so they in turn are helping their less fortunate neighbours and friends, donating whatever they can, coming up with useful ideas and innovations to meet new needs, using technology, following the health guidelines fairly well, getting tested and acting as a team.

    A feeling of collective purpose in the face of a huge threat.

    We are an oasis with a brilliant leader, and a recovery plan. The envy of the world. Kiwis helping Kiwis, even supporting Kiwis to return here and isolate at no charge. We are naturally anxious that our Borders are well managed, and after the debacle of Private management in Victoria Australia, we are rightly adamantly saying NO to that.

    We starkly now see what is an essential service and what is a "Lovely to have" (coffee/ cultural gatherings/religious services/dancing/shows)

    We accept that the Government should govern, provide services and support to create work which enhances health well being and safety in the face of a 1 in 100 event. Small government is no longer promoted as a helpful idea, and Public Service is seen as essential again. Thank you Mr. Bloomfield.

    The plan to recover should be inclusive sustainable and safe.

    The Government has laid out a programme in the 2020 Budget, in great detail, and has stated they will not operate an austerity programme trying to pay debt back at levels that cause hardship. We accept their plan to get us through this and "bounced back" from lock down with some exceptions. (closed borders affecting industries such as the tourist/flying/education businesses.)

    The casandras are out in force, telling us that the worst is yet to come, as the world struggles.

    We know that, but we are listening to Jacinda when she says "Keeping the virus at our Border will allow our economy to work and our hospital capacity to function, while we get time to prepare for a local incursion." Most agree with this sensible approach.

    Kiwis seem to have gone from individualism to collective aroha.

    We are talking freely about topics which seemed taboo not so far back. We have become more aware of mental health issues, unintended racism, sexist behaviour, colonial appropriation and the misuse of technology, the importance of being connected and what is essential.

    The biggest change is our pride in our Prime Minister and country.

    We are happy to be seen as being part of a successful plan to overcome this virus, to have a Leader so admired world wide. We bask in her glory rather than cringe at naff statements and behaviour. Jacinda is gracious clever and kind to all she meets and she leaves a good impression of New Zealand and New Zealanders, and we wish this to continue as well.

    Some say "It can't last" Nothing much stays the same, but by cooperating we do better.

    Some want revolution, but they seldom end happily.

    Most it seems are in favour of the current plan and will vote Labour and hopefully the Greens back to the benches.

    • AB 9.1

      "The plan to recover should be inclusive, sustainable and safe."

      Yes. And that's what our economy should have been even prior to Covid. It wasn’t, and that fact is an indicator of the scale of the sh*t fight ahead if the government even thinks of changing BAU. Rolling out Key and Fyfe is a tiny foretaste of the push-back if Labour tries anything once re-elected.

  10. John G 10

    I think Blomfield and Jacinda are saying it will come back is an attempt to stop us from becoming more complacent than we are. There is no doubt (in my mind) that there is a feeling we are on top of this so we can take it easy now. That is why they are winding things up a bit. I don't think there is any conspiracy.

  11. Byd0nz 11

    John Key is still a big wig in the National Party. He loves big digits when in comes to money and his love for rich Americans knows no bounds, and that is why we should never ever let the Nats anywhere near the reigns of power. Key would soon invite the Yanks to build a military base here. The man is a disgrace and should have his Knighthood ripped off him and put in the crusher.

  12. Just Is 12

    Thanks everyone for NOT giving Key the respect he expects by NOT using SIR

    What exactly did he do for NZ to deserve a Knighthood, pulling pony tails doesn't cut it

    • Roy Cartland 12.1

      I always thought the knights of old were the ones who invaded a peaceful village, plundered their resources, destroyed those who stood against them, 'protected' (enslaved) the rest, installed themselves as local warlord and 'donated' some of their plunder to the monarch. Pretty apt, really.

      • Just Is 12.1.1

        Good point.

        I was comparing the Knighthood of Sir Edmund Hilary, where he spent most of life helping those in need and using his own wealth for the benefit of many, selfless, a great Man.

        In the 20th century, most Knighthoods were awarded to those who had spent time Volunteering to those in need, and organizations supporting people in need, Charity.

        In the last decade it would seem the critical criteria for a Knighthood is wether you've been an MP in the National Party, or, a Very good friend of theirs.

    • He brought back knighthoods, for one thing. Mainly because he coveted one for himself, to demonstrate that the former poor little state-house boy had truly arrived.

  13. mosa 13

    " He ( Key ) has always had these weird ideas "

    I guess amassing immense wealth and helping others to do the same can do that to someone.

    • roblogic 13.1

      You mean, screwing over a small nation and inviting his mates to join in the pillage?

    • Wairua 13.2

      It sounds like a history of Aotearoan colonisaton. What is new ? I think we are seeing a spoiling tactic to set the tone of the election. If this is the opener, what comes next ? Hang onto something folks ..

  14. Key and co are modern day carpetbaggers.

  15. Brian Tregaskin 15

    Not so fast buddy you are temping fate if we have to go back to Level 3 Election will be delayed and the old saying rings true “A week is a long time in politics”
    Do you think this scene may play out ?

    Sounds as though we are been prepped to go to level 2.
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/08/coronavirus-kiwis-urged-to-have-supply-of-masks-in-case-new-zealand-goes-back-to-alert-level-2.html

    My main point is NZ is basically a liberal nation and wont take much to move towards the centre right, almost any excuse and the voters will jump ship back to National , I reckon. That said it would be very hard to happen under the extreme right leadership team they have along with ACT, too much for the nation to handle at the moment.

  16. Brian Tregaskin 16

    What about bring Election forward to Aug 29 or Sept 5 because of increasing COVID threat?
    “Lets get it done”

  17. Tiger Mountain 17

    Try not to jinx things Micky, though even arch tory John Armstrong seemed to be sullenly throwing in the towel in his column today, and ‘Crusher’ has seemed a real flat tyre in interviews the last week.

    And as for our glorious ex leader–FJK! it is all coming back now…off shore trusts, causing a female MP walkout, throat slitting gesture in Parliament, cutting funding to Rape Crisis and Women's Refuge, Union busting, asset sales–make it stop…please… be gone Pony tail puller in chief.

  18. new view 18

    Ok Mickey, let’s say you’ve won the election. Does the record of this Government give you huge confidence they will cope with the social and financial destruction we’ll face next year and years beyond. Don’t tell me that the general public will live on kindness for the next three years because they won’t. When the loans are too large and the money runs out your kind social minded PM may come across as being heartless, as hard decisions have to be made. National would do no better socially but then they most likely won’t be the Government. Not for twelve months anyway.

  19. Brian Tregaskin 19

    Yep don't jinx it because we are facing a dystopian nightmare if National and Act win. Thousands of kiwis lives are at are risk , because they value the economy more?
    The borders would be open before we can blink; not to mention worse austerity measures than the mother of all budgets in 1990.

    Its the most important NZ election ever in NZ’s history since lives are at stake due to second wave of COIVD-19.
    So what will it be people ‘utopia’ or ‘dystopia’?

    • Peter 19.1

      Look on the bright side. If National and Act win, charter schools will be here with bells on and we'll all have the guns we want.

      [Deleted superfluous text from user name]

  20. Ad 20

    The "Covid Election" title is useful as a frame because we can see the counterfactuals all around us. This short clip from Christianne Amanpour and Paul Krugman on PBS points out that due to the political mishandling of Covid-19, the United States is facing a year or more of 10%+ unemployment.

    That's the definition of an economic depression.

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

    So even if the Democrats take the House of Reps, Senate, and White House, they will only be able to tackle a few areas at once due to the scale and depth of the economic, social and political crisis that COvid-19 mismanagement has now caused.

  21. observer 21

    I guess there's a NZ Herald poll out Fri/Sat. They've run stories today based on specific poll questions, which would normally be part of a wider range.

    • peter sim 22.1

      How can roads, Wellington tunnels equate with austerity?

      Easy, ask National, They know ,and have all the answers to everything.

      Judith's eyebrows are very revealing.

  22. waves of the sea 23

    While it does appear very unlikely for National to win, I wouldn't get too comfortable and count them out of the game just yet. It may not even take a single 'dramatic event' for Labour to lose – there could also be a steady and relentless stream of smaller, impactful, events, which ultimately work to discredit Jacinda's reputation & undermine the Labour party's credibility.

    According to the latest poll, there's about a 20% gap between Labour & National. If we assume that the figures are roughly correct, then in order for the Nats to win (by the narrowest of margins), they would need to convince an average of about 3-4% of all current Labour (swing) voters to switch sides each week before the election. Around 2-3%, if we count out the Greens, and count in Act.

    Now, that's a tall order, but it's not impossible, especially if they play their cards right (and Labour doesn't e.g. by making several bad judgement calls). National could have been saving up a couple of potential bombs from over the past 3 years, waiting until the right time to unleash them, just before this election. There may also be a portion of current Labour voters who won't actually end up voting on the day, because if the party looks like they are going to win, then why bother?

    There are many variable and factors which are unknowable. Life is full of unpredictable, unexpected events. And if Labour, in particular, are underestimating the opposition and appearing to be arrogant, then it could be their downfall. National have also probably been holding back and waiting until this period before giving it everything they've got.

    • observer 23.1

      It's possible that a number of those things could happen. It's a historical fact of MMP that parties polling over 50% pre-election have never got over 50% of votes in the end (though they still won).

      One thing you can be absolutely certain of is that Jacinda Ardern is not going to behave as you suggest in the last paragraph. Labour supporters might (and some will). Ardern won't. That's just not who she is. A lot of things can change before election day – but not character.

    • Brian Tregaskin 23.2

      Now, that's a tall order, but it's not impossible, especially if they play their cards right (and Labour doesn't e.g. by making several bad judgement calls). National could have been saving up a couple of potential bombs from over the past 3 years, waiting until the right time to unleash them, just before this election.

      These clowns have nothing left in the tank and even if they do throw bombs it will backfire and the public will dislike them even more than they do now.
      The only place where they are going on Sept 19 is to a massive defeat possibly larger than the 2002 loss.

  23. Tricledrown 25

    Gerry Hatrick Brownoselee claiming Ashley Bloomfield is asking us to prepare by having masks for everyone just in case,brownoselee making shit up saying that it’s because border controls aren't tight enough.

    Scaremongering then says it's a good idea anyway.

    Desperation playing the Hysteria Card again why not go back to Nationals policy of opening our border's by July follow Australias partial lockdown cut taxes cut spending.

    Bridges pulled all those stunts and lead the National Party to the lowest polls in 18 yrs .more of the same Gerry your party is on a hatrick of leaders..

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