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The mysterious socialist hermit kingdom

Written By: - Date published: 9:55 am, August 25th, 2021 - 111 comments
Categories: australian politics, covid-19, health, Judith Collins, Media, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Right now we are being inundated with bad Covid takes, particularly from the United Kingdom.

Earlier in the week the Herald joined them all together into one story with the headline “Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: ‘Fortress NZ strategy crumbling’ – World reacts to latest lockdown move“.

It is difficult to understand how wrong the article could be.  It did not include responses from throughout the world, five of the six responses were from the United Kingdom who, <enable sarc> has handled Covid so well <disable sarc>.  The sixth, from Nick Perry at AP News was factual.

Of the remaining five commentators they included a Telegraph markets reporter, the BBC, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, a showbiz reporter at the Daily Mail and Nigel Fucking Farage. Give me strength.

Like National some of the comments focussed on the vaccine roll out.  Not shouldering our way to the front of the queue to get extra vaccines at a time the rest of the world was going through a pandemic was clearly in their view a failure of leadership.

And I do not know how many times I have to say this but vaccination is not a silver bullet.

Just have a look at vaccination rates but then look at current death rates, or for that purpose total death rates.

Here is the vaccination table.

Here are deaths over time.

And here are the cumulative deaths.

Tell me which country do you want to live in?

Yesterday Scott Morrison chose to wade in and say similar things.  From Derek Cheng at the Herald:

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it is “absurd” for regions – including New Zealand – to chase elimination forever in a Delta world.

He was commenting on some Australia states and territories that have said they will continue to pursue elimination and keep their borders closed to NSW.

“Any state and territory that thinks that somehow they can protect themselves from Covid with the Delta strain forever, that’s just absurd,” Morrison told the 9 News Breakfast show today.

“New Zealand can’t do that. They were following an elimination strategy. They’re in lockdown.”

Morrison likened staying on the elimination path to living in a cave.

“Covid is a new different world. We need to get out there and live in it. We can’t stay in the cave, and we can get out of it safely,” he said.

“If not at 70 or 80 per cent [vaccination coverage], then when?”

Judith Collins has also floated the 70% figure.  When asked the number of deaths that would be acceptable she was less forthcoming.  The horrendous death rates from Covid in countries with right wing leaders is not a coincidence.  It is a feature caused by indifference.

And further research suggests that opening up at this proportion would be catastrophic.  From Paul Karp at the Guardian:

Ending lockdowns and other public health restrictions once 80% of the adult population is vaccinated could result in 25,000 deaths in total and 270,000 cases of long Covid, new modelling warns.

The work by researchers at three leading Australian universities predicts more than 10 times as many deaths as the Doherty Institute modelling that underpins the national four-phase roadmap. That plan was adopted by national cabinet in July but is subject to different interpretations by state and territory leaders.

The Doherty modelling looked at the number of deaths in the first 180 days of reopening at the 70% and 80% thresholds that lead to phase B and C – when lockdowns would be “less likely” and then “highly targeted”.

The latest research models total cumulative deaths over a longer time frame during phase D of the national plan – when no restrictions remain.

Dr Zoë Hyde, an epidemiologist and co-author from the University of Western Australia, warned the new modelling – which is yet to be peer-reviewed – showed it was “simply too dangerous to treat Covid-19 like the flu” and that Australia should reach higher vaccination rates before opening up.

Hyde and co-authors Prof Quentin Grafton of the Australian National University and Prof Tom Kompas of the University of Melbourne, both economists, called for a 90% vaccination rate among all Australians, including children, and a 95% rate for vulnerable populations, including elderly people and Indigenous Australians.

The criticisms about the vaccination rates are annoying and frankly miss the mark.  Firstly New Zealand did not push the emergency button and authorise the urgent use of what were then untested vaccines because we did not have to.  There were other nations where rapid vaccination rates were a matter of life and death.

It is the end point not the current standing that is important.

And even if we were at the same levels of the US or the UK it would not have stopped the current outbreak.

And the comment about our strategy is wrong.  Firstly it is more about early and decisive responses that then allow us to live relatively free lives and for most of the past year we have lived without significant restrictions and without a horrendous death rate.

A mysterious socialist hermit kingdom?  With a booming economy and for the most part freedoms that the rest of the world can only aspire to I don’t think so.  Elimination is the only reasonable strategy.  Fingers crossed that the Government can pull it off again even though the world is dealing with a tricky deadly mutation caused in part because other countries did not try and do the same as Aotearoa New Zealand.

111 comments on “The mysterious socialist hermit kingdom ”

  1. Ad 1

    If after getting to 80% vaccinated New Zealand were to adopt a rolling Level 2 as a permanent state of affairs, with spikes to Level 4, ours would be a pretty different society.

    Probably our biggest thanks would go to Steven Joyce for pushing the national broadband rollout. We'd be stuffed now without it.

    A permanent Level 2 NZ would be a country of regions and city-states with highly controlled internal borders. Maybe Australians understand that degree of societal control because they started as a prisoner colony.

    We often try and project what a new society might look like. But since the plan appears to be a permanent higher level, we may as well start to organise within that.

    • Patricia Bremner 1.1

      Yes broadband rollout was the best thing the Nats did. Joyce can take a bow.

      • WC@ 1.1.1

        Must have been sort of legal. Before Broadband Radio and TV messages sufficed and of course not everyone has a computer!

        • Patricia Bremner

          I was trying to be even handed. Both our sons currently are employed from home because of broadband. Yes, not everyone has a computer or can afford even the cheap charges, but without broadband unemployment during lockdowns would be huge, and communication slow and difficult for most, not just a few remote areas.

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      A permanent Level 2 is a very different society.

      That would mean the end of any events that has a crowd of more than 100 people.

      No live music, no crowded stadiums, no pubs and clubs.

      Interesting times

  2. Thanks for that Micky.

    Am I correct? Did our glorious leader of the fACTless party say last week that if we had a really beefed up waste water analysis throughout NZ then a lot of ares would not need to go to level 4? I saw a news caption TV 3 AM show to that effect. I pray that we will never see him on the traesury benches.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Did he? Will have a look for it. If so the only think that could be said is that he is full of it!

    • dv 2.2


      Thanks Micky.

    • fender 2.3

      I'm sick to death of hearing the puppet of Prebble and Douglas being parroted in the media, even RNZ . I've tuned out of all these dickheads who are over-compemsating because Labour gained an outright majority at the last election.

  3. Anne 3

    Tall poppy syndrome, sour grapes and jealousy all play a part in their response. It doesn't help NZ's leader is so much more popular on the world stage than theirs.

    The Brits especially still like to think they rule the waves and when an upstart colony at the bottom of the world shows them up they ain't gonna like it!

    • Patricia Bremner 3.1

      Hello Anne, I hope you get your surgery as soon as the lockdown is over. Waiting is the hard bit. Hang in there. I am so much better since my hip op. I know knees are more complicated, but you will be happy to be without the pain Cheers.

      • Anne 3.1.1

        Thank-you for your good wishes Patricia. It has been 19 months since I was first referred. Three cancellations by the hospital in the past two months and a fourth coming up due to lockdown has taken its toll. frown

        • Patricia Bremner

          I commiserate Anne, I had a similar wait. Chewed through a few pain killers.smileyGood now though. Do the Physio after, it really helps

  4. Patricia Bremner 4

    Micky, the concerted show of articles and statements about our methods appear to be to make Boris and Scott look more reasonable to their voters, and nothing related to the science.

    We should not be surprised as "casualties" are always written off as necessary in their capitalistic systems.

    I personally think Scomo is trying to save face, as his side kick in NSW has made an utter hash of things, and left him nowhere to go.

    Jacinda Ardern and this Cabinet have had our wellbeing at heart, and so I for one do not believe they are using a health emergency in a wrong fashion. They are still following the science even more closely, and that has served us well.

    As for the "Cave" idea, I think we know who is dragging their knuckles, and it is not our PM. We have had freedoms for 170 days others dreamed of, and if we all hold on we will again.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Agreed. I am surprised that a success in keeping so many people alive should be described as a failure. There are lots of words thrown at the subject. My top graphic was an attempt to suggest that we have been extraordinarily successful.

  5. This makes sense.

    "Dr Zoë Hyde, an epidemiologist and co-author from the University of Western Australia, warned the new modelling – which is yet to be peer-reviewed – showed it was “simply too dangerous to treat Covid-19 like the flu” and that Australia should reach higher vaccination rates before opening up.

    Hyde and co-authors Prof Quentin Grafton of the Australian National University and Prof Tom Kompas of the University of Melbourne, both economists, called for a 90% vaccination rate among all Australians, including children, and a 95% rate for vulnerable populations, including elderly people and Indigenous Australians."

    The UK is currently running at 30,000 Covid cases a day and 100 Covid deaths a day-36,500 a year. This is in Summer-wait for the winter when these numbers may well double. Britain has opened up far too early. ScoMo is trying to do exactly the same in Oz-there is a concerted right-wing pro-business media propaganda campaign being waged over there to support ScoMo's position.

    I think a policy of 95% of the NZ population fully vaccinated including children, with booster vaccines (say) every 12 months and a beefed up Test/Trace/Isolate unit may ultimately have legs towards the end of 2022, when NZ can begin to open its borders. But even this makes me nervous.

  6. Reality 6

    Re the government's elimination strategy – whatever the situation is in six or twelve months nobody knows. But commendably for now they are trying to follow elimination to save lives and people's health. Cold hearted Collins and Seymour would likely shed no tears if more people lost their lives to the virus as long as their business backers were happy. The economy has done well in the last year with our elimination strategy.

    Maybe it would never happen but I would like to think Collins/Seymour could, in a time of great anxiety, show some backing to the government. After all it was they who stamped their feet constantly to open the borders, not just this year, last year as well. Time they were reminded of that.

  7. Pete 7

    We get the likes of Farage, Morrison and eminent (cough cough) broadcasters like Piers Morgan taking an interest in us. Isn't that nice.

    Little colony stuck at the arse end of the world, kiddies in the sandpit, or cave. Little kids yet the luminaries are kind enough to think of us.

    And isn't is so university students, educated types, deigning to come and lean over the pit and observe and ponder that we might grow up and act like be like them. And should.

    They've got to that age and stage and need to play with the little kids? What the fuck's that all about? Haven't they got lives of their own? Have they shat in their own pits so much they're looking for a distraction an out, somewhere else to play?

  8. Dr Fauci on CNN yesterday said we do not know the % that needed to be vaccinated but hinted it was 90% plus. I think we have yet to see what the results are for the UK but I know where I want to be.

    On vaccination most of my co-workers are under 30 with a great reluctance to be vaccinated. This could be the hardest group to reach with all the crap they read on Facebook etc. Because I am vaccinated one thinks I will infect him.

  9. pat 9

    Im guessing that the bulk of regular commentators (and authors) here are 40 +…I expect that as vaccines reach high coverage the pressures, not just from business but from the young (and expats ) will become too difficult for the Gov to ignore…restrictions will become increasingly difficult to maintain as fatigue sets in….we have had little restriction (comparatively) to date.

    The only thing that may cause pause is our lack of hospitalisation capacity

    • AB 9.1

      Agreed – this will happen. Let's hope it's done cautiously and based on data from elsewhere that tells us about the likely excess morbidity & mortality of any particular approach. We then get to make an informed decision about the right balance to strike.

  10. Poission 10

    How the zero Covid strategy protects people and the economy.

    The contrast between islands confirms the superiority of Zero covid
    The contrast is especially stark between Commonwealth islands applying the Zero Covid strategy (Australia, New Zealand) or the mitigation strategy (United Kingdom).

    The economic decline of the United Kingdom was four times greater in 2020 and nine times greater than that of Australia and New Zealand when the first quarter of 2021 is compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

    Restrictive measures were on average 20% more severe in the United Kingdom than in the islands of Oceania, according to the Stringency Index from Our World in Data.

    Finally, the decline in mobility was three times greater in the U.K., according to Google data, while deaths in the U.K. were 61 times higher.


  11. Incognito 11

    So, we’re one week into Level 4 lockdown and already our resolve to stamp out the virus is wavering and waning? Even New Year’s resolutions tend to last a little longer than one week for most.

    Even the weathered Climate Change Crusader Bernard Hickey is caving in and wants to flee the cave because it is all too hard and it hurts business and the economy?

    No wonder that we’re only good at tinkering and moving deckchairs with flaky opinion ‘leaders’ like those.

    • pat 11.1

      Dont think thats what BH is saying…business is not his main point, even though our options are significantly governed by our trade relationships ….as far as I understand him he is making a logical observation of the political pressures rather than economic pressures.

      • Incognito 11.1.1

        Well, he picked a good time start a debate about ending the elimination strategy and seemed quite the (Devil’s?) advocate. Yes, he mentioned political pressure, but one of causative and catalytic pressures feeding into that is business pressures, as he said. I thought he writes a lot about business and the economy!? Maybe he should send clearer messages …

        • pat

          His background is business journalism but he has definitely moved into the political sphere of late…and it may surprise as to his leanings.

          As he said he was prepared for the backlash for posing the question but felt it needed to be posed…nothing wrong with that.As he noted hes making public that which is widely discussed outside the media spotlight.

          • Incognito


            I’d say his timing is badly off, but he is not the only one. When you’re in the middle of fighting a fire to save the house you’re not going to have a chat about where to put the smoke alarms.

            • pat

              "When you’re in the middle of fighting a fire to save the house you’re not going to have a chat about where to put the smoke alarms."

              The reality is that the vast majority are fighting the fire from their couches (or keyboards) and so speculation is rife….it is to be expected.

              Ultimately though it is a numbers game

              • Incognito

                Yup, when there’s a large fire there’s always a large audience congregating and among them there are usually a few real and wannabe pyromaniacs.

                It is a PR issue, but not just political; it is also a public health issue.

                Whenever I hear people saying that “we have to live with the virus” and “we will never be able to eliminate the virus” I hear fatalists who are willing to sacrifice others to satisfy their fatalism and feed their fear in the name of freedom and 30 pieces of silver. Some of those people jump up & down about poverty, bene bashing, and domestic/sexual violence, for example … Maybe we should live with those societal ills and threats as well and give up hope that we’ll ever be able to fix these …

                Let’s do this! Let’s give up!

    • mickysavage 11.2

      Man the problem is that this is a walk in the park compared to what will be needed to battle climate change. That is going to require years of committment by the team of 5 million.

      • Adrian Thornton 11.2.1

        "the problem is that this is a walk in the park compared to what will be needed to battle climate change"…

        exactly right, and ironically enough an actual real life Socialist governing structure would probably be the most humane and inclusive way to tackle Climate Change in this country (and around the world)…seriously, we all know that it is a fact that third way neoliberalism hasn’t got the capacity within its own governing ideological framework to even allow it to conceptualize let alone deal with anything so long term and altruistic, capitalism is the very root of the problem we face today, so that system is also out…
        which leaves us some sort of Socialist Left, or if we follow the current path of western media/politics/power undermining in every way the former at every turn..then probably some sort of hybrid extreme Right Wing authoritarianism.

      • Enough is Enough 11.2.2

        Team of 8 Billion you mean…

        Unlike COVID, we can't close our borders to the climate

  12. Patricia Bremner 12

    Bernard Hickey has been a "current thinking" parrot for years, quoting others who confirm his current bias. He is a spokesperson rather than a useful weather vane.

  13. Anker 13
    • My impression is NZders really back the elimination strategy and that compliance with level four rules is high. It’s not helped by the articles overseas dissing our response, but hopefully kiwis will do the compare and contrast with NSW and then it should be a no brainer.
    • a 30 year old relative of mine was adamant they weren’t going to get vaccinated, but then text us yesterday on their way to get the jab.
    • I am waiting for AB or one of labour ministers at the 1pm press conference to respond to the media somewhat petty questions with an accusatory tone with “ really? You really think we should be in the dog box for not progressing saliva tests etc etc….do you not f…ing realise the hours my staff are working under incredible stress, doing an incredible job? Better questions please”
  14. Patricia Bremner 14

    That patience with questions has us all going "Really" "Are you listening?" I am thankful for our wonderful people doing their best in trying scary times.

  15. AB 15

    Almost all overseas commentary on NZ is not driven by any actual interest in the country itself. Mostly, it's about extracting de-contextualised nuggets of information (or misinformation) that can be used for propaganda purposes at home. It's best ignored for this reason whether it's positive or negative in tone – and also because we do not require anyone else's approval.

  16. Anker 16
    • Patricia B and AB 100%
  17. georgecom 17

    the media essentially has nothing else to report so has to find something to sensationalise. Not all the media mind, but a section each and every day has to turn nothing into something to try to turn one persons experience into a general trend. It gets tiresome.

  18. jonathon letts 18

    of course,

    we could have shut down MIQ and all arrivals for 6 months after the last covid scare from that NSW covid dude who went to Te Papa etc in Welly in MAY. Ardern could have just

    come out then and shut down MIQ and delay all other arrivals for 6 months while

    we got our vacc rate up to 60-70….but, despite being common sense, Ardern felt she

    had to be "Kind" to individual circumstances that hold a nation to ransom.

    NZ defeated COVID REPEATEDLY…only landing planes have caused this.

    • Patricia Bremner 18.1

      Sadly it was a returning New Zealander, and the Government can ration returns but not stop them.

  19. jonathon letts 19

    Can anyone on here tell us whats happening in the states.. my research indicates

    various stats.regards deaths which look high..but is it a state by state thing?

    are they doing a mitigating thing? quasi lockdown?

  20. jonathon letts 20

    YES, good question:

    My research so far has suggested different states have had differing appraoches:

    California had some pretty severe lockdowns..and have very slowly opened up (still not fully) and have had less transmission as a result.

    Florida never really went hard in the first place…and transmission rates higher.

    Many parts of the states have a level 3 type scenario happening with mask wearing complusory etc…to slow down rate of transmission.

    • Incognito 20.1

      Good. What do you want us to do for you that you cannot do yourself and why?

      Please use the Reply button when replying to another comment, thanks.

  21. "Mysterious socialist hermit kingdom"

    I know that was meant as a slur, but, goddamn, it is Just So F*****g Cool! When we're out of lockdown, I'm making badges out of it!!

    "Right now we are being inundated with bad Covid takes, particularly from the United Kingdom."

    It's becoming a very strange society. LGBTQI+ call it "TERF Island". It elected a bufoon as PM. It provoked the EU into kicking the UK Out.

    It's like, when an empire disintergrates, this is what is left, insular, xenophopbic, irrational.

    The sooner we cut all strings and become a Pacific-focused Republic, the safer we'll all be.

    I expect nothing much of value to come out of the UK now or in the future.

    • Gosman 21.1

      Ummm… the EU did not kick the UK out. The UK voluntarily left.

      • mpledger 21.1.1

        The UK decided to leave but couldn't get their shit organised. It was only the EU giving them an ultimatum that made them finally leave. If the EU hadn't got pissed off then the UK would probably still be hanging in there trying to make deals that noone would agree too so they wouldn't have to go.

  22. Norman 22

    Too long for a badge Frank, better a T-shirt

    [changed user name to previously approved version. Please stick to this one, thanks]

  23. mpledger 23

    After we come out of level 4 and 3, we need to encourage people to put together "lockdown boxes". A box of all the stuff they will need urgently if lockdown 3/4 occurs. That way we won't have people swamping the shops after the announcement but prior to lockdown taking effect. The whole point of a lockdown is to keep people separate but just when there is the most risk of unknown transmission people crowd out the shops to get stuff.

    Buy extra flour, buy extra eggs and swap them out every few weeks/month so things stay fresh. At least until the risk of large outbreaks diminishes.

    • McFlock 23.1

      Panic buying is a reflex, not a planned action.

      Otherwise the baked beans would sell out before the toilet paper, not after. 🙂

      It puts me in mind of the Easter restricted trading days, and the rush to the supermarkets the day before even though they'll only be shut one or two days, lol

  24. Chris 24

    Pronouncing it's time to give up fighting Delta, that it's "just too big", is about political arse covering. What they're really saying is "we stuffed up our response big time so now we're not only saying it doesn't matter what we could've done because the result would be the same anyway, but that what we did was actually the right thing do because we didn't totally screw the economy like the socialist kiwis are doing". So wrong in every way.

  25. Stuart Munro 25

    It must be tough admitting the modest success of a small country, when doing so exposes the shortcomings of one's own. We are not so important on the world stage, but England's motto under Boris is surely: the higher the monkey climbs the pole the more it shows its bum.

  26. left for dead 26

    MS,very much agree,perticualy the last sentence.

  27. coreyjhumm 27


    That's why you can't take them seriously.


    One of the top 4 deregulated free market trading nations on earth is a socialist kingdom.

    We're a neoliberal wet dream.

  28. spoff 28

    [link deleted]

    [After all those years here on this site you should know that it is bad form to just dump a link here without any context and commentary from you. Worse, it was a spammie link to a whole collection of videos. Please don’t this again. This is your warning – Incognito]

    • Joe90 28.1

      The irrelevant fuckwits are promoting this shit and you expect people to take them seriously?

    • Incognito 28.2

      See my Moderation note @ 7:36 pm.

    • spoff 28.3

      I apologise. I was not aware that was an offence. My intent was simply to introduce information I believe readers are capable of judging without comment from me.

      The "collection of videos" is in fact a zoom conference organised by the Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Auckland University.

      [same link deleted again]

      [removed this text from your user name “I apologise”]

      • Incognito 28.3.1

        Please, don’t SPAM this site with collections of videos or Zoom meetings without appropriate context and commentary. This is not your personal notice & message board. You have been warned and posted the same link twice now. There won’t be any more warnings, although I already told you that in my Moderation note; I must be growing soft in L4 lockdown.

      • McFlock 28.3.2

        organised by the Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Auckland University.

        "a", not "the".

  29. tsmithfield 29

    I don't think many would disagree that lockdown was the best option in the current scenario.

    Many commentators are querying the lack of preparedness given that the Delta strain would inevitably arrive in NZ, and that the likely spread was predictable.

    For instance: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/126133484/failings-that-were-foreseeable-and-unforgivable-let-delta-loose

    Not only has the vaccine roll-out been painfully slow, many critical frontline staff such as health workers and police remain unvaccinated. Overseas experience is that when health workers start getting sick, the health system starts to fall in on itself. So ensuring a high rate of vaccination in health workers was critical.

    Also, why wasn't vaccination focused on cities that have MIQ facilities? It seems obvious that MIQ is a risk so having local populations highly vaccinated would slow the spread considerably and make it more manageable.

    So, it seems to me that the golden opportunity we had during the long season of Level 1 has been squandered and the outbreak is much worse than it needed to be. Pity for all the businesses struggling to survive being unable to trade.

    • Stuart Munro 29.1

      These things aren't always as easy as they might appear on the surface.

      Got a jab yesterday, after initial problems getting a booking.

      "It's been hard to organize these clinics", the nurse said, "getting childcare is never easy. But with the lockdown, hubby is home, so we're all go."

    • KJT 29.2

      There has been plenty of factual information about why the vaccine roll out has taken the time it has, and the reasons why. And why things take time.

      “Among the reasons: for the past six months, there have been supply constraints originating with Pfizer. To an extent, New Zealand has been a victim of its own success. Understandably, Pfizer appears to have prioritised supplying its vaccines to more needy people elsewhere. What vaccine supplies we did receive largely went to the most vulnerable, rather than into the kind of speedy mass vaccination efforts that other, more desperate countries were forced to embark on”.

      Despite "many commentators" expectations of instantaneous miracles, mostly driven by a desire to pretend out covid response isn’t working, because our success to date doesn’t fit their right wing pre conceptions, there are Good and valid reasons, supply and the logistics of ramping up vaccinations for example, why we didn’t have immediate vaccination of 90%.

      You have to ask why so many “commentators” insist on holding our Government to unrealistic and, indeed, impossible targets.

      • tsmithfield 29.2.1

        The government has been caught out putting its eggs into one basket so far as the vaccine is concerned. We could have ramped up the program considerably faster if we had some of the other reputable vaccine options available.

        Also, the DHBs don't even know which of their staff have been vaccinated.


        Absolutely unforgivable and putting patients and the health system itself at huge risk. Given the huge amount of overseas evidence of the effect of Covid on the health system, this is absolutely unforgivable.

        • Incognito

          Government does not and cannot control everything, so please stop your kneejerk twitches.

          Here’s the timeline of Medsafe approvals of Covid-19 vaccines in NZ: https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/COVID-19/status-of-applications.asp

        • KJT

          Like Aussie where people are holding off being vaccinated. "To get the best one, you mean,".

          I don't mind valid criticism of our response. Funny how we hear so little from the critics about genuine problems, like the MIQ priority que, And little about the faults inherent in the Managerial cult DHB model which the Government inherited. So much of it is just uncomprehending and unthinking bullshit.

          Often to justify other countries failures, or when the talking heads BS is exposed as just that.

    • KJT 29.3

      BTW. MIQ and border workers were given priority in the vaccine rollout.

      Those most exposed to risk.

      Prioritising port workers over police is an entirely logical decision.

  30. Mark 30

    The main driver of our strategy is that we have an a third world healthcare system and they know if we even slowly allow the virus to spread we look at a humanitarian disaster on par with any third world nation – instead we float and brag how amazing the stupid economy is going and how much smarter we are than the rest of the world.

    we still have less ICU capacity than Mexico.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 30.1

      Imho a strategy of avoiding "a humanitarian disaster" sounds like a plan. I'm happy with that strategy, and to belong to the team of five million (genius). For those who can't abide the restrictions that accompany team membership, the rest of the world beckons.
      Me, I'll take my chances with our "third world healthcare system" laugh


      • Mark 30.1.1

        I am all for strict lockdowns but I struggle with the distorted image of the amazing NZ that handles things better than other countries.

        We had 18 months to create a “zero strategy” MIQ system.

        We had 18 months to train students in Otago and Auckland as nurses etc. but all we did is buy a few ventilators and added a couple of more ICU beds.

        We had 18 months to start manufacturing PPE to the extent of self sufficiency – yet we still rely on China.

        We had 18 months to come up with a longterm strategy to vaccinate.

        We had this huge chance to move faster than the Virus and we didn’t.

        Now it’s going to be a slow and rough ride for at least 12 months.

        • pat

          We've had 18 months to identify the issues and develop a strategy….18 months is insufficient time to do any of those things on your list even if they were identified as necessary on day one….and then to consider what to do with that capacity as it is oversupplied or taken up by offshore demand….nevermind the fact that even with the decision and funding theres no guarantee that the uptake will exist.

          Shes a hard row in an imperfect world.

          • Mark

            China and others adapted and expanded their capacity in weeks.

            I think it’s important to look at what we didn’t do so we learn for the future.

            • pat

              How long does it take to train a nurse?

              Where does the equipment come from to manufacture PPE?

              We developed a vaccine strategy which we are implementing.

              Nothing you have highlighted made any difference to where we currently find ourselves.

              • KJT

                What did I say about right wing "commentators" demanding miracles.

                • pat

                  It is not just RW commentators however….there are plenty of unrealistic demands from across society.

                    • pat

                      Ignoring the non covid specific ones ..

                      Purpose built quarantine, stop using hotels as MIQ, allowing all expats to return at will, vaccinating various groups ahead of others, demanding various sectors perform above and beyond reasonable expectation and penalising when inevitable non performance occurs, etc …shall I continue?

                    • KJT

                      Thanks for a further list of demands for unrealistic outcomes from mostly right wing commentators. Sort of proving my point!

                    • pat

                      Except those demands arnt coming exclusively from RW commentators….which sort of dosnt

            • Incognito

              China and others adapted and expanded their capacity in weeks.

              Oh, but we did better than that 🙂

              It took a week for our surge testing workforce – a specific group of health professionals enlisted to test New Zealanders during an outbreak like this – to get to this level in a single day.


              The predominant testing method in New Zealand, the swift but uncomfortable nasal virus test, relies on hundreds, if not thousands of qualified staff – GPs, nurses and laboratory technicians. But each of those professional groups are in relatively short supply in New Zealand.

              Of course, the Government should have seen this outbreak coming and have prepared for it.

              NZNO associate professional services manager Kate Weston​ said there was little extra capacity in the nursing workforce despite the problem being flagged for over a decade.

              With Delta now in the community it was too late to address the problem.

              In the meantime, more or less the same health workforce are jabbing as many as they can and breaking daily records.

              There’s much that could have been and can be done better, but to buy into your hyperbole is like losing all respect for the tremendous efforts and huge accomplishments by thousands of professionals to halt this outbreak and stamp out the virus once again.

        • Ad

          Agree re the nurses. We are going through nurse strikes for pay at the same time as we need them all the more.

          Also agree re the PPE.

          Also, the MIQ system has 99.9% worked but that's pretty cold comfort when Auckland, the main economic engine of the country and 35% of its population, has got weeks more lockdown to go.

          We've gone as fast as we can on vaccinations from the amount of doses we've received.

          • KJT

            Heresy. Don't you know that ,"Farmers are the backbone of the country" and Auckland is "a drain"?

            We have actually had most of the time since Covid with all our factories working. Unlike countries that have persued less definate lockdown, or couldn't make their minds up.

            As for those who want us to commit to a date for "freedom", or certainty about the end of lockdowns. That is as nuts as expecting a prediction about the end date of WW2, in the middle of the Battle of Britain.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Maybe I have rose-tinted glasses re NZ's and Kiwi's responses to the pandemic.

          NZ's MIQ system is OK – not perfect, but OK imho; the MIQ workers are great.

          Training more healthcare staff is a no-brainer – takes time and other resources.

          NZ is not short of PPE.

          NZ's longterm strategy to vaccinate is OK – not brilliant, but OK imho, and the healthcare staff providing that service are great.

          More urgent action would have helped, but this pandemic was never going to be a fast or smooth ride, even in countries with first world healthcare systems.


      • Patricia Bremner 30.1.2

        I also think our health system is pretty good. I have my health monitored every 3 months at $19 a visit. That often involves free blood tests and follow up visits. Our meds are very cheap/or free compared to Australia, and my mobility card allows grocery delivery to the door.

        We had no problem getting our vaccines, and have been followed up for after effects. Health spending has increased markedly under this Government, and the Health Department and Ministry have done well in this crisis.

    • Macro 30.2

      we still have less ICU capacity than Mexico.

      And with 380+ per million serious cases of covid as opposed to our 1 per million they obviously need them.

      You can check out the data and do the math yourself at


    • Shanreagh 30.3

      we still have less ICU capacity than Mexico.

      I cannot see the connection or relevance of comparing ICU capacity between a country with a population of 5M (NZ) and one of 129M (Mexico). On the face of it you would expect a country with a larger population to have greater ICU capacity.

      What was the point you are making? Is it a per capita one? If so then the figures you are relying on would be good.

  31. jonathon letts 31

    luke malpass in stuff wrote nz had a "Closed border" …total BS…the reason we are in this current mess is precisely because we didn't close the border. Ardern could have easily come out in late June and said "the country shouldn't be held to ransom, we are closing MIQ for 4-5 months while vaccination is priority." BUT she didn't …she let the individual circumstance whingers have their way…much criticism of ardern is flawed…

    [Please stick to exact same user name and the exact same e-mail address that both have been approved here to allow your comments go through automatically, without a Moderator having to manually release them, thanks]

    • Incognito 31.1

      [Please stick to exact same user name and the exact same e-mail address that both have been approved here to allow your comments go through automatically, without a Moderator having to manually release them, thanks]

  32. Sarah 32

    Hang on…you're defending the governments poor roll-out of the vaccine by pointing out the rising Covid related deaths in countries with higher vaccination rates?

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