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We are better than this

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, February 20th, 2022 - 40 comments
Categories: covid-19, Deep stuff, human rights - Tags:

Not to get caught in this protest news. The nooses, the hanging posts, the cling-on of people like Russell Coutts, and a millionaire’s wife wearing designer green gumboots.

I’m trying to remember these are small in number compared to the rest of us

Trying to hear those who just say they aren’t being listened to, even though their protest is rivened by interest groups and some seriously scary people.

Trying to remember that we have around 95% vaccinated and all the work done by vulnerable communities in getting our whanau, aiga and kids vaccinated.

Trying to remember that the next assault from Omicron will be less because of the efforts we have all put in

Trying to remember if I get Omicron, because I am triple vaxxed and so many others, the chances of me going to hospital are so much less, even though I am health and age vulnerable.

Trying to remember that in my neighbourhood, good people are still feeding the locals through donations with Kai while meanwhile in Wellington there is a well resourced kitchen funded by who knows who for a small number of elites.

Trying to remember all the workers who have vaxxed up, not protested mandates, done their citizens duty to keep themselves and others safe

Trying to be hopeful that we are better than this.

40 comments on “We are better than this ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Yeah, I sure as hell believe I'm better than that rabble! However your framing contains an obvious deficit – empathy for those who are disadvantaged by the mandate.

    Our govt seems stuck in a policy of one rule for all despite the division in public opinion that it has created. I agree that it's a sensible public health policy in response to the pandemic but times are changing and the govt ought to adapt accordingly.

    • Ted Cooper 1.1

      At risk of stating the blindingly obvious, in New Zealand over 95% of those eligible have been vaccinated. Amid opposition politicians demands to begin sooner and proceed faster the vaccination program achieved overwhelming support.

      Now our government is legislating and regulating largely to protect the remaining 5% among whom are some of our most vulnerable who cannot be vaccinated and a small group of people who choose to refuse vaccination (as is their right).

      Of course the vaccine doesn't give 100% protection but the fact is the unvaccinated are substantially more likely to contract and spread the virus. They represent a risk which must be carefully managed to protect everyone, including the protesters themselves.

      With rights come responsibilities. Recognising the rights of the vaccinated 95% and the rights of those who cannot be vaccinated, to protection from the unnecessary risk of infection from the small minority who choose to be unvaccinated is neither divisive nor undemocratic.

      In exercising their undeniable right to refuse the vaccination people must accept the responsibilities and consequences of their choice.

      Protester display banners implying we live under a divisive dictatorship and calling for democracy and "freedom" from what, responsibility and consequences?

      With whom do the protesters propose our government should be replaced? Vision (Destiny Church)? New Conservatives? Advance? Is that democracy?

      Our government was elected during the pandemic and gained the strongest mandate in 25 years. What version of democracy confers government on a party or coalition with less than 5% support?

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        I share your view of the incoherence of the protest, Ted. Rationality isn't evident therein. Your point re Labour's mandate from re-election is correct.

        No political party represents this protest. This point has been made in the media amply but you are on flimsy ground with your final question since the recent poll revealed a 70/30 split in the populace (think the question was on ending the mandate). So there's an emerging political reality based on an exit strategy. Leadership on that basis is currently missing…

        • Macro

          Dennis that poll you refer to to is a bull shit self selected poll of around 500 people who responded to an on line poll in the hope of winning some fancy digital toy. You with your scientific background should be able to see just how unreliable that sort of sampling is.

          • Dennis Frank

            I did notice that it was half the normal size of a nationwide poll so the margin of error would be double the usual (+/-) 3% but dunno to what extent the lure of a digital toy makes it unreliable.

            If you view neoliberalism as a system for organising the purchase of crap made in China (as I always have) then most people are addicted. On that basis the poll participants seem normal.

            But you're right that it's more indicative than reliable. The grey area is in those who allowed themselves to be coerced into vaccination whilst not believing in it. So the 4/6% or whatever it currently is of the populace who are steadfast refuseniks is merely the base of the opposition.

            Given that 1% of the team of five million is 50,000 the refuseniks are around a quarter of a million. Compare that to the poll result suggesting that around 1.5 million want the mandate to end gives us upper & lower limits of a dissident public. The rebels on the grounds of parliament are the tip of this substantial iceberg. The govt – reluctant to see itself as the Titanic – is trying to steer itself around the berg. A reasonable view probably – unless the next political poll shows ebbing support for Labour…

            • McFlock

              It's not the sample size, it's the selection bias.

              Funnily enough, that criticism applies equally to the Horizon polls and to the Herald online polls.

              Both are largely limited to a fixed core of respondents who are possibly not representative of NZ.

              Horizon can track changes within that subset's opinions, but the herald polls are just a joke.

              • Dennis Frank

                Interesting you see it like that – I've often wondered, thinking similar thoughts. A similar situation happens in science when outcomes of experiments tend to confirm the expectations of experimenters (confirmation bias?) and replication efforts fail.

                Human nature tends to blend subjectivity & objectivity so our efforts to be objective in assessment can be subconsciously subverted.

                • McFlock

                  Usually that's where some overlooked detail skews the data in one direction that the researchers expect, whereas if it had skewed in another direction it would have made them examine their setup more closely. There are stories of physics experiments where a steel screw moved the electron stream just enough to "confirm" the theory, that sort of thing.

                  It's possibly a bit harsh to lump Horizon in with herald online polls – the herald polls are heavily skewed towards the herald readership, and provide zero information about respondents. Horizon can tell you that e.g. the sampled pakeha middle aged males hated policy X, but now many of those respondents have mellowed towards it.

                  Not sure what if any demographic data herald polls gather.

            • Macro

              Increasing the sample size cannot overcome bad sampling methods, indeed as the classical example of the Literary Digest's bullshit poll of the 1936 Presidential election demonstrated, a large but poorly selected sample only exacerbates the error.

              As McFlock states above – online polls are pretty worthless as they simply reflect the opinions of a self-selected group of people who are hardly representative of the NZ population. Firstly they have to visit the site where the poll is offered and then they are given an inducement to respond.

        • Craig H

          Ipsos poll showing that 26% think current settings are too restrictive, 24% not restrictive enough and 50% think it's about right.

          Online only, sample size 1004, margin of error +/- 3.5%, so take with as many grains of salt as desired, but it does show that Cabinet and the PM can't keep everyone happy. Easily believable that if the question of mandates was specifically reported on, it might be 30% against, although that's still a large majority in favour.

          • Dennis Frank

            Yeah I agree Craig. Also these polls often suggest weekly fluctuations in public opinion as folks adopt different views in reaction to changing circumstances. For example, the trending rise in omicron cases here is likely to shift plenty of folk back to support for the govt strategy…

    • mikesh 1.2

      but times are changing and the govt ought to adapt accordingly.

      Why? Why not simply carry on with business as usual? The protesters are not stopping them doing that. Just let them sit in parliament grounds until they get tired of hanging around and go home.

      In the long run the protesters will just find themselves alienating the general public

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        I suspect that your view is shared by the govt & police. Could be, however, that the tiredness strategy is based on a false assumption – complacency is the kiwi way. I agree that there's a sound experiential basis for that assumption, stretching back decades and widely-shared. So the irritated sector of the public – Wellingtonians in general & those who live/work nearby in particular – will get ignored?

        I doubt it. They will likely apply more pressure. Since the squeaky wheel gets grease as soon as the noise irritates, the timing of the eventual govt shift will be driven by the resonance generated by the irritated sector…

        • mikesh

          I'm pretty sure the government will not be bullied into removing the mandate prematurely so, assuming they cannot remove the protesters by force, what other options do they have, other than to carry on as usual, and let the protesters "stew"? Wellingtonians will become pissed off with latter before they become pissed off with the government. Even now our annoyance is mainly leveled at the police for their inability to clear the protesters' cars.

      • It seems the moderate, anti-mandate nutters are being radicalised by the more extreme neo-nazi fuckwits.

        Following the Trump playbook, I expect an attempt in the near future to occupy the House of Representatives.

        Then the shit will really hit the fan!

  2. Reality 2

    We are all disadvantaged by the mandate in one way or another, not just the Wellington rabble. There is a worldwide pandemic for goodness sake, so life is not and cannot be as normal. The protesters in Wellington have managed to pay for or had funding for petrol, portaloo delivery and replacement, tents, hay bale delivery, food, herb gardens, air fares, signage, spray paint to deface Parliament, flags, cellphone usage. They have not been working for the last 10 days so their sorry state they claim to be in falls short.

  3. Just Saying 3

    The point is you are not better than the protesters, Darien. You are not a part of a superior class. You are merely human, as are all of us.

    Protest in democracy is not abusing ones betters. Where one sees wrong it is a duty, along with the eternal vigilence that is woven into the fabric of the system. It is the exercise of personal responsibility to oneself and to ones fellows.

    My ancestors were part of the uprising that led to the formation of the Labour Party. Let me assure you, it was not 'nice'. It was no gentile, upper-middle class tea party.

  4. Just Saying 4

    No Blazer, I would describe it as protest.

    I see protest as democratic duty. Pearls are not a necessary accompaniment.

  5. aj 5

    ….. empathy for those who are disadvantaged by the mandate

    By their own choice. Own it.

    • weka 5.1

      Don't know if it's still there, but back in the day the application form for Invalid's benefit said something to the effect of if you refuse medical treatment they can take your benefit off you. Do you support that?

      • aj 5.1.1

        I wonder if a vaccination is defined as 'medical treatment'.

        A medical treatment is a procedure to assist with an existing illness.

        I do support freedom of choice. Choices have consequences. Why would anyone refuse medical treatment?

        • weka

          Vaccination is a medical treatment.

          Why would anyone refuse medical treatment?

          Because some medical treatments cause harm, some aren't black and white in terms of benefit compared to harm, doctors are fallible and sometimes get diagnoses wrong or prescribing, sometimes lifestyle changes or alternative medicine is a better option than medical treatment. Lots of reasons.

          • aj

            but back in the day the application form for Invalid's benefit said something to the effect of if you refuse medical treatment they can take your benefit off you. Do you support that?

            That's fascinating if true, how long ago, which govt. Did it meant all treatments or just certain specific treatments. I mean, surely you wouldn't lose your benefit for refusing to take asprin. A medical treatment. But perhaps it was narrowed down to treatment for drug and alcohol addicts.

            I was more thinking of treatments for injuries, broken bones, cuts, etc No-one in the right mind would refuse those treatments. But how would the govt know if you are refusing treatments for other conditions? Seems bizarre.

            • weka

              if someone refused medical treatment for the condition that they were on a benefit for. Invalid's Benefit required periodic reassessment of the beneficiary and their health condition by one of WINZ's designated doctors. Not the beneficiary's own GP.

      • Anker 5.1.2

        Weka I certainly don't support the idea of if you refuse treatment you don't get invalids benefit.

        As I have been saying for decades some people have refused medical treatment for whatever reason.

        This from the Daily Blog is an interesting article by a woman who was part of the Occupy and various other protests. Talking about the tactics used to discredit the protesters being similar to the tactics used with the current protest. That doesn't mean I don't think there are right wing elements associated with this protests.


  6. Patricia Bremner 6

    The problem is, these protestors have made it plain they have no trust, so would not accept "help"or any accommodation by ministers via government, because many of them say we are misled biased doing wrong, and are under the thrall of satan/a paeodophile ring/ people from space, plus Andrew Little. Take your pick.

    So I am smug if I am sorry for them? I am unsympathetic if I want to remove them?

    I am othering them as they refute the use of the mandates?

    I am skeptical of their funders and supporters, so I am accusing them of guilt by association.

    All of that, because they have taken a stance. They are still us whether they want to be or not.

    The Pandemic has shown societies’ rifts chasms…

    So we fix them by doing what is needed.

    Deal with Covid. Fix Housing, Fix Health. Work on Climate Change and Conservation. Get near full employment. Build on Education Training Upskilling and Apprenticeships. Improve wages and benefits. Support Charities. Work on the Treaty Partnership. Support those doing work to employ Kiwis.

    You add your List. I think what has been managed is a great beginning, just sad nearly one third of us don't take part in or believe that yet.

  7. barry 7

    My workplace voted by over 90% to require vaccine passes to access the office building. This is true of almost every workplace where it has been put to the vote. This is because unvaccinated people are more likely to pass on the virus, but there is another reason.

    Vaccination status is a proxy for extreme and unreasonable views and behaviour. It is the unvaccinated that go into lifts and common areas without masks. It is the unvaccinated that abuse others and call them "sheep". It is the unvaccinated that share bullshit articles about plandemics, censorship, deaths by the thousands from the vaccines, and government nefarious agendas.

    This is exactly what we are seeing from the protesters. My workplace is pleasant and as safe as reasonably possible, but the area outside is a miasma of ignorance, and abuse.

  8. felix 8

    Trying to remember all of the protests where you stood shoulder to shoulder with Maoists and Stalinists while framing this one as beyond the pale because of the presence of nz's 6 actual nazis.


  9. Anker 9

    Out of interest Felix who are the six actual nazis who have been seen at the protest?

    I saw something on FB about six possible Nazis, but no actual proof they are there. I am not doubting that they might be btw.

    You might be interested in the link I posted above from the Daily Blog. A former protester from the occupier movement talking about various smears against them.

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