GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – BLOWBACK

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“Total over-reaction for what it is!”

“We may have torched our economy for no reason.”

“Taiwan with a population of 23 million is open, schools have not closed and they have fewer cases than NZ.”

“Unfortunately, once the herd gets a thing in its head promoted by the propagandist’s rationality goes out the door. Gobbles knew this.”

 

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These are responses I’ve had from high-profile well-respected former politicians – with whom I associate.

In today’s Stuff media, Simon Thornley, a senior lecturer and epidemiologist at the University of Auckland, presents a paradigm validated by mathematical analysis, which suggests NZ may be overdoing the drama, so to speak.

What he demonstrates is, the death rate is not as terrifying as the media and some politicians scrambling for another term, strive to have us believe.  

[And then there is the latent quest for more police power – guns and roses so to speak.]

As he says, “We don’t want to squash a flea with a sledgehammer and bring the house down. I believe that other countries, such as Sweden, are steering a more sensible course through this turbulent time.”

Take the time to read his OPINION.

Jacinda took bold steps introducing the Lockdown.  These measures, most will accept as prudent. But turning the country into a police state?  

Shutting down the economy, is proving to be a twin edged sword. The collateral economic damage emanating from Lockdown, is already big.  The longer people are locked out of work, to more massive becomes the economic fallout.

For people who have been working earning money, and just as importantly, enjoying self-respect; to be placed on the DOLE?

Dispersing borrowed capital among that masses, achieves nothing of enduring quality. 

It will produce a rush of retail spending and then – no money?  Not commercial projects which result in job creating.

 

For big business – reviled as it is by many lefties, nevertheless has provided the capital and the personnel with the vision and skills, to produce commercial environments which create jobs.  This is trickledown theory in reality.  

Loss of earnings has an exponential adverse effect on the country,

BLOWBACK is on the horizon.

Print more money!  QE? Borrow by purchasing Treasury Bonds locking NZ into a spiral of debt.  

USA debt equity ratio is about 107% pf GDP (+20 trillion-dollar debt).  Japan is +245%

At the moment of debt equity ratio is about 25% GDP but borrowing to pay people to stay at home?  

Flattening the curve is a good strategy, in my view.  Our neglected Health system (not the time to apportion blame but you’ll have your view on this) simply could not cope with a spike.

However, reassessing essential services; is in my view, a priority.

Yesterday in Kohimarama Road, en-route to the supermarket, I photographed a Council worker at work. Good on him.  He’s earning: not on the pseudo DOLE currently being devised by government, and keeping his self-respect.  

But is he performing an essential service?

 

Ross Meurant; a former high-ranking police officer, former Member of Parliament, formerly with commercial interests in Syria and Iran and  currently Honorary Consul for an African state.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting question – what is essential work?

    Well does it include being payed fairly for doing the essential work?

    Does it include being promoted for having good ideas?

    Does it involve retiring comfortably at a reliable age?

    I guess the answer is we can pay people money to mow lawns but we cant pay people to have fantastic ideas.

    Essential services always have used taxpayers funds gotten through their own hard work to offer them a bride called “A New Deal” and “The Social Contract,” now a days we call it a Green New Deal or Fortress Aotearoa which seeks to price their suffering and raise living standards above that suffering so that we aren’t exposed and we can go on to the next person and do it all again.

  2. One thing that is strange is that though the govt now says it will alter the criteria for testing to include cases with symptoms but no traceable connection to overseas travel, they are still not talking about a random survey testing of a cross section of the population.
    This is so obviously essential to understanding where this epidemic is at, that still not doing it has to be a deliberate and determined policy to not know or let it be known how long it has been among us. It is possible that it has been endemic here as elsewhere in the world for ages. But not recognised or known and it’s victims all put down to the flu or a cold .
    Of course if no one else does that either (except Iceland) it will be possible for Trump to continue to call it the Chinese or the Wuhan flu. But if it is found to be widespread it will mean that it has been everywhere for a long time and all that China has done has been to be the first to notice that there might be something new going on and look for it.
    Is this the possibility / probability/ knowledge that our government is protecting us from?
    D J S

    • David Stone: “This is so obviously essential to understanding where this epidemic is at, that still not doing it has to be a deliberate and determined policy to not know or let it be known how long it has been among us……Is this the possibility / probability/ knowledge that our government is protecting us from?”

      I’ve wondered about this as well. Because as far as I can see, the government has been very open with us about what it’s finding with testing, it looks as if it and its advisors are committed to the view that the virus is very recently-arrived. Thus they cannot conceive of a testing regime based on an assumption that the virus had already been circulating here for some time.

      Yet a member of this household is convinced that they had it last year; knocked them flat for quite some time, and identical symptoms, though it didn’t quite progress to pneumonia. Thinking that it was just a winter bug, we didn’t go to the GP until late in the illness’s progression. In any event, there was no testing at that time. I’d also had something nasty, which floored me, a few weeks before that. We have annual flu shots, and we usually don’t get sick during the winter, so I thought it unusual that this had occurred. Whatever it was, it had managed to slip past the flu shot barricades.

      I’m pleased that Ross Meurant posted the Thornley piece. I’d already read it; Thornley echoes many of my concerns. I’ve been sceptical about this from the beginning; I’ve heard all the “we’re gonna DIE!” panic before. There was SARS, then there was the bird flu, then the swine flu, then MERS, then Ebola (or possibly the other way about). Each time, the confidently predicted catastrophe failed to materialise. Why this one, and why this time? See this:

      https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/30/covid19-yet-to-impact-europes-overall-mortality/

        • David Stone: “….there is lots of work being done on a test for antibodies. It’s likely you will be able to ask for a test that will show you if it was Covid 19 that caused it long before a vaccine is available .”

          Many thanks: I do hope so. Though if it turns out that we have antibodies, it’d confirm that the virus has been circulating here for some time. And it would render pointless the current lockdown.

          Thanks also for that link. Very interesting!

          • “Though if it turns out that we have antibodies, it’d confirm that the virus has been circulating here for some time. And it would render pointless the current lockdown.”

            Letting anyone in from overseas without keeping them quarantined, not doing widespread testing, or any other situations eg another school with it widespread but mostly mild/no symptoms – anything that lets it get back in and spreading renders the lockdown pointless.

            And there are apparently a lot of ways it could return.

            • Everyone should have went into lockdown when China went into lockdown but we realized we couldn’t because we hadn’t provisioned for a 4 week siege let alone the years it will take to recover from the Wuhan virus.

              • Why would you call this “the Wuhan virus” when there’s so much evidence that it originated elsewhere? Sounds like a pretty nasty thing to do.

                Given the purported origins, there’s a good chance it could’ve originated in many places around the world.

                Hell, they don’t name strains of influenza after various areas, though that kills far more people than C19 – at least not as far as I know.

      • I have friends in NY who’ve pondered the same thing – a flu with all the symptoms of Covid-19 but they had it in September last year.

        Give the purported source of the infection, it is quite possible this has risen before. Given the similarity between Influenza and this, it’s also quite possible many deaths attributed to one actually belonged to the other.

        And given the numbers from the WHO’s “top 10 causes of death” list, well, Covid has to kill “orders of magnitude” more than it has already managed to get on the bottom of that list.

        At least the efforts we’re going to now will help to protect some people I know from influenza this year – many getting their flu shots early, assuming they are for the right strain and we don’t have a different strain arrive/arise that there was no vaccination for.

  3. While it is easy to say we could have less restrictions so the economy keeps operating it is highly likely that less restrictions would cause such massive infection & death that the economy would crash anyway while we also lose thousands of lives. The economies around the world were already in lala land so even if this crisis had not happened it was highly likely that they were about to crash anyway. While the obvious self interest of those with wealth claiming we are are over reacting to this crisis seems to be ignored it is probably the best explanation for their views.

    • Bonnie
      The neoliberal mode of capitalism followed for the past generation has indeed put the western economies into LaLa land, and the virus , or rather the lockdown reaction to the virus seems to be the pin that has pricked the bubble. But unfortunately it is going to be the have nots that suffer most severely from the effects of the shutdown , the virus itself is not so discriminatory . Or if anything is discriminatory in the other direction , the haves tending to be more plentiful in the boomer generation.

      Hope you stay well
      Cheers D J S

    • I don’t have wealth. While my bills are paid, I have a whopping $13.65 to my name to last me to next pay day. Now I live on my own I get, after bills, an entire $60/wk for food/fuel/medical etc. I don’t have things like sky or newspaper/magazine subscriptions.

      What I do have, however, is time. And I’ve used some of that time to learn about the severity of Covid-19, the death rate from it and other illnesses and so on.

      Covid-19 is a non-starter against heart disease, diarrhoea (which kills over a million people a year), traffic accidents, suicide, and even influenza.

      It’s not due to “self interest” that I say that we’re over-reacting to this, it’s through simple education. Something you could do for yourself if you wanted. Start with the list of “top 10 causes of death” and go from there. Look up the death rates of any disease or common bug.

      I will be saying my final goodbyes to some people this year, but it is more likely the same underlying conditions that put them at a high risk from C19 than it is from that. In fact I am wondering if the isolation they’re experiencing in what, for some, could be their last days is worse than C19 would be.

      I do find it quite notable how the ‘modelling’ that had our government put us into lockdown went from talking of “90,000 NZers dead” (or 80,000 depending on which report) to now only “27,000” – a cut by over 60% of the initial figure. And given the conditions that put people at risk, a lot of the people who have died with C19 would’ve died anyway this year, just not right now.

      I do not mean to lessen the value of life, nor do I mean to minimise the pain of losing someone you love, but I do wonder if we should be heaping this suffering upon our nation for the reasons given – and perhaps we are vastly over-reacting to something that for most won’t even be as bad as a mild cold.

      • KC: “Covid-19 is a non-starter against heart disease, diarrhoea (which kills over a million people a year), traffic accidents, suicide, and even influenza.”

        Agreed. Everything I’ve read has pointed to the same thing. From very early on, I’ve been sceptical about the sky-is-falling rhetoric concerning this virus. Over a lot of years, we’ve heard it all before, about various other bugs. It isn’t clear to me why with this virus, this time, societies should be taking such extreme steps.

        “….90,000 NZers dead” (or 80,000 depending on which report) to now only “27,000”….”

        Last we heard, that fellow from Otago uni said the death rate would be more like 14,000. Somebody got their sums wrong, maybe? To date, there has been 1 death here, •11% of total cases; 950 confirmed or probable cases; 10 people are in hospitals around the country. One is in the ICU at Wellington Regional Hospital.
        * 33,116 tests have been performed – 3631 were completed on Friday. Daily testing capacity is now at 6000.

        This does not look like an emergency to me. While one death is one too many, we have many more deaths here from seasonal flu every year. Not to mention the deaths from measles, meningococcal septicaemia and the like.

        And the government is wrecking the economy for this? Something isn’t right.

        • “Something isn’t right.”

          I think a lot of somethings aren’t right. Education – teaching people to be too trusting of their government and not questioning?, or just laziness? What the hell is it with our society that were previous generations bravely fought and went through unimaginable terrors to grant us certain rights and freedoms, and we as a nation roll over and give up those freedoms on a whim of a few politicians?

          Movies like Dunkirk give an idea of what people went through to grant us simple things like freedom of association, freedom of speech (one of the most important things any society can have, even if we do utterly hate what the other person says they MUST have the right to say it!), due process in law and so on. And now we’re seeing people arrested for the horrid crime of driving to a local park! Countdown Porirua turning people away if their shopping list isn’t long enough, rationing of basic foodstuffs.

          The virus? Not even on my radar. Even without the governments actions, odds are high it never would’ve touched someone I love (even those in the high risk categories).

          Government’s actions, and the police powers (especially with how immature our cops have proven themselves over the years) – that’s pretty scary. I’m having to deal with PTSD issues from past events involving cops getting above themselves.

          But scariest still is how quickly our nation capitulated, and for that matter how other counties citizens are giving up so many rights and so much privacy so quickly.

          (And people should be really concerned with how google are tracking people and reporting that information to the government – where’s the challenges under our Privacy act, BOR, UNCHR, perhaps any acts around evidence and other data, contracts acts, you name it this must be breaching a ton of laws!).

  4. Bonnie

    The short answer to your subtle barb above:

    I am trustie and managing director of substantial absentee Russian owned assets largely involved in forestry where slashed log export related commercial activity is elevating a dwindling revenue base for us.

    At the same time I am retaining staff and contractors on full pay for jobs the can’t perform and simultaneously I approve reduced cost owed to me by a client base which is restricted from working and therefore has no income.

    If I am one of those whom you consider as
    “claiming wealth”; simple arithmetic demonstrates that I cannot continue to provide as I am doing, if the system remains locked down too long.

    Trickle down will stop. So to will the substantial taxes we pay.

    Which impacts on government finding the money to run the country.

    Respectfully. Ross

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