GUEST BLOG: The Lockdown with Bryan Bruce Day 30: The fallacy being promoted by philistines.


There’s an argument floating aroung the internet and more recently on mainstream media promoting the lifting of the shutdown earlier than planned.

I notice it is often the right wing doom brokers among us who are leading the “let’s get back to work NOW!” chant,supported by a chorus of well-healed money spinners who are clearly more worried about what is happening to their profits than to people.

Their argument runs something like this – the number deaths in our country haven’t been anywhere as high as intially predicted and the continued lockdown is so damaging to our economy the government is stupid to continue with it.

So let’s just think about this for a moment.

The public health measures that have been put in place by our government has kept the death rate low and SAVED countless lives.

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How do we know?

You only have to look at how this Covid 19 virus is ravaging America right now for example to know what it capable of doing if left unchecked.

So what those among us who measure the worth of everything in life by its dollar value want to argue, is that the SUCCESS of our Public Health programme is somehow a measure of its economic failure!

I say to those people – get a grip!

You can’t have a lifestyle if you don’t have a life.

The rich are not somehow immune to this virus. If it can get behind the doors of No 10 Dowing Street and attack the Prime Minister of the UK , then it can sure get to you too.

So if you don’t value the lives of others, tell me the price you would put on your own head to die so the economy could recover quicker.

Or tell me the dollar amount you would put on the life of your wife, your partner, your lover, your children, your mother and father or any of your friends and whanau that you would sacrifice in order that businesses can make profits quicker in the post- pandemic era.

I say to the morally bankrupt among us that the neo-liberal economics and politics of selfishness is a SOCIAL virus and we can take this moment in our history to kill off, if we but have the courage to do it.

It’s not easy for anybody in lockdown especially folk who are facing unemployment or the ruin of their businesses .

But for those of us who cannot and will not put a dollar price on the life of any one of us, there is only one right decision here -albeit a tough one. We just stay home, deny this virus the opportunity to spread and save the lives of our whanau, friends and neighbours, because everything else can be replaced.

More broadly,one of the things I hope this lockdown period has caused a lot of us to think about are our values – what do we REALLY cherish in life? What do we really want our lives to be like after the lockdown.

Speaking for myself I do not want to go back the pre-pandemic neoliberal New Zealand where people were labeled a “human resource” with a dollar amount tacked next to their name as if they were expendible items who could be rubbed off life’s balance sheet at a corporate whim.

If you lose your health you have nothing.

If you lose those you love, you have nothing.

And if you choose to continue to measure the lives of people in dollar terms please do not comment on my page because there is nothing you can say to me which would be of any interest to me.

I support the actions our government and the job our public health workers are doing 100% .

Let’s support them and see this thing out .

Stay home
Take care of each other
See you tomorrow

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. No one has ever referred to me as a philistine. Nor have I been labelled right-wing. That’s because I’m firmly on the left. But I also firmly believe in the truth, and I see things in shades of grey, not black or white.

    I think it’s rather tacky, Bryan, to compare deaths as if we were competing in a Death Olympics. But since you’ve raised the issue, how are countries not in lockdown faring? How about we look at Iceland? They have had 10 deaths or a death rate of 29 per million. That is lower than many countries which have been in lockdown. Then there’s Australia. Their date rate is 3 per million, which compares more than favourably with NZ’s rate of 4 per million.

    Your focus on death means you’ve ignored unemployment, suicide, mental health, quality of life, substance abuse, marriage breakdown, feelings of shame and guilt, and social isolation. Each of these matters. To envisage a future that is so overwhelmingly bleak that someone cannot see any option but to take their life, that cannot be ignored.

    So if you don’t value the lives of others, tell me the price you would put on your own head to die so the economy could recover quicker.

    Well, Bryan, the Government has already done that for us. Pharmac seemed as though it was about to fund Keytruda, a lung cancer drug. Now it has “postponed” funding due to “budget constraints”. Five people die each year from lung cancer. The Government appears to have consigned these people to an early grave. Of course, the decision to spend so much money fighting Covid-19 means that the cupboard will be bare elsewhere.

    Some 33,000 people die in New Zealand each year. There’s been no discussion of those deaths, just the handful of deaths from coronavirus. Where’s the perspective?

    • “Nor have I been labelled right-wing.”

      I labelled you right wing recently 😉
      I’m hurt you’ve forgotten so soon 🙁

      • Right on Ross
        ‘Ravaging America”?
        US has 350 million and 50k dead = about 0.014% death rate.
        France, Spain, UK, Italy, Germany have 300 million population – and a higher death rate – but still – as you say; the health ministry bureaucrats and media hypo, totally blow the virus out of perspective.

        • It’s the financial news a then every other news outlet that freaked out first because they were responding to the governments ability to respond or lack of ability to respond. We still have limited PPE and Testing regimes when we should have 4-10 times more than what we’ve got now. It’s a bit like sending soldiers from the deserts of North Africa into the winters of Europe with no winter clothing and going but the death rate was higher in Africa.

  2. Well said.This really needs to be spelt out to right wing commentators like Amy Brooke, tucked away safely in idyllic countryside, seemingly using the implications of this horrendous pandemic as an opportunity to take pot shots at PM Ardern.

    Amy aka Agnes-Mary Brooke doesn’t appear to me to know or understand what she’s talking about criticising restrictions on coronovirus sufferers’ visitors viz:

    “Very few New Zealanders will be anything like comfortable with Jacinda Ardern’s government policy, which, while ostentatiously promoting well-being and kindness, denies the lonely and dying elderly in our rest homes and hospitals from being with those they have spent their lives cherishing.”

    This sanctimony may be the epitome of self-centred solipsism, but the fact remains that regular sort of mums like me would not want our children exposed to any sort of risk, and their presence at my sick bed would worry, rather than comfort me. They – and the wider community -have to remain forefront in my mind. Chances are I’d be fairly zonked out anyway, but all my family know that I have no problem with dying alone, because I’ve told them so.

    Brooke wouldn’t matter, except that she urges her followers to write and protest about this to Winston Peters, and she even provides contact details and instructions on how to do this.

    I have to see this as a spiteful attempt to tie up valuable time and resources, because govt policy is not going to suddenly change because of keyboarders whose opinions transgress the common good upon which govt health policy is currently based.

    Thank you for talking about values.

    • Snow White: “Brooke wouldn’t matter…

      Heh! I doubt whether any commenters here – except you and me – have ever heard of Agnes-Mary Brooke. Or whatever moniker she goes by now. I don’t even know which outlets publish her, or if she is obliged to depend upon blogsites to air her views. I can’t be bothered searching her out.

      However. She may be old and crotchety, but it doesn’t follow that, on this issue, she’s wrong.

      For various complex reasons, neither of us was able to be with our parents when they died. It’s something that we both regret, and that regret never goes away, even though it’s long years ago.

      We wouldn’t wish that on our offspring. And we know that they feel the same. A fortiori, I want said offspring to be with me when I fall off the perch. As does my partner.

      In our view, the strictures against relatives sitting with, or visiting, those dying with (or of) coronavirus have tipped from caution into callousness. If there is a risk, it is for relatives to decide whether or not they wish to take it. Healthcare staff ought to have refrained from preventing access, no matter how well-intentioned it may have been.

      “I have to see this as a spiteful attempt to tie up valuable time and resources…”

      Isn’t such contact an essential part of the democratic process? It’s the citizens’ democratic right, surely, to contact MPs about anything of this sort.

  3. The public health measures that have been put in place by our government has kept the death rate low and SAVED countless lives.

    Or…. we could counter claim that those that have died because OF THE GOVERNMENT closing the borders too late and continuing to allow people in even during the lockdown makes them responsible for those deaths via THEIR negligence!

    You decide to paint them as heroes because your own political slant!

    Sorry Bruce but we ARE going to be getting back to work as usual because not too will inflict mass pain & suffering that will far exceed the handful of palaitive victims thus far from Covid19

    Want to really save lives?
    Ban cigarettes! Ban alcohol! Ban driving!……isn’t that what you freedom haters like to do?
    Ban things?

      • No daryl, selfish would be to demand we all give up and livelihoods and a lifetime of investment just because a few fearful irrational citizens prefer ‘security over liberty’.
        YOU lot deserve neither. Your ‘sell outs’ to the fundamentals of the UN Declaration of Human Rights that our country signed up too.

        • Stop “moderating” it and just decide Bomber! Decide whether your’e a defender of freedom of speech or not..

          • Life is full of risk Frank, deal with it mate…don’t hide. Many of us don’t require a nanny past 5 years of age…that’s how we grow resilience, strength of character and determination as individuals. If YOUR way worked we wouldn’t have the ever growing welfare state we do now and cotton wool mentality!
            Your kind of socialism only makes people weaker and less self reliant. They become lazy thinkers, self entitled & take no self responsibility for their own actions and decisions in life..
            It’s always somebody else’s fault.

          • We do every day. The price we pay for using our cars is that some 350 die every year on the roads. 350 is a big pile of bodies

        • Ross, I don’t believe I have sold out anywhere.

          If you take a deep breath, you might just see that there’s opportunities now to redress some of the wrongs that have happened over the last 40 years and move back to an egalitarian nation, with fair wealth and income distribution.

          A move to a circular economy that has benefits for all, not least for the planet and our ecosystem. These are unprecedented times.

          The game’s been rigged for far too long, and nature is warning us. I’ve got no doubt given the newspaper comment and reaction, not to mention the attack lines and out and out batsh*t conspiracy theories coming from the right that these will not be calm times.

          It’s pretty clear where your loyalties are too, as long as you’re comfortable with that that’s up to you.

    • Ross M “You decide to paint them as heroes because your own political slant! ” Oh no. This could mean that John Key is a closet non-right winger – or a leftie – or totally wingless altogether, as he too, has endorsed the Coalition’s handling of this pandemic.

      So much so that Nelson commentator and erstwhile Libertarian supporter, Amy Brooke, castigates Key in a diatribe entitled:

      “Not a smart strategy, Jacinda. Even if John Key praises your management”.

      Oh. What am I to think ? Could it be that this is not a political issue after all ? Or that it is bigger than all of us ?

      Ross – ” the handful of palaitive victims” Oh no. I don’t know what palaitive victims are, and I believe that there is no such word, and – with due respect to the good people of the Netherlands – that you
      may be floundering in double-Dutchery and should eat breakfast.

    • “You decide to paint them as heroes because your own political slant!’

      Take a massive look in the mirror pal, you probably think drinking disinfectant is a brilliant idea too.

      • What’s my political affiliation Bert? Do tell
        In the US I supported Tulsi Gabbard! lol…pal

  4. On the topic of philistines

    NZ seems to have had it’s own cultural revolution which nobody noticed, but seems to have left this country full of glorified peasants eking out a living at the local supermarket and a Kleptocracy full of their own self importance while expelling from NZ through government policy, intellectuals, experts, freedom of speech and the skilled middle class.

    NZ’s bloodless but still effective, Cultural revolution from 1984 – present

    China, Millions were accused of being members of the Five Black Categories and were persecuted, suffering public humiliation, imprisonment, torture, hard labor, seizure of property, and sometimes execution or harassment into suicide.

    NZ, Dirty politics against NZ politicians, intellectuals and scientists Surprise, surprise – the bloody pigs clear themselves over illegal Hager raid Cunliffe: grubbiest election campaign yet

    China, Intellectuals were considered the “Stinking Old Ninth” and were widely persecuted; notable scholars and scientists such as Lao She, Fu Lei, Yao Tongbin and Zhao Jiuzhang were killed or committed suicides.

    NZ, New Zealand brain-drain worst in world
    Statistics New Zealand no longer measuring ‘brain drain’ to Australia
    (Don’t worry NZ, for every experienced registered nurse or doctor or experienced trade professional leaving NZ we get a nurse support worker/labourer/retail manager/chef plus their love interest and 2 kids coming into NZ, sarcasm, looks great in our neoliberal led and hidden statistics, 1 person out, 4+ people into NZ, and providing more working poor competition to the local work force and beneficiaries!)

    China, Schools and universities were closed with the college entrance exams cancelled.

    NZ – we don’t close universities down we just profit from students without noticing if they are attending their courses or not
    New Zealand university student lay dead in room for nearly two months
    No need to know anything to pass!
    NZ lecturer says half of international students in their class failed for cheating, universities turning blind eye
    Student visa fraud: ‘It’s not about education’ Widespread fraud found among education agencies representing Indian students Student visa scam: Company provided info for five years

    Banning freedom of speech has become part of NZ universities agenda!
    Massey Vice-Chancellor bans Don Brash
    AUT denies cancelling Tiananmen event over China govt pressure

    China, Over 10 million urban intellectual youths were sent to the countryside in the Down to the Countryside Movement.

    NZ, Replacing the intellectuals with liquor stores and tobaccos factories around NZ… all now essential services–its-considered-essential

    Meth pandemic!
    Meth, coke and MDMA: Police reveal how the drugs are in our wastewater Precurser Meth drugs being manufactured in Wuhan, in a state sponsored Chinese factory.

    China, Red Guards also destroyed historical relics as well as artifacts, and ransacked cultural and religious sites.
    NZ, Loss of libraries is a symptom of Auckland University’s decline
    Bauer offered magazines to Government for a dollar, but says it got no clear response
    NZ On Air has released details of its latest funding decisions for locally made drama and comedy productions.
    RNZ propose dumping Concert programme and targeting ‘youth’
    Gun-toting YouTube sensation whose hit video ‘Jail’ has been viewed more than 13 million times faces deportation for his role in a grubby driving licence scam

  5. But we put a price on a life all the time. We have also shown that due to the reduced amount of road traffic (although to be fair yesterday seemed like any normal Saturday afternoon on the roads) we have dramatically improved our road toll.

    We lose 350 a year on the roads, why don’t we just ban all cars to save 350 lives? We don’t because that would be stupid and the economy will collapse so we mitigate the lose of lives vs the economic ruin it will cause by saving those lives.

    The same argument could be made that we should lock down the country every winter to level 4 to save the 1000s who die from the flu. Why don’t we? No Covid 19 is not the flu, but it is similar, in it is transfered from human to human (has the WHO admitted that yet?) and greatly affects those already who are immune compromised. Yes we have a flu vaccine, but every year more people due from the flu

    As you said post C19 you want to go back to a society that doesn’t put a value on human life, then should we ban all cars and go into lockdown every winter? It’s all well being touchie feelie about this and try to pull the heart strings with “well what if it is your mother, or your child who dies?” But sorry to break it to you but death is inevitable every single day, and we must weight up whether the cure is worse that the disease, in terms of poorer standards of living, employment, freedoms and happiness.

    Or to paraphrase Robin Williams are we being like someone doing chemotherapy, because they’d tired of shaving their hair?

    • Spot on. Bruce likes to claim he’s not putting a value on life but of course, he is. 95% of fatalities in Europe were over 60. Every fatality in NZ has been over 60. Bruce is in his early seventies and so is a direct beneficiary of this lockdown. He’s quite prepared for young people to give up jobs, savings and hope of a brighter future as if it’s a sacrifice they should make without complaint or any expectation of repayment, just because it’s the right thing to do… for him… and pose as a moral exemplar to boot. Despicable.

      It’s a puzzle to me that every Boomer commentator expects everybody else to sacrifice their future for them. Out in the real world most adults say they’d rather run the risk themselves, and self isolate, rather than destroy their childrens, grandchildrens, nieces and nephews future. ““Better to be dead than to live as a scoundrel!” Solzhenitsyn

      • Gee the right are out with their repetitive attack lines, once these run their course you can bet there will be another.

        It’s actually the economic and ideological system that is the libertarian lifeblood that has brought about these events, and is a catastrophic failure at all levels. Sure the boomer generation, whatever that means are generally the beneficiaries of this system, but so is the new generation of selfish neoliberals coming up.

        This shouldn’t really need spelling out, but you all seem to demand it – this is a new virus, a pandemic, to which there is no cure. It is intensifying, is not yet fully understood, and has badly affected a number of countries around the world, and continues to do so.

        With drastic economic effects, lockdown or no lockdown. New Zealand has been pretty well managed so far – at least our elected leaders aren’t advising us to inject bleach.

        Other western countries held up as examples of the way Orangemanbad and bg seem to be promoting are equally struggling economically, with a similar cost and higher death rates.

        The only puzzle is that you’re trying to present some kind of fait accompli on your argument. Mr Bruce is far from despicable, in fact he is ethical and honorable – this is world changing, and the system you believe in so dearly has failed and is under threat.

        Empathy, respect and community will see us through.

      • Orangemanbad: “It’s a puzzle to me that every Boomer commentator expects everybody else to sacrifice their future for them.”

        Say what? Who are these commentators? From what I’ve seen, Boomers who express scepticism about the government’s handling of that bloody virus are screamed at and shouted down by the woke left. And possibly the right as well. “How dare you Boomers criticise the government’s approach! Don’t you realise that we’re doing this for your own good?”

        I’m a Boomer. Nobody asked ME. Earnest, well-meaning people have made decisions for me, not with me. This is patronising in the extreme: we may be older, but it by no means follows that we’ve relinquished our agency.

        I don’t want anybody sacrificing anything for me, thank you very much. I’m yet to meet a Boomer who sees things differently. I’m deeply concerned at the damage that has been wrought on the economy: our children and grandchildren will carry the consequences of this for many years to come. How could you imagine that we would NOT be concerned about it?

        Just so you know: I’ve been sceptical about the government’s approach right from the very beginning. I’d looked at what was happening overseas, and in my view there’s been an overreaction here. There have been other dissenting voices to which the government could have listened, but it did not. I’d have much preferred the Swedish approach, or that of Australia (where I have family).

        Moreover, I’ve been intensely annoyed at all that rah-rah, we’re-all-in-this-together propaganda. I leap for the mute button or the off switch, whenever it’s broadcast. I don’t listen to those Bloomfield broadcasts; I’m not remotely interested in people banging on about what they’re doing in house arrest, so I pay no attention to it.

        I’d add that, to the greatest extent possible, I’ve ignored the order for people my age to stay home. We’ve been to the supermarket every week, often twice. We go to the next suburb to shop if we choose. I walk as often as I can, for as far as I can. I didn’t ask to have my life and liberties crimped like this, and I’m damned if I’ll meekly submit without protest.

        Here we are at the end of level 4, and now in level 3. How many cases? How many in hospital and ICU? How many deaths? We have more deaths in a flu season, yet we aren’t put under house arrest every year. See this:

        It wasn’t necessary to wreck the economy. And certainly not necessary to protect Boomers. We didn’t ask for such protection.

        • Well D’esterre, you’ve summed up all the current cherry picked right wing tropes in one comment, and espoused the “me, me, me” tenets very succinctly.

          The thing is, by virtue of the lockdown we’ll hopefully never know how bad things might have gotten here. And we now know how to deal with a pandemic.

          It’s convenient to put everything into a binary world and bugger everything else, this is the way of the right. Inconveniently, the situation is the exact opposite. Every country has their own unique set of circumstances, including spread.

          You could easily compare us with countries that didn’t go into lockdown, and see the economic damage caused there. And the cause celebre, Sweden, is regretting their approach.

          • daryl: “….you’ve summed up all the current cherry picked right wing tropes in one comment, and espoused the “me, me, me” tenets very succinctly.”

            Really: some commenters here just can’t help themselves, can they: any dissenting opinion has to be characterised as “right wing”.

            Read what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. Right wing, me, me, me: my foot! As I’ve said (repeatedly) elsewhere on this blogsite, and on this comment thread, I’m an old lefty. I take exception to the wrecking of the economy, and the consequential damage to our children’s and grandchildren’s lives, in pursuit of some damnfool attempt to “protect” those of us who are older. Just don’t do it already.

            “….by virtue of the lockdown we’ll hopefully never know how bad things might have gotten here.”

            Nobody can prove the counterfactual; all we can do is to look overseas, to see what’s happened in other countries.

            “And we now know how to deal with a pandemic.”

            So: can we expect to be locked down again when the inevitable flu epidemic hits? If you’ve had the flu – and I have, not just some circulating winter virus – you sure know all about it. It’s like being mowed down by a train; at first, I was afraid that I would die, then I was afraid that I wouldn’t. It’s terrible.

            “It’s convenient to put everything into a binary world and bugger everything else…”

            This is longhand for “don’t disagree with me, I’m right”.

            “Every country has their own unique set of circumstances, including spread.”

            And this is longhand for “I have to find some way of explaining why the disease has apparently behaved differently in other countries”. Notably Australia, of course.

            “And the cause celebre, Sweden, is regretting their approach.”

            Nope. It isn’t. There is dissent being aired at the government’s approach, as one would expect. But as of now, the government isn’t changing tack. See this:


            From that article: “We are all part of a social experiment that we did not ask to be part of.”

            Well. So are we. And I’d take Sweden’s social experiment over ours any day of the week. The Swedish government trusts its citizens; manifestly, our government does not.

            From the same article: “At the time of publication, Sweden had 18,640 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2,194 deaths.” I’d add that Sweden’s population is at present 10,099,265.

            Now consider the figures for Austria, a country with which we’re familiar, having family there. The estimated population is 9,006,398. Austria has had a very strict lockdown, very similar to ours, which started March 16. The government finally began lifting restrictions after Easter weekend. To date – and despite the severe restrictions – it has had 15,357 cases and 569 deaths. This is in a country which has a population not quite double ours here.

            Austria’s figures are, of course, lower than those of Sweden. But the lockdown has been very onerous, we hear; as with NZ, the damage to the economy, along with every other part of society, must be weighed against the gains. I don’t think that the balance comes down on the side of lockdown. A fortiori NZ, of course.

            The latest stats for NZ:


              • Daryl: “….I’ll stick to the medical experts and scientists, and the science thanks.”

                That’s what I’ve been doing as well. Though obviously not the same sky-is-falling lot as have been advising the govt. That’s the beauty of science, of course: it’s only ever “what we know so far”. It’s never settled.

    • What’s your problem Bert? You don’t like him looking after his workers? Some of you fools seem to think the wage subsidy is some kind of benefit! ITS NOT! It’s a subsidy paid to employers to encourage keeping their workers on the books, otherwise…seeya….down the road to WINZ they go!
      This subsidy is actually much needed compensation for a dumbass lockdown decision that forced us business people and people with jobs (not you obviously) into a position of not being able to earn a living, take our civil rights from us, and force a mandatory house arrest…
      IF the government had not of paid this subsidy….then they knew they were facing a $billion dollar class action lawsuit from people like me because technically….THE GOVERNMENT were negligent in the first place by letting the virus in!

      Good on this guy! Yeehaa

      • Ross Mathews – Your grammar and syntax – let alone your warped vocabulary – are so deficient that you’ll be lucky to succeed in anything very much at all.

        Good luck. You’re going to be needing it.

        • When you have not valid argument….there’s always a job a the grammar police!
          lol, Come back to me when you have the guts to use your real name!

        • Applewood: “Your grammar and syntax – let alone your warped vocabulary – are so deficient that you’ll be lucky to succeed in anything very much at all.”

          I used to think that I’d see this sort of thing – insult as opposed to argument – only on right wing blogs. But looky here: this blogsite is rife with it.

          Engage with the arguments that Ross Mathews makes. You disagree with him: fair enough, but say why and proffer a counter-argument. Don’t just fling insults at him.

      • Ross
        As I recently blogged I’m liberal social policy but private sector (therefore a capitalist by Marxist definition), economic policy.

        A problem with your audience above, seems to be that they don’t get basic economics:
        “Your income -as my employee, is my income as an employer. My income is your income – if you are a government servant or welfare beneficiary. Taxation M8.”
        We are in this together – just that some of us mortgage the house to raise the capital to take a risk and start a business – which provides jobs.

        Government raised debt inevitably means, more tax on all of us.

        • Correction: we are not in this together. This is another lie.

          Many in the private sector, myself included are moving to 50% of out salaries this week, this is all while not having one day off in isolation, in fact back to work 3 weeks ago.

          Who in the public sector has taken wage/salary cuts?

          • Sorry to hear that mate. Must be difficult being on half pay. I guess this is what it would be like if the population fell by 80% and GDP declines permanently set in. I know it may not be what you want to hear and it is counterintuitive but for wages to rise we’d have to put more money into the system. Anyway keep up the good work

      • Oh Ross M
        One other lesson of history.

        The last great socialists NZ had was Rob Muldoon.
        Everyone had a job. One to drive the P&T van, one to get out and open and shut gates; one to keep a log of activity and one to install the telephone.
        Multiplied across the ministries which even owned and operated Road Service Buses.
        And Think Big Government replaced private sector capital.
        As a young cop, I was paying 60 plus cents in the dollar tax working as a truck driver secondary employment so I could gather enough alms for a deposit on a house. Muldoon had to get ‘his’ money from somewhere.
        Then along came David Lange – I recall well he and Muldoon on TV – “Give me the keys please Prime Minister. Your are out. Bye the way, the country is broke.”

        Broke because of Muldoon’s Keynesian economics gone mad including, Think Big.
        Guess what.
        Rogernomics was born to pay off the debt of Muldoon’s socialist experiment.

        • Pretty certain no one wants a return to those days Ross Meurant, and Ross Matthews.

          Mr Meurant, it may have been called Rogernomics, but it was borne out of the Chicago school of economics. Have a read of Bruce Jesson’s books for some more information.

          It was in effect an economic bloodless coup. It’s also resulted in a massive wealth grab that has left many, many people worse off then ever. Jim Bolger even stated neoliberal economics was a failure.

          Some people are actually grateful we have any form of caring government at all. If you truly believed in market driven economics you would be happy to let any number of businesses fail right now. Yes the playing field has changed, it’s distinctly sloped, but that playing field was never level in the first place.

          Yet instead we see arrogant businessmen complaining on the one hand that the government has done too much, yet on the other they haven’t done enough. No doubt the government could save the world and these people will never concede that they are wrong.

          We’re all anxious and afraid, and everyone is impacted by this, no exceptions. However, now, more than ever, there are alternatives to our current system.

          Personally I don’t have a problem with capitalism per se, just the rapacious vulture driven version we’ve had forced upon us for the last 35 years or so.

          • “However, now, more than ever, there are alternatives to our current system.”

            Take those ideas to an election Daryl!
            Don’t try and exploit a crisis to then force that ideology onto others via the most undemocratic of means..

            • You’ve just described disaster capitalism, used by neoliberal agents the world over for the last 40 years to further the neoliberal wealth transfer upwards.

              • Jacinda & Labour are neo liberals Daryl.
                People voted for terrible ideas for decades…people like you most probably.
                You can’t seriously be blaming 40 years of NZ’s political direction on just National?
                Ive never voted for Labour or National…
                My conscience is …clear

                • You’re a great troll Ross – keep up the nastiness. I’ve never voted for neoliberal policy and that’s a terrible idea.

                  I’ve never blamed it all on National, although they are to blame for a large portion of our woes e.g. running down our health system (and everything else for that matter) just to claim some mythical surplus when everything was falling apart and we have the worst housing crisis ever in New Zealand.

                  I’ve also never voted Labour or National. Clear?

          • daryl: “Mr Meurant, it may have been called Rogernomics, but it was borne out of the Chicago school of economics. Have a read of Bruce Jesson’s books for some more information.

            It was in effect an economic bloodless coup. It’s also resulted in a massive wealth grab that has left many, many people worse off then ever. Jim Bolger even stated neoliberal economics was a failure.”

            Daryl, Ross Meurant was in charge of the red squad when I was an adult and protesting against the Springbok tour. Therefore it follows that he is round about my age.

            You tell him – and anyone else who was an adult at that time – this stuff about Rogernomics, as if it’s a surprise to any of us.

            We also know all too well the dire state of the NZ economy prior to the Lange government coming to power.

            Grandmothers, sucking eggs and all that…..

        • Hi Ross,
          I was born 1971 so I know what you are telling me and I remember this history well.
          I think many on this site have no idea how economies work & how our fiat monetary system is their real enemy. But they would rather play identity politics and push their new ‘woke’ political agenda’s onto the masses exploiting a crisis if they must to do it because they know damn well…anyone with half a brain won’t vote for it.

          Mandatory track & trace?
          Mandatory vaccination?
          The surrendering of basic Rights & Liberties that past generations fought violently for…
          on & on it goes…

    • Well said Bert – surprised there’s not more backlash to this. If ever there was an example of offspring from the neoliberal policies over the last 35 years he has to be it.

  6. Well said, Bryan.

    ‘I say to the morally bankrupt among us that the neo-liberal economics and politics of selfishness is a SOCIAL virus’

    In the past I have likened orthodox economics (and particularly neoliberalism) to a cancer, insofar as left unchecked it will ultimately kill its host.

    The pre-Covid-19 economic system -promoted by governments around the world, including that of NZ- was operating on completely unsustainable [in the long term] foundations, the major aspects of which were:

    1. The conversion of fossil fuels into atmospheric carbon dioxide which has already overheated the Earth faster than any natural event in geological history, and if allowed to continued will result in the Earth becoming largely or completely uninhabitable for most vertebrate species, including humans.

    2. Stripping the natural world of resources until they are severely or entirely depleted.

    3. Converting natural landscapes with infinite long-term sustainability into industrial landscapes with no long-term sustainability: this may be in the form of converting forested land and pasture into urban dystopia, or converting jungle or savannah into monoculture plantations etc.

    4. Producing vast quantities of food by unsustainable methods involving the large-scale use of fossil fuels, the use of chemicals and the use of synthetic fertilisers

    5. Causing the decimation of number or actual extinction of species with important roles to play in the intricate web of life -particularly insects, which are undergoing an insect apocalypse, with dire implications. As Einstein pointed out, “we disappear 4 years after the bees disappear.”

    6. Creation of money out of thin air and the charging of interest on that money.

    7. Encouraging over-population (way beyond the carrying capacity of the land) in order to create increasing numbers of consumers.

    8. Generating humungous quantities of waste which was becoming ever more problematical to deal with (that is in addition to CO2, which cannot be dealt with by humans and was vastly overwhelming the natural systems that recycle it).

    The ridiculousness of orthodox economic is all summed up by the absurd mainstream notion of ‘Infinite Growth on a Finite Planet’.

    Well, we are incredibly close to hitting the wall on ‘infinite growth’ (much as predicted by the Limits to Growth group in the 1970s, with 2030 being the year energy depletion and waste overwhelm the system), and any attempt to ‘restart the economy’ simply puts us back into the position of sacrificing our children’s/grandchildren’s futures to satisfy present day short term wants.

  7. People die each year from cancers, heart disease, strokes, etc. However, these diseases are not contagious and therefore lockdowns would not provide a reasonable defense against them. However a lockdown does provide a defense, and at present it seems to be the only defense, against covid-19. Therefore I think we should see it through to the end.

  8. the issue is not health versus economy… its about questioning the sources of information that governments are having to make decisions on. in the beginning noone was sure what we were dealing with, including health professionals, scientists. so a lockdown was a reasonable strategy. but we also need to critically exxamine sources of information from those who would benefit greatly from enforced social control, vaccinations etc. there is a bigger picture:
    we need to be able to question without being dismissed as being anti health or anti economy. there is middle ground.
    and when it turns out that this was no worse in death rates than influenza in other years, then we thank our government for being careful with our health and we carry on….

  9. Can driving a car, lung cancer, heart attacks etc be ‘caught’ off someone infected with the ‘disease’? Bar maybe a rogue driver (killing you), the answer is NO. So comparing death rates of such actions, with the end result of a successful ‘lockdown’ is like comparing Apples with Oranges.

    Yes a price does need to be put on life if you want to go back to work early and take more risk.

    Agreed the Govt (cruelly) does that all too often. The drugs e.g. was spot on. BUT that doesn’t means Q.E.D we should go back to work.

    If in doubt extend the lockdown, don’t lift it early on the off chance of making some money.

    And the argument about poverty causing deaths is correct, BUT WHY wasn’t that used as a reason NOT to have ‘trickle down’ and harsh economic policies e.g ‘bene bashing’ (as they need a reason/stick to get into work)?

    In consistent arguments aren’t logical proof.

    Be careful using other countries not having as hard a lockdown as an e.g. You have to compare their culture also. i.e. Scandinavian countries ‘naturally’ use social distancing and helping others less fortunate. Sadly we no longer do either.

    IMHO there has always been the simple answer available, but sadly almost NO Govt wants to do the right thing, just look to be doing the right thing.

    e.g. The Czech republic made it mandatory to wear a face mask in public. They have a great R0. About 5-8 times better than the UK. So that is a simple solution. I guess BAD planning for epidemics was the reason we don’t do this. Maybe a run down of the medical system recently took that option away?

    Use the Malaria treatment (PLUS zinc and zyhromycin (sp??) that China and many others are using as a cure, ASAP. All the BAD science reports saying it doesn’t work and requoted, have ALL turned out to be non-sense science. As if the Pharmaceutical companies, backed by the prostitute media, don’t want a cure that can’t be sold at a HUGE profit to them, to be used. A bit like Vitamin C and Cannabis.

    So in the absence of the two above ideas, then Jacinda did a GREAT job, compared to the death cult capitalist elsewhere in the world.

    PLUS this is NOT over yet. It is still going around the world and adapting. So lets save the ‘I told you so’s’ until the end and history has been honestly (not politically) written.

  10. The problem for those who are not right wing have is that those who are, are so fucking idiotic and that makes the right wing dangerous and there’s nothing more dangerous than a rich, powerful, fucking idiot.

  11. Seem’s to me that at the end of the day, something has occurred that has got the attention of the banks.
    The result of this is to have the entire planet stop what it’s doing and hide from a flu…..
    After only a few weeks, the atmosphere , the wild life, the communication has responded exponentially .
    This has been a gift that has given us all a chance to change direction and make life better.
    People are hurting.
    The vast bulk of the people that are hurting are the people that can’t choose,
    It is now that we reassess our core values and goals. The way we do business . The way we live. The planet we would like to leave our children.
    We have to readdress the money and the way we exist.

    Kia Kaha

  12. “I notice it is often the right wing doom brokers among us who are leading the “let’s get back to work NOW!” chant….”

    Right-wing doom brokers? Hah! Nope: it may be such people – if they actually exist – but it’s also people like me. I”m an old lefty, in just that age bracket described patronisingly by the PM as “vulnerable”. No. I am not. And I’ll not have the woke left telling me what to do – or more critically, what not to do. Was I asked for my opinion? I was not. I’m horrified at the wrecking of the economy by what’s in effect house arrest; our offspring have been differentially affected by the wide-scale economic damage, never mind the psychological effects of prolonged incarceration. And for what? A handful of cases and even fewer deaths.

    The other thing that’s astonished and disturbed me is how willingly NZers have just accepted the crimping of our liberties. Nobody should be surprised that totalitarian regimes such as the Nazis manage so easily to take power. And the snitching: Christ…. the Stasi rides again, huh? And isn’t informing on people just the sort of thing that commentators claim goes on in places such as China, and we’re all expected to deplore it? How come it’s ok, because the PM sees it as being in a good cause, but not ok when Chinese people do it? If they do…

    I’ve been delighted to see that there are protests against the lockdown in France, Germany (perhaps they learned something from the Nazis?) and the US, god bless ’em. There should have been protests here as well.

    Recently, I heard on Morning Report an interview with the PM. She was challenged by the interviewer as to why the rules in Australia are so much looser than ours, yet the rates and deaths there are very similar to ours. Her response? Australian society is “less vulnerable” than ours (as if it didn’t have the elderly, the poor and sick, Aborigines, Maori and Pacific people). Say what? said the interviewer, who pressed her to elaborate on the ways in which NZ society is more vulnerable. She adduced our Maori and Pacific communities. No mention of the over-60s, or whatever the hell age group it is where “vulnerability” starts. No surprises that the interviewer didn’t notice this.

    This article sums up pretty neatly, how I feel about being characterised as “vulnerable”:

    “The public health measures that have been put in place by our government has kept the death rate low and SAVED countless lives.

    How do we know?

    You only have to look at how this Covid 19 virus is ravaging America right now for example to know what it capable of doing if left unchecked.”

    It’s pretty obvious now that – like many other viruses – the coronavirus spreads and infects more people in the winter; and the colder the winter, the worse such viruses are. Thus what we’ve seen in the northern hemisphere. The US is coming out of winter; it has no public health service in the way in which we do here and in Australia. Many Americans have no access to healthcare because they have no health insurance; poverty levels there are at least as bad as here, probably worse. From what I’ve seen, the numbers of homeless there are orders of magnitude greater there than they were when we visited in the late 1990s.

    The US coronavirus statistics -up to yesterday: US population 2020 (est) 331,002,651. Stats as of today: cases 960,896, deaths: 54,265. Expressed as percentages in relation to the population as a whole, that’s as follows: Cases 0.29%, dead 0.016%.

    Just for comparison, US influenza cases and deaths 2018-19 season “Conclusion. CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season.Jan 8, 2020”

    For NZ, a more apt comparison would be with Australia: it’s in the same hemisphere, therefore seasons at the same time of the year as we do here. We already know that the figures for all of Australia are broadly similar to ours Here are the stats for Queensland: population 5.071 million (so just a bit larger than for the whole of NZ), total cases as of today, 27 April: 1033; deaths 6. I’m assuming that you know the NZ stats, so I won’t repeat them here.

    I have family in both Queensland and NSW. One relative is in northern NSW, just over the border from Queensland, where they lived until very recently. The rules in both states are much looser than here: my relative can still play golf (only 2 participants, separate carts), tennis (singles only); go to their doctor or dentist in Queensland (provided they have a letter from dentist/GP); get a haircut; get takeaways; go to friends/have friends over for coffee, provided they observe physical distancing rules; get the electrician in to do some maintenance on their house. They can and do zip around in their car. And – as anybody who’s been there knows – that part of Queensland from the Sunshine Coast right down to the NSW border – is chock-full of older retired people. The population of Brisbane is now larger than that of Auckland. Yet the state has fewer cases than we do. And 6 deaths. Now: tell me which country has got it right?

    • D’Esterre,

      In fact, there were more than 80,000 flu deaths in the US in the 2017/2018 flu season. That included 180 young people.

      NZ has painted itself into a corner. What if there are more cases of Covid-19, or a new coronavirus, next year? For the sake of consistency, we should expect a lockdown. But I suspect that the Government is starting to realise that such a scorched-earth policy would be too damaging, both economically and politically. That is especially true given the chances of contracting and dying from the virus are so low. If there’s more cases next year, we will need to accept the risk.

      • Ross: “In fact, there were more than 80,000 flu deaths in the US in the 2017/2018 flu season. That included 180 young people.”

        I’m not in the least surprised to see that. I’d actually read somewhere that there was a higher death rate for the 2018-19 season, but couldn’t find it at the time I was commenting. I do try to bookmark useful stuff, but that one must’ve got away on me. Or else it was the 2017-18 figures I’d read.

        “What if there are more cases of Covid-19, or a new coronavirus, next year? For the sake of consistency, we should expect a lockdown.”

        Exactly. Or even a particularly virulent flu: I’m pretty sure that we had many more flu deaths here last season.

        “….such a scorched-earth policy would be too damaging….”

        Indeed. The government cannot pull another such stunt, should not have allowed itself to be bulldozed into what it’s done this year. The damage to people’s mental health – never mind the economy – is something we’re yet to see, I fear.

        While we’ve been stuck in house arrest (I resist using that infantile term “bubble”), we’ve talked about this a great deal, and also analysed the figures: something the msm ought to have done, but has not, from what I’ve seen.

        “If there’s more cases next year, we will need to accept the risk.”


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