GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Whatever we do, let’s NOT do this!

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I’ve watched policy bites from both National’s Nicola Willis and Act’s David Seymour, in the last day or so, pushing for the opening up of our borders by talking about “safe travel”.

This is self- serving political rhetoric and it’s dangerous because it plays on some people’s impatience and frustrations in the hope of garnering a few votes at the risk of taking us back into lockdown.

Like Trump they are in trouble. The pre-covid economic beliefs they still tout just don’t cut it in our post -pandemic world, because it’s going to take a long time to recover and like it or not the State is going to have to be more actively involved in the marketplace. So they are desperate to open up our borders because they are fearful we might return to the days when a self -sufficient Aotearoa New Zealand was the order of the day.

With the possible exception of considering opening up travel to the Islands you might want to consider the following before you take the views of Willis and Seymour onboard.

Last Monday Victoria reported the country’s highest-ever daily increase in coronavirus cases with 532 new cases of the virus, and six more deaths, taking the state toll to 77, almost half the national death toll.

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The Florida Department of Health on Sunday reported 9,344 new cases for a total of 423,855, surpassing New York’s total of 411,736 placing it behind only California — which reported a total of 453,659 reporting 8,259 new cases on Sunday — for the state with the most coronavirus cases in the USA

Hong Kong today has reported 145 new cases of coronavirus, of which 142 were locally transmitted, setting a new daily high just hours after the city announced its toughest measures yet to curb a community outbreak.

Spain is facing a second wave as the reported infection rate had tripled over the two weeks from 8.7 per 100,000 people infected on July 3, to 27.4 per 100,000 this week and 224 local outbreaks throughout the country
Russia has reported 5,635 new cases of the novel coronavirus, its lowest daily rise since April 23, pushing its national tally to 818,120, the fourth largest in the world.
Vietnam has ordered the evacuation on Monday of at least 80,000 tourists from the central city of Da Nang following the re-emergence of the coronavirus.
South Korea on Sunday reported a four-month high of 113 last Saturday.

Tokyo last week reported a daily record of 366 cases, including 239 on Sunday.

Serbia has reported a record number of daily cases of the coronavirus, 467 people have tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, the highest since the start of the outbreak. They report eight people have died.
Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 5,480 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 306 deaths, bringing the total in the country to 390,516 cases and 43,680 deaths.

Brazil has registered 555 deaths attributable to the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours and another 24,578 confirmed cases.

The South American nation has now registered 87,004 deaths and nearly 2.42 million cases.

The number of coronavirus infections has hit 16.20 million worldwide, while more than 647,900 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

In short – the idea of safe travel right now doesn’t stand even the most casual scrutiny .

So let’s NOT open up our borders until our Public Health experts say it’s safe and not some vote- seeking politicians.

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.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Well those are some pretty grim statistics, Bryan,…I think its time to climb down the noses of these minority group economic /social anarchists who would want to open our borders prematurely to either score their minimal votes or sacrifice lives for their wallets…

    Its time to dismiss them for the odious non team players they really are.

    • For as long as our corrupt lame street (corporate controlled) media give such views oxygen without critical and honest question being asked and ‘sensible/believable’ answers being given, NZ will always struggle to have true democracy.
      We are a right wing corporates death cult country that occasionally sees the light and acts in our own common interest. The other 80+% of the time the ‘full spectrum propaganda’ is successful and we vote for our own demise, via the right wing prostitute politicians.
      RIP NZ (aka Slavelandia) democracy and any genuine 4th estate.

      • Kevin, I agree about the noxious spin-doctoring propaganda machine pumping out their twists and vested interest turns every single day, …

        but, we’re still here, and the latest polls have given renewed hope for all of us, for the people of Aotearoa NZ.

        • Yes it does give hope Kheala.
          Here’s hoping Jacinda uses the probable majority mandate to correct the current mess and give NZ real democracy for the people, not the wealthy few and their puppets.

      • 100 % Agree Kevin. I’d go so far as to say that NZ doesn’t have media broadcasters, rather we have a right wing circus masquerading as news. Editors seem to think they have a ‘right’ to set the ‘narrative’, make or break elections, and more generally make shit up to package into a consumable ‘media’ bites for the ignorant uncritical [thinking] masses.

        What NZ needs is a state funded independent broadcaster with a watertight charter designed to keep deep right wing pockets at bay, prevent any ‘pay to play’ antics, and challenge the right wing talking heads like Hosking, Garner, and O’Brien et al.

        This is the only way I see to bring some semblance of balance being introduced into the media landscape. We might even see things like authenticity, ethics, and even honesty shake out as a result! Although perhaps that’s wishful thinking..

        I personally wouldn’t count on Labour shifting the Overton window much to the left given they’re largely still wedded to Neoliberalism and the Washington consensus. Perhaps in term 2 the PM and FM will lead NZ into transformation change? I hope …

  2. Perhaps we can open up the borders enough for Willis and Seymour to travel those countries to give us evidence that things are “safe” for us to open up the borders.
    Seymour is a dangerous operator. Promoting guns and open borders appeals to a small number of New Zealanders, yet Seymour and his kin would not have a platform if National had any credibility at all and ran Goldsmith in Epsom. As for Willis, well she is just a mini me of Collins.

    • Bert you often critize National for not understand MMP and then you have a go at them when they play the game . Why are you not mentioning Labour not helping Greens especially as the chances of them getting 5 percent is fading. Is it Labours plan to rule by themselves.

      • Trevor, I dont disagree, however can ACT not earn an electorate on its laurels. They can then form a government under MMP. That is the idea. Where is the rights take on personal responsibility in this instance?
        If this is your stance then so be it. I will never advocate and have never advocated for ” deals” to be done before an election, that is democratically correct. So why would I mention Labour saving the Greens?

  3. As you have highlighted Bryan, ACT and Nationals leadership style would have N.Z. in lockdown, at level 4 and hundreds of more deaths, that is insane. Vote wisely N.Z.

    • What claptrap. As I recall National were calling for border closures very early in March when govt was sitting on its hands. Then you prove you have been brainwashed by talking about hundreds more deaths. Try facts instead of supposition, bert.

      • Pullya head in APA. You are so deluded, your hair is blue!

        Facts. Michelle Boag , Hamish Walker leak private details.
        Andrew Falloon sends porn to young female.

        FACT: “National Party leader Simon Bridges is urging the Government to lift the nationwide lockdown next week and implement an approach similar to Australia.”
        “I am certainly urging [the Government] as loudly and clearly as I can… let’s come out of lockdown, we can do what Australia fundamentally has done.”


        Calls for New Zealand to open its borders was “frankly dangerous”, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

        She said New Zealand was in a privileged position due to its “hard-won gains”, and opening the borders up while the pandemic was escalating came at a potential price.

        Imported cases had led to outbreaks in New Zealand, and the reason for the current freedoms in New Zealand was because of the strict border measures, she said.

        Ardern said opening up more to Australia and the Pacific was being considered, but anyone pushing for more open borders now was irresponsible.”

        So how many deaths were saved APA because we didn’t follow Nationals leadership style 10, 100, 1000?

  4. People in New Zealand, for the most part, have pretty much returned to their normal since Covid arrived on our shores. They have a totally false sense of security about the virus. At it’s worst here, the people that succumbed to the disease were often in their late 80’s and 90’s which also minimized the perceived threat to them. This helps explain why it’s young people flouting rules put in place to keep everyone safe. If they get their news about Covid in a 30 second piece on the 6PM TVNZ or TV3 news, they will feel disconnected from reality with Covid and will have massive gaps in their knowledge. When I hear politicians spouting off about opening borders and bubbles etc, I immediately wonder how a person that ignorant can be in an influential position regarding the pandemic. It’s extremely dangerous. It also frustrates me that they are tapping into other impatient and ignorant people who’s primary concern is obviously $$$.

    It becomes clear that it’s not just ignorance involved here. It’s a potentially lethal and cynical attempt at catching votes by desperate National Party MP’s especially which to my eye is akin to treasonous conduct.

    • Rubbish! It’s about saving tourism and hospitality related businesses and their jobs. No one wants the borders to open before it is safe, but we and the govt. need to start thinking what that would look like and how it would work. There are many other countries like NZ that are near Covid-19 free.

      • It would be wishful thinking to think tourism could be ‘saved’ Dan.

        NZers should be asking ourselves if we really want pre-covid international tourism now that the risks to that sector of our economy are plain for all to see. Painful through to ‘dead in the water’ for operators and their staff, however as things stand there is no alternative but to restructure tourism for a smaller domestic market. Covid will almost certainly become endemic and despite the rhetoric and optimism a vaccine may never eventuate.

        New Zealand does have some distinct opportunities if the government executes on relevant investment and policy framework. NZ could market itself as a covid free stable business friendly country where industries such as television, film, and so on can thrive. There are also many opportunities in the digital economy to expand, regulate, and educate that could be executed if the will exists.

        A world with endemic covid-19 is one where our borders must remain closed for our domestic economy to exist. Just one super spreader event and all that has been done thus far is trashed. We just can’t go there and I think the government knows this.

  5. Well said, Bryan.

    Of course the news for the BAU mob gets worse by the day, if not by the hour. Britain and Spain are at loggerheads after Britain announced the need for quarantine for anyone visiting Spain, due to the surge in Covid-19 there. Not that Britain has anything to crow about, having seriously mishandled the pandemic.

    France, Germany, Belgium….and a multitude of other nations are either imposing local lockdowns or contemplating national lockdowns. Meanwhile, in the US the disgust with the actions of ‘the authorities’ is leading to mass civil disobedience that looks a lot like the onset of civil war.

    What I found a little bizarre was the announcement at this point of time that borders will have to open at some stage to facilitate trade etc. Yeah right! You’d think WHO would just keep quite and emphasise that the Covid-19 monster is out of control and there is no end in sight, notwithstanding all the hoo-ha about vaccines (which may or may not be available many months from now).

    As I and others have said before, we are living in a confidence-based system predicated on continuous expansion (on a finite planet). Confidence is now gone. And Limits to Growth are impacting massively.

    Whilst Labour seem incapable of generating policies that are not predicated on squandering fossil fuels and converting them into life-threatening pollution, other political parties and their talking heads are really off the planet, so demented it’s not funny. Nor is the lack of appreciation of our collective predicament by the bulk if the populace funny -that being largely a result of the inane rantings of ‘idiots’ in the mainstream media.

    It has always been a race between declining energy availability, environmental degradation and collapse of Ponzi economics (with overpopulation setting all agendas) as to which factor(s) would bring down the system and how quickly. Ponzi economics seems to be in the lead at the moment, with Covid-19 providing a helping hand in bringing down the system.

    We live in ‘interesting times’.

  6. All businesses shut and six million people confined to their homes: Victorians told ‘New Zealand-style lockdown’ is the only way to curb horror second wave that’s being fuelled by YOUNG people – here’s what stage four would look like https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8564085/Stage-Four-looms-Victoria-close-businesses-bar-pharmacies-medical-clinics-grocery-stores.html

    Coronavirus may inflict the same damage as heart attacks: Study finds disturbing signs of the infection’s cardiac effects in more than 75% of survivors

    Covid 19 is a bioweapon escaped from bioweapons lab somewhere. There are of these appalling sites in the U$ the U$K Canada Russia and not least Chine.
    Two studies by German researchers found disturbing signs of heart damage in people who survived or died of coronavirus
    More than 75% of survivors had high levels of a protein in their blood that typically indicates someone has suffered a heart attack
    In people who died after contracting coronavirus, more than 60% had virus in their heart muscle, showing the coronavirus directly infects cardica muscle
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8565201/Coronavirus-inflict-damage-heart-attacks-study-suggests.html

  7. I suspect that Labour’s high poll rating is thanks to a large majority of the public wanting to keep the borders closed. (In its current term in office Labour has done little else to justify such phenomenal approval of its performance). If that is the case, ACT and National are desperately seeking the minority “open the borders” vote, which even on top of their core voting support, probably will be insufficient to gain them a parliamentary majority.

  8. Yes, of course. NZ’ers are actually fairly switched on about the horrific coronavirus scenarios, and these two people have miscalculated badly – it’ll backfire. Many of us have family and friends living in affected areas about whom we’re very worried; Willis and Seymour -and their hangers-on – either live very narrow little lives, or are sociopaths, or both, but they have no mandate whatsoever to put NZ’ers at risk – for any reason.

  9. Seymour is more than welcome to emigrate any time he chooses – well, ASAP – sooner the better. I’m pretty sure that if we started a GoFundMe page to buy him an emigration ticket, we’d have all that he needed in no time at all. He would be FAR more suited, feel far more at home, in some uber-wealthy emirates-type state. He is waaay out of synch with the spirit of Aotearoa.

  10. ” Perhaps we can open up the borders enough for Willis and Seymour to travel those countries to give us evidence that things are “safe” for us to open up the borders ”
    And the rest of the National party , media personalities and a number of corporate business mouth pieces should join them. They are just as life threatening as the virus.

  11. Yes Geoff

    Labour should make serious statements about completing all their promises made before the 2017 election if re-elected including re-opening our Gisborne rail services now closed by National in 2012 and labour vowed in the Gisborne Herald in 2016 that if they are re-elected in 2017 they will re-open the Gisborne rail so start there Labour please.
    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1301/S00076/labour-pledges-to-re-open-rail-line.htm

    Gisborne has waited far to long. !!!!!!!!

  12. “because they are fearful we might return to the days when a self -sufficient Aotearoa New Zealand was the order of the day.”

    Agree with your point about the borders, but where on earth do you get the idea that NZ was ‘self-sufficient’?

    We were an appendage of the British empire and benefited from that enormously.

  13. There has been substantial discussion about the ‘dire effects’ of Covid-19 on humans -death or long-term organ damage in many cases- and there has been substantial discussion about the economy, with plenty of idiots (who have been given far too much air time) talking about the ‘need’ to open the borders and ‘get the economy going’. Sadly, even Jacinda Adern is caught up in the economic nonsense that has captured the minds of most of the populace, and is featuring the slogan “keeping us moving.”

    I have seen and heard NOTHING about the far greater danger [than coronaviruses] of persisting with currently operating sectors of BAU. And I have seen and heard NOTHING about extreme danger of re-establishing international airline travel or of getting the consumer society back to how it was before the recent ‘troubles’.

    The fact is, we cannot have a globalised industrial economy (or even a non-globalised industrial economy) and have a long-term future. At this point of time (20 years after I first started pointing out the reality of our predicament) we cannot even have a globalised economy and a medium-term future. They are mutually exclusive concepts.

    They are mutually exclusive concepts because any industrial economy is predicated on the conversion of fossil fuels into life-threatening waste. To put it bluntly, we have already buggered up the Earth (in terms of overheating, acidification of the oceans, accumulation of plastics and other wasted, biodiversity etc.) and we are on the cusp of collapse.

    I know there are still plenty of people who refuse to accept the well-established link between increasing atmospheric CO2 and rising temperatures…rather like the folk who refused to accept the well-established link between smoking and poor health. They will believe in anything but the truth, that carbon dioxide was first identified as a greenhouse gas by Tyndall in 1859, and that by 1896 the rate of overheating was being written about [by Arrhenius, amongst others].

    Even as the world burns as never before (well not since the impact that caused the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago), even as the ice melts at an unprecedented rate in the existence of our species, we hear NOTHING from our politicians and the corporatised media about the extreme danger of persisting with industrialism. Persisting with high levels of industrialism is a given, even though persisting with high levels of industrialism is what is ‘killing us’, and even though persisting with industrialism is the fastest way to bring about about the death of the system via depletion of resources and accumulation of waste.

    We know why: most of the media commentators are ignoramuses and a large portion of our elected representatives are also ignoramuses. And many have short-term vested interests how things were before Covid-19 hit.

    The ones who are not ignoramuses are too cowardly to to do what needs to be done.

    And everyone who is in charge or wants to be in charge is beholden to financial backers who make their money out of looting and polluting, or by operating Ponzi scheme predicated on looting and polluting.

    The latest daily update clearly tells us where we have been and where we are headed.

    Daily CO2
    Jul. 27, 2020: 413.36 ppm
    Jul. 27, 2019: 409.83 ppm

    Sure, there are daily fluctuations which result in inter-year differences varying. Nevertheless, the 3.53 ppm increase over the year is indicative of the grim future our children/grandchildren face as a consequence of the decades-long binge on fossil fuels (which only really took off since the 1970s).

    Anyone who is not convinced by the above figures need only look at the historic data to see how ‘fucked’ we are: 180 ppm above the 800,000-year average, and rising at an unprecedented rate (beyond anything in the geological record) despite coronavirus.

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/co2_800k.png

    Right now we have those with an extreme sense of entitlement telling us the way forward is to continue overheating the Earth to the point of making it largely (or completely) uninhabitable for humans. And, I should add, along the way triggering monumental sea-level rise that will inundate most major cities around the world and flood humungous areas of agricultural land. The melting of the ice on Greenland equates to 7 metres of sea level rise.

    In the light of the massive population overshoot (not so much in NZ but particularly in Europe and some parts of Asia), and in the light of extraordinary damage humans do to the environment, Covid-19 might be regarded as a blessing, the ‘puff of wind’ that is in the process of bringing down the house-of-cards political-economic arrangements that have been facilitated by the mass production and mass utilisation of internal combustion engines over the past century or so, and by the creation of money out of thin air to facilitate the extraction of fossil fuels and the production of internal combustion engines.

    I am personally have been far exceeding my historic carbon footprint as I have been devoting my time and energy and money to projects relating to the rapidly coming global economic meltdown. I recognise that my previous efforts to reduce my low carbon footprint were futile in the face of widespread insanity predicated on the availability of cheap fuels and engines to use them. Many people are more-than-happy to burn 100 litres of fuel and release the commensurate many kilogrammes of emissions to get a trivial thrill that lasts a few seconds, or a few minutes, or an hour or two at the most.

  14. Afewknowthetruth the CAUSE of the issues you raise is Overpopulation. The EFFECT of that Overpopulation is all you mention. And here in Aotearoa, where our Population Ratio to the Rest of the World is 1/1560 we can’t change Diddley Squat except maybe set an example and Stop trying to “grow” Our Population.
    The Clowns calling for “Safe” Open Borders are enunciating an Impossibility just in order to Whip Up the Populous and garner some Votes. There are no “Safe” open Borders presently. The Virus spreads like Wildfire if it can gain a Foothold. We either allow it to or not!
    There are no “half” measures that can be facilitated.

  15. “So they are desperate to open up our borders because they are fearful we might return to the days when a self -sufficient Aotearoa New Zealand was the order of the day.”

    Say what? NZ has never been self-sufficient. Ever. Certainly not before the first European explorers got here; and not at any time since.

    Here’s a thing: if you’re supplying statistics of the sort in this post, please provide links, so that we can see where these figures came from.

    “So let’s NOT open up our borders until our Public Health experts say it’s safe and not some vote- seeking politicians.”

    Last week, I was informed that a whole bunch of Hollywood types – including some very well-known names – had arrived in NZ in the previous few days.

    Now: what was that about the borders being closed?

    You may be dead keen on the idea of this country being locked up tighter than a drum: many of us are extremely sceptical that any such closure applies, if people are coming in from the US or wherever, and apparently being given dispensation because they’re famous.

    We cannot live – literally – without trade. Where do you think that the necessities of life will come from, if this country cannot trade? You may wish to return to the way life here was, before Cook and other European explorers brought megafauna and vegetables such as potato, cabbage and carrot. I assure you that the rest of us do not. I doubt that you’d be at all keen on it, in truth.

    A fortiori, we have close family members in other countries. If the borders remain closed, we may never see them again. These are siblings: I really don’t want to think of that prospect. Yet this is what would likely happen, were the borders to remain closed. We’re boomers: some of our family members are older still. We don’t have the time to wait around.

  16. Bert tourism is not a false economy its unsustainable. So we need to think of other ideas that are not so destructive to our country. I believe we can come up with the solutions but we need to stop banging our heads against the wall and we need to work together as we did to eliminate community Covid. When one door closes another door opens.

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