Dr Liz Gordon: The virus is back


In my last blog I speculated that a breakout of community infection of the Covid virus was the one thing that could harm Labour’s chances at the election.

I take it back.  The response from the government has been so quick, so sure-footed and so fair that, for me at least, it reminded me why Jacinda has received so much attention internationally for her response.

Compare it with Victoria, which faffed around for ages until the numbers grew so large that a six-week lockdown had to be imposed.  At the moment Auckland is only in level 3 for three days, although further evidence of community transmission means that a four week lockdown is probably on the way.

Good grief, has Gerry Brownlee got a virus in the head?  Or was he simply having a Trumpian moment? Whatever it was, intimating that the government knew all about the community transmission in advance and kept it from the people was a nasty, low blow.

And what on earth would Jacinda have had to gain by waiting to announce the sad news?  I don’t believe it at all (even though I also heard the story days ago – I think the Nats have been planting this for a while).   Urging the population to be prepared in case of community transmission is not the same as saying such transmission exists and we are hiding it from you.

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There is nothing dirtier than the dirty politics of innuendo, aimed at bringing down the trust that the people hold for the government.  When I saw Gerry standing up there, smirking away with his dirty little conspiracy theories, and Judith smirking in synch, my stomach turned.

Judith wants to stop the election and hold it later, in November.  There is no certainty that November is going to be any better than September. Quite the reverse – many people are predicting an international ‘second wave’ by then.

The only things that are needed for the election to proceed are (1) the means to get one’s political message across to the people, and (2) an assurance that those eligible to enrol and vote are not hindered in their ability to do this.

As far as I can tell, while the situation is not perfect, both those conditions can be met, even under level 4, should we get to that.

It looks like Grant Robertson’s glory box of $14 billion is going to be opened sooner rather than later, to save the workers of Auckland.

So I said on Monday that this kind of situation could affect Labour’s re-election chances.  On the performance of the parties today, I was so wrong, wrong, wrong. Any comparison of earnest and focussed Jacinda, against the smirking faces and negative role of the National Party leaders, would lead anyone to conclude that only one party can lead the country through the difficult times that lie ahead.


Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.


  1. “The response from the government has been so quick, so sure-footed and so fair that, for me at least, it reminded me why Jacinda has received so much attention internationally for her response.”

    Sure footed but in the wrong direction.

    I would hazard a guess that we’ll be in level 4 by Monday because we have infections right across the country.

    • If it wasn’t for Gossman spreading rightwing amphetamines online, you Andrew would be TDBz oldest uncle-Merve but you’re not, you’re just the freshest-Merv.

      • We’ll see. I’d wage a fiver that we’ll be in level 4 by midnight Friday if unrelated cases pop up today.

        There’s only one way this could have got back into the country via our border ‘control’.

        Everyone on the left seems mighty defensive if these are indeed ‘conspiracy’ theories.

        If this isn’t widespread then game over and Labour win by even a larger majority – this has to be the most likely scenario still unless there has been some shenanigans behind the scene.

        • I have it on reasonable authority level 4 is imminent. That said, we need to respond. Sitting on your keyboard politicizing this won’t solve the issue and certainly selfish acts by those running out of Auckland and those in isolation trying to flee will keep covid active indefinitely. This will continue and unless you’re prepared for our Government to implement Marshall law, how is the Government responsible for others personal responsibility?

          • You’ll find the middle far more restless than last time if we do go into L4 lockdown again.

            Us ‘righties’ will abide by the laws – that doesn’t mean we need to agree with them nor indeed robustly criticize the decisions and actions before, during and after any new lock down. That’s democracy and we shouldn’t be told just to sit there and accept it when we feel strongly against some of the actions taken.

            Apologies if you feel we should all act like sheep just because you like Jacinda and she’s a nice person trying her best.

            • Bro I haven’t gone back to full pay from the first lockdown and I’m still waiting for our PM to announce when her pay cut is going to kick in.

              Team of 5 million…yea right

            • But no one is acting like sheep just because we agree with the governments handling, we just have a different perspective.
              Thus I take note that around the world people and leaders see the PM as more than.just a “nice person”. Perhaps your own ideals get in the way of seeing this but I will take there views on this as theirs are seen as a general consensus on our PM rather than yours.
              And lastly how many of the Aucklanders who have done a runner are “RIGHTIES or Lefties for that matter, thus your statement that “us righties will abide by the law” is a massive generalization.

          • Bert: “….Marshall law…”

            I assume that you mean “martial law”.

            With army involvement in the quarantine centres, we inch closer to it.

        • Frank there are many other scenarios.
          Covid19 imported by way of material posted then used to infect so allow NACT ( Dirty tricks ) to falsely badger the COL govt like you may have done guessing.

          The genome analysis should provide some leads.

            • I don’t back any conspiracy theories but just give an example to show there may be many other explanations than carelessness at the border.
              But real evidence to consider will be the results from the genome analysis which should be public fairly soon.

  2. Unfortunately, as idiotic as Brownlee’s conspiracy theory is, like Trump and his bizarre rants there will be the uneducated people who have/will latch onto what Brownlee said and develop his conspiracy theory to the point when it becomes fact. Luckily only in their own limited minds which reminds me of a comment made by an MP in the NZ Parliament – “His (read their) brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides.”

  3. To say the virus is back is bullshit the virus has been here for sometime and will always be here as long as our borders are open the virus will always be with us and we all need to get that into our heads ASAP. We were all warned about the importance of tracing and about not going to work if we felt sick. This incident is yet another reminder for us to heed the advice we have received. Now we can’t stop people from coming home so we cant stop the virus from entering our country. All we can do is keep working hard. We need to keep working together and not let the nutters with their nutty theories divide us. United we stand divided we will fall, just look at Victoria. As for the election, the sooner we have it the better, we need certainty.

    • Covid is pa,

      I disagree bro. If we still had the virus in the community since the lockdown ended fully on the 9th June. Someone would have presented at some point as a symptomatic case and a shitstorm would have got underway. I’m certain this current outbreak was bought in through the border when the flood of “kiwis” returned to NZ. My best guess is a security guard at a quarantine facility or at the airport is where this outbreak got underway some time from middle to late July. Most cases have mild symptoms but sooner or later someone very poorly would have been the focus.

      I’d like the election to go as scheduled but it’s now guaranteed to be delayed. The PC tomorrow at 4pm will announce Auckland is going back into a level 4 lockdown. You can take that to the bank. 100% guaranteed. The only question marks are for how long and when will it start. I’m picking Sunday night at midnight. That time makes the most sense. it gives business a little over 48 hours to prepare for level 4 trading on Monday. As for how long. 14 days is not long enough. There are many cases being discovered and will be over the next 14 days so the lockdown will need to be for longer. It wil either be 21 days or 28 days. 28 makes good sense from a health perspective but 21 days would be more widely accepted by business. Im picking it will be 21 days.

      I can’t wait to see NZ voters send arrogant and despicable National to the nearest landfill. They’ve done irreparable damage to NZ. Our beautiful country is now more divided than it was during the 81 Springbok tour. Selfishness has been promoted by National as has blistering contempt for those doing it hard. That is not the NZ I grew up in and want to leave behind for my kids and grandkids etc.

      The certainty you seek is already here. National will suffer an unprecedented drubbing at the polls regardless of the election date.

      • JC
        You are talking about possible “benign” infections.
        These are not the only options. We have seen Nationals Maleficence, lies and irresponsibility around covid19 and a fresh outbreak can be managed easily. Over 100 days gives plenty of time and a week or so is enough for an outbreak to be implemented at little cost.
        The possibilities are wide.
        When Dunedin has identified the genome we may glean some important information about this “new” outbreak and where it came from.

  4. I know all your woke heads will explode, but I think that we have done exactly the wrong thing in NZ.

    Take a look at the stats for Sweden (google has a nice little app type in “Covid 19 deaths Sweden” and check the curve). They have suffered ~ 5750 fatalities out of a population of 10.23 million but they’re now through it and the have no more deaths and few infections. Herd immunity. The overall fatality rate for that nation is 0.055% with most of those fatalities already severely compromised by other conditions and likely to ‘check out’ sooner rather than later anyway.

    They had no lock-down and only voluntary social distancing to flatten the curve so their economy was barely affected, but more importantly they maintained their normal medical diagnosis and treatment of other conditions. Experts in NZ, the UK and US are now saying the (~80%) drop in general medical work during the lock down will result in more fatalities than the virus – so expect a wave of deaths next year due to late cancer and heart disease diagnosis and treatment.

    People need to realize that this virus isn’t going away and we can’t carry on with endless lock-downs. Let’s open the borders and get on with what is inevitable.

    • Andrew, herd immunity would mean that 8 million Swedes roughly had contracted the virus. The figure is 80,000 and deaths are huge per capita. The architects of the approach in Sweden have declared success (as they would), and that has been well reprinted here, but many others think that Sweden has not beaten the virus. Also, there are significant questions about immunity, and the ability to catch the virus over and over (aka the common cold, also a coronavirus).
      I love NZ’s strategy, and this is not because I am ‘woke’, whatever that is. Because it is about eradication, the ability to live free from the virus that is rampaging the world. Such a gift we have been given, and one worth fighting for.

    • Andrew; So let the elders die first eh??? is that your suggestion?
      We need to do this to save us all.
      UK has confirmed elders are the most who die.

      • Elderly are now most venerable and are dying in NZ now without being diagnosed if, they previously had or still have Covid 19 that is the cause of death by using two testing protocols explained below.
      • UK are claiming that early diagnosis and treatment give patients a better chance of survival.
      • So clearly we not finding all the complete more accurate data and are running without adequate accurate data on this Covid 19 pandemic to save lives.
      • As CEAC has said before; the statistics must incorporate with the current ‘swab test’- “the antibody test (also called a serology test.) which confirm all who developed immunity to Covid 19 before death.
      • We need to know who has actually developed immunity to the virus.
      • We do not have these tools at present in the test protocol
      • NZ Ministry of health is using only the nasal or throat swab test, which can ‘migrate’ from the nasal or throat in a few days we are being advised.
      • The current ‘nasal throat Swab’ coronavirus test look for the virus’ genetic material in a sample of mucus, which is usually collected by a nasal or throat swab administered by a health care worker. and only diagnose a current infection.
      • Whereas the antibody test (also called a serology test.) finds who develops immunity to Covid 19.
      • It signifies that the person has been exposed to the virus long enough that their immune system has been responding to it- which is the real gold standard now being used.
      • Ministry of Health must incorporate with the current ‘swab test’- “the antibody test (also called a serology test.) which confirm all who develop immunity to Covid 19, to save citizens lives and avoid false negative throat nasal swab tests.
      • Conduct full Covid 19 testing of all our citizens firstly and complete a full assessment of solid robust controlled ‘track & tracing’ of the Covid 19.
      • We must have mass testing of all our whole community firstly to have a solid ‘robust tracing process’ to fight Covid 19.

      • Cleangreen, I’m sorry to have to break this to you: Old people die.

        What I’m saying is that the cost *in terms of lives lost* of the lock-down will be higher than those taken by the virus.

        The last Covid 19 death (so far) in NZ was at age 95. That does not represent a life lost. It’s a life that’s been lived and extended well beyond the average lifespan, which is currently 81.66 years.

        • Andrew, you must be a National Party supporter.

          We all die both young and old but we thankfully live in a part of the world that values all life regardless of age. Part of the problem with Covid is people minimizing the degree of danger the virus poses due to the advanced age of many victims that succumb to the disease. This helps explain the diabolically selfish attitudes of younger people when the virus strikes. It’s invariably younger people that abscond from quarantine. It’s invariably younger people busted for breaching lockdown rules. It’s invariably younger people protesting their freedoms being restricted with lockdown rules and invariably younger people who carry on as normal exactly as if they couldn’t possibly care less about anyone but themselves. They, like many shitheels place virtually no value on the life of an elderly person. They were going to die at some point so what’s the problem ? They have lived past the average lifespan so no big deal.

          Thank fuck these pricks don’t work in aged care facilities. Why not just have all elderly people put down and save taxpayer dosh.

          A person who is say 90 years of age would have lived through the great depression and WWII. They will have seen Kings and Queens come and go, Presidents and Prime Ministers come and go. They will have witnessed so much on thier life journey and have immense knowledge to share. They will have paid a fortune in tax. They will be treasured and loved by their clan. They will have raised children that also helped build our country into what it is today. Older people are generally very unselfish and will have made many sacrifices for others. As they age, we return the favour and look after them. We don’t put business or sport etc ahead of them. They are a well deserving priority.

          My beautiful mother is 82. I hope she lives well past the average age you quoted. I value her and her life more than ever. She doesn’t want to cause a fuss and is far more concerned about young people than she is about herself. Very typical mindset of an elderly person. What a shame many younger people couldn’t give a rats arse about the elderly via their pig-ignorant selfish logic. My mother is a huge part of our world and is adored by all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 81.66 years may be the average lifespan but don’t confuse that number with a use by date.

        • Andrew, So by your standard any elder over 70 yrs old is expendable eh Andrew?

          Gees you are a hard nut; – I guess you are all for “the end of life bill to eh? We see where you are coming from.

        • Spose’ if you make it past 81.67 years old its time to be taken out and given the old ‘Logans Run’ treatment , eh?

          What an ass you are, buddy. This isn’t some military selection process where generals get to sit around and posit whose expendable in an assault you absolute clown.

    • Well you can always piss off to Sweden. If you were to get covid and die you will be just another one added to your statistics. It won’t affect us just another number 5751, no consequences to us. What an extremely narrow minded view. Why don’t you be the first in line?

    • But what are the numbers on those “recovered ” that will have life changing health issues as a result of Covid? These have been highlighted around the world as how Covid is significantly different than any other viruses. What are those stat?
      What will be the ongoing Cost to the economy in keeping these people healthy and what will be their quality of life?

  5. You a right Andrew!
    Jacinda can not shut the economy down every couple of months.The decimation of business, thus employment and eventually the financial viability of the Nation as a whole will colapse.
    The suffering will be wide spread.
    The only viable solution is to accept the virus is here and elimination is not an option. We tried that, at a very real cost, and it failed !
    Tell the vunerable to stay home and look after themselves.
    Let the rest of the people get on with keeping the wheels turning.

    • Says the man that wakes up every morning alive. I wonder if any of the over 5700 dead that Andrew mentions , think herd mentality was the right idea?

      • Yep Bert I get up every morning pull on the boots and go to work and have been doing that for more than 50 years. I will keep doing that until the “grim reaper” catches up with me.
        He might be called covis, might be a heart attack who knows? But I refuse to cower in the corner and wait for him and watch this country bankrupted !!

        • Clifford
          There are better ways to organise our economy than the neo-liberal mess we are determined to continue with BAU thinking.
          This country should never be bankrupt while we can organised to feed ourselves, provide shelter, education and a well resourced state health care system
          Meanwhile we give away billions to predatory bankers plus many times that amount to corporate off shore investors and “profits” from parasitic take overs of public agencies.
          Grant Roberton just gave 31 billion to the off shore banks and less that 8% of that will reach the streets. It will be used to inflate financial assets with no benefit to the Kiwi public.

          Tell me please why anyone on this earth should have a billion dollars and how you would lay your hands on even half a billion without cashing in on the efforts of others.

        • Over the top for you then mate. Your instructions are to take out that machine gun nest alone armed only with a plastic fork.

          Godspeed old chap.

          Army’s proud of suc, – I mean – brave volunteers such as yourself.

        • Clifford J, I notice your self interest. Any concern for the thousands of children left parent less because of the fucked up herd mentality?

  6. Actually Andrews and Cliffords j daft responses about herd immunity is exactly why some of our Maori whanau implemented road blocks. And I see an Aboriginal group have done the same. We we are not a herd and we do not want to be rounded up like hoskings said. And we do not want to be eradicated OF THIS PLANT like many other indigenous peoples. Herd immunity requires sacrifice if you want to be a sacrificial lamb then you can bugger of to Sweden of you go on your bike Andrew and can you take mike motor mouth hoskings and clifford j with you.

    • So how many times to you shut the country down. 2 more times, 10 more times?
      Each time we shut down the economy more businesses will close their doors, more jobs are lost, more poverty for more New Zealanders.
      At some point we have accept that the virus has to be lived with.
      Or do you all believe that there is a utopia where funds will just keep arriving in your bank account while you stay at home under virtual house arrest?
      With a very few “”Essential Workers” providing the necessities of life for you?
      At some point soon reality must be faced.

      • As many times as it takes.
        The reality you quote is a manufactured on than can be reworked to suit the conditions.
        It is not immutable as the civid19 outbreak has shown.
        The economic model we accept is not the best for Kiwis but suits those international parasites organising what the want and getting Kiwis to go along with it.
        Take a look at what happened here in the 1930s and we can do much better than that.

        And your argument?

      • And how many deaths do you think it justify’s? So you’d quite be happy to throw a few thousand ‘useless old people’ into the grave all because YOU are too damn self centered, short sighted and vicious to wait and use these methods until a vaccine arrives, are you?

        And what about all those immuno compromised kids with cancer, – let em ALL get bumped off as well?


        And fuck your stinking working boots as well.

  7. Andrew Clifford J; So to make your solutions more efficient, everyone over 70 should face the firing squad. I hope they give the likes of you’s Auschwitz!

    • Funny how you’re not for old people dying, that they do every day. I get that…I honestly do. But I’m also concerned about the butchers committing suicide because of failed businesses through no fault of their own, or our children left with a mountain of debt so a 95 can live for another six months??

      Every Covid death is sad and terrible, but to be blinded completely by Covid, a fight we’re relying on purely on some other country coming up with a vaccine is delusional. We fight against malaria, the flu, dengue, yellow fever etc every year and people die. We are at risk of not building any community immunity and this playing for years and years.

      • Bg
        I think the butcher can claim some relief through several channels.

        To follow your line of thought then Supermarkets should not open as they destroy butchers livelihoods so promote suicide.

        “We fight against malaria, the flu, dengue, yellow fever etc every year and people die.”

        At present malaria, dengue and yellow fever are not prevalent in NZ but in the countries where those diseases are, then measures are taken to limit their effect or prevent them.
        They don’t sit back and just let people catch the disease and not do anything in case some doubtful herd immunity is to be built up. All three of those diseases have been around for generations so where is the herd immunity.
        Yes people die and some suffer with confusion.

  8. The fact that we are about to head back into lockdown is proof positive that trying to get rid of Corona is a fools errand.
    This is neither left nor right bashing. Or probably more appropriately is is both left and right bashing because National would have followed this fools errand too.

    • Jays you wasting your time being logical and reasonable. I’m with you though. Hey, for what it’s worth, Jacinda will save us.

    • And until we have a vaccine we are in the business of saving lives, – not sacrificing them. And the way things are going there seems to be a few on the near horizon. Recall that Marine Corps adage ‘We leave no one behind’?

      Well here’s one guy that was an American Army medic who took that adage as his own personal creed. Now compare Desmond Doss and his heroic attitude regards human life to stinky workboots Clifford J’s shit attitude and be inspired. And lets all remember the Second world war lasted 5 long years and millions upon millions died. What sort of soft cocks have we become in 2020 ?

      Desmond Doss – Wikipedia

      • But Jays and Herman don’t think saving lives is “logical or reasonable”.
        Here’s a thought, without people, there is no economy.

  9. Jays
    The plan was to factor in lockdown as fresh pockets were detected and that is what is being done.
    What is the problem.

    We should spend more and resource better and more widespread testing and random testing as well, plus build up better stock of PPE, marks and hospital resource.
    This Pandemic is a result of many things and others will proliferate while we run a globalised rat race.
    Our strategy may be tested but it has been shown to work in China, South Korea and Taiwan with variations and in Iceland who have show resolute togetherness in the past with sacking banks and on online community authored constitution.
    Togetherness is not business dictating to the rest about who will die or be left chronically disabled.

  10. Folks are giving Andrew a hard time for pointing out that ultimately lockdown has the potential to cause more deaths than covid. Where that balance point is no one yet knows but it’s there somewhere. It does seem that nearly every recorded death from covid world wide has been of a person with multiple age related co morbidities ,ie other ailments competing with covid to claim responsibility for their death.
    We are lucky in some ways that Sweden is providing a comparison in approach. What the final comparison will be we don’t know yet, and it will not be that much use in deciding how to deal with the next pandemic because it will be of a different lethality . maybe better may be worse. And we don’t know the final effects of this one on patients who seem to recover or show no symptoms either.
    I have no doubt in my mind that the cautious action our government has taken is the right one. But if it proves to not shift the annual average death rate at all which it seems it has not in Sweden where the average death from covid is 82 yrs ,exactly the same as as the average age of death overall,and keeping it out proves almost impossible, we might have to live with it anyway.
    Also I read a couple of weeks ago that deaths from all causes in the UK for the previous 2 weeks had been less than the 5 year average for those two weeks. Indicating that their high death rate cf Sweden was also a matter of hastening the death by a few weeks or days of someone who would be dead by now anyway.
    In the meantime I fully support trying to keep it out. But it will require pretty unusually co-operative human behaviour . Not bolting out of Auckland to avoid the lockdown and so risk spreading it throughout the country like thousands did on Wednesday.
    D J S

  11. Yes nice comment.
    I think people need to declare their own vested interest when they comment.
    If you are susceptible to Covid-19, that’s cool.
    But declare your interest otherwise your comment is displaying nothing more than your own personal motivation and need.
    Comment based on the good for all society, not your own personal good.


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