Waatea News Column: So herd immunity would see Māori & Pacifica sacrificed for the economy? How is that acceptable?


It is because the virus will kill Māori and Pacifica at a far higher rate than more economically secure New Zealanders that demands we are super cautious with our response to this damn virus!

Everyone is feeling the stress from this necessary caution that Jacinda has led but if those arguing to reopen the borders too quickly and lift restrictions had their way and we went for a herd immunity approach as some right-wing commentators are suggesting, the cost would be borne by the most vulnerable communities hardest.

Research out this week showed Māori and Pacifica would face thousands of needless deaths and tens of thousands made ill, some seriously.

It is the poor, the old, those living in overcrowded housing, working-class essential workers and the brown who are bearing the brunt of this pandemic, and they join the millions of other New Zealanders in feeling economically stressed and emotionally anxious right now.

This Government must not betray the people by putting right-wing business interests before the welfare of the people.

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There can’t be an economy if the community is too sick and frightened to work.

The reality is that until there is a vaccine, and that is not likely until the end of 2022, mandatory mask-wearing, constant hand washing, social distancing and limited socialization is the only way we can move forward for the economy.

The cost of allowing the virus to hurt those with the least most while those with the most are least hurt is too great for a democracy to tolerate.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. And we must never forget the elders among us all as they would suffer equally as well; – if the borders open again as business wants them, because the elderly health has also equally compromised after many years of ‘substandard public health reductions of services’ by successive governments during this century.
    ‘Lest we forget’

  2. If there is a better reason for Maori and Pasifika people not to vote National, I would like to know what it is.
    One of my work colleagues (a National apologist) a few weeks ago was grumbling that in his opinion Labour should have gone for “containment” instead of eradication.
    Your article confirms to me what I already suspected – that it is a general right-wing attitude that some deaths are OK, as long as they are not the ones dying and that the dying is happening a long way away from them.
    The unsaid bit is that they think there should be a kind of COVID ghetto established in South Auckland where all the brown people can be sent and kept there until the pandemic is over.
    That is the selfish mentality of the political right in this country.
    Journalists should be putting National on the spot and demanding to know what National’s attitude is to all this.

    • Great points MTL. We should pity them really. They know nothing else. Neo Lib has taught them to be self centered. National has done the rest. We need to keep the Natz/Act/NZF coalition OUT of power for the sake of our Elders, Maori and Pacifica and all the battlers out there whatever your flavour.

  3. Firstly my understanding is a certain percentage of people have to get the virus in order for herd immunity to be effective. Some health professionals have said up to 60% of a countries total population. While others have said 30 – 40%. Now Sweden has had about 6% of their population contract the virus yet over five thousand deaths. So Sweden has not reached herd immunity yet based on the percentages. In order for it to be effective thousands more would have to die. In NZ this approach would be a huge strain on our public health system. Our Public health system both primary and secondary are already suffering from years of neglect, cuts to services, lack of investment and a chronic shortage of Clinicians. We have many NZers waiting for treatment and operations, will they have to suffer, possibly die, or go without for us to achieve this herd immunity. People need to think before they make such outrageous unacceptable claims particularly when the countries they say are exemplary examples are not doing very well themselves nor have they achieved what they claim they have set out to do.

  4. “So herd immunity would see Māori & Pacifica sacrificed for the economy? How is that acceptable?”
    It’s totally acceptable.
    If you’re a bankster, a politician with a bankster’s hand down your politicians pants, a business-person doing business -person business, an accountant, a lawyer, a Ferrari dealership, a mortgage broker or any other scum bag who’s business is the business of money first, humanity second that is. ( Unless exploiting humanity can turn over ‘good coin’, like old fashioned slavery, the military, the welfare-dependent industry and private prisons to name a few.)
    This on RNZ re Kiwi Bank.
    Fuck Kiwi Bank !
    I’m cancelling my Kiwi Bank accounts immediately and it’s either SBS or TSB for me.
    “Kiwibank closes account of medicinal cannabis seller it had given ‘local heroes’ award”
    Ok. I understand that banksters have laws governing them ( Unless you’re really, really, really rich, of course. ) but to cancel this persons accounts without a by-your-leave is pure and unadulterated arrogance.

    BTW. Nice loss wankers.
    Jim Anderton would be ashamed of you.
    Kiwibank profit down $51 million from last year

    • We’re starting to run out of NZ owned banks. We may have to go back to storing our savings in an old biscuit tin under the bed.

      • Big Hungry Iain: “We’re starting to run out of NZ owned banks.”

        TSB; Southland Savings Bank (SBS Bank); Kiwibank; the Cooperative Bank (formerly the PSIS and to which we in this household used to refer as “Pississ”. That’s a few to be going on with.

      • TSB and SBS are Kiwi owned. (Were Taranki Savings Bank I think, and Southland Building Society incorporating another I think Hawkes Bay BS.) So think about changing to them if it is convenient for you. Kiwibank is affected by neolib economics and management a bit much I think.

  5. ‘mandatory mask-wearing, constant hand washing, social distancing and limited socialization is the only way we can move forward for the economy.’

    Bearing in mind that the economy is the chief reason we are going backwards (generating ever worse outcomes) on every aspect and factor that matters, we should actually be celebrating the shrinking of the economy.

    I don’t know how you define moving forward, Martyn, but for me moving forward means reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, reducing fossil fuel dependence, and working restoring ecological balance and restoring energy balance: The orthodox economy does none of those things and actually makes all of them worse.

    In the context of governance and the economy, it pays to remember that there is no goal, no point at which we can say we have achieved what we set out to do. In fact governance and the economy are simply process driven -the most important processes being the extraction of fossil fuels and the burning of them, and the creation of debt and the charging of interest on that debt, to the detriment of everyone on the planet.


  6. We have problems? just look at China now;

    The day of reckoning is here finally; China increased ‘climate emissions vastly during the last decade’ and now has to pay for it. Typhoons and floods are increasing in the south China seas.

    China faces extreme weather as temperatures rise, more rain falls – government forecasters;

    Large parts of southern China’s planting regions have been waterlogged, affecting rice, tobacco and fruit production, he said, adding that rainfall in the south over the next 10 days is expected to exceed average levels by between 30%-70%.

    “From a wider perspective, along with global warming, the likelihood of extreme weather events is increasing,” said Chen Hao, an official with China’s National Climate Center, at the same Tuesday briefing.

    China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said on Tuesday that it had already disbursed 1.32 billion yuan ($192 million) in emergency funds to help disaster relief, with a large proportion of the money going to flood-hit central and southern regions.

    • China has suffered floods and crop failure over a very long period.
      During the GLF deaths mounted with drownings, starvation and disease due to climate over a 3-4 year period.

      But as much as the US smears China for GHG emissions the hard data shows that per capita GHG emissions from the USA are over six times higher. But China is addressing both poverty and GHG emissions with steady reduction across both.
      Meanwhile the USA sees per capita GHG emission steadily rising and also the numbers in poverty dramatically.

      Bear in mind that a significant portion of China’s GHG emissions is due to manufacture of goods for export mainly the USA but also many other countries such as NZ.

  7. No New Zealanders are economically secure, other than those who own productive land.

    Those at or near the top of the financial pyramid will lose most of their intangible assets when the financial markets collapse. They will unable to meet their lifestyle commitments and will be trying to sell overpriced dwellings in market that has no requirement for overpriced dwellings, nor any money to finance them.

    Those at the bottom of the financial pyramid may well endure higher rates of Covid-19 but will have the advantage of having little to lose, and in many cases strong friendship and family networks that will be far more important than fiat money. .

  8. Every day the current response to covid19 succeeds it’s a hammer blow to those who believe that society is best organised by small government and the “market”.
    Hence, the “open the borders”, “herd immunity”, “no more lockdowns”, “masks don’t work” etc etc ad nauseam. Every day their political philosophy is being invalidated and for them that cannot be allowed to stand.

  9. It is notable that in the first wave of the virus it was European (Pakeha) that were worst hit suffering almost all the deaths and illness. In reaction the government imposed a Level 4 lockdown to eliminate the virus.

    This time the deaths and illness have been confined to the Pacifica community. No level 4 Lockdown, no elimination strategy, and the virus has been left to circulate in the community.

    As for the economy; While the productive economy was shut down, when millions of working people’s incomes were cut, the usury economy of banking and landlordism was left to power on at full speed. A real Level 4 lockdown would have seen rent and mortgage payements put the into deep freeze aongside working people’s incomes. But no, all the economic pain was heaped on those who could least afford, just as the deaths and illness are now also being heaped on those at the bottom of the racist economic heap.


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