GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Make Contact Tracer Compulsory


I would make using the MOH Contact tracer app and/or signing in compulsory.

Speed limits are compulsory because keeping to the rules saves people’s lives. So I use the Contact Tracing App because it is in the public good to do so.

There is no risk of the data being misused – anyone with privacy and big brother concerns should read the MOH explanation of how the App works
which is available here:

You can download the app onto your phone here:

And please – no posts about Covid 19 being a fraud or any conspiracy theories .

TDB Recommends

This pandemic is real. The number of people who have died in the USA of which Covid -19 was a factor – is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Wellington or Hamilton plus Gisborne

Stay safe –
Look after each other.

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. Great idea. But my phone is 4 years old – too old to install the app, in spite of being able to surf the net, take, edit and share good photos, make call around the world, send messages and texts likewise. Plus other features.
    So – who’s going to buy me a new phone because I can’t afford one?

    • My phone is 10 years old, but it does allow me to ring people and send texts! I live in an area with no cell phone coverage, why own a modern phone? Unless these issues are taken into account no compulsory scheme is valid.

    • Agree with Rosie Lee I have an old cell phone and I only got it due to the covid. In fact my partner gave his old one and updated. So I am not sure if it will work as I don’t carry it on me all the time and if I am gonna be tracked I will not bother. I know where I go as I am a person of habit and this is a step too far for me I am a very private person for good reason. I am happy to keep track of myself and that is as far as I will go. The government cannot force people to have a smart phone. Also the government needs to help provide masks as our living cost are already far too high and who is actually really benefitting from all the people coming in through our borders not us we are just more at risks.

    • Ross you may jest but the CIA and FBI already operate secretly in NZ.
      And that is no joke. NZ doesn’t want US interference in our country nor should the public accept US interference in NZ affairs at any level.

      The app and signing in are facilitated in a number of places but not universally. Reliance on them may bring false confidence. A personal note of where you have been and who you have met with would seem a more comprehensive addition.
      My dinosaur cell won’t run apps but suits me far better than a smart fone with size. battery life and volume as well as being much more robust.
      The apps may give MOH a set of leads to follow up but with travel around the country it would seem important that full information on any cases and places visited be made public knowledge. Some of that is done now but detail lacks.

  2. People who complain about “privacy and big brother concerns” happily and ignorantly use Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc, Apple products/software etc etc.

    If they read Shoshana Zuboff’s well reviewed book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”, then they would understand the hypocrisy of refusing to utilise a simple Cover-19 Tracer app.

    Or even if they had just halfway paid attention to Dotcom’s “moment of truth”.

    Using the Cover tracer app is not going to bring the spooks and corporate data profiteers to your door.
    They’re already comfortably sitting in your living room having a cup of coffee and watching TV with you!

    • People are entitled to there privacy Jase and we know how smart TVs can also spy but there is no way the government can force people to have the cellphones necessary to be tracked nor can they punish people for not wearing one of those dog tag things around their necks. Its easy to forget and lose things are they going to send us to prison or issue fines. Anyway how are they going to enforce the tracking policy its dumb and it will be met with derision. Far better for our government to get there act together and keep covid out through better border control, better facilities, better trained and fully equipped well enumerated staff. This is what we were promised. They need to do there job that is what they are paid for and that is why they got elected.

      • I agree @covid is pa that we are entitled to our privacy, but I’m afraid that particular entitlement is well and truly moot in the technological age of the 21st century. Your metadata is being utilised as we converse here! Unless one becomes a hermit, eschews the internet and cellular networks, and avoids street cams, security cams, ATM cameras etc etc and all the associated increasingly sophisticated facial recognition software, it is virtually impossible to remain anonymous.
        In terms of the Covid Tracer app, it can hardly worsen that state of affairs. However, what it does do, is provide a speedy effective way to contact and alert folk if they have been potentially exposed to the virus. A virus none of us want to catch, especially in light of more recent medical reports which highlight increased risk of permanent and ongoing physiological damage.
        So whatever perceived costs to its use (and as I have outlined, these are minimal in terms of ‘privacy’) are outweighed by the enormous benefit of stamping out new clusters and outbreaks before they take root. Surely, even if you don’t care about your own health, you would do this for your fellow more vulnerable citizens?
        Managed isolation facilities and there management is a different kettle of fish, but all I will say is no system is perfect, and we need multiple layers of protection to deal with this, or any other pandemic.
        And if wearing a lightweight fabric mask is considered a cruel impingement on our rights, as expressed by some in the streets of the good ol’ USA lately, then neoliberal thinking has truly succeeded in quashing our collective community spirit and there is little hope for us to deal with this and other threats to our ongoing existence 🙁

      • I don’t know what “pa” means, but if it means “pan america” then the slogan “covid is pa” is probably correct.

  3. A year after a coronavirus first emerged in the community, and has since caused little sickness, the government introduces compulsory mask use. This arbitrary enforcement, which has no basis in science, typifies this joke of a government and their little rules (based on do-gooder virtuous ideology). Covid is the new religion for some people and God it stinks. The idea that tracking people through an app and through their flybuys will save lives is even more ridiculous.

    • Jody
      I’m on your side.

      And whereas Jase has stated the obvious outcome of ‘creeping control’ administered by agents who in most cases lack higher education and have been brought up in environments like –ummm Red Squad for example – which is the police squad that nurtured assistant commissioner Bugs Burgess who headed the Dot Dom raids deemed later to have been illegal; and which produces a very basic level of legal ethics (e.g. rule of police is more important than rule of law): why propose technology which will make ‘creeping control’ – ‘total control’?

    • The problem is that hardly anybody is using the app, or signing in. The problem does not lie with method; it lies with the fools who are choosing not to use it.

      • Some are happy to believe it will not be them.
        Many who die on the roads have a similar belief and take unnecessary risks. Some bring misfortune on others because they gamble with risk.
        Its called being irresponsible.

    • Jody the use of masks to reduce spreading of infection is well based in science. There have been several information bulletins from the MOH and virologist on our radio.
      Covid19 a religion for some people may be an impression you have but believing it exists or that it is contagious or that lock downs serve some other purpose: depends on your understanding of information about covid19.
      Most of us are ignorant of the virology but there are reliable scientists who help us to get the latest information. There are many pools of false information also much of it out of the USA.

      I watch street protest in the US against using masks and shudder at the mob ignorance.
      Taiwan has the lowest covid19 death rate per million in the world. Mask wearing in Taiwan has been almost continuous since SARS, Taiwan was prepared for another epidemic and acted the instant knowledge of a strange flu was rumoured in China.

      “The idea that tracking people through an app and through their flybuys will save lives is even more ridiculous.”

      That idea is related to preventing spread which may well save lives, pain and misery long term for some. I don’t want to catch it nor have family or friends catch it so applause any simple intervention preventing or reducing contagion.
      Take a look how they tackle any suspected case in Wuhan China. Our death rate per million is 5.2 whereas China’s is 3.4. They use masks extensively which helps as well as having compulsory masks in an area with contagion.

  4. Compulsory face masks on public transport but not in taxis or Uber . Not sure wether to make signing in compulsory. Jacinda is still trying to be the nice person that can fix all the countries problems with a smile and tilt of the head.

    • Sounds familiar aye Trev we have gone from a smiling assassin who was awarded a knighthood to a smile and tilt the head.

      • True . It seems the same problem all over the World people vote for a person without looking at the policies . This applies to both right and left factions . With the 4 estate loosing it’s power to uncover corruption or stupidity it seems we are stuck with PR driven parties.

        • We have become shallow people Trev, John Key being elected is yet another example of our fellow NZers shallowness.

  5. Unless NZ closes it’s borders and takes a long hard look at what is helping spread the virus around other countries, then it is just a band aid approach.

    China still imprisoning those who are trying to stop Covid and reporting on it.

    “A Chinese citizen journalist detained since May for reporting on the coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan is facing up to five years in jail after being formally indicted on charges of spreading false information.

    Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer, was arrested more than six months ago after reporting on the outbreak. She is being held in a detention facility in Shanghai.

    She was accused of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”, an accusation frequently used against critics and activists inside China, after reporting on social media and streaming accounts.”

    • I would suggest that this propaganda story is reflected in the dozens of Western propaganda outlets but no real details are covered or corroborated.
      Similar stuff to the plethora of false stories around the so called Hon Kong “Democracy” protests engineered by the US NGO NED who specialise in that stuff in over a dozen countries.
      China acknowledged the “new” virus within a few days of it being reported. and verified the virus actually existed then reported it to WHO and took action. All that took a few days and the timeline of events is found on the net and in WHO records..
      But we still get trumped up stories about penalising people for reporting the virus.
      If she was arrested then seeking the actual grounds and what her actions were would make some sense out of the situation.
      People get arrested in NZ as well.

      Yes China does have laws about spreading false information but it is hearsay that was a part of her grounds for arrest.

  6. Government needs to look broader of what is causing the growing virus… they are complacent because NZ has traditionally avoided due to geographic location the worst effects of it… but changing with free trade and mass immigration.

    Shocking footage of ‘severely injured’ pigs on Spanish farms released

    We now have so many food created diseases around the world, from Covid, MERS, foot and mouth to Mad cow.

    Easy to see why with intensive and cruel standards of farming out competing local and humane ways to farm and being imported into NZ. A race to the bottom.

    This is made worse by supermarkets wanting the largest and cheapest farmers products to stock from and it’s getting worse with globalism and big business expanding across geographical locations and wiping out local and boutique farming.

    • Yes NZ buys pig meat from overseas because it is cheaper.
      But not for the planet nor the worker in NZ pig farms.
      Closing borders has many advantages.

      • Cheap poor quality food is cheaper for supermarkets, not consumers or NZ farmers or the country, society and planet.

  7. You write @ BB.
    1/ ” I would make using the MOH Contact tracer app and/or signing in compulsory.”
    2/ “Speed limits are compulsory because keeping to the rules saves people’s lives.”

    1/ We should instead insist that our government, which is by us, for us and is paid for by us remember that [it] must create within our society a sense of comradery that transcends spanking laws for we naughty little citizens. Only naughty children who’ve woken up too early insist on behaving in a manner that endangers themselves and others. Adults shouldn’t need laws to shepard them through society in such a way that ensures everyone’s safe to do so. We’re all adults for Christ’s sake. Not Americans.
    2/ No they don’t. You haven’t driven far lately have you @ BB?
    To qualify:
    I do a lot of driving. I’ve been driving in one form or another since I was about 6 years old. ( I used to follow mum around the paddocks in our 1938 Ford pick up truck while she tended to lambing.). I had to drive standing up to reach the peddles.
    I’ve lived way the fuck up in the middle of the Canterbury High Country for more than 15 years thus traveling over K after K of gravel roads that got buried in snow in the winter and dry and dusty in the summer.
    Then I became a heavy transport driver dragging forty tonnes here and there on a tractor trailer in heavy city traffic and on long haul.
    Then, I became a locations scout and really, all I did was drive and drive while taking photographs under every driving condition you can imagine. From late night high speed journeys to mountainous 4×4 tracks in ice and snow to dense city traffic. I’ve driven through some of the densest South East Asian cities you can name and if you like that kind of thing, try Phnom Penh Cambodia after dark 25 years ago?
    The one thing I’ve noticed while driving is that our fellow AO/NZ’er is, by and large, passive aggressive, and sometimes not so passive. They tailgate to a point where I must pull over in a line of traffic and let them pass so they can tailgate the person in front having made about a ten meter advantage in getting to where they really have no urgency in getting to. I know because I’ve asked the odd one or two.
    Where there is no signage? AO/NZ drivers never look to get eye contact. Hand gestures and smiles enable people in Sou East Asia get around without fuss but here it’s snarls, swearing, the finger, threats and road rage including punch up’s in the middle of the road. That’s not being a well adjusted citizen being helpful and co-operative. That’s barbarism and dull mindedness.
    Laws won’t fix that. We need a societal transformation and while we have poverty, no matter how polite, we’ll always have short tempered gorillas behind the steering wheel banging into each other while grunting and squeaking.
    And chillingly, for anyone who’s come upon a serious car accident where dead people, kids usually, are lying about on the road as survivors wail and scream no speed limit worked for them because if you have a head-on 70 k, much less 100k you’re going to get fucked up.
    What saves lives is connectedness. We must all be eager to protect each other. And that’s the last thing any rich exploiters gubbimint wants. For us to look out for each other.
    Check this out. Rutger Bergman gives a TED talk on how poverty begets antisocial behaviour and lowers one’s IQ by about 20 points. The same as if you’re an alcoholic or you don’t get enough sleep. God help you then if you’re an insomniac piss head.

    • We have poverty and riches in NZ plus billionaires who suck millions out of NZ daily.
      Greed, wealth disparity and laws to protect the rich, just don’t cut it.
      Living on a planet that is “dying” can’t be allowed to affect the stock market.
      Massive change is needed to get better community interaction in NZ.
      But change to chaos is well on course.
      Kiwis just have to get better at seeing what is happening.

      • Yes John and quantitative easing is turning our millionaires into billionaires as it has done in countries like America who have been printing money for decades.

  8. Make cannabis legal, then we can talk about a Compulsory Contact Tracer.

    Until then, with all respect and at the risk of this comment not being published – GO F*** Yourself.

    • There is is nothing in the graph to show that the increase in the number of cases is due to the wearing of masks; however, there has evidently been a great reduction since, according to the graph. I suggest you stick to the science,: it’s a better guide.

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