Why Haven’t They … ? How to Explain this Government’s Baffling Refusal to Solve New Zealand’s Problems.

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THE LONGER this government lasts, the more its supporters ask: “Why haven’t they … ?” On just about every front, Labour and Green voters, see solutions just begging to be adopted by their government of “kindness”. In matters relating to child poverty, homelessness, mental health, climate change and, of course, Covid-19, the answers are right in front of their noses. Why can’t Jacinda and her ministers see them? How are we to explain this government’s baffling refusal to solve New Zealand’s problems?

For example: Why haven’t they used the twelve months since the outbreak of the global pandemic to …

Recruit a nationwide “Covid Army”?

It was obvious very soon after the Pandemic was declared that the country was going to need a massive and highly co-ordinated response to keep Covid-19 at bay, and that the Ministry of Health (which was never intended to take on an operational role of this size and complexity) was probably not the best institution to provide it.

From the very start, the whole effort should have been presented as the moral equivalent of war. Calling for volunteers to serve on the “front lines” of the “fight against Covid-19” would have attracted hundreds, if not thousands, of New Zealanders. Just as happened in the days of Compulsory Military Training, the jobs of all those who stepped forward to serve “for the duration” of the crisis could have been preserved by law. Just as happened in World War II, volunteers would be feted as heroes.

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The whole quasi-military organisation could have gradually taken over the handling of the pandemic response from the Ministry of Health. Its leadership co-opted from DHBs, Medical Schools, the Armed Forces, the Business Community, Universities and Trade Unions, the “Covid Army” would have formed an “MIQ Division”, a “Track-n-Trace Division”, a “Testing Division”, a “Communications Division” and, ultimately, a “Vaccination Division”. It would have operated as a single, national, publicly-owned and operated entity, with a unified chain-of-command answering directly to the responsible minister.

Had such an entity been created, it is most unlikely that the second and third lockdowns would have been necessary. More importantly, were such a Covid Army in existence right now we would be in the midst of one of the biggest public education campaigns ever mounted in New Zealand.

With the largest vaccination exercise ever attempted in this country looming, radio and television, the newspapers and social media should be driving home the need for all citizens to be inoculated. Co-opting the most creative “creatives” our advertising industry has to offer, this public education exercise should be as relentless as it is imaginative; as hard-hitting as it is surgically targeted. That no such campaign is yet in evidence, with the major roll-out of the vaccine just over three months away, speaks volumes.

Why is it proving so difficult to get any of these things done? Why are private security guards not being tested every fortnight as required? Why has MBIE failed to get the state-owned security firm, promised months ago, up and running? Everywhere we look we find potentially disastrous failures. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand has benefited hugely from a large measure of plain, old-fashioned good luck. It would, however, be the height of folly to base our continuing Covid response on the assumption that our luck will hold.

A politically paranoid person would long ago have concluded that the failure of the government to establish an altogether more coherent and streamlined approach to fighting the Coronavirus is deliberate. Such a person would point to the deeply ingrained resistance throughout both the public and private sectors towards anything smacking of “heavy-handed regulation” – let alone “compulsion”. They would argue that the advice so far tended to the government has almost certainly eschewed anything remotely resembling establishing  publicly owned and managed organisations fully equipped with the legal and moral authority to get things done. After three decades of neoliberal indoctrination, most of the government’s advisers would likely consider such a Covid “cure” considerably worse than the complaint.

Perhaps the best piece of luck we have had in the whole Covid crisis, is the speed with which Jacinda, her Cabinet, and the legally designated bureaucrat responsible for combatting epidemics, the Director General of Health, were forced to act. There simply wasn’t time for ideologues to throw their spanners in the government’s works. Almost instinctively, New Zealanders like Siouxsie Wiles and Michael Baker grabbed whatever weapons were at hand and began returning fire against the virus. Jacinda Ardern, in particular, proved to have superb instincts. Her communication skills, combined with those of her accidental hero, Ashley Bloomfield, somehow tricked a bureaucracy framed to resist collectivism into acting decisively in defence of “the team of five million”.

Looking back at our extraordinary delivery from the horrors that still plague Italy, the USA, England, Brazil and India, it is easy to adopt a smug and self-congratulatory attitude towards the stunning success of New Zealand’s elimination strategy. But, it could all have ended so differently – and it still could.

Because people aren’t dying, it is tempting to confer retrospective competence upon a bureaucracy which, in the months since the decisive battle against Covid in March and April of 2020, has demonstrated almost unbelievable ineptitude. The government’s response to these repeated failures has been insufficiently forceful to prevent their recurrence. What’s more, in the absence of bold measures to reconfigure and reinvigorate them, our public institutions’ disturbing propensity to fuck things up may finally overwhelm Godzone’s good luck.

Why haven’t they solved this (and so many other) problems? Because Jacinda and her colleagues have yet to fully appreciate that they can.

83 COMMENTS

  1. I think we just have to accept that Labour Party ministers and a few others in the ranks like our public service just the way it is. Even with all its “lack of capacity”, incompetence and failures. From their point of view, it works quite nicely. From a public’s point of view – not so much. A bit of egg on their faces from time to time isn’t such a bad thing when it can be minimised or put to bed with a few weasel words and a bit of PR spin.
    A couple of recent appointments over the past few weeks show just how committed they are to the status quo and to carrying on with a neo-liberal agenda.

      • Yep, well that’s an option, but as I get nearer to running out of life, I’m not sure my rejoining the Labour Party would achieve that much. It’s too far gone. It’s foundation members and suppotas are probably busy rolling in their graves at the moment watching all the elitism. arrogance and corruption of its founding principles.
        At the moment, it’s becoming clearer why my father-in-law ditched them in the late 80’s after a lifetime of support – and now my near 40ish son and 30 something daughter and I are beginning to feel the same way. Then there’s the extended family who’ve already made up their minds.
        Probably more effective would be if Labour had to rely (and rely heavily) on coalition partners after ’23, from parties you could at least be confident they’d remind them of left-wing social (people welfare-oriented values). BUT, I agree there’s value in people joining and giving its leadership a dusting.
        I haven’t yet met a junior or muddle management public servant who doesn’t want a transfer, or to get the fuck out entirely. And then there are also those in academia, education and the medical professions who’re wondering whether it’s all worth it.
        They’re all looking at other options: Maori Party, Greens, and even TOP.
        It’s a bit weird tho’ (and apologies if this sounds as arrogant as the current crop of the best of Labour Munsters) to finally recognise that reasonably intelligent people can’t see the bleeding bloody obvious.
        The opposition to Labour is building (even taking account of the yea/nah apathetic electorate ) and there are quite a number who can justifiably feel ever-so-slightly pissed off. Some of them might even be coming to you sleeping in a city doorway or mobile home parked wherever a space can be found.
        Jacinda’s latest appointments were real doozies if you ever wanted confirmation of how out of touch with reality she’s is???, or maybe become.

          • Ekshully @ Sam, I’ve been thinking thinking that maybe I should re-join the Labour Party. Though I can’t commit to ekshully giving them my party vote in ’23, and where I rest my weary head at night, there’s a big problem with the electorate vote as well (in this space, going forward).
            “I don’t understand the United States” she told the world’s press.
            It’s becoming evident from her relative position of comfyness she doesn’t really understand lil ‘ole NuZulln that punches above its weight either.
            But you know …. best of bad options and all. Even when you have a mandate and the means to do something transformational and kind.

            • I’m just going to make these neoliberals of a kind watch what they say. Personally I just want to get all up in there face. You to, you’re a beast. I read what you say, they can’t fight back against with any type of pride. If we don’t complain nothing gets fixed.

  2. I’m rather more cynical than Chris. The only reason this Government is still in power is the demise of the National opposition and of course Covid. Covid is the saviour and the achilles heel of this Government. Jacinda has dined out on the exposure and the relative success of her decisions to eliminate covid, and with the daily sermons from the pulpit to her captive audience, she has turned her Government’s “Relative” success into relative popularity. By having the MOH delivering the Covid control, she has been able to keep a tight control on the decision making which has served three purposes. One, she knows she has the instinct to make the correct calls most of the time. Two, She keeps herself in the public eye, and three because she and her Government are concentrating so hard on Covid, it can then be used as an excuse for any deficiencies and failures that show up in the running of the country. It’s been masterful, but the truth is catching up. The “LUCK” Chris describes is evident on a daily basis. The inability to censor anyone, be they her own Ministers or the companies running security, but happy to poke a stick at members of her team of 5 million that flout her covid rules is poor leadership in my opinion. The multitude of issues this country faces will be the decider. As the vaccination roll out eventually happens eyes will turn to the crisis we face in virtually everything from housing to climate change. For a Government not known for completing anything, the next eighteen months will be a huge hurdle. National haven’t been a threat so far but with every little stumble Jacinda’s team make from now on the the people will have no option but to consider the alternative universe. The implementation of controversial policies will always leave part of the population alienated. Already we see the clampdown on smoking will hurt the dairies. some may close and that doesn’t just affect smokers but all the people in the surrounding communities that use the dairy. The same will apply to all businesses that are affected by climate change and the environment. It will be harder for Jacinda’s Government to keep the majority happy. Her battle for re election will be very difficult and has only just started.

    • The demise of the National party if you hadn’t realised is they were voted out because of very poor governance of the WHOLE country.

      If Labour go down the same track, the same will happen. The fact it took 9 years of erosion by National seems lost on people but when you reflect on the people who did the most damage , they scuppered off the already sinking ship.
      The fact the likes of Smith and Brownlee are still on the ship only proves the ship will be grounded for many years to come.

      • In case you hadn’t realised Bert the Labour Party had the last three years of Nationals reign to come up with a better plan for the country. They squandered that time because they didn’t envisage winning the election. They won the election by ridiculous promises of which they’ve kept none and sucked in the popular vote with those promises. Kind weasel words is how I describe the promises. We are 5 years into Labour’s reign. The clock is ticking Bert. You will always blame National but the country was relatively happy for the first half of their nine years, after all they didn’t get elected because everyone hated them. They were elected in because the people got sick of the previous labour government. Start directing your criticisms at the current Government Bert. You did say the same will happen to labour if they go down that road. Well they are and it will.

    • New view: “…she has been able to keep a tight control on the decision making which has served three purposes.”

      Yup. I agree with your analysis: that’s how it looks to me as well. The situation with the coronavirus has been politicised up the wazoo.

      It’s largely been a matter of luck that we haven’t had more cases and deaths. Contrary to what we were initially told, the border hasn’t ever been closed. People have been coming and going since the beginning. And of course we’re only too well-aware of the lapses among staff at the border. In my view, this has been another instance of this government over-promising and under-delivering.

      “The inability to censor anyone, be they her own Ministers or the companies running security, but happy to poke a stick at members of her team of 5 million that flout her covid rules is poor leadership in my opinion.”

      Indeed. Blaming ordinary citizens for being human, while refusing to criticise members of her government, or those running security, for their incompetence, is very bad form. It reflects poorly on her.

      “The implementation of controversial policies will always leave part of the population alienated.”

      For sure. In my view, their policy on smoking would backfire: we’ve already seen that the effect on dairies of the hikes in cigarette prices has been often violent robberies. And a concomitant growth in a black market. Both unintended consequences.

      Legislative changes have deprived citizens of a mechanism to contest local government proposals regarding reorganisation.

      That has been done so as to prevent citizens opposing the implementation of Maori wards, amid claims that such opposition is racist. Of course it isn’t racist: Maori wards are just plain undemocratic. Obviously the citizens have a better handle on this fact than does the government.

      Then there are the proposed hate speech laws. If you haven’t already seen this, here it is:

      https://mobile.twitter.com/marcdaalder/status/1382764919695679488?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1382764922669461504%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es2_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kiwiblog.co.nz%2F2021%2F04%2Flabour_wants_to_jail_people_for_three_years_for_speech_that_targets_political_opinion.html

      It’s difficult to imagine how much worse it could be. What on earth is the government thinking, proposing this sort of thing? I used to think that Andrew Little had “chops” as a politician. Clearly not.

      Now tonight news of a proposed Maori health authority:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/04/more-work-to-be-done-on-maori-health-authority-just-days-ahead-of-announcement-associate-minister-of-health-peeni-henare.amp.html

      From the above article:

      “Henare, who has responsibility for Māori health, said either way Māori will get a health system by and for them.”

      By-Maori for-Maori services are indisputably segregation. South Africans would recognise it as apartheid. Does the government really think that a largeish chunk of the citizenry won’t also see it that way? And they’d be quite correct to do so.

      A Maori heath authority, however it’s configured, won’t succeed in bringing about improvements to Maori health. That’s because it’s class – poverty in this country – which is the driver in poor health, not ethnicity. People don’t get sick because they’re Maori: it’s a risible notion.

      All of these policies will affect disparate parts of society, such that mounting disillusionment with the government will likely undermine support for it. And that’s before citizens become increasingly concerned about the government’s failures in housing, child poverty and the other issues on which it promised action.

  3. Re last paragraph. Even they can’t be that stupid. They are gutless and are following orders. You might be implying that they will realize they can act decisively on many fronts and will do so. I hope you are right but I think they have given the game away already and any response to real societal problems, besides covid, will be incremental and pathetic and they will just continue to sit on their hands. Their use of the word transformational was just sloganeering. “Let’s do this!” Do what Jacinda?

  4. Recruit a nationwide “Covid Army, that’s when I stopped reading.

    Great to see your thinking about the big issues affecting NZ.

    • That army would then turn to farmers , home owners and the unpure and and evict them from their land or put them in gulags

  5. They’d rather subsidise Jeff Bezos, richest person in the world & owner of the morally corrupt slave-based carbon-burning cathedral to consumerism known as Amazon.
    Never voting “Labour” again.
    Would the real Party of the Workers please stand up and make yourself known?!

    • Thank you very much for noting this Jase – I could hardly believe the gloating over something as whore-like and non-productive as film making, just because it brings in money.

    • Disgusting to see govt considering opening the Amazon Pandoras box in NZ at tax payer expense. Why?? To keep LOTR ‘brand’ for Tourism? – What planet do these people live on? Tourism ain’t happening anyway. In any case, NZ will always be associated with Middle Earth, nothing takes from that

      • And we’re Middle Earth under false pretences too, and clever film shots, and we should tread carefully or those magnificent Norse gods who started all this might tip us up and out.

  6. ‘Why haven’t they solved this (and so many other) problems? Because Jacinda and her colleagues have yet to fully appreciate that they can.’

    Totally wrong there, Chris.

    Jacinda and her colleagues haven’t solved any of the major predicaments -planetary overheating, resource depletion, overpopulation, loss of biodiversity etc.- because they are not solvable within the framework of a neoliberal consumer society. Indeed, they are not solvable within the framework of ANY industrial system. The system itself creates the unsolvable predicaments.

    What Jacinda and co, do is pretend they can solve predicaments by setting up boards of enquiry, commissions etc. whilst implementing policies that make everything worse. And never forget that international banks control everything, including the minds if economists and treasury.

    The march towards self-extinction of the human species continues, unabated. Indeed, at an ever-faster pace via continued human population growth.

  7. The sad thing is that neoliberal ‘mistakes’ are continuing and there does not seem to be much accountability for those who make the mistakes. NZ neoliberals often make mistakes that benefit their position of making NZ a horrible country to live in while enriching the most powerful and stealing off the public purse.

    “Christchurch City Council has admitted a $5 million accounting error over the running costs for a community pool which has been earmarked for possible closure.

    Independent consultants calculated it would cost $7.7m to operate and maintain Wharenui Swimming Pool and Sports Centre over the next 10 years and used the cost as justification for “decommissioning” the site.

    However, members of Wharenui Swim Club asked for a detailed breakdown of the figures and discovered they did not add up – and that the estimated cost was actually closer to $2m.”

    These mistakes seem to be normal in NZ, and in this case about to lose a community their pool. (A significant amount of deaths in NZ are drowning related and with all the suicides, depression and so forth you would think having more community resources not less would be welcomed) not to mention upgrading existing resources not demolishing them and starting yet more grandiose construction projects of new pools etc that never deliver seems to be driving councils and government into greater debts with less assets.

    Who noticed the accounting error? The swim coach.

    Yep, council accountants with ‘independent’ assessors were incorrect by 5 million while the swim coach obviously was able do the Maths a lot better.

    And that is part of the problem, because independent experts in NZ, being touted by councils and government and within private practise increasingly, don’t seem to be experts or competent anymore while the public has more ability to work things out than the neoliberal experts who now don’t seem to know anything and accountants and management consultants can’t count.

    Part of that is the interest in NZ of cheaper labour in companies (in particular large ‘big’ name companies) who are hiring the cheapest labour they can find. That cheap labour is given too much responsibility and not enough training and supervision to ‘save costs’, and supervised by the bovine who rise to the top by doing nothing, while NZ corporations refuse to pay for real experts who know what they are doing.

    Thus a council and government send out to a ‘big name’ corporate to make their decisions (or the cheapest person) , but it might be a team of graduates or somebody who knows nothing, billing like crazy, actually making decisions and doing work, that they are not able to do at the standard necessary for a good result.

    • As the screw ups happen, they neoliberals put more costs on in places they think they can get away with. AKA they build a new facility that was never fit for the demand that was needed, and then hike up the prices for people to use the facility.

      AKA

      New parking charges at Christchurch Hospital are among the highest hospital parking rates in the country.

      The first 30 minutes of parking at the new Waipapa building are free, but charges increase sharply from there – meaning two hours of parking will cost $17.50.

      Elsewhere in the country, the cost of hospital parking for two hours is:

      Auckland City Hospital: $7.50.
      Wellington Regional Hospital: $6.
      Dunedin Hospital: $6 for core parking.
      Parking at Christchurch Hospital’s Deans Ave site will continue to cost $5 for the first four hours and $1.50 per hour thereafter.

      This then leads to the poorest not being able to access hospitals easily. I know someone who decided not to keep their child at Starship hospital overnight as recommended by hospital staff, due to the cost of parking overnight.

      Imagine the parking costs at Christchurch for overnight parking.

      No doubt there is some way to get the cheaper parking, but again the most vulnerable are often the ones most embarrassed to ask and it’s a barrier to the public that is not thought about.

      This will be the tip of the iceberg at Christchurch as already many of their staff have resigned.

      “turmoil at CDHB, as pressure to cut costs caused a rending of the relationship between board members and senior leaders and clinicians, leading to seven of 11 executives resigning in a matter of weeks.” https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/300239774/a-new-problem-to-plague-525m-christchurch-hospital

      NZ loves to push their experts under the bus, while preserving the sanity of the idiot financial and bureaucrat class who continually think of life through a spreadsheet that just does not work in real life. The money for good is then gobbled up in consultants ‘sorting’ out the growing problems everywhere.

      NOTE, the real problem in Christchurch hospital was that the government deliberately under scoped it in the first place for the demand and made the hospital conform to the idiotic capital charge.

      Now the experts and public have to pay for the stupidity of poor strategy.

      • Essentially the ‘mother of all budget’ approach from the 1980’s to put a number down and refuse to budge from it, even if unworkable, is alive and well. The social harm from stupidity is someone else budget and life is cheap, it seems.

        Now it’s so bad, much has stopped working in NZ. Two governments for 20 years have been unable to build any affordable houses. They just keep consenting more land to be rezoned for rich individuals and businesses which is now effecting food supply, billions in infrastructure borrowing and transport links cos there are none, where the new land is re-zoned. Meanwhile where people live, have their transport links (and amenity) being eroded by poor planning decisions.

        People are now a posting videos of themselves online and in community groups deploring the lack of accountability and sham of councils consultation and their subcontractors poor workmanship, as more and more terrible decisions and results are being made that effect people’s day to day lives.

        The councils are bearing the brunt, but the strategy is direct from government.

  8. “Why haven’t they solved this (and so many other) problems? Because Jacinda and her colleagues have yet to fully appreciate that they can”.

    Perhaps you are right Chris. And to link this to your main point, in case others miss it:
    “Such a [politically pessimistic] person would point to the deeply ingrained resistance throughout both the public and private sectors towards anything smacking of “heavy-handed regulation” – let alone “compulsion”. They would argue that the advice so far tended to the government has almost certainly eschewed anything remotely resembling establishing publicly owned and managed organisations fully equipped with the legal and moral authority to get things done. After three decades of neoliberal indoctrination, most of the government’s advisers would likely consider such a Covid “cure” considerably worse than the complaint”.

    This thinking could be applied to any of the current woes facing AO/NZ, in your own terms, finding solutions to child poverty, mental health, climate change, homelessness, not to mention the affordability of housing more generally and the looming crisis over faulty apartment complexes… and a host of other fuck ups. There are indeed solutions just begging to be adopted, if only there was the political will to do so beyond tinkering around the edges in the hope that pulling on this or that lever has the capacity to affect meaningful long term change.

    Is such lack of transformation the fault of the current government, collectively and individually? In part yes, but as your post highlights it is not only politicians and policy that and affect change. In my experience the public service attracts career bureaucrats who toe the ideological line and collectively find it hard to consider alternatives. Neoliberlaism and all it stands for has become entrenched. Privately no doubt some may wish for something different but collectively it is a different tale. This collective bureaucratic inertia affects decision making at a governmental level despite, on occasions, the push-back of some. Once again however it is the collective that decides and the voice of dissenters are hardly heard, especially in an environment when MSM is so cautious.

    Ultimately, from the public’s perspective, the buck stops with the Government, the PM, and the Ministers. So yes, closer to the next election voters will be asking, “Why haven’t they ……?” Certainly opponents will be. The irony is that the current governments’ opponents would do no better.

    • Blah blah blah…so it’s hard to lead. Big surprise. They have majority and support from greens…they have large Maori caucus. They would have support from Maori Party if they acted courageously. They should quickly enact laws that remove or circumvent the neolib bureaucracy and put in place laws that govern the country in the way that most people would view as objectively fair. And yes I know life ain’t fair and everyone has different views but I believe there would be massive public support for decisive measures to address housing and inequality.

      • And can I suggest spend whatever amount of money to get it done and forget what will be the accompanying complaints from the rabid right.

    • Your last sentence has a lot of heft Bozo, when you look at NZ’s 36 year old Parliamentary monetarist consensus, and electoral politics around much of the world.

      For example Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn got such massive resistance from the establishment and especially the right of their own parties because they WERE proposing to do better. Top brass of the British Military publicly stated there would be a coup if Mr Corbyn ever became PM. When it comes to contesting neo liberalism, the stakes are high indeed.

      • I can endorse what you are saying re Corbyn. I was in UK during the last election and the vitreol in the papers was incredible especially from his own party .
        .

  9. Public health is also secure drinking water, secure housing, job security, sewers, NZDF, police, fire, food security, a bit of entertainment, safe travel, energy security, resource protection, rubbish collection and recycling all secure and of course health and education is all public health. A rudimentary covid response fixes this.

  10. The article linked below, and other articles on the website, clearly demonstrate why ALL neoliberal governments are failing and will fail even more spectacularly in the future because they:

    1. use totally flawed measures of economic activity

    2. do not account for the fundamental roles fossil fuels play in the operation of industrial systems

    3. do not account for (nor heed any warnings) about severe negative impacts melting the planet induces; they are essentially environmentally and ecologically illiterate

    4. are culturally incapable of changing their thinking.

    ‘Let our woes begin’

    ‘The greatest mistake of all as we emerge from our enforced 18 months of “event-driven” economic mayhem would be to attempt to set the clock back to January 2020 or to recreate the boom of the late 1990s. That iteration of the global industrial economy is over. ‘

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2021/04/12/let-our-woes-begin/

  11. Nationals demise has been of there own doing they have no one to blame but themselves. The nine years they had in power they had ample time to stamp there mark and they did f …k all. If we truly want to see transformative government, that is a government that cares about our environment and people then we need more Maori to get of the general roll and onto the Maori roll. This means we will have more Maori seats. Who has wielded all the power in this country and whose laws and systems have we had to govern and live by. Our local body councils are in a mess, voted in by the majority who are more likely to pick one of there own even if that person is not from NZ as long as they are white they are still regarded as being better than tangata whenua. (despite the Maori person standing being born and bred there) In my view our local councils are responsible for polluting many of our waterways, the lack of water, rubbish and recycling issues. They are one of the worst examples of a Treaty partner. They are forever apologizing but then they carry on and do the same old shit. Transformative change will only come about if we as a country are willing to relinquish the unequal power balance we still have in this country.

  12. Chris, as I was saying, look at the initiatives Jacinda gets all vocal about…latest…do we really want hear Jacinda proudly announce that ‘NZ is first country to donated vaccines together countries’. Christ we haven’t even got our own vaccination shit together and already Jacinda is focussing on what sounds good to the UN recruiters. She is not focussed on the problems. That answers your questions…why haven’t they….

  13. “With the largest vaccination exercise ever attempted in this country looming, radio and television, the newspapers and social media should be driving home the need for all citizens to be inoculated. Co-opting the most creative “creatives” our advertising industry has to offer, this public education exercise should be as relentless as it is imaginative; as hard-hitting as it is surgically targeted. That no such campaign is yet in evidence, with the major roll-out of the vaccine just over three months away, speaks volumes.”
    What you are describing here Chris is a propaganda campaign , not an education campaign, and an expansion of what has been the approach so far though insufficiently vigorous so far.
    If you have been reading articles on the “vaccines” so far , technical and scientific information is almost exclusively to be found among those that are not supportive of these “vaccines” which are not in the usual sense vaccines at all but are genetic engineering of our DNA. We don’t like the idea GMO foods very much so why are we so keen to become GMO people. This is perhaps why an “education” campaign is lacking, the less the “science” is described the better.
    The fortunate and successful programme to keep the virus out so far has allowed the inoculation programme to be a bit slow and cautious. This is a good thing as we can and have had the opportunity to see how these experimental devices perform in other countries.
    Also don’t we have a military man in charge of the response?I never hear from him these days but I haven’t heard that he has been replaced.
    I don’t see how the second and third lockdown would have been avoided by the military being more in charge than they are, that needs explanation , presumably starting with how the infections came about which is so far unknown I think.
    We have been lucky, but that luck has been enhanced by a vey high standard of medical science and appropriate action. I am amazed at the negativity to the performance of the government in this context with the blunders of the rest of the world on show every day. People in a democracy get the government they deserve. We deserve to loose this one iv this is the platform of their supporters.
    D J S

  14. The situation you describe is becoming a very unflattering and defining hallmark of the Ardern government. A government that appears/ed to have no plan or if they did no idea how to advance it past an idea.

    On many fronts, the worst being housing, they are proving absolutely hopeless bordering on not caring.

    Jacinda is going to wear the “showed so much promise but sat idly by and failed to do anything to improve the plight of her people” hallmark on her political epitaph. It is a legacy no one wants.

  15. @ CT. You write:
    “Why Haven’t They … ? How to Explain this Government’s Baffling Refusal to Solve New Zealand’s Problems.”
    To me, being the rocket surgeon that I am, it’s quite a simple answer although I bet I’ll rave on for words and words.
    Farmers. Yes! The beastly fama dahlings.
    Those few fifty two thousand famas ( Source Dept of Sat’s .) grow, harvest and export their stuff and things over-seas and in return [we] get paid for it. You’ll notice that I used the pronoun ‘we’ because the fama only gets a tiny stipend for her, his and their kids on school holiday’s efforts. The vast bulk of fama money gets syphoned off by the banksters and the marketing boards and then sequestered away to be exhaustively fiddled with by highly trained money fiddlers and once the fiddling’s done that fiddling gives rise to quite a few millionaires and more than one or two billionaires. And they’re seen as awesome! While the fama, once perceived to be filthy rich is demonised by the media owned by, you guessed it, the lazy, greedy, crafty, cunning banksters and their billionaire bitches.
    The problem with that ‘kind of ’ polite, highly-trained-accountant chicanery is that the terrible chickens will always come home to the rickety roost as if by some divine command. It can’t be said better said than its been sung by Johnny Cash.
    “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”
    https://youtu.be/eJlN9jdQFSc
    How will Labour be able to explain why our AO/NZ is filling up with cash when we’ve been lied to for years that we’re broke-as bro. That there’s no money in the coffers. Especially during what most would have expected to have been financial hardship what with c-19 and all?
    Bear with me for a minute and purely as an example of the point I’m trying to make.
    Ponder the earlier iteration of the bnz? The big, buff fama bankster of the day with a modern, swinging dick approach to finance and sundry money what nottery.
    We tax payers threw that shitty cluster fuck a $300 million dollar life buoy. And once it was afloat it was traded like a lame horse to the Australians through Fay/Richwhite Group who made billions on the deal.
    Ever wondered how that went down?
    Perhaps this is clue as to how?
    The Guardian.
    What did Greensill Capital actually do
    Behind David Cameron’s lobbying lies a surreal web of ‘supply chain financing’ and ‘factoring’
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/15/what-did-greensill-capital-actually-do
    Was the bnz part of a ‘supply chain factoring’ scam used by privateers because they knew it’d be secured by our taxes-paid-for government if the shit hit the fan? Or if it was thrown under a bus?
    Is this why the Labour government must refuse to solve [AO] NZ’s problems?
    Because if Labour did, it’d have to reveal a dirty little rats nest of crooks running scams since two sub parties, one the Auckland banks and the other Auckland money lenders which merged to create the National Party back in the late 1920’s?
    If you’re still wondering why Labour’s in a stunned daze then you’re not doing your homework.
    They’ll be freaking out. They’ll be mumbling “ How the fuck are we going to polish this particular turd? How are we going to explain to now 5 million people, many of whom are living in employed poverty if they’re lucky while others still are sleeping in the fucking streets, while house prices are in the mythical, logical fallacy millions that there’s been billions of dollars right there for the using except its been slid off the tracks and into scheeming scum bag’s pocketsesssssssss….?
    What’re you going to do Grant Robertson? Re write history and enjoy the freedoms that only the truth can afford?
    And finally. Here’s a fucking hilarious wee gem on RNZ.
    Government to give Amazon over $100m boost for Lord of the Rings filming
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/440587/government-to-give-amazon-over-100m-boost-for-lord-of-the-rings-filming
    “The company is currently filming a Lord of the Rings TV series in New Zealand.
    Under a Memorandum of Understanding Amazon will get an extra 5 percent from the Screen Production Grant in addition to the 20 percent grant the production already qualifies for.
    Amazon plans to spend about $650 million on season one of the show meaning it would be eligible for a rebate of over $160m.
    Minister for Economic Development and Tourism Stuart Nash told Morning Report the deal secured multi-year benefits to New Zealand and the subsidy was well worth it.
    “This is fantastic, it really is,” Nash said. “
    Nash? Wee Nashy?
    You seen this?
    Is also really fantastic!
    Pay particular attention your new best buddy Bezos? Just keep scrolling across. And scrolling and scrolling and scrolling…
    “It’s almost impossible to understand how rich Jeff Bezos is. This mind-blowing visualization not only helped me grok his immense wealth, it also made it clearer than ever that the country is owned by a tiny elite.”
    https://boingboing.net/2020/04/29/this-visualization-of-the-ultr.html
    As a film industry freelancer can I just write “ Fuck you pete! “ I was at Dave Comers funeral. So were you. Didn’t you fly there in your Gulfstream loaded up with your $600 million dollar net wealth while freelancers struggle and worry between jobs? How much did jonky give you? $130 million give or take? Fuck you.

  16. Captain Hindsight article. Everything that was done was done ‘in the moment’ using the tools that were to hand. For every Michael Baker there is a Des Gorman. I’m amazed, after all the shit spouted about it being ‘just the flu’ or the numerous conspiracy theories (looking at you Brownlee), or the right wing forces at work to undermine any successful health response ‘Let it in and learn to live with it: ACT’, the claims of illegality during lockdowns, the covid response committee responsible for trying to get Bridges elected by using National supporters to bleat their poison, the media and social media response of providing platforms for opinions from self appointed experts with no background in epidemiology, the whataboutisms, the total lack by some of even understanding the basic concepts of a lockdown (I’m confused, why can’t i do what I want) the push for economic hardship to take precedent over a health response, the lie about suicides increasing (ACT again), the crazy plan for a 6000 bed covid facility to be built in Ohakea(ACT) or Auckland Airport (Bishop) within an unspecified time period for an unknown cost, the push to open butchers, bakers and candlestick makers so people have more choice on where they catch covid, the constant open the border close the border debate, the demand that NZers put themselves in harms way for tourism, the billions of pixels and gallons of printers ink used to say how shit our response is…but here we are nearly come out the other side fairly intact. Most NZers have news from friends and family living elsewhere about what a shit covid response really is. But Chris is right in one thing…if only we lived in a world where we could go back it time with the knowledge we have now. Then Taiwan would have the silver medal and we would have the gold. Are the commentariat happy? Fuck no. Everyone is still alive or at least not sick. Where’s the news in that?

    • The best response I have read so far. For all the bleating from both our friends and right wing propaganda media we must be living in a dystopian covid ridden hell hole. Every day this week Derek Cheng and co have derided the response. The support came in the election from all walks of life. Do you seriously expect a Labour government to fix things overnight. I know the sceptics will say this is their 4th year it’s only really their 6th month as a Labour government, there was the small fly in the ointment called Winston Peters who was all powerful whether we liked it or not. National bled the coppers dry, health education housing crisis you name it they corroded it. Unfortunately for Labour the public service have long memories of their right wing masters and are hard to change and it will take longer than 6 months to realize their new Labour boss means business

  17. This is the only government I have ever seen that could be completely replaced by cardboard cutouts and it would not make things for the poor any worse. Jacinda is, in my circles, becoming less popular than Margaret Thatcher and this is incredible? Jacinda has destroyed everything that was once normal. The rabid increase in slumlords wealth and the new complete futility of working has been caused by “Mrs kiwis expect it” Ardern? Why bother working if you cannot achieve home ownership at the end of it? Its time for every hardworking kiwi to down tools and refuse to resume work until their tax money no longer goes to topping up overblown rents, which obscenely locks them out of buying because it keeps house prices inflated. Sheer criminal, exploitational abuse but now I “expect” nothing less from Jacinda.

    • You are right and wrong. Ardern and her so far useless government are no where near being solely responsible for the housing crisis, governments from the 80’s onwards have all played a vital role in ensuring we reached this point because money talks. The more you have the more influence you have and along with that, the market ruled supreme. The richer one man gets from our winner takes all society, the poorer many more get.

      Too few houses built, appalling legislation passed sponsored by rich men that allowed leaking shit quality homes to be built because rich men said it should be that way because they got richer from it, the wrong houses built, council’s made to carry the burden of liability for such legislation too gun shy to approve more housing, it’s been 35 years reaching the inevitable. On Nationals last watch, it was starting to become painfully obvious and yet they did nothing. In fact many of their policies worsened it. And they cannot be trusted again.

      Where you’re right is Ardern told us she got it, she and her promising government saw the error of the ways and promised to fix it. Ironically instead through share ineptitude and total indifference they have simply accelerated the meltdown. That is what is so galling, we have to endure these frauds who can’t do their job and yet we have virtually no alternative to choose from either.

      Make no mistake, such inequity as our housing crisis is creating is only going to exacerbate violence like we’ve seen recently. There’s a very expensive price to be paid for the rich getting richer!

      • South Africa lifestyles coming here sooner than we think. The rich don’t care as long as they can get richer and “get ahead” of the poor thats all that matters. Part of the rental healthy home standard in 2030 will have to include razor wired 6 foot fencing to give security to the poor renters and Jacinda will call this a bloody achievement. The complete failure needs to go. She is destroying NZ. Let the Salvation Army running NZ because they are the only leaders who seem to get it?

    • They’re all neo liberals there is no fucking diversityTonyBliar. A Tory arsehole with a brown skin is still a fucking Tory. And Labour are a bunch of fucking Tories.

  18. It’s generational, millennial social engineering at play Chris.
    Just squint your eyes, and grit your teef and just imagine happy thoughts and it’ll all go away!

    If you don’t believe it’s real, then, it’s not real. “The psychosis of Toxic Positivity!”

    Its reels!

  19. And what is you alternative universe ?as for the multiple issue we are facing we were facing them under National in fact they exacerbated them, their immigration and back door education policies to name a few. As for calling up a covid army would that be a dads army?

  20. You can see how out of touch Jacinda is with workers at the bottom of the heap. She was scornful of the KFC worker and did not apoligise once it came to light she had definately not been told to stay home now it is the guard who lied about getting tested. I was a KFC manager years ago but the system is the same now as then if you ring up a casual to do a shift and they say no they go to the bottom of the pile and in defence of the guard if the system let’s you get away with cheating and lying then that is what you do to stay afloat . Not enough politicians have been down and out trying to get by . I feel for those who voted Labour with the thought that they would be there for the underclass unfortunately they have not shown any care . Would they be better of under National? Sorry I doubt it at the moment.

    • Yes Trevor. What Ardern did to the KFC worker was the power-elite bullying again, and it is unclear what has happened with this guard person, but it is all on a par with $700 Shoe Bennett doing a Markle to the media releasing beneficiaries’ personal details, and trying to shaft Hurimoana Dennis. They are as bad as each other.

  21. NZ has a Covid army, realised in busy body citizens dobbing in their neighbours, flash mob nurses dancing at testing stations, weekend trained security guards leaking personal records, media companies parroting one narrative, big pharma pushing their products and unelected government footsoldiers scaring the public, shutting down debate and directing us to do one thing while they do another.

  22. We need a new political party that really represents the needs and wants of ordinary kiwis. A party that isn’t an elitist rubbish w*nk off.

  23. Danger! Saboteurs and fuckwits at large!!!

    ‘GOVT TRUMPETS SUBSIDISED AMAZON DEAL
    Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash is trumpeting what he describes as a landmark deal with Amazon for The Lord of the Rings TV series, which is being filmed in New Zealand. The deal sees Amazon, which Nash estimates is spending up to $650 million in NZ for Season One, entitled to a potential rebate of 25% of this expenditure, or approximately $162.5 million. Nash is touting multi-year economic and tourism benefits.’

    https://www.interest.co.nz/news/109978/review-things-you-need-know-you-go-home-friday

    Climate crisis? What climate crisis?

  24. I hate to say it but this is what’s happens when a bunch of uni students graduated, rarely if ever worked a manual job for a real living, and then went into politics without a clue how to do a practical thing.

    I truly doubt any of these guys could change a light bulb!

    • Agreed. She is led by eggheads. I have a sibling who is an egghead. Eggheads are intellectually lofty and deal in ‘research’ and scoff at common sense and cause and effect

    • X-ray – Not just manual work – all sorts of real work – teaching secondary school or nurturing pre-schoolers – nursing the chronically sick – month after month after year – no way they could cope – most end up as greedy estate agents – fruit picking throughout primary school – cleaning up urine and vomit from pub lavatory floors –
      waiting on boorish oafs smiling while hoping that somebody leaves a decent tip – doing cash jobs doing dishes in food joints with cold greasy water – painting ceilings: many ceilings – doubled up in cellar and attic spaces insulating and wiring and plumbing as self-employed independent contractors – cops pilloried as the enemy and ok for being shot, stabbed, or just spat at – back-breaking market gardening in competition with offshore CER important mass monopolies – leaving for work when partners get home to care for the kids or leaving the kids to care for the kids- saying goodbye to church jumble sales as trendy bishops close the churches down with an eye on their real estate potential – dumping rubbish for lack of any other alternative – unable to afford the money for school kids’ wetsuits and sports shoes let alone costly outings – stealing food from work leaving a dumb trail of mushrooms straight out to the car. Saveloy water soups.

      But. But. The PM did work in a fish’n’chipper – should know to go easy on the malt vinegar.

  25. ” I feel for those who voted Labour with the thought that they would be there for the underclass unfortunately they have not shown any care . Would they be better of under National? Sorry I doubt it at the moment ”
    Well i am not surprised that these social democrats will never take the action that is needed which is why i never voted for Jacinda and her John Key inspired # lets do this crap.
    This country is a right wing state socially , economically and the majority of its people are modern day serfs and they don’t or can’t comprehend that their voice and authority has been removed very slowly over three and a half decades.
    There is no alternative to the system that exists because it is the only economic and social model we recognise and the cruelties and crises that we live with are pure man made ones and hide under the guise of democratic freedoms and mind numbing entertainment that is a propaganda tool to make sure our attention is diverted away from the ever increasing level of deprivation and cruelty this amazing economy delivers due to low level inflation , low interest rates on mortgagees only and our amazing growth that our economy continues to show even after a recessionary pandemic that in the name of exorbitant profits that reward the few from the extortion of the many.
    And the good old kiwi is soooooo laid back that a little bit of kindness will fix everything just like Jacinda said it would.
    Why haven’t they ?
    There will be no respite as new diversions remove housing and its man made effects and covid from the current crisis’s to one of law and order as the new threat of the gang confrontation Bomber has ben talking about begins to impinge on our daily lives and the para military tactics required to deal with it are not far away.
    Sure there could be a house price correction in the near future that is aligned with our death-defying levels of debt that will spark that correction.
    But when the market dictates the terms only the serfs will suffer.

  26. Jacinda is simply not a ‘get sh*t done’ person and would rather rescue toy bunnies and make cheese balls than wrestle with reality. She missed her calling as an ECE manager. Judith gets things done but beneficiary bashing and car crushing is not where its at for most people. Basically NZ is lost to the oligarchs who are walking all over NZ govt

    • More likely Judith was done for good and proper the majority of New Zealanders saw to that as we saw in the last election.

  27. Cowardice is the reason.
    They’re more interested in maintaining their “power” than actually doing what’s required to improve our society.

  28. They promised to fix things prior to the last 2 elections yet everything has got worse.
    So it’s self evident they don’t know what to do.

    • Hospital wait lists ate over capacity plus it takes 10 years to increase capacity or build new hospitals. Ideally they would have addressed the shirt term issues or try and stop poor people from being so susceptible to seasonal illnesses by raising fucken benefit levels but nooooooooooooooooo muh neutral budget is the goodness of the economical management.

  29. A volunteer army to work our covid response eg MIQ? You have to joking (with all due respect)…. volunteers can’t be held accountable, can’t be directed to carry out tasks, have no authority, can bunk off if they need to.

    For Pete’s sake one thing this govt has done superbly is covid. If you are in any doubt, just look almost everywhere overseas

  30. It doesn’t matter which party or parties get elected to power. The housing and wealth distribution issues are a direct result of the Western world’s attempts to avert the collapse of the monetary system that happened in 2008.
    That collapse has not and will not be remedied and allow the world to return to it’s happy neoliberal romp. It was an action replay of the ’30s when the world’s assets and revenue streams became so concentrated in the hands of so few that there was no longer a mass of proletariate wealth to be harvested, so no useful economic activity was sustainable any more because the vast majority of humanity had nothing to spend.
    Recognising that the curtailing of state expenditure in the 30’s was a disasterous response the reserve banks persuaded governments to print more money and rescue all the failing monopolistic corporations and the banks by printing unlimited amounts of QE money and handing it to the banks. There is still a huge liability in any part of the real economy, so all that ever increasing QE money is going into futures, bitcoin, the sharemarkets and property. There is no where else for it to go. And New Zealand being the most attractive country in the world to live in , houses here are taking the heat from that world wide phenomenon .
    For our government to break out from the mould and act to change the housing investment situation significantly, without the rest of the world acting in unison, would mean unilaterally taking control of our banking system and our money supply. The rest of the world especially America would not allow that. It would mean setting up our own sovereign banking system like Syria has done or Gaddafi in Libya . We could expect to be treated in much the same way. or at least unable to trade with anyone but China and Russia.
    All the government can do is to provide the housing that is needed itself, at rates that people can afford. The measures taken to control rents will be absolutely counterproductive as the main effect will be to increase the proportion of purchases for purely speculative and secure investment purposes, and renting them out will be a less attractive adjunct to the overall speculative incentive.
    We have an unusually honest , genuine, intelligent politician in charge of our country at the moment. She is not an economic wizard but she is able to listen and to learn. She does care. There is no remotely more able or attractive alternative available or likely to become available. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
    D J S

    • The door has closed but some clear insigts DS.

      “The housing and wealth distribution issues are a direct result of the Western world’s attempts to avert the collapse of the monetary system that happened in 2008”.

      Sometimes the historical dots are not joined, ain’t that the truth.

      “For our government to break out from the mould and act to change the housing investment situation significantly, without the rest of the world acting in unison, would mean unilaterally taking control of our banking system and our money supply. The rest of the world especially America would not allow that.”

      A reminder that we, here in Godzone, are part of the wider world.

      “All the government can do is to provide the housing that is needed itself, at rates that people can afford”.

      Yes. And get on with it. But that I suppose entails real leadership, transformational policies and levels of intervention haven’t seen for a while.

      “We have an unusually honest, genuine, intelligent politician in charge of our country at the moment”.

      Nothing truer!

      “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”.

      Agreed. But puzzling in the context of your very first sentence. Any Right leaning opposition would do far worse, on a number of counts. Just look at their legacies. Yet if all neoliberal leaning parties are singing from the same songbook, well, yes, it makes sense to say it doesn’t matter .

  31. You make some highly relevant points Chris!

    A friend of mine (an Army officer) was involved in the initial response to the virus but the whole thing turned into a pissing match between various government departments including the cops, the MoH and the border people, so the Army stepped back…only to be asked to assist later on when the border turned into a three ring circus.
    Only the Army has the training, discipline and organizational ability to lead an operation of this nature, yet they were pushed out of the way.

    Oh and by the way, Israel’s ‘team of six million’ has already completed its vaccination program and cases have plumetted. Google “covid 19 cases Israel” and check out that curve!

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