A Disturbing Preoccupation: Why the Right-Wing Media Hates Jacinda’s Covid Elimination Strategy.


THERE IS SOMETHING DECIDEDLY SINISTER about the way the right-wing media is pursuing the “elimination strategy is madness” argument so doggedly. Yes, it’s always interesting to discover what people are saying about New Zealand overseas, but the NZ Herald re-publishing anti-Jacinda Ardern editorials from the Daily Telegraph – mouthpiece of the British Conservative Party – points to an altogether more disturbing preoccupation. These misgivings are only reinforced when one considers the near unanimous hostility directed towards the Prime Minister and her government by New Zealand’s talk-back hosts.

At the most superficial level, one could argue that the right-wing media’s editorial hostility is generated almost entirely by bottom-line anxieties. With most of its advertising revenue generated by realtors, retailers, the hospitality industry and tourist operators, the big media outlets must experience significant financial pain whenever New Zealand and/or its most important economic hub, Auckland, goes into lockdown. The pressure brought to bear on the media bosses to get the doors open for their advertisers’ paying customers is easily imagined.

More than anything else, commercial enterprises hate surprises. Certainty and predictability are what they need to go on generating profits for their shareholders. The sudden appearance of Covid-19 in the community, followed by lockdowns of a severity to make the eyes of overseas commentators water, bring with them consequences that are costly, disruptive and generally bad for business. Unsurprisingly, a significant fraction of the business community would very much prefer that Covid-19 was responded to in a fashion less injurious to their financial health.

Those business leaders less bound by the short-term selfishness of their colleagues take a more responsible position. They understand how very bad it looks for businesspeople to convey the impression that they care a great deal less about people getting very ill, and quite possibly dying, than they do about making money. They also know that New Zealand’s style of short, sharp, uncompromising lockdowns protect the economic interests of the business community a whole lot more effectively than the loose, dangerously porous, lockdowns on display in the UK, the USA, and across the Tasman in Australia.

Not that anything as mundane as “the facts of the matter” have ever slowed the Government’s critics down. Neither New Zealand’s extraordinary success in keeping the number of Covid-19 deaths below 30, nor the powerful bounce-back of its economy, cuts any ice with the “elimination strategy is madness” brigade. Indeed, the obvious success of Jacinda Ardern’s elimination strategy only seems to make them madder.

So what is it? What drives Ardern’s critics so crazy?

Sadly, a great many of her right-wing opponents seem to be inspired by nothing more edifying than sexist antipathy towards a young, female prime minister, from a tiny and powerless country at the bottom of the world, who has outperformed (by a wide margin) the male leaders of much larger and more powerful nations. Something about this picture is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Young women are supposed to defer to the “big dogs” of the international community – not show them up. Ardern has produced a disturbance in the conservative “Force” that makes them shudder: as if an entire political ideology suddenly cried out in indignation and was rudely silenced. They fear something terrible is going on.

And, in a way, they’re right. From the perspective of those responsible for creating a world in which the interests of business take precedence over even the ordinary person’s right to stay safe and well (some might say especially over the ordinary person’s right to stay safe and well) the sight of a young, female prime minister putting the interests of ordinary people first is a terrible thing. Because Jacinda Ardern’s “kindness” doesn’t just work a little bit, it works  way beyond neoliberalism’s capacity to supply a credible explanation.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Take Sweden, for example. For a while it was the “who needs lockdowns?” brigade’s poster child. But Sweden, with just twice the population of New Zealand, racked-up a horrifying 14,000+ Covid fatalities. Had Ardern followed the Swedish prime minister’s example, her country would have sustained upwards of 7,000 deaths. By following its leader’s strict elimination strategy, however, New Zealand’s “Team of Five Million” kept their country’s Covid death toll to 26.

On the Right, however, this sort of science-guided, humanitarian response to Covid-19 just doesn’t compute. Conservatives around the world react by accusing Ardern of political cowardice. She simply doesn’t have the balls to adopt a strategy that will lead directly to hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths. Look at the Brits; look at the Yanks; they had the courage to condemn tens-of-thousands of their people to early and unnecessary deaths; they know that “you can’t live in a cave forever”; that, in the end, the economy must come first.

This is the upside-down world towards which the right-wing media’s wayward editorial decisions are dragging its readers, viewers and listeners. A world in which saving New Zealanders’ lives is the wrong thing to do. A world where “freedom” means nothing more than being able to go shopping wherever and whenever you want – without a mask.

That the big media companies haven’t quite arrived there yet is because there are still some executives who understand that, ultimately, the news media relies on ordinary people to read its copy and listen to its broadcasters’ opinions. Ordinary people who, if right-wing editors and producers ever get around to actually swallowing the insanity-inducing Kool-Aid swishing about in their mouths, will be offered-up to deranged conservatives (and the advertisers) as unavoidable human sacrifices to the Moloch god of the free market.

The only elimination strategy the right-wing media will ever wholeheartedly support.



  1. I know it is early in the day, but I’m not sure if I’m fully awake or sleepwalking…
    If I am awake then the impossible has happened!!
    Chris T has written a post with which I am wholeheartedly, 100% in agreement, even slightly in awe of his precision in cutting to the chase.

    (Time to have a cup of coffee and double check that I’m actually awake.)

  2. “Sadly, a great many of her right-wing opponents seem to be inspired by nothing more edifying than sexist antipathy towards a young, female prime minister, from a tiny and powerless country at the bottom of the world …”

    Yeah right Chris. If say James Shaw were PM (God forbid) with the same policies, they’d be saying really nice things about him, right?

    Some on the right would be calling PM Shaw worse things than “Cindy” – “Soy Boy” comes to mind as one possibility.

    • You’re a Pope – You’ve not experienced misogyny unless you were previously a nun or something, and nor will you, unless you transgenderise the way the green-munching Greens keep obsessing about, but basically, inadequate cisgender males can be really really scared of women, so they lash out at us- it’s called fear of engulfment. The” Cindy” naming is patronising- it implies a degree of intimacy with Barbie-doll undertones – very much the hallmark of males unsure of their own masculinity, if you know what I mean.

      • I dunno so much about all this ‘dividing people up into cubby holes’ modern stuff, – the Brits have always NOT had a problem with female leaders from Boudica to Queen Elizabeth to Queen Victoria to Maggie Thatcher…

        And they were people you DID not mess with.

        Feminists before their time or was it people didn’t make an issue of it because they had no interests in navel gazing and making up issues for political gain?

        Maybe the archetypal ‘stuffy old conservative’ Brits are a lot more RADICAL then we ever were at times for the most part and would have applauded Kate Shepard?

      • (smiles) Come closer my child, I have a secret to tell thee. Closer, that I might whisper it in thine ear. That’s better. Now, where was I? Ah yes … I’M NOT A REAL POPE.

  3. These are fascinating and ultimately extremely scary times because the biggest threat to the health and welfare of the people of NZ (and everywhere else) comes from the business community and their insistence on the pursuit of BAU
    even though BAU is impossible for energetic and environmental reasons.

    This obsession with converting fossil fuels into waste is not only complely unsustainable but will result in the death of EVERYONE, and quite soon.

    As for Covid, that is merely a distraction on the path to self-annihilation.

    • Aint gonna happen that way, – it’ll be a global limited tactical nuclear war in the middle east centered on Israel coupled with environmental planetary changes that we are seeing now. And the human race will be around to see it and participate in it right up until that time.

      When the chippies and plumbers start working on the third Great Temple of the Jews in Israel, the clock starts ticking.

      You are right in a way that it is human beings that will bring about their own downfall, however. Until then , breathe easy.

  4. Brilliant. But you’ve missed something.
    Many people now spurn science and deference to their intellectual superiors.
    Even people with one subject school cert are now public health experts. Wtf.
    The bloody cowardice of pulling up the ladder before everyone has had the chance to vaccinate. Beggars belief.

  5. This is really weird. I’d have thought the UK Telegraph was very much the newspaper of professionals and middle and upper middle class readers, fairly well-educated people, whereas in New Zealand these are the last sort of persons who would be bothered listening to talkback radio. Many don’t have time. Obviously people do listen to talkback though, or it’s purveyors wouldn’t have jobs.

    • A lot of talk back callers are small business folk or retireds, so often veer towards conservatism. I don’t have a problem with conservatism perse’, and many of these folk are good solid people, indeed the salt of the earth types,… however oftentimes it seems they have a simplistic albeit direct approach to complex issues. Again, being of worker stock, I can identify with that. The problem lies when the simple approach does not take into consideration mitigating circumstances, back history or the necessity of breaking new grounds for expediency’s sake. Placing the economic wellbeing ahead of the population is reckless.

      Thus, it is not conservatism perse’ I have a problem with , – it is NEO LIBERALISM.


      As an aside, currently I live in a house with my 94 year old mother, my sister ( ex nurse) and her husband ( lost his business in the first lock down and avid neo liberal ex banker guy ) , their youngest son out of three ( teacher aid) , and their middle son and his wife ( youth counsellors/workers) . We are the literal suburban commune and tribe in Mt Albert. Move over, Leo Thompson and Tim Shadbolt. 🙂 I remember the Huia commune in the 1070s and as a kid thought it was the bees knees!!


      NOW,… after all the above lead up, my point. Chatting with Mum, (because I have an interest in social conditions of that era) she described the black outs with wardens patrolling streets, the food rations, the scarcity of products, the doing without after the fall out of the Great Depression and World War Two, so called ‘authoritarian’ govt measures of that time during the war, – and not only did people accept that willingly, they complied. There was none of this flouting the rules we see now. None of this making a political issue for points scoring.


      Not just a mere two bloody weeks!

      They didn’t bleat and moan and make long editorials and push to welcome their enemy to their shores !!! They didn’t bitch and moan and cry about trade and how their businesses were suffering. It was a national emergency and they responded like adults. Unlike this ( my and those under me ) set of generations. We are a selfish, childish set of repulsive spoilt brats who have never ever EVER until this time had to undergo ANY real hardships requiring sacrifices.

      And that was just far away New Zealand, – what the merry bloody hell would it have been like for the English,- standing as it were the only viable power left to lead the war against Germany and being bombed night after night by the Luftwaffe ?!!?

      We sent our professional standing army’s to fight in Vietnam and Korea and all the wars following and for all intents and purposes were far removed from even the very thought of any ‘war’ going on . And by and large as we didn’t even let that enter our heads,- we lived in the lap of luxury as we did so.

      So now we have a flea bite on the bum. Boo hoo. Lets cry more. If one reads and study’s what happened to the generations during the Spanish Influenza, … one would shut ones mouth in awe of what those generations went through. People just like us. Yet the world went on. Humanity did not cease, the sun didn’t stop rising in the morning,- and those were people whose medical experts barely recognized ‘ virusues’.

      I’m sure we, – when reading about those prior generations – ( our very ancestors! ) can at least suffer border closure for just a little time and muck in and support the govt in its brilliant effort to preserve life through a measly 2 week lockdown and stop our bitching and complaining and whining, I think its time we grew a pair and grew up and respected what our grandparents and great grandparents went through as an example.

      As for me, after lockdown , I’ll be drifting off again to the Waikato to be near to my son. Every time I have organized to do that, an outbreak occurs and there’s a lockdown, well this time, after lockdown… I’m moving out and its going to happen. I’ll be drifting off , again !

      Cold Chisel – Khe Sanh

  6. As a trenchant critic (surely not, you say…) of this majority MMP Labour Govt. adherence to the NZ neo liberal state…the PM’s COVID response however cannot be significantly faulted.

    The mortality figures speak for themselves, the Labour votes at previous tory stronghold booths speak for themselves. The PM is doing a great job which alone would enrage the old white blokes, and conservatives and reactionaries of other stripes. But Jacinda is as Chris says a youngish woman–the final straw.

  7. Firstly Sweden which already had over 14000 deaths from Covid has a much better health system that has not been run down like NZ, so thinking NZ would have just had 7000 deaths is probably highly over optimistic. Sweden also has a lot less obesity and ill health in it’s population like diabetes.

    Sadly NZ’s neoliberal agenda for the past 30 years has put us behind many other previously similar countries statistics. We have allowed poor food, poorer health care outcomes (Ian Powell a worthwhile read at TDB) and essentially our own people have been put under the bus, for the neoliberal agenda of short term profits, cheap and unqualified labour, and lazy consumption by foreign nationals more people more food/power/roads. followed by the selling off of assets to pay for the continued poor performance of NZ now often foreign owned business and demand from hundreds of thousands of non NZ citizens.

  8. Media in NZ does not represent the people but business interests mostly foreign owned and run as businesses not for public good, and thus so many people are turning off or no longer trust media in NZ.

    When Stuff sells for $1 because their woke, neoliberal agenda is not liked and they can’t make any profits anymore, RNZ is pushing their woke agenda aka removing concert radio and making redundant their experienced staff for a ‘youth orientated, diversity focused radio’ as fitting their woke agenda, NewHub gets rid of Campbell Live, Granny has been right wing forever. The new media companies are largely mimicking the old ones aka Spinoff.

    Anybody who thinks that what the media is pushing in NZ is the majority view, will be sorely mistaken, it’s paid propaganda and sponsored content for the most part.

    If the government gives in the the woke, they fall in the polls, if they start their woke agenda they fall in the polls. labour’s popularity came after lockdown and Covid here. The more they listen to the open border and keep the sports teams, cheap workers and people buying their way into NZ, the more likely they are to get a huge outbreak and it blamed on them.

    As soon as they relaxed MIQ criteria, we get Delta.

  9. The saying from the right is “get used to living with Covid”

    The truth though is “get used to dying and maiming with Covid”

    The UK especially have a preordained obsession with manning up where uneccesary death is concerned.

    Oh, and fuck the toxicity that is Newstalk ZB! Repulsive radio station.

  10. Thanks Chris. I recently bought a subscription to the Herald for the sake of the Business news.Arrrggghh Hosking his vile inaccurate ravings pop up everywhere and then there is the loathsome Thomas Coughlan.
    The Herald’s agenda of hate and disrespect towards Ardern has to be seen to be believed. So I started comparing stats and local health data and have even posted the occasional comment.Misinformation is the name of game. Confuse and berate the masses. Engender fear and fuck her up. Destabilize. I have to hold my nose now as I quickly go to the Bus sines section then get out of that site fast!
    Below is Gordon Campbell’s commonsense analysis plus forward thinking from California on Newsroom.



    • Excerpt from Gordon Campbell at that Scoop link:
      In its effort to discredit the Ardern strategy, the Herald – bizarrely- claimed that during 2020 there was never really any alternative to the policies the government followed, however successfully, last year…

      This is re-writing history. In fact, during 2020 each of the three leaders of the National Party sharply dissented from the Covid management policies of the government.

      [Gordon Campbell then references the main diversions by each of three opposition leaders during 2020, including a particularly bizarre statement made by Collins last September.]

      As Australian fact checkers quickly pointed out, all of these assertions by Collins – except the one about the rugby – were either flat wrong, or misleading. The current point being: contrary to the Herald’s claim, there never was a political consensus last year on how best to manage the Covid threat. It was never a matter of mere variations based on levels of perceived competence.
      Scoop link

      • Shocking news just to hand! Granny Herald is disingenuous at best, and blatantly full of shit at worse. Also, it’s been clinically proven to be true that prolonged exposure to the delusional opinions violently expelled from any number of Mike Hosking’s orifices, will lead to inevitable brain death. Routinely reading Granny Herald is akin to subsisting solely on a diet of lard, salt, refined sugar, and cancer.

        I know it’s true because I read it on the internet.

  11. To the extent, Chris, that you are bagging on those have the need go back to “shareholder value” etc, you make a reasonable point. I find the kinds of actuarial analyses going about, eg from Rodney Hide, quite ridiculous. Faux accurate. Finding the worth in all and value in nothing. But that’s attacking the right’s poorest argument. You can do better.

    If the NZ right is all about dissing elimination, the NZ left is absolutely all about placing it beyond question. To the extent you slide off into that territory, personally I am unconvinced by it. The ‘fitedness’ of the strategy to the world has changed through time, and will continue to, as we ought to expect. I’d much prefer to see the PM engage with those changing circumstances and what they mean for us openly, than not.

    I know it is unpopular to get nuanced on it, but I think the case for elimination made sense last year for all the reasons the government went down that track, some mentioned above. But the death stats you’re talking about are quite misleading, absent context. In Sweeden as elsewhere, a large proportion of deaths was in the elderly. Now actual details matter here, but we don’t need to do the distasteful actuarial thing to ask something like “what kind of society sacrifices the opportunities of its young for its old?” The question might be slightly wrong, but there is something in the dimension it gets at – which is trade-offs.

    One might add that even last year, when elimination seemed very sensible, the govt was not obviously engaging with what it would mean to succeed locally in a (surely very likely) scenario that the world would fail. For example, part of the strategy would have to be for the PM to go to the UN, and really shake shit up in terms of terms of driving an elimination strategy worldwide – lest we begin a life behind a wall. That’s in addition to the more practical failures with MIQ etc that others point out frequently. Elsewhere you’ve complained of the structural stuff- the State Sector reforms – that contribute to these things. So, adding both components together, this all comes down to “why pursue a strategy you’re neither willing nor able to carry out?”

    Things now “are different”, as all and sundry point out as if they are truly engaging with how so. That’s not easy stuff, and still harder to say than do. You’ve very recently said Labour has no adults left in the room. Let’s not go with them into the kid world lacking trade-offs.

    • Just so long as my 94 Mum aint sacrificed by some sweaty little right wing neo liberal who wants open borders, eh? She’s lived through more than most of us and damned if I’m going to see her out because of some selfish wanker.

      Or my 18 month old niece.

  12. I listen to talkback a bit sometimes. The ridicule of lockdown for “one case”. has surely embarrassed those critics into silence by now with that one case turning into 200+ even under lockdown i a week. This was clearly the only time to lock down, and if we get on top of it the demonstration will be profound.
    We are not isolated. The quarantine process has been working well. And the vaccine is showing itself not to be making much difference to the spread of the disease overseas. In fact the most vaccinated countries in the world have the most covid in their communities at the moment and it is not just within the unvaccinated , nor is it mostly among the unvaxed. Keeping it out for as long as possible is best for the vast majority of business as well as the population which is borne out by how our economy has been going and I’m suer most business people are conscious of that.
    Good article Chris .
    D J S

  13. I also think,the media need to be really careful right now. They are rolling around like dogs in fresh road kill with end to end doom and gloom. Media pure nirvana. It’s actually difficult to find something not downright depressing that isn’t covid related.

    But there are a number of people I know, who are usually avid news followers who have simply turned off “The news”. I am starting to likewise.

  14. What’s behind this drive towards opening the borders is the capitalist ruling class. Largely white, privileged, self-entitled and derisive of any questioning of their interests to profit from death justified by a world view of individual self-determination i.e. the Capitalocene
    It’s already obvious that #LivingWithCovid is #Capitalist #Eugenics. Culling the herd with impunity long before herd immunity. Eliminating #Covid means ending the endless apologetics for the #Capitalocene and transitioning to #Socialism.

  15. Excellent blog. And that little bunch of deniers who dog my blog don’t seem to have found it yet – still, it is earlyish in the day….

  16. Totally agree Chris.
    If business had been concerned about further lock-downs they would have put some effort into reminding people to scan; but they obviously didn’t care and were happy to put profit ahead of that important question ‘what if?’

  17. The right wing media hate it because it’s Ardern. Everything would be hunky-dory if exactly the same the decisions were being made and the same actions happening – if English or Bridges or Muller or Collins were the PM.

    If they were in charge there’d be no slip ups at the border and naive political party members wouldn’t put leaflets in letter boxes as they took their exercise stroll around the block.

    Things wouldn’t have been the same of course. The border to Australia would have been open way back. And that would have had no adverse consequences of course. Note the latest situation.

    There wouldn’t be a shortage of MIQ beds because we wouldn’t need them because everything would be sweet. And there’d be no problem with those wanting to return from all over he world at the drop of a hat or the building of a hat factory, because they’d just come in and get on with life.

    Overseas tourists? Hell they’d flock here. What with emptying the Rotorua motels of their inhabitants Bill/Simon/Todd/Judith would have had that city a tourist Mecca.

    What drives Ardern’s critics so crazy? At it’s core for some it’s that she got to be PM as a young woman. Uppity bitch, simple country girl should be in the kitchen. That’s the framework, the handling of covid or anything else that happens is wallpaper to decorate their world order being ruined. Their irrelevance and lack of power being highlighted by the thrashing they felt at the last election was another final straw shoved up their noses.

    • This is the best summation I have read. As I have mentioned many a time, it is hate for the sake of hate, or simply put anti Ardern and anti Labour. Other than Trevor, all the negativity would simply vanish if English or Bridges or Muller or Collins were the PM.

      • Oh c’mon Bert!! We would be living the nightmare that is Sydney at the moment if any one of thsoe jokers/ jokettes were in charge. Delta Rampant; running out of ambulances, heavy police presence everywhere, and the military, yet total confusion much of the time – Don’t really know what they’re allowed to do (a son who lives there). Seriously, it would be a NIGHTMARE!!!!!

      • Thank you Bert. I try to be fair and realise noone side is all wrong or all right butt I do get frustrated with dogma that drives desicions rather than common sense and decentcy and ignoring those who have no voice of their own often due to the luck of birth.

    • Many years ago a National politician, Air Commodore somebody, told a woman friend of mine, a heckler, to get back in the kitchen. Nothing much has changed.
      Also Chris Trotter in one of his best ever articles, says, ‘ one could argue that the right-wing media’s editorial hostility is generated almost entirely by bottom-line anxieties. ‘ I suggest in the words of the PM’s fiancé, it should be,’ bottom feeder anxieties.’

  18. A few quotes come to mind.
    Charlie Munger….’Show me the incentive and I’ll show you the (most probably) outcome’
    ‘Don’t let facts get in the way of a good bit of ‘death cult capitalist’ propaganda’.

    Why doesn’t the Govt hit back? Call B.S on the misleading comments by the ‘paid for prostitutes in the media’, i.e. Who says we’ll stay locked down forever? New and better (better tested and more efficacious) drugs will come along. Why hurry to be a human guinea pig?

    Our economy has done rally well with the present strategy.

    Have a poll on how many people would prefer the Govt strategy of ‘hard and quick’ versus the more open bborders policy and the 10,000+ d(or whatever the number is) edaths that would most probably ensue.

    Maybe these sort of facts and comments by Govt when asked by the presstitutes might shut them up?

    I’m all for a reasoned argument. I for one am not in favour of this present vaccine. But I believe a reasoned argument needs to be put forward by Govt, or they seem to be hiding from the truth by their silence.

    All IMHO of course.

  19. Although I agree with Chris about the general theme of his post we are jumping the gun a little. Let’s wait for another week to see whether numbers subside. If they don’t and Covid gets away, lock down won’t come off in any meaningful way until we are 80% vaccinated. The vitriolic comments from the right, (I think you will find plenty of left in there also) will start to seem a lot more real when our freedom and increasing anxiety on the spreading Covid becomes our nightmare. JA will be very nervous as her political career will depend on the next week in my view.

  20. Superb and timely article, CT.
    I have had thoughts along very similar lines for some time now and I totally agree that most, if not all, the talk-back hosts have difficulty with having a “young, female Prime Minister” leading us. Deep-rooted, subconscious sexism. Sad people (and they’re not always men).
    But they’re not on the winning side – it’s just they cannot bring themselves, or their listeners, to acknowledge it.
    If law students are any indication of where the now-and-future of leadership our country is (and many women from the law profession are already and increasingly in very influential positions), check out the number of women studying law at present. From recent invigilating their exams, I always count the number of women v men students (it helps pass the time). Invariably there are at least two-thirds more women than men. I asked an Associate Professor a few years ago if this was an emerging trend. “No, it’s been heading that way for a couple of decades or so”.
    Enough said!

  21. Does anyone really believe we can have an elimination strategy that will work whist other countries don’t? If no other country is trying to eliminate Covid-19, then either we need to stay locked up forever or we need to accept those who chose not to get vaccinated or who simply can’t, may die. How does the elimination strategy play out in the future if we are the only ones doing it?

    • MB, It is simple, vaccination is the key for opening up; until then elimination is our only defence against refrigerated containers in hospital car parks.

  22. How many of you closed border/let the economy burn brigade are essential workers?
    How many of you are non essential/ government workers, beneficiaries or retired who get paid in lockdown for taking zero risk?
    Happy to risk the lives of essential workers to keep your lights on and the shelves stocked but any business threatening your own skin must be evil!
    Most of you?

  23. Which media do you speak of Chris?

    NZ Herald and ‘Stuff’ are both of the NZ Woman’s Weekly(Daily) standard and both use the same newsfeeds and articles between each other. And then there is RNZ which is a fully-funded Government propaganda media.

    TVNZ & TV3 are shite. I don’t watch TV and haven’t for more than 10 years so they rate even lower than the online print media if you get my drift.

    The right are in a slump globally and the left is too, they’ve gone ‘Woke’. Caught up in a fuck’d up ideology based on the (CWT), ‘Critical Woke Theory’ school of thought.

    As for the Labour party and its leadership in another Crisis. Let’s just say if they applied an equal amount of effort to Housing, Homelessness and Health & Education. We would be ‘faring’ a lot better than we are now in this Crisis.

    I give them a 3 out of 10.

    • So all our media is crap. I can’t work out why the great entrepreneurs of the right can’t get themselves organised and establish the media they need for themselves.

      What? There’s no money in it? Well that’s a bit of a bugger, the market usually sorts out what’s worthwhile, what’s of value, doesn’t it?

      So, is the anti-Labour, anti-left voice of the country to be Mike Hosking carried by commercial advertising for dunny rolls or whatever he advertises? At least he wouldn’t need the sophisticated balancing up of myriad complexities and wasting time and expending cells to come to any rating conclusion. Curing cancer, having NZ a most prosperous country, shepherding the country through a pandemic? He’d tender a generous .5 out of ten with that score simply for having the temerity to turn up.

  24. Dear Chris,
    Your blog was emotive claptrap in my view. Anyone who disagrees with the current government policy is ‘selfish’, or’ sexist’. It’s just tedious – disguising a paucity of ethical spine with trite virtue-signaling. To make it into a party-political cheer-leading session for your side – really? It’s almost as if this ‘deadly virus’ has become a convenient excuse to push your own political barrow. That’s what I’d call ‘selfish’.

    You appear to rejoice in this policy being some kind of shining example of what it means to be ‘left’.

    It appears, your world-view, that being ‘left’ means being in league with international pharmaceutical corporations, having a Prime Minister who encourages people to ‘snitch’ on their neighbours (unless they are doing unmasked selfies for electioneering purposes) and a police force smacking down and kneeling on an unresisting citizen’s neck for ‘not wearing a mask’.

    Funny, I thought that ‘the left’ was against police brutality, opposed to corporate fat-cats, and stood up for the little guy (and gal). But now, anyone who points out the inevitable results of a totalitarian response is denigrated as ‘sexist’ and ‘selfish’ – because they aren’t ‘left’.

    Apparently being ‘left’ equates to vilifying any reasonably expressed objection. The once go-to people with a principle of resistance to state and commercial oppression is now hopelessly corrupted.

    Is it ‘selfish to object to nine days of unlawful lock Down the first time?
    Is it ‘selfish’ to point out people are dying by suicide trapped in domestic violence and having to make tough decisions about whether they can stay in business?
    Is it ‘selfish’ to question whether twelve year-old should be ‘allowed’ the vaccine without parental consent it they seem ‘able to choose for themselves’?
    Is it ‘selfish’ to point out other nations with apparent death rates far in excess of our are still enjoying representative democracy while we have had our House of Representatives closed ‘for a week’.
    Selfish to point out ‘my body, my choice’ risks becoming a moribund notion?

    Traditionally, ‘the left’ would be the first to get into the streets to protest any one of the above issues. But now. ‘the left’ are just establishment poodles, confusing party allegiance with moral principles.

    I looked into death (as you do) from the flu, In America, citing CDC stats. (The second row is a 95% UI calculation, designed to accommodate possibly false data and render the actuals in context so we could perhaps split the difference for a proper real-life view). And yes I know covid is counted ‘differently’ but bear with me.

    Influenza deaths per season CDC USA
    Past Seasons Estimated Influenza Disease Burden | CDC

    2020/2021 Calculated v UI between 17,970, 29,053
    2018/2019 Calculated v UI between 26,339, 52,664)
    2017/2018 Calculated v UI between 620,768 – 1,357,043
    2016/2017 Calculated v UI between 28,582, 60,686
    2015/2016 Calculates v UI between 17,373, 34,671
    Total 711,032 1,534,117

    Average: 142,206. 306,823
    Deaths by day
    Total Divided by 1654 (days elapsed) 429 927 Worst case)

    If we divide these numbers by 2 we get the total of: 678 deaths per day at any time.
    (this provides a ballpark average) from Flu.

    If “3000 deaths per day are reported in USA”
    In 2021 – That = 3000 x 237 (days elapsed) = 711
    (Five things about COVID-19 in February: The US has averaged more than 3,000 deaths per day in 2021 (usafacts.org).
    That is remarkably close to the statistical average of people who would have died anyway of influenza, based on the CDC’s own stats. (Also look at 2017 – where were the lockdowns then?).

    And yet, interestingly, Elsewhere, the CDC is reporting a statistical drop off of flu A & B cases over 2020 & 2021. There is a graph showing the comparison between covid and flu deaths. The graph shows this monster covid blip and tiny little yellow puddles of Flu.

    Where are the estimated averages of 711 per day flu deaths between 142,206 and 306,823 p.a. reported elsewhere by the CDC?”
    ( https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.html)(you can Look it up).
    My point being that simply accusing people of sexism and selfishness because they have the temerity (in a representative democracy, no less) to question our elected representatives is at best lazy and divisive, and at worst – just disingenuous. Using ‘the left’ to promote this policy is lazy dog-whistling.

    Recently, I saw a headline saying “Judith Collins refuses to say how many deaths are acceptable if we end Lock Down” More emotive clap-trap. I don’t recall seeing a single headline for the past year plus challenging Ardern with “How many deaths does she consider acceptable because of her sloppy vaccine Roll-out?”

    No, the real sexism and selfishness is not interrogating Ardern about whether she is doing her job, and exploiting a tragedy for party-political gain. As Marx (Groucho) said: “These are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.”

  25. I wonder if overseas and local naysayers are petrified that our government’s actions will continue to be extremely successful on many levels and thereby show up their failures and inadequacies.

    • OFC! OFC!!!

      Little old NZ, again leading the way. NOW, if half a chance could have been given to the continents of Africa or South America before colonialism, they would have taken the mantle of the burden of proof off us spectacularly.

      New International Version
      Acts 20:35

      ”In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive”.


      Warning against Pride
      James 4:3

      …You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures. You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.…


      ( echoes of Afghanistan and the oil industry’s? the rapine of Africa in the 19th century?)

      What I am saying is this , …that a hippy from galilee who they murdered, for political expediency, with the sanctimoniousness of the ruling capitalist class of Israel ( (Pharisees) and at that time under the iron grip of Roman occupation , and who sought to curry favor with the same, overruled something that even a five year old can understand…

      And that is, …as adults and part of the great family and brotherhood and sisterhood of man/women kind,…could not get over themselves, could not see their sisters and brothers as themselves, and allowed political tapeworms and viruses to dictate and manipulate them, to divide them and kill each other,.. all for the sake of material gains which were temporary at best. Where are the Assyrian empires, the Babylonians, the Roman empires today?

      Dust. We dig them up as artefacts.

      And I know you can see where this is leading. That we act like children in a sandpit with some who do not get their way.

      Jesus Testifies about John
      Luke 7:32

      “To what, then, can I compare the men of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’…

      And we have people who act like the protagonists of the New Testament Bible today, excusing themselves off as ‘ fundamentalist’s , – or worse ,- as allies to them whose real motives are simply temporal, short financial endeavors and gain under the banner and guise of of Darwin’s ‘ survival of the fittest’,… or welching on a scrubbed up squeaky clean unrealistic version of the image of Christianity that accepts ‘ the Protestant work ethic’ while denying the underlying foundations of Jesus’s teaching regarding the poor and communal ‘giving’ ,…and instead accepting collateral damage in the form of death and suffering,.. as long as it is not them or their loved ones.. They are the tapeworms and the viruses who populated the world in Jesus’s day. The same vicarious traders , political manipulators that we see today.

      Matthew 7:15
      A Tree and its Fruit

      But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?…

      They ( these odious types ) have always been with us,… and we should be wary of them. Or,… if in doubt, always follow the hippies. Especially the one from Galilee. He’s cool! Even little children can understand Him !

    • If any of their other policies was as successful as their covid policy then the country would be a happier place . Houses would be affordable rents would be affordable if you had mental health problems you would get the help you need if you were a nurse you would have a good wage and not be afraid to go to work due to pressure of staff shortages .While covid has been kept at bay getting families united after nearly 2 years apart and NZ people overseas cannot get home due to a MIQ system that is so bad the human rights commissioner has slammed it.
      The biggest frustration for me is that while I see much wrong with the current government I do not see a worthy replacement to fill the void.

      • …’While covid has been kept at bay getting families united after nearly 2 years apart and NZ people overseas cannot get home due to a MIQ system that is so bad the human rights commissioner has slammed it’…


        Yes, this needs to be rectified. We have not had our military apart from our Air Force involved. We could do better.

  26. I posted a comment in Martin Bradbury’s ‘Is Jacinda Ardern the Messiah’ article yesterday. It serves no useful purpose to repeat it again here but to my two critics (I respect your right to criticise me), I hope you have read Chris Trotter’s article and the many positive and excellent responses above, especially from Applewood, Tiger Mountain, Snow White, Liz Gordon, Verity Verdant and of course my favourite Bert.

      • @off white – great question. Part of me wants to say yes, absolutely but I respect the right of choice. That would have to be informed choice though rather than the choice of an anti-vaxxer or vaccine hesitant (an anti-vaxxer in disguise) who go hand-in-hand with the anti-mask types, all of whom have bought into the COVID conspiracy theories rather than reading confirmed research and facts. They think that confirmed research and facts are the conspiracy theories.

        I now understand that being fully vaccinated, which I and all my friends hope to be as soon as possible, does not mean that you cannot contract the Delta variant and more scarily, that you cannot pass it on but that should not be the variable that stops people getting fully vaccinated.

        I hope that everyone does get vaccinated or we reach a percentage level of a fully vaccinated population that allows us to live more normal less restricted lives. At the moment I fear we will not get to that point, mainly because the anti-vaxxers/vaccine hesistant types will prevent us getting there.

        I hope you are staying safe.

  27. People don’t support Zero Covid nut job policies, because they are sexist against the Prime Minister?


    The Zero Covid conspiracy theory is a hoax promulgated by socialists, who support having lockdowns forever. The pinnacle of a socialists’ life is the period they spent locked down, hiding under their bed. Socialists love central planning. Life has never been better for the committed socialist, than now under lockdown.

    The socialist government has appointed socialist “experts” such as Baker, Plank, Skegg, Hendy and Wiles. All these so-called “experts” are Zero Covid nut jobs and socialists. Only one of them is allegedly female. The people to blame for this outrage are nearly all male.

    Mr Trotsky was particularly angry about the international media. In the past, he’s loved the adulation Cindy has got from the international media, but when its gone bad – it seems not so much. How sad…

    The socialism disease can be compared to Covid.

    Socialists and communists are responsible for more deaths and destruction than probably any other ideology in human history. The socialists believe in central planning everything, which means taking away our freedoms. In summary, the socialist disease is far more deadly than Covid, by a huge factor.

    However, there is hope. Socialism usually infects teenagers and younger people. It is not usually dangerous for the older people, who typically brush this terrible disease off with great immunity. By middle age, most people have recovered from all bouts of socialism, and can become useful members of society. In this respect, socialism is the opposite of Covid.

    • You obviously need help. It’s a dreadful thing when folk lose their grip on reality, and can be particularly hard on their families and loved ones.
      Please try Healthline – 0800 611 116
      Do take care.

      • Good sensible and sincere reply Jase. I’m sure that rant was too early at 1.17pm to be alcohol inspired so it had to be psychologically generated . Hope PSM takes you seriously.

    • Idiot. The only people who discard socialism as they age are the shallow, hollow social climbers who adopted socialism when young only to get ahead and satisfy their endless greed. Your wild rant suggests to me that you are insecure in some way, and need an enemy to concentrate on. Psychopathic?

    • The result of the zero covid strategy over the last 18 months was that New Zealand had much more freedom on average than almost any other country (per COVID-19 Stringency Index). As the blog says, the short sharp lockdowns are better for business as a whole. If NZ concedes to live with covid, I believe the majority of us will keep our social activities reduced by choice, going out to spend as little as possible, and then businesses will truly be decimated.

      Nobody with any sense supports lockdowns forever. What we want is to open up carefully, as we tried to do with Australia and the Pacific Islands. Things like muck-ups at the border and the slow vaccination rollout are what’s hurt us, not the zero covid strategy. I think we want to get to a time where we’re all vaccinated and just let the virus in while our protection is at its peak. That’s when we should oppose lockdowns. Not now.

    • Churchill was supposed to have said anyone who is not a socialist when young has not got a heart but anyone who is a socialist when middle aged has not got a brain. I used to believe in this philosophy but as I grow old and a little bit wiser I see good and bad in both camps . Ideology is the cause of the conflict. I would suggest more people lighten up and smell the roses

  28. The ‘right wing’ media, if such a beast exists within the parameters of the concept, are not really so much right wing media but more an over paid cabal of hit persons trained to remove all counter narratives to the assertion that greed is good. We don’t have opposing, warring MSM’s vying for who of them can best serve we, the people. We have plush offices of misinformation laying down the ground work for criminals to come into our lives and steal our shit. That, is all.
    I cite rnz’s website as an example? Just look at it? It’s an abysmal cup of cold, cheap and weak tea. Reading it is to invite miasma’s and stupefaction’s. There are quite literally no entertaining writers. There isn’t even a fucking cartoon? It’s a dismal electronic rag and as limp as shared toilet paper and rnz’s the best media representation we have. No wonder we’re fucked.
    Check this young bald, bearded Central Southland miscreant I found on Vice.
    Good on ya Baz!
    Journalist Baz MacDonald searches for evidence of the survival bunkers being shipped to New Zealand, while investigating the factors causing this rise in paranoia among the rich and the effect this rhetoric has on their destination of choice – the mountain resort town, Queenstown.
    @ CT.
    AO/NZ isn’t ours. Was it ever? Or were we kindly left to think it was by our masters who exploited our primary industry and came and went as they wished to a sparsely populated paradise of safe, trusting and polite people.
    Schmucks, is perhaps another way of describing us.

  29. I thought this was kind of cute in a sorrowful sort of way.
    The Guardian.
    “A love heart made out of sheep: Australian farmer pays tribute to his aunt”
    At first I thought Jesus! Did he kill them then daisy-chain them together head to bum then take a picture!?
    “Unable to travel to a family funeral due to Covid, Ben Jackson used his sheep in a farewell message”

  30. After his inappropriate comments a day after Michael Cullen’s death, this well reasoned article almost restores his reputation

  31. …’They also know that New Zealand’s style of short, sharp, uncompromising lockdowns protect the economic interests of the business community a whole lot more effectively than the loose, dangerously porous, lockdowns on display in the UK, the USA, and across the Tasman in Australia’…


    Good article, but in my opinion you were far too diplomatic with these ‘throw open the border’ aresholes. They are wankers. Proven by the fact that not long after these arseholes had their way in pushing for an ‘open bubble’ with Scomo’s Aussie , as sure as night follows day, we acquired the delta variant. I don’t give a shit what anyone else says overseas.

    We are right and they are wrong. Their chaos and death statistics proves it. So does century’s of those towns and city’s who practiced such measures as closing the borders to contain pandemics in the past. So also do the countless medical professionals who have said the same thing now and in that past. Let the ignorant and the arrogant remain ignorant and arrogant. We do things the New Zealand way and we are good at it. As for the rest of the right wingers, the jerks, the idiots and the wankers, they can all just

    Bugger Off

  32. Glad you put a spotlight on the 100% gaslighting of this governments covid strategy by right wing media the world over. Morrisons comment was the last straw. Shut the fuck up you wankers, especially as something like 75% of the population of NZ agree and applaud our government’s handling of the pandemic crisis. Do not stop the elimination strategy.

  33. Chris
    Health advice!!! Danger!!! Enough of drinking that CoolAid. You’ll get sugar hits (it shows) and then your teeth will start to rot. You’ve achieved what you set out to do – all the Jacinda worshippers here have posted with joyous approval, and they love you once again. Lots and lots of likes for you. Good! Now, please, back to the real Chris Trotter…no more CoolAid stories!!!! Soon we’ll be back to the business of JA and her motley crew running the country, and you’ll hopefully write stories like: “Take Back Your Power! What A Real Labour-Green Government Might Do To Combat Climate Change.” Or “Dancing With The 400,000 You Came With.” You’ll find them on Bowalley Road – very good site!

  34. Elimination is a fool errand. It is just a matter of time before kiwis wake up as we are left in our own bubble for years to come.

    • Can’t believe the experts who’ve come out of the woodwork in this country. I suggest you all state your qualifications at the end of your posts. Having an anti Jacinda or anti left attitude is not a qualification.

  35. Perhaps the editors got given the word (from the complaints dept) to tone down that doom and gloom rhetoric or at least show a bit of balance. Hard to be taken seriously if the majority are laughing at you. Today the Herald is running a National Party internal stoush story complete with expletive headline, Stuff running a ‘disappointed Ardern’ story about leaflet drop, Newshub running a ‘Tucker Carlson’ story (or at least the reaction to it) and a Simeon Brown story that compares accidental leaflet delivery to anti vaxxers (lol), One news running a Judith/ScoMo story and RNZ running a ‘Aucklanders supportive of lockdown’ story. All fairly non partisan stories otherwise. No mention (at least in main stories) about overseas experts or Saline Karen or Crowne Plaza infection site (at least from mid morning). TV1 ran a story last night about death rate without lockdown at various vaccination rates. Very sobering. Judith shows us how stupid she is by nailing her colours to 70-75%. Eventually, ‘no comment’ on death rate will no longer suffice for Judith. Whoever the fucktard is that is advising her needs the sack. Should have stuck to Bishops previous line of ‘we’ll listen to the science before we make a decision’. Now she looks like the same Granny killer as Seymour was described last year when he did his ‘live with it’ shtick followed by Brookes ‘the elderly and the poor need to be sacrificed’ interview that imo, never got the blowback it should have. I guess the media were too busy second guessing the experts that day.

    • And stuff have National minister Chris Bishops father John running an anti Labour column today and in fact is a regular anti Labour writer for Stuff. His bio reads…

      “John Bishop is a Wellington political veteran who has covered politics, business and economics variously for Radio NZ, Television NZ and the National Business Review. He helped set up the NZ Taxpayers Union.”

      That should be enough to convince you of his lopsided view.

      All I can assume is that right wing politics isn’t getting the results their hard earnt is being spent on.

      • Just read his article in Chch Press. I can see his point in some of the issues he raises but he misses the point re the apoligy for the Dawn Raids. The point was that while only brown people were caught and sent home there were more UK (white) citizens here as overstayers and these were not chased up . I knew a few as they were of the P&O LINERS I worked on . There is none so blind as he who does not want to see!

  36. As someone who is young unlike the middle aged Prime minister, I can tell you that it’s not just corporates who are sick of seeing her it’s a lot of young people.

    Young people are losing our jobs like crazy every day in lockdown my friends are on the verge of a nervous breakdown because they might lose their factory gig, their pub gig their whatever…. We locked down all last year to save old people, we lost our jobs to save old people our jobs that pay the taxes to pay the pension of old people our jobs that bu and

    • Bloody old people! They should all just die and we won’t lose our jobs like crazy, won’t be on the verge of nervous breakdowns for fear of losing our factory gigs, pub gigs whatever…

      I’ll say a prayer about that tonight. Now should I simply say, “old people” or do you have a particular age in mind? I want to make sure about what might be borderline, like a couple of GPs in our town.

    • Yes Corey, the mass of oldies and non essentials on their government money are happy for lockdown to go forever, your generation will pick up the tab and lose their jobs over it, if they are arent already in harms way as essential workers now.
      And you will be told you are wrong to question them.
      Where do these people get off.
      The permanent lockdown crew go a bit quiet when you point that out their hypocrisy don’t they.

  37. Soooo, here are the Dutcher’s, an extraordinary couple who lived among a wolf pack, and observed the complexities of wild canine sociology. Many Native Americans regarded them as their ‘ teachers’. Note particularly the caring for the young and old, despite the blunt savage social etiquette,…if wolves can care so much for their pack, and observe the importance of playfulness, of hunting technique, and group solidarity, how much more can we as humans,… or can we not? If so,… why is that we may ask ourselves?

    Jim & Jamie Dutcher: The Hidden Life of Wolves | Nat Geo Live

    And this has relevance regards selfish individualism versus group well being. I hope you can see the correlations. Especially with regards to collective opinion and the keeping closed of our borders and protecting all of our vulnerable people.

  38. Chris, just read your great article and agree 100%. All media are basically mouth pieces for the National and Act parties. Listening to talkback, and reading the herald over the last 3 years, one expected the Tory right to romp in. But the MSM are backing losers.
    Jacinda hasnt made a bad decision yet – and has kept Aotearoa as the safest and free-est country n the world.

    • Great link.
      Not coincidentally this government happens to be the one also slapping on reduced speed limits all over the place, drafting hate speech laws, and banning guns- all for our own good of course, Zero cost benefit analysis or rational discussion allowed.
      A clusterfuck of epic proportions in this country is becoming guaranteed.

  39. Just read his article in Chch Press. I can see his point in some of the issues he raises but he misses the point re the apoligy for the Dawn Raids. The point was that while only brown people were caught and sent home there were more UK (white) citizens here as overstayers and these were not chased up . I knew a few as they were of the P&O LINERS I worked on . There is none so blind as he who does not want to see!

  40. Hilarious reading the comments many of which indicate they are fervent fans of Mike Hoskings given they seem to read his column and listen to his radio programme daily.
    Think Mike Hoskings loves this.

Comments are closed.