GUEST BLOG: Ian Powell – Jacinda’s Gladys moment

36
1391

Gladys Berejiklian is an experienced Australian Liberal Party politician. First elected to the New South Wales Parliament in 2003, in January 2017 she became the state’s 45th Premier. Just over three years later she had to confront her greatest crisis – the coronavirus pandemic that we know as Covid-19.

Berejiklian proved to be a competent leader in the pandemic response. This included playing a leading role in the state premiers (mainly Labour Party) forcing federal Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take a responsible position (no mean feat). But then came the much more contagious deadly Delta variant.

She had a really bad ‘moment’. She blinked. In contrast to the other Australian states which were faster and harder, she first delayed for too long before responding. Then her eventual lockdown response was too soft and variable, resembling something like a mix of Levels 2 and 3 in New Zealand. The inevitable outcome was chaos with a massive increase in daily infections (cases), unsustainable pressure on its hospitals, and an increasing death rate.

Victoria followed through a combination of the effects of infected cases crossing the border from New South Wales and lockdown fatigue (including breaches and large protests). All other states succeeded in avoiding this disaster by sticking to faster and harder but ultimately shorter elimination lockdowns.

The Berejiklian response contributed to a nearly doubling of the Covid mortality rate in Australia. Deaths per million have increased to 61 per million which still compares well internationally but is dismal compared with New Zealand’s 5 per million.

Trans-Tasman travel bubble

There is a lesson to be learned from how Delta came to New Zealand demonstrating that the harm it does can be either avoided or contained. Prolonged Delta surges are not inevitable.

Delta came here through the trans-Tasman travel bubble. It appears from polls that a small majority of New Zealanders disagreed with the bubble right at its beginning. Their instincts proved to be correct. I say this as someone who was cautiously supportive of the bubble.

The bigger failure, however, was back in June when there was a Delta scare in Wellington with an Australian visitor on a weekend visit who tested infectious on his return to Sydney. That person did the right things, particularly contact tracing. He also had his first vaccine dose before coming to Wellington.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

At that point there should have been a requirement that only fully vaccinated Australians and New Zealanders could cross the Tasman. Had that been the case the Delta case that brought Auckland to a halt would not have arrived when it did and we would not be going through what we now are.

New Zealand’s initial elimination response

New Zealand’s response to the first Delta case in Auckland, as articulated by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was based on the successful elimination strategy of zero tolerance (not to be confused with zero cases) of community transmission. That success was a remarkable achievement with only 28 deaths in total (2 of which were under Delta to date).

Had our response been like the United Kingdom’s there would have been over 10,000 deaths; if like Sweden – around 7,000 deaths; or like if Australia – around 310 deaths (over half pre-Delta).

The response was ‘fast and hard’ with the expectation of being shorter with a national lockdown at the highest alert level (4). The focus of ‘fast and hard’ is largely on preventing as much people movement as possible.

The results were impressive. After little more than a week the growth in Delta daily cases ceased to increase (peaking at 82) and, with fluctuations, declined. Further, apart from very small initial cases in Wellington, Delta was confined to Auckland. This enabled the country outside Auckland to move quickly to Level 3.

Then, as the rest of the country soon moved further down to Level 2 (with no cases being reported) inexplicably Auckland was lowered to Level 3. At the time Government was enthusiastic about the progress and fulsome with its praise for public compliance including in Auckland. There was no major concern expressed about breaches of the restrictions in Auckland.

On 24 September, a few days after the start of Level 3, Auckland had its first single digit (9) number of daily cases and its second a further four days later (8). By 28 September the rolling 3 day average was 13. This was all due to Level 4.

But the impact of dropping to Level 3 first hit Auckland on 29 September with the case numbers leaping to 45. Thereafter it fluctuated between the 30s and 70s but with an overall upwards trend. Then, on 19 October, there was a dramatic increase from 57 to 87 in Auckland (a further 7 in neighbouring Waikato bringing the national total to 94 compared with 60 the previous day).

This was biggest daily increase (94) since the pandemic first came to New Zealand. The rolling 3 day average had increased from a low of 13 to its highest ever figure of 65 (as of 19 October).

Meanwhile the Delta-free rest of the country has to remain in Level 2 because the virus variant is running amok in Auckland.

Modelling advice ignored

NZ Herald science reporter Jamie Morton has published a very good insightful article (19 October) based on a recently published report by and interview with Covid-19 modellers Te Pūnaha Matatini:

The modellers charted possible ‘optimistic’ and ‘pessimistic’ scenarios. The former involved Auckland staying at Level 4 for 60 days when almost all trajectories for spread should be either contained or eliminated. Under this scenario Auckland would now be in its first week of Level 3.

Based on past and recent experience it is reasonable to assume that Level 3 would have continued for a further week, at most, another week before lowering to Level 2. By then, with a question mark around Waikato, the rest of the country could have gone to Level 1.

Under the ‘pessimistic’ scenario the modellers assumed Auckland moved to Level 3 on 16 September (6 days before it did). Their consequential trajectories followed closely what Auckland is now experiencing.

This modelling was given to government three weeks after Delta arrived and before the decision to lower Auckland to Level 3. Sadly, instead of accepting this advice from modellers it had confidence in, Government chose to disregard it. This was the Prime Minister’s ‘Gladys moment’.

The consequence of this ‘moment’ is that, after having defeated it, exponential growth is now back with a vicious vengeance. Now Auckland is likely to remain in lockdown for weeks longer than it otherwise would have been.

The ‘moment’ also required a rewriting of recent history in order to rationalise these decisions.

Rewriting the political narrative

In order to rationalise its decision-making the Government is now trying to change its public political narrative. From applauding Aucklanders for their sticking to the rules and commending the success elimination was achieving, it is now blaming the upsurge of daily infections on breaches.

There have been breaches such as the infamous party of the ‘entitled’ affluent young and the two public demonstrations associated with the far right religious businessperson Brian Tamaki. Both were likely virus spreaders. But, as bad and irresponsible as these are, breaches an overstated sub-set of the Delta spread drivers.

Moving to Level 3 had two main effects. It increased the movement of people quite considerably compared to the more restrictive Level 4. Second, it encouraged complacency. It occurred at a time when the Government, Health Ministry and experts had been expressing a high level of confidence with the success of Level 4. When driven by the sense that Auckland must be over the worst of Delta, complacency is a logical trap for many to drift into.

This then has a compounding effect on the disproportionately high number of people living in economically deprived communities who are unvaccinated and often living in overcrowded circumstances. Many, although not all, are Maori or Pasifika.

Under the elimination strategy the Government had justifiably argued that it was necessary to protect our public hospitals because they didn’t have the capacity to cope with a Delta upsurge.

Now, with the strategy abandoned in Auckland, its political narrative has changed to public hospitals can cope because of the introduction of ‘surge’ staffing in intensive care units. The problem is that affected medical specialists and nurses do not share this newly discovered public relations confidence.

Border control system failings

One of the frustrating things about the Government’s pandemic response was the inability to make uncomplicated decisions in some areas which would have made a difference. Previously it had been slow on recognising the added protection that masks provided for example.

Under Delta there has been some basic (but fixable) failings in border security around Auckland that have impacted negatively. There should have been a requirement that all those eligible to cross the border, primarily essential workers, were vaccinated.

The two Auckland women who travelled through Northland thereby leading to its alert level being raised to Level 3 did it through forgery. Those working at the border should not be blamed for this deception. But, had there been a requirement to be vaccinated in order to cross the border, they would not have got through.

Furthermore, the system was so poor that while the women had to show that they had been tested they didn’t have to show the result of the test. In both cases tests subsequently revealed infectiousness but it was too late.

The two Auckland truck drivers going to Northland and Palmerston North followed the rules. But both were unvaccinated. Had there been a vaccination requirement the fears and need for extra testing that subsequently arose would not have materialised. Even requiring a negative test result would have prevented the drama that eventuated. This was a systems fault; not a fault of border workers or the drivers.

And then there is Raglan which triggered the subsequent Waikato spread and elevation to Level 3 where it currently remains. This was a case of a person driving into Auckland on a secondary road and then returning infected. Understandably police don’t have the capacity to cover all secondary roads. But if concrete blocks used for roadworks (or containers) had been used then most likely the transgression would not have occurred and Waikato would not have gone into lockdown.

These are basic flaws that could have been promptly fixed. For example, on the Kapiti Coast I drive past hundreds of concrete blocks weekly with the construction of Transmission Gully. For some inexplicable reason there is a blockage in central government thinking on these straightforward solutions.

What the Gladys moment means for Aotearoa

The elimination of community transmission strategy has been very effective in New Zealand since its inception in March 2020 including in the Delta response. It has been successful against Delta in most Australian states; it prevented the exponential growth of Delta in Auckland (until it was abandoned) and Waikato (so far); it worked in Northland; and it prevented the spread of Delta in the rest of New Zealand.

Delta was allowed to come into New Zealand due to the wrong decisions being made over the trans-Tasman travel bubble. The loss of control in Auckland, along with the temporary entry into Northland and its continued lower presence in Waikato, are the consequence of poor policy-making and decisions. Both its entry into New Zealand and surge in Auckland were not inevitable.

From a situation where light could be seen at the end of the tunnel, now (as a result of poor political decision-making) we are at risk of this being a train coming in the opposite direction at least for Auckland and potentially for the rest of Aotearoa.

Infections are now widely spread across over 120 suburbs; the capacity to maintain effective testing and contact tracing is at risk of being overwhelmed (already sub-clusters have had to be discontinued); the number of ‘mystery’ cases not linked to known cases is surging upwards (from between 5 to 15 to September to approaching 200 in October); and the well-performing Auckland public health unit is exhausted.

The tragedy is that this was not inevitable; with better policy settings and decision-making it was avoidable.

Possum in the headlights or circuit breaker

Ardern and her government have with justification prided themselves on following the science and being good communicators. This has changed with its ‘Gladys moment’. It is no longer following the science at least at the level required to prevent the pandemic from harming New Zealanders and risking the overwhelming of our health system.

Its previous excellent communication now ranges from poor to uneven. The abandonment of elimination was announced without explanation (that came a week after with a new misleading narrative). Confusion was caused by the introduction of “steps” within alert levels and compounded by muddled references to “traffic lights”.

Beginning with the decision to come out of Level 4 too early and compounded by the unnecessary abandonment of elimination in Auckland, the Government’s confusing policy settings are starting to make it look like a possum in the headlights.

Should Auckland return to Level 4? The science says yes in the context of a desperately needed circuit-breaker. However, a stronger lockdown would now take longer to turnaround the Delta threat than it would have if the advice of the Government’s independent modellers had been accepted back in September.

Going to Level 4 would require Government to recognise that by having a ‘Gladys moment’ it made the wrong judgement call. This is likely to be a political bridge too far.

Ian Powell was Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, the professional union representing senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand, for over 30 years, until December 2019. He is now a health systems, labour market, and political commentator living in the small river estuary community of Otaihanga (the place by the tide). First published at Otaihanga Second Opinion

36 COMMENTS

  1. The medical opinion of this post reminds me of the Proverb
    if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

    There is much more to handling Covid, than stopping infections with ongoing Level 4 lockdowns.
    There are real people leading real lives.
    They have other health needs
    They have a need to survive both physically and mentally.
    Yes, vaccination is one tool.
    But so is preventative treatments and better treatments post infection.
    The International debate on Ivermectin springs to mind.

    So nice post.
    But Level 4 lockdowns, MIQ and closed borders are not the solution.
    They were ok in 2020 when nobody knew what was really going on.

    So its time to move on. Remove the daily fear porn, look at the science throu a clear lens(not the myoptic view of favored selected epidemiologists)

    Think of the children springs to mind

    • Level 4 and closed drawbridges work if you are an from home white collar worke, writer, pontificator, who does not actually has to leave the house. It does not work fro the people that actually do work – like nurses, cops, teachers, janitors, shopkeepers etc. But then we can all send them home on a benefit – surely the writes and pontificators and from home workers will make enough money to pay for all of that, and just import our gruel, two bowls per adult and one per kid.
      That is what living under a siege means, and what these guys are advertising is more siege.

    • The post mentioned a few simple rules regarding the need for vaccinations before travel would have prevented our current problems so I am not sure where your only tool is a hammer idea comes from.
      Your desire for horse medicine (Ivermectin) would suggest you prefer the wild west of the internet for advice instead of our well-qualified medical experts.

  2. Problem for the government was that the reported cases of level 4 transgressions you refer to were but the tip of a far larger iceberg. Aucklanders were, by and large, ignoring level 4 restrictions (especially after S. Wiles escapade to her beach) in any case.

    There was absolutely no containing the populace to level 4, so the government had no choice but to lift restrictions.

    it would be interesting to see the covid spread “modelling” and the value of the multiple they included for the active and passive resistance Aucklanders gave to level 4 restrictions.

    Even in the last week of level 4 most Aucklanders were already at level 3.

    And maybe the “modellers” are wrong in feeding their machinations when we read

    “All members of New Zealand’s biggest cluster in the Delta outbreak, at a Māngere church, have fully recovered from Covid-19, the leader’s wife, faletua Rebekah Toleafoa, has confirmed.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/126733557/covid19-all-386-auckland-church-cluster-cases-recovered-brought-closer-by-outbreak

    Sure there are going to be hospitalisations, sure there is going to be death. But that is the price of freedom. The majority is ready (vaccinated) to face the future and its freedom. They will not be dictated to by the tyranny of the minority.

    Chris Trotter has it 100% right in his opinion piece today in the TDB.

    “Keeping Auckland in tow electorally, and keeping its citizens locked-down until Christmas and beyond, don’t really add up as a winning political formula. Especially when a good 70-75 percent of Aucklanders have dutifully presented themselves for their double-dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The idea that they must remain confined within their city’s boundaries, while the unvaccinated of Auckland – and the rest of New Zealand – are wooed and cossetted in what is beginning to look like a futile attempt to persuade them to do the decent thing, is becoming less-and-less saleable as a political proposition.”

    It would be interesting to have a outcome modeled for a level 4 lockdown scenario in regards continuous compliance. Auckland at level 4 for 5 weeks was about as long as one could enforce the lockdown I would suggest before civil unrest (no not just the published aberrations ones) and disobedience makes the whole thing a farce. For example an underground network of hairdressers was operating throughout level 4. How do you think the ladies of Auckland continued to look so nicely coiffured?

  3. I think, like the other comments here so far, this is a far too simplistic post focussed on the health response only and ignoring other parts of the equation. I was all for the level 4 lockdown as we had previously done, it had a chance of working and you don’t turn that opportunity down when delta is concerned. But it was apparent in the second half of the level 4 lockdown that daily case numbers were barely decreasing – if at all. Anecdotally people were getting tired of level 4 based on the traffic volumes increasing with each passing day. The daily briefings showed that the community spread wasn’t from people passing each other in the supermarket, or essential workers passing it on. Which only left households mingling and people ignoring the rules. So the rational course of action was to move to a new approach. Now that vaccination largely removes the threat of hospitalisation or severe disease, obsessing over the daily case numbers becomes less important (something I feel the media haven’t cottoned on to yet). We all know the case numbers are going to go up over time under this new strategy, but they certainly aren’t exponential yet and with a high vaccination rate probably won’t ever be. As long as we dampen down the risk of serious illness the hospitals will cope. I think the government, wilst making a few missteps, has handled this pandemic very well to date.

    • You and the earlier respondents are wrong Brad based on the evidence. There were fluctuations in daily infections but the trend was clear – first turnaround the upwards surge and then downwards. Directly due to this there were two single digit daily infections within the first week of Level 3. The reported daily cases are always at least a week after the infection happened. Just over a week after Level 3 started boom and we are now in the mess that we are in. The modellers were right. Rampant infectiousness; increasing hospitalisations for longer periods (‘long Covid’ linked to Delta); public hospitals under increased pressure. Auckland is now going to be in lockdown for longer than it would have been if the government hadn’t had its ‘Gladys moment’.

  4. Labours 2023 campaign slogan(s).

    “We Give Up On Everything!”

    or, “Perseverance Is Not Our Thing!”

    Or, “We Cant Do This!”

    • Lol.
      “Make gangs great again”

      “Can we fix it? No we can’t”

      “Let’s not do this”

      “Let’s keep moving..the narrative”

    • Spoken like a Moronic, ignorant Right winger? Why don’t you state National’s Campaign & Slogan Manifesto for 2023, while your at it?

      “We open up everything & to hell with the Delta Death rate” & overwhelming the DHB’s & when the shit hits the Fan, blame Labour or just deny it exists like John Key & the nasty Natz did with the Housing crisis!
      ”Deathcult, Neoliberal Capitalism is our thing” & Milton Friedman must be obeyed at any cost!
      “Yes we can’t, we can never help ordinary NZers, our priority is looking after the Rich, Business & Farmer Elites and to hell with you “Deplorables” you can just go away & die, preferably of the Delta strain of Covid!

      • KA. Because to help anybody you need money from the rich business and elite farmers. You can’t print it for ever. I’m always amazed how people like you hate those who are able to provide the cash that your useless government uses to provide for its people. You might not like how it’s spent or the decisions the Government makes, but don’t criticise those who do their best to create wealth because governments have nothing. They spend yours and mine but it mainly comes from those rich pricks you hate. Doesn’t it.

  5. Thank you Ian Powell.
    It is important that the record not be rewritten and even more so that the nature of the advice taken and ignored in regard to the September capitulation is made fully public.

  6. You and the earlier respondents are wrong Brad based on the evidence. There were fluctuations in daily infections but the trend was clear – first turnaround the upwards surge and then downwards. Directly due to this there were two single digit daily infections within the first week of Level 3. The reported daily cases are always at least a week after the infection happened. Just over a week after Level 3 started boom and we are now in the mess that we are in. The modellers were right. Rampant infectiousness; increasing hospitalisations for longer periods (‘long Covid’ linked to Delta); public hospitals under increased pressure. Auckland is now going to be in lockdown for longer than it would have been if the government hadn’t had its ‘Gladys moment’.

    • I agree, the decision to end elimination was made when they moved Auckland to level 3.
      It was clearly political not health based, but there has been much obfuscation of this fact lest the government be held accountable for the upcoming fatalities.
      Also clearly they are opting for a (hopefully) controlled spread scenario.

    • Must be easy to look at nothing but figures, figure out what if scenarios and play at modeling. Have you considered the human side in any equation?

      Here is a human side that is deeply personal for our family. Due to covid lockdown we were unable to proceed with the transfer of an elderly parent (near getting the telegram from the Queen age) from her retirement village to a rest home. So our mother is has been left totally helpless with only across the gate deliveries of food parcels, completed laundry, and a smile plus wave from across a quart yard as human contact.

      She has a twice weekly visit from an aged care worker to shower her. This aged care worker is not allowed to do any cleaning. Her toilet has not been cleaned for 10 weeks, her shower has not been cleaned for 10 weeks, her kitchen has not been cleaned for 10 weeks, her floors not washed or vacummed for 10 weeks. She can barely manage to make her own bed. So cannot cook though the village will provide meals if we dont pass the food through the gate portal.

      She now simply wants covid to come and take her away. We keep saying to her to use her St Johns emergency call button, but she is from the greatest generation and does not want to bother anyone. In he rmind she is coping when we can all see she is not.

      Can you put that scenario in your modeling please, and tell me why the heck your words are worth anything unless you do.

      This is but one case there are thousands and thousand and thousands and thousands more like this that you are not putting into your figures.

      So excuse me if I dont take a blind bit of notice in what you say. You have no idea what a continuous lock down is like and how badly the people are treated. Same as for the pencil pushers and politicians in Wellington or those safely ensconsed at the beach not having not an iota of empathy for us seeking out a an existence, under the jackboot of tyranny, here in deepest darkest South Auckland.

      The people here are now very angry at the lack of empathy from the “experts”.

      • Gerrit For elderly in the situation you describe are tough, it’s a choice between isolation or highly elevated likelihood of infection and death. It seems you prefer the risk of death.
        Whatever you prefer your complaints won’t make the available choices any more numerous.

        • That is the most despicable reply I have ever read. No wonder the “experts” are now so contemptible and despised.

          There is no risk of death, We are double vaxed, covid free (by test) and totally not a risk.

          Somewhere amongst the Bakers, Wiles. Powells and their like there must be a scrap of humanity, empathy , kindness and flexibility?

          Do you have any?

          Hopefully you and the “experts” have had their 15 minutes of fame and can now all bugger off and leave the responsibly vaxed and tested people to live a live of self determination.

          You have no idea of the utter hatred now filling Auckland for “experts” dealing in numbers but completely devoid of human kindness.

          • This is known as “shooting the messenger”. I can understand your frustration, especially as your dear one wouldn’t take the one course that could help her. Turning on the health advisors and modellers is basically denying the science and is a red herring.

          • Let me give this one more try. Had the government followed the proposed scenario of the modellers by remainint in Level 4 longer it is most likely that Auckland would by the end of October (perhaps even now) be out of lockdown and in Level 2.

            But, because it blinkied and changed tact, Auckland is now likely to be in lockdown until the end of November.

            Where is the “humanity, empathy , kindness and flexibility” in this outcome?

            Incidentally don’t assume that the ‘experts’ you deride haven’t experienced their share of private upset over the impact of the virus.

            • Agreed. Absolutely Ian. They got spooked again by the polls and focus groups they’re running and the grenade JK and the business community of Ceo’s.

              This is now a political and economic covid plan to ‘manage’ a virus.
              Its doomed to fail as it has in the UK, Israel, Singapore, the US and pretty much everywhere else that the government has reprioritised the ‘settings’ and health policy to suit their political ambitions.

  7. “Berejiklian proved to be a competent leader in the pandemic response.”..I have two words for that “Ruby Princess”..And, I have been keeping track of the developments there, as I was living in WA until getting trapped here when NZ went into lockdown a month after my arrival, and I can say that Gladys wasn’t a “leading figure” in the premieres ccabinet, It was Dan Andrews, Mark McGowan, and Annastacia Palaszczuk who were doing the most to shake things up… As evidenced by the partisan political attacks on them by the Murdoch owned media there on behalf of the largely incompetent PM.. The only thing that saved NSW from becoming a raging hellhole was that the original strain wasn’t that hard to contain, as it had yet to reach the level of contagion Delta has… and, of course, The nSW govt did pull it’s act together once they realised that they were taking the blame for helping it to spread much faster in other states… And The travel bubble was always a stupid idea, especially as Sydney was always going to be the most vulnerable city in the country to reinfection.. My choice, if would always have been WA, as they have stood out as a shining example of competent, and unflappable, mature leadership.. It would have been of benefit to both NZ and WA, as a tourist destination for kiwis, and Westies.. I know Sydney is an international gateway, but that is a very good reason not to go there in a pandemic… As a convenient pressure relief valve while we wait for the tory states, and central govt to catch up to what is best practice (assuming that ever happens) it would have been invaluable.. Now, thanks to going along with what amounts to a rabble of incompetent, and self serving blowhards, we are now back in the sludge with the rest of the no hopers… Nzers are the authors of their own misfortune to a large degree, as evidenced by the numbers of self important muddle heads that represent the biggest threat to our getting out of this in anything like one piece.. My own ambition equates to waiting for my opportunity to go back to where I know I can have a life, rather than rot away here in the John Key driven hell hole this country has become… Most expensive food I, ve ever come across, higher rents, and lowest wages in comparison compared to any country/city I’ve been to, and less variety of goods available at even close to reasonable cost… You do know that it took nearly a full three weeks before the NSW govt lifted a finger after the delta variant arrived, and had already started it’s inexorable march across Australia, and over to NZ… Thrree weeks sitting on ones hand is not a “blink” it’s asleep at the wheel… That didn’t happen like that here… so the comparisons suggest to me, a self serving agenda being pushed.. And for whom is this to benefit?

    • Berejiklian flubbed the lock down initially but did get the state vaccinated, cases peaking relatively early and re opening amazingly quickly.
      Dan Andrews certainly gets mixed reviews in Melbourne and he seems to be struggling with case numbers transitioning to containment/living with the virus, despite the sacrifices of parts of the state locked down quite harshly for over 200 days.

      • The biggest problem for Victoria, apart from the self entitled “morons with money” are the interstate truckies that were the main source of infections.. Nz is trapped in lockdown limbo as a result of the virus arriving on a plane from Sydney..
        “re opening amazingly quickly”.. Whether this is shown to be a massive miscalculation will be known pretty quickly.. At this point, the amount of party political propaganda flying around over there, and over here, makes it impossible to gauge whether they have set up NSW for a massive second wave of delta.. It pays to keep in mind that the reopening was a purely political decision, made by yet another god botherer, based on political considerations rather than common sense.. The shit has yet to hit the fan there, as it will, but we won’t be shown the results until it gets too widespread to bullshit about… Practically all the “criticism” of the Victorian govts performance is driven by Liberal party interests, and so, should be viewed with deep skepticism… We should never forget that we are getting the bulk of our information from the Murdoch owned news agencies, and TV channels who have ex Liberal party ministers at the helm.. They sound more like the NZ Herald on speed, or stuff , and news hub after taking even more ecstasy.. To assume that NSW opening up as they have is based on evidence of a “beaten virus” is to have ignored everything that has been said and done since the federal govt there utterly bolloxed up the response from day one.. They now have Liberal politicians dropping like flies as their dirty deeds are being laid open to the world.. Gladys was always going to go down, as she had been identified as a risk by the power brokers within the party, as her choices of boyfriend made her a liability that has allowed the theft, general dishonesty, and greed that has become the bedrock of Liberal/national party philosophy to be exposed in ways that are hard to stamp out… If you want to quote a genuine success story in Oz, look to Western Australia, and look how much money Clive Palmer spent, with huge donations, and vocal support from the federal Liberal party to try to break their system, purely so that they could go in there and restart the outbreak there.. Don’t be fooled by uncle Ruperts bullshit.. NZ is much better off keeping hard borders than allowing themselves to be fucked up again by lying Australian politicians…

  8. Covid and its variant/s is an example of how perilous things can become when capitalism encounters common sense. Before, it was merely homelessness and hungry kids who were the collateral damage of greed so who cares, right? Greed is Good? Is that not right Big Mike Hoskings? But now, in this new world, even the exploitative, sociopathic riche can get sick and die.
    Welcome to the streets fuckers!

  9. My sentiments precisely, Dr. Powell. I think the government hit the panic button after Key’s outburst.
    If they had held fast at level 4 for a bit longer, as you say, it would have meant less pain in the longer term.

  10. I think Level 4 now would be doomed to fail. Severe lockdowns are really a one off and Auckland has been hammered by most of these by far since Covid came to NZ, albeit up until 17 August, only one Level 4.

    Therefore Aucklanders tolerance this time around was low plus the knowledge that enforcement under the current police commissioner was weak. Those two factors meant those on the margins of society, which has grown since Covid 1 through our housing crisis, were more likely to ignore restrictions. In the final days of Level 4 the numbers kept growing in those marginal areas. Short and sharp became a lie.

    Unfortunately the war was lost for a couple of reasons, namely a lack of resolve and a lack of planning. When it turned pear shaped in NSW they were slow to react and instead of standing by their word of shutting the border in a heartbeat, they dithered then in “kindness” allowed plane loads to return and self isolate. No wonder it got into Auckland.

    And secondly, our government chose to sit back and leave the pandemic and Covid Delta to fate. There is no evidence to date they spent the last 18 months preparing or contingency planning or at anytime at all. Their solution, should the worst happen, was last year’s solution to last year’s disease. It was never going to work!

    I too am tired of blaming Aucklanders for an unnecessary situation they found themselves in for want of far better governance. The blame lies with our government!

  11. So, you are trying to equate Ms Berejiklian’s long (ten day-ish) delay in requiring her state to enter lockdown, with our own PM’s decision to begin allowing Aucklanders to emerge from lockdown?

    Surely that is a false equivalence.
    The situations are significantly different.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.