Genuine, valid concerns at government policies masked by stereotypical reporting


It’s worrying, but probably inevitable, that yesterday’s protest at parliament should have ended as a fizzer. It was a mishmash of people and organisations focused on a wide variety of concerns re Covid 19 and government decisions.

Media reporting generally ridiculed the protest – following an 18-month pattern of mainstream media regarding anyone questioning the government’s approach to Covid 19 as fringe, irrational, Brian Tamaki supporters or worse.

Some protesting were opposed to vaccination per se, some to oppose Pfizer, some to oppose lockdowns, some to oppose mandatory vaccination (get vaccinated or lose your job!) and some to promote conspiracy theories about the vaccine or the UN trying to take over the world. And Trump flags featured for heaven’s sake – we have angry, disenfranchised people looking for scapegoats too.

However, amongst the protest group were many with genuine, valid concerns that deserved respectful reporting. They didn’t get it.

Take for example people concerned about the speed of the vaccine being produced (I know a number of people in this category) and worried as to how safe it is. Pfizer is a huge multinational pharmaceutical company, all of which have well-deserved reputations as professional liars. If someone chooses not to vaccinate with Pfizer because of this we should respect their decision irrespective of whether we agree with them or not. We are still relying on Pfizer reporting of the vaccine’s effects to a large degree.

Opposition to mandatory vaccinations in particularly should be applauded by all of us.

I have previous said the role of the government is to encourage vaccination as a way to prevent our hospital system from being overwhelmed by Covid patients. At this level vaccination is about the common good. But to insist on mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers, teachers or any group of workers when they are able to show they are covid negative is wrong, misleading and scientifically stupid. It is being used by the government to force up vaccination rates without respect for individual decisions. This is wrong.

So many genuine concerns were lost in the reporting of the protest – on this blogsite as well as others – and simply used to reinforce media-generated stereotypes of anyone opposed to vaccination for whatever reason. This also is wrong.

TDB Recommends



  1. I rarely agree with John, but on this one I find myself in complete agreement. Thank you for an alternative perspective

    • Yes Yeti I am in your camp in that I don’t normally agree with JM but on this occasion I most certainly do particularly the last two paragraphs.
      This is wrong!!

  2. With all due respect John…

    “Opposition to mandatory vaccinations in particularly should be applauded by all of us.”

    As a sub contractor in the construction industry, i am grateful that the bosses and the Government have introduced mandatory vaccinations and a “No jab, No job” policy. My coworkers feel the same way. Why would we feel any empathy towards those that could possibly affect our earnings? As subbies we pay for our own sick days, and letting those who could make us sick on site… really? I should applaud that? No, I will not.

    • standalone – you’ve nicely skirted around the option of a negative test.

      What matters is that your workmates aren’t covid positive.

      The vaccine doesn’t stop you carrying and spreading the virus. (I assume you understand that, it’s important).

      Being covid negative is way, way more important than being double jabbed.

      • Apart from Hospitals and MIQ facilities, what workplace is going to expend financial resources on daily Covid tests?

      • yessssss but once again jabbed tend to get a milder form unjabbed tend to get a more serious case…so what’s your issue given the govts policy is let covid run rjot, a million tests a be processed by who? how quickly? will you kill your kids before the results come back…

        • The jabbed do not get a milder form of covid, whatsoever. But you, or someone else can always prove me wrong……hint, hint, no such science exists!

      • While a negative test sounds good the reality is that a person could be infectious before getting any symptoms which is why the vaccine along with the substantially reduced risk of catching the disease is the best option.

      • This is the same line of argument as anti-1080 people, anti-thar hunting people, Groundswell etc use – they present something that is supposed to be a reasonable and practical alternative to undermine opposition. But their alternatives aren’t reasonable or practical.

      • I’m not saying that, the vaccine does work, I will happily take enormously less risk of catching and or transmitting Covid over NO chance.

        In my current site there are over a hundred workers, in a high rise building with two lifts. If ten percent of the workers don’t get vaccinated (a hypothetical number as more than that are already vaccinated), sooner or later a fully vaccinated worker will take Covid home to his family.

        Don’t know about you, but i have a young dependent who is asthmatic. They mean more to me than someone elses right to be a plague rat.

        This really boils down to a Health and Safety issue in the work place. And Health and Safety regulations override personal beliefs every time.

  3. Fine to oppose vaccinations and are not vaccinated – but if you need medical attention for Covid-19 and you are not vaccinated by choice (and don’t have a legitimate medical reason not to get the jab) you should pay any medical cost associated with treatment. There’s your freedom of choice – choose not to take the evil vaccine and pay the cost if you get sick – because this is much more likely if you are not vaccinated – and you are much more likely to need hospitalisation. Good luck.

    • Agreed. Hospitals should also have freedom of choice not to treat unvaccinated right?
      How far does freedom of choice and rights go?

    • You would, of course support the same policy with the smoker, with the obese or the otherwise “unfit”?

      670 people died in NZ from the flu in 2018 (the last year for whcih we carry records). Do you suggest that in future we should ask those people sick with the flu to pay for their hospitalisation unless they have taken a flu vaccine?

      Congratulations – you have just conceived of the US medical model!

      • So are you advocating one group is only allowed to protest against personal freedoms? Smoking and obesity aren’t viruses, they are freedom of choice and the flu vaccine is offered to prevent more deaths. If you choose smoking and overeating why should the state choose to treat you. Remember this one thing Mary, the health system IS MANDATED TO TREAT YOU!
        This is about those who provocate, the in your face type per se.

        • You missed the whole point of my reply which is that we have a health system that was setup to treat illness and disease – regardless of personal choice. For the system to discriminate on the base of ONE particular vaccination (and ignore a multitude of other causal factors causing admissions) would be deeply troubling.

      • Mary – Smoking is recognised as a very powerful addiction, and obesity can also have complex and similar causes eg metabolism issues, psychological issues.

        Choosing not to vaccinate is a different category altogether. Neither smoking nor eating impact negatively upon the social community, the way that a virus carrier or a drunkard can. Both make other parties rich. Smokers or fatties behind the wheel of a car don’t injure or kill innocent people either., costing thousands in responder services. Different ball games.

        Govt reaps whopping taxes from smokers and tobacco, but not a cent from anti-vaxxers.

        • Your logic is flawed. You are conveniently ignoring alcohol – which is, by some distance, the largest cause of accident, death, and crime in NZ (and elsewhere) – and obviously a far greater impact on the social community. But we have and will continue to treat this without sanction in NZ.

          • Mary – I am probably no more lacking in logic than the government and the MoH are, nor particularly care.

            It is your MP, or the Min of Health, or the pretty Deputy Min of Health, who you may be better off lobbying about the devastation caused by alcohol. Good luck with that – it fills the govt coffers too, and that, after all, is the primary concern of neolibs of every ilk.

      • Mary forgets the unvaccinated will swamp the hospitals so nothing else can be done except to treat Covid. Triage will need to be done, which may well involve choosing who lives or dies. The unvaccinated seem to assume they will always be at the front of the queue, and others turned away. But why? Why isn’t the anti-vaxxer told that yes, there is a bed in ICU but we need it for a life-saving cancer operation, so you can’t have it. Or cardiac surgery. A complication of childbirth. A car crash. Septicaemia.
        All the things going on now that require ICU are apparently to go out the window because the unvaccinated are finding they can’t breath? The hospitals are running on empty and were before Covid.

        • Not true in the slightest. The UK Health Security Agency (formally, Public health England) does a fantastic job in collating figures that deal with their Covid hospitalizations and more. Their figures are undeniable as to whom is being hospitalized due to Covid. They are worth checking out. Everyone should check out their website.

    • Well, the data suggest the opposite, Bob, when we are allowed to see the data, especially of the official kind, of course. The vaccinated and the unvaccinated are filling the hospitals. Houston – humanity has a problem!

    • Don’t treat the unvaxxed in hospital or make them pay
      These sorts of comments are ridiculous.
      Andrew what do they actually do for smokers, I doubt what you are saying has any validity.

      If hospitals aren’t going to treat the unvaxed then they need to stop treating the smokers, alcoholics, obese people. We don’t live in a society where we do this nor should we.

  4. Yeas, playing the man/woman and not the ball has become the order of the day in recent times. This type of action hides, if not drowns out, any concerns of the protesters whatsoever, thus leaving all the governmental measures – untouched.

    But something is up when you get healthcare workers and teachers, especially, refusing or at the very least, very very hesitant to take the vaccine. Likewise when you have significant numbers of professionals also hesitant to take the vaccine. Something is up, but rarely are we allowed to engage in any discussion around the vaccines, nor the governmental measures associated with Covid, let alone the vaccines.

    Something is up….perhaps its time we talked to some of these professionals, especially of the healthcare variety, as to why they have concerns. Yeah right to that happening!

  5. John
    A negative test for Covid-19 is NOT an indicator of the tester NOT carrying and spreading covid-19!
    If the NEGATIVE test result is to be considered accurate and reliable, then a, NEGATIVE merely suggests that, at that single moment(of the test), the body tested is not carrying enough molecules of antigen and/or antibody complexes to convert the test to POSITIVE.
    At any moment in time, post-that SINGLE test on the same person, a REPEAT test may convert to a POSITIVE?!
    Therefore, a single negative is not helpful in distinguishing a person as definitely NOT carrying or suffering Covid-19!

  6. “If someone chooses not to vaccinate with Pfizer because of this we should respect their decision irrespective of whether we agree with them or not.”

    Lols I love this commonly attempted switcheroo over entitlement to respect. John commits it often.

    It’s everyone’s right to hold a decision that is worthy of respect and it should be denied only in certain circumstances.
    Respect due for any particular decision is a totally different thing. For all sorts of reasons some decisions and conclusions are only worthy of derision.

  7. It is refreshing to see this. I am struck by thenotion that the generation and political persuasion that opposed Apartheid, faced down authoritarian structures, stood up for marginalised groups, and were flag-bearers for open dialogue to ‘speak truth to power’ are now the same considering how to wield the cosh, employ police forcrs to suppress dissent, and openly demean opppostion using a compliant media…

    What did these people get into politics for? I thought they were aiming to improve the world, not refine the terrors of old.

    • Well said, Lee…tragically so for those not only still fighting these battles, but now fighting the very people who once stood beside them….

  8. Too many groups at yesterday small protest with personal agendas and as for our media saying it was a huge crowd and no one will listen to them, who cares the NZ people have already spoken and 89% have been vaccinated. And when we (Maori) marched for our foreshore and seabed did we get listened to, no of course not. People need to put this in it perspective, it was small group with many personal agendas and if they all sat down together to talk many would have problems agreeing on anything. I didn’t see people marching when John Keys national party introduced many measures to curb and encroach on our privacy and rights. And today the ‘consent to assume online internet identity’ is but one of the measures taking advantage of some people and using this mandate for other means when this was probably not the purpose it was originally intended for. And then for Stuart Mills (NZ Police) to say on RNZ ‘we have been using it since 2012’ well this does not make it right nor does the fact other countries are also using it either. The National party were in power 2012 and the spying agencies were given more powers as were the NZ Police and where were the protest marches back then as far as I am concerned this protest is at least 8 years too late.

  9. The case for mandatory vaccines was made generations ago when vaccines wiped out a number of epidemics and pandemics.
    We should remember that these vaccines were mandated mainly as the result of their efficacy in saving lives.
    The massive victories of workers in previous generations to fight for and win major victories in health and safety is what justifies mandates, not the profits of the bosses.
    The fact that they increase the profits of big pharma is what happens under capitalism.
    Demonstrate against capitalism and expropriate big pharma by all means but beware of the ‘freedom of choice’ mantra of End Stage Capitalism.
    Opposition to mandates only became a ‘thing’ when neoliberal individualism posing as ‘human rights’ made individual choice sacrosanct.
    That ‘free choice’ takes us straight to eugenics when the rich and powerful exercise their rights to wipe out the poor and weak, and to extinction when our individual choices destroy nature.
    Today we have no need to rely on Pfizer’s trials since the mRNA vaccines have been field trialed for nearly two years where their effectiveness has been demonstrated.
    Moreover their strongest supporters of mandates are the front line workers in the health system, not the petty bourgeois escapees from the working class whose horizon is personal greed.
    So lets take our cue from the health workers and take control of our health, and then lets take control of our society by ending the capitalist system that privatises profit and socialises death and destruction.

    • Its too late brotha! Neoliberalism has captured lil ole NZ for the last 37+ years and its entering its death spiral in sync with the West.

      With potential War(s) on the horizon and massive inflation across the world, this can only lead to another financial collapse because governments are trying to wean themselves off QE and ‘0’ interest rates. The problem is, they’re all carrying too much debt on their books and their currencies are near worthless.

      Covid has just accelerated this.

      So sit back and enjoy the ride. Its gunna be a doozy!

    • The case for mandatory vaccines was made generations ago

      This is simply not true, I have never been vaccinated for anything in my 71 years except recently for Covid.

      It is still a free country last time I looked anyway.

  10. Speaking purely about the safety argument about the vaccine, we shouldn’t confuse ignorance with a legitimate concern. The science behind the vaccine is well understood. mRNA has been known about since 1961. The sheer amount known about cellular chemistry would blow the average person’s mind. It certainly did mine when I did my BSc in Biology in the mid 90’s.

    Does a layman worrying about an mRNA vaccine altering their DNA have a ‘legitimate’ concern, when scientifically it is not possible for this to happen? Can we not trust the scientific minds all around the world that have examined the theory and the makup of the vaccine, and the results from millions of people already being jabbed. Health bodies in many countries have assessed this vaccine before giving it approval. None of these are politicians, they are experts in the medical field – in our case Medsafe.

    Do any of these people with ‘legitimate’ concerns have the same concerns about other medicines. Do they refuse a medicine from their doctor because they don’t know how it works? Are they all teetotalers because they are obviously aware alcohol CAN in fact alter DNA?

    I’m sorry, but I fail to see any legitimate concerns at all in outcry from the people worried about the safety of the vaccine. They are not rational arguments made about the science, but irrational statements bourne from ignorance and/or fear.

    • This is an incredibly funny response.

      mRNA vaccines have never been used in a human application on any scale before.

      DNA has been known about for longer than mRNA. Is all genetic editing thus without danger?

  11. speed of the vaccine creation is due to China releasing the genome for Covid -19 in January 2020. It took 4 months to create by Moderna and Pfizer who had been using bio platform technology to create cancer drugs for more than 10 years. It is not new! This is gene science John why is it so hard for people of your level of education to understand?. You have claimed Pfizer have been proven to be liars in the past please provide evidence. More than 6 billion of MRna vaccines have been administered world wide. And people are not dying from the vaccine in vast unreported numbers.The MRna vaccines are the one’s making the difference . If only the US would allow the Moderna vaccine to be sold overseas it is even more effective.

    I am firmly convinced now more than ever that sourcing one’s information from as many proven reputable sources as possible is the best way to answer personal doubts.
    There is a wealth of data from such sources available to any intelligent human who chooses to search for it. It’s great if you have friends of the same bent to share with and discuss.
    Facebook IS NOT a reliable source.
    No one needs to make a dick of themselves by marching in the street and exposing themselves to possible infection over questions that are easily answered and concerns that are imagined.
    I have no sympathy whatsoever for those who choose not to be vaccinated without a solid medical reason signed of by a Doctor.

    • I agree with all you say . Re the company lying I can fill you in .In 2009 the company was fined 2.3 billion for the way they promoted a drug . It is on Google . To me this does not put me off having this vaccine and some peace of mind . Why John and his kind seem to hate big pharmac beats me as many are kept alive by their research. It is the same with banks they complain about them being profitable but there would be lots more heart break if they failed

    • Try, try, try again….anybody wanting evidence on Pfizer’s outstanding business achievements needs only turn to google for clarification…

  12. No jab no job No jab no fun gives those with health issues like me a degree of comfort. I volunteer at the local City Mission and was concerned a co worker was strongly anti vax . This was going to lead to an unpleasant discussion about if I would continue to help out. However the Mission said no jab no job and he is now vaccinated. Those that call for repeated tests seem to forget these tests are not free and if thousands each week were being tested there would be a large unnecessary drain on the health budget. When I enquired about a pre flight test my medical clinic quoted $200 .
    Those teachers who will not get vaxed are no lose to the profession as they are not the example of a good citizen that I would want my children to emulate. I am not surprised that Minto would back their position .

  13. OMG. This may be the first time I have agreed with Mr Minto since 1981.

    For the record, PSM is double vaccinated.

    Nonetheless, the following is clear:

    1. Vaccine mandates are fascism in motion.

    2. The never-ending lockdowns are a failure on every level imaginable (health / economic / freedom).

    3. The MSM are lickspittles for our totalitarian government.

    I predict a riot…

  14. There may have been people with genuine & valid concerns at this particular protest, however they would have definitely been a minority. If you stand in the midst of a group of idiots & fools, and chant along with them, there is a very good chance you will be “mistaken” for a fool or an idiot.

    This was a protest organised & financed by individuals who definitely do not have New Zealanders best interests at heart, their followers are motley collection of disenfranchised & fringe individuals, driven by lies & misinformation, they pose a clear risk to our communities. They are misguided & potentially dangerous. If people have genuine concerns, they would be better off voicing them directly to their MP, in a calm manner rather than ranting in the streets. If they want to protest, they should organising their own protest, rather than risk having their voices lost in the moronic noise emanating from this mob.

    The media will often look for ways to discredit legitimate protests (not hard with this group), downplaying numbers, focusing on fringe or violent elements, joke or moronic placards, pushing the “rent-a-mob” stick, trying to present protestors as lazy/unemployable/dirty/hippish/not “normal” etc. When we marched against the TPPA, we were not happy when black shirted white supremacists with their runic group flags or conspiracy theorists with their “chemtrail” placards marched along side us. We worried they might draw focus away from the issues that concerned us or could be used to discredit us. It just makes the optics look bad having elements like that clearly present. If you marched with this group of losers, then their muck will end up sticking to you, no matter what your issues, ideals or principles were.

    Be careful who you stand with, lest you be judged by the company you keep.

    Avoid the company of fools, ignorance is contagious, don’t get infected.

    Stay safe out there, Christmas (COVID) is coming.

    • Thankyou Richard .
      You have saved me a lengthier response.
      I concur.
      From the
      NoWayTppa Auckland event group
      organisers that were and even when circa 30,000 out we still failed to prevent its’ signing in 2014

  15. If the Ardern regime was even remotely serious about dealing with people’s concerns, they would do as Pembroke Bird has suggested, and give people the option of taking one of the more effective and safer vaccines that have been used around the world.

    Just to pick one example, Cuba’s Soberana Plus vaccine is far more effective than the Pfizer experiment that Ardern insists that we have no choice but to take, and:
    * is not based on experimental technologies, but reliable, well proven, vaccine technology
    * is not created by a company with a manifest interest in promoting ill health, as has been proven many times before

  16. I have been writing to Medsafe and the MOH for the Sputnik V vaccine but they don’t give a fuck.

    That optimises this government entirely. They’re a bunch of middle-class morons.

  17. me too and it’s strange because wasn’t the accepted wisdom that getting your booster from a different vaccine was more effective… or is that not a thing anymore?

  18. Yes, I tend to agree with you John,… I believe forbearance is the word we need in our vocabulary to meet the needs of each other in todays times.

    During the Spanish Influenza those generations displayed much the same social reactions as todays group. Others have been there before us. It is estimated the death toll ranged from ”17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history”.

    Spanish flu – Wikipedia › wiki › Spanish_flu

    We cannot afford mass social division at this point. We must find a way forward together.

    • “We cannot afford mass social division at this point. We must find a way forward together.” – so what are saying? That we should all get vaccinated or that we should all not get vaccinated. If you are saying then those that who want to get vaccinated should, and those who don’t shouldn’t, then you already have a divided society because the vaccination is what will save a lot of people from dying and getting seriously ill. If you don’t believe this, then you are already and anti-vaxer and part of the social division you are so keen to avoid.

      • NOPE. More in the way we conduct ourselves towards each other. This virus will change as all viral pandemics do and become less virulent (Spanish flu died out in around 2 -5 years max and became the ancestor of many of todays flu strains) in time even more effective vaccines will be available.

        So instead of tearing into each other we need to keep cool heads. We all have friends and relatives who are on the fence. We are just in an unfortunate period of history whether we like it or not.

  19. This opinion piece is about as close to being anti-vax as you can get without actually being labelled anti-vax

  20. “Take for example people concerned about the speed of the vaccine being produced (I know a number of people in this category) and worried as to how safe it is. Pfizer is a huge multinational pharmaceutical company, all of which have well-deserved reputations as professional liars. If someone chooses not to vaccinate with Pfizer because of this we should respect their decision irrespective of whether we agree with them or not. We are still relying on Pfizer reporting of the vaccine’s effects to a large degree.”

    Sometimes in life you just have to make a choice and then stick with it. Waffling around worrying about the perceived dangers of the Pfizer vaccine (which have been proven after millions of doses) is simply p**** about.

  21. “Take for example people concerned about the speed of the vaccine being produced (I know a number of people in this category) and worried as to how safe it is. Pfizer is a huge multinational pharmaceutical company, all of which have well-deserved reputations as professional liars.”

    Talk about speed issues, this little bmj (British Medical Journal) investigation gives us a little insight into this….

    As for Pfizer’s professionalism”, well, this ‘well-deserved reputation’ is just a simple search away….

    “I have previous said the role of the government is to encourage vaccination as a way to prevent our hospital system from being overwhelmed by Covid patients”

    Now if only vaccination was about health related matters only!

  22. The programme to demonise the doubters is in full swing, the feigned attempts to understand them simply cover for derision and division. Witness “Shane Te Pou: What did the Beehive protesters actually stand for?” in The Herald. How have we come to this; the state mandating who can work and who can’t, travel and not travel?

    A great essay up now on UnHerd: How Covid despots humiliated America


    “The chafing humiliations of the Covid police are just part of a surge of social friction that was gestating for years and exploded with the election of President Trump five years ago. Strong political passions, multiplied, amplified, and frequently concentrated on specific targets by corporate media and big tech, have destabilised our essential public and private institutions, virtually all of which, through some demonic Oedipal fatality, now seem intent on repudiating their founding principles and betraying their core missions.

    Some of those who, by reason of experience and accumulated wisdom, might still be capable of righting these institutions have been purged; the rest have mostly retired or retreated under fire, withdrawing much good and necessary energy from our common national life. Depleted and uncharacteristically depressed, the American people now spin and shudder along the edge of the abyss. What future awaits us if we forget how to live and work together in amity, and if, emptied of honest debate on matters of pressing concern, the public square echoes with blood curdling war cries?”

    “Our technocratic mandarins dislike such questions and recoil from the political uncertainties of democratic debate. Whatever its psychological causes, their longing for certainty in practice leads them to insist on it in theory, and so to end debate by any means necessary. This is an engine of comprehensive despotism because it can be satisfied only with the advent of univocal global answers.”

  23. So John, in your mind, the right to infect others outweighs the right to work. Sorry brother, I can’t agree with that.

  24. I don’t sneer or look down on people who don’t get vaxxed.

    I just don’t understand it. There was never a question for me about getting vaccinated. This is a deadly pandemic. Some of the people I truly love could die if they got covid.

    I also think about the health workforce working their guts out witnessing and nursing very sick people. Watching them die. Exhausted burnt out nurses and doctors, put themselves and their families at risk. As much as anything when I think about being vaccinated I think about them. If I ever got covid and had to be nursed in hospital I would really feel for the staff. And I would feel like complete shit seeing them working to save my life if I hadn’t of done my bit by getting vaccinated

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