Wellington Protest: How did the government miss the red-lights-flashing warning signs from the World Health Organisation over mandates?


I have never been in favour of vaccine mandates and said so when they were announced in October last year but the dissenting voices were few and far between.

The serious problems which have arisen from this government decision have been played out for all to see, although the lessons will be lost on many.

To our cost, the country never debated the pros and cons of mandates. Had we done so I think we would have landed in a different place.

Most importantly, we should have taken much closer note of World Health Organisation advice. For a government focused on “taking advice from health professionals” it’s a surprise WHO advice was not given higher priority because the signals for trouble were all there.

WHO have said repeatedly vaccine mandates should be a “last resort” and detailed their reasoning in a paper here. Here are a few extracts:

“The World Health Organisation does not presently (13 April 2021) support the direction of mandates for Covid 19 vaccination, having argued that it is better to work on information campaigns and making vaccines accessible.”

“If vaccine mandates are used “individual liberties should not be challenged for longer than necessary”” 

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“Even when the vaccine is considered safe, mandatory vaccination should be implemented with no-fault compensation schemes to address any vaccine-related harm that might occur”

And for this country of gross inequality, poverty and the mistrust and marginalisation which goes with it, how could the government not have taken this section seriously?

“Policy-makers have a duty to carefully consider the effect that mandating vaccination could have on public confidence and public trust, and particularly on confidence inthe scientific community and public trust in vaccination generally (9). If such a policy threatens to undermine confidence and public trust, it might affect both vaccineuptake and adherence to other important public health measures, which can have an enduring effect (10). In particular, the coercive power that governments or institutions display in a programme that undermines voluntariness could have unintended negative consequences for vulnerable or marginalized populations (11). Highpriority should therefore be given to threats to public trust and confidence amongst historically disadvantaged minority populations, ensuring that culturalconsiderations are taken into account. Vaccine hesitancy may be stronger in such populations and may not be restricted to concerns of safety and efficacy(12), as mistrust in authorities may be rooted in histories of unethical medical and public health policies and practices as well as structural inequity (9). Suchpopulations may regard mandatory vaccination as another form of inequity or oppression, making it more difficult for them to access jobs and essentialservices (13)” 

“Even if there is a sufficient supply and a mandate for vaccination of the general public is considered necessary and proportionate, policy-makers should still consider whether a mandate for the general public would threaten public trust or exacerbate inequity for the most vulnerable or marginalized”

Added fuel to the problem was the Prime Minister’s specific assurance there would be no consequences of any kind for anyone who chose not to be vaccinated which was then reversed.

Moving forward the government should do two things:

  1. End vaccine mandates now because, with rapid antigen tests available, any possible justification is long gone.
  2. The government should apologise to all of us for the broken promise.


  1. Once again, spot on John.
    One day the “people” might realize how wise you really and give up their contempt for you for your correct stand against the Springbok tour.

  2. John
    You have to understand that this govt knows it all. Many of those protesters fall into the category of “Don’t tell me what to do”. Funny that, they are just like this govt. The other great example is the CCCFA loan law now in place. Experts said “Don’t do it!” What did this govt do? They went “Don’t tell me what to do. We know what we’re doing”! Well they don’t.

  3. Solzhenitsyn Alexander “ We Never Make Mistakes “ University of South Carolina Press ( 1963 ) describes the havoc wrought by incompetent bureaucrats. Fast forward New Zealand 2022.

    • you do realise when you quote ‘st alex’ that he was a rabid anti-semite and equally rabid russian nationalist…he’d be writing a putin hagiography today
      just so we’re all on the same page..

      though I do recommend ivan denisovich to everyone.

  4. In complete agreement.
    The mandated vaccination U turn and subsequent comments from the PM have completely undermined trust in govt in some quarters that’s likely permanent.
    Brings truth to the old maxim, How do you tell if a politician is lying? Their lips are moving.

    • Same old anti anything Labour/Hate Jacinda dirty politics influence from a grumpy old man (like me).

  5. Sorry John but your argument is completely wrong. WHO’s statement was April 2021 and said vaccine mandates should only be a last resort. I agree. But this was before the more dangerous Delta (more deadly per infection) and Omicron (highly transmissible making an elimination strategy ineffective). These variants created the last resort.

    The PM’s comment you quote was even earlier – mid 2020. Subsequent comments by her as events unfolded modified this as the risks to public safety by the unvaccinated increased.

    At the beginning of the pandemic Professor Michael Baker advised that it was so unprecedented that we would be learning as we went along. He was absolutely right and mandates and passes reflect that.

    • Thanks Ian, I was beginning to think that I would be the only person disagreeing with John’s logic so it was good to see you give a sensible evidence-based reply to him.

      • Ian writes that circumstances change and policies should change with the circumstances. No one is denying that. The point is that while mandates had some logic when applied to border workers in the context of an elimination strategy with closed borders, they make little or no sense in the context of endemic Covid. The fact is that Covid is spreading through schools and hospitals even after the non-vaccinated teachers, nurses and doctors have been dismissed from their jobs. So the “no jab no job” policy does not achieve what it aims to achieve. It is ineffectual.
        The Vaccine Pass is even worse. It is designed to allow the continuation of the very activities which are most likely to spread Covid through the community, on top of which the holders of the Pass may have negligible residual immunity to Covid, and may not have been vaccinated at all.
        Now what I would like Ian to do is provide an objective rationale for the mandates and the Vaccine Pass. I am listening.

  6. Looks like the PM is in no mood to apologise for anything, there’s a worrying arrogance there. That’s not real leadership.
    She has already doubled down on her gutless refusal to talk to the protestors, apparently “there were nooses there”. Is she suggesting that her no show was due to a fear of being lynched. What?
    Isn’t it her job to engage with the disaffected, to listen and to make her case. Instead she ran away and things played out to the ennoblement of no one.
    Volodymyr Zelensky she is not.

    • DG
      Nobody could have said it better. Another word is cocksure. Are we allowed to say cocksure in this case? To rub it in, she walks out hand in hand with best mate Mallard assessing the damage. That’s basically endorsing his stupidity. He’s largely to blame for the shit that went down. But hey, love that excessive arrogance! It will hurt more at the election next year, that’s if we are to trust the calculations made by MB as to how it might cost Labour. But something tells me she simply don’t care because she could have other plans next year. It’s just a gut feel…

    • You can’t run a country if you have to spend all your time engaging with every group of misfits who use illegal means to put forward a range of mostly false ideas.
      I think she could do better on some things but handling this protest is not one of them.

      • Of course Bonnie, David George and Sour Kraut would have no problem going out and having a chat with people that are literally threatening to kill them. think they are part of some master plot to dominate the world, and have chased them off the road. They are real blokes

    • Only a foolish leader who has raised the white flag and surrendered to Covid like Luxon and Seymore would talk to the anti labour/hate jacinda nutters. Jacinda, Mallard and Costar are the winners from last weeks tumultuous event at Parliament.

  7. Yeah I reckon we should have had a thorough debate about mandates. Working parties could have been set up, hell we could’ve even had a referendum.
    Of course the same should have happened with lockdowns and MIQ.
    Remember the community meetings about The Flag up and down the country? That was the model.
    People need to be got on board, every voice has to be heard. Like at the Wellington protest, Jacinda should have had everyone in, one on one, for a little chat. Convinced individuals that there was a pandemic, that vaccines weren’t going to make their blood go black, that she wasn’t part of a cabal taking over the world.

  8. Thanks John. Why did she say she wouldn’t? Because she sniffed the air and knew there was an issue. Why did she change her mind?
    We will never know but…
    1. Pfizer sales agent commission? This is silly eh?
    2. Worried about the health system which she won’t support? Not really, we have a plan. A new Health System delivery in the middle of a pandemic. Let’s dismantle our health system.
    3. Lobbied by interested parties? That wouldn’t be it.
    4. Part of the partition plan for NZ? Sounds silly but if it looks like a duck…
    One woman’s so far successful plan to strip our Kiwi pride and replace it with division. The team of 4.9 million strugglers are going backwards under successive exploitative governments.
    The banks are our unmandated masters. Politicians are self-interested, incompetent, heartless, brainless and soulless.
    Who are we gonna vote for?

    • C’mon, don’t stuff around.
      “We will never know but…. 1. Pfizer sales agent commission? This is silly eh?”
      be specific don’t beat around the bush, be clear. What do you mean/ What are you suggesting?

  9. The truth is in the eating too John with 1 million or so kiwis sitting on their hands and not partaking in the booster program, ditto for parents of 5-11 year old only at 50% vax rate. Once bitten twice shy..

    • The PM has listened to facts and expert opinion from day-one, isn’t that enough `reason` for you? Or would you prefer she was guided by the multiple of mixed messages being espoused by the protesters?

  10. Absolutely correct. Ardern knew exactly what she was doing (“two classes of people, yip yip”) and now refuses to take responsibility for the disastrous consequences. Not a leader.

    • she didn’t need to create 2 NZs FFS we’ve had that for donkeys…that’s why ‘the deplorables’ exist lies and neglect.

      • Been two classes of people for I don’t know how long. In this instance the radicals haven’t left parliament, they’ve just tried moving onto a local Wellington Marae.

  11. 100% agree John. This government has a role in what happened at Parliament. A major role for which they need to take responsibility for. They won’t.

    The smearing of these people (I exclude the right alt in here) by left wing NZders and Wellingtonians has shocked me to the core.

    I am boostered and fully compliant with all health advice. But it doesn’t take too much imagination to empathise with people who believe all sorts of unscientific, crazy ideas about the vaccine to sympathise with the terror they feel and the desperation that lead them to camp on parliament grounds,

  12. I pondered the very relevant question in the headline “How did the government miss the red-lights-flashing warning signs from the World Health Organisation over mandates?”

    Baffling I know. But I wonder if there’s some tunnel vision in our current government arising from the first ever time in our short MMP-history where a single party was able to command an outright majority in an MMP-parliament. There is hence no need to be influenced by coalition partners.

    Winston described NZFirst’s influence as a “handbrake” on Labour 2 years ago while James Shaw described the same influence as “a millstone round the neck”. Either handbrake or millstone might have enabled (or forced) the Labour govt to better see the wood for the trees.

    While I originally welcomed what I thought was a move to the left at the 2020 election, I never anticipated what they’ve now become.

  13. No apology for mandates is required. It wasn’t govt that suspended a human right, but the virus that made that necessary as a public health measure.
    Much more onerous restrictions of rights have occurred in the past, especially in time of war. A pandemic is a kind of war.
    Despite the Govt conducting itself well in the war against Covid, it did little to stop the damage being inflicted on the most marginalised.
    The Liberal Labour Govt must be blamed for failing to compensate workers for job losses when it overcompensated bosses’ to boost their profits. $1 trillion to the already rich and workers $400 million further in poverty and debt.
    What the govt should have done is not only allow for temporary suspensions of employment for unvaccinated but living allowances to support those affected.
    Failure to do that is what needs an apology.
    And as recompense right now, an end to mandates, restoration of jobs and lost income.
    Meanwhile, no confidence in Labour or National to fix this damage, which now extends to the political demonisation of workers left exposed to fascist propaganda.
    No confidence in the police dealing with the growth of a fascist movement.
    Every confidence in the working class capacity to organise an anti-fascist movement that smashes fascism on the street and goes on to smash the state of international finance capital.

    • Agree that a pandemic is a war and we absolutely needed to unite as a human race to win that war against covid-19 using all necessary means. That war is now over because the covid-19 which previously walked a tightrope between lethality and transmissibility is now fighting for its own survival on planet earth. The only way that covid-19 can now survive is to become friendlier to humans. This is not a problem to us and that’s why the war is over. Therefore all mandates and all s70 health orders should be immediately rescinded.

    • “No apology for mandates is required. It wasn’t govt that suspended a human right, but the virus that made that necessary as a public health measure.”
      This is why we will go from pandemic to pandemic to pandemic…however many pandemics (or crises) it will take for government to implement the control system that their elitist overlords designed for us plebs.

      Its the virus stupid, not us, its a crisis stupid, not us, it is that dangerous thing over there, that is the reason why we have ‘suspended’, cough, cough, your rights, yet again. Don’t ask us why bad things keep popping up, but hey, never you mind.

      • Why it IS the virus stupid, until the virus is no more.
        Don’t you see that public health is something that generations of workers fought for.
        Drains, quarantines, hospitals, and vaccines.
        The bosses squealed but conceded until they could reverse it.
        But running down public health, putting a price on our lives, and attacking the unions cost us.
        Lacking a fit public health system to control the virus forced the bosses’ state (all capitalist parties) to resort to population control, as in any war.
        If you don’t want population control organise politically to restore a fit public health system.
        Expropriate the wealthy, reverse climate change and create a fair and equal society.
        That way viruses will be suppressed and stamped out without reducing us to a dictatorship.

        • You’ are focusing on the wrong thing. This crisis is not about the state of our healthcare system, because if it were, we had more than ample time to ‘boost’, put more money/resources into healthcare. The fact that there was little to no discussion about this, let alone new resources allocated to this speaks for itself. Especially when we remember that the healthcare system was reconfigured at the same time, rejigged, but not boosted! Henceforth, the time was there to do the obvious but the inclination never was there. This is not about the state of our healthcare system. You are wrong, dead wrong to continue to focus on this.

          Meanwhile, those population controlling measures, that you obviously are aware of, not only do they remain in place, but their veracity, or lack thereof, remains unaddressed. This is the problem, the measures used and the lack of discussion around them.

          Government has clearly shown where their priorities lay, it is not in doing the obvious, strengthening healthcare, therefore working for the people, it is about embedding control and working in the interests of the elite.

          Thus, as long as you continue to focus on trying to fix something that the corridors of power clearly are not interested in fixing, then you are as good as working for the very class of people you think you are fighting against.

    • Dave Brown
      Interesting. Let’s assume the pandemic is a war. By that token, were there to be a real war, is there room for objectors to compulsory military duty ie. picking up arms and fight for the country? How would that work?

      • Of course.
        But in event of a bosses’ war all workers must refuse conscription/orders.
        The only just war is the class war.

    • “It wasn’t govt that suspended a human right,”
      So ridiculous a statement.
      The government did it.
      The virus didn’t make, change or rescind laws.

      That you may believe that the government didn’t change the laws/rules, shows a lack of ability to understand actions.

      Yes there were ‘reasons’ they did it. But the virus didn’t do it, the government did it.

  14. ” : How did the government miss the red-lights-flashing warning signs from the World Health Organisation over mandates?”
    They didn’t. They exploited the prospect of mandates knowing the very idea of mandates would enrage and outrage the Kiwi/trumpian-esque redneck element out there which has been a growing, exploitable faction since the inauguration of neoliberal-capitalism into our unsuspecting democracy. after all, if you’re going to bring a small rich country like ours down to its knees to be exploited and extorted one has to start somewhere and a good place to start is to have a section of the community ready and able to freak out at any threat to the logical fallacy myth that is ‘freedom’.
    The thing with what’s being done to, and happening to, our AO/NZ may appear to be politically clever and creative, it might even appear to be a good idea at the time on reflection but really, it was simply a cadre of old crooks who wrote the rules of the game and so they are always going to be one step ahead. What might appear to many people as being a chance happenstance of various unrelated coincidences are really game strategies playing out the way they script them in advance. It’s like a ‘magic’ trick. The magic is in how gullible we are to their trickiness.
    In my opinion, ‘Ground Swell’ and now ‘Ag Action’ is the invention of neoliberal capitalists desperately trying to maintain dis-order ( read control) of our primary industry sector to ensure that the penny never drops with regard to how easy it would be for our primary industry sector to regain control and steerage of our economy, the one our primary industry must make available to all and sundry but particularly to the very rich who do nothing to earn our money yet do everything they can to keep pocketing it.
    Aye Boys?
    FYI and a teaser alert
    ron brierly. convicted pedophile and one time Chairman of the BNZ 1987 effectively handed fay/richwhite group OUR bnz to sell to Australia’s National Bank and in so doing made themselves many millions, if not billions of dollars. Do you think that shit’s gone away? Do you really think their influence on our economy and specifically their manipulation of it to keep an enduring crime under wraps has been dealt with and so all’s good. Moving on.
    With Blogs like this, where people can come and read a different narrative to the one’s that are soft-sold to tired minds via the MSM you might get an idea of where thinking my be redirected. Towards the truth.

    • The kiddy fiddler/stamp collector and Fay Richwhite along with others had a Field Day at the Taxpayers Expense, extremely naive and incompetent politicans, weak judiciary and poor business leaders. Our forebears who built this country would have been turning in their graves imho.

  15. The government did not actually mandate vaccination. However, they did introduce regulations that made it difficult for the unvaccinated to get a job – a different kettle of fish altogether. I think it was the actual mandating of vaccinations itself that the WHO was talking about.

    • I thought it was the government that made the public servants police teachers etc get vaccinated or they weren’t allowed to go to work anymore?

      • they were given a choice they exercised that choice presumably after due consideration THEY decided feel feels were more important than their jobs

        people are faced with such choices everyday..take a paycut or lose your job, we’re gonna cut your hours for no reason

        anti vaxxers aren’t the only ones faced with ‘rock and a hard place’…whichever they choose just harden the fuck up.

  16. Something I haven’t seen discussed ANYWHERE is that the government could have avoided the mandates if they started building ICU capacity as soon as the virus appeared on the horizon. If they had done that there wouldn’t have been this desperate need to get the vaccination rate up beyond 90%.

    As it was Auckland had almost reached 90% first dose rates when the made the announcement so it wasn’t like we were going to struggle like some countries had. Basically I think the government panicked because they had no plan B and I think Jacinda was probably outvoted by her own caucus to introduce mandates, judging by the look on her face when she announced it.

    This is a direct result of neolioberalism, the deliberate underfunding of the health system by successive governments and a labour party that lacked the balls to spend up large on the health system.

    The media is equally culpable showing all the insight of a lump of clay by failing to ask the right questions for about 18 months

    They are so chicken-shit scared of upsetting the markets that they gave up the best argument they will ever have for increasing the health budget!

    • you’re not wrong anker but in reality where would you rather be right now this minute….vaxxed or in a nice spanking new ICU…

      THOUGH the inability/unwillingnes to prepare for the next wave was unforgivable they’re bloody lucky and that’s all it is luck..that omicron is a mostly weaker infection….the next wave? they don’t know what it’s characteristics might be and I certainly don’t.

      • You’re saying that the two prospects are mutually exclusive, they’re not.
        How many ICU beds did the failed cycle bridge cost us?
        The $2 million odd given to the Mongrel Mob could have paid for how many ICU experts?
        The Minister of Health himself devotes 99% of his energy in woke restructure during a global pandemic, what about increasing ICU capacity?

        • It would have been a waste of time and money having the hundreds of ICU rooms and equipment standing idle for 2 years and . You have either been captured by the dirty politics team or been listening too much to your National Party heros. Only now have hospitals needed more than 10 ICU’s for covid patients

        • ICU capacity does not seem to be an issue at present does it? National and ACT have been pushing building a massive ‘ambulance at the bottom of a cliff’ so they could open everything up earlier.

  17. I’m not a big Ardern fan but thank god none of you is running this country. And the mob didnt just threaten to lynch, they threatened to decapitate.

    • For once I agree with you Gaby. I think many people on this blogsite have lost their minds re the protest/occupation. Why should one sympathize with malcontents, the deluded, ignorant, uneducated, and genuine trouble-makers? They had their chance to peacefully protest then go away. What is the great problem about being vaccinated, mask-wearing, etc if it is for the common good (even if it can virtue-signalling). Clearly, they take Margaret Thatcher’s dictum “there is no such thing as society” to heart.

    • Gaby
      I can guarantee you that if any of us, or a team of us here was running country, then we would have had 10 times as much ICU by now, thus we wouldn’t feel pressured to hide our ineptitude, the vaccines would have been bought earlier in the first place, the RATs wouldn’t have been stolen in desperation, Mallard would have been fired when he used your money to settle the ‘rapist’ case and then spent 500K on a 3 kids a year playground, the banks would be sorting their own loan criteria and not the CCCFA shit David Clarke put on them against all advice and which will cause a credit crunch, one of us, or all of us would gone and spoken to the protesters right at the beginning, we would have let more nurses in long ago, we would have given you the facts without the propaganda spin at the 1pm theatre, we wouldn’t be spending 55 million to cuddle up the the MSM, the 15 billion becomes 25 billion train thing in AKL would not go ahead as we need better roads all over country not just in AKL for all the electric cars that are coming, transmission gully would open now, the Hamilton rickety dickety train would never have started at such ridiculous costs, we would not have wasted millions on a bike bridge only to cancel the bike bridge…shall I go on…ok…heads would have rolled at Oranga Tamaki over the white family fiasco, we’d outlaw any party political involvement in mayoral elections….and….by now anyone in NZ earning 20K or less would not be paying any income tax at all, such a petty thing since most the tax take comes from the top earners. You’d be glad that we are running the country! Vote for Pedro – all your dreams will come true.

      • You can guarantee us that if you or a team from here was running the country we would have had 10 times as much ICU by now all you like. You can dream on knowing you don’t have to live up to the words.
        Tell us how many extra staff, doctors and nurses, would have been needed to fulfil your dream and where were they were to come from?

        I agree about the 1pm Covid announcements from the parliamentary theatre. There shouldn’t have been any of those. For the entertainment value.You could’ve gone spaz about Ardern not fronting, information being hidden, people not being informed about the situation. Oh and Ardern hiding. I don’t mean ‘could’ve’ gone spaz, I meant definitely would have.

  18. I think it is plain wrong to say we have RAT’s available therefore high vaccine coverage is not necessary. A RAT does not statistically reduce your chance of serious illness/going to hospital or transmission.

    • indeed wheel, a test tells you what you’re dying from a vax stops you dying…slightly deifferent

  19. I rarely agree with opinions expressed on this site, so its refreshing to be able to say you are 100% correct John. Of course, from what we have seen, I don’t see this govt apologising anytime soon, let alone lifting these unjust mandates.

    • Lovelocks Sid – so it is okay for others to take over a country, isn’t that called colonialism and haven’t we learnt that this is not a goer these days. Many ethnic groups and religions have shared the land of historic Palestine, the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea for thousands of years, Jews, Muslims and Christians for whom this area has deep religious and cultural significance. Eventually Lovelocks Palestine will be one country with a mix of religious beliefs and a democratically elected government. It is a total disgrace that because of the US’s support of Israel the Palestinian’s have suffered for 70+ years. Does this make me a jew hater, or antisemitic. This is the one big comeback for anyone who dares to criticise the appalling behaviour of the Israeli government. And yet the Jewish community that is appalled about Israel’s behaviour is growing day by day.

  20. The decision to open up was made long before a rise in cases. The country had delta at around 6 cases. I remember thinking 1 more week and community transmission wud be gone. But the noise was 2 loud for opening up…. and then nek minit 1 million cases in 30 seconds. This is when mandating came up, way after this but before that the decision to open up was already made. Around Augusr.. 2 months prior to mandating.. during this restrictions were being lifted further and further… i remember bc I was here thinking what are they doing they almost had it.?….. here is a timeline of events. This is when mandating came up in October. What we on the left failed to do was critique the vaccine mandate and the use of them in a capitalist and neoliberal political environment. when u lose workers, workplaces get to pay less and make the remaining workers do the work. No alternative kinds o work were given for the unvaccinated. Also the government shifted responsibility to the public in regards to getting vaccinated, into the idea of ‘choice.’ and also let the public take care of public pressure. This is very neoliberal. The government didn’t really have to do anything to promote mandates because NZ would shame those who ‘chose’ not to get vaccinated. This was all state coercion.


  21. Added fuel to the problem was the Prime Minister’s specific assurance there would be no consequences of any kind for anyone who chose not to be vaccinated which was then reversed.

    Amazing she can change her mind on vaccinations but remains steadfast in refusing to consider CGT to dowse the fired up housing market!

  22. Sounds good in theory except when one remembers that it is compulsory to have other vaccines. So in order to make this argument consistent, all vaccines would have to be voluntary

  23. It would have been a waste of time and money having the hundreds of ICU rooms and equipment standing idle for 2 years and . You have either been captured by the dirty politics team or been listening too much to your National Party heros. Only now have hospitals needed more than 10 ICU’s for covid patients. Have you not heard of surge capacity.

  24. Dinna bend over for fascists, John. It’s a mistake I’ve often made in poor areas I’ve lived in. Understanding is taken as weakness til you tell’m.

    You seem to be able to censor your comments here.

  25. It doesn’t matter to many what WHO says it matters what talk back radio, media bobble heads and Facebook and twitter day. Especially bobble heads whose thoughts are influences by twitter and Facebook algorithms. Look into the docodrama The Social Dilemma to get an idea of what I’m taking about, then look into who really owns most of twitter and Facebook nowdays. They’ve been weaponised to divide and conquer the west

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