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The planet is burning & James Shaw is fiddling

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I have zero confidence in James Shaw at COP26.

My derision is driven not by the technical processes of He Waka Eke Noa or the negotiating with corporate farming to pretend methane isn’t dangerous or the never ending jaw fest over carbon pricing and bullshit markets that allow polluters to pay penance for their polluting sins while continuing to pollute.

The nonsense that we have told ourselves to pretend we are doing something is eclipsing the truth.

This is the truth…

…and this is the truth…

…the truth is that fighting global warming means fighting rapacious free market capitalism.

The truth is the woke middle class Greens can fight for trans mommy blogger 4th wave feminism intersectionist free the nipple vegan cycling indigenous protests and anti fat shaming crusades, not so good at challenging the economic hegemonic structures of free market capitalism to stop the planet melting. Less ‘Marx’ and more ‘Meh’.

The truth is the poorest will suffer first.

The truth is that we need to look at a post growth economy and society. We need 4 day weeks, we need 40 hour weeks period. We need more artists. We need a State with capacity. We need to be sustainable for the basics. We need to be 100% renewable power.

The truth is we need to be far kinder to individuals while being far crueller to Corporations.

The truth is we can’t stop global warming and catastrophic climate change and that our only hope is radical adaptation.

The truth is the current political spectrum can not adapt fast enough to make legislation to deal with radical adaptation.

The truth is a Revolution at the ballot box is required.

The truth is that the climate crisis is now and if you thought voters were frightened by Covid, they ain’t seen nothin yet.

The truth will quickly be that being a smug hermit kingdom has its advantages.

In a climate crisis world, New Zealand will be one of those rare places that will be relatively unharmed.

Radical adaptation here means we can survive.

The truth is survival may well be the only goal.

The Government’s Climate Emergency was an empty virtue signal. COP26 is an empty virtue signal.

The rapidly changing climate will dictate the reality now. If you think swapping carbon credits is a solution, you are part of the problem.

 

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New Zealand government urged to condemn Israel’s attacks on Palestinian human rights organisations

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Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs this afternoon urging Nanaia Mahuta to speak out and condemn outright Israel’s declaration of six Palestinian Human Rights organisations as “terrorist organisations”.

“This is another outrageous abuse of human rights, for which the Israeli regime has become synonymous”, says PSNA National Chair John Minto.

“Our government must speak up and hold Israel to account for this savage attack on legitimate human rights organisations”

The groups identified as “terrorist” by the Israeli government are:

  • Addameer, which supports Palestinian political prisoners
  • Al-Haq, a human rights organisation that works with the United Nations.
  • Union of Agricultural Work Committees
  • Bisan Centre for Research and Development
  • Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
  • Defense for Children International – Palestine.

“One way or another PSNA supports the work of all these groups. They have been targeted because they are effective in bring Israel’s daily human rights abuses to international attention – and demanding accountability for Israel at the International Criminal Court”

“New Zealand must stand with the indigenous people of Palestine who suffer under a racist, apartheid regime reinforced with unbridled brutality from the Israeli Defence Force”

“This attack is straight out of apartheid South Africa’s playbook which used “suppression of terrorism” and “suppression of communism” laws to outlaw the liberation movements of South Africa, the ANC and PAC (Nelson Mandela was a leader of the ANC)

“This attack on human rights groups is a signature move of totalitarian states around the world”

Under Nanaia Mahuta Aotearoa New Zealand has been all but silent in the face of Israel’s racism and apartheid. This complicity by silence must end now.

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An open letter to my vaccinated and unvaccinated whānau in NZ

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I’m watching the anger between the vaccinated and unvaccinated erupt on social media with a heavy hearted sadness.

The subjectively justified rage we feel towards each camp is a rupturing of the solidarity the universal experience of lockdown has generated.

This is what happens when the team of 6 million turns on itself.

The Woke scream any death of one Maori is a state sanctioned genocide on par with the homicidal murder of Squid Games.

The Death Cult Capitalists scream collateral damage in human lives is justified to open the economy.

Those who are double vaxxed and are hurting are told their impatience is racist.

The disabled feel left completely out of the loop. Again.

Maori & Pacifika Health Authorities feel like they are being blamed for low vaccination rates yet haven’t been given the resources to run mobile clinics.

The unvaccinated are freaking out that every fear they ever had about the majority turning on them is eventuating.

Small Business is going to the wall.

The poor continue to suffer with 500% spikes in food banks.

Everyone is hurting and that hurt is driving desperation and fear which in turn feeds Facebook algorithms to vomit out hate.

To the vaccinated.

I know, I know, I know.

We have sacrificed, gotten double vaxxed and have accepted a de facto police state up in our grills robbing us of our liberty. We don’t understand why the fuck others are so stupid and won’t vaccinate.

That impatience risks being manipulated by the ZB Troll farm and turned into an ugly toxic malice towards those who haven’t vaccinated and I get it!

I don’t see my own beloved kid for a week at a time, I have this incredible new weekly political podcast to kick off but can’t because we aren’t able to film in the studio, I have missed my friends and can’t see my family!

I’m double vaxxed, I’ve ensured my family are double vaxxed and I’ve done all I’ve been asked yet here I am not able to lead my life because ‘others’ haven’t done the same.

It is infuriating to the point of rage but we can’t allow that rage to be manipulated into actions that exacerbate the inequalities in society rather than heal them.

Kindness means being kind to those you dislike immensely, that’s why kindness isn’t for wimps.

To the unvaccinated.

I’m lucky enough to have an eclectic mix of friends which means I have some antivaxx associates.

Some espouse theories they’ve read on Facebook which only serve to highlight their ignorance. Their belief that the vaccine will interfere with your DNA is akin to believing your car will float away because you have air in your tyres and air ‘floats’. They have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the vaccine works and have built a narrative around it.

That’s an indictment on our public education system not them as frightened individuals trying to make sense of the confusion and mayhem that has descended upon us.

Some have subjective views concerning their health being immune compromised, some have Conscientious Objector responses in that no State can force them to take a medicine (regardless if the medicine will save their life).

A few believe it’s all a one world conspiracy for Jacinda to take over the country with a secret socialist police state.

I suggest to those few that maybe their cannabis intake has reached peak lockdown.

To you my dear unvaccinated comrades, I’m sorry it’s come to this and hear your fear.

Know you will always be New Zealanders and we will always love you.

We just wish you’d get the bloody vaccine because we fear for your well being.

But know you are not outcasts, never to me or true Kiwis.

Our common bond as humans demands an intrinsic compassion that privileges us. We can’t lose sight that we are all in this together and that if the yawning chasm of inequality wasn’t there we wouldn’t be turning on each other with such ferocity.

The next few months are going to be frightening and many people will get sick. Get off Facebook and spend time with friends and family.

Being vaccinated protects you from Covid but it must also inoculate you from hate.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

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Don’t mock Judith’s tears – that would be a terrible political blunder

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I know what you are going to say.

I know what you are going to say.

“Fuck Judith’s crocodile tears, she has been more than happy to race bait over Maori, tub thump the tough on crime bullshit and has shown the kind of ethics that your average drug cartel would be embarrassed by.”

Sure, all true.

H-O-W-E-V-E-R

I don’t think Judith was playing politics, I think that was a rare moment of honesty. The Small Business Auckland electorate she represents are freaking the fuck out and classifying their fear as racist by the Woke and the wider Left would be as politically damaging as Hillary calling all Trump supporters ‘deplorable’.

These smal business owners have done all they have been asked, they have double vaxxed up the ying yang, have called for faster tests and are begging for vaccination passports.

They’ve done what has been called of them and yet they still face total ruin over the next few months.

The increase in funds to help business by the Government is an acknowledgment of that pain, but it needs to go further.

The truth is these small business owners are people who for the first time in their lives feel economically vulnerable. They have haemorrhaged cash because of the lockdown and are on the verge of collapse. They are ripe for radicalization.

To mock Judith’s articulation of their pain is to mock them.

Now, I don’t think for one second Judith has any alternative better than the one outlined. All she is promising to do is kill more people than Labour will by opening earlier and to do it with far less competence.

So the solutions to the pain she is articulating are bullshit, but her articulation of the pain is legitimate.

Small Business is really hurting and their pain needs to be respected if we want the same compassion for workers, beneficiaries and the poor.

Kindness means being kind to those you dislike immensely, that’s why kindness isn’t for wimps.

We are all in this together.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

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Govt hardship announcement ignores children and whānau with the greatest needs

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Desperate children have been excluded from today’s Government announcement on additional hardship assistance, which will do nothing to lift children in deepest need out of poverty, says the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).
The Ministry of Social Development announced that income limits for Hardship Support payments have been lifted, however these only are temporary, will reach very few people and the payments may be recovered putting families further into debt.
“The Government continues to say it is monitoring the situation, but 10 weeks into the lockdown we are still waiting for meaningful income-related support for children and their families” says CPAG spokesperson Associate Professor Mike O’Brien. “Today’s announcement will make very little difference to families as they are one-off payments: families need adequate regular income they can rely on.”
Whānau have unexpected and mounting lockdown bills including high power and internet bills to keep kids engaged with school, as well as high grocery prices and the loss of school food programmes, says Associate Professor O’Brien.
A recent CPAG report found that poverty, inequity, homelessness and food insecurity are among the burdens which increased for tamariki Māori and other children in the first year of Covid-19 – partially due to Government neglect.
“Children living in families with inadequate resources – particularly disadvantaged tamariki Māori and Pacific children – are among those being made to bear the heaviest Covid-19-related burdens. Children are hurting now, and the longer their need is left, the worse the consequences will be for everyone,” says Associate Professor O’Brien.
CPAG is calling on the Government to immediately bring forward the promised benefit increases and to ensure all low-income families are eligible for all Working for Families payments such as the In-Work Tax Credit. Systemic, sustained increases in income for low-income families are needed, rather than piecemeal solutions via private charities and one-off assistance.
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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Sunday – 24th October 2021

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, Qanon lunacy, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics, 5G conspiracy theories, the virus is a bioweapon, some weird bullshit about the UN taking over the world  and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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Postscript to Jacinda’s announcement

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POSTSCRIPT:

THE FIRST THING to note about the Government announcements of Friday, 22 October 2021 was the staging. Clearly, the dimly lit Beehive Theatrette is no longer considered an appropriate setting for the Prime Minister’s communications. Accordingly, proceedings were moved to the Beehive Banqueting Hall. (The change may have been dictated by the sheer number of journalists clamouring to attend, but still.)

The second change was in the cast. Where was Ashley Bloomfield, the Director-General of Health? Today’s drama featured no experts. As noted above, our Covid universe now rests on politicians – all the way down.

As for the script, well, the date of 1 December may not have been mentioned, but it was there nonetheless. With Auckland declared to be about a day-and-a-half away from topping 90 percent of Aucklanders with one jab, it follows that the city is less than a month away from 90 percent being double-jabbed. That’s the cue for New Zealand’s largest city being set free from its Level 3 Lockdown, on, or just after, 1 December. When asked if that meant Aucklanders can join their families for Christmas, the Prime Minister said Yes – although travelling beyond the city will require a Vaccination Certificate (according to Chris Hipkins, empowering legislation is on the way for employers keen to enforce vaccination mandates) and quite possibly a negative Covid-19 test.

So far, so Key-Act-National.

Likewise with relation to the announcements of Finance Minister Grant Robertson. The appropriate quote here would appear to be: “Mo money! Mo money! Mo money!”; for another month, at least.

And Māori? Ah, yes, that’s where the fancy-footwork really got going. The nationwide goal of double-vaccinating 90 percent of the adult population, and then transitioning to the new “traffic-light” system of managing the virus, makes no mention of the Māori vaccination rates also topping 90 percent. That’s a significant omission. Like Judith Collins, Jacinda Ardern is clearly unwilling to have the whole country “held hostage” to Māori vaccine hesitancy – let alone refusal.

The Government has masked this by opting to tick-off the 90 percent vaccination target DHB by DHB. This will allow Māori leaders to identify where the extra $120 million for the double-jabbing of their people might best be spent. But that’s about as far as the Government is prepared to go.

That Peeni Henare’s Banquet Hall contribution gave every appearance of having been brutally truncated – by someone – may indicate that Labour’s Māori Caucus is less than happy with the Labour Cabinet’s decision. Notwithstanding their objections, however, the Key-Act-National position on Māori vaccination rates also seems to have been embraced by the Labour Government.

Colonisation’s roots are very deep and exceptionally strong.

As for the PM herself, Jacinda Ardern seemed more comfortable and on top of her game than she has been for weeks. Though she hasn’t announced 1 December as “Freedom Day” in as many words, that is clearly the timeline she is working to. The Prime Minister of New Zealand cannot assure 1.6 million Aucklanders that they will be free to visit their families at Christmas – wherever they may be located in new Zealand – and then renege on her promise.

Not without all hell breaking loose.

– Chris Trotter, Friday, 22 October 2021.

 

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90% Double Vax: Jacinda Ardern‘s greatest political challenge

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The challenge Jacinda always faced was how to transition from a strategy that could eradicate a virus that the population had been media bombarded to be terrified of, into containing a mutated virus that was so transmittable that it was a mathematical certainty to become endemic.

Jacinda has set 90% double vaxxed as the level before Auckland can reopen.

This will be Jacinda Ardern’s greatest political challenge.

You have to respect that Jacinda just told Auckland that they will be in lockdown for another month, and no one in Auckland seemed to notice.

That’s incredible message control and delivery

That’s a smart play so that the incandescent rage of Aucklanders doesn’t ignite all at once, you want that to be a slow moving earthquake.

The lesson Jacinda took from Australia was that compliance failure was the danger. She saw an exhausted Auckland and gave them picnics to release tension. She knows the heavy handed response to punish compliance failure was a step too far for NZ.

By giving Auckland its picnics she kept Auckland on side.

This sprint now to 90% double vaxxed is the only game in town to prevent mass illness and death.

Everyone will have a criticism and all of them will be angry with Jacinda.

 

The Woke – for them, one single death by Covid of a Maori, Pacifica or disabled person is a State sanctioned genocide. Their fury at Jacinda giving a stressed out Auckland picnics has been met by the perpetually outraged woke online as an atrocity on par with Dave Chappelle hosting a Pride parade.

Those who had piously embraced every restrictive standard as if it were holy writ snarlingly turned on Jacinda once she pivoted with Wellington Twitteratti claiming her speech amounted to nothing more than a long rambling suicide note.

The Maori Party called it modern genocide.

Academics chorused ‘1918’ over and over again.

They will never be happy but thankfully for Labour those angered by Jacinda for woke reasons will vote Green without threatening the 2023 election. Many may scrub their social media timelines if their apocalyptic predictions fall short.

 

Death Cult Capitalists – They demanded Freedom Day while ignoring the collateral death that would cost. 1000 deaths has been divined as enough of a sacrifice at the altar of Milton Friedman and their continued frustration at Jacinda’s refusal to kill for capitalism will drive their criticism. They will endlessly scream for open borders no matter how large the mass graves.

 

Angry Double vaxxed Good Citizens in Auckland –  They have done what they were asked, they have sacrificed and now they want their lives back. Being told they can’t because morons don’t want to be vaccinated is going down about as well as a cup of cold sick. These people are not bad people, they’ve done what they were asked and they want their lives back. You can’t get angry at these people and painting their frustration out as racist will hurt the Left at the election.

 

Angry Double vaxxed Good Buggers in South Island – They have done what they were asked, they have sacrificed and now they want their lives back. Being told they can’t because morons don’t want to be vaccinated is going down about as well as a cup of cold sick. These people are not bad people, they’ve done what they were asked and they want their lives back. You can’t get angry at these people and painting their frustration out as racist will hurt the Left at the election.

 

Qanon Anti-vaxx lunatics – Will see the vaccination passports as a vast erosion of their civil rights and that measure will dangerously radicalize this fringe. Expect some type of political violence from this cult.

 

Crystal Karens – These are the middle class new age conspiracy clique who will become culturally ostracised by the vaccine passports. Let’s see if the witchy spirituality magic of fatherless daughters from the first wave of feminism divorce in the 1970s is more powerful a value than their ability to fly to Thailand for a chakra cleanse next year.

 

Principled Objectors – They will quit jobs on principle and quickly find out there is no where else to go. They will become radicalized.

 

Jesus is my vaccine fanatics – They will see Bishop Brian Tamaki’s prosecution as persecution and see end of days symbolism at every turn. The passport will be framed as the number of the beast. Expect religious radicalization.

 

ZB Troll Farm – They won’t believe their luck. They will hold up the claims of Maori vaccine hesitancy as the reason the rest of us can’t get our lives back. They will manipulate the frustrations of the double vaxxed and weaponize it. Expect radicalization.

 

National – So self mutilated at this stage they have chewed off their nose, one eyeball and half a cheek to spite their face. Wants to open at levels that would see thousands more dead than 90% double vaxxed. So they are like Labour but with much bigger graves implemented with grotesque incompetence.

 

Small Business – These are people who for the first time in their lives feel economically vulnerable. They have haemorrhaged cash because of the lockdown and are on the verge of collapse. They are ripe for radicalization.

 

ACT – About to be flooded by the radicalized and desperate. ACT are mutating into the paramilitary death squad they were always destined to be once Seymour can be replaced as leader.

 

The Unvaccinated – About to get very very very sick. The wider community will not give a fuck about their feelings and they will feel persecuted. Will radicalize out of desperation.

 

Children – They will become the new hosts of Covid as adult vaccination rates leave the virus with few options. They will pay the price in sickness so adults can go back to work. Isn’t capitalism fun?

 

The Poor – Food banks have spiked 500%, the horror of poverty in lockdown has been hidden to date, but the truly dispossessed will always turn that anger and fury upon themselves and their Whānau. Their radicalization will be a never ending self harm event that implodes communities that the middle classes drive by on their way to the airport.

 

Conclusion

Jacinda is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

If she manages to keep infection rates low while dragging Auckland through another month of lockdown without the most feverish fantasies of the woke eventuating, the double vaxxed and the small business community will forgive her while the unvaccinated seethe with toxic resentment.

If it all goes to hell in a hand basket, she will get never ending hostile fire that sinks Labour’s chances in 2023.

This is the most important moment in Jacinda’s leadership and I don’t envy the position she must take now.

Every which way she will have highly partisan emotionally manipulative criticism thrown at her as a frightened and desperate team of 6 million starts to turn on itself.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

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NZ Politics Daily – 22 October 2021

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Today’s NZPD testimonial from Peder Gustafsson, Asia Correspondent, Swedish National Radio

“As a Asia-Pacific Correspondent for the Swedish National Radio The newsletter from NZ Politics Daily is one of my best sources for getting information and keeping up with what’s happening in New Zealand. I appreciate the variety and breadth of the information I receive.  It makes my daily work a lot easier.”

Anyone can sign up to NZPD for free at: https://democracyproject.nz/nz-politics-daily/

Today’s content

Trade
Geoffrey Miller (Democracy Project): Geopolitics behind NZ-UK free trade deal
Liam Dann: (Herald): UK trade deal – big winners and other winners (there are no losers) (paywalled)
Richard Harman (Politik): Why Boris gave away so much to get the trade deal with NZ (paywalled)
Charles Finny (Newsroom): Groundbreaking NZ-UK free trade deal is just the start
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Dreaming of a post-COVID OE? New Zealand’s new deal with Britain could be the ticket
Stuff Editorial: The land of wine and honey
Zane Small (Newshub): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson drops rugby jokes during free trade deal chat with Jacinda Ardern
Aubrey Allegretti and Tess McClure (Guardian): UK strikes trade deal with New Zealand – but it may add nothing to GDP
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): MPs welcome trade agreement, and talk Brexit
Thomas Manch (Stuff): New Zealand gains head-start in post-Brexit British market with ‘huge’ free trade deal
Luke Malpass (Stuff): NZ-UK free trade deal a win for New Zealand, ruling a line under a 50-year grievance
Thomas Manch (Stuff): NZ-UK free trade deal ‘game changing’ for the Māori economy 
1 News: NZ-UK free trade deal ‘groundbreaking’ for Māori – iwi exporter
Tina Morrison and Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Exporters welcome ‘fantastic’ UK free trade deal
Jane Patterson and Russell Palmer (RNZ): UK free trade deal to eliminate tariffs for all New Zealand exports
Anna Whyte and Benedict Collins (1 News): New Zealand and UK agree on free trade deal
Tess McClure (Guardian): ‘National treasure’: New Zealand Māori haka protected in trade deal with UK
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Rawiri Waititi welcomes haka trade protection, but warns against Brits using it
Māori TV: Taonga protection in free-trade agreement inked with UK
Esther Taunton (Stuff): Cheap gin and chocolate? What the UK-NZ free trade deal could mean for Kiwis
Brent Edwards (NBR): New Zealand-UK free trade deal will boost farm exports (paywalled)
Lee Kenny (Stuff): UK trade agreement ‘good news’ after ongoing logistics ‘nightmare’, wine seller says
Chris Tobin (Stuff): UK free trade deal ‘history in the making’, South Canterbury farmer says
Zane Small and Juliet Speedy (Newshub): Government’s NZ-UK free trade agreement hailed by Opposition, farmers and business community
RNZ: UK-New Zealand free trade agreement ‘substantial and comprehensive’
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): New Zealand strikes free trade agreement with the United Kingdom; Benefits for meat exporters to be phased in over 15 years
Jamie Gray (Herald): ‘Back to the future’ for NZ-UK trade ties? (paywalled)
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): ‘A level playing field’: exporters laud $1 billion trade deal (paywalled)
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): A great FTA with the UK
No Right Turn: Labour’s sneaky copyright deal

Govt Covid strategy, expert warnings
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Jacinda’s Choice: “Freedom Day”, Or Failure
Ian Powell (Second Opinion): Jacinda’s Gladys moment
Luke Malpass (Stuff): The biggest day for the Government since the first day of the first lockdown
Derek Cheng (Herald): Daily cases hit record high as Jacinda Ardern unveils a near-future without lockdowns
Peter Dunne (Newsroom):It’s unlikely the Govt has lost the plot
Gordon Campbell: On juggling Covid, and France’s Trump-like populist
James Whitehead (The Conversation): New Zealand’s mass vaccination event lifts uptake but highlights dangerous inequities as the country prepares to open up
David Seymour (Herald): What Auckland most needs today (paywalled)
Herald: Nurses warn New Zealand is ‘dangerously under-prepared for tsunami of cases’
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Auckland hospitals getting Covid-19 ready at slow pace
Kate Gregan (RNZ): Concerns about health system’s ability to deal with Covid-19 grow
Nadine Porter and Steven Walton (Stuff): No-one will be left behind in race to reach 90 per cent vaccination rate – minister
RNZ: ‘We are finding most of the cases out there’ – Bloomfield
RNZ: Covid-19 wrap: 180 cases a day expected, hospitality sector wants vaccine mandates
Kendall Hutt (1 News): NZ ‘likely’ to reach 170-180 cases per day in 2-3 weeks’ time
Simon Ewing-Jarvie (Unclas): Defence Minister Says COVID19 Not An Emergency

Education
John Gerritsen (RNZ): ‘It is crazy’: Auckland principals prepare to reopen secondary schools
Barbara Dreaver (1 News):Pasifika fear Covid-19 resurgence as schools reopen
Maxine Jacobs (Stuff): Return to school decision plays ‘roulette’ with students’ health, Māori education leaders say
Dubby Henry (Herald): Takapuna Grammar senior students won’t return next week
Māori TV: ‘It seems a bit hurried’ – Māori principal on students’ return to classroom
RNZ: Schools reopening too late for many: principals
1 News: Natural ventilation helpful in reducing Covid risk for schools – NIWA
Perry Rush (Herald): Our approach to teaching mathematics doesn’t add up (paywalled)

Vaccine passports, mandatory vaccination
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Vaccinated staff required? Worksafe issues advice
John Anthony (Stuff): Businesses want Government advice on whether they can ban customers unvaccinated against Covid-19
RNZ: Checkpoint: Victoria University looks to expand vaccination mandate
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): The Warehouse considering mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for all employees
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): The Warehouse considers mandatory vaccinations for all staff by New Year’s Day
Caley Callahan (Newshub): Airport security staff challenge Government’s ‘no jab, no job’ policy in court
Stuff: Ability of vaccine to reduce virus spread could decide challenge to ‘no jab, no job’ order
Adam Burns (Local Democracy Reporting): Unvaccinated Canterbury doctor quits – ‘My conscience means more than my career’
Keiller MacDuff (Stuff): Timaru woman trespassed by supermarkets for refusing to wear mask has High Court case thrown out

Vaccine rollout
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): The Power Of “No”
RNZ: Young Māori least protected group with low vaccination rates
Stuff: Ministry of Health negotiations fail with John Tamihere over Māori vaccination data, High Court action
Māori TV: Tamihere attacks Ministry of Health tactics as court hearing on data delayed
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare ‘disappointed’ with DHBs for lagging Māori vaccination rates
Sapeer Mayron (Stuff): Poorly vaccinated south Auckland suburbs pass 50 per cent double-dosed
Adam Pearse (Herald): Vaccination boom revealed in Ministry of Health estimates for September
1 News: Isolated Kiwis get Covid jab thanks to DHB road trip
Jean Bell (RNZ): Reaching at-risk communities for vaccination: Listen to front line workers, authorities told
—————
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Hannah Tamaki admits getting rent from COVID-19 testing centre on church grounds
Ben Leahy (Herald): Destiny Church earns money from Covid vaccination and test site
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Anti-vaxxers making fake vaccination bookings
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Kāpiti College students confront anti-vaxxers that swarmed school’s three entrances
Nikki Preston (Herald): Thames Coromandel regional councillor questions whether ‘recent headlines’ caused drop in vaccination ranks

Auckland, Waikato, South Island alert levels, borders
RNZ: Checkpoint: Woman desperate to help dying nephew denied Auckland entry
1 News: Expert’s tips for safe picnicking in Auckland’s lockdown
Bernadette Basagre (Stuff): Auckland’s popular Santa parade cancelled, man in red ‘stuck in MIQ’ 
Herald: Ho ho uh-oh – Famed Auckland Christmas parade axed as Santa stuck in MIQ
RNZ: Alert level 3 restrictions for parts of Waikato to remain in place
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): Parts of Waikato to remain in alert level 3 until at least October 27
Riley Kennedy (ODT): Frustration grows about Covid alert level not dropping for South Island

Cases, demographics
Ben Leahy and Emma Russell (Herald): West Auckland man isolating in backyard tent gets hotel room
1 News: Waikato Covid case travelled to Hawke’s Bay while infectious
Lana Andelane (Newshub): New Waikato case travelled to Hawke’s Bay last week before testing positive
Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand Covid daily cases pass 100 for first time since pandemic began

Alert level compliance, rules
Anna Leask (Herald):  ‘I did nothing wrong’ – Auckland woman at centre of Northland border breach allegations speaks out
RNZ: Police Commissioner defends enforcement action at protests
Anne Gibson (Herald): The retirement village that’s defying guidelines and opening to visitors (paywalled)
1 News: Decision to deny tangi exemptions for some of Sean Wainui’s whānau defended
Ben Leahy (Herald): Rugby star Sean Wainui’s car-crash death: Whānau and friends seek Auckland travel exemptions
1 News: 2 more charged over mass gatherings in Auckland Domain
Herald: Two more arrested over Auckland anti-lockdown protest
Herald: Destiny Church’s Brian Tamaki ‘treated like a prisoner’ and stripped down to his undies before court appearance
Fiona Ellis (Herald): Pak’n Save supermarket shopper without mask denied entry, demands apology

NZ border, MIQ, immigration
Robin Martin (RNZ): Community-based MIQ being set up in New Plymouth
Gill Bonnett (RNZ): Vax for visas: ‘Overstayers would come out of the woodwork’
RNZ: Health worker MIQ spots a start, but more needs to be done – expert
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Novotel Ellerslie absconder escaped MIQ facility because of incorrectly plugged audio cable
1 News: Covid-positive woman accused of escaping MIQ enters no plea in court
Anuja Nadkarni (Newsroom): South Island-Aust bubble open but Air NZ says operation ‘not viable’
Jane Phare (Herald): ‘We need to travel:’ Desperate businesses send staff overseas without MIQ spot (paywalled)
Jane Matthews (Stuff): Law sees Kiwi ship crew denied MIQ exemption, forced to isolate at sea 
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Latest virtual lobby winds up in about 90 minutes
Ben Leahy (Herald): Thousands of Kiwis miss out on latest MIQ spots
Lane Nichols (Herald): 501 deportees to be quarantined at Auckland’s Ramada Suites hotel when charter flights resume next month

Housing
Peter Dunne: Labour has removed a currently ongoing contentious issue from immediate debate and once more snookered National
Bernard Hickey (Spinoff): The National-Labour coalition on housing should expect a big election backlash
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Housing deal with National shows Labour’s failure (paywalled)
Brent Edwards (NBR): Will political consensus lead to more affordable housing? (paywalled)
Leanne Warr (Hawkes Bay Today/Herald): What if the ‘bank of mum and dad’ isn’t open? (paywalled)
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Government’s sweeping decision to allow for more housing densification prompts renewed calls from councils for more infrastructure funding
Katie Townshend (Stuff): Nelson to put hand up for inclusion in new housing intensification rules
Ashley Church (OneRoof):  Why I no longer trust the Reserve Bank
Herewini Waikato (Māori TV): Kāinga Ora falls short on Ngāi Te Rangi iwi housing
Jake McKee (RNZ): ‘Out of control’ Wellington rents pushing students to ditch studies for work
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Judith Collins says high house prices lead to ‘politics of envy’ and support for left-wing policies

Environment, climate change, conservation
Henry Cooke (Sydney Morning Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s climate summit problem is the opposite of Scott Morrison’s
Taxpayers’ Union: New poll reveals opposition to Shaw’s Glasgow trip
Brian Fallow (Herald): Will we COP it in Glasgow? (paywalled)
The Country (Herald): James Shaw defends COP26 climate change trip to Glasgow (paywalled)
Tess McClure (Guardian): New Zealand becomes first country to force finance companies to act on climate risks
Gareth Vaughan (Interest): Consultation for corporates on climate-related accounting disclosure standards kicks off
Cushla Norman (1 News): Push for more green jobs ahead of climate summit
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): Climate change impact on Māori wellbeing and culture ‘sobering’ yet ‘insightful’
Andrea Vance (Stuff): This Is How It Ends: All creatures great, small and vanishing
Richard Gibson (Stuff): This Is How It Ends: Small, secretive, and increasingly rare — why reptiles need our help
Colin Davis (Stuff): New Zealand is failing the test when it comes to climate change education
Lois Williams (Local Democracy Reporting): Barrytown company submits more info on ilmenite mine proposal

Local government, Three Waters
Taxpayers’ Union: Poll reveals what New Zealanders think of Three Waters
Gerrard Eckhoff (ODT): Three Waters reforms a precursor to co-governance of NZ
John Bishop (Stuff): Audacity of water assets grab boggles the mind
Tom Kitchin (RNZ): Māori ward in Napier described as ‘bittersweet’ victory
1 News: Auckland’s water restrictions to be lifted after two years
Liu Chen (RNZ): Auckland’s water restrictions to be lifted on Saturday
Mandy Te (Stuff): Wellington Water launches independent review into wastewater treatment operations
Joel MacManus (Stuff): Wellington City Council votes to keep ownership of international airport 
Matthew Tso (Stuff): Mike Tana still absent for Porirua City Council’s mayoral portrait lineup
Abbey Wakefield (1 News): Yellow bucket stolen from Wellington’s Cuba St fountain
ODT Editorial: City Council team tickets
Luisa Girao (ODT): Talks held on recycling deal extension
Chris Barclay (Star News): ‘Waste of staff time’: Christchurch councillor unrepentant after being slammed again over poor attendance
Courtney White (ODT): Apology to family for taking crash site items

Parliament, Parties, MMP
Anna Whyte (1 News): Te Pāti Māori accuses Speaker, Govt of vilifying ‘our Party and our people’
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Rawiri Waititi slams ‘grossly inappropriate’ Trevor Mallard in Parliament stoush
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): Good week in opposition upset by ‘trivial error’ in economic plan 
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): Māori seats may be Winston’s way back to Parliament
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Member’s bills to hinder child sex tourism, extend time for sexual harassment claims selected for debate
Brian Easton: Fridays with Jim

Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): Daughter of the north takes job first held by Tiriti signer William Hobson
Tumamao Harawira (Māori TV): Former colleagues praise new Governor-General
Claire Trevett (Herald): New Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro sworn-in
1 News: First wahine Māori Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General 
Claire Trevett (Herald): Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro’s message on Covid 19, Treaty relationship in swearing in
RNZ: Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as New Zealand’s first wahine Māori Governor-General
Eva Corlett (Guardian): Dame Cindy Kiro becomes New Zealand’s first female Māori governor-general

Economy, business, Wage subsidy
Liam Dann (Herald): ‘Ugly’ new survey captures Auckland business despair (paywalled)
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Hospitality and retail on edge – financially and mentally (paywalled)
Damien Venuto (Herald): What business leaders want from the Govt’s big announcement (paywalled)
Grant Bradley (Herald): What hotels want from the Government (paywalled)
RNZ: Urgent help, grants sought as lockdowns impact struggling SME community
Grant Bradley (Herald): Auckland Airport boss says ‘revenge travel’ will fuel recovery (paywalled)
Grant Bradley (Herald): Auckland Airport confident of air travel recovery after 2023 (paywalled)
Herald Editorial: Why inflation inspires fear and loathing in New Zealand (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): 6000 workers needed – Survey reveals severity of Auckland labour shortages (paywalled)

Health system
1 News: Report finds Kiwis end up in EDs as dental prices too high
Sam Olley (RNZ): Health practitioners head back to work in alert level 3 areas
RNZ: ACC posts $10b paper surplus – but says levy rises still needed
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): ACC says $10b surplus doesn’t change case for levy rise

Primary industries
Hamish MacLean (ODT): Some concerns about fishing camera policy
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Multi-million dollar mānuka honey industry faces mandatory tests
Keith Woodford (Interest): Carbon and forestry, increasingly linked to overseas investors, continue to outmuscle sheep and beef but nothing about carbon is simple
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): The lucrative threat to rural communities (paywalled)

Employment
Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): MindTheGap: Campaign promotes wage gap, especially for Māori and Pasifika
Rachel Smalley (NBR): Right and fair thing to do: Mind the Gap (paywalled)

Christchurch terror attacks
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Christchurch terror attacks: Top coroner opens inquiry into shootings
RNZ: Coronial inquiry into 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings formally opened
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Christchurch terror attack: Coronial inquiry launched into March 15, 2019 shootings
Sam Sherwood (Stuff): Chief Coroner opens inquiry into Christchurch terror attack

Other
Stuff Editorial: Our consumer data rights need protection
Suraya Sidhu Singh (Stuff): On the bus: The case for greater subsidies for public transport
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Euthanasia care, work called for
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Kevin Rudd on China: ‘A thousand-pound gorilla in the front living room’
Brent Edwards (NBR): On the NBR List? Watch out for the IRD (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton (Patreon): A stain on New Zealand’s national honour (paywalled)
Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): Lockdowns led to ‘exponential demand for support’ from Māori in South Island
Peter de Graaf (Northern Advocate): Christmas in peril: Northland charity sends out SOS
Rob Fisher (Stuff): Increase Māori representation in tech industry or risk growing inequity
Taroi Black (Māori TV): Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei wants to settle Erebus memorial dispute
Esther Ashby-Coventry (Stuff): Another Waitaha Waitangi Tribunal claim overlooked by Crown
Laura Smith (ODT): Support for proposed ban on trade in extinct animal remains
RNZ: Westport flood victims left in limbo
RNZ: The Detail: Fighting over timber – the shortages hitting construction

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Jacinda’s Choice: “Freedom Day”, Or Failure.

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THE AUCKLAND BUSINESS COMMUNITY has told the Labour Government that it expects 1 December to be “Freedom Day”. Since the Labour Party has consistently done the Auckland Business Community’s bidding for more than 30 years, putting a decent sum on 1 December as the day all double-vaccinated Aucklanders get to fly away would seem like a pretty safe bet.

If 1 December does not turn out to be “Freedom Day”, then you can put a big blue ring around Election Day 2023.

It is certainly no coincidence that 1 December was the day chosen by Sir John Key in his in/famous op-ed intervention; by the Act Party; and, finally, by the National Party itself. For those unaccustomed to reading the political runes, this is the New Zealand Right presenting the Labour Government with a united front. If Labour fails to take the hint, then every gun in the Right’s possession will commence firing at it, and they will not stop until the right-wing parties are in a position to form a government.

It has happened before. As soon as it became clear the Labour had won the 2005 General Election by spending money that wasn’t, strictly speaking, its own, the New Zealand Right declared total war on Helen Clark’s Government. There was no respite. The attacks came from everywhere. From National and Act, obviously, but also from the mainstream news media and high-ranking civil servants. Labour also faced the slings and arrows of blogs and websites run by persons whose political connections ran into some very interesting places, and linked them up with some very important people.

This war was as unrelenting as it was successful. In 2008 Helen Clark and her party were cast out of office like an errant puppy that has just been caught widdling on the carpet. John Key didn’t need to say: “And don’t come back until you know how to behave!” Labour had been given the message loud and clear. It would take the Party nine long years to find someone who could open the door and lead Labour back inside the House of Power.

That’s why it would be a political miracle if Jacinda Ardern and her colleagues did not meekly line up alongside the Right and announce 1 December as “Freedom Day”. Auckland is, after all, New Zealand’s largest city and its most crucial political marketplace. Without a fair old swag of the 1.6 million Aucklanders in tow, electorally speaking, a political party’s chances of winning the next General Election are pretty slim.

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.

As a politician with an instinctive flair for political marketing, it is very hard to envisage Jacinda attempting to make that sale. Far easier to see her joining with all the other “serious” parties (and, yes, you’re right, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori are not included in that group) by making the date of “Freedom Day” a matter of partisan agreement.

The Greens and Te Pāti Māori will, of course, complain that by joining with the right-wing parties Labour is effectively abandoning Māori to the ravages of the Delta variant of Covid-19. The Government, and the parties of the Right, will likely respond with Judith Collins’ argument that delaying the opening-up of Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand, solely on account of the low rate of Māori vaccination would only expose Māori to all manner of racist abuse. It would make them the scapegoats of every Aucklander with a failing business; a job hanging in the balance; and/or a family member whose mental health is faltering.

Te Pāti Māori will protest that “Freedom Day” will amount to “Genocide Day” for tangata whenua. To which a great many of their fellow citizens will reply: “Not if you use the next four weeks to get vaccinated!”

There will also be many Kiwis who angrily lament the fact that making 1 December “Freedom Day” flies in the face of “The Science”. They may well be right, but, sadly, that boat has sailed. It sailed the day the Labour Government decided, against the advice of its medical scientists, to move out of Level 4 and down to level 3. After that crucial decision, “The Science” no longer entered into it. After that day, the decision-making became, first and last, political.

Inevitably, the business community, the right-wing parties, and the right-wing news media was bound to coalesce around a political solution that would leave the Labour Government with just two choices: Stand firm – and lose. Or, join the consensus – and at least retain the chance of winning in 2023.

Not quite Sophie’s Choice, but definitely Jacinda’s.

POSTSCRIPT

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Dear Kris – 19 exploited migrant workers help INZ but are denied a pathway to residency

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Dear Kris,
I am writing on behalf of a group of 19 exploited migrant workers who were given a special visa to stay in NZ to help INZ with a prosecution but have missed out on a pathway to residency because of that help.
That is just not fair.
I represented a group of around 60 Chinese construction workers who arrived in NZ in the middle of 2018 – over three years ago.
They had signed contracts with National Personnel Ltd (NPL) through a company agent named Peter Li.
There seems to have been a fallout between NPL and Peter Li and they did not receive work from NPL Limited immediately but were taken around the country and parcelled out to various employers for work.
This came to the attention of INZ who began an investigation.
Unite Union took a case against NPL and Peter Li for compensation for lost wages which was settled before going to court with the workers receiving at least what they would have got under the original contracts.
Many workers were taken on by NPL as part of this process and have essentially been employed for three years or more.
When Unite began representing these workers in January 2019, we got INZ to allow them to change employers if they wanted to. We helped find them alternative employment if they wanted.
All these workers have been here for over three years.
If they had not been abused and exploited by Peter Li and his agents they would have become eligible for the pathways.
Peter Li and his colleagues are being prosecuted.
19 of the group agreed to assist the prosecution and were given a special visa to allow them to do so.
This visa is meant to be for short periods only and usually doesn’t allow work. In this case however it has already dragged on for two years and could go longer.
These workers came here lawfully over three years ago with proper visas with a reputable company, NPL Ltd. INZ gave out the visas on that basis.
Peter Li had been the agent of that company. The fallout between them led to Peter Li making these workers work for other companies.
Either Peter Li lied about being an agent of the company originally, or NPL unlawfully repudiated the contracts. I assume the court case will reveal the truth.
But these workers have done nothing wrong.
They deserve their three years work to be recognised and given a pathway to residency now.
This is the only humane thing to do.
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GUEST BLOG: Ian Powell – Jacinda’s Gladys moment

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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.

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

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Political Caption Competition

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The last 2 white men who are acceptable to the woke in NZ are congratulated at their gelding.

 

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Friday – 22nd October 2021

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, Qanon lunacy, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics, 5G conspiracy theories, the virus is a bioweapon, some weird bullshit about the UN taking over the world  and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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NZNO Warns Government: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”

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The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says Aotearoa New Zealand is dangerously underprepared for what seems an inevitable tsunami of community Covid cases that could completely break our health system, and that nurses must be part all proposed solutions.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says nurses are a highly skilled workforce and have risen to ever-increasing demands, but they are already burnt out and seriously understaffed. Meanwhile our health system is not adequate to meet the demands of Covid, which is only just beginning to have an impact.

“Basically, we’re saying to the Government that, even though you’re acknowledging things are frighteningly bad right now, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet,’ and we would have been better prepared had you not decided to go it alone around nursing.

“The Government has not acted swiftly enough and, because it has not consulted with nursing experts or the nurses’ union, we have band aid solutions being applied all over the place that only serve to devalue nurses, while the heart of the problem has remained unaddressed.”

Ms Nuku says the announced 300 monthly MIQ spots for health workers is welcome news, but was a surprise that was way too little, way too late.

“Those 300 monthly health workers will be spread across the health sectors, including allied health, aged care, primary care and Māori and iwi providers starting two months from now – and they will need time to adjust to the Aotearoa New Zealand health system.

“Meanwhile we have around 3500 nursing vacancies nationally across the health sector. Even if the nurses took all 300 MIQ places each month, we wouldn’t be breaking even in a year’s time because so many nurses continue to leave.

“So we need a fair say in how those 300 health workers are selected and deployed each month.”

Ms Nuku also says the Government’s touted solution of training nurses to work in intensive care units (ICU) is also woefully inadequate.

“It takes two or three years after graduating to become a proficient ICU nurse. Nurses are incredible, but it is not a fair or realistic long-term solution to expect them to function professionally in ICU environments on the basis of four hours’ online training. This will put nurses and patients at risk.”

She says the Government must consult with nursing unions and professionals in addressing nursing problems so properly workable solutions can be found.

“How will we incentivise the right kinds of overseas nurses to come here? What are we doing to keep our nursing graduates here and in the profession? These questions should have been addressed months ago, but they still aren’t even a real focus.

“And this is about much more than hospitals and Covid. Evidence from around the world shows people are suffering and/or dying in other parts of health systems because so many resources have been shifted towards the Covid response.

“NZNO needs to be at the table when nursing issues are being decided by Government and the situation we currently find ourselves is just likely to get worse because that has not happened.”

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

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