Bring on the bench

Sir Ian Taylor wrote an open letter to the PM saying it is time to bring on the bench in the fight against Delta.

. . . Where our opposition initially focused on the health of our people we have seen now that it had a deeper strategy. It would also go after our economy, slowly but surely infecting, and in many cases, destroying the very businesses that will be needed to fund our team in the future.

Which leads me to the bench.

The players on the bench aren’t there to replace the entire run on team, they are there to consolidate what those players have done. To address the strengths and weaknesses that the coach has identified so that we have the best shot at winning. . . 

Now is the time to go to the bench, because we have identified the double game plan that has been unleashed on us. The first is Covid, now in Delta variant mode, has adjusted far faster to the changing playing conditions than we have.

The second is the unseen variant that is slowly but surely working its way through the forward pack, our economic engine. That engine will be desperately needed if we are to stay in the game after the initial opening rounds.

The lockdown system, alongside the MIQ booking platform, are two obvious weaknesses in our current game plan.

The economy simply cannot afford to keep replaying the same level 4 restrictions that played out over the past couple of weeks, nor can businesses expect to operate successfully on the international playing fields with an MIQ system that simply has no rules they can play by. . . 

Sir Ian has written a second open letter, this time suggesting how business can help get ahead of the virus:

. . . This week we had to walk away from a significant, multi-year contract because we could not risk sending our people out to service it without knowing when we could get them home.

It’s the second such contract in the past month, and we aren’t alone.

Businesses are sending people overseas with no idea when they will be coming home.

One business colleague who operates in nine countries around the world is now planning to move his entire family to Europe simply because he cannot guarantee an MIQ space for business trips that he regularly took to keep his business in New Zealand operational.

This is a hi-tech business employing more than 250 people.

These businesses are essential to keeping the export dollars coming that are needed to fund the entire team of five million – and the major road blocks to keeping those dollars flowing, are MIQ and the interpretation of what an essential business is. . . 

Handicapping businesses at the best of time is a mistake, doing it when we’re living on borrowed billions is sabotaging them and the wider economy.

Last week the Covid Response Minister said: “What people don’t understand is that building a points-based (MIQ) booking system is very difficult!”

All sorts of things Ministers and their officials find difficult are not to people whose businesses rely on finding workable solutions and finding them quickly.

The advice from the bench would have been: “No Minister. Sending rockets into space from Mahia – that’s difficult. Delivering real-time graphics to golf tournaments in New York, Prague and Scotland whilst also covering a 10-day yacht race in Keel, Germany, in the same week from an office in Dunedin – that’s difficult! Building a points based booking system? ‘Yeah/nah, not really’.”

We have a tech industry sitting on the bench that could do that in a heartbeat.

And we have a government that won’t use that bench.

Booking a space in MIQ: now that’s difficult!

But there is far more value we can bring from the bench.

We, and others, have operated in some of the most Covid-ravaged countries in the world and we have kept our Kiwi staff Covid-free for more than a year and a half because of the protocols that have been put in place by the businesses we work with. . . 

What we have learned from our experience over the past year and a half is that businesses have a huge interest in keeping their people safe from Covid and they can do it faster than governments because they aren’t having to look after entire countries.

We are only ever sending small numbers away at any time. The 250 staff company I mentioned earlier has a maximum of eight people who ever have to travel abroad. It’s not an Olympic team.

When we look at opportunities, and that’s what this is, we never explore why things might not work. We always ask: “What if we pulled it off?”

So, “what if” businesses didn’t need to take up MIQ spaces. “What if” businesses could apply existing technologies and protocols that would guarantee that none of their teams would have Covid when they returned to Aotearoa from their essential overseas travels. . .

They have a model that’s been working and is continuing to work safely, why can’t they use it?

“What if” the Government could put in place, quickly, the following:

• 1: An accreditation and audit system that approved the processes that individual companies could present for their people who had to travel abroad. To begin with, that would have to be for business reasons only but the option exists to expand it, if it proves successful.

They would also have to be vaccinated.

• 2: Approval for a range of antigen tests already being used successfully so companies could set up their own programmes as part of their accreditation. Ideally you would prioritise Kiwi companies working on these tests because that also creates an enormous export opportunity for them. Approving these tests should be a priority.

• 3: An oversight government agency to work with businesses to implement their strategies quickly. NZTE or Callaghan Innovation spring to mind.

• 4: The same agency would be in charge of the audit process to ensure businesses are meeting the obligations in their accredited protocols. . . 

The government has proved it’s very good at shutting the country down. It doesn’t have the experience and expertise to start opening up again even though the longer we’re closed to the world the greater the economic and human cost will be.

Sir Ian is right – it’s time to bring on the bench to enable businesses to do business, and do it safely.

9 Responses to Bring on the bench

  1. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    Excellent points, but far too logical and practical for the Ardern omnishambles to adopt


  2. Andrei says:

    More inane babble sigh

    The great virus hunt goes on, the factories remain silent and a the death of just one woman in her nineties in whom the RNA sequence that identifies the “pandemic” was found is used to justify totally man made unnecessary social and economic catastrophe

    Our ruling class has lost the plot


  3. Andrei says:


  4. pdm1946 says:

    Maybe Ardern should bite the bullet and bring in capable people like Tony Ryall ((the best Health Minister in my time and Bill English to draw up a suitable plan to get thecountry back into international productivity.

    Won’t happen but ideology and control will not allow it.


  5. Teletext says:

    Once again the incompetence of this “government” is being shown up. Not one even remotely sensible idea has come from them. They, and their advisers only strategy is “close the place down and the virus will go away.” This is no longer an epidemic, it is now endemic in our world so live with it.

    Any half competent government would have ensured that at least 90% of the population would have been vaccinated long before now and that a plan, such as that suggested by Sir Ian Taylor would have been in place no later than the beginning of the year, but not this lot. They were and still are incapable of making a difficult decision on anything unless there are plenty of photo ops in it so we keep rolling along relying on our Fairy princess’ fairy dust to keep us safe and under control.

    No problem though, the “grievance groups” will still be looked after and pandered to so all will be “well” in the end except we will have a much smaller tax base to draw from due to so many SMEs being forced out of business by the lack of positive actions taken by this government. But no worries, as long as the fairy princess have her picture on the women’s mags, then all will be right.

    Our only hope is that the government will listen to Sir Ian Taylor and the like and finally do something they have yet to do in their 4 years in office, and that is “take action” and do it.


  6. Andrei says:

    Any half competent government would have ensured that at least 90% of the population would have been vaccinated long before now…

    The vaccine is a bust, it provides limited protection fior a short time at best

    And conducting a mass vaccination program in an unsuspecting population with a vaccine that has not been subject to the protocols required before being authorised for general use is highly irresponsible at best and a crime against humanity equivalent to the crimes tried at Nuremburg in the Doctors Trial at worst.

    Of course the reason why they are doing it is they know they have screwed up and they are panicking

    What do you think they are discussing right now in the cabinet room as the Auckland outbreak refuses to dissipate and the virus has escape to the Waikato?

    I’ll bet they are in a real funk as people get more and more pissed off with them as they wreck the economy

    These morons are way out of their depth – and morons they are


  7. homepaddock says:

    Andrei, if the vaccine doesn’t work how do you explain that no-one vaccinated for at least 2 weeks needed hospital care & most in hospital were completely unvaccinated?


  8. Andrei says:

    how do you explain that no-one vaccinated for at least 2 weeks needed hospital care & most in hospital were completely unvaccinated?

    Ele – that is verbal sleight of hand and it is that sort of sophistry from the Government that leads to my intense distrust of them

    Let me explain the conjuring trick

    According to the powers that be to achieve your fully vaccinated status you after your first shot you need to wait 12 weeks before receiving your second and then two weeks after that you ae fully protected

    A total of 14 weeks

    The first jibbity jabs were administered in March but it wasn’t until the10th of May that the General public started to receive the vaccine so it is not until the 6th August that significant any members of the general public could actually meet the definitions in your statement.

    In any case the numbers needing hospital care is a tiny fraction of the cases and another source of Government deceit.

    You see when people are admitted to hospital for ay reason they are as a matter of routine tested and the reasons for their hospitalization may have nothing to do with their Covid test result but they are still reported

    I have four kids, three of whom have now had Covid, one of whom was fully vaccinated, she works for the NHS and she is not unique in that regard among her colleagues. My fully vaccinated nephew also got the bot

    Why do you think the authorities are now talking about “boosters” and have ordered a new vaccine for this purpose next year?

    Because the data from overseas, the UK, Israel and other countries is showing the vaccine is not working, that’s why

    They have bet the family silver on lockdowns and vaccines and its a loosing bet


  9. Andrei says:

    Oh and I will tell you something else Ele

    Have these clowns in the MOH issued any guidance to the general public or general practitioners on how to treat actually treat Covid patients in the home setting ?

    You get a positive test result and you have to self isolate and then what?

    Is there any guidance as to what you can do to alleviate any symptoms you have, reduce the chances of having to go to hospital, any medications?

    No on these matters its crickets

    You get a positive result and you are on your own baby unless it gets serious and you have go to hospital, GPs have not been given any treatment guidelines for the home Covid patient which is the vast majority BTW

    These people have zero interest in anything other than vaccines and how many ventilators they have and all their drama and normal people and their needs do not enter their calculus

    They are contemptible


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