In the schools and colleges, the intelligentsia have changed the role of education from equipping students with the knowledge and intellectual skills to weigh issues and make up their own minds into a process of indoctrination with the conclusions already reached by the anointed.
— Thomas Sowell (@ThomasSowell) August 7, 2020
Wood processors say plants will close for good if the government persists with its plan to shut non-food industries in the event the Auckland lockdown moves into level 4.
Industry executives were alarmed yesterday when told that officials expected to apply the same essential and non-essential split as in March in the event that deeper workplace restrictions are required. During that lockdown many manufacturers – particularly exporters – fought unsuccessfully to keep operating given the safe distance working inherent in many of their operations.
Jon Tanner, chief executive of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, said the stakes are now much higher.
“If we get shut down this time there are plants that will close. There are plants that are that vulnerable,” he told BusinessDesk.
And he said all the sector’s efforts in April, getting safe working practices approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation, are at risk of being wasted.
“We’ve got all the protocols in place. We’ve had them approved by MPI and MBIE. There’s no reason for the wood processing industry to be shut down.” . .
The insistence on the arbitrary essential rather than safe is also a problem for horticulture. Mike Chapman, CE of Horticulture NZ has outlined his concerns in an open letter to the Prime Minister:
We are writing to you on behalf of the New Zealand horticulture industry to collectively address our growers’ concerns that independent fruit and vegetable retailers are not classified as essential services under Covid-19 Alert Level 3 and 4.
In New Zealand there are multiple ways fresh fruit and vegetables are available for sale to the general public. The majority of these sales are made through large supermarket chains and independent fresh fruit and vegetable retailers, at a market share of approximately 80 and 20 percent respectively. However, in Auckland independent retailers represent 60% of sales of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Growers will still be able to harvest fruit and vegetables but if 60% of Auckland sales aren’t available there will be a lot of wastage.
Unlike supermarkets, fresh fruit and vegetables sold through independent retailers are different grades than sold in supermarkets and in some outlets at more affordable prices and in high end outlets at higher prices. Independent retailers also sell culturally significant fresh fruit and vegetables in their communities (that aren’t readily available in supermarkets) that form the staple diets of different ethnic groups in New Zealand.
Supermarkets usually cater for mass buying, smaller greengrocers cater for niche markets.
When New Zealand was in Alert Level 4 and 3 earlier this year, households were significantly impacted by not having access to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from independent retailers, especially lower income households. In addition, rural communities often rely on independent retailers for supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables that are produced locally, where large supermarket chains are not readily present. This is in alignment with the government’s messaging to support local businesses.
In Auckland a large number of households in the poorer outer suburbs have lost the ability to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from their local independent retailers at affordable prices. Supermarkets tend to operate a structure whereby the consumer drives to the store. In lower socioeconomic areas this is not always practical and a portion of the population needs walking access to retailers selling fruit and vegetables.
Some elderly will usually shop close to home and might need only fresh produce. If they can’t get that locally they will be forced to go to supermarkets where they will be exposed to more people.
This issue is exacerbated by many households facing financial hardship since lockdown due to loss of employment and other pressures. The result of this situation is a significant increase in demand at foodbanks across New Zealand to provide food parcels to families in need. The horticulture sector has programmes in place supporting foodbanks, but this only addresses a small portion of the lack of supply.
While the government did confirm that independent retailers are able to operate in a contactless manner at Alert Level 3 and 4, this method of business operation is not suitable for many lower income households who don’t have the ability to order or pay for food purchases online.
The closure of independent retailers does not only impact consumers, it also impacts the horticulture industry who work tirelessly to provide all retailers, large or small, with seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. The closure of independent retailers during lockdown resulted in an excess of fruit and vegetables that could not enter the supply chain. This loss of access resulted in direct financial loss to growers from failure to sell their products, causing some to exit the industry and delay or reduce replanting. Ultimately, this impacts on consumers due to lower supply levels and increased pricing. These impacts will be further exacerbated by the current Alert Level 3 restrictions in place in Auckland.
When New Zealand was in lockdown earlier this year the horticulture industry, together with independent retailers, developed a protocol for the safe operation of retailers. This protocol used the principles of essential service operation, the same as other primary industry businesses and dairies had been using to operate. We know that the New Zealand government recognised protocols for independent retailers during Alert Level 3, as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment approved the operation of some retailers. Independent stores are much smaller than supermarkets and have indicated their ability and commitment to operating safely.
Producing fresh fruit and vegetables is regarded as essential, selling them should be too and the criteria for who sells them should be safety.
To maintain adequate supply of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables to all New Zealanders, it is critical that both supermarkets and independent retailers are able to operate if they are able to demonstrate they can do so using Covid-19 safe practices. The horticulture industry sincerely requests that the government re-considers their decision not to recognise independent retailers as essential services. We ask that a decision is made to consistently apply to all independent retailers to ensure New Zealanders have access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables across the country.
We are available to discuss this request with you and your officials to find a solution that is in the safety and wellbeing interests of our team of five million.
On behalf of the New Zealand horticulture industry
Butchers will also be on the wrong side of the essential vs safe debate as they were last time. That nearly caused an animal welfare issue with pigs until the government bought 2,000 pigs a week and gave the meat to food banks.
Auckland Business Chamber CEO says the lockdown cost is too high:
Government says they learned things from the last lockdown so if they did can we do things differently and let all businesses that can comply with Covid-19 safety measures stay open, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO Michael Barnett.
“The cost to businesses locked down and out of their livelihoods is too high,” he said. “Why can a dairy open and a supermarket sell fresh fruit and vegetables, but your local greengrocer cannot? It would be much better for the economy and wellbeing of the community to allow shops to operate if they follow the strict compliance and safety requirements that can be enforced for each alert level.”
Many small businesses, particularly in hospitality and retail, are teetering with reserves run down, jobs at risk and confidence shaken, forced to shut their doors because they are not on government’s list of essential retail and services, Mr Barnett said. . .
If you don’t learn from your mistakes you are doomed to repeat them.
The government obviously hasn’t learned from its mistaken insistence on what was essential rather than what could operate safely earlier this year and is repeating it.
Businesses, consumers and the economy will pay the price for this with no health benefit.
Nearly two thirds of border control staff hadn’t been tested for Covid-19 a week ago:
Newshub can reveal that just one week before our current community outbreak, 63.5 percent of all border and hotel isolation workers in Auckland had never been tested for COVID-19.
The Prime Minister says all staff will now face compulsory tests, but a public health expert says it beggars belief this wasn’t already happening.
They’re part of our most high-risk group: airport staff like Customs and Immigration, hotel workers like security.
All work in the vicinity of recent returnees, yet only a fraction had been tested prior to this outbreak.
“It beggars belief that in an environment where the border is your major protection against a second wave that you are not exhausting every possible opportunity to mitigate risk,” said Professor Des Gorman, Auckland University public health expert. . .
Eric Cramptonsums it up:
It has been obvious for a while that border practices have a Dad’s Army flavour to them.
Last week, the government received a report suggesting that testing frontline border and managed isolation staff only once every two weeks might not be enough. When pressed by journalists, the report’s author, Professor Shaun Hendy, conceded people “shouldn’t be forced to take weekly swabs but strongly encouraged to do so” – to use a journalist’s paraphrase. . .
The necessary testing would be expensive but not nearly as expensive as lockdown.
If a month in level 3 costs Auckland $1.5 billion in financial terms, plus added misery, but each strip test costs about $10, each Aucklander could be tested a hundred times before hitting the financial cost of that month in level 3. And only workers in the managed isolation system need regular testing. . .
Almost all of us did what we were supposed to do to get the country back to level 1. That came at a high financial and human cost but most of us accepted the need to do what we were told to do.
We celebrated the Covid-free status and many believed the accolades from around the world for the country, and its leader.
Those who raised questions about whether success was due to good management or luck were shouted down.
But the resignation of Health Minister David Clark, his replacement by Chris Hipkins, the appointment of Megan Woods and enlisting the military to oversee border control answered some of those questions. They were supposed to plug the holes and until recently it looked like they had.
But this week’s cluster and the failure to regularly test everyone involved in border control are more evidence that no community transmission of Covid-19 for more than three months owed far more to luck than it should have.
I live in what is perhaps the most successful country in dealing with Covid – barring Taiwan.
And yet what I see around me is a total, total mess.
The PM and DG of Health are almost universally praised for their communication. That is no substitute for the fool-proof processes and procedures that are needed to shutdown the cluster and plug the holes at the border.
Most of us did what we were supposed to, most of us, however reluctantly, are doing it again at level 3 in Auckland and level 2 elsewhere.
That isn’t made any easier when it’s so obvious that the government and health officials haven’t been doing all they should have been to prevent the spread. The good luck has run out and must be replaced by best management.
That includes dealing with the shortage of masks.
Messages preparing us for a return of community transmission of Covid-19 have been ramping up for at least a couple of weeks.
If we were supposed to be ready, the government and health officials should have been too.
Queues of up to seven hours for testing show they weren’t.
A woman and her nine-month-old baby waited over seven hours at a coronavirus testing station on Auckland’s North Shore. . .
But cars began queueing at the College Rd station in Northcote before it opened at 9am – Katie Wahlman had to inch forward in the queue while breastfeeding her infant.
”We were advised to get tested by Healthline but many people have turned around and left due to the wait,” Whalman told Stuff.
GPs aren’t testing so it’s a bottleneck here and there could be cases that are slipping through the cracks as this was not prepared for the turnout today. This is terrible.”
Christiaan Van nie Kerk waited over seven hours to be tested and urged organisers to arrange for better traffic management or add another testing site in the north Auckland. . .
Short waits are acceptable, long ones are not, especially for people who aren’t feeling well.
The number of people wanting tests a few months ago should have prompted the Ministry of Health to be prepared for big numbers when news of community transmission broke.
This isn’t the only problem – there’s already a shortage of masks:
Is this going to be a repeat of the flu vaccine debacle when the PM and MOH kept telling us there were plenty when health professionals said there weren’t, and the latter have been proved right?
The latest lack of preparedness doesn’t give confidence that everything that could be done is being done.
The government keeps telling us the health response is their first priority. If that’s the case why weren’t they prepared for people wanting testing once community transmission was uncovered, especially when they were warning us it was inevitable?
Why aren’t there enough masks?
First time round they might have got away with the excuse of no rule book. That won’t work this time. They have had months to not only write the rules but ensure they’ve got everything in place to follow them.
If they can’t manage to cope with people wanting tests, how can we have confidence they’re coping with anything else?
The dissolution of parliament has been delayed until Monday.
. . . This means Parliament will continue to function. The Government and Cabinet could have continued without Parliament, but it would have no way to pass new legislation if that was needed to respond to an outbreak.
Former National Leader Simon Bridges urged an election delay, saying the amount of media attention the Prime Minister would attract during a second outbreak of Covid-19 would stack the odds of victory in her favour.
“I’ve just cancelled public meetings and a lot of volunteers doorknocking.
“Meanwhile, Labour, while suspending campaigning, continues with all machinery of Govt and thus the power of the airwaves,” Bridges said in a Tweet.
Both National leader Judith Collins and ACT leader David Seymour had called for the ending of the 52nd Parliament to be delayed, as Auckland heads into Covid-19 alert level 3 and the rest of New Zealand into alert level 2. . .
Delaying the dissolution of parliament is the right decision.
Postponing the election should follow.
It is just over a couple of weeks until early voting begins and little more than a month until election day.
Candidates can’t campaign at lockdown level 2, let alone level 3 which is where Auckland is.
These restrictions are only supposed to last a few days but news that one of the people who has tested positive to Covid-19 travelled to Rotorua doesn’t give a lot of confidence that the lockdown will not be extended in time and area.
Bloomfield said there were four confirmed cases in one family acquired from an unknown source.
An Auckland man in his 50s was tested yesterday after having symptoms. He had no history of overseas travel and was tested a second time today. Both tests were positive.
Six other people were in his family, and three of them have tested positive. The other three tested negative.
Close contacts have been isolated for 14 days regardless of their test results. Casual contacts are also being isolated and cannot leave until they test negative.
Workers at the border are also being tested. . .
In response to this, Auckland is going back to level 3 at midday today for three days.
The rest of the country is in level 2 until midnight on Friday.
Not knowing the source of the infection is very concerning.
The DG of Health told us last week that community transmission was inevitable.
He’s been proved right – but why was it inevitable? What went wrong? Was it human error or a process failure?
Emma Mellow replaces retiring MP Nikki Kaye who first won the seat from Labour in 2008. Emma leads a team of communications professionals at ANZ Bank as a Senior Manager within their funds management business.
“I’m very excited to be selected as National’s candidate for Auckland Central. I will be hitting the campaign trail hard in the lead up to September 19. I love our community, its vibrancy and diversity and I’m looking forward to getting out and campaigning with our strong National Party team,” Ms Mellow says.
“I will be travelling from Waiheke, to Great Barrier, to Auckland Central itself, aiming to meet as many people as possible and talk about National’s positive plans for New Zealand’s future.
“Auckland Central has had strong National representation for 12 years and I will be fighting hard to make sure it continues to have strong National representation.
“Our community, like the rest of the country, is worried about the future. What our economy will look like, whether they will have a job and how they will support their family.
“They certainly don’t need tax increases adding any more pressure on their household budget. But that is exactly what Labour and the Greens will do, adding a wealth tax on hard-working New Zealanders, going after their income, their house and their KiwiSaver.
“National is focused on supporting Aucklanders and their livelihoods, from backing those who have lost their jobs and are looking to start up their own business, to backing existing businesses to take on another employee.
“Only National has the economic experience, the competence and the vision to rescue the economy, save businesses and protect jobs,” Ms Mellow says.
Biographical Notes: Emma Mellow
Emma Mellow is 30 years old and works in the Auckland CBD. She leads a team of communications professionals at ANZ Bank as a Senior Manager within their funds management business.
Emma has nine years of commercial experience with a career spanning Australia and New Zealand. She returned to New Zealand in 2017 having previously held communications roles at Sydney Airport, for a Minister in the NSW Government and within public relations consultancy firms.
Emma holds Bachelor of Arts from The University of Auckland and is soon graduating from the university with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration.
Emma grew up in One Tree Hill and attended St Cuthbert’s College. Emma is a qualified volunteer surf life saver and in her spare time enjoys running, ocean swimming and cooking.
David Farrar describes Emma as a young Nikki Kaye.
Nikki was the first National MP in the electorate. She earned the seat with hard work and kept it by working hard, and effectively, for the electorate and its people.
Emma will work just as hard to win the seat and, if she is successful, will continue to work at least as hard and effectively ina nd for the electorate and parliament.
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the claim by Labour Party finance spokesman Grant Robertson that the National Party’s policy to index tax brackets to inflation is a “tax cut”.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “It’s dishonest to frame indexation – adjusting income tax thresholds to inflation – as a ‘tax cut’, like Mr Robertson did today.”
“Adjusting tax brackets so that people are not artificially pushed into paying higher marginal tax rates isn’t cutting tax. By definition, it’s keeping the rate of tax paid the same.”
“Mr Robertson is trying to cloud the issue so he’s not held to account for the dishonest way he, and successive Ministers of Finance, have increased tax by stealth through wage inflation. It’s a shame he is choosing to be so misleading about tax at a time many households are facing fiscal crisis.”
Adjusting tax thresholds to account for inflation is not a tax cut but failing to do so pushes people into a higher bracket and subjects them to paying more which is in effect a tax increase.
Given Labour’s big spending plan with borrowed money is not matched by plans to reduce spending anywhere, encourage growth nor to repay the debt it will almost certainly increase some taxes.
Even if it does nothing more, by refusing to index brackets to inflation it will be increasing tax for everyone who is pushed into a higher threshold.
Megan Hands has been selected as National’s candidate for Rangitata.
National’s new Rangitata candidate would like to see more mothers in Parliament and thinks her ‘’strong background’’ in rural and environmental management will help in her campaign for the seat. . .
Hands has spent her professional career in agricultural and resource management consultancy working with farmers, growers and small business.
“With a strong primary sector base, Rangitata is well-placed to help lead a post-Covid economic recovery.
“The people of Rangitata are extremely hard-working and right now they are worried about the future, whether they will have a job and how they will support their family.’’ . .
Megan has a strong party background as an active Young Nat and member of the Blue Greens. She has also been active in Young Farmers, including twice reaching the regional finals of the Young Farmer of the Year contest.
Her experience working with farmers to improve environmental performance will be invaluable.
She will bring strong science-based, practical environment credentials to the caucus and will be a strong advocate for her electorate.
Her name will be a gift for campaigning – Hands up, helping Hands . . .
A Q+A Colmar Brunton Poll of the Northland electorate shows there is little very little chance of New Zealand First staying in parliament:
According to the Q+A Colmar Brunton Poll results, Matt King had 46% support, Willow-Jean Prime was on 31% and Shane Jones on just 15%.
Jones winning Northland has been touted as NZ First’s safety net should the party not make it past the 5% threshold needed to stay in parliament.
This poll shows Jones in an unwinnable position and recent nationwide polls put NZ First well short of 5%.
The party has been campaigning for the seat for nearly three years, throwing a high proportion of the grants from the Provincial Growth Fund at projects in the electorate, whether or not the spending was justified.
Northland voters are more intelligent than NZ First thinks they are. They’re happy to accept the money thrown at them but they’re not being bought.
That’s not unusual.
Voters don’t usually reward parties for bribes, they bank them and mov eon to the next project.
Quote of the day:
It is a useful reminder that strong emotion is not, of itself, a reason for doing something, let alone a useful guide to policy. The heart has its reasons that the head knows not of, Pascal said; but it is just as true that the head has its reasons that the heart knows not of. Reason and feeling must be in some kind of balance. At the moment, feeling in the ascendant, at least in the West, with disastrous results. – Theodore Dalrymple
National has released its 202 party list:
National’s 2020 Party List is a strong mix of experience coming up through our Caucus, and new and exciting talent joining our team from communities across New Zealand, Party President Peter Goodfellow says.
“The National Party is incredibly fortunate to be able to draw on such a diverse and experienced team of passionate Kiwis, from our Leader Judith Collins, our Shadow Cabinet, right through to newcomers like Christopher Luxon in Botany, Tania Tapsell in East Coast, Tim Costley in Otaki, and Penny Simmonds in Invercargill.
“National run the most democratic selection processes of any party, and our process for putting together our Party List is the same. Our focus is always to strike the right balance between recognising and promoting experience, striving to reflect the diversity of New Zealand, and ensuring ongoing renewal.
“Rejuvenation is important for any political party, and National is heading into the 2020 election with some impressive and exciting new candidates. We are also saying goodbye to some very hardworking and dedicated members who have announced their retirement. They have served our country, our communities, and our Party with distinction, and we thank their families and loved ones for sharing them with us.
“We are incredibly proud to be the Party that represents Kiwis from all walks of life, from a range of ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences. We have teachers, servicemen, doctors, a paramedic, farmers, lawyers, community advocates, scientists, businesspeople, and a virus specialist – just to name a few.
“We know that every MMP election is a close fought race. Every single one of our candidates will be campaigning hard in their local communities to deliver a strong Party Vote for National, and ensure Judith Collins is our next Prime Minister.
“COVID-19 has changed our world, and while Kiwis can all be proud of our collective health response, New Zealand is facing the biggest economic crisis in generations. More than ever our country needs a strong team, with real-world experience, that can deliver what we promise and get New Zealand working.
“The only way to avoid another three years of chaos from Labour and the Greens, is to Party Vote National. That’s what our team of 75 candidates and tens of thousands of members, supporters and volunteers will be focused on right up until election day.”
National’s 2020 Party List:
|5||Dr Shane Reti||Whangarei|
|7||Chris Bishop||Hutt South|
|8||Todd Muller||Bay of Plenty|
|11||David Bennett||Hamilton East|
|13||Nicola Willis||Wellington Central|
|16||Melissa Lee||Mt Albert|
|17||Andrew Bayly||Port Waikato|
|18||Dr Nick Smith||Nelson|
|19||Maureen Pugh||West Coast-Tasman|
|20||Barbara Kuriger||Taranaki-King Country|
|22||Jonathan Young||New Plymouth|
|23||Tim Macindoe||Hamilton West|
|24||Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi||Panmure-Otahuhu|
|27||Dr Parmjeet Parmar||Mt Roskill|
|29||Dale Stephens||Christchurch Central|
|30||Alfred Ngaro||Te Atatu|
|39||Erica Stanford||East Coast Bays|
|41||Chris Penk||Kaipara ki Mahurangi|
|42||Tim van de Molen||Waikato|
|46||Catherine Chu||Banks Peninsula|
|49||Lisa Whyte||New Lynn|
|53||Lincoln Platt||Christchurch East|
|54||William Wood||Palmerston North|
|57||Jake Bezzant||Upper Harbour|
|64||Tania Tapsell||East Coast|
|65||Simon Watts||North Shore|
Why have we become a nation of scaredy cats?
Most Kiwis want New Zealand’s borders to stay shut to non-residents, despite high-powered calls to soften restrictions to ease economic pain.
That’s according to the NZ Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 poll, suggesting 68 per cent of people think our border policy should be kept as is.
About 29 per cent thought the ban could be relaxed to allow in non-New Zealand residents and citizens, so long as they quarantined for two weeks and paid for it. . .
People weren’t asked if they favoured laxer border controls or imposing more costs on the taxpayer for non- New Zealand citizens and residents.
They were asked if foreigners could come in if they underwent two weeks quarantine and paid for it and more than two thirds said no.
Had the poll asked if people wanted less stringent border controls and more costs for the taxpayer I’d have been surprised if anyone said yes.
But what’s the problem with letting in people who aren’t citizens or residents providing they are quarantined at their own cost?
Why would so many people be frightened of that?
Kate Hawkesby has the answer:
. . . Labour has seen what Covid has done for them, and they’re running with it.
Forget policy, forget issues, forget future plans, as long as they can keep reminding us to wash our hands, it keeps us in a state of fear. It keeps people on the back foot and it yields a sense of gratitude. It makes an inexperienced disorganised government look like saviours. We focus less on what they haven’t done, and how many ill conceived bills they’re rushing through, and more on the fact the international press said Ardern is eloquent. Are we really that shallow?
And is anyone questioning why new Covid advertising is coming out now? After months of Level 1, we need to start some more advertising on how to wash your hands, now? Aside from what that must be costing us the taxpayer in advertising, isn’t it essentially politically motivated? What worked well for us – Covid. What should we do in the lead up to the election? Policy messaging? Nope, more Covid. . .
Labour wants us in a state of fear and is stoking it in what must be the most cynical election strategy it could come up with.
Even former Prime Minister Helen Clark says there’s no reason not to open to border door a little more providing it’s done safely:
The current border arrangements would need to change, soon, to help the city and country’s economic fortunes.
“Even with a two week quarantine, there is so much more we can do. It will need major private sector partnerships to gear up the quarantine system.
“There’s no reason in principle why the [international] students could not come back with effective quarantine. There’s no reason in principle why tourists who are prepared to pay for two weeks’ quarantine can’t come back, there’s no reason in principle why you can’t have Covid-free travel channels with others, or that working holiday makers couldn’t come back if they are prepared to pay for quarantine … certainly the skilled workers, the global visa people who could drive the economy.
“If, post-election, the thinking can go to how to try to remove this chokepoint which is existing quarantine, that would help even within the existing two week quarantine setting. We need a national conversation and buy-in to this… from let’s get this done to how do we get the next stage done.” . .
The current Labour leader Jacinda Ardern could use her popularity to reassure the public that more people could come in safely.
That wouldn’t mean doing anything to encourage reckless behaviour, but it would mean stopping the political manipulation of Covid-19 strategy and fostering fear.
That she isn’t is a failure of leadership and it’s showing anything but the kindness she preaches we all should be practising.