Quotes of the month

01/11/2021

As evidenced by my seven years in Parliament, I’m not here to create a brand or profile. That stuff doesn’t interest me – I just want to do the work and that’s what I get the most reward from, – Matt Doocey

Sometimes I realise success is the things around you, rather than what you’re striving to next.Matt Doocey

If you set a centralized bureaucracy a target—and the British educational system was and is very centralized and bureaucratic—it will meet it by hook or by crook. It will change the meanings of words and alter the way by which outcomes are measured. – Theodore Dalrymple

Ardern’s new incoherence includes saying on some days that vaccination rates are considered in decisions about ongoing restrictions, and others days saying they aren’t. Some days she implies liberalisation requires vaccination of 90 per cent of everyone aged 12 or over, and in every regional, socioeconomic, age and ethnic group. Other days Beehive strategists deny any target and imply liberties could be restored below 90 per cent coverage.

Insofar as “the science” ever drove political decisions on Covid, it clearly doesn’t now.Matthew Hooton

Playing the person not the ball was Ardern’s only option since she will inevitably pick up the Opposition’s ideas very soon, as she has done ever since Covid emerged in Wuhan. – Matthew Hooton

If Ardern looks like a possum in the headlights, that’s because the vaccination bus is about to run over her. Matthew Hooton

The police can’t arrest all 3.4 million, meaning Ardern will have lockdowns removed from her toolbox whether she plans it or not.

This is a major healthcare, social, economic and ethical problem but Ardern apparently isn’t even thinking about it.

It demands the type of urgency beyond her and Ashley Bloomfield and requires tension to be put into the vaccination effort.  – Matthew Hooton

For as long as freeloaders believe Ardern won’t liberalise until well over 90 per cent of every demographic has been vaccinated — a target not achieved anywhere in the world except Gibraltar and Pitcairn Island, and utterly improbable in New Zealand — then they have nothing to worry about.

Yet they would hold captive the 80 per cent of us who have done the right thing.Matthew Hooton

Unvaccinated freeloaders have a right to take their chances with Covid, hospitalisation, ICU or worse.

But property owners, leaseholders and renters must also have the right to decide who enters their premises, and employers the right to make vaccination compulsory for their workforces, including public sector employers.

These rights need to be clarified in law.

Taking control of the situation and setting a date would be a much better strategy for Ardern than standing by, borrowing $100,000 a minute, and watching social cohesion erode and fatalities rise as the 80 per cent who do the right thing refuse to have their liberties curtailed by those who won’t.  – Matthew Hooton

It perfectly suits politicians to outsource the perception of responsibility to the public service. The flipside of increasingly prominent officials is the deterioration of the concept of ministerial responsibility.

That’s why more and more government failures are dismissed by ministers as “operational matters” that are none of their business.

The downside for the public is a landscape where accountability keeps being shifted around until it has been made to almost vanish.  Ben Thomas

But political risk can never disappear, it can only be moved. The risk for officials is they can be left carrying the can for political decisions.  – Ben Thomas

More than a whiff of misogyny is in the air. It is striking that there is no comparably zealous campaign to abandon the word “men” in favour of “prostate-havers”, “ejaculators” or “bodies with testicles”. It is almost always women who are being ordered to dispense with a useful word they have used all their lives. The Economist

Most broadly of all, the point of language is to communicate. Insisting on unfamiliar or alien-sounding terms will make it harder to discuss issues that affect only or disproportionately girls and women, such as female genital mutilation, domestic violence, child marriage or the persistence of pay gaps. – The Economist

Cowed by the insults and viciousness such discussions provoke, many people are fearful of taking part. If harshly policed, baffling and alien-sounding language is added to the price of joining the debate, even fewer will be willing to elevate their cephalic protuberance above the parapet. The Economist

 It just makes me laugh. Should anything happen again after this … the world’s going to look to New Zealand and say, ‘Nah, not coming’. – Noel Ballantyne

Never have I seen such a circus of an immigration system. – Noel Ballantyne

They came here because New Zealand wanted them to help with the economy, and now they’re sitting here years later not knowing what their futures hold. – Connie Nicholson-Port

Gender ideology might not be a religion in the traditional sense but it is certainly a belief system. Gender identity — its principal dogma — is unprovable and unfalsifiable, yet we are expected to believe in it or keep quiet. It has its catechisms — Transwomen are women, transmen are men and non-binary people are valid — and its priestly class. They would be transgender people like me, supposedly with esoteric knowledge about what it means to be trans. – Debbie Hayton

Words matter, because if we change the words we use we change the way we think. In many contexts, sex has been replaced with gender and — equally troubling to me — transsexual has been replaced with transgender. In both cases, people are separated from their reproductive biology. That doesn’t help anyone live their life in the real world where sex does matter. – Debbie Hayton

The Government is not proposing to force banks to offer concessions on loans, councils to reduce rates or insurance companies to reduce premiums. Forcing rent relief is choosing one of a number of problems and forcing that problem on to someone else

But worst of all is not the policy itself, but the message this sends. The Government is happy to make complex policy decisions in secret and act without outside help or advice. – Hamish Rutherford

Time and again political observers have warned that Labour is prone to close ranks when it faces complex problems, make decisions based only on input from those within the Beehive then be forced to try to push through bad policy because it has already announced the decision.

It does further damage to New Zealand’s reputation as a stable operating environment because investors perceive that the rules may change with little notice or research. – Hamish Rutherford

My tax bill is projected to increase by $50,000 under the new rules, so does this mean I can bypass that if I don’t renew the agreements of the students who live in the properties and hand the keys over to Link People instead? . . . The social implications of that are off the charts. Hundreds of thousands of people currently rent but aren’t on a social housing list. The financial incentive to not rent to them is now thousands of dollars a year.Nick Gentle

Alert fatigue is a risk. It does not stem from a lack of motivation to adhere to rules, but confusion about rules and direction that are frequently changing.

It’s time to cut through confusion with a clear and detailed plan to provide hope that life will become a bit more normal. – Andrea Vance

However, only in New Zealand, with its single House of Parliament, did we effectively return to our old system of “elected dictatorship”.

On election night, the Prime Minister trotted out the tired old trope about “governing for all New Zealanders”. Since then her Government has become increasingly high-handed.Steven Joyce

Rather than the Government compensating companies who can’t afford to pay their rent because of government-induced lockdowns, it decided to legally require people who own the properties to do so instead.

This is an eye-watering precedent with far-reaching consequences to the sanctity of commercial contracts. – Steven Joyce

A year after being handed an old-style first past the post result, and having possibly developed a taste for bossing people around during the Covid response, the current Government is regularly behaving like its Muldoon-style predecessors. – Steven Joyce

I do not expect any time soon that the inquisitors of hate speech will call for class warriors to be banned from expressing themselves in the social media or anywhere else. Some hatreds, then, are deemed respectable, even praiseworthy, and expression of them, even to the point of incitement, a manifestation of a good or pure heart. – Theodore Dalrymple

Contrary to the hydrostatic view of emotions such as hatred, they tend with venting to increase rather than to decrease. The view that if an emotion is not expressed openly it will do incalculable damage to a person is one of the “gifts” of psychoanalysis to the world. Theodore Dalrymple

Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, not gentility or decency or even intelligence. – Theodore Dalrymple

But it is he or she who draws attention to an evident truth, rather than someone whose words seethe with insult and crude insensate loathing, who is held to be guilty of hate-speech—because hatred in the name of equality is regarded as generous, despite its record of mass murder rivalled only by racism. – Theodore Dalrymple

But two things need to be pointed out. First, if by equality is meant identity or even similarity of outcome, rather than equality before the law, then there could be no greater injustice than equality, at least if justice is the distribution of reward according to desert.

Naturally, desert is a complex and difficult concept, but real egalitarians wish to eliminate it completely in their desire that all should have prizes, and the same prizes at that. However, if reward is disconnected entirely from desert, much, most or all meaning in life is eviscerated, for the reward will be the same whatever you do. Why, then, even try? – Theodore Dalrymple

Second, however, is the fact that while justice is desirable, it is not the only thing that is desirable, and sometimes must yield place to considerations such as charity, kindness and humanity. 

An utter wastrel may well deserve to starve, considered in the abstract, because of his constant and repeated feckless behaviour, but we should not let him starve because our humanity will not allow it. – Theodore Dalrymple

A society is certainly conceivable in which only a tiny proportion of the population deserved by their efforts to enjoy the better things in life, but we should not care to live in such a society, however just it was. But the problem with modern redistributionism is that it is founded much more upon hatred of the rich or fortunate than it is upon love of the poor or unfortunate. – Theodore Dalrymple

Hatred is an incomparably stronger political emotion than love. In the worldview of redistributionists such as Angela Rayner, it is more blessed to take than to give, which is why taxation is for them an end in itself, irrespective of its effect upon the economy and society as a whole.

It also has the great advantage, from their point of view, of conferring great power on those who levy it, namely themselves. All power corrupts, but the desire for power corrupts even before it is ever achieved.Theodore Dalrymple

The truly frightening thing about life in a hermit kingdom is that you get used to it.- John Roughan

I’m past anger, worry, fear or even boredom. The days go by surprisingly fast considering you hardly see anyone, go nowhere and nothing different happens. You get used to it, and oddly contented. This must be what it’s like to become an institutionalised prisoner.John Roughan

Most people are not in business, do not export or import or notice how much their living standard depends on people who do these things. Most people do not have a need to travel or a desire to do so now that the virus is endemic just about everywhere else. – John Roughan

Like North Koreans, Kiwis have been pounded with a message that the world is a dangerous place, dominated by a force that’s out to kill them.John Roughan

Like North Koreans, Kiwis have been pounded with a message that the world is a dangerous place, dominated by a force that’s out to kill them.John Roughan

If you’ve got people with skin in the game involved, it’s far better having someone like that than someone in central government dictate how you’re going to do things. They can set the direction, we set the detail. – Peter Mitchell

There’s a lot of challenges out there so there’s going to be a lot of opportunities. That’s a good way of looking at life. It’s about looking at those opportunities and having a go at doing something about it.Peter Mitchell

Ardern’s perpetual struggle is transforming her care and compassion into public policy. Thus, the contradiction where she thrives in a crisis yet falters in its aftermath. The prime minister rightly won praise for her deeply human response to the Christchurch terror attacks in 2019. But in the two years after the attack, as the victims and their families suffer mental anguish, Ardern has repeatedly refused to intervene and grant those sufferers support under the government’s accident compensation scheme. It’s a baffling failure, given the commitments she made to the Muslim community, yet it demonstrates in micro what we could witness in macro: that the prime minister’s personal care and compassion do not always align with her public policy decisions. – Morgan Godfery

I totally agree with you that it is your right not to get jabbed. But with that right comes consequences. –  Heather du Plessis Allan

So, while I support your right to refuse to get the jab legally, I want to warn you that none of the rest of us wants to hear your complaining about the consequences because we are already wearing the consequences on your behalf.

What’s been announced in the last few days is just the start of it. Get ready. –  Heather du Plessis Allan

We have, lately, seen the Ardern Government, unshackled by the annoyance of having to count votes, act in the way that first led New Zealanders to eschew First Past the Post voting system, and, instead, opt for MMP. No excuses, now. It’s on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her crew. Judith Collins

Fair Pay Agreements that sound soft and kind, until we realise that they are nothing but a return to compulsory unionism and the nationwide awards system that stifled New Zealand’s innovation, drive, and success before 1991. The only place they seemed not to operate was in the owner-occupied businesses known as family farms. No wonder farming led innovation and the adoption of new technology. – Judith Collins

Three Waters; which is accompanied by what should be declared false advertising – $4 million of taxpayers money spent on advertisements seemingly trying to convince Kiwis that our drinking water isn’t safe. For the record, it’s a crock. And $710 million spent by Government from the Covid-19 Recovery Fund, essentially bribing local councils to fall into line.

Of course, infrastructure needs maintaining and sometimes renewing, but the $183 billion this Government says will be needed, is almost twice the current Government debt and is four times the debt Labour inherited.

Putting that aside, what is really behind Three Waters is a wish to take the assets of local government, and put the governance into four groups half appointed by councils and half by iwi.

It has little to do with water quality and a lot to do with control. – Judith Collins

You might ask, “what of He Puapua?” Well, that’s the roadmap that the Ardern Government seems to be sticking to. Clearly, it is the only plan that they seem to have. KiwiBuild, the plan to build 100,000 houses in 10 years, was a $2 billion flop.

The Covid elimination strategy has failed. It worked when we all accepted lockdowns as there was no vaccine. Then there was a vaccine, just not enough of it in New Zealanders’ arms. This latest lockdown will spell the end of some businesses. – Judith Collins

I realise the Government has little thought for small businesses. Those businesses are really people. They’re families and they’re mums and dads and they’re kids watching their home being sold to pay the debts. That’s what happens when governments fail to understand that actions have consequences, and debts have to be repaid. Judith Collins

That means, embracing success. That means ridding ourselves of the notion that turning up is enough. That means deciding to be the best we can. Every, single one of us. That must be us.

That’s what we can do. That’s what this country needs.

And, in the meantime, can the Government please stop telling everyone to “be kind”, until it decides to be competent.  – Judith Collins 

It is the Ardern-led Government’s unwillingness to follow the Ciceronian legal principle of “sulus populi suprema lex esto” – the safety of the people shall be the highest law – that lies at the heart of New Zealand’s rapidly deepening Covid-19 crisis. The generation now in power is, quite simply, politically allergic to adopting the hard-line policies required to rescue both themselves – and the New Zealand people – from disaster. Even when Ms Carrot’s “kindness” is so obviously failing, this Labour Government refuses to reach for Mr Stick. – Chris Trotter

For weeks, government officials have been trying to protect the reputations of the sophisticated international crime syndicates that brand themselves domestically with monikers like Mongrel Mob, Black Power and Head Hunters.

Other countries use words like mafia, triad or yakuza to describe these groups. Here, the Wellington and Grey Lynn liberal elites have convinced themselves that the local franchises are primarily support groups for the dispossessed, with a bit of crime on the side. – Matthew Hooton

The number of Covid cases over the next 14 days and the 20-34-year-old vaccination rate by the end of the month will thus depend materially on the gangs doing their thing.

It is a revolting form of extortion, but your job, your business and whether you get a summer holiday now depend on the gangs’ efforts to persuade their stakeholders to obey the rules and get double-jabbed. – Matthew Hooton

I expected the elimination strategy to end one day. Maybe during this outbreak, but with a bang and not a whimper, by throwing everything we had at it. Once we had a heavily vaccinated population, not quitting before the finish line. This is a cowardly decision that attempts to please everyone, and that means the elimination strategy has ended on Covid’s terms and not ours. – Blog Boy Nick

Because the cost of taking companies’ property is not the administrative overhead, as officials suggest in the RIS.

The cost is all the investment in innovation that will not happen in the future.

Those costs are large, big enough to be measured in percentages of GDP. So it is laughable that officials could list administrative costs as the only real downside of their proposal. – Matt Burgess 

Do officials at the Ministry of Health understand how investment in specific assets works? Do they understand that investment in intellectual property, and in all sunk assets, depends on the credibility of the government’s promise not to take the property once it is created? Do officials recognise that even threatening such opportunism in one sector could have wider ramifications about security of property elsewhere? That prospective investors in wind turbines or EV charging infrastructure won’t notice the government putting in place machinery to take the property of medical companies?Matt Burgess

You don’t need to like Collins, or even to be National supporter (I’m certainly not) to regard O’Brien’s constant attacks on her as grotesque, vicious and weirdly obsessive. What journalistic purpose is served by mauling a lame and politically impotent Opposition leader while the politician wielding real power gets away scot-free – in fact avoids situations where she might be asked awkward questions about the government’s multiple failings? (I note that this week Ardern was out in the boondocks smiling for the cameras – anything to avoid having to explain the government’s about-face on its Covid-19 elimination strategy.) – Karl du Fresne

Having topped the Nobel 2021 class, Messrs Julius and Patapoutian should be encouraged to switch their efforts to advancing our understanding of Jacindaprehension, the process by which the pronouncements of the Prime Minister are recognised by our sensory cells and converted into signals that can then be interpreted by the brain as perceptions of the Government’s Covid strategy. – James Elliott 

I could see that the PM was speaking because her lips were moving. And the words that she was saying were travelling in sound waves from the TV to my ear drums which then vibrated causing fluid inside my cochlea to ripple across the basilar membrane activating the stereocilia to send electrical signals via the auditory nerve to my brain. It was that point that the process broke down. My brain was not able to process those electrical signals into a coherent perception of what the Government’s Covid strategy now is. – James Elliott 

Monday’s announcement was like watching the head prefect explaining the catering arrangements for the school ball in excruciating detail without telling us the basics like when the ball is, what the alcohol policy is, and whether there will be a DJ or a band. My summary understanding is that since midnight on Tuesday I’ve been able to have a picnic with another bubble provided our picnic rugs are socially distanced. That’s provided for under alert Level 3, Step 1. Under Alert Level 3, Step 1, Category A if I’m picnicking with another bubble and they are unvaxxed then they must be both socially distanced and downwind. And under alert Level 3, Step 1, Category A, Rule (iv), after I have picnicked upwind from an unvaxxed bubble I am required to send my picnic rug to Jet Park for 14 days followed by a deep clean. James Elliott 

The news cycle is so dominated by Covid that the media have been able to develop a type of shorthand, ditching superfluous words. The media no longer report alert levels, now they’re just levels. They’re no longer Covid or Delta cases, now they’re just cases. And they’re no longer the percentage of the population yet to receive a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, now they’re just the unjabbed. Deaths are still being reported as deaths until such time as a yet-to-be-convened government-appointed think tank approves the use of “PPPs”, previous pandemic participants.

The next phase in news reportage will see the ditching of words altogether. Alert levels, tests, cases, deaths and vaccination rates will all just be reported as a single sequence of numbers. It will be like a Lotto draw that nobody wins.  –  James Elliott

David Bernstein, Nicole Levitt and Daniel Newman

Critical Social Justice presents as the antidote to bigotry. But in the increasingly radical form now taking root on campuses, it has become the proverbial cure that’s worse than the disease. And so while we applaud those progressives who call out the specifically antisemitic—and more generally anti-liberal—elements of CSJ, it has now become clear that it is the ideology as a whole that must be rejected. David Bernstein, Nicole Levitt and Daniel Newman

Jacinda Ardern may be as superficial, intellectually shallow and verbally glib as some of her detractors claim, but her advisers and spin doctors are none of those things. Rather they are clever, cynical and even manipulative in the lines they give her – and she certainly delivers them well. – John Bishop

The detail is absent. Community leaders and interest groups have criticised the lack of clarity and the absence of target dates.

This feeds the developing narrative that the Government in general, and Ardern in particular, have lost control of the situation and don’t know what to do any more. – John Bishop

The other spin tactic used on Monday was the smother technique. It takes two forms. One is to be imprecise, even vague, about what is changing. . . The second part of the “smother” technique is to announce other important things at the same time. – John Bishop

Again, details are to be fleshed out by officials in working groups for a rollout next month. Good luck with meeting that target. It looks like a policy announced before the real policy work is completed, to assist with the smother strategy. John Bishop

Abandoning elimination may be the right move, but politically it is a huge shift, a massive gamble that the public will forget and forgive the sacrifices they have had to make, seemingly only now to have the Government change direction. – John Bishop

They are huge sums and that’s a problem in its own right. They’ve really just given themselves a blank cheque and said ‘trust us’, well I think we need more transparency and scrutiny on the amount of spending they’re doing Michael Woodhouse

My view is that the government should be doing everything to stop businesses falling over as a result of a government-imposed lockdown, and that means providing cash to those businesses because they live and die on cash … if we let businesses fall over, we’re gonna see more people on the jobs heap and that’s a really bad outcome. – Andrew Bayley

If you want something to work, you have to do the work. It’s not going to just happen magically because you want it to.Becky Dennison

 It’s quite magical when someone puts something on, you see it on their face, they feel better.

It’s not just a dress, often it takes trying something on to realise that. I’m selling confidence I think … and a sense of feeling special. – Becky Dennison

The way I look at it, refusing a vaccine is a bit like smoking. As far as I’m concerned, you can choose to smoke a cigarette. The health impacts are well-documented, but that’s on you. However, the moment your choice impacts upon my health, the moment I’m sucking in second-hand smoke, we have a problem.

Your freedom to smoke a cigarette in a restaurant impacts my freedom not to get lung cancer.

The primary reason someone should get vaccinated is because the science is clear – vaccinations protect our health.

But a person’s choice not to get vaccinated impacts us all. If someone’s not prepared to contribute to the greater good of society, why should they benefit from a society’s collective rewards?Jack Tame

In the War on Covid, this week has been marked by indecision, obfuscation, and missteps, which has led to an edgy mood change.

This has been a perilous week for this second-term Labour Government, and especially for the prime minister, who at times has looked and sounded panicked and unsure. – Janet Wilson

The biggest issue, and where the Government has clearly dropped the ball, is ICU capacity. After the first lockdown last year, it should have moved quickly to create a special visa class to get ICU specialists into the country. It did not.

This is an astonishing failure, given that the clear capacity constraint in the system – testing, contact tracing, isolation, hospital care – was always going to lie in providing and staffing ICU facilities.Luke Malpass

Pressure will also begin to mount on the Government over another aspect of lockdowns: they are very expensive. There has now been more money spent on the wage subsidy and other support for this lockdown (over $4 billion and counting) than the Government’s entire operating allowance for next year. That’s the amount of new money the Government will spend on ongoing operations.

There’s going to be a massive amount of tax that needs paying back, by future generations. – Luke Malpass

Yet in politics it’s often the lines that are made up on the spot, or in response to a particular issue on a particular day, that can come back to haunt their creators – think “year of delivery”. Covid for Christmas could just be one of them. – Luke Malpass

Making everything worse, is the extraordinary tangle into which the Government has gotten itself. Gone are the days of simple, but inspired, messaging: “Go hard. Go early.” “Stay home. Stay safe.” “Stamp out the virus.” In “To pee or not to pee: A full timeline of the confusing level three bathroom rule”, The Spinoff’s Madeleine Chapman makes excruciating fun of the Government’s messaging disasters. – Chris Trotter

People hating a government is one thing. What some people hate, other people are almost certain to love. But people laughing derisively at a government, that is something else entirely. Politically, it’s very hard to come back from derisive laughter.

But what other option, apart from derisive laughter, is left for New Zealanders? Except, perhaps, angry tears? And how did it get to this point? From OECD poster-child, to international laughing stock? What was it that caused this Government’s stunning reversal-of-fortune?Chris Trotter

Also inadequate, was the administrative rigidity of New Zealand’s state apparatus. This country’s people are famous for their “No. 8 Wire”, can-do improvisation, and for their willingness to give anything a decent try – and to hell with the hierarchies! Indeed, we are told it is precisely this attitude that makes Kiwis so highly-prized by foreign employers. But, if such attitudes were ever acceptable to New Zealand’s public servants, they are pure Kryptonite to the current generation of bureaucratic mandarins. – Chris Trotter

Nowhere was this more evident than in the tortuous roll-out of the official vaccination effort. Cumbersome, time-consuming, inefficient and ineffective, the official process generated enormous public frustration. If the People themselves had not taken the task in hand, New Zealand’s vaccination rates would be even worse than they are. Only when anxious communities swung into action alongside their GPs and other local health providers did the numbers getting the jab rise to something approaching an acceptable level.Chris Trotter

Ruling out alert level 4 will effectively also rule out alert level 1, leaving Aucklanders in the worst of both worlds with a large number of restrictions and a large (and growing) number of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths. That situation is no good for businesses either. We’ve seen this pattern play out again and again in multiple countries.

This is the most urgent and most important national conversation we can be having right now. At this critical point in our pandemic journey, failing to act decisively will have severe consequences for population health and wellbeing. – Dr Amanda Kvalsvig

The lockdown system fought Delta, and Delta has won.Luke Malpass

If Ardern is a rock star, I’m afraid she has reached second album syndrome. What looked so clever to many people a year ago no longer looks quite so smart.

The world can finally see that zero Covid was a dead end which delayed but did not eliminate Covid, while drawing out the economic damage from repeated lockdowns as far as the eye can see. – Ross Clark

This country’s populace is an overwhelming mix of people from all ethnic backgrounds, who simply want to get on with a life that enables access to equal opportunity in exchange for the recognition of our individual responsibilities to those who are in need of our help and care.Clive Bibby

Those who have reluctantly immunised themselves to stay employed (and for other reasons) may feel deep resentment against those who have refused and want to be financially supported as a consequence. – Lindsay Mitchell

By the way yesterday, in the middle of this dithering, it was the anniversary of the landslide election of Labour a year ago. An election where they were rewarded for their decisiveness. How things have changed.

A year ago they were caviar on toast. Now they’re just toast. –  Andrew Dickens

Among the unvaccinated, the virus travels unhindered on a highway with multiple off-ramps and refueling stations. In the vaccinated, it gets lost in a maze of dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs. Every so often, it pieces together an escape route, but in most scenarios, it finds itself cut off, and its journey ends. It can go no further. – Craig Spencer

It feels like the South Island does not exist in the minds of our senior politicians. Drop the levels to one, place restrictions on inter-island travel and continue the drive to boost vaccine numbers. Be pragmatic and adapt when it’s required to ever-changing degrees of risk and keep away from one size fits all.Bruce Smith

This country’s populace is an overwhelming mix of people from all ethnic backgrounds, who simply want to get on with a life that enables access to equal opportunity in exchange for the recognition of our individual responsibilities to those who are in need of our help and care. – Clive Bibby 

With its Emissions Reduction Plan released last week, the government is promising unprecedented control over every aspect of your life.

How you move. What you eat. Where you live. How you heat your home.

It is little short of a revolution. Between its emissions plan and next year’s Budget, which will also be about climate change, future governments of this country will have more to say about everything. – Matt Burgess

New Zealand should get more credit for its progress on emissions. On a per-capita basis, greenhouse gases have been falling since 2006. They are down 22% overall, and down 34% if agriculture is excluded.

Net emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases – relevant for the net zero target – are down 25% per person.

And it is not pine trees that are doing all the work. More than 100% of the fall in net emissions is due to lower gross emissions. – Matt Burgess

The government is not thinking about climate change this way. In fact, it does not seem to be thinking about emissions at all. It has published an Emissions Reduction Plan which will bring down emissions by about the same amount as existing policies to achieve the same emissions targets. Matt Burgess

What, then, is the point of an Emissions Reduction Plan if it does not reduce emissions?

Judging from its effects, the point is control. The plan will have two clear effects. Ministers will decide how and where emissions come down, not you. Second, you will pay more – ten times more, on the government’s own analysis – for the benefit of their judgment.

What a terrible deal. For the environment. And for your back pocket.

And all based on the twin lies that reducing emissions requires central control, and that the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan reduces emissions. – Matt Burgess

We used to aim for zero cases for better or worse. We knew a string of zeros meant we’d be allowed some freedom back. Now no one from the Prime Minister down seems capable of articulating what we need to achieve to get out of lockdown. So we stay in limbo. 

For a Government whose main and sometimes only strength is having the gift of the gab, the communication has been running rough. The hurried announcement a week ago of level 3 plus picnics and “transitioning away” from elimination pleased no one. The elimination crowd were fearful, everyone else was confused.

Even the Government’s most loyal cheerleaders lamented the lack of a plan. We spent two days sniggering at the mixed messages about using the neighbour’s toilet when you went for a picnic in their garden.  –  Steven Joyce

The Government is tying itself in knots to avoid setting a clear vaccination target. The most oft-mentioned number when ministers are pressed is 90 per cent, but then the caveats arise. It can’t just be 90 per cent overall, it needs to be 90 per cent in every community, and every ethnicity. And anyway we aren’t setting a target, and so it goes.

The whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. Every week of lockdown means more retail, hospitality and hairdressing businesses going broke. Kids are missing a lot of school and their friends even more. We are trading their futures for the dithering now. It was a tough day in households with teenagers when the news broke that term four in Auckland would start as term three finished, at home and on a screen. – Steven Joyce

The country’s debt keeps growing. The Finance Minister makes much of it being a bit better than expected, but already we have borrowed more than for the GFC and Canterbury earthquakes combined – and that’s before the latest lockdown. The monetary medicine is driving a bigger wedge between the haves and have-nots as asset prices, including houses, continue to be juiced by artificially free money.

People of all ages are struggling mentally. It is said we had a mental health crisis back in 2017 – I worry to think what it is like now. – Steven Joyce

But whatever the internal tussles going on, change is coming.

It’s all possible because of the wonders that are these vaccines. They are true marvels of modern medicine and the brightest stars to have come out of this pandemic. The evidence from here and overseas is that while fully vaccinated people can still catch the virus, their symptoms are very mild and they mostly stay out of hospital and stay out of danger. That is fantastic. And it is clear now there are no significant side-effects.

The path is clear. Those that aren’t yet vaccinated need to stop stuffing about and get it done. Let’s take some control and set our own target for the country so we can get the borders down between Auckland and everywhere else, and see our friends and families again. – Steven Joyce

The truth is that the grass is greenest where it’s watered – and nurtured – and cared for, and if green grass is important to you when crossing fences you should carry water with you, along with fertilizer, and a manual for lawn care.
Or learn to be still . . . and wait . . . .
 – Robert Fulghum

Patience has never been my virtue – but patience is required now.
Carpe Diem – seize the day – has always been my working mantra. That’s been replaced with Carpe Manana – hold on for tomorrow.
Mutability is the operative concept.
That’s the quality of being liable to undergo inevitable change. – Robert Fulghum

Nature does not care about fences – the green will come where and when it will, driven by the invincible force of Life.
No need to look for better grass on the other side of a fence.
The grass has come to me.
The fuse of the future is lit – the life force will prevail and explode.
Onward!
  – Robert Fulghum

All the arguments about the right to travel freely, the right to associate, the right not to be tracked and traced … they all come out of the argument for individual rights, which is based on individual rights being a contextual absolute, i.e., an absolute in the context in which they are promulgated. Which is peacetime, essentially. Or plague-free times.

Which is to say that virtually all the arguments whinging I’m hearing about quarantine, all the protests against marks and vaccines, all the reasoning about being able to open up on December 1st come what may, should all have appended to them the simple two words “…but plague

Because in case you hadn’t noticed, there is a different context out there at the moment. The context of “…but plague.” And in times of plague, a proper context-sensitive application of rights (which are intended to protect me from you and you from me) includes things like quarantine. And might involve things like masks and vaccination.

Why? Because plague. – Peter Cresswell

If forced to define the groupthink that binds the members of this cabal, I would suggest it’s an adherence to the ideology of identity politics – the idea that disadvantaged minority groups (more of which seem to emerge with every passing month) have needs, grievances and interests that, when push comes to shove, supersede those of the majority.

Identity politics involves a relentless focus not on what unites us – in other words, the interests and values that all New Zealanders have in common (such as freedom, prosperity, peace and respect for the rule of law) – but on grievance and division. Proponents of identity politics see society as an aggregation of disadvantaged groups that must compete for power and influence against a privileged and hostile majority that’s indifferent to their needs. It’s a world view that arises largely out of Marxist theory but which, oddly enough, is not endorsed by all Marxists. Karl du Fresne

These aggrieved minorities may define themselves by their ethnicity, their gender, their religion, their disabilities or their sexual identity. The desire to protect these groups and promote their interests, even if it means over-riding the wishes of the majority, has become an all-consuming objective for the cabal that now dominates New Zealand politics.

We see this reflected in many of the political initiatives pursued by the Labour government since it was freed from the restraining influence of New Zealand First. Obvious examples include proposed hate speech laws (still conveniently vague), Maori co-governance proposals, taxpayer-funded government capture of the media, centralisation of power via radical new arrangements in health and local government (e.g. the Three Waters), indoctrination of school pupils through a distorted history curriculum, and the imposition of Maori place names and Maori terminology unfamiliar to most New Zealanders without any mandate. – Karl du Fresne

But what sets the 2021-style cabal apart is the sheer scale of its influence. A homogeneity of thinking extends across virtually all the public institutions that influence New Zealand life. What debate there is mainly takes place on the margins – for example, on talkback radio (which the media elite regards with contempt), in social media and on blogs like this one, where dissenting opinion can be quarantined as if it were a contagious disease.

The dangers hardly need spelling out. A country where government policies largely go unchallenged by the institutions that normally hold politicians to account is a country that risks acquiescing in the face of an authoritarian state. – Karl du Fresne

Some political journalists appear to compete for the prime minister’s favour, like school children begging for the teacher to notice their upraised arms. The penalty for asking awkward questions at Ardern’s “Pulpit of Truth” sessions is that the questioner is likely to be snubbed in future. It’s a more subtle form of control than that exercised by Robert Muldoon, who banned journalists he didn’t like, but just as effective. Small wonder that Barry Soper, the most experienced member of the press gallery, has exposed Ardern’s promise of transparency as a sham.

We even see media outlets actively suppressing content for no better reason than that it’s ideologically unacceptable; witness the New Zealand Herald’s shameful refusal to publish an inoffensive advertisement for the feminist group Speak Up for Women, which has struggled to have its voice heard against a barrage of  rhetoric from the fiercely aggressive transgender lobby.

Once the guardians of free speech, the press has become complicit in the suppression of opinions that run counter to the tenets of identity politics. That media outlets like the Herald now align themselves with radical fringe groups such as transgender activists, who only a few years ago would have been regarded as deranged, demonstrates how out of touch they have become with the public they purport to serve. – Karl du Fresne

Distortion is just one of the weapons in the armoury of the cabal that controls the public conversation. Ridicule and scorn are others, as evidenced by Newshub’s report about Slater. The purpose is to intimidate dissenters into silence. And we’re paying for it, because the media elements of the cabal are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer through the Pravda Project, aka the Public Interest Journalism Fund. That’s the cabal’s master stroke. – Karl du Fresne

The exact tailoring of the number of hospital beds to the supposed demand, as if all future demand were precisely foreseeable, was hubristic. The assumption was that nothing unforeseen could emerge to upset the calculations. When Covid came, it was found that practically all intensive care beds were already occupied by patients with other conditions. The suddenly increased demand was met by reducing all normal activities, with consequences that have yet to be fully evaluated. Running hospitals on a factory, just-in-time basis turned out not to be very adaptable. – Theodore Dalrymple

The problem with strategic considerations is that they are not easily calculable, though the costs of taking them into account may be. The costs of not taking them into account are unknown, at least in advance. To maintain spare capacity is costly, but whether it was a cost worth bearing only future experience could tell. There might not be a severe winter, for example, in which case there will be no energy crisis, and those who denied the necessity for a reserve, or a Plan B, might consider themselves vindicated, or at least not blameworthy. – Theodore Dalrymple

How far strategic considerations should affect economic policy is a matter of judgment, and judgment by definition is fallible. If they are given too much weight, they can lead to the featherbedding of industries that are then under no pressure to improve or become more efficient. But if they are not given enough weight, they may take their revenge by causing a crisis or even a catastrophe. This is especially true in geographically vulnerable countries such as Britain.  – Theodore Dalrymple

We have had a rude awakening to the fact that the world is more complex than simple principles or calculations allow, and that the exercise of judgment—always fallible, always likely to be proved wrong, never fully definable—is as necessary as calculation. The world will always surprise us. Theodore Dalrymple

If the Government, particularly Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, had ever imagined that the Three Waters reforms would sail through without too much opposition, this week’s poll should have shattered any such illusions.

The poll shows a majority of New Zealand oppose the reforms, 56 per cent to 19 per cent. And that is across every political party, age group and region. ACT and National voters are most opposed but Labour voters are against it 39 per cent to 28 per cent, and Greens are too – 37 per cent to 31 per cent. – John Bishop

What chance has any ordinary person of influencing policy? This is simply a massive shift of power and control away from the elected representatives of our people to an unelected elite.

If you are more conspiracy minded – and plenty are on this issue – you’ll see the new entities, which will have strong iwi representation, as a cover for transferring ownership, or control, or cashflow to Māori. A sharing of resources with a Treaty partner, but without any mandate from the people to do so and without the consent of the ratepayers and water users who have built up the assets. – John Bishop

For my part I just cannot accept that this is the Government’s agenda. No minister could possibly imagine that they could, by some sleight of administrative hand, remove billions of dollars of assets from councils and put them in the hand of an unelected elite remote from the people.

The audacity of such a scheme boggles the mind. Ordinary people would quickly rise in indignation and cry ‘‘asset grab’’, ‘’hands off our water’’, ‘’leave our pipes alone’’, and similar.

It would be irresponsible and politically foolish for any government even to contemplate that and to risk the backlash that would follow when people worked out what was happening. – John Bishop

The LGNZ supposedly represents councils to government. Instead, it is being paid to represent the government to councils, precisely the reverse of what is supposed to happen.

It’s a perversion of the normal representation process and coloured by money to boot. It’s a disgraceful lapse of judgment and anti-democratic as well. John Bishop

Nanaia Mahuta is quite correct to state that the three water reforms are not about shifting ownership of council assets to Government control. Ownership of assets is not needed as the Government seems to regard ownership as a very fleeting thing. The three waters reforms are obviously about the redistribution and control of those vital assets to a new entity made up entirely of Ministerial appointments.

Ownership, even by councils is now far from essential if a government can legislate to subjugate ownership of land and water use rights to political control for political advantage. By applying this understanding, the once murky three waters rationale becomes crystal clear. – Gerry Eckhoff

While Maori claims to water is based on the three treaty clauses, it must be remembered that the all-important purpose of the Treaty of Waitangi was to enable British settlers and Maori to live together under a common set of laws. Non Maori were not to be given preferential treatment over the indigenous people. Real concerns for the well-being of Maori at that time is exemplified by two House of Lords select committee inquiries in the late 1830s which delt with how Maori were being treated. The inquiry promoted genuine concerns from humanitarian groups that exposure to disease and maltreatment was threatening the very survival of the race. Today Maori make up a healthy 16% of the population.

The Government is literally testing the waters to see what reaction occurs to this three waters proposal, and to see what level of acceptance by the wider population is allowed before loss of political power occurs. – Gerry Eckhoff

If a cursory glance is cast at Government schemes to improve the wellbeing of us all, we need look no further than the failure to build the promised 100,000 new homes. The reduction of carbon in the atmosphere is mocked by importing 1million tons of coal this year alone. The mental health issue is not well managed by Government – and so it goes on. – Gerry Eckhoff

Perhaps the most ironic part of this proposal is the contention that administration of water is simply recognising this as a right of Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi. It seems rather incongruous that the treaty bestowed upon Maori one of the greatest gifts of all but unrecognized at the time in 1840. That of citizenship and equal status with British citizens. Today people from all over the world clamour to enter Britain and indeed New Zealand due to our laws and judicial system that treats all with equanimity – for the time being. – Gerry Eckhoff

It is claimed that water is a taonga to Maori which is indisputable. So too is water a taonga to non Maori, especially to those rural folk who rely on water, store water, to benefit families, friends and communities of all races colour and creed. – Gerry Eckhoff

We are set to be disenfranchised. As with most government ideas and schemes, the theory and the practise are simply incompatible. Author Danielle di Martino Booth quotes a sign found in a remote island off Norway which pretty much sums up the Three Waters proposal. (Paraphrased)

“Theory is when bureaucrats and Ministers understand everything, but nothing works. Practise is when everything works but nobody understands why. In Wellington, theory and practise are united, so nothing works as it should and nobody understands why.”  

Welcome to the world of three waters. Gerry Eckhoff

My reckon on the application of the traffic light Covid system to Auckland is that it must have been devised exclusively by Wellingtonians, a well-meaning and sensibly-dressed group who have no clue whatsoever as to how Aucklanders actually behave at traffic lights. In Auckland, a red light is a reminder that you’re entitled; part of that entitlement being that you are entitled not to stop for red lights. An orange light is actually the prompt to cross the intersection because a green light is the reminder that you’re an influencer and you need to stay stopped while updating your multiple social media accounts as to the number of red lights you ignored on the way to the North Shore influencer party at the weekend. – James Elliott

Providing equity of access for assisted dying without equity of access to palliative care is to completely undermine the goals of the End of Life Choice Act. The choice is distorted towards aid in dying and away from palliative care. – Dr Ben Gray

 

In years to come when a full inquiry is done into the Government’s Covid response, the executive summary will observe the obvious – the drive to get Māori vaccinated was too little too late.

If the urgency seen in the last three weeks had been in place in March, when kuia and kaumatua were diligently doing their bit and getting vaccinated, the statistics would look quite different.

If iwi and Māori providers had been tooled up, mobilised, and given the freedom to vaccinate anyone they wanted, anywhere they wanted, at any time and any cost, the picture would be far less bleak. – Jo Moir

They’re saying “enough – enough of this confusion, enough of playing mind games with people, enough of the Government not delivering on their promises and enough of expecting other New Zealanders to carry that can for them.Judith Collins

When I talk to a hairdresser in tears because her savings are all gone and she can’t pay her mortgage, my heart isn’t breaking for the bricks and mortar of her salon. It is her loss that I feel. She is losing something she has worked hard for and saved for over decades. Countless weekends, late nights and early mornings. She is losing her home, her retirement, her life’s work. . .

She feels powerless to do anything but watch her life’s work go down the drain. And now she’s been told she might have to wait months more to get any real income. She says she feels like giving up. – Judith Collins

It seems trite to appeal to the Prime Minister’s kindness when it has become such a government buzzword in recent years, but I will do just that nonetheless. What the Jacinda Ardern Government is putting Kiwis through is nothing short of cruel.Judith Collins

For a single major project – say like a moon short, a major war or a pandemic response – the state can do a good enough job, particularly if money is no object.  But looking at something like the Christchurch earthquake aftermath, it is clear that doing it cost effectively can be another matter.  Examining the standout projects during the Covid pandemic – the rapid genome sequencing and the vaccine development – you would conclude that they owed their success to their independence from close state control.

So grit your teeth now and let private businesses reshape the markets to reflect new realities. If we are not better off, we will at least have avoided a worse outcome. – Point of Order

Identity politics is at the root of all these fights. The key question is whether your value as a human being is related to some immutable characteristics such as your ancestry, sex or gender and sexuality, or whether it is related to factors that you have some control over, such as your moral character, your behaviour and your achievements. More than three thousand years of Western civilisation led to a social system that put the greatest value on the latter factors – it was the gradual recognition of the dignity and sovereignty of the individual that paved the road to modern, liberal society. This philosophical thread can be traced through Judaism, Athenian democracy, the Roman republic, Christianity, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the abolition of slavery and the establishment of universal suffrage. There was much backsliding along the way, but the direction was overwhelmingly towards judging people as equal in rights regardless of their inherited characteristics.Kiwiwit

Those who value equity above all else believe that the means justify the end. If you believe that the purpose of the individual is to serve the good of the collective, there is no limit to what can and should be done to individuals to achieve this. If you believe people are good or bad because of their immutable characteristics, there is no possibility of redemption for their original sins (viz. “white guilt”). And if you believe that the way to achieve equality is to bring those who are “privileged” down to size, sooner or later you are going to start chopping off feet. – Kiwiwit

Covid-19 has provided governments with the justification for repressing the rights-based freedoms we have taken for granted for decades – freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and freedom to operate a business or to go about your work. But governments have been selective in their application of these restrictions – certain businesses considered essential by some arbitrary criteria were allowed to remain open during lockdowns (e.g. in New Zealand supermarkets were open but not butchers), and protests and even violence by groups such as Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion have been condoned, while small, peaceful gatherings of people that the authorities disapprove of have been treated as insurrections. In other words, Covid-19 has established the principle that rights are the property of the government to bestow on those they see fit, and a privilege to be denied to those who do not have the government’s favour.  – Kiwiwit

Equity is a threat to real rights precisely because it is so insidious. It sounds like it is about fairness and dignity, and the motives of many promoting it are essentially noble. But few who promote it think through the implications of trying to enforce equality of outcomes on a diverse population with different needs and aspirations, and creating an all-powerful state apparatus to allocate resources according to inherent characteristics such as race and sex. Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago, described how the relentless pursuit of equality of outcome inevitably leads to gulags and genocide. Let’s hope the West wakes up to the implications of equity before we get there. – Kiwiwit

It’s astonishing New Zealand doesn’t have a fully-functional vaccine passport system already developed and tested. Almost every developed country has a system in place. Israel launched its vaccine passport system in February. New York introduced vaccine passports in March. As National’s Chris Bishop pointed out yesterday, Cuba has a vaccine passport system. Burkina Faso has a vaccine passport system!  – Jack Tame

Naivety or hubris? Why wouldn’t New Zealand need vaccine passports when everyone else did? What makes us so special?

At the very least, the delay points to complacency. The development of a domestic vaccine passport system should have been a priority from the moment we placed our order with Pfizer, even if it later proved New Zealand never needed to use it.

That vaccine certificates aren’t already functional tells us officials did not sufficiently prepare for a scenario in which New Zealand couldn’t eliminate the virus.

We’ve been caught flat-footed with vaccine certificates because we thought we were different to everyone else. We thought we were better.

We were wrong.  – Jack Tame

Here’s one more brutal thought that I think the Government has considered but can’t say out loud.

At this point the only thing that can really accelerate vaccination rates may be the spread of the virus itself – fear. – Liam Dann

Like Political Correctness before it, Wokeness started as an admirable aim and ended up as a despicable smugness, inhabited by people who need never tackle their own shortcomings while there are demonised others to unload upon. – Julie Burchill

Wokeness is the roar of the entitled mediocre, desperate to hold centre stage and terrified by any challenge to their flimsy sense of self – a temper tantrum with a socially concerned alibi.

The word ‘Woke’ means anything other than the opposite of being asleep. But there is something creepy and smug about the word – indicating that one person is inherently better than others, without actually having to do anything to prove it. – Julie Burchill

Universities have now been refurbished as pity-party play-pens where feelings trump facts, as they do for infants.

The Woke would be less objectionable if they lived up to their own pristine standards, but they fall woefully short.

In an inversion of the psychiatrist Carl Jung’s great saying ‘You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do’, once you have identified as Woke you can get away with anything. – – Julie Burchill

In this age of safe spaces for all, the spaces where women are most vulnerable – toilets, jails, women’s refuges – were suddenly flung open to any rapacious trucker who had decided that he felt like a woman. Julie Burchill

Shortly after hearing that Meghan planned to semi-retire from Royal duties in order to spend more time with her merchandising, I coined the phrase the ‘Grabdication’ (grabbing the limelight, grabbing the status, grabbing the cash) and my rehabilitation was complete. – Julie Burchill

The Grabdication was another Woke event, along with the Gender Recognition Act and the Remoaner refusal to accept Brexit, which while appearing to be liberal was actually the opposite.

The Grabdication told peasants that princes may do as they wish with no regard to public opinion; the Gender Recognition Act that men may do as they wish with no regard for the opinion of women; and a proposed second vote on Brexit that the ruling class may do as they wish and ignore the voice of the people.Julie Burchill

In short, Green – like Wokeness itself – is the first socio-political movement in which every mover and shaker ranges from well-off to filthy rich.

Hearing the over-privileged halfwits of Extinction Rebellion talk about economic growth as if it were child abuse, you can sense real contempt towards people who believe that working at a job in order to make money and pay the taxes which keep society civil is a desirable thing to do. – Julie Burchill

Ecology is politics for people who don’t like people and are miffed that the masses are now free to travel cheaply, rather than being hooked up to a plough or doing laundry in a creek. Julie Burchill

And then the Grabdication went bust, and was revealed as being as morally bankrupt as the celebrity and the Wokeness which had spawned it, with a whole nasty level of its own because the three belief systems had never been seen in the same place before. –Julie Burchill

According to a recent survey, more than half of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Britain report having been consulted by young patients distressed about climate change and the state of the environment. The alleged effects of climate change (or more exactly, thoughts about climate change) upon these children and adolescents include PTSD, phobias, sleep disorders, cognitive deficits, and feelings such as helplessness, hopelessness, grief, and anger.

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)? I can only assume that it develops after watching too many video clips of little Greta Thunberg spoiled-bratting about her ruined childhood. A single photograph of her is certainly enough to trigger very unpleasant emotions in me: I think I need a safe space in which it is impossible for her to appear, otherwise I shall begin to suffer from post-Thunberg stress disorder.

In this context, however, PTSD should surely stand for “pre-traumatic stress disorder”; that is to say children are being trained up so that, when they really do suffer from something rather than merely imagine it at some time in the future, having hitherto lived privileged lives by the standards of all previously existing human beings, they will be nice and vulnerable, requiring an army of therapists, counselors, social and auxiliary support workers, etc., to get through the rest of their lives. This is necessary demand management for the professionally compassionate, who need a constant supply of the wretched upon whom to exercise their compassion. Resilience is their enemy. – Theodore Dalrymple

I can’t imagine that teaching children and young people self-righteousness will do very much intergenerational justice. Youth is already quite arrogant enough without indoctrination. It all sounds uncommonly like brainwashing to me, but placing the responsibility on little Jimmy or Arabella from Much Wenlock or Chipping Norton for limiting carbon emissions in China seems hardly the way to calm their anxieties. We all know that power without responsibility is a curse for humanity, but responsibility without power is a curse for humans, a powerful inducer of feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

I think it was Wesley (though I may be mistaken) who said, with regard to the physical chastisement of children, that it is never too soon to do God’s glorious work. Instead of chastising them with whips and scourges, however, we now chastise them with anxieties that the world might not last another ten, or even five, years, that they will live to see the apocalypse of heat, fire, rain, wind, dust, flood, tsunami, drought, famine, tropical disease (There will be locusts over/The white cliffs of Dover), that will end all human life, especially theirs.

And just as they must learn by the age of 6 to be nice to transsexuals (in the unlikely event of survival, of course), so they must learn by the same age to examine the accounts of giant banks to find out whether they have lent money to Woodside Petroleum of Australia, for example, or committed some such other crime against the environment.  – Theodore Dalrymple

So I am in favor of preserving and even improving the environment—just not as an excuse for totalitarianism. – Theodore Dalrymple

New Zealand politics contains its share of immortal lines. David Lange, debating the morality of nuclear weapons in 1985, told his opponent that he could “smell the uranium” on his breath. Michael Joseph Savage described his government’s social welfare policies as “applied Christianity”. Don Brash allegedly told US officials that New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy would be “gone by lunchtime” if he were elected. They illustrate a timeless truth—that politics has always been about persuasion, about style as well as policy substance. But now, and especially under this government, it seems that politics is more about the message and less about the results. We might even say that politics, and by extension the art and act of government, doesn’t just depend on good comms. These days, politics is comms. Alex Penk

Inspiring unity and compassion rather than division is a tremendous accomplishment. There’s also a place for the soundbite, the memorable turn of phrase that captures a moment and provokes a reaction—for the gleaming tip that caps off an iceberg of gravity, of serious thought and carefully designed policy machinery. The problem is when it’s all tip and no iceberg, when there’s little to no substance under the surface.  – Alex Penk

It turns out that rhetoric alone doesn’t change reality, that earnestly enjoining people to “be kind” in the face of the pandemic doesn’t make up for a year of self-congratulation and inaction. Skilful wordsmithery like “the team of five million”, and complacent assurances that the nation was taking “our rightful place in the delivery of vaccine”, ring hollow alongside a woefully sluggish vaccine rollout, a “reactive and conservative” testing strategy, an MIQ regime that resembles a lottery, and concernsthat the health system is underprepared for Delta and the end of the elimination strategy.  – Alex Penk

It’s not just that there’s a gap between lofty sermonising and actual outcomes—it’s that in many cases the outcome is the opposite of the intention. Mismanaging the response to COVID and leaving us vulnerable to an extended lockdown is not kind, as anyone watching their livelihood go down the drain or struggling with isolation and mental illness could tell you. – Alex Penk

If our media are our “social and intellectual environment”, then truth-telling in our day is simplistic, Instagrammable, tweetable. It rewards strong emotions like outrage with clicks, likes, retweets, blue check marks, fame and opportunity. It’s increasingly personalised and curated, so that you need not encounter opinions that trouble you. It’s tribal, as we splinter into identity groups and downplay our common humanity, seeing those who disagree with us not just as wrong but as evil. It’s brought to us by journalists who increasingly write opinion alongside, or within, their reporting. In this environment, creating and controlling the narrative, mastering the soundbite, and above all carefully curating the image of authenticity, are the qualities that win our debates—and that limit them.

The politicians do it because enough people are willing to believe impossibly lofty rhetoric about transparency and to vote for platitudinous exhortations about kindness. So they’re not the only ones to blame. Alex Penk

We, the public, need to educate ourselves to ask these questions and to cultivate some healthy scepticism about our politicians’ more grandiose claims. But it shouldn’t be too much to expect our public leaders to take some initiative and show some leadership, to remarry substance with style. Until they do, expect things to get worse, not better. Mere rhetoric will not bend reality. No matter how many times you urge people to “be kind”, the virus isn’t listening.   – Alex Penk

It used to be that history was considered to be a factual record of past events which could be verified from a number of sources. In 21st century New Zealand however, history can literally be anything a person, organisation, cultural group, even a government, wants it to be. History today is being used as a vehicle to support social, economic, political and cultural agendas. Historians now tell us there is no such thing as “one true history” of anything, but that there are as many histories as there are people who wish that to be the case. Historiography, or the writing of history, has supplanted the presentation of verifiable facts about past events. –  Henry Armstrong

 In many parts of the world, the promotion and teaching of a nation’s history is a time-honoured and professional undertaking which adds immeasurably to a nation’s identity and future. Can the same be said of New Zealand in the 21st Century? – Henry Armstrong

The service station down the road in Auckland has 91 priced over $2.65 per litre for the first time.  It was only a few months ago it was under $2.00. 

Prime Minister Ardern said we are being “fleeced”.  More like we are being “skinned”, wool and all.  It seems to slip her mind that half the “fleecing” is being done by her government.  They are grabbing $1.45 of that $2.65.  Having ratcheted up spending the government now needs all the revenue they can get their hands on. Having captured a moment’s limelight for making the claim she has moved on, yet again to another publicity podium, unable to deliver any outcome of substance.  –  Owen Jennings

Politicians know that all surveys of voters show that the population is in favour of climate change being taken seriously but then vows to not paying a dollar towards the wild and extravagant counter proposals to stop warming.  It’s the old syndrome of everyone wanting to go to heaven but no one wanting to die. –  Owen Jennings

Amidst this turmoil and pain a gaggle of globalists, elitists, politicians, crazed greenies and a few scientists will blithely jet into Glasgow, into an isolated bubble of fantasy, high priced hotel rooms, glitzy conference facilities, electric cars charged on diesel powered generators, totally remote from the chaos their policies are causing.  They might as well be on another planet. 

They will not be footing the enormous costs of their brazen extravagance.  We will – the taxpayers.  And pay we will again and again, more and more as their unnecessary, centralised controls drive energy prices higher and higher.Owen Jennings

I’m sick of it. You’re sick of it. The Government, the bureaucracy, businesses, the entire city of Auckland and the rest of the country are over it. I’m tired of writing about it and you’re probably exhausted reading and hearing about it. The problem is, our eyes and ears are drawn to any news story, opinion column or public statement about Covid-19. The worldwide pandemic has taken over our lives. All of which is probably better than having Covid-19 take our lives. – Bill Ralston

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government have been exposed. The myth has been busted and only the truly deluded and card-carrying sycophants surely now think they’ve handled this pandemic well.

Just before half-time in the battle against Covid, Ardern left the field to take selfies and sign autographs, thinking the game was won.

The rest is called Delta. Can someone please pass this on to the luvvies who see her as a demi-god?  – Duncan Garner

Sadly, we were sitting alright – the government on its hands and we were all sitting ducks. Auckland was the biggest target of all, as Delta was always going to smack into that city first – the arrivals gate for our impending disaster.

Yet this Labour administration had more than a year without level 4, 470 days to be exact, to beef up the health system, target more staff, secure a vaccine, work out how to roll it out, put in place 24-hour clinics, and organise a better MIQ – which, to my utter shock, senior Labour Minister David Parker described to me in one interview as “damn near perfect”. – Duncan Garner

The humility was missing from Labour during the 470 days gifted to them when the hard work should have been on show.

It should have been preparing the country and making sure all systems, plans, and laws were passed and in place for the impending war against Delta. The public service is equally to blame, if ultimately less accountable, for where were all their learnings and lessons from past outbreaks? Who was monitoring the virus overseas and who got it right, who got it wrong and what did and didn’t work? – Duncan Garner

Don’t tell me the public service was too slow. It’s always too slow. Put your boots on and kick their arses. This is a pandemic. Get people around you that can make it happen. You are the government, you control the pace. Reach out to the private sector, identify people that can make it happen, and sideline those who can’t.- Duncan Garner

What a luxury, a luxury no other country had. But slowly we watched on as the trainwreck neared our station.

No saliva testing, no 24-hour clinics, hospitals understaffed and with not enough ICU beds for a mass outbreak, and either no vaccine or not enough of it.

This government’s inability to use the past 18 months to prepare and protect Auckland for the inevitable Delta arrival is not just utter incompetence it’s negligent and Auckland businesses and residents have every right to be angry and be banging on the government’s door for answers.  Duncan Garner

Ardern and sidekick Grant Robertson must pull rank. They must get competing advice on what their flimsy pathway to nowhere will cost Auckland and the country.

But there’s a reason they don’t. Because no-one in this government has ever asked for the economy to be elevated alongside Covid in this second year of suffering. It’s a glaring omission in this now-defunct and redundant strategy to eliminate Covid.

Only now can Ardern admit her strategy was doomed. Not that she’s using that language. No, she calls it ‘a transition’. That’s code for, ‘woops, it ain’t working, we got that wrong’. – Duncan Garner

This steps-to-freedom dribble reeks of something compiled at the last minute. It’s revealing too. It shows scant regard for business who require certainty. It’s amateur hour on steroids.

It shows a government that has not reached out to hear the ideas of those who battle each day with what I call risk.

Business rewards handsomely if you do it well but those who venture into it take massive risks.

They need to be at the table and the government needs to be open to hearing them. They deserve to be there. They have sucked up the lockdown pain and cost and this flaky back-of-an-envelope roadmap is an insult to them, Auckland, and all those businesses down country who just realised Aucklanders spend money in their region. – Duncan Garner

Auckland is in a state of confusion with weekly reviews that may confuse us further.

Far from leading the world, the PM and her team of missing in action minsters have dropped the ball.

We have been smug, complacent and, sadly, bloody lazy in the end, which won’t be agreed with by Ardern’s many followers who hear no evil, see no evil, and speak only in glowing terms.  – Duncan Garner

There is meant to be light at the end of the tunnel. Not in Ardern’s slapped-together afterthought. It’s a plan that says ‘shut your eyes and hope’. It’s unravelling folks.

I can’t imagine business will ever trust Labour again, if they ever did at all.

And to think so many Kiwis voted Ardern because of the way she handled Covid.

How is that looking now?  – Duncan Garner

There is no getting away from the draconian, illiberal implications of this policy. Ardern’s government has effectively created a two-tier society, a nation of first- and second-class citizens. What’s more, this divisive policy cleaves along ethnic lines. According to recent reports, only 57 per cent of Māori and only 73 per cent of Pacific peoples have had their first jab. That compares against 80 per cent for white New Zealanders. This lack of protection has meant that Māori and Pacific peoples make up 83 per cent of all recent Covid cases. And now it seems that the same ethnic groupings will also be deprived of their basic rights during any future Covid outbreaks. – Tim Black

How has it come to this? The answer lies, ironically, in the failure of the very policy for which Ardern was celebrated – namely, Zero Covid. It meant that, for too long, New Zealand pursued the unachievable goal of eliminating Covid, while neglecting the need for vaccination.

In the summer of 2020 Ardern was busily boasting of New Zealand’s success, while centrists the world over cheered. For a few days at least, New Zealand was even Covid free. We were told this was testament to the genius of Ardern’s go-early, go-hard elimination strategy – the one that many say should have been adopted in the UK and elsewhere. – Tim Black

Now, faced by continued Covid outbreaks, and pressure from those clinging to the false comfort of Zero Covid, Ardern has panicked. Having only belatedly realised that the only way out of the Covid nightmare is through vaccination rather than elimination through lockdown, the New Zealand government has opted for the most draconian solution available – a particularly harsh vaccine mandate – despite the dire implications this has for society.

Perhaps Saint Jacinda was never the saviour of the world she was made out to be. – Tim Black

For the mantra of today is that there is no truth, everything is relative, a product of the surrounding society.

So the bloke’s a product of the society that surrounded him. How can he be held to some set of eternal verities if eternal verities don’t exist? – Tim Worstall

The erosion of our freedom of choice, freedom of speech and the loss of precious time with family and friends and all the other negative aspects of a lockdown should be balanced against the health risk of Covid. Imagine if we had invested the 1 billion plus spent each week on lockdowns on improving our health system, education or roading (we had 8 road deaths in NZ last weekend).

It seems totally insane that double vaccinated people are terrified of meeting unvaccinated people. Is that how it’s going to be for the rest of our lives? What about the people that have health issues and can’t get vaccinated? Are they going to be banished from society? (for the record I’m double vaccinated)

Finally the fact that the NZ government has now said that even if Auckland achieves 90% double vaccination that it’s people may likely still be restricted from traveling at Christmas seems like a total nonsense. –  Russell Coutts

It’s also total nonsense and contradictory that double vaccinated people that have negative covid tests are being locked down for 14 days in MIQ whilst people with Covid are being allowed to self isolate in the community.

How New Zealand, a country where it’s people greatly valued freedom off choice…..how we even got to this stage of blindly accepting this sort of unilateral rule, power and dictatorship from our government is deeply troubling indeed. –  Russell Coutts

This government has just proven themselves to be a revolting pack of thieving liars. – James Gough

People nevertheless fear for their careers and even their livelihoods. Followers of movements like the Trans Movement have no hesitation in calling for the dismissal of people who attract their wrath by disagreeing publicly with them. So-called transphobia is not irrational fear of people who want to change their sex, but fear of retribution by the movement that makes such people their cause (who may not be the same people). – Theodore Dalrymple

There are several asymmetrical wars currently going on in the intellectual sphere. On the one side are guerrilla monomaniacs with a cause, for whom the subject of their monomania is all-important, and the promotion of which is the meaning of their lives; on the other, normal people for whom that particular subject is merely one thing among many others.

In this situation, the monomaniacs have the advantage of fanaticism. Like Batista’s army in Cuba, normal people melt away in the face of fanatical attack, because they do not care enough, or are not prescient enough, to defend their position—though they may later come to regret not having done so.

What is particularly alarming about the totalitarian temper that is developing in western society is that it does not originate from the government but is a genuine expression of the thirst for power of a portion of the population, that part of it—the intelligentsia—that seemingly would have most to lose if the drive to totalitarianism were successful.Theodore Dalrymple

Tolerance—a word that in the mouth of such radicals comes to mean the forced or coerced approval of what was formerly transgressive—is not natural to mankind. It is far more natural to want to suppress what one finds disgusting or does not want to hear. Our instinct is to turn away from views that are not our own, from evidence that might undermine our most cherished opinions, and even to dislike those who cite such evidence.

In other words, tolerance is an intellectual and moral achievement, an act of self-control rather than the expression of an instinct. No doubt some people by temperament find such self-control easier than others (I don’t find it easy myself), but there is a dictator lurking in many, perhaps most, of us, at least in those of us who take an interest in public affairs.

Suffice it to say that we are not living in a golden age of the kind of self-control necessary for a tolerant society in which diversity of opinion is taken in good spirit. And the so-called social media, which allow us to pour out our bile incontinently the moment we feel the inclination to do so, only compounds the problem. – Theodore Dalrymple

The conceit that we alone would beat Delta was just another manifestation of our naive national myth of Kiwi exceptionalism. Our Covid journey will ultimately follow roughly the same path as everywhere else. Mathew Hooton

Whether she admits it or not, Ardern’s failure to order vaccines in line with the rest of the developed world, and her decision to move to level 3 before near-universal vaccination, ensured hospital wards and MIQ facilities would be overwhelmed. – Mathew Hooton

It is time the World Health Organisation comes out with a universal standard of handling Covid; failure to do so is enabling many world leaders to front up press conferences with the line “our Covid response is world leading”, but the irony is no one really knows what defines “world leading”.

Is there some world leading university out there where these world leaders are going for their world leading Covid management diploma?

In the aftermath of Covid, will the total number of deaths be the only defining factor of who was a world leader in handling Covid? In the race to be a world leader New Zealand is forgetting something crucial – the carnage it is leaving behind disguised as Covid management. – Jilesh Desai

Human behaviour is such that if hope and aspiration is your tool as leader to play the population and expect them to abide by the rules, then you also deliver on that, but here’s the chronology of your continuous failure in delivery of hope you gave the population.

It all started with: follow all alert level restrictions and get your freedoms back. 

Then it was “get vaccinated and have your freedom”, then it was “all eligible population need to get vaccinated”, followed by “we all need to wait for 90 per cent single dose”, and later “we all have to wait for 90 per cent double dose”, and now “we all have to wait for the 90 per cent fully vaccinated DHBs”.

I bet Prime Minister, none of us will have a problem with the end goal, we are all behind you in achieving this mammoth of a task; my only concern is why did our kind Prime Minister, who also happens to be a symbol of transparency, not empower the population with the end goal from the start? – Jilesh Desai

Can you explain to the 70 per cent fully vaccinated people in the country why are they still locked up? If you claim that you are saving people’s lives, then do you guarantee at 90 per cent vaccination rate we won’t have any Covid-related deaths in the country?

I understand that realistically you can’t do that, just as you can’t save people’s lives, you are not a messiah, you are a prime minister of a country elected to run the country not on the scare of Covid, but by competence of the nation’s health care.

Your focus should not be saying things like “thousands of people will die”, but instead use that time in empowering our health care so that thousands of people don’t die. – Jilesh Desai

Divisions occur in society when there’s a perception that information is being withheld, inequities are emerging, and everyday freedoms are being denied without a strong rationale. It undermines what we have all taken for granted: our democratic society. Rachel Smalley

This time around, there’s less clarity in the government’s communication strategy, and the Prime Minister is less confident in the way she’s delivering it. Delta has bulldozed its way through Labour’s ever-changing and hastily pulled-together political strategy, and the government is responding on the fly, moving goalposts, and trying to manage an agitated public that is demanding answers neither the PM nor her Cabinet seem to have.

Ardern, lauded for the strength of her communication in the first lockdown and throughout the Christchurch Mosque shootings, has lost her confidence as a speaker and a communicator. That’s not an opinion. It’s there for all to see, evidenced frequently during the week, usually around 1pm. – Rachel Smalley

To be a successful political communicator, it’s as much about the theatrics as it is about the quality of the communications you’re delivering. Ardern’s daily updates are heavily scripted, and she reads them, word for word, with her head down. She’s relaying a lot of complex, important information and it’s unfair and politically dangerous to expect her to ad-lib her way through them, but it affects her credibility. It’s more newsreader than world leader.

If you’re trying to instill confidence and belief in the information you’re delivering, you need to hold the room. Look up. Stand tall. Your eyes, posture, and tonal delivery all help to influence the audience you’re trying to engage. By all means, script some of your speech, but in areas where you are confident to ad-lib, speak to bullet points instead. It proves you’re on top of what you’re communicating, and you’re speaking your truth.

You also need to check your body language. Ardern, increasingly, is gesturing with her hands, often waving them mid-sentence in a sort of subconscious reinforcement of her oratory. She nods frequently when she speaks, as if trying to reassure herself or her audience that what she is saying is, indeed, the right course of action. Her expression is overly earnest or concerned, which can be misconstrued as insincere. In every communication as our Prime Minister, she should be striving to emit authority and confidence. Rachel Smalley

In a pandemic that’s now inter-island, New Zealanders need a leader, not a friend.- Rachel Smalley

Unless you’re living down a rabbit hole in Wellington, which we certainly are not, you know that Auckland’s economy is under significant stress.John Billington

And that’s the danger. We are being governed from the rabbit’s hole. Hell, the Prime Minister hasn’t even set foot in the place for close to three months. – Mike Hosking

Add to these examples Radius Care, God bless them for being human. People in aged care need family. To be prevented in your final years from being with your loved ones sums this Government up. 

They’re cold, heartless, uncaring and robotic.Mike Hosking

It’s a sign this is coming to an end. It’s a sign the trust has been lost, the will power is gone, the patience is up and the frustration now heavily outweighs the logic.

The Government have blown it. They pushed too hard, too far, for too long

And combine it with the lack of common sense, of a plan of any real detail, of the endless announcements about announcements – and whatever good grace there was, has been abused to the point of no return.

You only govern with the good will of the people.

Good will is in shorter supply than magnesium.    – Mike Hosking

Do you really think it matters in the long run if you’re Left, Right, up, down, black, white or yellow with purple stripes?  Conservative or liberal?  Casually religious or militantly less so?  Hetro He-Man archetype or ‘flaming’ homosexual?  Rich or poor?  

‘Coz it doesn’t.  

We’re all still incredibly imperfect human beings – isn’t that enough?  Aren’t we a sufficiently wretched species already?  Do we really need all of this other rubbish as well?  The cyber-fortresses of absolute righteous certainty?  The razorwire-topped walls of pseudo-ideological division?  The endless streams of senseless rhetoric and brain-dead invective in the “Comments” section of [insert name of preferred propaganda outlet], borne of ignorance and hurt and stupidity and fear?   – Jeremy Callendar

Why is it so important that we each get our moral oar in?  Why is it so hard to accept and admit that we may all be as ill-informed and deceived as each other?  As biased as each other?  As bloody stupid as each other?  As lonely as each other?  As mortal and as scared as each other?

Why are we so determined to fight the possibility of smoke with the actuality of fire?  To crush any and all who dare to have a different point of view?  A view perhaps based on an experience of life that has been nothing like our own…

Is it fixing the problems?  Is it healing anyone’s pain?  Is it making us better people?

Are our little online echo chambers helping us to sleep better at night? – Jeremy Callendar

If your journey brings you into contact with people whose opinions differ from your own, consider treating them gently: hearing them out and trying to understand them.  I mean, at the very least, you’ll be following Sun Tzu’s (and Rage Against The Machine’s) advice to know your enemy.  And if there are people around you who are living their lives in ways that just don’t quite gel with your ideas of how things should be, consider asking yourself – or, God forbid, respectfully asking them – why it is that they do what they do the way they do it.  

Alternatively, you might just try quietly minding your own [insert adjective of choice] business. – Jeremy Callendar

I think I remember once hearing about this guy who suggested that we should try loving our neighbours as we love ourselves……yes, yes I’m fairly certain I read that somewhere.

But then again, what could a Jew have possibly known about suffering…? – Jeremy Callendar

A number of government announcements in the last week or so give the impression the wheels are starting to come off at the Beehive.

It’s not just that Covid decisions are increasingly erratic, though they are. Ministers have also lost the room, particularly in Auckland, and seem to have no ability to do the things that will win it back.Steven Joyce

The Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming for weeks to announce a vaccination target. When they finally did, they set an almost impossible one in a vain and quixotic attempt to recover the “world-leading” tag so important to the Prime Minister.

Aucklanders don’t want to be world-leading any more. They just want to be able to go to the shops and meet their mates without feeling they might be breaking the law.

In other jurisdictions, leaders announce target dates and scales of freedom that increase at waypoints, like 70, 80 and 90 per cent double-vaxxed, but not here. We stay hair-shirted and locked down because that is what Wellington thinks is good for us. – Steven Joyce

Taking the voters for fools is not a sustainable strategy.

It’s made worse when the reasons for the lockdown — a slow vaccination rollout, no urgent hospital upgrades, delayed vaccination certificates, no rapid antigen testing — are obvious to nearly everyone. – Steven Joyce

Education is one of the areas where policy contradictions are most obvious. Why is it that year 9 and 10 students aren’t allowed back at school when they are as vaccinated as years 11 to 13? Why does the vaccination mandate not apply to teachers until January, when it applies to other mandated employees earlier? Who knows?

Contradictions abound everywhere. The eventual MIQ announcement was a silly half measure that pleased no one. It is apparently okay for people living here who have Covid to isolate at home (some 280 at last count), while double-vaxxed Kiwis with no Covid who have had myriad tests still have to spend seven days in MIQ prison on their arrival into New Zealand. Retaining the MIQ bottleneck is nonsensical, inflexible and inhumane. – Steven Joyce

The internal borders are rapidly becoming an unsustainable artefact. Everybody knows they won’t be here by Christmas, so why not sooner? All they likely do is reduce the urgency in regional New Zealand to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, individuals and families carry the pain. This week we heard about the heartless decision to prevent a grieving father’s sister from flying from Blenheim to Auckland to comfort him at the funeral for his 8-year-old son. He went to the media in desperation and the decision was finally turned around but it was too late. Asked what he would do on the day of the funeral, he simply said he would cry. Steven Joyce

 In non-Covid news, the Minister of Local Government, having failed to persuade people of the merits of her plan to reorganise the three waters, announced that she will unilaterally confiscate the water assets of ratepayers up and down the country despite the opposition of nearly every council. A sensible, politically adept government would have crafted a reasonable compromise. Not this one. – Steven Joyce

Announcing you will spend the equivalent of 6 per cent of our country’s whole economic output on one local transport project in the midst of a pandemic which is already blowing debt out towards 50 per cent of GDP is completely tone deaf. It beggars belief that Grant Robertson let this out the door.

The underlying thread to this week’s frenetic activity is random decision-making and no strategic leadership. Every announcement seems to add to the pile of problems and questions, rather than shrink it down. That’s bad for any government.

Ministers need to straighten up the ship and start focusing on what’s important to the public now, before it is too late. People in Auckland, Waikato and across the country need a clear path out of this. The Government does too. When the wheels start to come off, the people in the Beehive are often the last to realise it.Steven Joyce

There may still be those who want to argue that the Government has done a good job handling the pandemic measured by the number of those who have died of Covid-19. But of course that number in isolation is meaningless. If a low number of Covid-19 deaths has been bought at the cost of more suicides, more cancelled cancer operations, more domestic violence, more mental health distress, and more failed businesses – leading to the reduction in average life expectancy found by Dr Gibson – it’s not an achievement to be proud of at all. – Don Brash

I understand there is a balance to be to be struck, but the balance was just not struck in the right place. Someone in my position who was double vaccinated and who has had two negative Covid tests can’t be allowed a one or two hour visit with my dad who’s dying, then something about that is fundamentally wrong. – Sasha Holden

Labour maintains no assets will be taken, and councils will still “own” the assets and the new entities. There will be no shares and no management control – only what is simply being described as “collective ownership”.

I can’t help but be reminded of a farmer in communist Russia being told the state wasn’t confiscating their farm, they were simply moving it into “collective ownership”. – Judith Collins

What this all means for ratepayers is that if you don’t already pay for your water, you soon will. If your water is expensive, you won’t be able to vote anyone out. If the entity is bloated and underperforming, there is no democratic accountability. – Judith Collins

 


Quotes of the month

01/09/2021

I said, ‘I’m not an activist’. They said, ‘what are you?’ I thought, ‘what am I?’ Somebody that’s concerned about what’s happening to New Zealand, that’s all I am – Bryce McKenzie

This isn’t imagined. If you don’t know about it, we’d like you to try and find out. It’s general — people are hurting. – Bryce McKenzie

They are worried not about themselves as … [much as] what’s going to happen to their kids, their grandkids. The family farm, if we keep this up, is gone.

If New Zealand goes to corporate farming, does New Zealand really want family farms gone? They need to just have a good think about that. – Bryce McKenzie

We have never ever not offered a solution in everything we’ve stood for. We’re not against any of the stuff; we just think there’s a better way to treat everybody far better.

It all comes back to one thing: some of these regulations are unworkable – you cannot get around that. – Bryce McKenzie

There’s not enough hand sanitiser in the whole of Japan to clean that act up. That was just absolutely terrible. – Ruby Tui

What rain? Bring on the thunder, we’re at the Olympics, let’s be happy, let’s compete safely and peacefully, peace and love, love you guys.  – Ruby Tui

First off, I would like to stress that I fully support the transgender community, and that what I’m about to say doesn’t come from a place of rejection of this athlete’s identity.

I am aware that defining a legal frame for transgender participation in sports is very difficult since there is an infinite variety of situations, and that reaching an entirely satisfactory solution, from either side of the debate, is probably impossible.

However, anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes.  – Anna Vanbellinghen

So why is it still a question whether two decades, from puberty to the age of 35, with the hormonal system of a man also would give an advantage [in competing against women]?

I understand that for sports authorities nothing is as simple as following your common sense, and that there are a lot of impracticalities when studying such a rare phenomenon, but for athletes the whole thing feels like a bad joke.

Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes – medals and Olympic qualifications – and we are powerless.

Of course, this debate is taking place in a broader context of discrimination against transgender people, and that is why the question is never free of ideology.

However, the extreme nature of this particular situation really demonstrates the need to set up a stricter legal framework for transgender inclusion in sports, and especially elite sports.

Because I do believe that everyone should have access to sports, but not at the expense of others.Anna Vanbellinghen

Pushing up wages without driving productivity just adds to inflation.

The cost of living becomes a race between prices and wages. History tells us that this is a race the poorest people always lose.

New Zealand faces a dangerous cycle of inflation in the next few years if we let this labour shortage roll on unaddressed.

It will push interest rates higher at a time when the mortgage debt burden is extreme for young homeowners.

Higher interest rates will also be a handbrake on business investment, putting another handbrake on hopes for boosting New Zealand’s productivity. – Liam Dann

We need a rare and difficult combination of bureaucratic competence combined with pragmatism and flexibility. Liam Dann

Criminalising things is not a good thing, it doesn’t get us anywhere. – Dame Sue Bagshaw

If anything, I’m even more determined we don’t lose our humanity through fear in this pandemic. We have at times. Our authorities have forced our elderly to go without company at the end of their lives. They’ve forced them to die without loved ones. They’ve forced their families to stand outside windows looking in, watching them die, unable to just hold their hands and say something like “mum it’s okay”. They’ve kept families from funerals. They’ve made rules that left a daughter to cry inside the MIQ fence as a mother’s hearse passes. A son resorted to going to court to force the Health Ministry to let him spend the last 36 hours of his dad’s life with him. – Heather du Plessis-Allan

Somehow in this pandemic you and I and our families have been turned into numbers. Numbers in MIQ, numbers of Covid cases, numbers of deaths. My Ouma will be just another 1 added to South Africa’s Covid tally that then gets reported to the WHO.

But we are people, not numbers. We must balance risk with humanity. We can’t let the people who held our hands die without us holding their hands. – Heather du Plessis-Allan

New Zealanders returning after a few years abroad might wonder whether they’ve blundered into a parallel universe. A government that is pitifully thin on ministerial ability and experience is busy re-inventing the wheel, and doing it at such speed that the public has barely had time to catch its breath. To quote one seasoned political observer: ‘It seems like a hostile takeover of our country is underway and most people feel powerless to do anything about it’.

The most visible change might crudely be described as Maorification, much of it aggressively driven by activists of mixed Maori and European descent who appear to have disowned their problematic white colonial lineage. Self-identifying as Maori not only taps into a fashionable culture of grievance and victimism but enables them to exercise power and influence that would otherwise not be available to them.Karl du Fresne

 What has been framed as an idealistic commitment to the survival of journalism is, in other words, a cynical and opportunistic bid for control over the news media at a time when the industry is floundering. This is a government so shameless, or perhaps so convinced of its own untouchability, that it is brazenly buying the media’s compliance. – Karl du Fresne

The main reason centralisation fails is culture, “the way we do things around here”. A centralised organisation has to be command and control with rigid rules. It is a culture that crushes initiative and problem-solving. –  Richard Prebble

A university by its nature cannot have a prescribed view about the value of one idea or culture over another. Until recently, a university was an institution committed to free enquiry and rigorous debate. Indeed that was its raison d’etre when I was an undergraduate and graduate student. – Bruce Logan

Science by its very nature can never arrive at a consensus. Consensus is the language of politics, not science.

A university is not a church preaching revealed doctrine. It is an institution given to the support of scientific method; certainly in those faculties that have science in their name. If that is not the case, then the university should pack its bags and go home to the planet of the Wokerati.Bruce Logan

Precisely. Science is a universal tool because it rests on the universal truth that the world is an ordered place. Hypotheses can be imagined, experiments repeated and the findings
found to be true or false. – Bruce Logan

When the university fails to fulfil its traditional function it becomes an institution interested only in its own survival. Western culture loses its confidence. Truth and therefore justice is up for grabs and government policy becomes “the views of the university”. Māori and Pākehā share the common loss.Bruce Logan

But the reality is that countries far better prepared, and better equipped than us, have struggled to cope with the latest outbreaks.

So in the end, it will be down to us, and how we respond as individuals, that will make the difference – just as it did last time. – Tracy Watkins

This is a government that has been good at reacting to a crisis, but then useless at dealing with a strategic plan for the longer term. Mike Moore

Many advantages become ingrained. Subsequent hormone therapy may well take the edge off performance, but bones will always be stronger, muscle will not revert to the female level, nor will hearts and lungs shrink. It is hardly fair for someone who retains such advantages to compete against women. – Debbie Hayton

I largely think it’s because cookbooks are associated with the domestic sphere, and they’re associated with women,” she says. “Any books written specifically for a female audience are thought of as not very clever; written with lots of pictures and small words, so women with our small brains can understand them. It’s a bit like the genre formerly known as chick lit. You know, they’re pretty stories for ladies. Cookbooks are the same. – Lucy Corry

Whenever something is perceived to be for women, it very quickly gets perceived to be frivolous and something that you can make fun of and something of very low value. I’m just going to call that out as out-and-out classic, dirty old sexism.

You can’t on the one hand task 50 percent of society for centuries with feeding their families and make that part of their identity and then have a go at them when they buy books to help them do it and get some inspiration. – Claire Murdoch

I think cooking connects you to nature, because practically everything you might want to eat starts out as a seed or a spore, and it’s going to take weeks or months or sometimes years before it’s ready to harvest or be eaten. And it connects you to your own culture and other cultures; and it connects you to your family and friends. And it also connects you to your creativity. It’s a very nourishing thing.  Annabel Langbein

I think it is really difficult for lots of people to feel successful in their daily lives because of pressures and money and resources and all sorts of other things. But cooking is a very simple way to have a sense of ownership of your life; of sharing and connecting and feeling validated and useful. – Annabel Langbein

The answer as to why the government is moving so slowly on so many fronts, including the vaccine roll-out, is that it fundamentally doesn’t believe in incentives and the private sector’s ability to deliver. It has relied on bureaucrats and central planning, which isn’t working.  – Robert MacCulloch

Ministers should not be moaning about why things are not happening more quickly, and waiting for advice from officials. They should be making them happen. – Claire Trevett

I have never seen in my time, and I go back to Muldoon, a more lacklustre, aspiration-less, myopic, and isolationist government. –  Mike Hosking

Are we gonna have police in the church hall deciding whether people are saying the right things? That’s where this gets incredibly messy – David Seymour

We really do not want to go down the route of state intervention every time there are complex medical or wellbeing matters to be discussed in families.Simon Bridges

It is equally obvious that a cause can triumph without being good: it has only to inspire the belief that it is good and is worth fighting for. Indeed, a cause can be profoundly evil and triumph, at least in part through the strength of belief in it.

The lengths to which people go to promote a cause are often held up as some kind of evidence of the value of that cause, but they are nothing of the kind. People may go to great lengths to promote good causes, but those lengths are not in themselves evidence of goodness. After all, even Nazism had its martyrs whose deaths were exhibited as proof of righteousness. – Theodore Dalrymple

Everyone associated with the introduction of the RMA should be ashamed. Despite its worthy intentions, it was plainly naïve from the beginning about human nature and how people would respond to getting power to interfere in decisions on land use changes. A hostility to individual right to decide how one’s own property should best be used, without compensation from those who’d benefit from stopping change, was baked into the RMA. – Don Brash

There is no point in pretending to treat seriously a Bill that is little more than a series of conflicting aspirational claims, dressing up an intention to control future land uses by Ministerial and Planning Committee decree. – Don Brash

It has long been very obvious that environmental protection has been a spurious excuse for endless interference in routine land use decisions with little or no benefit for the natural environment. – Don Brash

The Bill is remarkable for omitting nearly everything that might end the damaging power of NIMBYs and planners, and the green idealists who have empowered them. The Bill contains more puffy slogans, lists of competing, unranked and contradictory purposes, goals and weasel words than the RMA. The lawyers, planners and other vested interest beneficiaries of the status quo rely on the powers they get from the naïve “principles” of the RMA. They will be even more confident of being able to exploit the regime foreshadowed by the Bill. – Don Brash

Ambiguity in law delivers power and profit to lawyers. lawyers notoriously resist normal cost disciplines. they believe that what they do is all about “justice” so that it is improper to demand that they trade off their rolls royce procedures for economy speed and certainty. they can be indifferent to the costs borne by the rest of the community. Don Brash

Are flip flops, false promises and knee jerk reactions good for us?

Well not if you want some stability and consistency from your leadership, some long term strategic management. I would’ve thought good leadership is about properly doing the work up front before you leap into announcements.

Costing and canvassing something to the hilt, before you throw out the press release and roll out the Minister. And then once you have your plan, sticking to it. – Kate Hawkesby

So what we’re seeing here, therefore, is less of a government governing, and more of a reactive popularity contest based on poll data.

Is that good solid leadership? Or is that just amateurs winging it?

Sadly I think it’s the latter. – Kate Hawkesby

What people hear from the government’s silence is: ‘We’re going to make some things that you say illegal but we’re not going to tell you which ones.’ And that’s the kind of uncertainty … that makes a lot of middle New Zealanders feel a little uncomfortable. – Ben Thomas

his government is full of people who don’t get it, who wouldn’t pass NCEA Economics Level 1, and most embarrassingly don’t seem to realise that saying this stuff out loud leads to 10 point drops in polls.Mike Hosking

So, what I’m saying is how can we possibly have pumped in billions of extra dollars, and it not appear to have made a difference? – Andrew Little

These organisations are not just “community support groups” or “surrogate families”. They aren’t “motorcycle clubs”. Or – as I like to say – they’re not “Rotary in Leather”. They are organised criminals.Judith Collins

My husband and I regularly talk to farmers and growers, young and old, involved in horticulture, cropping and livestock. Whether they are more traditional or progressive, the main frustration is not the “why” something should be done – everyone, bar a few stubborn ones, agree on our country’s environmental issues. It’s the “how” that they’re frustrated about.

The crux of it is that farmers feel they’re being made to be entirely responsible for reversing our environmental problems, in a comparatively very short space of time, with what they feel are unworkable solutions. – Nadia Lim

New Zealand is not a team of 5 million. New Zealand is a team of 6 million.

Rhetoric around a team of 5 million implies that the object of security is geographical New Zealand, as opposed to New Zealanders. It has created an ‘us and them’ mentality where Kiwis can simultaneously tut at nationalistic policies abroad while refusing to acknowledge the wall built around their own interests. The government’s responsibility is to its people – all its people.Guest at One Sock

We are all connected; kotahitanga, whakapapa, whanautanga and kaitiakitanga. The price of the situation at the border isn’t just economic, or even humanitarian – it’s our principles. We can choose to ‘be kind’ to some, but not all. We can choose to shut the gates to the village and leave our children and siblings outside. We can choose not to risk the many for the few. Most outside would understand this. But when but the government on our behalf chooses to make space for the rich, for profit-seekers, sportspeople and others to entertain us (Larry Page, 401 Dubai Expo attendees, Wallabies, the Wiggles, to name a few) we have declared what our priorities are, and what they are not.

Perhaps it is rash to presume the government is espousing compassion but pursuing profit with its management of the border. In that case, there is a fine line between caution and cowardice, just as there is between bravery and stupidity. But history teaches us that the outcomes of each are seldom a matter of deliberation, but principle.

One day the border will open and, like the rest of the world, we will have to learn to live with this virus. We will also have to live with the memory of how we treated each other. – Guest at One Sock

One of the most disappointing features of this era of late-stage capitalism is the moral cowardice of those running our civil institutions and their failure to uphold the values of a liberal capitalist democracy. –Damien Grant

Much good has come from this focus on the primacy of the shareholder. A firm succeeds by meeting the needs and desires of its customers and winning business over decades. A solvent, well-run business provides employment not only for its staff but those who toil for its suppliers, as well the positive externalities enjoyed by its customers and even a healthy bounty to the local tax authority. – Damien Grant

No longer are boards responsible for the dreary task of making an honest profit. Now they could be actors in the great game of state, using the capital and networks at their disposal to grandstand on the vital issues of the day.Damien Grant

Between the decision to rip up the rules on the gas market, to the difficulty consenting renewables projects, to the threat to build hydro storage at Lake Onslow, the market is simply responding to the signals that the Government is sending it. – Hamish Rutherford

The Government’s ban on new gas exploration and consequent destruction of the gas industry was a major contributor to the lack of gas. This will only get worse as fields rapidly run down. We should be enthusiastically drilling for gas, including shale gas in the North Island and the South Island.Bryan Leyland

The Maritime Union says its members are angry that they were put at risk by going on board a ship with Covid cases. Maybe I am the first to tell the union, the country is angry that its members have put everyone at risk by willfully refusing to be vaccinated.

The Maritime Union is affiliated to the Labour Party. Is this the reason ministers have not insisted port border workers be vaccinated? This is the fourth ship with Covid in a month.

Chris Hipkins, the Covid Response Minister, has been in politics all his life. He joined the Labour party as a schoolboy. You have to be highly political not to have acted on the Simpson/Roche report. Last weekend he was even denying the MIQ booking system is a failure. – Richard Prebble

The MIQ system is a shambles. The government’s Covid policy relies on luck. – Richard Prebble

The failure of education standards will prove to be a far greater catastrophe for New Zealand than Covid. Without the next generation of well-educated school leavers we are destined to be a failed state.

For Maori and Pacifica students, it is already a tragedy. The majority are leaving school after 16,000 hours of tuition unable to read or do math at a level required by the modern economy.- Richard Prebble

It is hard to learn if you are not at school. Paying state schools for their average daily attendance instead of the nominal roll would make attendance every school’s top priority.

The teachers’ unions would go nuts but educational achievement would improve immediately. – Richard Prebble

Will a future Labour government make a formal apology for the Ardern government’s failure to give today’s pupils a world class education? Hopefully there will not also need to an apology for leaving our ports wide open to Covid. – Richard Prebble

Governments work best when officials understand and are in sync with Ministers’ policy expectations. Ministers start to look shaky when they seem unable to impose their will on their respective departments, or when their public pronouncements begin to sound more and more like the bureaucratese officials can so quickly resort to, to cover inaction.Peter Dunne

Indeed, there are at least three other current examples where ministers seem to be struggling to get the response they want from public agencies for which they are responsible, or where they are starting to look no more than mouthpieces for their departments. – Peter Dunne

A less overworked and consequently more focused minister might well have questioned from the outset the wisdom of relying on the cumbersome and largely incompetent district health board structure, and the exclusion of other community resources, to deliver the vaccination programme with the rapidity and flexibility required, if New Zealand is to be in a position of safety where it can consider returning to somewhere near normality any time soon.

Similarly, Hipkins’ recent public frustration at the lack of response from officials to his request to look at new more patient-friendly Covid19 testing systems – like saliva based tests, for example – to replace the current intrusive nasal test is illustrative of a minister increasingly unable to get officials to implement his agenda, suggesting he is now working more at the officials’ behest than the Government’s intent.Peter Dunne

All this means New Zealand’s recovery from Covid-19 now rests more with the convenience of cautious bureaucrats than the insistence and any urgency of the Government. – Peter Dunne

Hipkins’ colleague, Immigration and Justice Minister Kris Faa’foi has, over recent weeks, almost destroyed any reputation for effectiveness he had built up during his first term as a minister. His weak handling of the hate speech and conversion therapy issues, and the extraordinary inconsistencies in the way migrant workers and their families are being treated during the pandemic have been astounding. Faa’foi, who is apparently keen to leave politics, looks increasingly uninterested, and out of touch with the major issues affecting his portfolios. His media performances on the hate speech and conversion therapy issues have given the impression of someone who neither understands the complexity of the issues involved, nor wants to get too heavily involved in clarifying some of the challenging issues being raised.Peter Dunne

Whatever the explanation, it is a sad day for New Zealand when free speech is considered to be politically risky. An institution that cannot deal with diversity of opinion is a priesthood; it has no right to call itself a university. – Martin Hanson

Claiming people are “hurt” as a rebuttal to another academic’s argument is surely at odds with what academics do — debate ideas logically in the hope of finding the truth. Why is it relevant that some people felt “hurt and dismay”? It is possible to be hurt and still wrong.Matt Heath

Instead of weaponising people’s hurt, we should encourage hurt people to concentrate on why they are hurt. Taking offence is a choice. Choosing not to be offended is a win-win. If your opposition’s claims aren’t valid, they will be easy and fun to refute. If the claims are correct, even better, you have been gifted truth. In which case, the honourable emotion is gratitude. Either way, you don’t need to feel “hurt and dismay”.

Anger, hurt and dismay are gut reactions. You have to act fast before negative emotions take control of your words and actions. An excellent place to start is empathy. – Matt Heath

If you ask me (no one did), academics who hide from uncomfortable discussions by claiming they or others are “hurt” are taking the easy way out. Argue the points, not the emotions. If you disagree with me, come at me. I won’t get hurt. I’d love to be proven wrong; it would be the gift of knowledge. – Matt Heath

We heard as we travelled around the countryside submitters from far and wide. Many of the leaseholders came to speak to the select committee during our hearings in Wellington, in Queenstown, and in Christchurch, and they were amongst some of the most heartfelt submissions that I’ve heard in my time in Parliament. These were representatives of families who had farmed sensibly, pragmatically, with conservation and environmental values at their heart for several generations, and they were distraught, they were hurt, they were confused and unconvinced by the need or the desire for why this Government would want to treat them so harshly, so poorly, and so insultingly. – Scott Simpson

This seems to be a bill that is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. High country farmers, the leaseholders, can feel rightly upset and angry with the moves that this Government is making, because at the heart of this piece of legislation, it undermines the generations of goodwill that have been established between the Crown and the leaseholders. It undermines the good work and the faith that they have invested, not only in terms of their emotion, their hard work, their blood, sweat, and toil but also millions, tens of millions, of dollars of improvement, enhancement, and careful, prudent management of the high country leases. I felt very, very sorry for those submitters who came and, in many cases, were emotional, understandably emotional, about the way that they were going to be treated under this piece of legislation, because at its core, it changes the relationship that they have entered into. – Scott Simpson

When the Prime Minister and the Health Minister go out of their way so obviously to avoid directly answering a question, it is a flashing sign they understand a truthful answer would be highly damaging. – Graham Adams

“Bi” is Latin for two. It therefore inevitably throws emphasis onto the differences, real and imagined, between Maori and Pakeha.

It’s this focus on separateness, rather than the things that draw us together, that has enabled a political culture to flourish in which people of Maori and Pakeha descent are increasingly at odds. – Karl du Fresne

On the contrary, silencing people will almost certainly magnify resentment due to the perception that only one side of the debate is allowed to be heard.

Besides, we should admit that underneath what appears to be crude anti-Maori rhetoric, there is a legitimate grievance: namely, a feeling that the political agenda is largely being driven by people who represent only 16.5 percent of the population, and that other voices are increasingly excluded from the public conversation – or at least that part of the conversation controlled by the media and the government. A situation in which a minority group is perceived as wielding disproportionate power and influence is plainly at odds with fundamental notions of democracy.Karl du Fresne

This doesn’t mean denying that many part-Maori people are disadvantaged in many respects, or prevent us from doing whatever we can to put them on the same footing as the Pakeha majority. As a Pakeha, I can’t see how it could possibly be in my interests for Maori to fail. On the contrary, we would all benefit if Maori health, education and imprisonment rates were improved.   But I don’t see how this can be achieved by setting up a potentially destructive contest between the two main population groups. – Karl du Fresne

The runners with Down Syndrome always bring tears to my eyes. I remember seeing a race in which the two leaders stopped to hug each other instead of crossing the finish line.

Heroic and magnanimous are the words that came to mind when I witnessed their elegant gesture of camaraderie.

Winners. Raising the bar of being wholly human. – Robert Fulghum

Calling someone a racist seems to be the first thing that comes to mind for certain parts of NZ when they don’t agree with something that is said. That’s actually the problem here. Hence my call for NZ to wake up to the danger of the insipid cancel culture that is doing a lot of damage to NZ. – Peter Williams

If a country wants to change its name officially it should do so in a democratic and measured way.  We all know very well why the political class don’t want such a democratic activity – they know what the result will most likely be. The majority will want to retain New Zealand. And there is a certain group of people in this country who are just not prepared to accept democratic outcomes anymore. And that is the most worrying aspect of this entire episode. Peter Williams

To adapt an old aphorism, everyone is an environmentalist until the lights go out. Then we discover a deeper and more immediate concern – a drop in our living standard. – John Roughan

Climate science does not have much luck. The latest dire report from the IPPC was scheduled for release on the same day we awoke to news of the previous night’s blackout in Hamilton and other places. The report duly came out on Tuesday. You might have heard people worrying about what it contained. I didn’t. I heard plenty of concern about the power cut.

The problem for governments that make it their overriding mission to tackle climate change is that most people will not lower their living standards. They will not and nor should they. Human ingenuity can do better. If a government gives climate change greater importance they will change the government. – John Roughan

I began to feel I was too Māori to be Pākehā and too Pākehā to be Māori. Not a proper one at least… If you can’t speak te reo you ain’t a real Māori. And real Māori are Labour. – Simon Bridges

Just as all Scots don’t wear kilts, we can’t put Māori over there as the ones with te reo, moko and marae. – Simon Bridges

I’ve been prone to look down on stay-at-home dads, because our conception of masculinity, whether we like it or not, is of breadwinners.

It’s some deep evolutionary thing. We’ve been hunting animals, and then we’re meant to be out working.

And as I say in the book, whilst I’m not the tough guy playing rugby, for me masculinity I have always associated with work. Long hours is what real men do.

But of course, in 2021, we need to be clear that a real man can be a guy who’s at home with his children while his partner is out as the breadwinner. And I’m glad I’ve woken up to that reality. – Simon Bridges

I’m not gonna suggest that there’s been no moments in my life where the gamesmanship has meant I’ve done something. But if that’s all it is, that’s a real problem,” he says.

“We’ve got this narrow political culture where Red and Blue are actually pretty similar. They’re all professionals.-  Simon Bridges

I could spend a long time trying to do something about it. But no, that would feel like a betrayal of who I am. And in a world where identity and authenticity are such big things, it just wouldn’t be any of that. – Simon Bridges

New Zealand should be very concerned about the possibility that a major event occurs and we simply can’t scramble our Defence Force quick enough; really highly professional people, well trained, have always responded well in the past.

But at the moment … there’s a real shortfall if something was to happen in the Pacific, or further afield that they need to respond to – Chris Penk

Rimmington has correctly analysed that Labour will happily waste $10 million on a train no one uses, but National would not regard $10 million for 30 commuters as sensible spending. – David Farrar

The Green Party stands for many things, a great many things indeed, some of them real, some of them quite fanciful and yet wonderfully appealing in their innocence, but one thing we won’t tolerate is a painting of someone who galvanised a nation in the fight against the Nazi regime and the threat it posed to democracy, freedom, and, you know, life. – Steve Braunias

So many things that probably could have got to me and should have got to me, didn’t get to me. That really got to me, the accent stuff. . . I do think that the book will, in that portion, stop it. I reckon media will read that and appreciate it’s a pretty narrow, parochial snobbism – that if they’re worried about gender and race and all the other things, which they should be, they should be about that as well.Simon Bridges

I realised, getting vaccinated was not actually exclusively about me. It’s actually about those in our community who’re vulnerable and immune compromised, and how would I feel if I passed it onto them? Also, it’s a collective effort to help our country get back into a connected functioning part of the world. We cannot remain an isolated hermit kingdom forever. – Kate Hawkesby

Now I understand being lean isn’t a priority, being strong is,” Donoghue says. “It doesn’t matter what I sit at on the scales. It’s opened us up to understand it’s not about a number but more about a good feeling, knowing we’re fuelling well. – Brooke Donoghue

So we changed the wording. Where we would usually say ‘If you don’t fuel enough, this is the result’, instead every communication became ‘If you fuel according to the work you’re doing, this is the result you’ll get’. It was an excellent approach to behaviour change.Christel Dunshea-Mooij 

Ideal race weights were really a proxy in the past for being healthy and in a good position. You heard stories that ‘leaner is better’. But we’ve got better insight now, so we don’t use those terms. – James Coote

It used to be you ate less to stay a lightweight. But to be able to see I could eat a lot more and then train harder – and stay at the same weight – was eye-opening. It made a huge difference to the way I trained, because I could work harder. – Jackie Kiddle

Being strong has often been seen as a masculine thing in sport. But in rowing, throughout our athletes and staff, the push to be stronger is a positive thing for women too.

As a female athlete, I want to be strong, so I’ve made some massive gains in the gym. I can see my strength performance getting better as well. Our physiologist helped us change the way we look at ourselves. Jackie Kiddle

I’d like to see this support expanded down to high school girls, to take away the stereotypes of strength being masculine, or not eating because you need to look a certain way.

We want to be good role models when it comes to female health. To show girls at high schools that you can row and be healthy – Jackie Kiddle

The surest way to a space in MIQ, for the past 16 months, has been political influence. Those with political influence get spaces. Those without it are forced into a broken room booking system. Getting a room through that broken system seems to be a full-time job all on its own: some would-be travellers have even hired people to sit at a computer and hit the refresh button, all day long, on their behalf.

But for those with political pull, things are a bit easier.- Eric Crampton

The rules ensure that those with political pull can find a way through. Longstanding insiders have political pull. More recent migrants who have not seen their families for a year-and-a-half do not.

The system seems corrupt – but not in any bribe-taking sense. Instead, it is corrupt in what seems a particularly Kiwi sense of the term. No money changes hands. No officials or ministers are bribed. None need to be. The corruption instead is baked into the rules of the system providing a fast-track for those with political pull.

Officials follow the rules of a game that was rigged from the outset.Eric Crampton

Political influence determines who gets fast-tracked entry through MIQ, who is denied any access to the MIQ system, and who is relegated to a broken booking system where the rooms are officially free but come at terrible cost.

The cost of a free room is the time spent trying to secure a space – which can be weeks of dedicated effort. It also includes the terrible uncertainty faced by everyone who fears a sudden turn of events could require them to travel, but that that travel would prove impossible. If you do not have pull, there are currently no rooms available through November.

For many people desperate to rejoin their families, the real price of entry is infinite: there is simply no way they can enter, because they do not have the required political pull. – Eric Crampton

It has been considered unfair for prices to have any role in allocating scarce MIQ spaces. But allocating spaces by political influence and a broken booking system has been worse. If MIQ will be required, for at least some travellers, even after the vaccine roll-out, the Government needs to stop allocating scarce spaces through the aristocracy of pull.Eric Crampton

Some words, in their modern usages, either invite lies or are in themselves implicit lies. One such word, of course, is diversity. Another is inclusion. Just as the Ministry of Love in Nineteen Eighty-Four was responsible for repression and torture, so the word diversity promotes the imposition of uniformity and inclusion promotes exclusion.  – Theodore Dalrymple

No doubt sheer cowardice had much to do with it, for cowardice is often the midwife of lies. Theodore Dalrymple

We are about to witness one of the worst tragedies for women and girls in modern history. From now on, once more, young girls, pre-teens, will be married off too much older men, often enough with multiple wives. Young girls won’t be allowed to go to school, they won’t be allowed to learn to read and write, let alone sing, they won’t be allowed to practice most careers, they won’t be allowed to go the bazaar without the permission, and generally the presence, of their controlling male relative. – Greg Sheridan 

Te Huia is doomed to be yet another spectacular fail from this government, but they have too much political capital at risk to admit it. – Frank Newman

In recent years with the public renaissance of Māori culture, most public events will have a religious dimension in a Māori prayer or karakia. I love this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it brings some life and culture to our otherwise arid secularism. Secondly, I believe our tangata whenua are spiritually set apart and important to our country.

There is an exquisite irony in what’s happened here. Our public servants and civic leaders, who’d spit on the ground during a Pākehā’s Christian prayer, beam like Cheshire Cats when the same is done in te reo. I love this. God works in mysterious ways and he clearly has a sense of humour. – Simon Bridges 

None of this means I hold any Messiah complex. There have been long periods of my life where I have sought answers through prayer but the phone to the Big Guy has seemed off the hook. Despite my stories, I don’t believe in dial-a-God. It’s simply that I believe God is there wanting a personal relationship with everyone. I am not special. – Simon Bridges

The Government’s vaccine purchase of late last year is a microcosm of what’s wrong with its priorities, and a worrying indication that ‘getting the message right’ trumps real world achievement. – Kate MacNamara

There’s no reason to question the spending on contract negotiation, it’s specialised and its consequences were staggeringly large.

And given that New Zealand’s first receipt of the Pfizer vaccine was months behind other countries, and very low for months more, there’s a strong argument to be made that more money should have been spent on advice.

There’s no such rationale for coughing up large sums out of that kitty for communications advice, however: the services MBIE bought with the second largest chunk of that $700,000 were for PR.Kate MacNamara

To give a sense of the priority, that spending trumped the $38,000 that went on the Science and Technical Advisory Group, the $49,000 that went to a research advisor, the $12,000 paid to Horizon Research to study potential Covid-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake, and the $5,500 spent went on translation services.

The breakdown is instructive because it points to how the government, and by extension, its political masters, weighs messaging. – Kate MacNamara

As Auckland University economist Robert MacCullock has estimated, it’s likely New Zealand could have paid an extra $40m (in the order of $4 more per dose) to receive early vaccine delivery.

If it had done so (combined with a competent rollout) we would now be in the position of having already offered inoculation to everyone in our small population, or close to it. – Kate MacNamara

When asked by the Herald last month why the Government didn’t pay more to get Pfizer vaccines early, Hipkins claimed such a move would have been “unethical”.

It was a fatuous remark that sidestepped the Minister’s primary responsibility, which is to the New Zealand public. All the more so now that the public is again housebound in a level 4 lockdown, and footing what Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, has advised is a weekly bill of some $1.5 billion, a tally that notably excludes a host of costs, not the least of which is lost education to school children.

Minister Hipkins needs a new moral compass, if he ditched the spin doctors he could no doubt afford one.- Kate MacNamara

We want to be able to care for our patients – we want to care for them in a safe environment, and it’s so unsafe because of a lack of staffing. Di

Nurses are the ones who move forward and say, ‘I’m happy to do this. We’re here to help, and we’re doing it differently. We’re working outside our normal areas, and normal hours – we’re doing it again.- Geraldine

I understand lockdown had to be done fast, but it’s significantly harder for people whose pay is not consistent. I was lucky enough to get paid the night we went into lockdown and worked 45 hours last week so had enough money to buy groceries but that’s not the case for everyone.

I know people who get paid Wednesday/Thursday and they won’t get paid for their hours this week. They’ll have to go without the essentials because they didn’t have enough money to go to the doctors for their prescriptions renewed. – Ellsie Coles

“We had all these customers desperate to get back to their local cafes and bars, but the way [customers] treated us was appalling. Before lockdown, customers were dismissive, abusive and rude but it was almost like they had completely forgotten their manners. It was also how drunk they were getting. – Ann King

Xenophobia is, regrettably, not a new strain in the national psyche, more an endemic seasonal virus that has circulated since time immemorial. However, the prevailing attitude, expressed through policy and the rhetoric of our leaders, to New Zealanders outside the border – ranging from frosty indifference to outright hostility – is very much a new development. Ben Thomas 

However, since Covid, New Zealanders’ circle of empathy seems to have been pulled tight, like a knot, around the territorial boundaries of the country.

New Zealanders caught outside, or the families of foreign visa holders here doing often essential work including nursing and teaching, feel very much like they are looking in. In some respects, the pandemic has made the country smaller. Our families, our co-workers’ families, our friends, now show up in the public discourse mainly as risks to be managed or, more likely, excluded.

While government surrogates criticise “lifestyle” travellers and those who “chose” to live overseas, stories mount of partners who have not seen newborns. – Ben Thomas 

The New Zealand state’s efficiency and wraparound service, seen in the dispensation of wage subsidies and (ironically) passport processing speed, is experienced by offshore New Zealanders, setting regular alarms to stay online and wait to click hopelessly for hours to book non-existent spots in MIQ, as uncaring and capricious.

In order for values to count as character, they have to endure in good times and bad. Is the New Zealand national identity we treasure a reflection of who we really are, or of the benign times we have lived through until now? With the imminent effects of climate change and the movement of mass refugees from the hell of Afghanistan under the Taliban, these are questions we may be answering soon. – Ben Thomas 

Education is more than just a pathway to a job. It’s about growing young people who are filled with aspiration, with capabilities, with vision for themselves and the world around them.

The focus of education has definitely shifted … there’s been a focus on what can be measured, and evaluated.

The arts play an important part in developing creativity, engagement with the world around them … it’s more than a skillset  – Esther Hansen

Like any mother, it doesn’t matter how old your children are, you want to be with them. I’m sure there’ll be lots of other families around the area who identify with how we’re feeling at the moment.Anne Tolley

I think it’s time that these modern day politicians showed the great man a bit of respect. He was not perfect, but then again, who is? He was a man of his age and his opinions and actions reflected that. Indeed, attempting to impose today’s opinions on historical figures, as many on the left do, is just childish.

What is not up for debate, however, is that the world, including New Zealand, owes Churchill a great debt. And he will be revered long after this obsession with wokeness has passed and politicians like Ardern have thankfully left the stage. – Paul A. Nuttall

No other country has achieved lockdowns as tough as New Zealand’s, and thereby executed an elimination strategy. Especially with the Delta strain, almost everyone else has accepted that Covid is here to stay. Instead of being preoccupied with national self-congratulation, they have focused aggressively on early vaccination. Matthew Hooton

Even once we reach the undefined level of vaccination Ardern says would lead to the borders reopening, Covid will keep arriving, spreading, making people sick, putting some of us in ICU and even killing a few.

If Ardern’s definition of elimination means lockdown every time, then her strategy will have run its course not long after we emerge from this one.

Meanwhile, her Government’s shameful performance in preparing the public and the health system for that imminent reality should be a national scandal.

More than a year since Ardern was forced to switch from flattening the curve to elimination, the Ministry of Health reports no material improvement in ICU capability. – Matthew Hooton

There were 334 ventilators and 358 ICU beds at the end of the first lockdown. The Ministry of Health says there are just 284 fully staffed ICU beds across public hospitals. While there are 629 ICU-capable ventilators, including 133 in reserve, the number of nurses trained to work with them improved by just 1 per cent. The problem that forced Ardern to opt for her ultra-tough strategy is as bad as ever.

Little new can be said about the vaccination fiasco. We have the slowest rollout in the developed world, not all frontline border and MIQ workers are yet vaccinated and there was no chance of reaching population immunity until mid-December, even without this week’s pause.Matthew Hooton

Yet Ardern and her Beehive should not be let off so easily. For months, ministers and strategists have privately pointed the finger at the bureaucrats for every failure while claiming success for Ardern’s rhetorical achievements.

But those bureaucrats report to ministers. If their performance is as poor as claimed, then the buck stops at the top and the time for whispers is past. If the Beehive does not believe senior bureaucrats are capable of preparing the health system for a post-elimination strategy, it should say so publicly and get in people who are. – Matthew Hooton

While we continue to have low deaths and infections, we have a woefully low rate of vaccination, which currently languishes among Romania, Albania, and Bolivia. If other parts of our public infrastructure were ranked so poorly, you’d expect ministerial resignations. Thomas Coughlan

The idea that most DHBs could be “hitting” their targets, while the population eligible for the vaccines is still roughly 60 per cent unvaccinated shows the targets for the sham they are – the emperor has no vaccine.

The Government has some serious questions to answer to the people put at risk by the latest Covid outbreak, which appears to include a large number of under-30s. – Thomas Coughlan

No one’s kidding themselves about a return to what things were like before, but for our Northern Hemisphere friends, two doses of vaccine and a bit of mask-wearing seems to buy an alternative lifestyle that has significant benefits to our own.

This somewhat upends the politics of Covid in New Zealand. Should this outbreak worsen, and modelling suggests it might, it will no longer be clear that our approach is the right one.Thomas Coughlan

New Zealand’s Covid-19 response was idealised last year. The small island nation eliminated the virus – with short lockdowns, closed borders and effective contact tracing – and largely lived without restrictions. Economic growth has been high and mortality has been low. But what worked in 2020 is not the same as what makes sense in 2021.

We now have vaccines. The ingenious jabs substantially reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from the virus. They do not mean zero risk or, for that matter, zero cases. But they change the calculation: elimination becomes a costly strategy with very limited benefit. What’s the point of lockdowns and maintaining closed borders for a virus that, with vaccines in the mix, no longer causes much harm to individual people?

New Zealand has not come to this realisation. It has fetishised “zero risk” for the past 17 months and show little interest in updating its strategy. – Matthew Lesh

New Zealand’s zero Covid strategy has had frightening consequences. A once-welcoming nation is turning into an isolated dystopia, where liberties are taken away in a heartbeat and outsiders are shunned. Living under the constant threat of disruptive and psychologically crushing lockdowns. Being closed off to the world, with citizens’ ability to travel curtailed and foreigners largely prevented from entering. So much for the open, welcoming liberal nation projected by Ms Ardern. Matthew Lesh

The implications of New Zealand’s strategy stretch well beyond Covid. “Zero risk” gives the state limitless justification to interfere with our lives in the most extreme of ways. Individual choice, bodily autonomy and basic privacy become subsumed to the goal of taking away anything that could do us even the smallest level of harm. Fear breeds tolerance for the most extreme actions. A liberal society becomes impossible to maintain.

This pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways. We have sacrificed so much in the name of public safety. But at some point, we have to declare “enough is enough”. Snap lockdowns over small numbers of cases and constant state interference in our lives is simply no way to live. – Matthew Lesh

The Government are in charge of this, they are the ones that are setting the rules. They are the ones that need to make sure it’s working properly. They can’t delegate responsibility to others.

“It’s them that I expect to make sure the that vaccination is working everywhere in the country when they say it is.Todd McClay

The conceit is in thinking that we can come up with a completely 100 per cent water-tight border. Short of letting no goods or people cross it at all, which would truly mean North Korea, there is always a risk. Fortification is effective but not failsafe. And so it proved.

Still, hopefully some good can come from this new reality. Perhaps we could collectively use the time to develop some greater clarity of thinking on our response to this pandemic, knowing what we know now. – Steven Joyce

The word elimination has become Orwellian and unhelpful. Covid is not eliminated when we keep it out of the country. It is simply shut out and we have barricaded ourselves in.

And all the evidence suggests the world won’t be eliminating it, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Kicking the term elimination to touch is important because its use by our politicians has bred smugness and complacency, particularly in them. They have acted as if Covid has been eliminated, and signalled the same to the public with their actions. – Steven Joyce

The vaccine rollout has been accurately described as a strollout.

There has been scandalous negligence in preparing our hospital facilities for another wave of the pandemic, as alluded to in the Skegg Report last week.

The Government has instead busied itself looking down its nose at the outbreaks in Australia, reorganising hospital administration (during a pandemic?), and paying for things like school lunches for kids whose parents don’t want them, or putting cameras on fishing boats, all out of the Covid emergency fund.

This is not the sort of stuff on the top of your to-do list when there is a war on.

And it is a war, with a tricky and persistent invader. – Steven Joyce

Fortifying our defences and using our moat to protect ourselves is a legitimate tactic and I support it.

Where we have fallen down is in not using the time those fortifications have given us to urgently vaccinate the population and prepare our hospital facilities to cope better with another outbreak.

When one occurs, there is no alternative to locking down.

Which brings us to the second thing we can take out of this lockdown. A new urgency for vaccination for everyone.- Steven Joyce

Vaccinations don’t prevent transmission, but they do suppress serious illness. It should by now be clear that vaccination is the only known way out of this pandemic. Frankly, it was apparent months ago, but at least with the clear and present danger we have now, the Government and all of us should have the impetus to rapidly get it done.

Temporarily halting vaccinations at the start of lockdown was not a good first step. You mean you hadn’t prepared vaccination centres for operating under Level 3 or 4? Steven Joyce

If ministers start admitting that people won’t need to be locked down once we are all vaccinated, it’s a short step from there to blaming them for the current lockdown, given that they have been supervising the world’s slowest rollout.

Alternatively, they really believe our hospital system won’t cope with even a small increase in Covid-related hospitalisations next year alongside our regular flu season. I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes if that proved to be the case, having by then had two years to prepare. – Steven Joyce

We did well in the early stages of Covid but this outbreak should remove any remaining temptation to rest on our laurels. Hopefully it teaches some humility to our politicians and senior public servants and a much-needed reassessment of our plan forward from here.

We only need to lock down now because we are not vaccinated.

Our businesses, our kids missing their schooling and friends, our families missing life events, elderly neighbours prevented from talking to each other, those who feel life and its opportunities are passing them by, can’t put up with much more of “lockdown is the only solution”. Steven Joyce

Certainty is really helpful for people – not only people in business and small businesses but also for people just trying to go about their lives. A lack of certainty, waiting for a one o’clock announcement every day, this actually adds to the anxiety – it doesn’t actually help people that much. – Judith Collins

We are in lockdown because the government did not act with urgency to protect New Zealanders. Their complacency and inability to ensure supply and delivery of the vaccine roll-out has left New Zealanders as sitting ducks; completely vulnerable to the Delta variant when it inevitably got into the community.

It is not enough for the prime minister to lock us in our homes and speak from the podium once a day. New Zealanders don’t need sermons, we need vaccines in arms right now. – Judith Collins

New Zealanders are right to be very frustrated. We understand we need to have a level 4 lockdown because of the seriousness of the situation … that is taken as a given.

But what is not acceptable, is the government has been absolutely warned about this situation for many months, then only now talking about bringing in, for instance, saliva testing and rapid antigen testing … it’s like they’ve been asleep at the wheel and complacent and sitting back and saying ‘aren’t we clever?’ when ultimately, we’re not. – Judith Collins

The plan should have been in place and able to be activated at literally a moment’s notice.

Indeed, it is unimaginable that any responsible government would not have a contingency plan well in place for such an emergency, suggesting that the real point of the contrived urgency was more about showing the government was bold, decisive and in control. If, as the Prime Minister has implied, they were awaiting further information before reaching a decision, then that suggests the government and the Ministry of Health were hopelessly ill-prepared for such eventualities, something the public should be extremely concerned about. It must be hoped that the Prime Minister’s hints were yet more spin, not an accurate reflection of the real state of play. – Peter Dunne

And when the announcement was eventually made, the sanctimony and arrogance were palpable. All New Zealanders wanted to know was when we would be going into lockdown and for how long. Even then, they were kept in suspense when it was announced that the Prime Minister was running ten minutes late – a deliberate ploy to attract attention if ever there was one. Worse, when she eventually deigned to appear it was to be a further twelve minutes of generalities and slogans before she eventually got to the point we had all been waiting to hear.

All the appeals to live in your bubble, remember you are part of the team of five million, and to be kind are so much humbug. All they do is raise the hairs on the back of the neck more rigidly. Peter Dunne

Delaying the announcement several hours until the 6:00 pm television news and then not even turning up on time to deliver it suggests the process was more about keeping the focus on the government, than meeting the public’s concerns.- Peter Dunne

I would prefer the government when dealing with complex but not unexpected situations like this week’s outbreak to keep its focus solely on the facts, without the extraneous, embellishing drama. People simply need to know what is happening, how it affects them, and what they need to do. They can work the rest out for themselves without the saccharine laced platitudes masquerading as announcements that have become so much a part of the process. – Peter Dunne

We will get through the current situation for no other reason than people’s focus on their own and their families’ wellbeing. It has nothing to do with being kind, staying in bubbles, or being part of some mythical team of five million. That is all just so much unctuous poppycock. People will respond because they appreciate it is in their best personal interests to do so. Anything else is just puffery. Therefore, we deserve to be respected as mature and responsible beings, capable of sound decision-making, not errant children to be given morality lectures at our leaders’ convenience. – Peter Dunne

The greatest absurdity of this week’s announcements, in response to a situation brought on almost entirely by our poor vaccination rates, was the abrupt decision to suspend vaccinations, only to be just as abruptly overturned less than 24 hours later. It suggested a complete lack of forethought, planning and organisation. Or, as the ever-curmudgeonly Eeyore of Winnie-the-Pooh fame would say, “They haven’t got Brains any of them, only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake, and they don’t Think.” – Peter Dunne

The rest of the world is embracing its post-pandemic future while New Zealand enters a March 2020 time warp.Andrea Vance

We were overconfident about the elimination strategy and our ability to keep the virus out. But whereas the virus got more sophisticated, more “tricky” to use Ardern’s own parlance, we did not.

While New Zealand was free of community transmission, the Government took a leisurely approach to vaccination.- Andrea Vance

If only Ardern had applied the ‘go hard and go early’ approach to her Government’s vaccination strategy. – Andrea Vance

These are failings that were foreseeable and are unforgivable. We are yet to learn how the variant penetrated New Zealand’s defences, but the most obvious pathway is a border incursion.

So for now, we will do our bit. Stay home, mask up, relinquish our freedoms and hope the consequences of a lockdown are not too severe.

The responsibility to stop the spread is once again on us – because the Government failed to play its part. – Andrea Vance

The truth is we can’t maintain zero-Covid forever. We all know that. We’re only delaying the inevitable by carrying on with it.

At some point we will have to open the borders again to the world. Pretending there is a choice not to do that is a fallacy. There simply is no other option. We must rejoin the world if we want to be part of it.Heather du Plessis-Allan

So at some point Covid will come into New Zealand. We will be jabbed, there will be outbreaks, some people will die, some won’t even know they’re crook, most people will get a touch of something then get better. That will happen. We don’t get to choose if it happens, we only get to choose when it happens.

So, knowing that every lockdown only delays the inevitable, ask yourself how many more level 4s you’re happy to do before you’ve had enough. Heather du Plessis-Allan

The truth is we can’t maintain zero-Covid forever. We all know that. We’re only delaying the inevitable by carrying on with it.

At some point we will have to open the borders again to the world. Pretending there is a choice not to do that is a fallacy. There simply is no other option. We must rejoin the world if we want to be part of it.Heather du Plessis-Allan

So at some point Covid will come into New Zealand. We will be jabbed, there will be outbreaks, some people will die, some won’t even know they’re crook, most people will get a touch of something then get better. That will happen. We don’t get to choose if it happens, we only get to choose when it happens.

So, knowing that every lockdown only delays the inevitable, ask yourself how many more level 4s you’re happy to do before you’ve had enough. – Heather du Plessis-Allan

The reason the Police weren’t jabbed properly was because they didn’t have the supply. At last, Ardern admits it. We asked that very question six hours earlier yesterday when talking to Ashley Bloomfield, but he wouldn’t admit it.

The Police, of course, who have this week talked of taking legal action, have every right to be angry. The supermarket workers have every right to be angry. By weeks end, we all have every right to be angry because we have been shockingly let down. Mike Hosking

Their plan, such as it ever was, is now officially a scandal, it’s a bust. As Scott Morrison and his smug lot across the Tasman had to admit and apologise for.

So too will this lot, who suffered the same smugness, who refused to listen, who refused to accept that it was a race, the borders don’t keep out the virus, and zero Covid is a joke.

It’s a hopelessly idealistic joke believed in by people who are not remotely connected to the real world. – Mike Hosking

So, to the supply, we have been conned.

We didn’t pay the premium for early delivery, we didn’t have any urgency, we were blinded by the dumb belief that a locked border was all we needed, and we could take all year no worries. What a farce.

We could have jabbed everyone if we started in February by June. And yet here we are in August 118th in the world locked down, everything shut, and yet again going nowhere.Mike Hosking

That’s where this Government’s plan, or lack of plan has landed us. Front-liners not protected because of lack of supply, 118th in the world, locked down like nowhere else apart from the other inept idiots across the Tasman.

The scam is up. The con is exposed. The Ardern Show was as shallow as ‘be kind’ and stick a teddy in the window.

You think they’re going to put this on the cover of Vogue or Time?  – Mike Hosking

So in a year and a half, we haven’t come very far at all, in terms of mitigating the damage the virus does and in terms of treating people when the worst does happen. All the time we were rocking on at Six60 concerts and cheering on the All Blacks, there were people whispering “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. And they were right. –  Kerre McIvor

There is much that has been done well by New Zealanders and the Government in response to Covid-19. But lockdowns also remind us there is much that could be done better, particularly by the decision makers at the Ministry of Health. – Kerre McIvor

Despite her butter-wouldn’t-melt image of kindness and care and concern for others, Ardern is a ruthless politician who is cunning as a fox and quick to change tack in response to public criticism.

She is also shameless at stage-managing her public appearances for maximum effect — whether it is showcasing her government’s actions at her 1pm press conferences or being covered by a Polynesian ceremonial mat during an official apology for the Dawn Raids in a highly choreographed piece of political theatre.Graham Adams

Eventually her adherents — no matter how fervently they believe in their leader’s righteousness — will come to see that the fabled destination will always remain out of reach. They are steadily drifting away as it becomes more and more apparent her government is seriously incompetent in battling the scourges that afflict New Zealand — including overburdened infrastructure, crippling house prices and children living in poverty. – Graham Adams

Despite her butter-wouldn’t-melt image of kindness and care and concern for others, Ardern is a ruthless politician who is cunning as a fox and quick to change tack in response to public criticism.

She is also shameless at stage-managing her public appearances for maximum effect — whether it is showcasing her government’s actions at her 1pm press conferences or being covered by a Polynesian ceremonial mat during an official apology for the Dawn Raids in a highly choreographed piece of political theatre.Graham Adams

Eventually her adherents — no matter how fervently they believe in their leader’s righteousness — will come to see that the fabled destination will always remain out of reach. They are steadily drifting away as it becomes more and more apparent her government is seriously incompetent in battling the scourges that afflict New Zealand — including overburdened infrastructure, crippling house prices and children living in poverty. – Graham Adams

As is the case with so much in life, the wealthy in New Zealand and Australia have the resources to ensure their families come out of the current lockdown (and future lockdowns) relatively unscathed. The countries’ least privileged citizens aren’t so fortunate. They’re the ones that suffer the most from this strategy and the costs they’re being asked to bear will be with many of them for life. These lands down under are failing their most vulnerable with a policy of COVID-zero.Nicholas Kerr

Failing a knighthood, as a farmer there’s only one way I want the public to thank me: by happily paying a fair price for what I produce and not begrudging how I make a living. – Craig Hickman

The Prime Minister doesn’t need to hog all the media space. She already gets up to an hour a day any day she likes beaming straight into Kiwi’s lounge rooms. She already gets to pick and choose which media outlets she goes on in a bid to avoid hard questions.

When she stops meetings from taking place via zoom It goes beyond a health-based decision and becomes a political decision. She is playing politics here while she pretends to rise above that. It is impossible to respect this decision and her for making it. Heather du Plessis-Allan

Jacinda Ardern consistently calls for Kiwis to “be kind”. In today’s 4pm stand-up, the record hadn’t changed. How would she respond if asked what cruelty she had exercised in the pursuit of kindness? Because she has inflicted cruelty on New Zealanders through lock down. – Lindsay Mitchell

If she is asking people who barely tolerate each other in normal circumstances to transform under lock down, you know she lacks any understanding of the human condition under extreme stress.

She must. Or she wouldn’t be pig-headedly pursuing the same pathway she led us down in 2020.

“Be kind” is a hollow platitude. That’s all it has ever been.Lindsay Mitchell

Any confidence that we learned our lessons from last year’s lockdown regarding mass virus testing should be thrown out the window. Having been through this process before, one would assume the Ministry of Health and its various providers would have a clear and concise plan to efficiently deliver mass Covid-19 testing to as many people as possible.

Instead, close contacts and essential workers were made to wait more than 10 hours for a test – some were even turned away as demand trumped capacity. Queues of cars wreaked havoc with what little traffic was on the roads under alert level 4 restrictions, indicating a clear lack in appropriate facilities for such efforts. – Adam Pearse

The question remains; how did we let this happen again?Adam Pearse

The frustrating aspect is that we’ve been through this before. We know what happens when calls for mass testing are sounded and yet nothing seems to have changed in the 17 months we’ve had to prepare. – Adam Pearse

What is most disappointing is that it’s our nurses who are bailing us out again. They have no choice but to rise to the occasion. They know their communities need them, rain or shine, swabbing every nose possible. The hope is – likely a naive one – that their sacrifices will not be forgotten by those who hold the keys to better pay and improved working conditions. – Adam Pearse

But if the past week has signalled anything, it’s that we will never be able to successfully operate mass testing without addressing the historical issues in our health workforce.

If you head to a well-resourced medical centre, you will see how mass events should be run and what they all have in common is sufficient staffing. Without the necessary numbers, people’s anxieties will continue to defeat efforts to prioritise testing for those who need it. – Adam Pearse

Until the world is willing to admit the obvious truth—that radical Islamism sanctions atrocities against women—these atrocities will continue to happen. – Yasmine Mohammed

The New Zealand Government can take a lot of lessons from its Covid leadership.

Firstly, and most importantly, leadership should always get in the weeds and into the detail on the mission critical matters. The best business leaders in the world are always on the dance floor, not on the balcony.

Less time on PR. More time on solving problems and practical decision making. More time being proactive not reactive. – Nick Mowbray

Helicopter management simply does not work. It’s a “hit and hope” approach.

Leaders need to first understand at a macro level what needs to be prioritised and then move swiftly into action, getting into the detail, solving problems and building actionable frameworks. Unfortunately this government’s record reads poorly in this regard.Nick Mowbray

Unfortunately I fear a lack of understanding at a macro level. A good example was the wage freeze on nurses for three years in complete disregard to mass inflation (consumer/houses/assets) – so basically a wage reduction.

No one is more mission-critical than nurses. We need every single one. Our health system is already vastly understaffed regardless of Covid. We should be prioritising our health professionals now more than ever. – Nick Mowbray

Complacency kills companies. It’s also what got New Zealand into this spot. Like in business if you don’t keep moving, evolving, improving and being proactive every single day you get left behind and eventually you lose.

NZ’s Covid response flat-lined a long time ago.

I hope our Government is learning from this and evolves so we can move quickly join the world again. – Nick Mowbray

These people, who ask questions, challenge the government’s response, probe and probe again after detecting inconsistencies, play a vital role in improving the Covid-19 response.

Because being part of the team doesn’t mean mindlessly accepting information at face value. And being kind doesn’t mean sitting down and shutting up.Laura Walters

Questions and challenges should be rooted in fact, with the express aim of improving public understanding and access to information, as we all work towards the same goal: keeping New Zealanders safe. But there is plenty of space between whipping up hysteria and essentially becoming part of the government communications machine. It is not the job of the New Zealand media or the opposition to make the government look good.

Unfortunately, many of those who do play the vital role of questioning the government’s handling of some aspects of its pandemic response are vilified. – Laura Walters

Watching the sausage being made can be surprising, confusing and sometimes off-putting. Repeated questioning on the same topic might seem unnecessary or even a form of badgering, but it’s also how a subtle inconsistency in a comment from the country’s leadership can reveal a wider issue. Laura Walters

So, when we talk about the team of five million, it’s important to remember there are many roles within the team, and they often look quite different.

Good science has been at the core of New Zealand’s successful Covid-19 strategy. Good science is not born out of acceptance or complacency; it’s reliant on the constant challenging and questioning of ideas and approaches, in order to get the best possible outcome. The same is true for public health policy and political responses. – Laura Walters

This is a very shonky and incompetent government. Make no mistake.Lindsay Mitchell

Isn’t it interesting how much lower the bar is for bureaucrats than the private sector?  Even our sports teams get more scrutiny. Imagine if Ashley Bloomfield was an All Black coach.

Bear in mind, this guy is our number one, head and shoulders above the next best suitable candidate. That’s the worryingly low benchmark we’re setting and accepting across the state service for where performance expectations sit. –  Kate Hawkesby

If this were the private sector, we’d score KPI’s, canvas high and lowlights, and grade performance. The only conclusion we could draw would result in a small chat with HR in which Bloomfield be invited to bring a support person, followed by a press release about spending more time with his family, and, if he’s lucky, a small pay-out.   

But this isn’t happening with Teflon Bloomfield, NZ’s highest profile bureaucrat. Kate Hawkesby

On numerous occasions he’s at best withheld or obfuscated material information – and at worst has bare face lied to Cabinet, a Select Committee and the public. On testing, on flu vaccines, on PPE, on the critical vaccine procurement and rollout, on saline injections, on text messages to Foreign Affairs.

He continues to defend the indefensible.  – Kate Hawkesby

We’ve been caught short – and he’s not fronting that with a mea culpa, or even highlighting areas where things could’ve been better, nor is he being put under scrutiny or held to account by his employer. 

He has not demonstrated the light-footed dynamism of thought that’s required in managing the risks of an ever-evolving pandemic. In the private sector he’d be toast, and yet, we have deified him.Kate Hawkesby

If these really are isolated incidents, then the only conclusion one can make is that Labour volunteers are pathologically stupid. – David Farrar

Meanwhile, my mother and I still cry a storm of tears on twice-weekly video calls and our daughter gets further and further from the place of her birth. For those Australians who say expats had all the time they needed to come home, I hope you never have to watch a loved one’s funeral on a video call or lose a job without a way to find another. I hope you never have to take out a mortgage to hug your mother. The financial cost has been enormous, but it’s the emotional toll that hurts the most. That and the realisation that what you thought was “home” was just an illusion.Gaynor Reid

The role of Opposition in our Westminster parliamentary system is vital to a properly functioning democracy. Our system is adversarial not simply because the Opposition want to win the next election, but because of the serious part we must play in scrutinising the Government and having them justify their actions to the New Zealand public.- Judith Collins

They like us to give them eight days’ notice if we’re increasing our capacity, but as I said to them, Jacinda didn’t give us eight days’ notice for the lockdown.Annabel Turley

You just completely blow up with Delta if you have got an unvaccinated population. So this [outbreak] is a consequence of being too slow on the vaccine and not buying up aggressively at the start of the year, and there’s actually not a lot of excuse for that. We have to put ourselves first, and we didn’t. – Rodney Jones

The system appears to be bursting at the seams and the Government’s only response so far has been to shrug off criticism because this outbreak is bigger than what they had prepared for.

But that ignores four stark warnings that the Government has received over the past 18 months about the state of the contact tracing system. Each of these critical reviews found that the system would struggle to handle a medium-sized outbreak. Now such an outbreak has arrived and it has been spurred on further by the fact that it involves the highly transmissible Delta variant. – Mark Daalder

It’s the struggle that Ardern has been waging for 18 months – not wanting to politicise the pandemic but having to grapple with the fact that these decisions are by necessity political. We shouldn’t kid ourselves that the government makes its decisions solely on the health advice. – Marc Daalder

It’s bad enough that Delta arrived on these shores at a time when our vaccination rates were among the lowest in the developed world. It’s appalling that our frontline workers in hospitals, ports, supermarkets and police were largely unvaccinated. – Bruce Cotterill

Training testers and contact tracers now is like training your army after the enemy has invaded. – Bruce Cotterill

In the meantime we have 2000 supermarket workers in isolation and six supermarkets closed in Auckland alone as a result of a lack of staff. If you think lockdowns are frustrating people, just wait until they can’t get to the supermarket.

It gets worse. Life-saving surgeries, including a kidney transplant, have been cancelled because of a shortage of nurses. Where are the nurses? Isolating of course. – Bruce Cotterill

This crisis is far from over and we desperately need to change the way we are going about it. We need a sense of urgency. We need to put people in places with the ability to get things done and authority to make decisions.

Government departments and their servants provide adequate resource when life is normal. But in a crisis you need different skills and different strategies. You need rapid response, something government departments are not typically known for. You need people who can put teams together quickly and get things done. Political affiliations don’t matter. It’s all hands on deck. Just like the wartime that most of us are too young to remember.

And we need to be thinking ahead. Someone needs to be asking what the worst-case scenarios are and how we should prepare in case they happen. – Bruce Cotterill

The starting point in solving any problem is to admit that that you have a problem.

Instead of making excuses, let’s admit that our vaccination programme has been too slow and make a plan to get ahead of the game. Order booster vaccines now (we haven’t done this yet!).

How do we speed up testing? And how do we speed up getting test results? It’s six days in some places. Too long. We need next-day results. – Bruce Cotterill

We need a plan to vaccinate as many people as we can, as quickly as we can. We then need to plan our re-opening. We need to share those plans with the people and businesses so they can make their own plans. – Bruce Cotterill

Meeting surge capacity isn’t just some gold standard target to make the Government and health officials feel a sense of achievement, it’s pivotal to ensuring lockdown is actually working and Delta is being stamped out.

Based on the woefully low current capacity of contact tracers, not to mention the fact 600 contact tracers are being sought in the middle of an outbreak, it’s difficult to see what stress-testing was carried out ahead of Delta arriving. – Jo Moir

Either the Ministry of Health did little to no scenario-planning or wildly overestimated its own abilities.Jo Moir

Knowledge is power and contacts of positive cases not getting tested immediately makes it difficult to gauge how big the outbreak is and, in some cases, results in more people getting infected.

In addition to that there’s now issues of people who have tested positive not being moved into quarantine. – Jo Moir

It’s becoming increasingly unclear what exactly about this outbreak was planned for. – Jo Moir

So, then, reasonable decisions about the lockdowns are being made with the information available at this moment. But it would be remiss not to point out that we find ourselves in at this moment because of decisions made by the same people and their officials earlier in the pandemic.

For whatever reasons – and I think there are like many, some of which were out of officials’ control and some of which weren’t – we have found ourselves woefully behind in the vaccination programme. Ministers are incredibly defensive whenever they are challenged on this. But you can’t take credit for one part of the response and shirk all responsibility for another. – Jack Tame

Even once everyone had the opportunity to be vaccinated, the government will not remove all Covid restrictions. The government will build its own MIQ facilities. It will take at least a year to complete. The ability to travel wherever we wanted and return whenever we wanted will be a treasured memory for many years to come.

We will be unable to take international holidays. We will not be able to visit our friends and family overseas. Doing business worldwide will remain difficult.

Meanwhile, life in New Zealand will change. We will always be bound by rules. Covid outbreaks will be a constant concern, shutting down parts of the country without warning. Any plan will always be subject to change. There will be no certainty.

The power balance in our country will have shifted in favour of the state. We will live in a world where the state is in charge of our well-being and security. A state that, by the way, consistently fails at basic tasks. No matter how grateful we are to be alive, who would want to live in such a dystopian society?

For Covid’s sake, how much freedom will New Zealanders sacrifice? The answer to that question will determine the future of our country. – Oliver Hartiwch

We are short of nurses, not just in aged care facilities but all across the country. Yet I saw the Prime Minister saying that we were prepared for Covid-19 – but that Delta had a head start on us.

Nonsense – we had a head start on Delta but the government didn’t prepare for it by bringing in the thousands more nurses needed throughout the health system. We have had only 20 per cent of the population vaccinated and there are only enough vaccines in the country right now for another 375,000 (750,000 vaccines in all, two doses per person).

That’s not ‘prepared’; that is the slowest vaccination rate in the whole OECD. It’s a joke for Jacinda Ardern to say Delta had a head start.Brien Cree

So now we have overworked nurses working for six and seven days a week. They are asking for more pay and fair enough – but this isn’t a pay issue, it’s a supply issue. Instead of allowing nurses in from overseas, they have decided to burn out the nurses we have here.

There are over 2000 nursing vacancies in DHB hospitals and over 1000 in residential care. Then there’s natural attrition as people leave for all sorts of reasons – now including exhaustion. So who knows what the real number is? – Brien Cree

Why do we have 11-hour queues for vaccines? Not enough nurses. Why are we the lowest-vaccinated country in the OECD? A shortage of nurses.

We have been asking and asking for overseas nurses to be let in here – refused at every turn. We should have been building capacity in our health system, planning for when the virus came back. We all knew it was coming and the government kept telling us it would – yet they did nothing.

The government is making it sound like they have prepared for the crisis – but the real crisis is yet to occur. That will happen when the severely stretched health system can’t cope with the lack of specialist services not bringing in overseas nurses has caused.

They should have realised we were in the eye of the storm and brought in thousands of nurses in the past year, settled them in and got them working so the system could stay robust. They didn’t, although sports teams and entertainers got in, and now they have made us vulnerable. – Brien Cree

The government short-sightedness in keeping essential workers out is mystifying. They had an opportunity and they blew it.
The health system is in crisis now and the real crisis hasn’t even arrived yet.

Let’s learn from our mistakes – when this lockdown is over, let’s get much needed nurses into the country and build some capacity back into our health system. – Brien Cree

Empty streets, shuttered businesses, and people physically avoiding each other are bleak reminders that our ‘normal’ way of living is now fragile.

That, and the ‘us vs them’ group think mentality.

Us being the ‘team of five million’ and ‘them’ anyone who dares criticise the Government’s approach. – Andrea Vance

We are complying with restrictions on movement, gatherings, and even trading.

But that does not mean we gave up on freedom of expression.Andrea Vance

Government supporters aggressively insist critics should shut up and trust the experts. That anyone questioning the prevailing approach is recklessly anti-science, undermining the response or indifferent to a higher death toll.

This is too crude. It is perfectly logical to accept the need for current restrictions, while criticising the Government for how we got here and the failings that led to it, not least in the vaccination roll-out.

Delta got in – there should be hard questions about why so that the gaps are plugged. People are being denied the right to come home – it’s only fair they get to question the managed isolation procedures keeping them out. – Andrea Vance

It is right that the decisions coming from the Beehive are informed by complex scientific evidence.

But that does not mean that only those with expertise have the right to an opinion.

No political decisions are based solely on pure science.Andrea Vance

Political decisions always involve trade-offs, moral values and priorities. – Andrea Vance

It’s not defeatism, just debate. We can reject that which does not work or apply.Andrea Vance

Expert knowledge reflects the assumptions and blind spots of the giver. Scientists disagree, evidence shifts (last year masks were ineffective, this year they are essential. Mandatory scanning couldn’t be implemented at a meaningful level, now it can. All advice is, and should be, challengeable).

Obviously, there are caveats. Misinformation, especially when it is harmful, should be vigorously challenged.

The need for debate is vital.The normal checks and balances of our democracy are suspended at a time when they are most needed.

The 1pm briefings skew the discourse in favour of the Government, at the expense of Opposition voices, which are already weakened. – Andrea Vance

Sweeping decisions on fundamental rights are being made on a daily basis without any kind of scrutiny. They might be right and justified, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be examined and debated.

Of course, she must exude confidence in the strategy and maintain consistent and clear messaging. But it’s troubling when she says she doesn’t want a debate.

And that makes it even more crucial to have robust scrutiny from outside her inner circle.

Because if they are the right decisions, then they remain the right decisions. Questions and alternative viewpoints won’t change that, and we can be more confident we’re on the right course.

We shouldn’t run from transparent and open debate – scrutiny can only improve the decision-making. – Andrea Vance

This lockdown feels much harder than the first big one last year.

The mood has changed. People – especially Aucklanders who are on their fourth stay-at-home order – are grumpier. Commentators and columnists are scratchier.Heather du Plessis-Allan

Most of it, though, is driven by an enormous sense of disappointment. We thought New Zealand was exceptional. The world raved about our world-leading Covid response. But now, the world is ridiculing us at worst, shocked at best.

Our national pride is at stake, says economist Robert MacCulloch. This outbreak threatens to break our spirits and he worries that if we fall into despondency at the thought of being left behind by the world it could lead to an economic slump.

It’s likely dawning on a lot of people how unprepared our leaders were for this outbreak. Little in our Covid response has changed between March 2020 and today. That’ll come as a shock and disappointment to many who put so much faith in Jacinda and Ashley. – Heather du Plessis-Allan

The pair have been touted globally as remarkable leaders, but it may be starting to feel like our remarkable leaders only have one trick and that’s locking down. They haven’t been successful at much else in this pandemic response.

They haven’t got enough contact tracers: they’re now doubling that number from 600 to 1200, showing how underprepared they were. They haven’t prepared a good testing system: people were lining up from 4am some days. They are so far behind on the vaccine rollout we are still the last in the developed world. We now face the prospect of running out next month unless we slow down the rollout.Heather du Plessis-Allan

Our tolerance for the usual explanation has dropped. Back in March 2020, Jacinda and Ashley were able to – reasonably fairly – frame themselves as the victims of events beyond their control. This is a textbook crisis management technique. And we accepted the explanation because none of us expected Covid. How could they? We accepted they were building the plane as they flew it. We gave them latitude.

They tried to roll out that narrative again this outbreak. It won’t work nearly as well this time. We’re too clued up on Covid now to buy that.

For the past eight months, we’ve watched the news as the Delta variant spread, from India to the UK to NSW. We watched it evade the legendary NSW contact tracers. We watched it leak over Australian borders throwing state after state into lockdown. We knew it was coming here and we knew it would take a stepped-up response to tackle it.

So, we expected our world leading PM and world leading Health Ministry to also have watched Delta and been ready for its arrival. They clearly aren’t. Which means we’re not buying the same old explanation run out from the 1 o’clock press conferences.

That makes us more grumpy. It shakes our faith in them and their ability to handle future outbreaks.- Heather du Plessis-Allan

That criticism stunned Professor Sir David Skegg. He said he was surprised how this level 4 lockdown has shaken the faith of some commentators in the elimination strategy. But he’s mistaken about what’s shaken our faith. It’s not just the lockdown. It’s really also our leaders. We expected them to be more prepared.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow accepting this might be the only tool they know how to use. Lockdowns are proving harder and harder to live through. – Heather du Plessis-Allan

In no small measure, the Government has successfully used fear as a big motivating factor for people over the past 18 months. Now fear could work against it. As with a lot of things in this world, the Government can’t “fix” Covid, and will essentially have to level with the public about this fact. – Luke Malpass

But this all turns on the vaccine rollout working and getting through basically everyone who wants a jab by the end of the year. That’s precisely the reason Ardern has turned the top of the 1pm update into a misleading advertorial about the vaccine programme, in which she or the minister fronting produces a huge headline figure of the number of New Zealanders who “have either booked or had at least one vaccination”. It’s a nonsense number.

Being booked and being vaccinated are not the same thing. Trying to pretend that the rollout is quicker than it is by blowing up a concocted headline number does no-one any favours and hurts the Government’s credibility.

But it does speak to the political vulnerability of the Government. Elimination is still the strategy, and it needs to hold until the population gets vaccinated. Luke Malpass

All of that means this is the last-gasp lockdown. Delta is going to be here, it is going to have to be managed, but lockdowns won’t be how it is done. They are too tough, too costly and, ultimately, compliance is unlikely to remain as high in the future.

Elimination via lockdowns was arguably the best strategy. But in a world of Delta, the economic juice won’t be worth the squeeze. Now the Government has to remind Kiwis that it can’t save every life, and also realign its messaging around the fact that health outcomes are never the only consideration in policy-making.

This lockdown may drag on, and there may still be others before the end of the vaccine programme, but it is now clear that its time in the Covid toolkit is coming to an end. – Luke Malpass

To suggest that the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi in some way obviate the Crown’s need to obtain the consent of the New Zealand electorate before changing the way justice is administered, and by whom, is tantamount to suggesting that the Treaty legally entitles the Crown to extinguish democracy in the Realm of New Zealand without reference to its citizens and in defiance of its laws.

Such action would constitute a declaration of war upon the people of this country. Any government participating in such an open attack on the civil and political rights of its citizens would immediately identify itself as their enemy, and forfeit all claims to their continuing loyalty. It would be responsible for unleashing civil war upon New Zealand.

The Labour Government’s silence on these matters is indefensible. A clear statement of its determination to uphold the Rule of Law and protect the democratic rights of all New Zealanders is long overdue. Chris Trotter

The border closure followed by the smugness that led us to do nothing comes at a massive economic price.

Smugness and complacency don’t pay the bills – Mike Hosking

An ICU bed is a physical structure alone. It cannot provide care or compassion and cannot save your life. To do all these things, a bed must come with staff who literally stand next to it every hour of every day.

Although doctors are able to provide support for several patients at once, individual care is provided almost exclusively by ICU nurses. Such expertise does not grow on trees; nurses only acquire these skills after five years of (intensive) training. Trans-Tasman wage gaps ensure a significant ongoing turnover. – Dr Alex Psirides

A single ICU bed costs well in excess of one million dollars per year. There are convincing arguments to be made that investing similar sums in either public or primary health will produce greater benefits for more New Zealanders, including addressing healthcare inequities. Building a cheaper fence at the top of the cliff is surely preferable to funding more expensive ambulances at the bottom.

These difficult decisions are for politicians and health economists, but should be informed by clinicians and the expectations of the public who should simultaneously hope that they never require an ICU bed, yet that one be readily available for them should they need it. – Dr Alex Psirides

If PR spin was all we needed to defeat a virus, Covid-19 might have been vanquished by now. But there comes a point when the Beehive communications wizards run out of snappy lines and the government’s vulnerability is exposed for all to see. Perhaps we’ve reached that point. Karl du Fresne

On three key metrics – testing, vaccinations and contract tracing – the government’s performance has been, to put it politely, tardy and sub-optimal. Protection at the border has been slack and the MIQ system appears to be a shambles. Meanwhile vulnerable essential workers, from police to port employees, have inexplicably been left unvaccinated.  – Karl du Fresne

Myself, I’m conflicted on Covid-19 and the lockdown. I instinctively bridle against the government’s gloss and spin. I’m over Ardern’s patronising entreaties from the Beehive Theatrette and I know lots of people – apolitical people, in many cases – who feel the same.

I also take the cynical view that the Covid-19 outbreak gifted a floundering government with a priceless publicity opportunity and a rare chance to give the appearance of being in control of something. But while the crisis initially looked good for Labour, it turned out not to be, because it served to cast light on the multiple glaring deficiencies in its preparedness. – Karl du Fresne

 

In April 2020, the Government banned all point-of-care tests unless they are approved by MedSafe, and MedSafe has not seen fit to approve any tests. Pedants might argue that this does not constitute a ban, but banning anything that has not been approved while deciding not to approve any options sounds an awful lot like a ban. – Eric Crampton

Whatever the merits of the ban prior to Delta, it makes little sense in the context of a Delta outbreak with transmission among essential workers. Providing rapid antigen tests to essential employers, such as hospitals, care homes, and supermarkets, would provide an additional layer of protection. If the Government did not want to purchase the tests for those employers, it could at least ease the ban on them.Eric Crampton

The effective functioning of any army has forever been based on instant obedience and strict unquestioning discipline – attributes now seriously out of fashion, especially with the liberal left. Why, these good folks demand, should soldiers be required to behave like automatons, just because they enlisted in an army? This kind of stricture, they maintain, is scandalously undemocratic, and before risking being shot or blown to bits, every trooper should be allowed due process and adequate consultation. – Dave Witherow

But the armed forces, no matter how they are viewed, ARE exceptional. They are not at all like other institutions, and the nature of their role immediately precludes many people whose merits, otherwise, might be undeniable. The blind and stone deaf, for example, are of limited utility as tank drivers or fighter pilots, or even as basic infantry. Paraplegics, pacifists, octogenarians, hemophiliacs, epileptics – whole categories of estimable people, however meritorious, need not apply.Dave Witherow

Can we just stop and think about how crazy this is:  In the middle of an outbreak – our government is seriously talking about slowing down our vaccination rate, because otherwise they will run out of supply.

Surely, it’s better to have those vaccines in arms rather than the freezer?  Surely, it’s better to simply jab until you run out?  – Heather du Plessis-Allan

There is only one reason that the government would rather slow down and that’s so they don’t’ have to say the embarrassing words ‘we’ve run out’.  

Because that make global headlines “New Zealand runs out vaccine”.Heather du Plessis-Allan

So, what they’d be doing is telling up to 40K Kiwis every day that they’re not going to get vaccine protection from delta, during an outbreak, because Labour needs to avoid an embarrassing headline. That is literally the calculation that’s happened.

If Labour does this then it has made the decision that it is more important to save face globally than it is to get you jabbed if you’re one of those 40K kiwis who miss every single day.  And by the way 40K a day is 280K a week is 1.1m a month. That’s a lot of us who go unprotected to save face. – Heather du Plessis-Allan

Labour putting its political reputation ahead of you staying protected from Covid is frankly outrageous. 

Get it out of the freezer.  Get it in arms.  If we run out, we run out, but at least more kiwis have protection that way.   – Heather du Plessis-Allan

Comparing a fictional TV series set in the context of a world war against an invading army may be seen by some as trivialising what is a real threat against an aggressive virus. However, there does seem to be a Dad’s Army element to the manner in which New Zealand has responded to the pandemic and a Home Guard feel about the way our government has managed the Delta variant. – Frank Newman

The most important chart right now, the only one that matters, is how many New Zealanders have received a Covid-19 vaccination. The Prime Minister may like to point to other charts each day, but all they show is a lack of direction from her and her GovernmentJudith Collins

 


Quotes of the year

30/12/2016

When you work in the media, you realise men and women age differently. Male hosts and presenters age chronologically – when they’re 40, they’re 40. Women hosts and presenters age in time and a half – when they’re 40, they’re really 60 and obviously unemployable. – Kerre McIvor

All these observations have led me to build up a profile of the typical litterer.

Their most blindingly obvious characteristic is that they have no taste. No surprises there: people who drink Lion Red or eat Chicken McBites are unlikely to be sensitive to aesthetic concerns about the urban environment. . .  – Karl du Fresne

“I think it’s more important that New Zealand has a policy on these things that is based on principle and for us it’s got to mean as a small country we support strong international institutions and we support international law.” – Murray McCully

A strong, growing economy encourages businesses to boost investment in new products and markets, hire more staff and pay good wages.

It means New Zealanders can be rewarded for their enterprise and hard work.

And a strong economy supports better healthcare, education and other public services New Zealanders need.

We frequently hear Opposition parties calling for the Government to magic up more jobs, to increase wages or to spend more on any number of things.

Actually, governments can’t do any of those things without a strong, confident economy.

The Government’s role is creating an environment that gives businesses the confidence to invest and grow.

And to do that in the knowledge they’ll be backed by clear and sensible government policies.  – John Key

I’ve been warned recently, don’t go to most university campuses because the political correctness has been taken from being a good idea—which is, let’s not be mean particularly to people who are not able to look after themselves very well, that’s a good idea—to the point where any kind of criticism of any individual or group can be labelled cruel. And the whole point about humor, the whole point about comedy—and believe you me, I’ve thought about it—is that all comedy is critical. Even if you make a very inclusive joke—like, How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans—that’s about the human condition, it’s not excluding anyone, it’s saying we all have all these plans that probably won’t come and isn’t it funny that we still believe they’re going to happen. So that’s a very inclusive joke, but it’s still critical. All humor is critical. If we start saying, oh, we musn’t criticize or offend them, then humor is gone, and with humor goes a sense of proportion, and then, as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in 1984. –  John Cleese

“The electorate will either come to believe that Labour has given no serious thought to how its promises are to be paid for – which makes it fiscally incompetent. Or, that Labour knows very well how its promises will be paid for, but is unwilling to say so before it has been safely elected – which makes it politically dishonest. Chris Trotter

I miss Clark. She knew how to bribe voters.

Each election was a fresh and exciting promise with other people’s money. You did your voting, and you got your money. It seemed somehow more honest. – Rodney Hide.

“Unfortunately all Tai Tokerau (Northland) tribes are tainted by the Te Tii Marae circus. Their decision that the PM could go on the Marae but not talk makes a mockery of Marae culture.

What were they thinking, that the leader of the nation would stand and hum Pokarekare ana? – Shane Jones

. . . And I still don’t get it. I never get it when people use the word rape loosely, to cover any insult or transgression, when the reality is by no means imprecise, is often violent, and is always intensely, revoltingly invasive. . .

There is a difference, and it’s important. We shouldn’t undermine the serious criminality of rape by accusing people of it every time they annoy us. And another thing: if you’re going to protest, make your message clear. . .  – Rosemary McLeod

What bandwagon won’t politicians use our money to jump on? Here is a fantastic grassroots initiative, rightfully earning praise and the support from tens of thousands of New Zealanders, and Andrew Little comes along and wants in on the action. If politicians want to be associated with the campaign they should be digging into their own pockets, not forking out what comes from other people’s.”

“Being prudent with taxpayers’ money means not saying yes to every good cause that comes along. Is this beach really the most pressing need for extra Government cash right now? – Jordan Williams

Before any politician commits taxpayer’s money to any project they should think beyond the kudos of the publicity and be sure it is the most beneficial – and hence responsible  – way to spend the next million of other people’s (i.e.; taxpayer’s) money.

It is the norm before any public money is spent for the Treasury to give advice on the value for money that the spend offers. To let politicians to just spray taxpayers’ property around like confetti is a recipe for disaster. While running on their gut political instincts is their natural predisposition, any politician who expects tenure needs to be a bit above that. – Gareth Morgan

We all know DOC has plenty of land in its portfolio and can’t look after the estate it has already. The true conservation dividend it can earn comes from killing stuff – eliminating predators so that our native species can flourish. It does not come from buying more hectares that it can’t protect. Predator free zones are our best investment in conservation. – Gareth Morgan

He should be generous with his time but prudent with his money, quick on the rugby field but slow to criticise his mother-in-law.

He should also prefer to hold an articulate conversation rather than be hunched over a phone wasting time on social media. – Jane Smith on what makes the perfect Southern man.

. . . Against all this, our national day is almost rational. 

It marks the anniversary of the signing of an agreement – or rather a couple of differently worded agreements in different languages – which we have been arguing over pretty much ever since.

We’re kind of good at that. 

But we’re not breaking each other’s heads over it, despite the bad-tempered stirrers on both sides. We do tend to yell a lot. But we don’t ignore the issues any more.  . . Rob Hosking

“I’m the sort of guy who wants to give everything a crack.

“When you’re an old man sitting back and reflecting… Whether you achieved it or not, at least you gave it a crack, and that’s what I want to be thinking.” – Richie McCaw

Outside the membership of the ALP and the Greens, few Australians are interested in the politics of income redistribution.

And why should they be? After 24 years of continuous economic growth – a rising tide of national prosperity and wealth creation – the objective of government policy should be to float all boats, not to sink the biggest yachts in the flotilla in the vain hope that somehow this might help everybody else … – Mark Latham

One of the best parts of my job is the number of public servants and services providers I get to meet.

Overwhelmingly I find we’re all driven by the same thing – getting better results for New Zealanders, and doing our best for the most vulnerable.

Whether it’s social housing, health, education, welfare or justice, the goal is the same.

It is not enough to simply service misery with welfare payments or social houses or urgent health services. We want to help people make the changes they need to become independent.

This ensures people lead better lives, but also saves taxpayer money in the long run.

This Government is focussed not on spending for the sake of it, but on getting tangible results for people from that investment. . . Bill English

“We want to reduce misery, rather than service it and that requires a deep understanding of the drivers of social dysfunction.”Bill English

The first six weeks of the year has seen the left-wing parties talking about subjects of great interest to left-wing voters – the TPPA, free tertiary education, should John Key go to Waitangi? But, as with the last seven years, they’ve said and done nothing to cause soft National voters to question the competence or credibility of the government to run the country, and consider an alternative.

That’s really the game, now. Opposition MPs talking about values and visionary aspirations and compromised sovereignty and the future of work and what a jerk they all think John Key is is all very well, but if Key’s government is seen to be doing a good job in delivering the core government services that voters value, they’re not going to change their votes. And they shouldn’t! – Danyl Mclauchlan

“Of course I love the Union Jack, it’s my favourite flag and does things to my heart, but you guys are New Zealand.”  – Dawn French

I think the vans are plain nasty. Their slogans reinforce the misogyny that seems to have pervaded our society in recent years and imply that men are simply walking penises with only one thing on their mind and women are only useful as receptacles for sperm.

They demean both sexes and reduce men and women to their most base. – Kerre McIvor

There’s a classic clash of rights here: the right to protest versus the right of people to go about their lawful business unobstructed (or to use the classic phrase, “without let or hindrance”).

Freedom of movement, like freedom of speech, is a fundamental part of our rights. No one has the right to impede it just to make a political point, no matter how righteous they feel about their cause. . .

Now here’s the point. We live in one of the world’s freest and most open societies. People are entitled to shout and wave placards.

Protesters are indulged to the extent that authorities routinely allow them to conduct street marches that inconvenience other people.  In much of the world this would be unthinkable.

But protesters too often interpret this tolerance as a general licence to disrupt, which is where they get it wrong. Generally speaking, the right to protest ends at the point where it obstructs the rights of others.

When protesters become so pumped up with self-righteousness that they believe they’re entitled – indeed, have a moral duty – to interfere with the rights of others, public sympathy for their cause rapidly evaporates.Karl du Fresne

. . . This no doubt explained the Labour Party’s petulant stance, which itself raises the issue of how far we can trust a party that promoted a change of flag in its 2014 election policy and was fully represented on the cross-party committee that gave its blessing to the referendum process, but changed its mind. . .

The referendum may have resulted in no change, but for reasons so complex, confused and contradictory that it would be unwise to draw too many conclusions about why people voted the way they did. There were many ironies, including anti-TPPA protesters voting for the ultimate symbol of corporate greed ­sanctioned by the Empire.

Support for a new flag hasn’t been snuffed out. Rather, its momentum has been temporarily slowed. As we go on with the task of explaining to the rest of the world the difference between our flag and that of Australia – the Aussie flag depicts the Southern Cross more accurately – New Zealanders have at least engaged in a passionate, if frustratingly inconclusive, debate about what our flag should say about us. In the process, we may have learnt something about ourselves. That should leave us better prepared when the issue comes up again – as it will. The Listener

Admittedly humour is subjective, but Wicked’s misogynistic brand of wit is hardly worth dying on the barricades for. It’s a smart-arse, advertising-agency type of humour that appeals chiefly to sniggering schoolboys.

In fact one of the striking things about the Wicked controversy is that the company’s supposed humour has managed to offend almost everyone, liberals as well as conservatives.   – Karl du Fresne

We measure success by results, rather than the level of spending – Bill English.

. . . no one should be verbally attacked and denigrated because they believe in democracy and the right to make their own unsolicited political choice on who they want to give a donation to. – Lani Hagaman.

I would like to thank the dairy industry for pulling this country out of the recession in 2008, when the milk price generated the revenue, paid the tax, helped us stave off the pressure on the government’s books and, in particular, lifted the general confidence in regional New Zealand,” said Mr English. “It’s something of an untold story. –  Bill English

It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich.Glenn Reynolds

Real beauty is being able to laugh out loud and to make others laugh — not at ourselves, but at the absurdities of the lives that we’ve been told we should live. –  Gina Barreca

. . . Look, if we weren’t giving out the first, second and third place ribbons and the day was just about having fun and being outdoors, great! Let’s go on an Oprah Christmas special ribbon giving spree: “You get a ribbon, and you get a ribbon and you get a ribbon, riiiibonnnnnn!”

However WE DO give out the first, second and third place awards, so what message are we sending them? “Hey kids it doesn’t matter if you win but if you do win you get a special prize and accolade, but it doesn’t matter, but it does, and the rest of the kids get a generic thing because they’re not special like the kids who won, who aren’t special, but they are …”

Confusing huh? Imagine being a kid then!

After my highly scientific research at the track I’m now of the opinion that we don’t need to bother with participation awards.

For three reasons:

1. The kid’s don’t want them. They’re well on to us, the jig is up mates.

2. It’s OK to fail! Don’t be afraid to let your kids feel the sting of defeat. Let their little hearts get a ding or two, help them identify what they can learn from it and then they will grow and be better next time.

3. Don’t reward them for just showing up. It makes them grow up feeling entitled. You’re not doing them any favours — want and need create drive. . . Em Rusciano

We have tried everything and all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility. – Martin van Beynen

Food is essential to a stable functioning society and we must look at irrigation as essential public infrastructure. We must consider its benefits in terms of regional development and food production, urban water supply and recreation use, not simply in terms of economics and income generation.  . .

We need to start looking at water storeage and land use intensification as part of the s0lution and manage the environmental issues appropriately. It’s as simple as that.- Peter Graham

The Swiss decide not to steal from each other, launder the loot through a government bureaucracy and then give what’s left back to each other. Note this comment from a voter who favored the idea: “For me it would be a great opportunity to put my focus on my passion and not go to work just for a living.” Translation: “I would like others to work harder and pay taxes so I can work less and have fun.” – Lawrence Reed On the Swiss referendum where the majority rejected the proposal for a guaranteed basic income.

When female narcissism translates as empowerment I am both amused and confused. Whose gaze are such women courting when they expose so much pampered, surgically enhanced flesh if not males? If their intention is to attract female attention their only possible purpose could be to annoy, and cause older women to wonder how they deal with going to the bathroom, let alone cold weather. Blue goose-bumped skin has yet to take off as a fashion trend, but they could yet make that fashionable I guess.

These new-style feminists are not displaying ordinary, imperfect bodies, but bodies that conform to traditional pin-ups from men’s magazines, small-waisted, big-breasted, with rounded buttocks and flawless legs, in Kim’s case an old-fashioned hourglass figure that formerly called for a tight corset.Rosemary McLeod

So when an individual attempts to keep more of what he has created there is less anger than when someone tries to take what he hasn’t. That is why society has greater tolerance (and exhibits it through the courts) for tax evasion than welfare fraud. – Lindsay Mitchell

Every day starts with me not being dead, and what a fantastic way to start each day. . . There’s no excuse to not appreciate life fully. You owe it to the people who are unable to. Jake Bailey

It’s not easy being left wing in New Zealand at the moment. We’re currently focusing most of our efforts on cyber bullying John Key’s kids: it’s pretty bleak.

Labour and the Greens joining forces should be something I guess, if you add two parties together you can create a larger and more cohesive losing unit for 2017. The one bright spot is that after a solid eight years in opposition the Labour party have put together a comprehensive plan of what not to do. – Guy Williams 

My observation is that idiot posters from the hard Left tend to be plain nasty whereas their idiot colleagues from the far Right tend to be defined by their stupidity.    One of my PolSci lecturers used to put it this way … that there’s really no difference between the far Right and and the far Left … they are joined at the hip.  Both are authoritarian; both are dismissive of dissenting opinion to the point of violence. –  The Veteran

“When you’re a farmer who isn’t working your farm it can be pretty hard. We are farmers because we love the lifestyle, but over the last couple of years the fun has completely been taken out of it.

“Day in and day out all you think and talk about is the weather. It can be pretty depressing.

“There isn’t much you can do about it. You can’t buy the rain.” – Nick Hamilton

At 100, like many centenarians, this country’s Labour Party is looking confused and befuddled. It appears to have forgotten what it stood for when it was young and vibrant.

Under Little, this party that once stood against unthinking imperialism has campaigned to keep the Union Jack on New Zealand’s flag – perhaps keen to safeguard that Royal telegram! This party that once stood for workers making new lives in a new land, now wishes to stop immigrants investing in property in New Zealand; this party that once stood for diversity now makes overseas investment policy by tallying up “Chinese-sounding names”. Little is busy battling defamation claims, rather than fighting for Labour principles. – Jonathan Milne

News editors need to insist their journalists call out falsehoods in press conferences. Both Shorten and his Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen have previously advocated corporate tax cuts. They went to the election with higher deficits, higher spending and higher borrowing. How can reporters all last week have allowed Labor MPs to warn of imminent budget blocking tactics when only a week earlier Labor accepted $30 billion of so-called zombie cuts? Will reporters now let Labor get away with blocking savings it counted in its own election costings?

Do reporters know the Medicare rebate freeze Shorten claims is the basis for his Medicare scare was introduced by Labor in its 2013 budget? Are reporters going to let Labor continue to claim the government, which has presided over the highest bulk-billing rates in the history of Medicare, has cut $57bn from health when Labor ­itself only committed $2bn more to health than the Coalition?

Labor lost the election. Its primary vote, at 35.2 per cent, is its second lowest since World War II. Not only did it need a lie to save its primary, in truth it owes much of its position to Kevin Rudd, who in 2013 saved at least 15 seats that would have fallen under Julia ­Gillard. – Chris Mitchell

A complex and difficult social problem with many levels to it is being reduced to inane, empty slogans (just build 100,000 “more bloody houses” to quote the elegant language of the rather crude Leader of the Opposition) without any regard to how all that might be achieved. – Peter Dunne

There is no healing in pretending this bizarre violent stuff is not going on, and that there is some cute bumper sticker silver lining. (It is fine if you believe this, but for the love of God, PLEASE keep it to yourself. it will just tense us all up.) What is true is that the world has always been this way, people have always been this way, grace always bats last, it just does–and finally, when all is said and done, and the dust settles, which it does, Love is sovereign here. Ann Lamott

Seumas Milne remains on the staff of the Guardian and Observer while Labour pays him to work as its director of strategy. As a colleague on leave, he has the right to be treated with a gentleness journalists would not usually extend to spin doctors who do not enjoy his advantages. I therefore write with the caution of a good corporate man and the cheeriness of a co-worker when I say Milne could not do a better job of keeping the Tories in power if rogue MI5 agents had groomed him at Winchester College, signed him up at Oxford University and instructed him to infiltrate and destroy the Labour party.Nick Cohen

“If students can’t learn the way we’re teaching then we need to teach the way they learn.  Teaching is like any job, complacency is the enemy. So to ensure the success of students the teacher has to actually care.” – Matarahi Skipper 

. . . I would also like to think in Queenstown that we embrace culture instead of judging race and we celebrate our differences while not letting ourselves be defined by them.

We exist united by our similarities, not divided by petty differences.

We are, for the most part, grateful we have the opportunity to live in paradise, safe, happy and free.

If only this attitude could be spread as easily as fear and intolerance.Mark Wilson

I recognise that politicians don’t create jobs. Politicians create the environment in which business people create jobs. My job is to create the right the right environment for them to flourish and thrive.” – Sadiq Khan

The man is a psychopathic narcissist and that’s not just my opinion, that is the opinion of a whole range of people who are currently sitting in the Parliament. Come on, folks. I can think of 12 Australians off the top of my head who would be a better Secretary-General and one of them’s my Labrador. – Kristina Keneally

It isn’t so much saying Empress Helen has no clothes: It is just that she hasn’t quite earned the halo other people are all too enthusiastic about crowning her with. – Rob Hosking

Labour needs to move away from leftist anti-trade and anti-growth populism and try to make an actual difference to people’s lives rather than keeping its bloggers happy. – Greg Loveridge

Whatever shorter-term measures that government might take to contain spending, in the longer term the ideal way to reduce or contain government spending is to have less need for it.  . .

Much of Government spending is dealing with past failure, with poor decisions with programmes that claimed a lot and didn’t work.

We are creating a whole new set of tools that enable us to be much more discriminating about where spending is effective because where it is effective, it is worth spending a lot. – Bill English

In whichever direction you look, the autocrats, the dictators, the terrorists and the corrupt and cynical opportunists are fighting back. They are demonstrating daily that the lazy assumption of western triumph may be mistaken. Accordingly, it is time to relearn the lessons of history: that free societies do generally triumph in the end, but they need constant vigilance to protect them, and they often need a mixture of strong leadership, determined unity and a good measure of low cunning to help them along. – William Hague

The combination of John Key as PM and Bill English as Finance Minister has achieved an increasingly rare feat in any advanced economy. It includes returning a budget to surplus while managing better growth along with substantive social, economic and taxation reform.All within a political framework of relative popularity, especially a track record good enough to be re-elected with stronger voter endorsement for its programme. Better outcomes in health and education, fewer people on welfare and a return to surplus – not bad. – Australian Financial Review via Trans Tasman.

The principle of free speech can sometimes be used to defend the indefensible but it certainly shouldn’t be curtailed to avoid hurting the feelings of over-sensitive people whose views are often as unreasonable and entrenched as those of the very people they despise. – Martin van Beynen

Urban Kiwis are fewer generations away from the paddocks than are their American counterparts, and that helps maintain a certain egalitarianism of respect, but that won’t last forever. We already are seeing strong pushes to legislate and regulate against the lifestyle choices of those outside of the urban elite. You hear it in trendy Wellington cafes, where well dressed rich folks drinking high calorie mochaccinos speak with disdain about how others drink Coke or eat at McDonalds. It’s an inequality of respect.

Poverty is real and important. When it comes to inequality, I think we need a renewed egalitarianism of respect for the choices others make about what is best for them. The more cocooned we are in bubbles away from those who make different choices than we do, the more hesitant we should be to cast judgement. – Eric Crampton

Just remember that Hamish and I came out of a boat that failed.Eric Murray

Maybe it’s time to stop looking for someone or something to blame. The truth is: I am the only one who can give myself permission to be a badass. So here you go, sister. Turning 49 is not the moment to turn into a wilting sissy; it is not the time to be faint-hearted: it is time to prevail. In your own way, whatever that entails, since both the slavish adherence to rules and the utter abhorrence of them are reactions that need to be examined.

It is also time to stop making excuses because you have nothing to excuse.  – Deborah Hill-Cone

“I went down, and I was like, ‘What’s happening? Why am I on the ground?’ Then suddenly this hand on my shoulder, like ‘Get up, get up, we have to finish this,’ and I was like, ‘Yup, yup, you’re right. This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.”

“When you’re at this level you know how hard it is to get here. There’s just a mutual understanding of how much everyone puts into it. I’m never going to forget that moment. When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years’ time, that’s my story.”

“I’m so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I’ve never met her before, like I’ve never met this girl before, and isn’t that just so amazing? Such an amazing woman. . . . – Nikki Hamblin

I hate to break it to you, but there is a right to insult. The way to deal with a racist is to shame him with reason, not to jail him. Freedom of expression includes the right to say offensive things. It doesn’t include a right never to be offended.

There is certainly a right to say things that will be construed as insults by those intent on being insulted even though they’re not intended to be. – Lindsay Perigo

One thing we seem to have no shortage of is activists who claim Labour and National have devastated our country with successive “neoliberal” governments in the past 30 years. But the alternative to neoliberalism isn’t Norway, Denmark or Sweden. It’s Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. I know where I would rather live. – Liam Hehir

. . . silliness is part of sanity.
Looseness is an antidote to being uptight all the time.
Being able to play is essential to mental health.
If you don’t still sometimes do things that are foolish, or wacky, or a little loony then you will lose contact with your inner child, and miss the simple delight that comes with doing something just for the higgledy-piggledy hell of it. –  Robert Fulghum

It’s actually really important for us to be welcoming immigrants. We have to get over this xenophobic idea that we’re doing them a favour. At worst, it’s this completely mutually beneficial thing. So they get to live in a pretty nice country, and we get to live with people who are skilled and smart and clever and who are doing things that build our economy.  – Nigel Latta

In fact, being a parent is valuable precisely because it is so unlike goal-directed productive work. Caring for a child involves a deep recognition of the individuality and autonomy, the irreducible complexity and value of another unique, irreplaceable human being. That makes it worthwhile all by itself. – Alison Gopnik

There are some principled, genuinely compassionate in there who really want to make a difference. And then I think there are people that are the complete opposite.

They are, after all, just people like all of us. Like all organisations they have great people, and some not so great.

For us though, as voters, I’m hoping we can learn to demand more than coverage of the trivial, or the endless inane controversies, and instead expect a higher quality of debate. We should also, just by the by, lift our own game.

We might like to think they don’t of what we want, but the sad thing is a lot of the time they do exactly what we want. Maybe we need to want different things?Nigel Latta

There will always be a place for career politicians in Government since, if nothing else, a lifetime in politics can be assumed to impart knowledge about how the system actually works. But an effective Government should also include people who have experience with how things are in the real economy.  . .

That’s why I think government could do with more people like Alfred Ngaro. In addition to the skills he will have picked up in his as a pastor and a backbench MP, the five years he spent as a self-employed tradesman will give him an insight into the world so many of us live in. This is the world of GST returns, uneven cash-flows, customer complaints, hard to manage work-flows, provisional tax payments, accounting and legal fees, red tape, health, bad debtors and health and safety compliance costs. It is world with which fewer and fewer lawmakers have much, if any, familiarity.

Not everyone in politics needs to have this kind of background – but some of them should. –  Liam Hehir

Hongi’s name lives on in Hongi’s Track, the place his men dragged their canoes through the forest between lakes Rotoehu and Rotoiti, thence onto Lake Rotorua. He slaughtered and ate and enslaved many of my Te Arawa ancestors. But that’s all right, Hongi. It’s what went down in your day. Are we not, each generation, of the times we live in? –  Alan Duff

There were indeed many aspects of our past that were neither “good” nor “beautiful”; I’m sure that our descendants will find just as many things to condemn in our own age.  But we can never move forward as a nation by spitting on the legacy of the men and women (however imperfect) who helped to build it. – Jonathan Tracy

Domestically the big winner in all this is Key, who got to demonstrate to a couple hundred thousand female swing-voters what a progressive, balanced women-leader-supporting, generally great guy he is. It’s conventional wisdom on the left that Key et al are morons, and the left is morally and intellectually superior, and I’m not sure how this squares with Key and his party constantly doing very smart things, and the left’s parties and leaders mostly, consistently being pretty dumb. – Danyl Mclauchlan

I always encourage particularly young people, don’t be a job snob. Take the job which is there and which is available. Because you take that job, and even if it’s not the perfect one, you do it for six months or so (and) you’ll be much better positioned to take another job down the track which is much more to your liking.

The longer you are on welfare, the steeper the road back to employment is. – Alan Tudge

Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public,” Mrs May will say. “They find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient. They find the fact that more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering.Theresa May

A change has got to come. It’s time to remember the good that government can do. Time for a new approach that says while government does not have all the answers, government can and should be a force for good; that the state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot; and that we should employ the power of government for the good of the people. – Theresa May

The Labour Party is not just divided, but divisive. Determined to pit one against another. To pursue vendettas and settle scores. And to embrace the politics of pointless protest that doesn’t unite people but pulls them further apart… So let’s have no more of Labour’s absurd belief that they have a monopoly on compassion. Let’s put an end to their sanctimonious pretence of moral superiority. – Theresa May

I’m no fan of the burqa. It’s subjugation. A woman whose face is covered, is like a document with all the words blacked out.

A woman in a burqa has been redacted from society. A burqa says, don’t look. Nothing to see here. Her identity is unimportant.

Her smile, her frown, all her expressions, are on the cutting-room floor. . .

The burqa is medieval. And like medieval plumbing and medieval medicine, it’s out of date. Like women not owning property, not going to school, or not leaving home without male guardians, the burqa contradicts basic human rights.

Of course, basic human rights, is a recent concept. But air travel and YouTube have given us time travel. Medieval people are time-travelling into the 21st century, leap-frogging centuries of liberal progress, and they find our ways shocking.

The burqa isn’t some post-feminist freedom from a bad hair day. It’s a mistake we made to get here. –  Raybon Kan

If you consider appearing on the side of a cereal box a qualification for being a role model then you need help. – Jim Kayes

. . . politics is not telling everyone what you think; it’s everyone telling you what they think. – Rodney Hide

And we shouldn’t just be critical of fake news or wary of falling for satire. We should be critical of what we read from any source.

Ask yourself: how does this journalist know what he or she published? How did they gather that information? Where did they cut corners? Why have they paraphrased here instead of a direct quote? Who did they talk to? Have they done their due diligence to verify the facts?

Not asking these questions of our real news is what leads to us not asking them of our fake news. – Ben Uffindell

It is not the business of journalists to tell their readers, listeners and viewers what to think; but to place before them any and every matter that a free people might reasonably be expected to have an interest in thinking about. – Chris Trotter

Whether or not the National Party retains its ascendancy next year, Mr Key must go down as one of New Zealand’s most successful leaders. And New Zealand, under his stewardship, can claim to be one of the most successful countries in the world. – The Economist

It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience. Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love.

Bronagh has made a significant sacrifice during my time in politics, and now is the right time for me to take a step back in my career and spend more time at home. . .

“I do not believe that if I was asked to commit to serving out a full fourth term I could look the public in the eye and say yes.

“And more than anything else in my time here, I have tried to be straight and true with New Zealanders. – John Key

I’d been telling my kids for years that if they get knocked down they should get up so, in a very public event, I kind of had to do it myself. I had to do it myself to demonstrate integrity to them. That was a big motivator. – Bill English

. . . you learn more from losing than you do from winning. – Bill English

I am having that moment, and I know it sounds cliched, but the 17-year-old solo mum and now I’m standing on the cusp of hopefully a positive Monday vote. . . 

It’s exciting and I just hope there are some solo mothers out there and think ‘actually your future is not pre-determined. Hard work, energy and self-belief can get you a long way in New Zealand. – Paula Bennett

I’ve never been in a community where there isn’t someone with the vision and energy to change how it works  . . . The Government isn’t the answer to everything, most of our answers are in our own families and communities. Sometimes Government gets in the way of that. This is a Government that will be focussed on understanding, at a very individual level, what is going to work with people and then supporting them to achieve it.    Bill English

It’s not your driving you have got to worry about all of the time, it’s other people out there too and some of them can make really bad choices. – Sergeant Pat Duffy

Like the recently departed former prime minister, Mr English and Ms Bennett can also be grateful each day for the idiocy of their enemies in the Labour-Green axis and the shallowness of the WLME, who are not only obsessed with identity politics themselves but really seem to think that the secret to ending National’s political hegemony is through attacking how others choose to personally identify. – Matthew Hooton

A country where the populace is obsessed with politics, and with who sits where around the cabinet table, is a country of angry dullards. – Rob Hosking

That’s stirring stuff. It’s just a pity the movement doesn’t grasp that “equality, empowerment and freedom” are less about what you can do and more about the respect you must show others. – Rodney Hide

But to be inspirational you don’t have to save lives or win medals. I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special.

They are an inspiration to those who know them, and their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, from this year Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’. – Queen Elizabeth


Living hope

13/09/2016

There’s the Olympics which get attention and Olympians who get the glory.

Then there’s the Paralympics which get less attention and Paralympians who are sometimes seen as lesser athletes than able-bodied ones.

*Robert Fulghum puts it better than I could:

The competitors at the Paralympics are people with no legs or arms who swim and row and cycle and run and jump. People who are blind and deaf and run races. People with Down Syndrome compete. There’s the guy who had no arms who won silver in archery, for god’s sake, and many of the participants have been torn apart in military combat and came back to compete with what was left of their bodies. . . 

The mantra of our times is that “we gotta have hope,” but the competitors at the Paralympics live hope. Hope is not an abstract ideal for them – it’s a reality created by courage and pain and determination and . . .

I am in awe of the determination, focus, hard work and sacrifice it takes to get to the top in any sport. Olympians or Paralympians – they’re all champions in my eyes.

* I encourage you to click on the link to read Fulghum’s post in full.


366 days of gratitude

05/05/2016

In the introduction to All I really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum includes the Storytellers’ Creed,  one line of which says: . . . I believe that laughter is the only cure for grief. . . 

In the wake of the death of a loved family member or friend there are tears, but in the sharing of memories and recounting of stories, there is also laughter.

Today I’m grateful for the healing power of both tears and laughter.


Quote of the day

24/06/2015

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.” ― Robert Fulghum


Remembering Dan

17/05/2015

Twenty six years ago today we welcomed the arrival of our second son.

Every birth is special and there was added poignancy to Dan’s because his older brother Tom, who had been born a little more than two years earlier, had lived only 20 weeks.

Extensive tests throughout Tom’s life and a post-mortem had ruled out all the known genetic conditions. We were told barring the one in a million chance Tom had suffered from something medical science hadn’t picked up, it was safe to have another baby.

Dan was that one in a million baby. A couple of weeks after he was born he started having convulsions. I’d watched his brother have hundreds of fits and had no doubt about what was happening.

We called our GP who sent us down to Dunedin hospital where Dan went through the battery of examinations his brother had, and like those for Tom they came up with no diagnosis.

As various diseases and conditions were ruled out though, his doctor became as sure as he could be about the prognosis – Dan’s life would be short and his development severely compromised.

Dan defied the prediction of his imminent death but not the one that he’d be profoundly handicapped. He lived more than five times longer than Tom had, dying a couple of weeks past his fifth birthday. However, he passed none of the developmental milestones and could do no more the day he died than he’d been able to the day he was born.

Caring for a child with multiple disabilities was demanding but we were supported by a close extended family, true friends, wonderful health professionals and IHC.

When he died I was sad, but I also felt some relief from the knowledge that his death would free us from the challenges which his life had presented us with.

In spite of that sense of relief, I was also confronted by grief for the baby we’d wanted and loved so much; and not just for what we’d lost but what we could never have – the hopes and dreams for his future as a happy, healthy boy and man.

The stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – make it appear orderly.

It’s not. It’s messy, unpredictable and it hurts. But, like a wound, it also heals.

There is no wonder treatment that can help the healing, but like Robert Fulghum:

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge-

That myth is more potent than history.

I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts-

That hope always triumphs over experience-

That laughter is the only cure for grief.

And I believe that love is stronger than death.”


June 4 in history

04/06/2014

1039 Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.

1584 Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).

1615 Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.

1738 King George III was born (d. 1820).

1760 Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.

1769 A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783 The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).

1792 Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for Great Britain.

1794 British troops captured Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

1825 French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo during his United States visit.

1859 Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.

1862 American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876 The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878 Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).

1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912 Massachusetts became the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.

1917 The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.

1919 The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.

1920 Hungary loset 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.

1923 Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).

1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.

1928 Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.

1928 Chinese president Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1932 Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).

1937 Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.

1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.

1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.

1942 World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.

1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943 A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.

1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.

1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.

1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.

1961 Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.

1970 Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

1986 Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

1989 Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.

1989 Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989 Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996 The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.

2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

2010 – Falcon 9 Flight 1  – maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40.

2012 – The Diamond Jubilee Concert was held outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall, London. Organised by Gary Barlow, the concert was part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Uncommon thoughts on common things

18/02/2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* 50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History by Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool.

* Robert Fulghhum’s Journal – he’s the author of All I really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten at the start of which you’ll find the Story Teller’s Creed which he posts here.

and

* A working mother writes to a stay at home mother and a stay at home mother writes to a working one by Carolyn Ee at Healthy Doctor.


June 4 in history

04/06/2013

1039 Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.

1584 Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).

1615 Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.

1738 King George III was born (d. 1820).

1760 Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.

1769 A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783 The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).

1792 Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for Great Britain.

1794 British troops captured Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

1825 French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo during his United States visit.

1859 Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.

1862 American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876 The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878 Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).

1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912 Massachusetts became the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.

1917 The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.

1919 The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.

1920 Hungary loset 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.

1923 Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).

1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.

1928 Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.

1928 Chinese president Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1932 Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).

1937 Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.

1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.

1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.

1942 World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.

1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943 A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.

1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.

1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.

1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.

1961 Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.

1970 Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

1986 Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

1989 Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.

1989 Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989 Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996 The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.

2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

2010 – Falcon 9 Flight 1  – maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40.

2012 – The Diamond Jubilee Concert was held outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall, London. Organised by Gary Barlow, the concert was part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


June 4 in history

04/06/2012

1039 Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.

 

1584 Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).

 

1615 Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.

 

1738 King George III was born (d. 1820).

 

1760 Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.

 

1769 A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783 The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).

 

1792 Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for Great Britain.

 

1794 British troops captured Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

1825 French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo during his United States visit.

 

1859 Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.

 

1862 American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876 The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878 Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).

 

1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912 Massachusetts became the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.

 

1917 The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.

 

1919 The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.

 

1920 Hungary loset 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.

 

1923 Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).

 

1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.

 

1928 Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.

 

1928 Chinese president Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1932 Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).

 

1937 Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.

 

1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

 

1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.

 

1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.

 

1942 World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.

 

1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943 A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.

 

1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.

 

1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.

 

1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.

 

1961 Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.

 

1970 Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

1986 Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

 

1989 Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

 

1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.

 

1989 Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989 Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996 The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.

 

2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

2010 – Falcon 9 Flight 1  – maiden flightof the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


June 4 in history

04/06/2011

781 BC – The first historic solar eclipse was recorded in China.

1039  Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.

 

1584  Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).

1615  Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.

The Siege of Osaka Castle.jpg 

1738  King George III was born  (d. 1820).

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young man in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.

1760  Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.

 

1769  A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783  The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).

 

1792  Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for  Great Britain.

1794  British troops captured  Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

 

1825  French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo  during his United States visit.

 

1859  Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.

The Italian camp at the Battle of Magenta

1862  American Civil War:  Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876  The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco,  via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878  Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).

 

1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912  Massachusetts became the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.

 

1917  The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.

1919  The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.

 

1920  Hungary loset  71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.

Treaty of trianon negotiations.jpg

1923  Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).

1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.

1928  Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.

1928 Chinese president  Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

 

1932  Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).

1937  Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.

1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida,  after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

 

1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.

 

1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered  Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.

 

1942  World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.

SBDs approach the burning Mikuma (Center).

1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943  A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.

1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.

1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.

U505.jpg

1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.

1961  Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

 

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.

 

1970  Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979  Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

 

1986  Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

1989  Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader  of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.

Tianasquare.jpg

1989  Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the  Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989  Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996  The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.

Ariane 5 mock-up (Photo taken at Cité de l'espace)

2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


June 4 in history

04/06/2010

On June 4:

781 BC – The first historic solar eclipse was recorded in China.

1039  Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.

1584  Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).

1615  Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.

The Siege of Osaka Castle.jpg

1738  King George III was born  (d. 1820).

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young man in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.

1760  Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.

1769  A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783  The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).

1792  Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for  Great Britain.

1794  British troops captured  Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

1825  French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo  during his United States visit.

1859  Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.

The Italian camp at the Battle of Magenta

1862  American Civil War:  Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876  The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco,  via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878  Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).

1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912  Massachusetts becomes the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.

1917  The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.

1919  The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.

1920  Hungary loset  71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.

Treaty of trianon negotiations.jpg

1923  Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).

1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.

1928  Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.

1928 Chinese president  Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1932  Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).

1937  Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.

1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida,  after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.

1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered  Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.

1942  World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.

SBDs approach the burning Mikuma (Center).

1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943  A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.

1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.

1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.

U505.jpg

1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.

1961  Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.

1970  Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979  Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

1986  Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

1989  Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader  of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.

Tianasquare.jpg

1989  Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the  Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989  Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996  The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.

Ariane 5 mock-up (Photo taken at Cité de l'espace)

2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Tuesday’s answers

15/09/2009

Paul Tremewan wins another electronic bunch of spring flowers with four right and two bonus points for wit.

Kismet got three points and a bonus for ingenuity.

I’ll accept Gravedodger’s word he knew three and he can have an extra point for the extended discussion.

Andrei gets 2 points and a bonus for extra information and because PDM earned a sprig of blossom for one right.

Monday’s Questions were:

1. “Read him for the tittle-tattle. But for strategic analysis find yourself a grown-up.” Colin James said it, to whom was he referring?

2. Who wrote All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?

3. Titi-tea is the Maori name for which mountain?

4. Sheep breeders encourage multiple births, why aren’t cow breeders so keen on twins?

5. Which ship took New Zealand’s first frozen meat exports to Britain?

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


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