Abject incompetence

14/04/2021

The NZ Herald opines that unvaccinated border staff are our Achilles heel:

The red-letter issue in the Millennium Hotel chain of cases, however, is the lack of vaccination and testing which was exposed. Despite working in a managed isolation and quarantine facility, neither Case B nor C had been vaccinated.

Today’s Health Select Committee has discovered another vulnerability:

A security worker at Auckland’s Grand Millennium managed isolation facility, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, had not been previously tested since November.

Carolyn Tremain, chief executive of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) – which oversees managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) – made the revelation on Wednesday at a parliamentary committee.

Tremain said the worker was tested on April 7, which is when he tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to that, she said records show he was last tested in November, despite the law stating he should be tested fortnightly.

Fortnightly? why not saliva tests every day?

“What we have identified through the case investigation process… is that there are some inconsistencies in the recording of when testing occurs,” Tremain told the Health Select Committee.

“We don’t have evidence that testing has been conducted from our systems on the frequency that we would prefer it to be.” . . 

Prefer it to be?

That’s as weak as Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield saying he would have hoped the latest case would have been vaccinated by now.

Preferred and hoped are simply not good enough when the consequences of workers contracting Covid-19 are so bad not just for their own health but for the risk of community transmission with all the health, social and economic costs that come from that.

What makes this worse is the game-playing by Labour MPs in the Select Committee:

. . .But the committee hearing – a key opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny of officials – soon descended into a squabble between Labour MPs and National Party Covid-19 Response spokesman Chris Bishop, as his attempts to question officials on the shortcomings were railroaded by the Labour MPs interested in more anodyne matters. . . 

Despite the pressing issues, the health select committee, steered by Invercargill-based Labour list MP Dr Liz Craig, instead asked the officials to talk about the “basic science” behind how the managed isolation system had been set up.

For more 20 minutes during the opening of the session, Bloomfield canvassed the increased understanding that “airborne transmission” of the virus was a risk, and what was known about the spread of the more infectious B117 Covid-19 variant in India.

MBIE deputy chief executive Megan Main detailed the “customer journey” that returnees have, from learning about the MIQ system, to entering a hotel and subsequently leaving.

“That’s really, really useful,” Craig said, offering up a few more minutes for the speakers to talk about this widely accessible information. 

Bishop’s attempts to ask questions were frustrated by Labour MPs on the committee. A one stage, he was visibly frustrated, holding his head in his hands. . . 

“Government MPs need to reflect very seriously on the way in which they are treating the Opposition on select committees and shielding officials from scrutiny,” Bishop told reporters afterwards.

He said it was “quite staggering” that the security guard had not been tested for six months. 

And if that wasn’t bad enough it got worse:

How hard is it to keep a record of who the workers are, who’s been tested, when they’re tested and which ones are vaccinated?

This is basic record keeping. That it’s not happening shows the system needs far more checks and balances than preferences and hopes.

That workers aren’t tested as they ought to be and that not all are vaccinated yet is bad enough. That records are so poor no-one knows who is tested and vaccinated is abject incompetence.

This information came out in spite of attempts to silence the Opposition. I wonder if there was anything else that we need to know that would have come out had the Labour MPs not been playing silly games?


Rural round-up

31/12/2017

Southland vet says animals need to be culled – Rebecca Moore:

Southland VetSouth director Mark Bryan says to get rid of Mycoplasma bovis all affected animals must be destroyed as international vets say the disease can be “devastating”.

In Australia, farmers “lived with” the disease but New Zealand was quite different, with climate and population of cows being larger, Bryan said.

New Zealand was more similar to the United Kingdom. . .

Dairy farmer and rural lifeline Neil Bateup awarded New Year Honour – Thomas Manch:

It was the 1984 Labour government that put dairy farmer Neil Bateup​ through his toughest time.

The New Zealand dollar was floated, Bateup’s interest rate went up 26 per cent, and the 2017 New Zealand Order of Merit recipient faced some serious financial hardship.

“But we got through it,” he says, in that matter-of-fact manner familiar to most. . . 

Farmers Fast Five – Sue Culham:

The Proud to be a Farmer NZ Farmers Fast Five: Where we ask a Farmer Five quick questions about Farming, and what Agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Puripak Avocados Limited Avocado Grower, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Environment Award Winner and Proud Farmer Sue Culham.

How long have you been farming?

Originally a city girl I moved to Glenbervie, Whangarei in 2001. My husband and I were grazing beef on our original 27 hectares whilst working in the family engineering business where I was the Finance Manager. I hadn’t had much to do with country life before this time but once you got me on the land it was hard to get me back into that office. Planting our original 4 hectares of Avocados in 2004, and after having our daughter in 2006 I stepped back from the engineering to focus on the development of the orchard. . . 

Proud to be a Farmer:

The Wool Press: Where we shine the spotlight on a Wool Product or Producer to celebrate wool as an environmentally friendly, innovative, humane and versatile natural fibre of now and the future. Today we talk to Tim Brown, former captain of the All Whites and founder of the worlds most comfortable shoes, Allbirds : The hugely popular runners and loungers made from New Zealand Merino.
1. What made you choose NZ Merino as a textile when you created All Birds?
We wanted to create the world’s most comfortable shoe so it made sense that we would use the world’s finest fibre to achieve that goal. In NZ Merino and their ZQ certification, we found a partner that is the gold standard in the delivery of sustainable and ethically sourced merino and we haven’t looked back since. . . 

Celebrating a season of abundance and choice – John Rigolizzo Jnr:

Not many people around the world eat “local” at Christmas.

At least nobody does in New Jersey, where I live and farm—and where snow commonly covers the fields at this time of year.

We’re already at work preparing a big dinner for our Christmas celebration: We’ll serve hundreds of raviolis to a gathering of two or three dozen members of our extended family.

For the homemade pasta, we rely on flour, eggs, and salt. We add tomato sauce, meatballs, and sausage. Some years we may include veal, which is more expensive. We’re also stocking up on garlic, parsley, and breadcrumbs.

Almost none of these ingredients are produced in New Jersey in December. . . 

How a former vegetarian became a butcher and ethical meat advocate – Debbie Weingarten:

Butcher and author Meredith Leigh encourages consumers to consider the life, death, butchering, and preparation of the animals on their plates.

Before she was a butcher, Meredith Leigh was a vegetarian. She was fascinated by plants and loved vegetables—how they grew, the way they tasted right out of the field, how they changed color and texture as they cooked.

But during a trip to Vietnam in 2004—after Leigh had been a vegetarian for nine years and a vegan for two—a woman named Loi served her water buffalo. Aware that Loi had raised and slaughtered the animal herself, the act of eating it became an act of connecting, and Leigh began to consider the idea of ethical meat. . .


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