At Labour’s annual conference last weekend, Covid-19 dominated Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s speech: “Our strong health response now gives us an economic head start, the ability to move from responding to Covid-19, to recovering and rebuilding… So today my ask of you is simple. Don’t put on the brakes when now more than ever is the time that we need to speed up… let’s keep up the momentum… Let’s keep rebuilding.”
The Prime Minister outlined the steps taken to help the economy recover from the hit caused when she imposed ‘the strictest constraints placed on New Zealanders in modern history’. A record $50 billion in borrowing has been providing wage subsidies, loan guarantees, job creation, re-training, and additional welfare support – leaving $20 billion of unallocated spending to ‘assist the recovery’.
While the generous funding pledges now being announced almost daily do not amount to “treating” under the Electoral Act, the scale and proximity to the election are most irregular.
With the PM pitching for a second term on the basis of her track record of managing the Covid-19 crisis, let’s do a quick stocktake of how the two main parties have responded to pandemics.
John Key’s National Government faced the swine flu pandemic in 2009, which affected 1.4 billion people world-wide and caused 600,000 deaths. Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Government has, of course, been dealing with Covid-19, which, at this stage, has 12 million notified cases and 550,000 deaths.
Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and the pandemic, which originated in Mexico, lasted for around 19 months. Altogether, it was estimated that of the 430,000 symptomatic cases of H1N1 in New Zealand, around 116,000 visited GPs, some 1,100 were hospitalised, and 119 patients were admitted to intensive care units. Of the forty-nine deaths attributed to the disease, 86 percent had underlying health complications, most notably, respiratory illnesses, obesity, and substance abuse.
To deal with the pandemic, the National Government adopted the Ministry of Health’s Influenza Pandemic Plan – a mitigation strategy designed to manage an outbreak in such a way as to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, whilst reducing the impact on society and the economy. While border controls were introduced, and some schools and businesses temporarily closed to reduce the spread of the disease, there was minimum economic and social disruption.
Fast-forward to 2020.
When reports of the spread of Covid-19 emerged in January, the Ministry of Health’s Influenza Pandemic Plan was again enacted. Border controls were introduced, work began on testing and tracing, and an Alert Level system was developed.
By mid-March, with fewer than 50 reported cases and no deaths, but more New Zealanders arriving home from infected areas, the Ministry of Health recommended that the country move to Alert Level 2 for a month. This involved stricter border controls, the introduction of social distancing and good hygiene measures, increased testing and tracing, a restriction on gatherings to 100 people, and a recommendation that those at the greatest risk from the disease – namely the elderly and anyone with underlying health conditions – take extra care.
Two days after introducing Level 2, the Prime Minister, warning of tens of thousands of deaths, ordered the country to Level 3 for two days, and then to Level 4 for a month.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator former Cabinet Minister Barry Brill has analysed the Ardern Government’s response to the pandemic and reminds us how the Prime Minister over-rode the Ministry of Health’s recommendation for “a 30-day pause at Level 2” with her Captain’s Call to lock the country down:
“The Prime Minister impulsively chose to disregard this official advice and instead leaped to the world’s most masochist restrictions – the Lockdown – with the resounding battle-cry of ‘go hard, go early’, and hang the expense!
“Political instincts and theatre easily trumped all the evidence-based science. There was no cost-benefit analysis of any kind. The PM’s historic Captain’s Call was apparently influenced by alarming forecasts from three academic computer models – one from the Imperial College of London, one from Otago University, and one from Auckland University… In announcing her extreme Lockdown decision, Ms Ardern signalled that ‘the worst case scenario is simply intolerable’. All three unvalidated models have since been thoroughly discredited by both peer reviews and real-world events.”
Barry reminds us that in spite of the media and others treating the Prime Minister as a hero for keeping us safe, that is not the reality. He argues that Jacinda Ardern’s Lockdown was “the worst policy decision ever and almost surely resulted in a net loss of New Zealand lives… In retrospect, there is no evidence that our extreme Lockdown saved the life of a single New Zealander.”
We certainly know that in spite of the frail elderly being clearly identified as the group most vulnerable to Covid-19 – especially those in rest homes – Jacinda Ardern’s lockdown wasn’t able to keep them safe. Almost three-quarters of the country’s 22 deaths were of rest home residents.
While they died in spite of the lockdown, many other New Zealanders died as a result of the lockdown: mothers and babies lost their lives due to the disruption in regular health care; gravely ill people were too afraid of the virus to seek medical help from doctors or hospitals; suicides were triggered by financial ruin caused by the lockdown; cancer sufferers were unable to access life-saving tests, operations, and treatment.
Many deaths never made the headlines – like the case of a frail elderly gentleman with a chronically sore foot who lived alone but had friends who ensured he ate properly and took care of his foot. Without their support, by the end of the lockdown he had developed gangrene and died just a few weeks later – a victim of the lockdown.
Governing a country means carefully weighing up policies to ensure the damage caused by unintended consequences do not outweigh the benefits being sought. While government agencies usually provide Cost-Benefit Analyses and Regulatory Impact Statements to outline the pros and cons of policy options, as well as identifying costs and risks, Jacinda Ardern used no such analyses to inform her lockdown decision.
In fact, a new report from the OECD, which has analysed the effectiveness of the responses of various countries to the Covid-19 pandemic – not only in keeping infection and death rates low but also in minimising economic and social disruption – has ranked New Zealand ninth, with South Korea first, Latvia second, and Australia third.
Those highly ranked countries relied more on stringent isolation and quarantine measures, border controls, comprehensive testing and tracing, and good hygiene and social distancing practices, rather than on harsh lockdown restrictions.
This week’s news that Britain is opening its borders to 70 countries with returning passengers not required to self-isolate, highlights a significant flaw in Labour’s Covid-19 response.
Instead of following the Ministry of Health’s plan to manage the virus – as John Key had done during the swine flu pandemic – Jacinda Ardern decided on ‘elimination’. As a result most New Zealanders have developed no immunity to the virus. In an increasingly infected world, that will never be able to eliminate Covid-19, the Prime Minister’s strategy, which depends on our borders remaining closed, has left New Zealanders isolated and extremely vulnerable.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark along with Sir Peter Gluckman, a former Prime Minister’s Science Advisor, and former Air New Zealand chief Rob Fyfe believe that this is unsustainable and they argue that New Zealand needs to ‘re-engage with the world’: “Just after COVID hit our shores, initial discussions centred on adopting a ‘flattening the curve’ strategy. This involved accepting there would be some influx of disease, but by using behavioural and hygiene measures, viral transmission would be slowed and our hospital system would not be overloaded.
“But soon after cases started appearing, a clear shift in strategy was made – sometimes expressed as ‘keep it out, stamp it out’. In epidemiological terms, elimination of the virus became the goal. But it required huge effort and sacrifice by all New Zealanders – the burden of which will continue to echo for many years.”
They ask, “Is New Zealand prepared to hold itself in its state of near-total isolation for the indefinite future?” Other countries “have not adopted the elimination strategy. While we pin our hopes on a vaccine, it could be much further away than the hype suggests. Can we afford to wait out another year, two years, or even more in almost total physical isolation? And at what cost? This is not just affecting tourism and export education, but also the many ways in which New Zealand projects and leverages its place in the world.”
They conclude that unless New Zealand has global connectivity “we will rapidly progress to a position of relative disadvantage”.
These are important questions to which our Prime Minister has few answers.
It’s becoming clear that around the world countries are now beginning to treat Covid-19 as ‘just another flu’, shifting to a management strategy so life can return to “normal”.
That new normal comes with caveats of course, such as good hygiene and sensible social distancing, as well as facemask use in increasing numbers of countries. Since the majority of infected people are now known to be asymptomatic, facemask use in public is seen as an effective way of helping to stop the spread of the virus.
It is something that many New Zealanders called for, but the Director General of Health refused to recommend their use – no doubt because of insufficient stocks.
Professor Mark Woolhouse, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh recommends that since Covid-19 is ‘not going away any time soon, if at all’, alternative approaches are now needed: “The chances of dying from Covid-19 are at least 10,000 times greater for the over-75s than the under-15s. Our priority should be to protect the old and others at greatest risk.”
He believes, “When the reckoning comes we may well find the cure turned out to be far worse than the disease. I fear history will judge lockdowns as a monumental mistake on a global scale.”
It is becoming increasingly accepted that countries that are trying to “keep the virus out” are doing a grave disservice to their citizens.
Oxford University’s epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta believes that closing borders in the long term is unsustainable: “You can only lock down for so long unless you choose to be in isolation for eternity so that’s not a good solution. Being self-congratulatory, ‘we have kept it out’, is misplaced.”
She says that instead of lockdowns, governments should be focussing their energies on shielding the elderly and those with comorbidities to protect them as much as possible. She also warns, “There is no way lockdowns can eliminate the virus … and so it’s not at all surprising once you lift lockdown in areas it will flare up again. In places where it has already swept through, a proportion of people are immune and you are not seeing it come back.”
So while in 2009 John Key followed the Ministry of Health’s pandemic plan and the country moved on once the swine flu epidemic had abated, in 2020, Jacinda Ardern ignored the warning that eliminating flu viruses is impossible in the long term and imposed such harsh State controls that ‘fortress New Zealand’ has become our reality.
As the election approaches and our future hangs in limbo, the major parties are asking voters to ‘trust’ them to manage the country out of the difficulties we now face, which include massive debt, skyrocketing unemployment, collapsing businesses, and chaotic border controls.
Meanwhile, seemingly oblivious to this crisis, Labour’s probable coalition partner, the Green Party, is proposing a tax policy that would undermine economic recovery through an annual wealth tax on everything, income tax increases, higher minimum wage, and a guaranteed income for those not in employment that would reduce the incentive to work.
Since Labour hasn’t ruled it out, New Zealand’s future could be even worse than we had thought!
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THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:
*Do you believe Jacinda Ardern’s strategy of ‘eliminating’ Covid-19 is sustainable in the long term?
*Poll comments are posted below.
*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.
THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS
|It never was and never will be. My view has always been that the decision should always be balanced between health and the effect on the economy. The manner in which the government has distributed our future wealth at best can be considered a “crutch” . I am yet to see any funds distributed in the area of supporting growth and restoration of the economy,||Mike|
|Not a “snowball in hell’s” chance||Tom|
|No – the next wave, when it comes, will emphatically give the lie to this misguided strategic belief.||Scott|
|Totalitarian Ardern is not giving up her control of Pandemic.con – why would she care about sustainability in the long term? She has no moral gravity.||Monica|
|Eliminate the Corona Virus? You must be kidding me. It’s a world wide occurrence so if we don’t develop an immunity to it or a vaccine is found we risk catching it wherever we go. Have we eliminated the Flu? Have we tried to eliminate the flu” The only thing to be eliminated is Small Pox. All other diseases are out there. Labours actions delay the inevitable. We will be paying for accommodation for people to isolate for the rest of the year and beyond. Theatrical T V presentations. But not reality. We’re stuffed!!||Mike|
|We need to start becoming immune to the virus by exposing healthy people to the virus (all of whom have recovered so far) and start building up the nations immunity.||tony|
|Jacinda’s strategy to eliminate Covid-19 isn’t a strategy , rather its just virtue signalling, as even she is not stupid enough to think the Labour party is so capable as to now be able to defeat virus LoL||John|
|HOW CAN IT BE..? with the weight of the world pandemic on the other side of the boat? or aircraft? We have to tdo the best we can with what we have got, in this case the gift of geographical isolation which offers a temporary barrier between us and God knows what. However if we can sustain some kind of existence in our present geographical advantage then it is up to us to try. A vaccine will undoubtedly be found at some time in the future, We may be among the few to take advantage of it. I do find the doomsayers, and those who wish to flout every “rule” proposed for their, and our, safety, a right pain in the butt. Yes, of course it is Oh So Easy run down everything anyone tries to do to usefully improve the situation..those who do so are in the same League as that monster Trump, who can find no good in anyting except his own mirror Is NZ the only place where anybody who tries to do something right has to be torn to shreds in some kind of Revenge mentality, or feeding frenzy….. or are they just too ignorant to apply some basic simple science and common sense “rule of the game” to an event of considerable significant effect upon so many of us all. Go and get stuffed, if you cannot in your own mind offer a popsitive thought, word, or Action at this time. Do Better!!! Go on…TRY. The Economy is in a parlous state, The Health Service is coping remarkably well in the face of breaches of Covid isolation, The Oposition is in disarray….fling them a lifebelt, someone? So have a go at Jacinda, DO !! WHY NOT.? SHE’S A WOMAN, and might actually be doing her best for us all.||Maberl|
|As we know the SARS (CoV)-2 Virus and resultant Covid-19 disease is the world’s first “Political Virus and Pandemic.” It is all about political power and the political systems will not want to let go of it! The way forward is to remove the Government of the day to restore common sense, sanity and the possibilities of economic survival as opposed to economic collapse.||Frederick|
|No-Way and it shows the lack of brain power in this government that allowed her to get away with it – but with only academics in charge , what do you expect?||Garry|
|She should listen to the health officials and not make decisions based on her own twisted ideology.||Steve|
|I do not believe Ardern”s strategy will eliminate Covid 19. What else would you expect from a Socialist Government with a Gaggle of gays running the country.||Ross|
|No it obviously is not. Just eat & drink healthily and keep your body as fit as you can & get on with life.||Eric|
|we hace no imm ini ty||patricia|
|A treasonous response by our socialist/communist government.||Rossco|
|If humans could knock out Covid-19 type virus, why do we still have the annual surge in influenza infection? Influenza continues to infect hundreds of thousands in New Zealand accompanied by 3-400 deaths annually. This is despite us having access to the annually modified vaccine. Thus Miss Ardern’s supposed strategy to eliminate COVID-19, in the true meaning of elimination, is as fallacious as her cry of “Going EARLY and going HARD” (42 days from the first diagnosis lapsed before the imposition of supervised quarantine) as her claim for “saving” our nation. Given the information that has been released, even by the fawning print and visual media, the only strategy that has ever been released has been the imposition of a police state (but with special consideration being given to those citizens claiming lineage and identity of the Maori race), the closing of all normal economic and educational activity for over four weeks, severely restricted economic and educational activity for a further three weeks; and a failure of border controls for returning New Zealanders after returning to Levels 2 and 1. How the massive borrowing is to be repaid has yet to be revealed. We do however have some insights from utterances made by the Hon Mr James Shaw, Hon Grant Robertson and the Rt Hon Miss Ardern, prior to and after the release of the 2020 Budget, where they state that it is important that the “opportunity to redevelop the economy to make it fairer to all New Zealanders” is not lost. The only strategy that seems be be underlying the Labour/Green coalition is a Welfare state not too different from that “enjoyed” by the Union of Soviet Socialist Russia – everyone is dependant upon the State! Do I believe Miss Arder has a strategy that will ELIMINATE COVID-19 that will benefit New Zealanders – I certainly do not. I do believe that she and her sycophants have a strategy that wil turn us into a socialist/communistic state – YES.||Michael|
|We cannot remain isolated from the world, we cannot afford perpetual lockdown||Murray|
|I never ever believed it was. We need to build up an immunity as in all viruses. Take precautions and carry on!||Margaret|
|Too many commentators are putting money ahead of lives. IF the pandemic kills hundreds of thousands of the population, the economy will suffer anyway. The ‘second wave’ appearing in Victoria and other countries has come about by lifting restrictions due to the baying of media pundits and businesses, coupled with the absolute stupidity of people ignoring the required 2 metre distancing and rushing to party or the beach.||vic|
|Her arrogance will ultimately lead to this Country’s demise.||Eileen|
|I am a 70 year old Type 1 diabetic but this SARScov2 ‘pandemic’ doesn’t concern me more than any other annual flu.||GRANT|
|It is buying time until a vaccine is available||John|
|No way. They have to come up with common sense. Ideas||Mary|
|We should get those Borders open NOW!||Felicity|
|No of course not, she and the Labour party and the Greens’ want to bring us to our knees and be beholden to them our new socialist overlords. Talk about a way to wreck the country and destroy us,||Fraser|
|No, and definitely worse, seems to have provided encouragement to Comrade Adern and her cronies to begin engaging in gloves-off communism evidenced by moves on the RMA, and ‘proposed’ Greens Wealth tax. Oh dear!||Tony|
|A political ploy looking for votes terminating 19th Sept.||IAN|
|reference other pandemics and seasonal viruses||James|
|A bunch of unqualified muppets, I hope national has a better plan. Somehow I doubt it||Paul|
|As the article mentions the outcome of Jacinda’s Captains Call is long term isolation. This will cause a serious depression. Not too surprising given the aim of this government to emulate Venezuela||Mike|
|As a small Island nation dependent on trade we can not isolate ourselves from the rest of the world without significant social and economic harm. The rest of the world has Covid-19. Impossible for us to be different.||Lachlan|
|It was purely a political decisions t further the careers of the politicians.||Charles|
|Jacinda is only looking for more exposure for her self ,to promote her name and presentation skills to the world, in particular to the United Nations||Frank|
|We have borrowed so much! From where have we borrowed this money, or have we just created more Monopoly money?||Tony|
|I think the only way to keep the virus under control, is a vaccine. Until that time, people are going to have to self isolate, distance, and keep washing their hands, clothes , etc. for as long as is necessary. Otherwise, i believe it could be a case of self-destruct.||Josephine|
|Who knows. This whole Covid 19 thing is a total new challenge for the modern world. None of us have a crystal ball although some greedy people will say they have.||Chris|
|The reason for covid is to upset the US economy as a tool , hoping Trump will not be reelected. The Deep state fears Trump, Trump and general Flinn are winning. NZ should deal more with America as a friend||Gaudenz|
|The lockdown has been too costly in money and lives as many operations were not performed during lockdown.||Theo|
|Taxinda is ‘following instructions’ from the nW o gLobaliSt uN elitists||Mike|
|Covid 19 is going to be around for a long time and while we may be able to keep it out of NZ, we are going to have to open our borders to the rest of the world||Trevor|
|Social distancing and border quarantine should have been more strictly enforced, with those coming into the country paying for their own quarantine.||Peter|
|No. I was especially concerned, right from the outset, that Adern’s lockdown took no real account of the damage it would do to businesses and the economy of our country. Glaringly noticeable here was how she totally ignored the needs (and the benefits they could offer) of small businesses, of which New Zealand has thousands. The little guys were told abruptly to close up shop; only the bug business supermarkets could remain in business. In doing just that one thing Jacinda proved she had her government had not a smidgeon of understanding of the real New Zealand economic picture. And that is apart from the heartless destruction of thousands of hours of hard toil and acceptance of personal poverty by all those little guys starting (as so many New Zealanders have) their own business. I am sure they will go to bed every night for the rest of their lives blessing the wisdom of Comrade Ardern and her Labour government chums.||Rob|
|The lockdown was base on computer models which did not factor in isolation distancing, masks and hand washing. Ardern did not take Health professionals advice and now we have no herd immunity. The country is going broke and financial crisis will run on for years.||Graeme|
|We need to put some safe guards in place and start to reconnect to the rest of the world excluding China because at the end of the day China will wipe us when convenient .If we do not start to open or boarders and deal with the outside world we will miss out on being able to increase trade hence we will be poorer for it .Move over Arden and let those in business take over.||ken|
|Pfffffh .. NO! She’s a bloody dreamer.||Maddi|
|Mission in possible||Caroline|
|If we’re lucky we may just buy enough time to find a mitigating drug, but unlikely a vaccine which will beat the virus.||Geoff|
|Like the common cold it will be here for a long time||Bryan|
|Dr. Muriel Newman has summed it up very ably and to which I totally agree, no point in my further comment.||Ian|
|With a 7.5 billion population and relying heavily on immigration and tourism to sustain our lifestyle, a prolonged elimination strategy which involves locked borders will eventually lead NZ’ers to virtually become locked prisoners in a “golden painted cage”. The cage paint will not be real gold though, but we will be told we are lucky to be there while the world carries on evolving to the new realities! It appears to me the “can do” attitude and toughness of the older NZ generations have been hijacked by the new political correctness elite promising equality for all, we’re all the same, Team of 5 Million etc… Forgotten are the principles that diversity and exposure to real life problems, threats, realities do lead to shaping the character of the nation which in my view is now slowly vanishing and morphing into a new ideological oxymoron.||Lucian|
|not following the minster of health’s pandemic plan, indicates the PM followed no logic or strategy for the health and well being of the country long term. It is concerning the PM was able to make a captains call for level 4 lock-down as she did. Complete lack of wisdom and life experience and Clearly panicked. Leaders are those that can block out Noise, and think before acting while considering all options and potential outcomes Too bad for New Zealand.||Sam|
|what percentage of our population has immunity today after the lockdown ? 1% ?||Jeff|
|What a mess. The taxpayer will pick up the tab on this one for many years to come. The approach taken in Sweden would have worked here. We would still have had to close the borders but domestically could have kept all businesses open.||Alan|
|The only virus ever “eliminated” is smallpox…learn from history||alan|
|The country has been financially ruined for short term gain. Eventually we will have to go through it all again.||Roy|
|We don’t know enough about it or how much we are it is being manipulated. I cant see how we can ever be free from the debt, which she is freely incurring and constantly increasing on our behalf just to buy votes. It is the sale of NZ into socialism or worse.||Harvey|
|Was told years ago by a highly qualified doctor “man will never get ahead of viruses as they mutate faster than the humans who try to eliminate them”.||Kay|
|Ridiculous- the politicians need to listen to the science.||Li z|
|Her claims are all based on lies she keeps telling us. Governing by fear.||Fred|
|Zero confidence in this coalition govt. Further I have always been a National voter but given their recent performance I am reviewing that also.||Carol|
|Creating a virtual border fortress mentality while waiting for a Covid cure which could take a number of years, will cause such economic hardship, we as an import depended nation, especially tourism, will cripple our chance of recovery for many years to come.||COLIN|
|As soon as we open the borders we will have cases of the virus until we develop some immunity. Remember the South American Indians they had no resistance to measles and it nearly killed them all off, beware the opening of the borders||Andrew|
|she has no idea how to run a country except the method of her studies and pursuits – being communism.||Maurice|
|This absurd elimination strategy could only ever work if the whole country remained cut off from the rest of the world for ever (or until a vaccine is available, which may amount to the same thing). Meanwhile, the initial mistake having been made, the eventual slow emergence is likely to decimate the tourism sector and spread gloom throughout the entire economy. Ardern must go!||David|
|No viruses have been or will ever be eliminated as history shows||Alan|
|I feel the strategy needs to be reevaluated to be effective||Laurel|
|We’ve all become prisoners. Let us out of here!!!||Peter|
|Should’ve stayed with the Flu plan||leigh|
|A virus dies by itself and can NOT be eliminated. It seems to be able to fly though: up to 9 meters. After that it is exhausted and fall to the ground. Another load of BS. Just to keep the world on its toes. Communist joke, as long as WE believe it.||Peter|
|This a fairy story by Jacinderella but too many people believe her.||William|
|Completely unsustainable. But buoyed on by our apology for a news media, she is plunging New Zealand ever more rapidly into a third world nation.||Rex|
|I’m expecting 99% to say no…..||Anon|
|We have been part of a very expensive experiment, driven by UN policy. How easily can people be controlled? This is my belief. It’s all part of Aderns March to the UN and Helen Clark is in the thick of it. No surprise to me re her latest UN (WHO) appt. The most worrying aspect of the whole Chinese flu pandemic plan in NZ was how readily and easily we all obeyed (and still are! ) and allowed this fear-mongering govt to stop us in our tracks. I questioned their actions from day 1, and have been a lone voice amongst most.||Sharen|
|As long as the fourteen day isolation period is carried out on all incoming passengers. To have have borders open slaver is writing a death sentence for the elderly||Dennis|
|NO. Her measures will absolutely KILL our New Zealand economy. We need to get the majority of our population exposed to this virus so we can develop antibodies to it. Our vulnerable will have to sequester themselves so our younger people can continue supporting the economy.||joyce|
|New WMD – A Jacinda Ardern “captain’s call”.||Tom|
|Wrong question. It’s rhetorical. Eliminate is not possible. Management is possible so I think you need to be more open and transparent with your question.||Greg|
|It was a mistake from the beginning and there were plenty of epidemiologists she could have asked that would have told her so. We have to ask, why did she listen to the ones that she did?||Darag|
|Jacinda Ardern is too arrogant. inept and inexperienced at everything to have what it takes to be an effective Prime Minister.||Troy|
|If National win the election and do whats necessary for our economy we will have to accept Covid and live with it. Labour and greens will say told you so. But if Labour gets back in the economy and country will be totally stuffed and Covid will still have to be faced sometime.||Richard|
|No way you can’t fight a virus we need to be exposed to it. She made a big mistake economically a lot more hurt to come.||Lyn|
|Not a chance – it’s a virus – and we need to open our borders to get the economy going again.||Mark|
|It is torture according to the Geneva Convention and SHE is our torturer. (see Amazing Polly on Youtube on this subject)||Coral|
|Absolutely NOT. It is draconian control. …Communist to the CORE.||Ngaire|
|No Because I don’t think a vaccine will solve it either. If a vaccine say is found in 2021 how many month will it take to vaccinate all the population 6-9 months? thats based on the winter flue vaccinations, then what happens if the vaccination is annually?????. Not going to work really is it!!!!!||Les|
|look at other countries and see how they are handling it , but more important they are getting back to work and making money||graeme|
|No. Covid-19 is here to stay in it’s varying mutated states.||Darryl|
|Manage, rather than eliminate from where, NZ or the world, Manage is the best.||Warwick|
|Jacinda received poor advice.||Selwyn|
|Her only goal is really election||Ray|
|A delaying strategy that has totally isolated New Zealanders, so when they do travel again they will be the first to be infected. IN the mean time the country has major issues with international freight and thus supplies because of hugely reduced air flights||Alan|
|Of course it is not. Jacinda & the bunch of losers who back her, are Marxist Socialists of the extreme kind. Total control of the entire population was a dream come true for this nasty piece of work. Note how the now, the Socialist owned media, bombard us, day after day. with the ‘alarming’ number of new cases reported in the countries led by Right of Centre governments. Never any mention of deaths, because these are generally less than would be lost with an ordinary season of the flu. So the sadly misled public think the disgusting Prime Minister is the Messiah, & don’t object at all, when dangerous legislation such as removal of free speech, is sneaked through the house of representatives..||A.G.R.|
|It was never a realistic or reasonable goal, even when the definition of “elimination” was altered (= watered down) to mean “free of new cases”. We live in a global economy and need trade, including overseas tourists and migrant workers, to survive. Keeping our borders closed and isolating us from the rest of the world will do more harm than good, especially when we’re trying to get our economy up to speed again. We’re losing trade opportunities as nations with whom we compete for trade will snap up opportunities we are losing.||Laurence|
|No more than flu, cancer or any other illness can be eliminated||Bev|
|You would assume that she thinks she is not getting a second term and leave NZ in a financial, economic, employment & personal mess – leave it to the Nats to fix !||sheryl|
|Do you believe in Santa Clause? The only way will be to close the boarder indefinitely and that is simply not an option and, I seriously believe that wouldn’t work either. The PM and her cohorts must face reality and soon. By all means test and trace, protect those that are vulnerable and restrict and review entry from those countries who are clearly having difficulty controlling the virus. Use some common sense.||chris|
|only if there is cooperation from the idiot Kiwis who think they know better, not from a position of competence but from a Me Me Me attitude. One sometimes has to give up a little to gain a lot. So far New Zealand has stood out from the masses in controlling what has happened within our borders. Sustainability is possible only with total cooperation of those who,.sometimes, have a choice. Kiwis are notoriously for putting the Me Me Me [position first. Yes we have some economic chaos. Yes, we have incomers breaking the rules when it suits them. I expect we may also have to bury those who make a perfect job of breaking it all down? Oh do grow up and look in the mirror to see what you are destroying when you insist on being individually moronic. We have family overseas who cannot return to NZ and we really DO HAVE something to worry about.||Mabel|
|With neither immunity or vaccine NZ will sit isolated while the immune world trades, plays, prospers and preys. Our PM has acted like the God she desires us to see her as||Roger|
|JA’s Covid-19 strategy is WHO zealotry at its finest, in perfect keeping with the Agenda21 genocide agenda. FEMA camps have been equipped with ~1000 guillotines for the final cut.||Robert|
|Where a team of 5 million with NO immunity. This Govt should be using this valuable time to put measures in place to protect our most vulnerable & stock pile medical supplies for when we gradually open up our borders….hopefully in the not too distant future.||Leanne|
|She knows this and so do all NZer’s….The long term could be 2 decades…..Time waits for no one…fight for survival is a constant always for Humanity…always has been and always will…..||ChrisH|
|Ardern wants to keep us in a state of fear for as long as possible. This is all about her wanting to keep control.||Robert|
|Its like AIDS a dream to eliminate||Carl|
|This decision was made by an ignorant self glorifying economically dense young woman, put there by an equally economically ignorant, and arrogant leader of NZ1st. and a green party void of any common sense, all are typical of people who have never worked in the real world. a disastrous combination. Aided by the communist press of NZ||Merryl|
|No way will it ever go away, she is living in cloud cookoo land or smoking dope and when she stated we could lose thousands by listening to those dumb idiots from uni down south shows what a disaster she has caused for the country, the sooner she goes with the greens and nzf the bloody better, roll on sept.||Richard|
|We have had PANDEMICS before, and will do again, the next “Swine Flu” is percolating in China as I write. Are we to lock down every time these waves of disease “Plague” us???? There WILL be another Pandemic, better or worse in terms of mortality, transferability, we cannot hide from them.||Lionel|
|isolation – will never benefit n.z. – locked in a country doing nothing to promote growth is a disaster for the next generation – we are only five million peoples – doing what!!!!!||Beth|
|The New Zealand population will continue to be vulnerable to Covid-19 while populations in other countries will be developing herd immunity. This, at best, is only a short term solution.||Janette|
|Roll on the election so we can get rid of the current band of muppets If this doesn’t happen there will be droves of talent leaving sadly||Phil|
|No, but it is a fine line we tread||Tom|
|The economy is in tatters now and would be totally wrecked beyond recovery if this policy is initiated||JOHN|
|it looks likely that conviitis will just be another malady for us to catch or not ,just the luck of the draw for ever and ever amen.||James|
|The country is broke now, so what happens when everything implodes? You can’t get herd immunity within a lock-down. Big mistake. I realize masks would have made a big difference, but when you’ve got none, the easiest thing to say is that they are not necessary. How come most of the Asian countries are all up and running had had few deaths? Masks and social distancing. Simple.||Graeme|
|It has never been done before if you a study history but the world adapts , immunity grows and nations prosper where prescient governments govern.||John|
|Emphatically NO! It was never anything more than a knee-jerk reaction, but was enthusiastically embraced when she realised what a great photo-opportunity it provided for her. A publicity lifeline for an administration already recognised as failing. My earlier statement that we will have to keep our borders closed to keep safe is being borne out by events. She must rate as the most disastrous Prime Minister ever, anywhere!||TOBY|
|we are already seeing new cases at the boarder & the lock down has collapsed lots of businesses including on of mine, if there is a vaccine not far away thats ok but they haven’t found one for the common cold yet have they||Nigel|
|She is lying socialist scum||Greg|
|dreamers look at their record to date||John|
|NOT UNLESS A VACCINE IS DISCOVERED||Bruce|
|No. Jacinda foolishly relied totally on computer modelling. Whether it is climate change or viral pandemics modelling has been disastrously inaccurate. She has dug a very deep hole that we will struggle to get out of. Our only way out of this mess is to protect the vulnerable and let herd immunity develop.||Lee|
|We cannot keep our country isolated from the rest of the world forever!||Hugh|
|lets get on with business in a controlled manner||merv|
|The policy has been madness from the start.||Vaughan|
|Impossible. No immunity created. Coronovirus’s like colds have no effective vaccine.||Jeff|
|Just as Muriel says.||June|
|We need to build up immunity as with all previous strains. Computer modelling has a lot to answer for BUT a PM should be awake to that||Doug|
|All that will happen is that we will suffer economic carnage because In order to survive we must trade and the borders must be reopened. The virus will return, life will go on with some people dying of it and the whole lockdown will be shown to have been a total waste of time.||Allan|
|Maybe all our policy makers should take a mandatory course in History.||bill|
|HOW COULD ANYTHING FROM THIS SO CALLED GOVT. BE SUSTAINABLE. OUR ESTEEMED LEADER HAS MISSED HER CALLING, SHE SHOULD BE IN HOLLYWOOD, BETTER STILL IN A DENTISTS CHAIR OR A HORSE PADDOCK.||ROSS|
|The virus will be present around the world forever. Unless NZ is to become a hermit society we will have to learn to live with it and manage it eventually. Vaccination? Don’t be too sure.||Frank|
|She started off very well, with Isolation of Households, and closing of our borders. It worked. Opening our borders to all & sundry has proved that Covid 19 is back amongst us. We no longer feel safe and secure going to the Supermarket !!||Pierre|
|Viruses love life and cannot ever be ‘eliminated’.You can take the best possible precautions, as we do with our yearly round on influenza, and that is the best it can ever be.||Dick|
|Probably no, but I have no confidence in any of the other political parties either. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. The largest Opposition party is full of weak link and one or two “missing” links. The others are barely worth considering. Perhaps ACT is worth a shot. Failing that I will just concern myself with the referendums. Jacinda was the right person to lead the country through the convid19 crisis . Give her credit for that. And that’s from a disenchantedTory!||Bruce|
|WE need to be very alert at the borders but cannot afford to isolate the NZ economy from the rest of the world and need a plan to come out of this .||Barry|
|It was an opportunity to rule as a communist chairman at the same time . It speeds the drive to USSNV United Socialist States of New Venezuela||Roger|
|Jacinda Ardern is so drunk on her own importance that she only does whatever she thinks is going to elevate her profile regardless of how her decisions may impact on New Zealanders.||Helena|
|Our delightful Captain has made another BAD captains call There is absolutely no practical way for the world to eliminate this flu like virus What is needed is to get some form of Herd Immunity to protect the overall population. The procedure to follow was to close the border temporarily to flatten the curve, protect the vulnerable and allow herd immunity to gather pace. There was absolutely no need to destroy the economy in the process. If the polls are to be believed we are in real trouble with green communists being in control here in NZ and a President of the USA suffering from dementia and being controlled by the socialists in that country God help us||Robin|
|After week two of level 4 it was obvious we needed to come out of lock down, this was about another government agenda i.e. socialism. NZ needs to wake up.||Max|
|NO! of course not.||Trevor|
|These things are always bigger than us.||Bruce|
|It is alarming to now believe that Kiwis are at risk when we travel outside our borders without any immunity to Covid-19. Are we to become prisoners in our own land? Never feeling safe when we leave NZ?||Kerry|
|Ardern alone, with her Captain’s call, is responsible for the ruination of this country and its economy||Terry|
|NO & some-one should put ALL the facts on Facebook,Twitter,media ETC so people will WAKE UP if not jacinda & the greens will get elected again & MORE RUIN will come to NZ.Cindy||Cindy|
|was far too harsh||Norman|
|We cannot be a solitary bastion in a wider world|
|Jacinda has stuffed the country well and truely||Russell|
|This woman’s rash actions have already condemned this country. We are not immune from C.19 and we can’t stay in isolation from the rest of the world forever.||Jenny|
|Her strategy was based on luck and slogans. Her competence is in question after taking all the accolades. She is not a leader. Like all socialists, the wheels will come off sooner rather than later.||Derejk|
|Ardern is not sustainable either.||Kevin|
|This woman has done us all a great deal of harm.||Frank|
|She is trying to borrow her way to reelection without any regard for economic consequences. The big idea seems limited to cleaning up rivers and no new infrastructure. Heaven help us if the Greens are needed to help her stay in power. Come on National get your Act together.||Mike|
|There’s an old saying “If you’re in a deep hole and can’t get out, for Gods sake stop digging!” labour only know how to dig!||Bruce|
|I never have done from the beginning and she is now showing no sign of how to get us out of this mess.||Gail|
|How on earth can we isolate ourselves from the rest of the world forever! without the back up of a non existent vaccine. Ardern is quite mad!||Ron|
|we don’t want an outbreak in NZ||Diane|
|It leaves most people with no immunity and an economy in ruins. It has done a large amount of damage to the health of the population.||Paloma|
|Most stupid strategy in the first place.||Ray|
|Typical extremist socialist approach||Peter|
|Flu is flu – a virus is a flu that calls for an agreed level of measured response of added vigilance and medical amelioration.||Larry|
|No way. Another knee jerk reaction by Ardern.||David|
|the rest of the world will always have it.||Graeme|
|No, this policy is as unwise as it is stupid. With no herd immunity, virtually 100% of New Zealanders will be exposed to COVID-19 if and when they travel overseas.||Peter|
|but its a planned demic so they will try to stretch it out as long as they can, and suddenly have lots of money….bills here hundreds of mils there…..seem quite happy to burn the place to the ground….||wayne|
|Older people won’t have any immunity, so no travel overseas. There are lots of ‘new orphans” as we call ourselves, with no children living in NZ! Have to travel to see the Grandies!!||Marianne|
|Ardern saw this media generated ‘pandemic’ as an opportunity to promote herself within the halls of world communism; by being the first leader of a country since Stalin, to communise a country and remove it from the western world’s economic sphere. Our media has an awful lot to answer for in their reporting of what was really just a severe case of a new strain of the flue.||Bob|
|This is to me a state run event that overrules democracy and the greens are no better. I will be voting National as leaders and the New Conservative as a member.||Bruce|
|Jacinda Ardern aka the Tooth Monster and her government of incompetent morons is destroying our once proud nation. The hopelessly partisan mass media is allowing her and her idiots to get away with murder||Richard|
|No !! Docile NZers once again used as Lab Rats.||Ronnie|
|we have to act with other countries to get used to the Covid 19||Dave|
|It was plain to me from the start that if NZ was an isolated island in the Southern Ocean, alone in the world as clear of the virus while it was endemic around the world we were in an impossible position. I asked on day one and ask again now. How will you ever open the borders?||Danny|
|Totally unsustainable and our grandchildren will be paying for this mess, not beneficiaries who will be encouraged to stay on benefits.||Rita|
|Ardern has demonstrated how easy it is to control a population that has lost its self reliance, caused by successive socialist govts||Allan|
|It’s out there in the rest of the world so it’s impossible if people are still to move through your borders.||Andrew|
|We still have it, we’ll never get rid of it, we should plan to run the country as safely as possible. Keep those most susceptible safely isolated, let our borders open with SERIOUS controls and businesses get back to normal as quickly as possible. We’ve been punished enough by a draconian and unnecessary lock down.||Peter|
|It’s impossible. It’s also grandiose on her part.||Allan|
|No. It was the wrong approach.||Susan|
|Not unless effective protection can be found soon||Robbie|
|We can’t stay isolated from the rest of the world forever.||Vivienne|
|Show pony tactics at the expense of the nation.||Alastair|
|Disease has to be managed, elimination without a real means to do so is reckless ideology.||Stan|
|Bad strategy from the outset. Info now indicates Covid way less dangerous than we thought.||Bryan|
|We must open our borders and be part of the world again or risk economic doon||Heather|
|I believe Jacinda is on the right track although she has wondered off the track many times. To little to late Jacinda keeps saying we went early and hard, C..R..A,,P. NZ had plenty of warning in January 20 from China USA Britain & started to quarantine Feb 4th and later self isolate which does not work if you don’t have enough provisions & rely on honesty. Too little too late.||Roydon|
|Herd immunity has always been the answer.||Michael|
|We need to connect with the world||Richard|
|National do not and never had any viable options. They just snipe from the wings using hindsight.||Kevin|
|Another horrific Blunder by Amateurs influenced by erroneous Computer Modeling of possible scenarios for Covid 19. The same failed principal that is applied to Climate change.||Geoff|
|A pipe dream. At best it could be “managed”.||Sheila|
|How can an inexperienced schoolgirl do a mans job ?||Gerald|
|NZ can’t continue forward with this ideology. Unfortunately this government don’t seem to be able to implement anything apart from a political narrative. The focus should be on better protection for the vulnerable, and up scaling border protection so we can start to strategically open borders with other nations who likewise have the correct level of border security in place.||Mike|
|I’m sure that we have all got to the point of disbelieving anything Ardern says or does.||Derrick|
|How can voluntary isolation produce a 100% co-operation from humanity? Unfortunately, Man was not made to be so honest. With the claim there are a million New Zealanders who could return to our shores, what chance of entire eradication of Covid, even after several years?||Paul|
|we enjoy a happy space right now. But with out a plan to open the borders we will struggle.||gavin|
|We have to live with the reality that until we get an effective vaccine, the risk is always there for ongoing outbreaks.||Tony|
|New Zealand cannot sustain prolonged isolation from the rest of the world. Already we are connected via returning Kiwis who either already have the virus or have a high risk of infection. Basic border controls have been regularly violated by some returnees exercising their ‘right’ to break isolation, even at the expense of fellow Kiwis. Not only have we paid for their return and isolation costs, but I imagine they are also claiming unemployment benefit whilst in isolation. This is a merely another blatant mis-use of tax-payer funds in a vote-buying initiative under the guise of helping all Kiwis, and will likely continue until the elections. The ease of transmission by returning Kiwis is testimony to the fact that elimination is extremely difficult, costly and without any guarantee of long term success.||Martin|
|The economic cost has not been a consideration for this government.||Glynis|
|The second wave of Covid is coming back, not if but when is the question. There is no way it can be kept out. Personally I liked Australia’s strategy.||Peter|
|I wish more would wake up and smell the coffee and she labour is ruining this country||Kristene|
|What strategy?? A strategy requires logical and rational thinking and the gathering of real specialists with experience in their respective line of work. And exactly these ( absolutely substantial )prerequisites we will never find in a commie/ socialist ideologist. She lives in her own ‘bubble’ advised by ‘influencers’ and other questionable ‘advisers’. She – like her entire cabinet- are causing the country so much harm that it will take decades to recover from this economic wreckage. ( If ever, considering the questionable quality of brainwashed youngsters leaving ‘ universities’ and will become the next generation of do gooders wanting to save everything. God help us——–no one else can or will.||Michael|
|The Chairman (Jacinda) has no competence to complete any strategy||Graham|
|She will NZ into the ground to massage her ego and promulgate her socialist ambitions. Be very afraid NZ!||Willy|
|It’s been a right royal disaster||Peter|
|Not if there are so many returning NZers!||Kate|
|Her plan was naive in from the start. One of the joys of aging is knowledge of the past.||Chris|
|Great reading. The his government only knows how to deliver handouts not build a country.||Brett|
|It was never plausible||John|
|Totally impossible logistically and economically. We in NZ are endangered with no immunity against this virus!||Adrienne|
|a poorly thought thru knee jerk response.||Collin|
|No – Labour has made a huge mistake. Eliminating a virus that is going to remain active around the world is a recipe for disaster. Managing it would have allowed some natural immunity to develop. NZ cannot stay isolated. The process of opening up the country should begin after the winter.||Stuart|
|Another poor decision by Jacinda Ardern. She is unbelievably arrogant to not have taken proper advice. She is responsible for all those people who died because of a lack of health care during the lockdown. The hospitals were empty and doctors had no patients – they could have carried on seeing people who needed help.||Francis|
|Elimination of the virus was never viable. You can’t eliminate the flu.||David|
|What a disaster this is all becoming. We can’t stay cut off from the world forever.||Jason|
|Labour botch up everything they touch. And now it turns out they have made a mess of managing the pandemic. God help us if they win a second term of goverment.||Murray|