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Cabinet decides NZ will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 on Tuesday as officials are no longer aware of any active cases in the country

Cabinet decides NZ will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 on Tuesday as officials are no longer aware of any active cases in the country

New Zealand will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 on Tuesday, or 11.59pm on Monday to be exact. 

Cabinet made the decision after meeting on Monday.

Level 1 is business as usual with closed borders. There will no longer be mass gathering or social distancing restrictions.

Businesses won't have to take the contact details of those who visit their premises, however Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encouraged them to display the QR code for those using the Ministry of Health's digital diary. 

She also encouraged individuals to keep track of who they see and where they go. 

Ardern couldn't put a timeline on when a trans-Tasman bubble can become operative.

Those let through the border will continue being tested and undergo mandatory 14-day government-managed quarantine.

Ardern recognised it was important for people to return to their workplaces to support businesses in CBDs, but said we shouldn't lose progress made on flexible working during Levels 2, 3 and 4.

"For our part we have asked the State Services Commission to issue new workplace guidance to make it clear that every public sector worker should return to their usual place of work, taking into account flexible work policies," she said.

She made the announcement as the Ministry of Health on Monday reported there were no active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. 

Auckland Regional Public Health notified it the remaining case had been symptom-free for 48 hours.

It's been 17 days since the last new case was reported in New Zealand and 40 days since the last case of community transmission.

“We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time – it is a sustained effort," Ardern said.

“The world will remain in the grip of a global pandemic for some time to come and we will see cases here again, which we must remain prepared for."

Treasury and the Reserve Bank expect direct economic output to be between 90% and 96.2% that of normal levels at Level 1. 

Percentage of normal time GDP produced at each alert level
  RBNZ Treasury
L1 96.2 90-95
L2 91.2 85-90
L3 81 75
L4 63 60

Here is a copy of Ardern's speech:

Today is day 26 of Alert Level 2 and day 17 without any new cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Today is also day 75 of being in a Covid alert level of any kind.

Our team of 5 million has both sacrificed and achieved a huge amount in just under 11 weeks as the world reckoned with, and continues to reckon with, a virus that went from obscurity at the start of the year to a global pandemic that will linger, with second waves a constant reality.

As it spread rapidly around the world, we all saw people losing their loved ones and their livelihoods at a rate that was never acceptable to us.

And so here in New Zealand we went hard and early with a single plan that had a dual purpose – and to protect lives and livelihoods.

Self isolation for all returning travellers came into place first – 17 days after our first case.

We closed our borders to everyone but New Zealanders 20 days after our first case.

Our first economic package, including the critically important wage subsidy scheme, was in place 19 days after the first case. Most other countries took more than 40.

And then New Zealanders did something remarkable in our fight to beat Covid-19. We united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus.

Our lockdown was in place 26 days after our first case, when we had just over 200 cases.

Google tracking showed that during our lockdown, New Zealanders massively reduced their movements – by 91 per cent to retail and recreation – better than Australia, the UK, the United States, and nearly every other place we compare ourselves to.

Had we not acted, 11 days in to our lockdown we were projected to have 4000 cases. We had 1000 and one of the lowest rates per capita in the world.

That was what the sacrifice of our team of 5 million was for. To keep one another safe, and to keep one another well.

And as much as we could, we have.

We acknowledge those we have lost in our battle to beat Covid-19.

Our goal was also to come out the other side as quickly and as safely as we could.

A place where our borders continue to be our first line of defence but where all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services are essentially lifted.

Where all the rules for hospitality, such as single service, separated tables, and people being seated, all end.

Where there is no requirement for physical distancing in workplaces and in public places.

Where all gatherings of any size can occur.

Where life feels as normal as it can in the time of a global pandemic.

And today, 75 days later, we are ready.

Today, there are no active cases in New Zealand.

We have tested almost 40,000 people for Covid-19 in the past 17 days and none have tested positive.

We have had no one in hospital with Covid-19 for 12 days.

It’s been 40 days since the last case of community transmission, 22 days since that person finished their self-isolation.

And so today I can announce that Cabinet has agreed we will now move to Level 1 – to get our economy fully open again – and we will start almost immediately.

We move down to Covid-19 Alert Level 1 from midnight tonight.

With over 100,000 new cases being reported each day, the challenge of Covid remains around the globe and so it remains here. We are not immune to what is happening in the rest of the world.

But unlike the rest of the world, not only have we protected New Zealanders’ health, we now have a head-start on our economic recovery. 

That’s because at Level 1 we become, if not the most open, one of the most open economies in the world.

Oxford University publishes a Government response stringency index, ranking countries from 0 to 100 in terms of their level of restrictions.

Before today’s move to Level 1, New Zealand was at 33.3, while Australia was at 62.5. We were already nearly twice as open as they were.

The Reserve Bank’s analysis shows the economy under Level 1 is expected to be operating just 3.8 per cent below normal levels.

That’s an improvement from the estimated 8.8 per cent below normal under Level 2, 19 per cent below normal under Level 3, and 37 per cent under Level 4.

And it was encouraging to see economists recognise that activity under Level 2 was also stronger than expected. Westpac last week said the economic recovery was tracking faster than expected, and that activity like heavy and light traffic movement, and electricity use is back to, or above, pre-Covid levels.

Zespri too has reported that despite the global challenge of Covid, its exports are well ahead of last year, with 5.7 million more trays shipped this season so far than last season along with its highest sales yet in Europe as demand for healthy produce grows.

At Level 1, we expect the continuation of recovery.

After all, at Level 1 we can hold public events without limitations. 

Private events such as weddings, functions and funerals without limitations. 

Retail is back without limitations.

Hospitality is back without limitations.

Public transport and travel across the country is fully opened.

This freedom from restrictions relies though heavily on the ongoing role that our border controls will play in keeping the virus out.

We must remain mindful of the global situation and the harsh reality that the virus will be in our world for some time to come.

We are confident we have eliminated transmission of the virus in New Zealand for now, but elimination is not a point in time – it is a sustained effort.

We almost certainly will see cases here again – I want to say again, we will almost certainly see cases here again – but when that occurs it will not mean we have failed. It is the reality of this virus. We must be and we are prepared for future cases.

That’s the reasons our border remains our first line of defence as we aim not to import the virus. Borders remain closed at 15 of 17 comparable countries.

Our managed isolation and quarantine at the border will continue and it will be as important as ever as we know this is a potential pathway.

And that is key because we want to not just move to Level 1 – we want to stay there.

And so there is a key ask I have of all of you today, of businesses.

We are asking all businesses and services where the public visit or enter to provide people the opportunity to maintain their own diaries of where they’ve been.

And so our All of Government team will continue working with sector groups, businesses, hospitality firms, churches, schools and others to encourage them to display QR codes via posters at the entrance of premises – as most of you will have seen at businesses as you were out and about at the weekend – so that everyone can maintain their diaries via the NZ Covid Tracer App.

Manual sign-in is no longer required, but we do ask that you put up a QR code poster at the door of your premises so people can scan in and can keep a record for themselves. Ongoing improvements will be made to ensure these QR posters are as accessible as possible for businesses.

We have also worked with the events sector on a voluntary code to ensure attendees’ details are captured at these bigger events where we know the virus can spread easily.

The reason for all of this is simple.

If we get one or two cases in future, which will remain possible for some time to come due to the global situation and nature of the virus, we need to shut down those cases fast. 

The last thing we want to do is move back up the alert system again.

So this is a key new behaviour we are asking all New Zealanders to adopt at Level 1.

You can do and go wherever you like, we just ask you keep a record of where you have been by scanning in – or noting down your movements for yourself.

I have one more thing to ask.

At Level 2, agencies have been managing the return of employees to work with around 50 per cent of people back at their places of work last week.

Now, at Level 1, you can, unless you feel unwell, go back to your place of work.

There has been some good adaptation over the past couple of months with flexible working. This is progress and has helped people with care arrangements and has also helped to avoid traffic congestion – these things we should not lose.

But we can balance that with ensuring we also have thriving CBDs.

For our part we have asked the State Services Commission to issue new workplace guidance to make it clear that every public sector worker should return to their usual place of work, taking into account flexible work policies.

We’ve got to Level 1, now let’s make our next goal supporting our recovery, right across the economy.

I know that having such a firm sight on success for so long has sometimes made the road we’ve taken seem longer and the steps we’ve taken seem more laboured.

At every step there have been those who’ve pushed us to do something different, to go faster or further, but our collective results speak I think for themselves.

That caution and hard work got us down the mountain safely when the descent is always the most perilous part.

Moving to Level 1 now the dividend for everyone’s hard work, for now.

But we need our team of 5 million for the phase.

And that is to get New Zealand moving again, as we move from the collective call to action of Unite against Covid-19 to Unite for Recovery.

I encourage you to buy, play and experience New Zealand-made to get our country moving again. Consider it an extra form of support, to visit our country, buy our local products and support our local businesses.

For my part, this week is about the Government’s recovery efforts, and focus on jobs.

And you’ll be seeing that in my agenda.

Tomorrow I will be in the Bay of Plenty, visiting a kiwifruit and avocado packhouse – to discuss how we can further assist the sector to attract workers, noting horticulture has already picked up some 2000 workers who have lost their jobs due to Covid. I will also check in with our Mana in Mahi scheme that gives employers the equivalent of the unemployment benefit to hire those who might be reliant on it, at an electrical business installing solar power and heat pumps in Tauranga.

On Wednesday I’ll be in Kaikoura for a tourism announcement. 

On Thursday I’m in Auckland making a health infrastructure announcement and on Friday, following our $30 billion investment to protect jobs and restart the economy due to Covid, I will speak to the Vision Week web summit where I will share further details of how the Government is working with business on New Zealand’s economic recovery and rebuild from Covid-19.

While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild. 

And so while the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple thank you New Zealand.

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87 Comments

So...a contraction of between 3.8% and 10%, in other words?

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Well that's a great outcome !

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Looks like your miraculous talent to predict the future is a hit or miss.

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???

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Remember the time you were constantly bashing the govt for the strict lockdown rules?

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You know this is unsustainable. It's just a matter of time before we import infections.

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Yes, but importing new infections when we now have a population vigilent for symptoms, testing available on demand and a robust contract tracing system is very different to what we had when we entered level 4 lockdown - 200 active cases with unknown potential for community transmission.

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No NZ has a complacent population who thinks they've "won the battle". We have almost 0% herd immunity, and a population who're unprepared to take pragmatic measures like wearing masks indoors in public. NZ has paid an enormous economic cost to delay the inevitable widespread infection of everyone with this virus.

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Yes great outcome. What is the economic value of NZ's Covid-free status, and how it can be realised? E.g., international students, coming to study and paying for their own two-week quarantine? IT businesses setting up in NZ?

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I can't see international students being allowed before the election. That they didn't announce it today means that the start of semester 2 is all but impossible. Which means it might as well be semester 1 next year, which is also conveniently after the election. Poking a hole in the border for (unpopular) international students would be a huge risk. Imagine how bad it would look if a case slipped through there?

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It would be alright if they came as long as the border testing and quarantine was watertight.

The right to work while studying needs to be withdrawn while unemployment is high.

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"The right to work while studying needs to be withdrawn while unemployment is high."

That is the key, it is a STUDY visa, not a work visa.

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They come for the easy residency visa, not our amazing quality of education.

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Why do you want even higher immigration?

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Do either of those things necessarily need to mean higher immigration? In theory, businesses setting up here could hire locals, and study visas are (or at least could be) temporary.

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Study visas are temporary on an individual level, but if you have 30000 students leaving each year, with 30000 new ones arriving next year, it's not temporary at all. Also, many students only come here to 'study' so that they can get a work visa easier.

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That's an argument for changing the study to work pathway, which I think would have a lot of support, more than one for no study full stop.

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Great! Congratulations to the government, and to all of us. Just look at the news from other places, and let this sink in for a moment.

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Todd has the worst job right now. National are set to get crushed.

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True. He can throw a keg party after the election and then move on.

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J.C.

A long time member of the National Party-and in his constituency- thinks that he have quite deliberately been picked as a sacrificial lamb-to make way for Luxon sometime after the election. I am not convinced, but we'll see soon enough.

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You mean Christopher don't you J.C ;)

If ol 'toffer doesnt have the average gnat party voter running for the hills I guess no one will.

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Luxon will get smoked if they try to bring him in too early. He will need at min one term in parliament to learn the ropes. If National are still in opposition by then I expect to see him fighting the 2026 election as leader. 2023 will be too soon.

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I think Todd is going to play the - 'It would have been worse under Simon card"

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Well done Team..game of 2 halfs, few calls went our way, great speech half time by the coach...solid result and the best team won on the day.

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First thing is any non rural work permits are allowed to lapse. You’ve created about 250k jobs right there

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Half of them were for the hard-hit retail and hospitality sector so the jobs have disappeared anyway.

Other sectors like rural and age-care should be able to find plenty of good people from recently unemployed New Zealanders.

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It does make me wonder how many of the 'Job Losses' were/are ones actually filled by migrant labour anyway. Take tourism for example, the amount of kiwis actually employed in the industry is relatively low compared to other sectors.

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XXXL hat sales trending on Amazon.

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I thought it was meant to be Wednesday (48 hours notice)?

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The dropped that limitation due to enforcement of alert level 1 not being an issue.

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What happens if we don't wait until midnight?

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if you have followed JA all the way through this journey she has always under promised and over delivered , great sales technique that even JK would be proud of.
But pity her ministers do the reverse apart from a couple of them

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Actually you only need a core group of about 5 competent Ministers and a bunch of turkeys in the paddock. That's all any Government has had since the 3rd Labour Government, and look what happened to them after Farmer Kirk died. The Lange Government also had its share of bright and capables, and look what happened to them (and the country sadly?). National has always been careful to populate the lesser Cabinet positions with idiots - oh look, some of them are still there on Muller's team!

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So we are about 3 short in the current govt, 4 short if you count that JA only has to be the public face and couldn't run a ministry without PR agencies writing the scripts.
It's a shallow gene pool on the Labour front benches. Their only hope is that some of the new candidates get through and take the places of the current front-bench-warmers (or paddock turkeys as you say above). Maybe someone new will know about housing, small business, tourism et al.

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Step 1 to opening the border. Get to zero new and active cases.Step 2. Begin twice mandatory testing for every person arriving into quarantine announced today. If this results in no new cases over the next month. There will be a strong political case for first cutting the quarantine period back to maybe 1 week or just do an arrival test. One night in quarantine hotel near the airport and then health check and on your way once a negative result comes through.

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The tests have a 30% false negative rate and the incubation period is up to 14 days.

Your plan is full of holes and would get us re-infected quickly.

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Should’ve been level 1, 3 weeks ago!!
Let’s now see how great thou art now, when the economy is involved!
Anyone can close us down but let’s see how they are going to produce these jobs jobs jobs!!!!!
Todd needs to harden up as well, as he is showing that he is probably not hard enough to show Ardern up for her and her offsiders lack of financial acumen

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Alternatively Todd and his acolytes have even less to no financial management acumen with which to show up anyone.

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Both National & Labour are made up of lawyers, teachers, and BA's in English and History. National's team also woefully lacks business/financial acumen.

Goldstein, your Oppositions Spokesman for Finance, Infrastructure & SOE has a Masters in History......he's at best a career politician. Is that the business whiz you're after to deliver jobs, jobs, jobs?

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TM was only ever a middle manager and from what I have seen so far yes minister comes to mind, I don't think he will be the leader for long

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You forgot he’s also Maori

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that was so cringey, what are they thinking?

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What a fantastic government we have. The economy will gradually recover while many other world economies struggle to survive. My KiwiSaver account is higher than ever and the shares I bought in March and April have doubled at least. Labour will do anther 3 years at least on the Treasury Benches. We are lucky to have JA and GR leading us to recovery.

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TM2 Your expert opinion on these matters, matters not a jot. Shut up and celebrate with the rest of us for once.

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TM2, missed a few listings did you? Shame!

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Chairman, which part of I am not a real estate agent don’t you understand!
I am a very successful professional property investor/housing provider in Christchurch and one other place now!

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Not my plan. If the false-negative test result is so high. What is the point in testing at all? Just quarantine for 14 days and test only those that develop symptoms. But they are going to test everybody that arrives and they are going to test them twice. Assume that is to cover for the false negatives. They will play around with the time gap between each test to collect better data. They will know by country of origin if and where the infected people are coming from. They will use the results to make a case for whatever their end game is. Assume it is opening up to Australia first. Prior to the election. Labour want to rule alone with only the Green lapdogs if required. Winstons services will no longer be required.

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The tests have a 20% false-positive rate so that kind of clear-off some gap?

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Is there another country that's supposedly gotten clear of the virus?

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Iceland

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and to all those naysayers saying aussie did it better, well they still have restrictions and borders closed with each other.
was our path the correct one, from a health point of view yes, and hopefully from an economic one as well, there will be unemployment but we have a huge imported labour force so without trying to sound to mean we can trim that back to the bone and make it through ok

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Don't forget sweden!! They had the problem solved months ago!!

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A friend in Melbourne reported that places like Bunnings and homewares stores are full of empty shelves, i guess due to parts of the economy still be closed down / business owners reducing their spending on new stock due to confidence issues. Things are not going so well for Aus in many ways compared to us.

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Thanks. Kinda tricky to have an open border with them, be a great place to visit though.

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you also have all the islands free of covid as well, fiji, samoa, nuie, cook islands vanatu
nice and warm for a winter esccape

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Yes the islands rather more likely! Tricky though the balance between Aus and the islands. I admit to being initially skeptical that the islands really were covid free (e.g. did their health systems really know?) but the longer it goes on the more it seems to be true.

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That won't happen. The powers that be want to keep all the tourism dollars here. The borders with the islands will be kept closed for as long as they can.

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The optics of the upper-middle classes Facebooking and Instagramming whilst lounging by the pool in Denarau would not play well to the Labour base.

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Tend to agree. Much harder to persuade kiwis to take their holidays at home if the islands are an option. Bubble with Aus, on, the other hand, probably brings in more travellers (net), or at least is more balanced.

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Iceland appears to be consistently having a case a day at the moment.

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Huh. I see one case in the last week. But yes not quite clear yet either way.

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A few of the Pacific islands are Covid free too

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Iceland's not quite clear yet, but I'd prefer somewhere warm please.

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This thread needs balance. Here’s some from ACT

Eradication And Elimination

Far back through the mists of time, the Government said New Zealand’s plan was elimination of COVID-19 from our shores. Then we learned a curious thing about epidemiology. Elimination doesn’t mean elimination. It means reducing a virus to a manageable level. What’s manageable depends on how good the government’s public health technology is. How fast can it trace and isolate infected people to prevent an uncontrollable outbreak?

Achieved Weeks Ago

In the last week of April, 33,000 people were tested and only seven new cases were detected. The Government says it is on top of contact tracing, so what have we been waiting for? After the initial confusion, the Government has quietly decided to pursue an elimination strategy after all. Why? At what cost? Is it a good idea?

Why?

The Prime Minister bathes in adulation. The more international the better. The team of five million is now being used for the greatest PR exercise of all time. No doubt the Guardian and CNN will be in awe of the country that eliminated COVID-19. There will probably be children’s books written about it. The problem is, the Guardian and CNN do not have to live in New Zealand or make a living here.

At What Cost?

Besides the odd filmmaker, we are now isolated from the rest of the world. While every other country is going to learn to live with elimination at best, New Zealand will be alone with eradication. What’s holding up the trans-Tasman bubble? The Prime Minister says some states still have some cases. Case numbers that are the envy of the world, but still not compatible with our strategy.

150,000 Jobs

Forecasters now say there could be 150,000 job losses. As the weeks go by we will find, for instance, that thousands of onshore fish processing jobs depend on specialist Japanese diesel mechanics coming to service vital equipment. That’s not to mention tourism, horticulture, export education, or any other industry that depends on global links. So much for Fortress New Zealand.

Is It A Good Idea?

It depends. If the most heroic assumptions of a vaccine becoming available to New Zealand this summer were true, then the whole world, including us, can open up. If the vaccine arrives next year, the year after, or never (we’d need three million doses for herd immunity), we spend the time in isolation. So, the calculation is: Early vaccine (and available to New Zealand), we draw. No, unavailable, or late vaccine, we lose. The strategy is terrible.

A Sneaking Suspicion

The reasons for prolonging the crisis are political. After the British people finished dancing in the streets, they turned to different problems and had no need for Churchill. A hackneyed example maybe, but the same thing happened to Bush senior as Americans turned from the Gulf War to the economy. If you are a crisis leader, declaring victory is a dangerous thing to do. Don’t be surprised if today brings alert level 1.5.

Time For An Enquiry…

The real danger for New Zealand is that, mistaking good luck for good management, the public keep trusting the wrong people with the wrong solutions. As Free Press outlined last week, our fiscal track and monetary policy combined with net external debt are driving us off a cliff. Young people not normally engaged in politics, at least not fiscal policy, are noticing. This morning epidemiologist Michael Baker called for an inquiry. ACT said this two weeks ago.

…And A Better Way

We all agreed to go into lockdown. We faced the fog of war, with very little intelligence of what was going on. That was in March and we know so much more now. ëlarm is a great example of the new possibilities. Parnell business Datamine has shown how COVID-19 can be detected using big-data analysis of heart rates on watches that cost as little as $50. This could be a game changer. If the New Zealand Government had the willpower, it could say ‘if you provide this data voluntarily there will be no, or a significantly reduced, quarantine period when entering New Zealand.’

The World’s Smartest Border

This is the kind of technology that ACT has been talking about all along. The 6-point plan in our Alternative Budget had as its first point a significant increase in border security, something that was conspicuously absent in the Government’s cash splash Budget last month. Of course, no system is perfect, and even a border this smart is incompatible with New Zealand’s PR-driven strategy of eradication. We need to rethink our strategy.

A New Kind Of Crisis Management

The public health crisis is over. As a country we need to stop fighting it but the current Government, for political reasons, cannot afford to. ACT is campaigning for accountability, and for critical thinking, applied to our current crises. Only ACT is leading on this kind of thinking. We do so because, crisis or no crisis, a country has to pay the bills. If you agree, please share this Free Press with a friend, a colleague, or a family member or three. We’re relying on you to help spread the word.

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Sounds like, as usual, ACT's baloney needs some balance to their watch claim as well EE.

https://www.wired.com/story/wearable-covid-19-symptoms-research/

and to save you the effort of reading the link...

It may seem obvious, but at this point we’re still a long way from your Fitbit or Apple Watch alerting you that you have Covid-19. Most researchers who spoke to WIRED were careful not to over-promise, emphasizing that these studies with wearables might help identify changes in physiological signals, and that those changes might point to illness, and that could include coronavirus, but that the findings may not be specific to coronavirus.

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What about testing ? Continues or not ? Random or targeted ?

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The worst aspect of the last 2 months is that our politics will be forever changed. Poli's have seen how powerful it is to have huge exposure to the masses delivering sermons un-rebutted. They've also seen content is unimportant and will pick charming chatty relatable weather-presenter types instead of good leaders. Televangelism style politics will be the new norm and every excuse will be taken to manufacture opportunities for exposure in this dumb-new-world.

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Not necessarily- those sermons can backfire horribly if they aren’t delivered well or are not what the public want to hear.
I would say Jacinda has all the attributes of a great leader; communicates incredibly well, listens to ideas but is also decisive and intelligent. She’s a fair bit better than your average weather presenter.

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Hagiographic dribble

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The culture war has arrived!

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Hagiographic? Let's keep it simple eh? Agree that we shouldn't all get too pleased with ourselves or our leaders over this important but interim milestone. Disagree that you should use it to bag someone for a job well done. I haven't heard her or her party (of which I'm not a died-in-the-wool fan) blowing their own trumpet in the manner you imply.

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Was that you being angry in Lycra on the Chris Trotter article's video, XX? Sounds familiar.

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"Ardern has all the attibutes.." Minus the actual leadership side of things. She wants to be everyone's friend and shies away from conflict, but that does not make for good or effective leadership of a government or a country. She does emote for the camera well and comes across well in forums without any right of reply. Schools and Kindies were her favored haunts last election, I expect she will return to sycophantic content/conflict-free election photo-ops for this election too.

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Is it because she's a young capable woman that makes you so froth in the mouth angry?
Our Prime Minister will go down as being one of NZ's great leaders and fortunately your vitriol will be long forgotten....

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They've also seen content is unimportant and will pick charming chatty relatable weather-presenter types instead of good leaders

Agree with you there Foyle, I'd even go as far as saying Sir John set the benchmark for this country.

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Weather presenter? Unimportant content? Try re-imaging Adern as an astute reader of a generation a lot younger than thee or me, with a bit of steel and a background in international politics thrown in. The content has been easy for me to understand and I believe in (economic, social and health-related) fundamentals. You and I can diss them all the way to the election on how well their economic recovery strategy pans out, but please... stop being sexist and quite frankly just plain ignorant about what's just passed.

Agree with you on John Key Look-At-Me however. Can't see Adern foisting a flag referendum on us any time soon.

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The lesson of Ardern is put charisma ahead of any other attribute in picking a leader. Key used regular morning radio slots to show he was relatably blokey for the masses. Jacinda doesn't do well in that context because she lacks quick easy wit and conversational dexterity of Key and other past PM's - she's stiff and tends to flounder and pout on defense and needs more controlled exposure. But that is the bar that any aspiring leader needs to be able to surmount - conversationally entertaining a crowd while under fire. Bennett and Collins maybe have it (though some reputational negatives as well), English was a little stiff but quick witted. Simon lacked it and it cost him the leadership. Kaye and Adams don't appear to have it either and Muller hasn't impressed me yet, though maybe he'll get better with experience.

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It’s not something new though; Muldoon, Moore, Lange, etc. Occasionally you get a Bulger, Clark, or English.

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Right. But here's the thing, as much as humans crave 'strong leadership', the charismatic person at the top, they are also the ones that do the most damage if they have wrong ideas in their heads and drive the sheep over the cliff. Muldoon is the starkest example of that in NZ history, but overseas it has led to worse places with populists like Peron, Chavez, Hitler, Bolsonaro, Deturte and others. If we were more rational we would pay less attention to what (and how) they say it and more to what they do, the Blander types are safer and more capable. God save NZ from populist leaders

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Key did indeed play the role well, true. Seemed to mostly pull off the act, although on occasion would get wooden on talking points when questioned too hard, e.g. when caught out in dirty politics or when having to defend Judith Iscariot.

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"Sorry I just don't recall that" - JKs best and often used line ..with a cheeky grin. Gee Foyle you do set a low bar?

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Ardern is just the sort of politician that Key was. Knows how to speak through the media to the supporter base, but at the same time, keeps the media onside for the most part.

We saw the exact same thing happen around the Christchurch Earthquakes.

I also expect we will see a similar result of promises and projects promised not being fulfilled entirely. Much like after the quakes, where only three of the nine announced anchor projects which were promised in 2012 are actually finished and open today. I suspect the same will happen with this Govt's recovery projects in a few years time.

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I guess everyone here missed 101 East on Aljazeera tonight. Labour got roasted on our housing situation and Kiwibuild failure. The program made us look 3rd world and Labour refused to be interviewed for the program. Was worth a watch.

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Foreign press aren't so deeply in bed with the govt as the local MSM, and so are still willing to challenge them on what they do. Interest.co is about the last bastion of sensible middle of the road journalism in NZ. Support them folks.

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I think calling it Labour getting roasted is a bit of a stretch - the synposis is:

"Auckland has become one of the most unaffordable cities in the world, ranked just behind Sydney, Australia.

The average house now costs more than one million New Zealand dollars ($600,000), inequality is rife, and the most vulnerable people are being pushed into desperate situations"

Clearly the problem they are looking at is one that has developed under successive governments. It is well known that the property crisis formed under National doe to their actions of allowing almost unrestricted immigration in, without funding any of the required infrastructure and make changes to planning regs required. National did start a programme to sell off state housing though (which no doubt made things even worse). National also did not make any of the changes required to the tax system to ensure that property speculators were taxed in an equal way to other investment types.

Labour has failed with Kiwibuild, the way they went about it was the wrong approach. They have also failed to make the structural changes required to prevent mass purchasing of properties and inflating of their values which has continued since they took office. Labour has also so far failed to make any substantial changes to planning regs. However a couple of things are on their side, immigration has been turned off more or less thanks to COVID and they have invested in state housing again, which are being built at a record rate. The benefit of being in power vs not i guess is your legacy is not yet written.

Simply put - National did terribly on housing and created the runaway train, Labour as of yet have not been able to do anything to stop it, but it is hard to compare a 9 year govt to a 2.5 year one at the moment. There are some things in the works that will favour labour, but they will take time to materialise. It remains to be seen if Labour can do anything meaningful however.

But i agree with the angle the program is looking at - it is time to reduce inequality in NZ and it is time to make housing more affordable. Now tell me, which party has released their policies on how to do that yet?

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So what were house prices doing in the lead-up to the GFC again? Flat-lining?

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