Finance Minister Grant Robertson says New Zealand is in a strong position to respond to the impacts of coronavirus

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says New Zealand is in a strong position to respond to the impacts of coronavirus
Image sourced from Pixabay.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says New Zealand's in a strong position to stand up to the economic and health impacts of coronavirus, and said in a worst case scenario "immediate fiscal stimulus to support the economy" may be considered.

In a speech on Thursday Robertson noted it was "welcome" that there has not yet been a case of coronavirus in NZ. Nonetheless he said health experts advise it remains a high probability that NZ will have a case at some point. The Government has the capacity and ability to "do what it takes," he said.

"Beyond the public health response, we are taking a whole-of-government approach to managing the outbreak and planning for further scenarios. A key part of this is our planning for the economic impacts of the virus," Robertson said.

"We go into this situation with the economy in good shape. We are in a strong position to stand up to the economic and health impacts of coronavirus. Looking across fiscal and monetary policy, our labour market, consumer and business confidence readings and our housing market, the economy showed solid signs of improvement in late 2019."

"We go into this with our official interest rate higher than many other advanced economies – our Reserve Bank’s OCR at 1% is above Australia and the UK at 0.75%, and there are negative rates across Europe, said Robertson.

"We go into this with very low Government debt compared to the rest of the world. Credit ratings agency Moody’s recently reported that New Zealand’s Government debt position is significantly lower than other countries with its top Aaa rating."

"And we go into this situation off the back of our Government’s announcement of additional infrastructure investment in roads, rail, schools and hospitals under the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. We are investing to support, grow and modernise our economy," Robertson added.

"New Zealand is in a strong position to respond to the impacts of coronavirus."

A high level of uncertainty

Nonetheless Robertson acknowledged there's a high level of uncertainty about what will unfold. 

"It is not possible for anyone at this stage to give definitive answers to significant questions, such as: How long will it last? What will the global reach be? How deep will the impact be felt?"

"But while we look for answers for those questions, we can say some things with certainty. This will have a serious impact on the New Zealand economy in the short term," he said, highlighting the impact on tourism and the tertiary education sector with estimates of about 40% of foreign students not travelling to NZ.

"It is obvious that if the docks in China are shut down because workers are not able to get to work, then this will impact New Zealand’s log and food exports. Although I will add that we are starting to hear reports of some shipments getting through. Chinese authorities are also prioritising food shipments into China, which is positive for a country like New Zealand," Robertson said.

"We also know that the supply chain disruption in China is having some effects here in New Zealand, where domestic companies rely on imports from China that are not moving at this time. Very early, we began speaking to industry groups about how we could help them respond to the initial impacts of coronavirus."

Three potential scenarios outlined

Robertson said current international analysis of the economic impacts from coronavirus focuses on a scenario where the virus is contained and there is a short, sharp impact on the global economy in the first half of 2020, before activity returns to normal levels.

Within NZ an Economic Advisory Group led by the Treasury and including the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is assessing three scenarios:

Scenario one predicts a temporary global demand shock where there's a temporary but significant impact on the NZ economy across the first half of 2020, before growth rebounds in the second half as exports return to normal.

The second scenario is based on a longer lasting shock to the domestic economy, as the global impact feeds through for a period of time, and where there are cases of coronavirus in NZ.

And the third scenario is planning for how to respond to a global economic downturn if the worst case plays out around the world, and there's a global pandemic, Robertson said.

"We believe it is sensible and responsible to plan for these multiple scenarios. It does not mean we are predicting them. But it means we can continue to act swiftly and decisively as the impacts of coronavirus on the global and domestic economies become clearer, so that we can support Kiwis and New Zealand businesses," said Robertson.

"Our officials here are actively monitoring this situation, drawing on all data and analyses that they can to adjust our assumptions and forecasts. This includes administrative data that might provide more timely signals than traditional economic indicators which are reported with a lag."

"It also includes high-frequency data from China that economic analysts around the world are keeping tabs on – ranging from coal consumption to air pollution levels and traffic jams in Chinese cities to monitor activity there," said Robertson.

"We are in a good position to handle the situation, however it develops."

The second scenario would see the domestic economy experiencing a longer period of slower growth, throughout 2020, due to the global effects of coronavirus.

"Under this scenario, global uncertainty about the worldwide spread and containment of the virus causes deeper impacts on directly exposed sectors, as our trading partners feel the effects of coronavirus. We would expect to experience a decline in visitor arrivals from other markets outside of the temporary travel ban due to the economic impact that the virus has in other countries – like what we’re seeing now with South Korea," said Robertson.

"These external effects lead to broader indirect impacts across the domestic economy, with business and consumer confidence falling and the subsequent impact on investment and spending decisions."

Potential for fiscal stimulus

In scenario three, where the virus outbreak becomes a global pandemic leading to a global downturn or a global recession, "it may be necessary to consider immediate fiscal stimulus to support the economy as a whole and businesses and individuals through this period," said Robertson.

"I hasten to add that we are not predicting this scenario. But we are doing the planning for it. I also remind you that these scenarios are all temporary. The effects of this virus will pass. We are in a strong position to handle these scenarios."

"We have the capacity and ability to do what it takes," Robertson said.

'Talk to your bank'

Bank lobby group the New Zealand Bankers' Association says businesses and individuals financially affected by coronavirus should talk to their bank.

“We’re aware that some businesses, particularly small to medium sized ones, are being financially impacted by this unfolding global issue. The same may apply to individual customers working in sectors directly affected. Banks can offer affected customers support,” says New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont.

 “The sooner you talk to your bank, the better placed they are to help you. Good two-way communication between customers and their banks is essential to helping get through financial stress. Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of ways in which banks can help.”

 Beaumont said potential measures to assist bank customers include:

·Reducing or suspending principal payments on loans and temporarily moving to interest-only repayments

·Helping with restructuring business loans

·Consolidating loans to help make repayments more manageable

·Providing access to short-term funding

·Referring individual customers to budgeting services.

Robertson's full speech is below.

NZ economy in strong position to respond to coronavirus

Prepared remarks on coronavirus by Finance Minister Grant Robertson to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Massey University.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

The topic of this speech is the Budget 2020 priorities. But, given the considerable interest that I imagine is in the room about COVID-19 coronavirus, I do want to make some comments about that first.

Because we do meet today in the shadow of one of the biggest uncertainties that the global economy has seen in recent times.

This is a rapidly changing situation that the world finds itself in.

This week we have seen stock markets react to news of the virus spreading.

Just overnight, the World Health Organisation reported there were more new cases recorded outside China than inside it.

I am going to spend a bit of time outlining what we are doing to respond to coronavirus, and how we are planning for a range of scenarios so that we are prepared and able to support the New Zealand economy as the global impact of the virus becomes clearer.

First and foremost, our response to coronavirus must be led by our responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of our people. That is why our first response has been a public health response.

The Ministry of Health has done significant work over recent years on our pandemic planning and response. That means we are in a position to deploy that plan if this virus outbreak spreads and cases reach New Zealand.

The Ministry is working closely with DHBs, public health units, general practitioners and other health providers, including holding daily teleconferences on emerging issues.

The Prime Minister earlier this week set out some of that work. This includes even the level of detail of having 9 million P2 masks, and 9 million general purpose surgical masks available.

We’ve initiated an intensive care network of clinical ICU directors. We’ve undertaken a national stocktake from DHBs, which shows that we can deploy new staff across ICUs and high-dependency unit beds around the country.

We have access to negative pressure rooms across 15 DHBs, and New Zealand has the ability to test for the virus in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington, with same-day turnaround.

As you know, we’ve also put in place the travel ban on people who have left or transited through mainland China in the previous 14 days. We continue to review that ban every 48 hours, including taking into account the spread of the virus to other countries.

Public health staff are at our international airports, providing advice and information, and they are available to undertake health assessments of passengers.

That information includes guidance on self-isolation. Since early February there have been more than 5,000 registrations of people in self-isolation. I want to take a moment here to thank New Zealanders for showing that kind of responsibility.

Healthline has established a dedicated phone line for coronavirus information – 0800 358 5453.

It is, of course, welcome that we have not yet had a case of coronavirus in New Zealand.

The advice from health experts is that, with an outbreak of this type, it remains a high probability that we will have a case at some point. But I want to congratulate our public health officials on their response.

What it has done is buy us some time to prepare ourselves should a case arrive.

Beyond the public health response, we are taking a whole-of-government approach to managing the outbreak and planning for further scenarios.

A key part of this is our planning for the economic impacts of the virus.

As we do this, we know that this Government’s economic plan has been strengthening and growing the economy, even in the face of the global headwinds we have faced over the past two years, like the US-China trade war and Brexit uncertainty.

We go into this situation with the economy in good shape. We are in a strong position to stand up to the economic and health impacts of coronavirus.

Looking across fiscal and monetary policy, our labour market, consumer and business confidence readings and our housing market, the economy showed solid signs of improvement in late 2019.

The Government’s accounts for the first six months of the fiscal year – to the end of December 2019 – were strong. We had a surplus over the first six months of our fiscal year and we’re sitting $500 million higher than expected due to the stronger economy. This is on top of the $12 billion of surpluses in our first two years in Government. Tax revenue, including corporate tax and GST, were running ahead of forecast – highlighting the underlying strength of our businesses and our economy.

Just yesterday, the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research reported how the fundamentals of the economy are still strong, saying “there is underlying momentum in the economy”. This was off the back of higher consumer and business confidence, and following the announcement of the Government’s significant infrastructure plans, which will boost domestic economic activity.

We go into this with our unemployment rate having ticked down to 4%. Just last week, Australia’s rate ticked up to 5.3%.

We go into this with our official interest rate higher than many other advanced economies – our Reserve Bank’s OCR at 1% is above Australia and the UK at 0.75%, and there are negative rates across Europe.

We go into this with very low Government debt compared to the rest of the world. Credit ratings agency Moody’s recently reported that New Zealand’s Government debt position is significantly lower than other countries with its top Aaa rating.

And we go into this situation off the back of our Government’s announcement of additional infrastructure investment in roads, rail, schools and hospitals under the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. We are investing to support, grow and modernise our economy.

New Zealand is in a strong position to respond to the impacts of coronavirus.

We are operating in an environment of high uncertainty. It is not possible for anyone at this stage to give definitive answers to significant questions, such as: How long will it last? What will the global reach be? How deep will the impact be felt?

But while we look for answers for those questions, we can say some things with certainty.

This will have a serious impact on the New Zealand economy in the short term.

It is clear that there is an immediate impact on the tourism industry, particularly given there are now very few flights between China and New Zealand.

Chinese tourists typically spend around $180 million per month in the peak travel months of January through to April.

Within education exports, our tertiary sector has been impacted due to foreign students not travelling. The estimates we have are that around 40% of students have not been able to travel here.

That’s why we are working closely with our tertiary education sector to see what they can do to make sure New Zealanders’ public health isn’t put at risk if the travel ban is lifted for students.

It is obvious that if the docks in China are shut down because workers are not able to get to work, then this will impact New Zealand’s log and food exports. Although I will add that we are starting to hear reports of some shipments getting through. Chinese authorities are also prioritising food shipments into China, which is positive for a country like New Zealand.

We also know that the supply chain disruption in China is having some effects here in New Zealand, where domestic companies rely on imports from China that are not moving at this time.

Very early, we began speaking to industry groups about how we could help them respond to the initial impacts of coronavirus.

This week, Minister Davis and I held a meeting with leaders from the tourism industry regarding the $11 million fund we set up to help identify new markets and opportunities as visitor numbers from China remain low due to the public health travel ban.

At that meeting we agreed to establish a tourism industry advisory group to ensure a continuous flow of information between the industry and the Government.

We also agreed on the importance of working together to rebuild the Chinese market from a New Zealand Inc. point of view once restrictions are lifted.

In terms of Government departments, MSD and IRD are working closely with affected businesses and individuals to make sure they receive the support they need.

The most recent numbers show the IRD has spoken directly with more than 100 businesses to give them advice and support.

An MBIE website at business.govt.nz has been set up as a dedicated resource for businesses to source information about a range of potential issues like where exporters can go for assistance, implications for landlords and tenants, issues around tax obligations and questions around planning for travel.

As of yesterday, there had been 45,000 hits on the site – so it’s good to see information flowing between Government and businesses.

Minister Stuart Nash moved quickly to help our live rock lobster industry with a set of common sense changes to rules that he oversees to help them manage their stocks after it became difficult to export to China.

Economic impact

It is important to keep in mind that this outbreak will end, just as we saw with other outbreaks like SARS. The question is a matter of, when that will be?

New Zealand’s economy is in a strong position to respond to coronavirus. We are well prepared to respond to a range of scenarios that could play out.

Current analysis of the economic impacts of coronavirus from various forecasters has focussed on a scenario where the virus is contained and there is a short, sharp impact on the global economy in the first half of 2020, before activity returns to normal levels.

Over the weekend, the IMF downgraded its China growth forecast for 2020 from 6% to 5.6% under a scenario which assumes the spread of the virus is contained. The impact on global growth from this would take it from 3.3% in 2020 to 3.2%.

The OECD publishes its next set of interim forecasts next week, which will contain further updates.

The IMF’s Managing Director did say they are looking at further scenarios where the spread of the virus continued for longer, was more global, and had more protracted global growth consequences.

This is similar to what we are doing here in New Zealand, through an Economic Advisory Group led by the Treasury and including the Reserve Bank and MBIE.

Through this, we are assessing three scenarios:

·Scenario one predicts a temporary global demand shock where we experience a temporary but significant impact on the New Zealand economy across the first half of 2020, before growth rebounds in the second half as exports return to normal.

·The second scenario is based on a longer lasting shock to the domestic economy, as the global impact feeds through to the economy for a period of time, and where there are cases in New Zealand, and,

·The third scenario is planning for how to respond to a global downturn if the worst case plays out around the world, and we have a global pandemic.

We believe it is sensible and responsible to plan for these multiple scenarios.

It does not mean we are predicting them. But it means we can continue to act swiftly and decisively as the impacts of coronavirus on the global and domestic economies become clearer, so that we can support Kiwis and New Zealand businesses.

This week NZIER released a piece of research showing they expect a “short, sharp shock”, with the effects expected to be temporary – in line with what I’ve outlined in scenario one, where containment works.

But it is important to note that NZIER said that if its assumption around containment does not hold, then there would likely be a larger impact on export demand, meaning weaker GDP growth in the New Zealand economy.

This is a rapidly changing situation that the world is in. You would have seen this week global stock markets reacting as new reports about outbreaks in places like Italy, South Korea and Iran hit the headlines.

This does raise questions around whether the first scenario – that there will be a short, sharp impact over the first half of 2020 before activity returns to normal – will play out, or whether we are already heading to the second scenario where there are longer-run impacts.

Our officials here are actively monitoring this situation, drawing on all data and analyses that they can to adjust our assumptions and forecasts.

This includes administrative data that might provide more timely signals than traditional economic indicators which are reported with a lag.

It also includes high-frequency data from China that economic analysts around the world are keeping tabs on – ranging from coal consumption to air pollution levels and traffic jams in Chinese cities to monitor activity there.

We are in a good position to handle the situation, however it develops.

The second scenario we are planning for has the domestic economy experiencing a longer period of slower growth – across the whole of 2020 – as a result of the global effects of coronavirus.

Under this scenario, global uncertainty about the worldwide spread and containment of the virus causes deeper impacts on directly exposed sectors, as our trading partners feel the effects of coronavirus.

We would expect to experience a decline in visitor arrivals from other markets outside of the temporary travel ban due to the economic impact that the virus has in other countries – like what we’re seeing now with South Korea.

These external effects lead to broader indirect impacts across the domestic economy, with business and consumer confidence falling and the subsequent impact on investment and spending decisions.

I do want to also briefly talk about scenario three. Effectively, scenario three is one where the virus outbreak becomes a global pandemic that in turn creates a global downturn or even a global recession.

In such circumstances it may be necessary to consider immediate fiscal stimulus to support the economy as a whole and businesses and individuals through this period.

I hasten to add that we are not predicting this scenario. But we are doing the planning for it. I also remind you that these scenarios are all temporary. The effects of this virus will pass.

We are in a strong position to handle these scenarios.

We have low public debt. We have been running budget surpluses, and we have forecast budget surpluses because we’re managing the Government’s books carefully.

We know that Kiwi businesses are performing well, as we see record-low unemployment numbers, a greater proportion of small businesses with positive cash flows, and higher-than-forecast corporate tax revenue.

The automatic stabilisers will also kick in:

·In this scenario, the New Zealand dollar is likely to depreciate, which will help our exporters.

·The Reserve Bank has noted publically that it has room to move if the situation deteriorates – and it is worth remembering that they have greater room to move than most of their peers.

·MSD is already actively on the ground assisting workers in the forestry and logging sectors, while IRD is actively in discussions with businesses about provisional tax arrangements.

· These and other Government agencies are set to step up their efforts as needed. I have asked the Treasury to provide further specific policy interventions for each scenario.

As we move through our planning and response as a Government, I also urge New Zealand’s banks and their customers to sit down together and talk through their plans for managing the impacts of the virus on their business.

And also for businesses to talk with their staff about any adjustments that might be necessary.

Because we are all in this together.

We are lucky in New Zealand that we are able to move swiftly and decisively due to our careful economic management.

Our management of the Government’s books means we have the room to support the economy further through targeted Government investment.

You’ve already seen examples of sector-based initiatives that we’ve been able to get underway quickly, in tourism and fisheries.

Further sector-specific initiatives are able to be rolled out to support businesses and New Zealanders through this period if the second scenario that we are planning for does play out.

We are also at a stage in the 2020 Budget process where we can consider the policies required if we need a greater response.

So, in summary, we are continuing to focus on protecting the health of New Zealanders and we are taking a public health approach to our response to coronavirus.

At the same time we are undertaking whole-of-Government planning, working with sectors and industries to ensure we respond as this situation evolves.

We have the capacity and ability to do what it takes.

 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

75 Comments

12
up

are you sure?

10
up

You'll be disappeared as NZ's first official victim of covid19 if you keep asking searchingly insightful questions such as that

yep a boat load of huff and buff, so much room with 1% OCR, what a joke!
Will we get a case?
Well good chance since the govt closed flights we have still let 7.5k people in from China since Feb !
And what measure to stop spread, well govt says self quarantine ? Yep solid Labour policy, "lets do this"!
https://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/234776-people-struggling-to-find-selfquar...

Labour could be out of the government if they handle this matter poorly. Having said that, assuming the same mess (hence the same level of response) Wuhan experienced would happen here in NZ is also a nonsense. Leaving all the political stuff aside, NZ's low population density itself is a bless to beginning with. Just saying.

if it arrives in Auckland our hospitals will not be able to cope, schools will be closed, companies that have not prepped will struggle, people will be laid off especially the temp workers.
and many companies will close for good.
the safest places in nz will be rural

Yip Xing, as Grant R. received a surprised call from JK/ANZ that president Xi has assured him to give NZ assistance, so Business As Usual ... Please.

good timing,sounds like he thinks we have it covered,but then he wasnt going to say "cash up and head for the bush"

I hear.. yes it's coming, we are worried but don't want to alarm everyone. Head for the hills.
Just wrote my list of gear needed. $23k. Ouch!

I think I can do it cheaper.

11
up

good timing,sounds like he thinks we have it covered,but then he wasnt going to say "cash up and head for the bush"

Yes. And much better than saying "some of you are up to your gills in debt and the vast majority of you are not really financially prepared for what's coming next, so I hate to say it, but you're on your own."

15
up

One positive out of all of this might be that it’s finally hit home the need to address our excessive reliance on China as a trading partner - however I fear that once this blows over we'll just slide down the easiest slope and merrily revert to "business as usual" - no need to worry.

One positive out of all of this might be that it’s finally hit home the need to address our excessive reliance on China as a trading partner

You can guarantee that more than a few have taken rather large bets against NZ and Australia because of the China relationship.

Agreed, however, so does the rest of the world

.

Robertson
"The Reserve Bank has noted publically that it has room to move if the situation deteriorates – and it is worth remembering that they have greater room to move than most of their peers."
At the same time
RBNZ’s Hawkesby says "monetary policy not the right tool in response to coronavirus economic impact "(so is the OCR is irrelevant, needless to remind Mr Robertson the current OCR setting )

Where and when did Hawkesby say that?

Wednesday
Reserve Bank of New Zealand Assistant Governor Hawkesby spoke with MNI on Wednesday
Info conveyed via Bloomberg
"… markets are placing a high probability that monetary policy will have to be eased in the face of these developments, but we are still very much in the world of weighing up the probabilities because the outlook is so unclear
Monetary policy is not the right tool to be using
lot of different ways the broader NZ Government could provide assistance"
Hawkesby says focused on economic momentum 12 to 18 months ahead, coronavirus is a transitory thing

Excellent from Grant.
Acknowledges our relative strength, and considers scenarios and potential responses.
Faultless.

12
up

Yep hard to fault hot air and no actual plan

Yet people were routinely faulting John Key's government.

Any monkey could say that. Nothing startling in that script and quite formulaic. Comms advisors doing their job.

Add the fail to implement factor...

Yet it's true and totally the right response.
And it was conveyed well.

The rapacious primate (homo colossus) had overshot the carrying capacity of his environment. He became a vast resource for a microbial parasite that began to take advantage of its situation.

The response of the rapacious primate?......."we need to ensure more growth"

16
up

"Finance Minister Grant Robertson says New Zealand is in a strong position to respond to the impacts of coronavirus"
Is that Tui's new billboard?

ICYMI: "NZ business confidence drops amid coronavirus disruption. The ANZ survey for February shows a net 19 percent of businesses expect general conditions to worsen in the year ahead, from last month's 13 percent pessimism level." https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/410511/business-confidence-drops-ami...

ICYMI: "Leaked Documents Reveal Coronavirus Infections Up to 52 Times Higher Than Reported Figures in China’s Shandong Province" https://www.theepochtimes.com/leaked-documents-reveal-chinas-shandong-pr...

Using a factor of 52 times higher is misleading when you're going from an official count of 1 to a suspected count of 52.

Low denominators make for impressive headline figures, but it's misleading.

Mortality rate inside and outside of China still only around 2%, so not exactly the catastrophe that the media is painting...

Mr T,

The Epoch Times is associated with the Falun Gong movement and is a substantial supporter of right-wing movements and Trump. perhaps not the most reliable source of information.

This proves that Labour are future-inappropriate, as indeed are all the others.

They have no plan other than exponential growth. On a finite planet.

So they have to peddle porkies - not surprising given that the whole societal narrative is based on one.

Because telling the truth would get them thrown out of office and replaced by someone else that tells the lies that the voting public wants to hear. Obviously.

Still better to have Labour + Greens in government than National.

A group that fails to deliver v a group that maybe able to deliver.....
The Greens meed to be thrown to the side asap. They can not get anything done..

C'mon, National are deep in bed with China and would probably sell their own mothers to the CCP if it meant a short-term profit. Also the Greens aren't part of the government, do you also wonder why National haven't been achieving as many policies lately either?

Labour still comes down to non delivery and that was in the good times. When the preasure is on I have little to no faith that they will impliment effectively.

Yes, I agree completely Labour has been underwhelming. They're essentially National-lite with a more charismatic leader. In my eyes National are worse (actively selling out the country to China etc.) but your view may differ depending on your view of the housing bubble and whether it's a good thing or whether it's slowly ripping apart the social fabric of the country.

IMO both need to be given the boot and I'd love for some new viable parties to form.

Yip, one chasing fairy dreams that will change the world and give hugs along the way the other is busy shooting itself in the foot every chance it gets.
They are all useless but the current one has failed and generally the next player down the list gets game time. We've come a long way dince the 20th Jan, Labour will not be able to bluff all the way to the election. I think they will give it an honest attempt but fail badly.

national would allow people from china in, as they would do as they are told by their masters the CCP
applause to labour for not bending to the pressure the chinse ambassador tried to exert

National may well deliver, but I doubt it will be anything any of us want.

Yes I think you're right.

But at some point the reality of our physical predicament will make itself felt by the average punter.

At a global growth rate of 3%, we need to find more resources over the next ~23 years than have been consumed in human history.

Good luck with that one Grant.

Yesterday someone commented that human's energy use would increase exponentially forever. For reference, just the waste heat alone from energy consumption (ignoring CO2 etc.) would mean that air temp would reach 100C in approximately 300 years at current growth rates. Sounds like a plausible scenario!

Hopium, constructed from techno-fantasy is the fuel of the future. (Thanks to JH Kunstler)

Energy use per person in the USA has fallen 20% in last 50 years, and will fall a lot more with takeover of EVs, while more and more of that energy will start to come from renewable sources (PV) Malthusians doomsters are just endlessly wrong. Stupid reality frustratingly refuses to support their narrative.

Stacks on the mill, more on still. You know what happens eventually in that game

Growth is the default setting for just about every living organism on the planet. When it goes unchecked the results can be quite a bit less than pretty, and imbalances occur until balance is restored, not necessarily in the same form that existed earlier.
We have what could be an advantage in that we are able to recognize what is happening, but we seem to be very reluctant to do so. Maybe this time could be a good one for reflection, but what is the bet nothing even remotely like that will be going on?

Thank Buda Labour are in power this time round
National used the shock in 2008 to cook the country beyond recognition,
Made a royal shambles of CHCH too - we are still paying dearly for their supercilious incompetence.

You trust the Coalition to organise a rational and effective response to anything? I assume you have been sleeping for the last 2.5 years.

The response to the Christchurch terror attack was pretty well received.

12
up

Emoting on TV over a universally abhorent act requires no assessment of data, balancing of negative consequences or logistical competence - just a speechwriter. The only significant action they did take - gun buyback has been an abject failure, tiny takeup (just buried in backyards), vast numbers of NZers angered and criminalized for no significant improvement in safety (any reduction in gun deaths this year?). Everything they have done that requires technical nous or managerial competence has turned to custard.

I just don't see any value in politicising the coronavirus at this stage. We simply don't know how it's going to pan out. And if it's a worst case scenario I believe the response from a Labour or National led government would be very similar.

Yeah agree.
I do wonder though if the Nats would have been as precautionary on travel restrictions though

But may have gone back on it with Chinese preasure.

Very fair point

Pointing to repeated coalition policy execution failures and worrying about whether that pattern might be repeated with Covid19 is a valid logic extension exercise, not politicisation.

Perhaps. But my guess is our pollies, whichever ones happen to be in power, will largely follow officials' advice and take their lead from other countries on this. At least for the timebeing.

God I hope so. But that didn't appear to help in kiwibuild, or billion trees, or Auckland trains, or a few other decisions made against or in absence of expert advice.....
Type 1 personality medical specialists confident in their own judgement and ready to make choices fast with a strong regard for data and science ahead of politics would be my hope for who to lead the decision making process. Unfortunately recommendations from experts will be filtered by Cabinet.

Lovin' the whataboutery

Hope the number this year will be a lot lower than last year. 51 from the Chch massacre is a bit of a head start you'd hope we'd be hard pressed to make up this year.

If you buried a banned gun in your back yard you deserve your "criminal" status. You can disagree with the law but don't cry if you get caught breaking it.

Imagin Jacinda or Bridges in charge of something like the Chch quake.... disaster..

Unfortunately CH CH doesn't have to imagine ...disaster.

Are they still considering allowing students in.
How will they stop European travellers coming in.
We are an island,heavy handedness would prevent this virus even getting a foothold in NZ if we had used it.

“Finance Minister Grant Robertson says New Zealand's in a strong position to stand up to the economic and health impacts of coronavirus”

"Well he would say that, wouldn't he?" – Mandy Rice-Davies, the Profumo affair (as misquoted).

I think we will see plenty of cases very soon we have greatest ratio of Chinese tourists to locals in the world.
I wonder if our local testing is accurate or are using no8 wire testing.

Labour could lose the election if they handle this poorly

That's true.
Who knows if they are being more cautious though because of that.

Coalition would likely lose in any case (last few polls have them behind, and NZF are toast given current events), but as economy slides it becomes almost inevitable regardless of whether it is their fault or not. Any miss-steps in handling Wuflu will just make it a surer defeat. Sadly they are more likely to err of the side of inaction (opening the door to an epidemic here) than precaution given it is so far outside their experience, and time and again we have seen Coalition paralyzed by leadership indecision kicking the can down the road (eg 200ish working groups!!).

A very low death toll reported for yesterday at just 38. It hasn't been this low since the end of January.

Interesting statistics here:

Age, Sex, Existing Conditions of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

No deaths reported for anyone aged 0-9. Also only a 0.9% chance if you have no pre-existing conditions. Probably even better if you don't smoke.

A not entirely un-serious idea: If it was to evolve into a crisis train adolescents to do as much of the front line contact/treatment administration as possible. They won't die unlike older medical staff.

Are you a baby boomer?!

Like the world wars? Sacrifice the youth?

What sacrifice? Mortality for kids 0-9 is apparently nil to date. Maybe that extends somewhat into adolescence. In general 10-39 risk is 0.2%, and women are almost half as likely to die as men. So best to use women < 39 for as much of the medical work as possible, but children would be at even lower risk (though lack understanding required). Seems like a pretty rational choice to use lowest risk demographics as front-line staff. Yes I realize this would never be considered, but interesting thought.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/

Youth are future assets. Boomers have already lived well beyond there useful lives. Survival of the fittest I say

Kiwis are not taking this virus that seriously. That will change the day Auckland goes into lockdown.

I agree that Labour will be dog tucker if it lets in just one Chinese student who is found to have the virus.
Labour has been blessed so far in that we still haven't had one case. We don't want to be bull-dozed into making exceptions for overseas education and immigration agents. The long term interests of NZ will be assisted more by erring on the side of caution at this stage.

Every govt. on the planet the past 30-40yrs - all have to do the same, just to assure the public. That is their job.
Us as a public? - knew what that means, it's not a time for complacency - it's time to step up your preparation.
Be very prepare folks, I'm not kidding as we are into the incoming cold months.. this bug, just like that some aliens movies;
triggered by darkness/cool temp, moist - don't like hot temp - re-visit your emergency kit please.