The Spinoff's Duncan Greive on how Jacinda Ardern, Ashley Bloomfield & communications workers accomplished what we would have thought impossible just weeks ago

The Spinoff's Duncan Greive on how Jacinda Ardern, Ashley Bloomfield & communications workers accomplished what we would have thought impossible just weeks ago
Image: Simon Chesterman.

By Duncan Greive*

It came in the early evening of Wednesday March 25 – an angry, violent buzzing, all around the nation. The Spinoff documented the moment in its live updates: “like a demon possessed my phone”, said one staffer, while another noted that “the cat ran straight out of our house”.

What happened was the Civil Defence alert system, mostly reserved for tsunami warnings, had been called up to active duty. Signals were sent to our cellphones which activated their emergency sound and vibrate functionality, to tell us that the level four shutdown was coming at midnight that evening. More than that though, it showed New Zealand was willing to use every communications tool available to let what is normally an unpredictable and unruly populace know that their lives had just changed. It was an early sign the fight against Covid-19 would be fought on more fronts than health alone.

Less than six months earlier, New Zealand was among 195 countries included in the inaugural Global Health Security Index survey of pandemic preparedness, receiving a poor score of 54/100. The No 1 country, receiving 83.5/100, was the US. New Zealand languished in 35th, tied with Hungary and below developing economies like Chile, Estonia and Mexico.

NEW ZEALAND’S RANKING ON THE 2019 GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY INDEX.

The report’s authors did not know that it would be given such a visceral test so soon after publication. As is inevitable with models of such scale and complexity, results differed when the projections met reality. Both the GHSI study authors and informed commentary have pointed out that it was judging tools, not how they would be wielded.

Even so, it’s quite a leap New Zealand has made, to go from such a poor assessment of its preparedness to the cusp of elimination, with the country having returned to most of our familiar, beloved behaviours, when much of the rest of the world cannot contemplate anything of the sort.

New Zealand had a number of advantages, most obviously its isolation and sea borders. We did some things right, in banning direct flights to China early. Fine weather may have played a part, or our cities being less densely populated, or even a low public transport usage rate. Even the epidemiologists admit that luck probably had something to do with it too.

Yet when this episode is finally over, when humanity returns to whatever passes for normal life on the other side of this, it will be manifestly obvious that the single most powerful contribution to the apparent success of our fight against Covid-19 was communication. What we have witnessed over the past two months has been a communications masterclass – a multifaceted, stunningly effective campaign which unified a nation into complying with unprecedented restrictions with near total obedience.

It utilised a variety of techniques – as ancient as political speech, as modern as hyper-targeted social media advertising – to produce a level of uniform behaviour unimaginable in a western-style democracy. It seems an apt time to look back over this extraordinary period, and contemplate the tools deployed, and what that deployment achieved.

JACINDA ARDERN ANNOUNCES THE LEVELS SYSTEM FROM HER BEEHIVE OFFICE, MARCH 21 2020. (PHOTO: POOL). 

The alert levels and the everywhere campaign

Ironically, given how smoothly so much of what followed would flow, the announcement of the levels system felt rushed. Ardern gave an address only signalled that morning, carried across multiple networks at midday on a sunny Saturday. “I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today,” she intoned sombrely from her office, in front of wooden panelling, hanging flags and a portrait of Michael Joseph Savage. It called to mind a wartime address, a style not adopted since.

To be fair, there was a bind – how to give the nation the hint that something huge was coming, without inducing panic? But the timing of it, before we all got used to the daily rhythms of the 1pm briefings, of the state speaking to us, unmediated, meant that relatively few were watching live – just 294,000, according figures from TVNZ, a little less than half the 590,000 who watched last Thursday’s announcement about the new level two restrictions.

Yet the content was masterful. The levels system made intuitive sense – a simple, easily followed shorthand for the country’s status at any given time. It’s striking, listening back to the speech, how much the system has evolved. It was originally conceived to be applied regionally – “you’ll know if the status in your area has gone up, or down, or stayed the same” – but never has been. All the levels imagined an escalating threat, and make no reference to the de-escalation which has been the norm for most of the lockdown.

The system seems to have been conceptually borrowed from Singapore, part of a pragmatic willingness to pluck best-practice from anywhere, which contrasts sharply with some more nationalist approaches, such as the US CDC’s bungled attempts to make its own test rather than use the WHO’s perfectly adequate one. That the rules of individual levels have often changed now seems a feature, not a bug – the system has flourished in that opacity. From March 21 on, we all knew what the level was, the detail could follow later. Even the fact that the legal basis for the lockdown remains the subject of debate is now in many ways immaterial – the vast majority of New Zealanders did what was required of them voluntarily, because the communication device of the levels system made the expected behaviour clear.

What followed was arguably more impressive. Within days we started to see yellow and white stripes everywhere.

STREET POSTERS IN MORNINGSIDE IN LATE MARCH (PHOTO: DUNCAN GREIVE).

It was a masterpiece of utilitarian design. The messaging straight from science fiction, yet the rounded off edges of the typeface blunted its impact. The initial slogan was “stay home, save lives”, which made the simple act of sitting on your couch akin to joining the war effort. The yellow wasn’t the harsh, blaring hi-vis tone of police tape, but something more yolky. That was no accident, and its integrity was defended – many co-opted it for their own Covid-19 messaging, including one major national publisher. They were surprised to receive a call asking that they correct to the right pantone.

Yet even the most basic information about who was behind the campaign has proven hard to come by. I wanted to write about it, and tracked someone down in late March. “I would, but can’t … I’m NDA-d up to my ears,” he wrote. It’s rare for government and agencies to be so unwilling to take even a glancing public credit for high profile and admired work, and the reticence was instructive about the seriousness with which most branches of the state seemed to take to this task.

It became the most ubiquitous campaign in memory – everywhere from television banners, to billboards, to online pre-rolls, to print. It even played on the otherwise ad-free RNZ, under lifeline utility provisions. “The biggest media spend in the history of New Zealand advertising,” as assessed by one informed observer. For a couple of weeks there, it was the main client in our suddenly empty newspapers, a financial lifeline for a media suddenly both vitally important and mortally imperilled. It was a campaign no one who lived through it will forget. The reach, the clarity and the consistency of message were all hallmarks of what was to come.

Ashley Bloomfield and the return of experts

HEADLINE DURING PEAK BLOOMFIELD ON THE SLATE WEBSITE (IMAGE: SIMON CHESTERMAN).

The director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, became a bookish sex symbol of sorts. Previously anonymous, he was thrust into prominence through briefing the nation each day at 1pm, in a series of two-handers with Ardern that became phenomenally high-rating spectacles. Bloomfield had a kind of anti-style, an unprepossessing, purposeful figure whose command of the relevant facts was such that where his version of reality differed from that of his own frontline healthcare workers – as with the widespread availability of flu jabs or PPE – he tended to be given the benefit of the doubt.

Much of Bloomfield’s appeal stemmed from a strong sense that ego is not nearly so powerful a motivating factor for him as duty. His job required him to become public facing, to make Facebook Live appearances, to field multiple variations of the same question so that the 6pm bulletins could be made. None of this was core to his work prior, but the role now required it, so he would abide.

This went for a large number of experts across multiple fields. Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles, epidemiologists David Skegg and Michael Baker, and infectious diseases specialist Ayesha Verrall all had periods during which they felt inescapable. As a friend put it to me, “experts are back”. It felt that way – that after years of engagement being the core amplifier in the social media era, we clung to PhDs for safety during the pandemic.

This was not uncomplicated. People who disliked the advice of more prominent experts sought out their own, and the fact that the virus danced merry havoc across multiple domains – from the impact of different types of stimulus to contact tracing capacity – meant that no single expert could ever come close to complete command of the whole situation. Though that didn’t prevent some experts and even more non-experts trying.

Bloomfield was the most prominent expression of another maligned type – the bureaucrat. For decades a popular hobby of certain parties has been to run the public service down, both rhetorically and by starving it of funds. Yet the likes of Bloomfield, representing a health system which largely performed admirably (while still screaming for reform), freshly minted head cop Andrew Coster and director of public health Caroline McElnay all gave face and grave personality to the monolith of state, each in their own way explaining why global trust in government has rocketed up 11 points in just four months, according to Edelman’s enormous trust survey.

The invisible apparatus

Despite the performance of those figures that fronted the media throughout the lockdown, their work has been built on the backs of thousands of others throughout New Zealand’s now-enormous communications-industrial complex. This is not to understate the skill of the likes of Ardern and Bloomfield, each a world-class crisis communicator. Yet it is not shading either to point out that our trust in their pronouncements is built on the kind of subject area command knowledge which can only come from an extraordinary apparatus, flowing out in concentric rings from the pair to the nation.

Around them perch advisors, researchers, speech-writers, press secretaries and pollsters. The repetition of phrases like a “team of five million”, “act as though you already have Covid-19” and “go hard, go early” is not just because Ardern woke up one morning and quite liked them. It’s because they have been run through focus groups to ensure that there is no gap between the intention of the words and how they land. To some that kind of testing of message is what they despise about politics. That’s fine, but it’s very difficult to convince five million people to all make their lives much worse, and many to lose their jobs, without some form of insurrection. It’s likely only by testing such messages that such a remarkable degree of social compliance was attainable.

Beyond the inner circle innumerable decisions needed to be made, and masses of information created, cross-checked and distributed, from multiple agencies with scant history of co-operating. This is the hidden comms army, the one journalists often rail against, as it swells and their numbers fall. All were earning their money through the lockdown.

They work at an acronym-fest – MBIE and MSD and MoH and MoE and many more, all making decisions under awful pressure, then cascaded down through public and private sector channels to provide the fine detail of what was functionally a temporary revolution. Inevitably not all those decisions were justified, and episodes like a voluntary return to school or the closure of magazines and community newspapers brought varying degrees of trauma.

It wasn’t just government communications. In parts of the country Māori concerned for their isolated communities commenced checkpoints to protect vulnerable populations – an example of pragmatic on-the-ground communication. This set off a chain reaction, with decisions needed to be made about the posture of the political response, and how police would manage what was characterised by some as running contra to their authority.

Yet throughout, the public and private sector communications channels – everyone from lobbyists to industry bodies to unions to iwi to email database holders – helped triage (another suddenly popular word) through the confusion. Despite near-constant small tweaks to what was allowed, there remained a general sense of solidity to the levels superstructure.

The comms New Zealand didn’t want under lockdown

THE AFTERMATH OF A FACEBOOK POST GONE WRONG (IMAGE: SIMON CHESTERMAN).

During lockdown, there were few elements of our society which didn’t see their roles change. For some, it revealed something we should have known all along – that supermarket workers are essential, for example. Yet there were others which seemed to radically shift because of the gravity of both the moment, and the communications infrastructure deployed.

Perhaps most impacted of all was the political opposition to the government. There would be few democracies around the world which saw a greater degree of political unity than New Zealand’s, with Simon Bridges and National largely accepting that parliament could not continue as normal. In its place came the online Epidemic Response Committee, a reasonable stand-in for it as a check on the massive functional power wielded by the government, and Ardern in particular. The ERC largely went about its business, and despite some strange missteps – most notably a continuing lack of Māori health representation – most observers thought it performed its task creditably.

Yet the level of trust in Ardern and the government had a strange corollary, in that anyone who dared question its decisions was often savaged. This culminated in a Facebook post which became national news for its engagement ratio. And while Bridges sometimes misread the room, the level of venom expressed toward him for simply doing his job was enormous. It even seemed to impact his treatment in the media at times, with the contrast between the questioning of the prime minister and leader of the opposition on RNZ’s flagship Morning Report particularly stark during the week of April 20.

Some of this comes down to the respective styles of the two hosts, and the way Bridges struggled to establish a consistent position throughout the crisis. But in recent times it felt like no one in New Zealand wanted to hear anything at all from him.

Bridges was hardly alone in being shunned by the public, however. As health minister, David Clark should have been central to this crisis, yet he has barely been seen after being reprimanded for repeatedly breaching the rules of the level four lockdown. The deputy prime minister popped up with a picture of himself fishing off his lawn – likely within the rules, but certainly an unpleasant brag to those trapped in overcrowded homes with multiple generations under one roof.

The media at times got caught in the crossfire too. The 1pm briefings became widely-watched public spectacles, both because of the emotional sway the number of positive cases had over us all, and because they became a combination of live show and sport for many of us, replacing popular entertainment banned under the lockdown. It meant that the briefings – functionally similar to a post-cabinet press conference – had the daily audience of an All Blacks test. So the act of creating the news was as popular as the news itself, and brought torrents of online abuse, the weight of which is captured brilliantly in Kelly Dennett’s profile of Tova O’Brien.

It has been a strange period for media – critical communications infrastructure which did an outstanding job of covering the crisis, even as its foundations were being bombed by the lockdown. It brought long hours, business failures, redundancies and pay cuts, along with fury from certain segments of a stressed out public that was paying more attention to its work than ever before. Media has done this job despite normal access to government being drastically and very deliberately curtailed, as revealed in last Friday’s leaked memo to accompany the huge afternoon data drop.

It said that no ministers were to be interviewed on the drop’s contents, as “there’s no real need to defend because the public have confidence in what has been achieved and what the Govt is doing. Instead we can dismiss.” At once accurate and deeply cynical about the fundamental role of journalism. Gallery journalist Derek Cheng wrote a searing opinion piece for the Herald which captured he and his colleagues’ frustration at this attitude, concluding that “if they can’t be trusted to answer questions about their portfolios, they shouldn’t be ministers.”

For institutions like the media and opposition, whose role is to ask questions of the government, the antipathy was bruising. They were simply doing their jobs, and must hope that level two might mean that simple act is less controversial – that we fast revert to more normal rules of engagement, particularly with a looming election campaign.

Despite the rise of Bloomfield, and the cast of thousands who made this collective communications masterclass happen, it is all unimaginable without the very specific qualities of Jacinda Ardern. “[She] doesn’t preach at them; she’s standing with them,” former prime minister Helen Clark told The Atlantic in an admiring story. Ardern is often compared to Clark, but the comparison feels reductive. Clark had steel to her which was palpable at all times. Ardern possesses it, too, but prefers to keep it sheathed in public. Her skills are more located in persuasion than command. She leads by making herself one with the crowd, rather than standing above it.

Like Bloomfield, her performances throughout this period have felt egoless. That is, of course, impossible – no politician has ever been elected without believing they could do better than whoever currently occupies the office they seek. And certainly no leader. But it takes a particular mastery of tone to never let the scale of the moment, nor her role in it, seem any more important than that played by a police officer, nurse or supermarket worker.

It’s one small but vital element of the array of tools she has deployed of late to talk a whole country into willingly abandoning the freedoms it loves and has fought for. She practised expectation management superbly, consistently warning in the early days that case numbers would get worse, and that the dates for cabinet to assess lowering levels did not mean they would lower on that date. There has been none of the scapegoating common in some world leaders – whether of predecessors’ planning, China’s reaction, the WHO’s response or any other “other”.

Even when Bridges drove from Tauranga to Wellington to make Zoom parliament seem more official, she resisted the temptation to judge him, helping cement the civility which mostly defined this period politically.

She has been ubiquitous throughout lockdown, appearing at the majority of the briefings, and supplementing those with radio and television interviews, as well as hosting lockdown conversations with other New Zealanders, and conducting a large number of her signature Facebook live appearances. Each is calibrated to hit a different audience, with different expectations, and while they will all work to her immense political advantage come September – there is no politician with anything like her prominence – all have the air cover of being necessary to maintain such rigid behaviour among the population.

THE PRIME MINISTER HAS MADE REGULAR APPEARANCES ON FACEBOOK LIVE THROUGHOUT LOCKDOWN. (IMAGE: TINA TILLER).

For all the so-called soft media streamed on Facebook, nothing has been so scrutinised as the briefings themselves. The one on Thursday May 7 was a classic of this new genre, exploiting the immense national interest in what the new level two would look like. Ardern structured it adroitly, re-emphasising physical distance and hand-washing first, with information about schools and sports saved until the end. Both the mode and message were a vast improvement on the levels announcement six weeks earlier. Which is to say that through the crisis, she has not just shown her skills, but markedly improved them.

Her performance was matched, however, by a void where the rest of her ministers might have been (with the exception of the very able Grant Robertson, the only one consistently visible throughout). To some it seems sinister, to others, simply the most competent person being given the ball throughout.

Was it worth it?

All this has increasingly been absorbed internationally, with a recent Stickybeak survey of the global PR industry ranking New Zealand’s response to Covid-19 the world’s best. That is of real value to New Zealand – just as John Key’s golf-buddy relationship with Obama had diplomatic and national brand consequences, so Ardern coming to be known as the world’s greatest crisis leader burnishes New Zealand’s global standing and soft power.

Of course, none of this means the government was right to do what it did. We are months, probably years, away from being able to make any kind of informed judgement on that. It certainly feels right to many of us at the moment, and surveys The Spinoff conducted with Stickybeak throughout showed an already sky high level of support actually rising as the lockdown wore on.

That said, only time will prove whether it actually was right to pursue this strategy. Perhaps Australia will eliminate with a far lower economic cost. Perhaps Sweden will be proven right by a vaccine stubbornly refusing to emerge. Perhaps the communications powerhouse which brought us to this point will find it hard to give up the level of control and command, leading to the kind of rancorous partisan polarisation which has eaten away at the likes of the US and UK.

As of now, most questions remain open.

What we can judge is what the government set out to do and what it actually achieved. Across the 51 days from the levels announcement on March 21 to May 11, New Zealand willingly submitted to an unprecedented collective restraint. This was not merely a rational response to a once-in-a-lifetime threat, but because an enormous communications apparatus, from the prime minister on down, was deployed to achieve that very specific end. On that score – the gap between the behaviour desired and the behaviour achieved – we have just witnessed a modern masterpiece of mass communication.

How highly you grade the achievement largely depends on the value you place on the subject. Communication is frequently seen as politically helpful but not vital. It can be unpleasantly characterised as a feminine and therefore lower ranking ability. That Ardern’s degree is in the subject has tended to be wrapped up in the initial framing of her as a lightweight. Political leaders are often lauded for their charisma, their wit, their intellect, their will. Jacinda Ardern possesses those qualities too, obviously. But the way she communicates is simply different to her predecessors, and events have conspired, often tragically, for her to lean on that strength more often than she would have anticipated.

Her powers of communication are so vast that they seem to have overcome a deadly virus for which a massive global survey judged New Zealand extremely ill-prepared. Leadership and trust was one element not included in the GHSI study, but has proven the most important element of those which New Zealand could control. Its authors weren’t blind to it. “Effective political leadership that instills confidence in the government’s response is crucial,” they wrote. On that point, our collective behaviour says the government succeeded beyond what we might ever have thought possible.

As we readjust to something like normal life, will level two see the tight control of government communications relax? Or is it another sphere of our lives permanently changed by this crisis?


*Duncan Greive is managing editor of The Spinoff. This story first appeared on The Spinoff here and is used with permission.

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?

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148 Comments

after observing people's behavior during the level 2, MOH's absence in defining, monitoring, and tracking asymptomatic COVID19 patients, and government's rush decision in opening up schools the same time opening up malls and shops, and discouraging use of facial masks, I am sadly, helplessly and hopelessly waiting for the 2nd wave coming.

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Where will this second wave come from? Everyone crossing the border is quarantined, and there are few active cases left in the country. Do you think this arises through spontaneous generation?

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He probably has aerosol cans full of the stuff to spray round to ensure we remain in the grips. At least it would not surprise me if he did.

Don’t waste your time on that identity PA. The only thing being offered that is worthwhile is a consistent message illustrating and personifying exactly what NZ & NZrs neither need nor want.

But mum, it's fun

Go get the wooden spoon!

Waaahh!

Discouraging facial masks is a mistake. Taiwan maintained lower rate than us with less strict lockdown and with compulsory masks.
It does not take scientists to know masks stop spreading virus.
Lockdown measures like NZ, any countries in the world have seen the zero.
It is not something to be proud of.

Masks are available, and those who wish to can wear them. Have you considered where the country would obtain enough masks to supply everyone 3 or 4 a day?

So to summarise those two short sentences even more. 'Enough masks are available, but where would we get enough of them?'

The cost of that would be prohibitive for most people. Even washable face covering made from tightly woven material will prevent droplets from getting into the air. That would be enough. The biggest danger from masks comes when people faff around with them or when they take them off.

I'd like to apologise to the large number of blameless chinese migrants who have come ro New Zealand to better themselves and mind their own business if they mistakenly think I mean them, before I tell the arrogant Chinese 5th columnists with seditious intentions to go back where they came from and stay there.

Yes, some of the xenophobia on this site is hateful, really should be moderated. The majority of Chinese people are no better nor worse than the majority of any other ethnicity.

Well written.
I thought it was by Duncan Garner when I started and thought "Golly! There's more to him than meets the eye of being a sock-puppet on morning TV!"
And then, of course, I got to the end and saw it wasn't.

Communications staff, paid liars as real journalists call them. They exist purely to massage the truth and can hardly be hailed as heroes. We didn’t ‘Go hard, go early’. We went late and initially soft. Geography saved us, and Ardern’s unique leadership qualities united us. Without her, it would have been a PR disaster. For what it’s worth, the people I work with regard the comms effort as poor, especially the mixed messages re lockdown rules, MoH PPE, and the flu jabs farce. Less fawning, and some realism please, Mr Spinoff. By the way, a lot of the imagery and slogans are cut and pastes from other countries’ campaigns. Stay home, save lives for example.

Also the facemask messaging.. ambiguous and contradictory

Only if you listen to multiple sources. I follow the Health Ministry advice.

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Great summary Duncan.

And they/we did all this in spite of the likes of Hoskings, Richardson, Garner and numerous other monday morning quaterback so called "libertarians" yapping from the sidelines.

Yea to science and yea to experts.

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Option 1: Strong early action -> lockdowns -> few deaths -> economic pain
Option 2: Poor or delayed action -> many deaths -> lockdowns -> economic pain

New Zealand Option 1 = 4 deaths per million
New York Option 2 = 1470 deaths per million
So far; if we had acted as for New York (good action but a little too late) we would have been looking at over 7,300 deaths, overwhelmed hospitals, still had lockdowns (longer actually) and still had economic pain.

While I agree with the point you are making you cannot extrapolate from NY where it is almost impossible to move without public transport and NZ where it is almost impossible to move with public transport. There are many factors but the biggest factor causing deaths has been how did they handle rest homes. Ours shut a week before the govt acted.

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Yeah - and if you accepted the comparison, you might have to praise the government.

Lets get this into a real perspective. We have done well compared to NY but not that amazingly compared to other US states on the same main body of land as NY. We did well but we are not that special.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-ra...

That chart is in deaths per "100,00" people, I assume thats supposed to be 100,000, so we are at about 0.4 (21 deaths/~5million people). None of the US states is below 3x that, and that happens to be Hawaii.. an island. Next up are Wyoming, Alaska and Montana. All huge sprawling very low population density states.

What was your point?

The point is, using NY as the comparison to NZ is simply unjustified. Using a sprawling low density state would be more scientific.

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First rule of interest.co.nz comments is to hate the Coalition government

I would have to disagree, there has been a fair mix of opinion.

Option 3: Balanced Response + tracking confirmed cases -> contained number of deaths -> less economic pain
South Korea Option 3: 5 deaths per million.

Blasphemy..... people like you should be reported!!!

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That works when you have a health service primed by a previous epidemic (Sars), and not gutted by years of "austerity".

And when you don't have a big chunk of the population screaming "COMMUNIST CONSPIRACY" at the government's every effort to contain the virus. Korea's contact tracing system never would have been accepted in NZ.

Indeed. Having ventured back on to Facebook the level of sheer nuttery there is incredible. All claiming to be "just questioning" but all parroting the same points from the same sources whilst alternating between yelling "communist!" and "fascist!", then labeling every second thing they see as Orwellian and proving they've never set eye on an actual Orwell book.

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So are you implying that our response to Covid was an over-reaction to compensate for the known weaknesses in the healthcare system? How many ventilators do we have again per capita? That's the government's job correct?
Are you insinuating that the average person in NZ had to suck it up more than pretty much every other place on the planet because our government was behind the curve in prepositioning for something like this virus?
Are you perhaps alluding to a greater view of this situation than merely a health one, where the true cost of the response won't be felt through direct deaths from Covid but through a diffuse community wide malaise from higher unemployment, societal damage from an extended lockdown, business damage, personal psychological damage, actual physical damage through deferred treatments, health checks.
Because if you are.... that would be.... rational

While we're being rational...How long do you think it'll be before we seem political campaigning that's all about "Tax cuts!" rather than considering what level of capacity and capability we need in our health system and how that should be funded long term?

Since the government are so fond of sport analogies:

We're in the first 15min of the first half with covid19. And we're celebrating like we've won the world cup. Sweden will be the ones who put the foot down in the 60th minute, while we're exhausted and start to fall apart with a stuffed economy, no vaccine in sight and no immunity.

How many deaths would have been acceptable here? 1000? 2000?

None. But unfortunately that's not an option.

How many children's deaths are acceptable due to the Greater Depression that we're entering due to poor health, poor nutrition, family violence and extreme poverty? Because that's the path were on now and it will probably at least be in the hundreds year on year.

We know that without the lockdown, many more people would have died. We also know that whether we locked down or not, we were in for economic problems - we aren't insulated from what's happening internationally. How do you know that poverty will be bad enough to lead to childrens' deaths? Are you expecting the national party to lead the next government?

Sweden's economy will be just as subject to the worldwide effects of the virus as we are, as everyone is. We may be more affected by it, but that is because we have become woefully reliant on the world to the point we can't even park our own cards or pick up our own rubbish without foreign corporations.

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Hard and early is questionable. It's been driven home frequently by the one person show, with medical assistance by another. Even past propaganda experts would be proud.

Gosh, what absolute nonsense, Nigelh.

I mean he's not wrong. The claim we went 'hard and early' is pretty questionable given we were kindly asking new arrivals to please very kindly consider if you wouldn't mind, unless it's too much trouble of course, staying at home for two weeks. And having realised we should have done it earlier, we asked anyone arriving two before the self-isolation deadline to do it as well. Not that it mattered, of course, because we were told the plod would be following up people to check, until the Police Commissioner made the mistake of revealing just how often that was happening.

We also set a firm deadline and then pushed it back by an hour so that more people could come in without having to self isolate. Have a think about that. We quarantined, in a relatively remote part of Auckland, the people who came back from Wuhan, yet when it was already established in communities around the world, we made it easier for more people to get home and get into the country without needing to self-isolate for two weeks. And that's before you count all the people who traveled to NZ for events like Pasifika and the Mosque memorials that should have been called off well in advance, but were left to the 11th hour.

Honestly, in some ways it's just dumb luck we didn't have more cases. But the ideas that we went 'hard and early' and 'closed the borders' is severely contentious and an audacious attempt to rewrite historic actions to match politically friendly spin in the here and now. See also: PPE availability, vaccines, contact tracing, Friday evening data dumps.

Where I laugh at the lie of going hard/early, is that our Minister of Health made the decision to take it easy, "she'll be right", let's go to the beach - exactly representing the attitude of kiwis, at least until we see evidence that the issue is serious.
And if JA made the decision to go hard, go early, she immediately failed to communicate to her ministers that they need to be the leaders and examples for the rest of us.

Here's an article from late January that shows we didn't go hard, or early https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/01/coronavirus-michael-wood...

It doesn't show anything more than an opposition politician complaining. Try again.

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Still pains you that National is not the govt, eh?

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...and it pains you that not everyone loves JA, eh?

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Nope, you don't need to love her, but you do need to respect what she and the people she listened to who have served us well have done and gotten us to do.
Apologies for late edit, have BB issues here

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Not everyone needs to love her... 65% will do nicely :)

Not so much. More painful is the rabid frothing at the mouth of opponents...from National contradicting itself on spending and mortgaging the children's future, to social media keyboard warriors labeling everything the government does simultaneously "communist!" and "fascist!" A little bit more sane and rational discussion would be preferable.

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i was one of those that thought, and still think we were slow to close and lock down the border.
and hind sight is wonderful so i hope we do review the timeline and our border controls, even though now i understand with the number of kiwis returning it would have been impossible to government quarantine them all.
things that need looking at
the health department at the border just handing out a pamphlet instead of proper checks, temp etc
the police saying they would visit every returner to make sure they complied with self isolation then two weeks later saying sorry we didnt do that.
how the contact tracing was not up to the required level needed and how all the DHB and central tracking are not linked
we need a to look at all our systems so we can be confident to open the borders again

A royal commission is essential. The govt should not be scared of one since on the whole they achieved want they wanted and many other countries certainly didn't.

This government reneged on a promise for a Royal Commission into the previous government’s handling of the Canterbury EQs, EQC etc, so can tell you for nothing, ain’t going to be any Royal Commission into CV19 etc.

When they won't even allow ministers to be interviewed by media on the COVID response, or measure their spending through RIS, what is the point? We'll get the 'government we deserve' for the economic crisis to come:
- NZ hasn't had a 1 term government for many years,
- Governments get more popular during crises
- Ardern is popular and a gifted communicator despite her other skill gaps
- Ministers other than JA or Robertson are marginalised, only JA and Robertson get seen, for good reason: Clarke, Davis, Twyford, Sepuloni.....
Bridges loss was predetermined no matter how hopeful National supporters were/are. The real test is the next 3 years, not the last 3 months.

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A crisis-response masterclass for sure. We 'looked' the part of a government and a health system in control. Simplicity and consistency of message with public facing unity, capability and calm order.

I thought the concept of 'bubbles' was word mastery as well. I haven't read anywhere else in the world where that word was used to communicate the concept of not only stay at home, but stay tight (i.e., exclude others).

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It's not a popular opinion on this blog, but in every other place I interact with the world, our Prime Minister is adored and the envy of the world. Not just for the pandemic response but for the Mosque and Volcano crises too.

There have been tradies painting my neighbours house the last few weeks, age range from 20 to 55, mix of backgrounds Pakeha, Pacifica and Asian Kiwis, they were having a very loud political conversation the other day. They all absolutely love Ardern and think she has done an amazing job leading the country through the crisis . My own builders also think she's great. All my school/parent whatssap groups, she is wildly popular, NZ reddit, all the various live blogs, most of the NZ MSM, all the overseas MSM, twitter, all my UK friends and family from all sides of the political spectrum, all my Kiwi family from all sides of the political spectrum... and then I come on here and there is almost seething hatred from some commentators. It's a really stark contrast.

We need a big gold statue I reckon, like the ones they have in North Korea. I am starting to see that most people want one.

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This comments section of this site is infested with an extraordinary mixture of libertarians, climate change deniers and individuals who would make the right wing of the US republican party blush. I've often wondered whether some of them are actually bots but I assume the publisher tries to keep on top of that. All of them are going to sup deep at the cup of despair in September when a government that has performed brilliantly is returned to power.

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I voted for Labour to fix the immigration and housing issues. They failed to introduce a capital gains tax and they did not cut immigration. Covid-19 has fixed these issues for them but that is not good enough. I will never forget how they let us down and will not vote for them again. I will also never vote for National as they caused the mess that I wanted Labour to fix. I do not have any one to vote for and for the first time in my life won't bother.

Not voting is a vote for plutocracy.

True. Cambridge Analytica was successful in swaying an election by manipulating young voters into not voting.

You must vote. Who knows Dr Jian Yang MP might speak his mind and tell the truth about the Communist Party of China and then I might consider voting for National. Raymond Huo too?
It will be a hard choice - I disagree with all our political parties but their must be a least awful.

You do realise that despite your vote they didn't actually get elected directly eh?
They had to form a coalition, and thus make compromises. Had they been elected singularly who knows if they would have progressed those issues but they would have had the knowledge that their policies had the majority vote of the country and I'm sure they would have given them a pretty good nudge.

So your argument is we should go back to FPP to ensure policies are delivered without compromise, or that pre-election policies mean nothing and failing to deliver, even on your own restated policy goals post-election, should not be held against any party?

I don't think the fact MMP basically requires you to form a coalition to govern should be an acceptable excuse to walk away from what you campaigned on. We don't let businesses engage in bait and switch, why it should suddenly be OK when Labour does it is beyond me.

Same, I've always voted Labour but now for the first time in my life I can't find a party which represents my interests.

Sometimes I think this place is no more than the equivalent of talkback radio for folks who 'think' they are more intelligent than the masses and can spout off any opinion as if it were fact.

OBJECTION! speculation

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Right? All my clients are small businesses. I have heard one or two grumbles about the lockdown (which were justified, eg the bureaucrats getting a bit carried away shutting down businesses that were contactless in the first place), but more or less the response has been that she did the right thing. No one is happy about being shut down but they all understand the response. Seems to be mostly those in the leveraged landlording 'business' that are baying for blood.

It's why some of the locals here get so outraged by anyone commenting alternative views. They are just losing their minds that Interest.co comments aren't a self-congratulatory landlord echo chamber. They come here to get reinforcement that their thinking is mainstream.

The fact remains that most people in most parts of the world would love to have an actual normal human person leading their country, not a choice between two different shades of plutocrat.

Brain-washed sheep

National party supporters? Agreed!

I would have to say that we personally havebeen very positive with the government response to this crisis. There will always be discontent with any govt measures.

Once the commitment to a policy was made, then matters were handled efficiently,effectively. Two points though. Firstly the looser regime imposed by Australia may or may not prove to be the better model, but even then the existing pressured condition of our health system was probably the clincher anyway. Secondly all rest homes should have been quarantined no later than those that did so on their own initiative.

Yes, the little datapoint people comparing to Aus forget to mention is that Aus has 2x the ICU beds per capita compared to NZ, so much larger margin for error.

TLDR. I gather it’s more hagiographic rubbish for Cindy. This is far more thought provoking https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/300013538/economic-van...

You would say that - opinion from an anti government commentator.

Ad hominem that does not respond to the points he made.

Coming from the guy who didn't even bother to read the article he's commenting on... stop bleating about ad hominem, you're walking confirmation bias.

Also an opinion from a convicted fraudster that makes his money off failing companies. Not exactly the most moral person that we should be listening to, nor seeking guidance from.

Again, an ad hominem.

You'd think Grant would be happy - all those liquidations coming up.

Quote from article:

"Governments do not create real jobs."

well, they're gonna try with $150 billion to create 370,000 'real jobs', so someone is right and someone is wrong.
Now if only I can remember that other big scheme where they promised 100,000 things over a period of some years, that was a raging success no?

Good luck having the private sector create jobs if the private sector is a smoking crater of insolvencies

Good luck having the public sector create jobs if the public sector is a smoking crater of incompetence. There fixed it for you. Unless you count Wellington bureaucrats as real jobs.

You didn't fix anything, learn how a balance sheet recession works rather than posting ideological neolib claptrap then we can chat about it.

Thanks for the slightly patronizing advice.
Read carefully: Government SPENDING does not necessarily equate to REAL JOBS.

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Cindy? You mean Jacinda Ardern. The democratically elected Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Your misogyny is just plain pitiful and rather ugly.

I read this. Grant's criticisms are clearly primarily of the RBNZ and Treasury. I read all the way through, just to see if he made some suggestions. The suggestions he does make are broad and implicit, and broadly I would agree with them - if not with the corollary implication that austerity would work better. (Has it ever, anywhere it's been tried? However, there's certainly a difference between austerity/stimulus from a govt and debasing from a central bank.)

He does make a good point that the RBNZ focus on debasing the currency and preventing creative destruction of zombie companies and asset bubbles will cause massive harm. Exactly as the Reserve Bank did post GFC too, inflating the housing asset bubble as a result.

However while the RBNZ was making the same response to the last crisis you were crediting the government working with them at the time as providing sound fiscal and economic leadership. Yet their policy response together was to debase the currency and avoid creative destruction, pulling forward wealth from the future.

I do agree we should not be propping up asset bubbles and companies that are dependent on taxpayer money to survive. Creative destruction is a necessary component. The Reserve Bank is acting in an ethically questionable fashion (in my opinion) to simply rely on taking wealth from pensioners and young savers (their savings) and transferring it to asset owners...again. How will we get a RBNZ who will allow creative destruction of asset bubbles and zombie companies when their wealth and many MPs wealth (National: 3.4 houses per MP, Labour: 1.6) is sitting in inflated asset portfolios?

Regarding the government's budget, their actual economic - Grant makes no real and clear criticisms in here. He talks about tourism, but comparatively little is set aside for that sector and that which is seems aimed at helping facilitate it changing in nature and focus. Plenty in the budget for retraining rather than retaining zombie industries.

This is far from over so I'll reserve judgement on whether our path is the right one. On the face of it we are doing well, but there are many factors that could see this become a long term issue for issue for NZ creating a situation whereby the life saved by the lockdown is not commensurate with the life lost due to an ailing economy. What saves us is a strong primary sector and an insatiable appetite from China (on that note - I wish Winnie would dial it back a little). Our economy might just be OK without tourism if we ensure money is spent retraining the thousands out of work and stop flogging the dead horse with an uncertain future. The NZ Govt allocated 400m to protecting NZ's tourism assets - that should go into conservation and environment because that is our main tourism asset. Back tot he COVID-19 response - what I liked is the resolve of New Zealand's decision - we've maintained a fairly consistent goal and trajectory, which has seen us achieve that goal. Sweden has done the same but with a completely different goal. Both NZ and Sweden have let themselves down by not protecting the vulnerable as well as they should - New Zealand would have only had two or three deaths is we managed to keep the virus out of the rest homes. The countries without a resolve have lost the plot and are in an awful state (e.g. UK and US).

And if New Zealand had only 2 or 3 deaths, what would you have concluded?
That we took the wrong path? - "Look! We did all this to save 3 lives at a cost of $20 billion per life!". That is the rationale of some.
We cannot know how many New Zealanders will be alive or not because of the path we chose. No one knew ( and still doesn't) that this wasn't going to be another "1918", so we took measures to protect ourselves in the face of that unknown. Once we'd had a chance to have a better look at it, we could amend the plans we'd put in place. That's what we are doing today at Level2.

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Think those that argue that hard economic line of sacrifice would do so whether NZ was to suffer 10 or 100 or 500 mortalities from CV19.What that overlooks too, is the peripheral casualties from existing illness, eg cardiac, oncology and accidents, treatment for which would have been severely compromised by a large influx of CV19 admissions.Our health system is already pressured, winter approaches, all the normal cases and conditions don’t run away and hide because there is a new kid in town.

I havent concluded anything yet. Other countries took vastly different paths to NZ with the same info and im of the opinion the success of those paths cannot be judged at the moment.

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Lol really? How much data do you need exactly before you accept NZ is better off than Brazil? As I've pointed out before Sweden's active case numbers *are still growing* and their economy is still tanking, they're going to end up with the worst of both worlds, stop acting like they're a success story.

My point exactly Speechless...

My heart goes out to Brazil. So many of their poor are street vendors - and without people in the streets they have nothing. A country so rich in natural resources and a people with such wonderful culture and pride (and belief in democracy) - constantly ruled by cheats/despots. It's heartbreaking. They don't have the luxury (i.e., social welfare system) for all of their citizens to undertake a lock down.

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Oh and on the point of the decision to save life over economy; 3.1m kids die each year from starvation around the world. NZs economic package alone would have saved around 15m from premature death - a number of lives far greater than the worst that COVID-19 would take if left to run the globe without countermeasures. The pont being that any argument on the morality of lockdown lives saved vs the lives affected by economic turmoil is selective morality. Hence any argument on whether lives saved vs lives affected just needs to be a numbers game free from sanctimonious posturing.

You seem to know the unknown "far greater than the worst that COVID-19 would take if left to run the globe without countermeasures."
I don't profess to have that skill. But what I do know is what the measures taken have produced.
If no New Zealander had died because of the measures we took, would it have been worth it? ie: It worked so well, no one died?
As I suggest none us know. Not you, not me and not The Government. They did the best they could given an unknown situation.
You can have your opinion of the 'worth' of what we did after the fact, as can I, and they both mean the same thing - it doesn't change what the result is, and neither of us will ever know if it was 'worth it' because we can't know that any number of 5 million New Zealanders didn't die. (Known, unknowns in other words)

some things are just not knowable. Therefore, (it is) necessary to be adaptable, agile and responsive

http://www.bbscommunications.com.au/identifying-risk-known-knowns-known-...

Of course, they will know. It is statistically easy enough for those with the data to work out how many would have died for other reasons from lack of treatment.

There will is already info. coming to light that suggests what real Covid mortality rate would have been under different scenarios, and defiantly wouldn't have been, ie the Nialls Ferguson Imperial College modeling.

Prof. Gieske, one of the experts responsible for Sweden’s pragmatic approach, recently singled out New Zealand for criticism, as the perpetrators of the world’s most ill-advised COVID-19 policy reaction.

Late Spring will be time for a more fair comparison.

Nation wide death rate statistics are only very partially available. What has been produced indicates where outbreaks have been out of control there is an uptick in the overall death rate and in most cases a significant under reporting of Covid-19 deaths. But a full accounting is a year or two away.

Because of your background, you might know. What's the difference in recording who died of what, in catching CV19 with a pre-existing condition and dying, or catching CV19 and getting another condition post CV19 and dying?

Also, the reports I've seen from the States say they are reporting people as dying if they think they had CV19 ie without testing, and that hospitals get paid extra (because of extra costs of treatment) if the death is reported as a death by CV19, which leaves it open to rorting.

Check out some of the mythbusting sources out there on that last point.

Thanks for the source - there's a key sentence in there:

Jensen said he did not think that hospitals were intentionally misclassifying cases for financial reasons. But that’s how his comments have been widely interpreted and paraded on social media."

And here we are in NZ where they're also being paraded around.

Meanwhile, most in the health sector including Trump's own expert Fauci have noted they estimate significant under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths.

Having lived in the States and been on the receiving end of their healthcare, and you will know about how some hospitals won't take cases unless you have the right insurance, ie they will have to drive right past closer hospitals to go to others even in emergency situations, I can tell you at the management level it's all about the money.

And Jensen basically confirms this where he quotes,

'Jensen clarified in the video that he doesn't think physicians are "gaming the system" so much as other "players," such as hospital administrators, who he said may pressure physicians to cite all diagnoses, including "probable" COVID-19, on discharge papers or death certificates to get the higher Medicare allocation allowed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Past practice,'

Re the reporting:

'Jensen said he thinks the overall number of COVID-19 cases have been undercounted based on limitations in the number of tests available.'

So it is more infections in the community that are under-reported ie asymptomatic, not deaths per se as they get counted.

Actually plenty of folk in health in the USA are saying they believe deaths are heavily under counted. Including Fauci.

Remarkably similar messaging to the UK. Total coincidence I'm sure...

https://www.plmr.co.uk/blog/the-ever-changing-covid-19-press-conference-...

But don't let that get in the way of Jacinda fan fiction by The Spinoff. She clearly invented the written word itself.

We've done well so far but until we've stopped the wage subsidies and returned to Level 0 I'll reserve my applause.

What I would like to make clear also is that handling one crisis well will only sway my views so far in the next election. I will be looking at policy and see what progress has been made towards the goals government set themselves.

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On reflection of the outcome so far it has just been dumb luck. We still shut the boarders to late and quarantined people poorly. Had we shutdown a couple of weeks earlier we would not have had to spend as much time as we did in lockdown. The only positive is that had we waited another couple of weeks to shutdown then all hell would have broken loose.

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As we seem to have made it with only a handful of deaths, the virus looking like it is non-existent, ready to function as a society again, while just about all of the rest of the world is flailing around in indecision and egoist leaders, I think it is possible we played this almost perfectly.
What happens from here depends to a great extent on what happens around the world.

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Dumb luck or not, we at least aren't in the hard place the USA and many European countries are. Be thankful for not so small mercies.

I think its correct that every US state will be open for business by 25 May public holiday. Faster than many thought. Europe likewise is turning on the tap and partnering for tourism with other European countries. Meanwhile ... nz was supposed to be the world leader in re-opening

Are you taking bets on how long that will last? If they open up so soon, with the virus still very active, they are going to have a massive resurgence in the disease in just a few weeks. How smart will that be? At least when we re-open there is a better than good chance we will be free of it.

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90% of nzs good fortune is due to geography.
10% is due to the gov. Yet Cindy takes 100% of the glory it would seem

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You betray your biases with the name you give the Prime Minister.

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Not to mention the username...

A Chinaman is a left arm bowler who sends down off breaks. Rather uncommon. Watch carefully, highly inscrutable.

Actually legspinners.

She takes her share, but she also credits the other 4,999,999 of us with what is due us as well. Is there some of you out there that do not deserve such plaudits?

So how would you explain the UK then? They must be 90% Geography as well. [ unnecessary insult removed. Don't do it. Ed ]

Hnery Tull..you seem to have gone very quiet all of a sudden..cpu overheated?

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This article writes about the successful art of communication. And it was, thus far, a very polished performance by all those involved. We have some very skilled people in this country when it comes to communications. The two kiwi boys behind both Australia's & the UK's successful re-elections of quite disliked political parties in both instances, is another example. We were (still are?) pretty good at advertising back in the old days when the advertising agencies ruled the world & indeed, that was a key part of what we have just witnessed for sure. As for St Jacinda, well, from someone who will never vote for her, she did a pretty good job of fronting what was a pretty unpopular call in many places (mostly business circles) & I take my hat off to her here. As for what this all really means for the next few months (years), well, that's tomorrow's news, & as many above have alluded to, the story hasn't finished just yet. ''There'll be time enough for counting, when the dealing's done."

Those people at the onehunga open home must be ring-in actors paid by the tricky REA. There is no other valid explanation. Nobody in their right mind would buy a house right now, it's a falling knife
Covid 19 coronavirus: Queues outside open homes as buyers leap at level 2
https://nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12332541

I saw a queue outside a hairdresser yesterday. What's your point?

People NEED hair cuts but only if they are affordable, probably a basic buzz cut will do to chop the mop. There's no need to even look at house, big waste of time. Airbnb gone, rents falling fast and no money to service on a mortgage. Nothing to see here for at least 5 or 10 years and only when prices are waaay cheaper than they are now

Your username certainly shows your bias...who knows without talking to the people in the queue,perhaps genuine buyers,perhaps tyre kickers,perhaps people getting educated,checking out the property,then waiting to see what it goes for to analyse any up,down or side ways movement.
Perhaps cashed up buyers,already out sniffing for blood in the water ready to make a ridiculous offer.
But as I started off...who knows,time will tell.

Yes I agree with your last statement.

Certainly interesting.
Time will tell though. There could be plenty of people showing interest in the hope of grabbing a bargain.
There might be a few FHBs out there thinking ‘now or never’....

Yes time will tell, at least it's clear that the extreme projections wont happen.

Try working from home in a cramped house. We are lucky that we upsized a few years back, but if we were still in our small two bedder we might have been in that queue too.

It's just a puff piece from the usual degenerates.

Nice one Duncan. Speaking as your average white guy, where was the diversity among the public figures addressing the public at various times? It seemed to be very white, I wonder how my Maori, Pasifica, Indian and Asian compatriots feel about that?
I did enjoy the sign language presenters, particularly Jenn Gilbert signing 'Vaccination' to me a few weeks ago, she really got the 'point' home, well done!

Maybe the best people got the job.

What was the point of shutting retail shops out of their place of employment for an additional 2.5 weeks? Builders electricians painters went back on 28 april and did not practise social distancing because A it's not really possible on a building site and B they didnt give a shiy. Yet hey presto there were no covid cases from that relaxation. The govt knew all along but withheld information until much later on the source of new cases. What happened is that since lockdown the only new cases came from existing clusters. There was no community spread whatsoever. If the public knew that after say 3 or 4 weeks they would have agitated even harder to end the bullshit lockdown.

So what...are you one of the many who knows someone ,who knows someone that works in the cabinet who was party to a government conspiracy to manipulate the the rates to suit themselves...

Some of you are moaners! When politicians do well (or not), you complain. Jacinda has done a great job and as a lifetime National voter, she will get my vote this time. Credit where credit is due. By the way Im a landlord.

"Done a great job" has she ... her job is to secure the election so the jobs not done yet. Dont start complaining later on when your eyes are opened and you find out the truth.

Just Think,

If the World had known how contagious this virus was from day one and the World had closed down those infected from the source of the infection, which shall be nameless and blameless, Xing marks the spot...or is it Zi.....then we would have no axe to grind.
It would have been killed stone dead, not 300,000 plus corpses and no needs for trillions of Xtra debt, being passed from pillar to post and back again.
Trump could have kept his mouth shut, (Praise de lord), Boris would have had no need for Bed Rest and to talk nonsense on his return.
No need for Brazil to be a leading contender in stupidity, shaving off a few thousand citizens on a weekly basis. like all the others.
No words of condem-nation, no shut down of Tourists around the Nations, Airlines in full flight, Shops flogging each other to death, Petrol Stations crying over spilled milk, no profit in that. (Ask Fonterror, they spilled lots), nor the Gas Guzzlers welcome mat and storage issues. ...and a sensible price, God Forbid. Wait...there is more.!!.
No lock downs in over priced Houses, mortgaged to the hilt, with Ma n Pa slaving over a Mcdonalds for Tea...and Bikkies.
The World would have been as normal. A toilet roll in situ, not stored in every nook and cranny.
No empty shelves, no need for sanitizer and plastic gloves and pretty girls to wear a Face Mask.

Gee just think.....

How Normal!?......would we have been. Peace on the beaches, quiet in the streets, Park anywhere...Cops with nowt else to do....Gangs...and M. Mob did not do ....the stop and search, Pollies took a little money, not a lot for their Houses ........Profitable money for Salaries and Horse Racing
it all paid for itself........Oh wait!.....That would be an ideal World.....like it used to be......20-30 years ago.

I checked the figures and apparently the usa has 3 million deaths a year. That's most of our population. Covid has already taken 90000 and that's in just 3 months so that's already 3 percent of the total

To be honest I have always voted national but this time I will vote labour

I assume that if you are a landlord, a party that totally fumbles its key platforms of affordable housing or tax reform is probably doing a fantastic job. You have been a beneficiary from their incompetence.

They really are a bumbling bunch

Did it take long to come up with that witty repartee ?

Perfect slam

slam

You sound like a Granny Herald headline writer.

I assume your worship of government pre-dated the pandemic. While this government has done a masterful job of communication up until recently the wonderment at control by using the right font and the perfect color is exactly the problem. We have focused on style over real issues. We let a violent dictatorship capture most of the worlds manufacturing and screamed "racism!" at anyone that noticed.

I assure you government will not end up as the hero of this story.

Yup - it was the style of the posters that led us to have just 21 deaths to date, when countries similar to us had hundreds more. Obviously, we need to apply the same style to fixing the economy - print lots of pretty banknotes?

❤️

As to the article, TL;DR.

My own reaction, from about 10 days in, and having experienced the utter shambles that was TAS in late Feb/early March, was that I simply tuned out and practised personal responsibility: self-quarantining from return to NZ on 10 March, to 31 March, and expanding the bubble at L3 by assisting a young relative with a house repair job. I certainly disliked the kindergarten tone of most of the 'communication' that I actually bothered to watch, and am still appalled that rest homes were not treated as the congregations of the extremely vulnerable that they undoubtedly were and still are. Plus the 'border controls' were a joke - a 60x60 square of card asking if one had a range of symptoms and giving a phone number to call if one had one or more of 'em. Then on to the taxi, bus, car or whatever.....the 'hard and early' mantra simply did not wash. Then, later the disconnect shown up by the media as between the PPE touted to be there, and the staffs' experiences on the coalface, grated my gears even further. I simply don't like being lied to.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is by far, the greatest leader this nation has ever had. She has so many incredible qualities. I'm just so thankful that I live here, and that we didn't have some conservative leader like Bridges/Key/National who would have followed the US/UK approach.

So you would be pleased with the timing of her childbirth. Now who was her acting Prime Minister?

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