Breaking news: Barfoot & Thompson had a scorcher of a month in November, prices set new records... More soon.

PM says lockdowns will be localised in the first instance should there be another Covid-19 outbreak in the community, but the country's strategy remains elimination

PM says lockdowns will be localised in the first instance should there be another Covid-19 outbreak in the community, but the country's strategy remains elimination
Jacinda Ardern. Getty Images.

The Government would lock down regions, before locking down the country, should Covid-19 spread beyond managed isolation and quarantine facilities in New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country would continue to aim to eliminate the virus, but would work through alert levels in a localised way in the first instance.

“Our priority will be to control any cases with the least intrusive measures, and over the smallest area we can,” she said.

“In practical terms that means doing absolutely everything possible to avoid the entire country returning to Alert Levels 3 or 4 as a measure of last resort.”

Loosening of border restrictions not in sight 

Ardern said border restrictions would only be loosened once this was deemed safe. IE there’s no community transmission in the country New Zealand seeks to open up to and that country has the same processes in place to manage the risk as New Zealand does.

Ardern said she had a conversation with her counterpart in the Cook Islands a few days ago and has asked officials to work on a timeline for creating a bubble. However no dates have been set yet.

Ardern said there were practical issues around separating higher risk people at airports, for example.

She said that it was “obviously” not the time for New Zealand and Australia to create a bubble, as parts of the country undergo a second wave of infection.

'Gold standard' contact tracing?

Ardern and Health Minister Chris Hipkins were challenged by media on the standard of contract tracing in New Zealand.

The pair urged people to use the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer App to record where they’d been.

They said technological solutions offer speed, but are an “extra safety net” on top of the existing manual system, through which people are interviewed and their contacts tracked down this way.

Ardern and Hipkins said officials were exploring other technological solutions, but noted their limitations.

What would happen if Covid-19 was found in the community

Ardern provided the following three scenarios:

  1. A contained case or cases within a community

“We would be looking at applying strong restrictions but only applied locally in a neighbourhood, town or city to contain the virus and stopping it spread,” Ardern said.

“We would likely remain at Alert Level 1 nationally.

“The local measures to contain the case would involve rapid contact tracing and isolation of cases and their contacts, scaled up and targeted testing of people connected to the case, such as workmates, those they live with or those in their neighbourhood.

“The point with this scenario is we would look to act hard and fast, but local in an attempt to ring fence the virus.”

  1. A large cluster within a region

“A significant increase in testing would be the priority. We would look to undertake much wider community testing, on top of testing any contacts or potential contact of those with the virus. This could look like it did in Victoria where health staff went door to door to test people in affected areas.

“We would also take steps to stop the spread to other parts of the country so a regional shift in Alert Level would likely be applied that restricted travel. This would mean travel in or out of the city, town or region could be stopped, people in that place asked to work from home, and local restrictions on gatherings implemented.

“The aim here is to contain the spread away from other areas to avoid the whole country having to put in place restrictions so we can remain at Alert Level 1 nationally, depending on the evidence of risk of spread outside the region.”

  1. Multiple clusters, spread nationally

“We would most likely apply a nationwide increase in Alert Level to stop transmission.”

Ardern said: “Where we don’t have full information, we will take a precautionary approach, and scale back as needed, rather than run the risk of doing too little too late.”

Here is Ardern's speech in full:

Today I am setting out our plan in the event we have a new case of community transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

I will take a bit of time to do that, and then I’ll be happy to take questions at the end.

Since we moved to level one, we have continued work to ensure we have an ongoing level of preparedness for resurgence in New Zealand.

The framework I will be speaking to today has been through a Cabinet process, and is more important than ever.

It is designed to give the public, and our business community as much certainty as we can around what to expect if new cases inside our borders are found. And that is something we all must prepare for.

We have been 75 days without community transmission here in New Zealand, but COVID is now exploding outside our borders and every country we have sought to replicate or have drawn from in the fight against COVID has now experienced further community outbreaks.

We only need to look to Victoria, New South Wales, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea to see examples of other places that like us had the virus under control at a point in time only to see it emerge again.

This does not mean anyone has failed- it means perfection in the response to a virus, and a pandemic, is just not possible. That is certainly the case as we see this pandemic continue to grow.  

The World Health Organisation this week reported the global infection rate is nearing 13 million cases, with over 215,000 cases reported globally on Tuesday.

To put that into perspective when we closed our borders on the 19th of March there were 240,000 cases in the world in total. It’s fifty times worse than that now.

We see this growth in cases around the world reflected in the steady stream of New Zealanders returning from overseas, some of whom are bringing the virus back with them, which we continue to contain at our borders.

In the main the pattern of returnees carrying the virus reflects the state of COVID in the world, with our cases coming from places like India, the US and the UK.

New modelling by Rodney Jones indicates there will be over 100,000 new cases a day in the US by the end of the month, nearly 70,000 cases a day in India and nearly 10,000 cases a day across Europe by early August.

We will continue to welcome home New Zealanders from these places as citizens, as they have a right to come home to their legal place of residence. But with that right comes risk, and the need to continue ongoing stringent measures to keep them, and everyone around them, safe.

Victoria in particular is a cautionary tale for New Zealand that we must learn from.

It appears their current outbreak is linked to a managed isolation facility similar to the ones we run here and that the entire outbreak was seeded by just two cases.

That goes to show how quickly the virus can spread and it can move from being under control to out of control, and that even the best plans still carry risk in a pandemic.

It’s important to remember that our border facilities have served us well so far.

Our testing regime is picking up cases amongst new arrivals who are in quarantine and nearly 30,000 people have been through a facility without a case of COVID transferring to the community. But there is limited room for error.

Just as many of our frontline health workers like nurses who were in contact with COVID patients got the virus from those patients during level 4 lockdown, our frontline border and airline staff and staff in our managed isolation facilities are in daily contact with returnees carrying the virus. Even our most experienced and trained support workers have picked up COVID.

Experts tell us that even with the best precautions possible, the chances of the virus passing from a surface, or contact with someone who is a carrier are high.

We must prepare now for that eventuality and have a plan at the ready in the event that it does.

The first thing we need to do is continue to ensure our border and our managed isolation facilities stay as tight as they can be.

We have ensured our frontline workers at the border are safe by wearing appropriate PPE, getting regularly tested and that our systems for managing returnees are robust and limit the risk of spread. As I say the system has done the job it was set up to do to date.

The work done by Minister Woods and Air Commodore Webb in recent weeks have made significant additional improvements in this space, and we will continue to improve the system. Australia is currently conducting an audit of its quarantine system and I’ve asked Prime Minister Morrison to share any insights so we can continually learn and improve on what we do here.

But again, no system is 100% fool proof and around the world we are seeing even the most rigorous measures being tested by the virus.

And so today I am setting out the next stage in our COVID plan in the event we have new cases in the community.

The first thing to note is that the Government’s strategy for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic remains elimination. That has not and will not change.

Allowing our hospitals to be overrun, further deaths and the economy to close down again for an indefinite period of time is not a strategy.

We have seen overseas the toll that that takes on lives and economies.

We have said from the start that the best approach for the economy is a strong health response, and the evidence has supported that approach throughout.

We can already see that with New Zealand’s economy more open than nearly anywhere in the world because of the steps we took to break the chain of transmission under lockdown.

Our plan moving forward seeks to protect that position and minimise any economic impact of future cases.

So in the event of new community cases we would move immediately to implement our “Stamp it Out” approach again. 

There are two key things to remember.

Firstly, the simple approach of limiting the ability for the virus to move from human to human to break the chain of transmission remains the foundation of our response no matter what.

That’s why our key public health measures remain important for protecting ourselves and each other from the spread of disease. They are:

-  wash your hands regularly and thoroughly

- cough or sneeze into your elbow

- don’t go to work, socialise, or be out in public if you are sick

- Keep a digital diary of your whereabouts by downloading and using the COVID Tracer app.

These principles are key to the second ongoing tool in our response.

Rapid contact tracing, testing, and use of isolation and quarantine for those exposed to COVID. That is why the Covid tracer app, and whatever other means of recording where you have been remains vital. Every time you step into the world I want you to ask this question “if I come into contact with COVID today, how will I know, and how will others know”.

If you are in or near a situation of community transmission this will be an exceptionally important tool for contact tracing, and for finding you.

In this area we are constantly looking at how we can use new technology to strengthen our response, the same goes for testing.

But these are the principles we are all familiar with. Now I want to touch on what would be different.

The alert level system and framework remains in place. But in the event of cases, rather than apply the framework nationally, we would look to apply our Alert Level system at a localised or regional level in the first instance. 

Our priority will be to control any cases with the least intrusive measures, and over the smallest area we can. 

In practical terms that means doing absolutely everything possible to avoid the entire country returning to Alert Levels 3 or 4 as a measure of last resort. 

“Our ‘Stamp it Out’ approach is scenario specific meaning that our actions will depend on the severity of the situation.

And of course when we see the first COVID-19 case beyond the border, you can expect us to move very quickly and very firmly to contain it while we gather information on the situation we are facing.

However there are three broad starting scenarios we can plan around.

1. A case or a number of cases in a community.

2. A larger number of cases or cluster in a region

3. Multiple clusters that have spread nationally

Let me run through what each scenario might look like.

First a contained case or cases within a community.

We would be looking at applying strong restrictions but only applied locally in a neighbourhood, town or city to contain the virus and stopping it spread.

We would likely remain at Alert Level 1 nationally.

The local measures to contain the case would involve rapid contact tracing and isolation of cases and their contacts, scaled up and targeted testing of people connected to the case, such as workmates, those they live with or those in their neighbourhood.

The point with this scenario is we would look at act hard and fast, but local in an attempt to ring fence the virus. 

The second scenario is a large cluster within a region.

Here, a significant increase in testing would be the priority. We would look to undertake much wider community testing, on top of testing any contacts or potential contact of those with the virus. This could look like it did in Victoria where health staff went door to door to test people in affected areas.

We would also take steps to stop the spread to other parts of the country so a regional shift in Alert Level would likely be applied that restricted travel. This would mean travel in or out of the city, town or region could be stopped, people in that place asked to work from home, and local restrictions on gatherings implemented.

The aim here is to contain the spread away from other areas to avoid the whole country having to put in place restrictions so we can remain at Alert Level 1 nationally, depending on the evidence of risk of spread outside the region.

The final scenario is if multiple clusters, spread nationally.

In this scenario we would most likely apply a nationwide increase in Alert Level to stop transmission.

There is an assumption in all of these scenarios that we know whether we have a contained outbreak or not. Where we don’t have full information, we will take a precautionary approach, and scale back as needed, rather than run the risk of doing too little too late.

Ultimately though, as with the original application of the Alert Levels we will be guided by science and what we know works. Internationally the evidence remains that going hard and early is the best way to stop the virus and ultimately delivers the best results for human health and the economy over half measures that aren’t as effective at getting on top of the virus and sees us in lockdown for longer.

We have learnt much from the first wave at stopping the chain of transmission and eliminating community transmission. 

We learnt if we act fast we can stop the virus spreading. 

We learnt that if we restrict contact we can stop the virus spreading and we learnt that everyone being vigilant and following the rules worked.

No one wants to go backwards but the reality is our fight against the virus is not over and we must have a plan at the ready to protect our current position if it comes back.

And I believe we can do that. Because the facts show when New Zealand’s team of 5 million goes about implementing a plan it works, no matter what comes our way.

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.

106 Comments

10
up

Is this some type of foreshadowing? Lots more escape attempts than being reported in the media? Should we expect Auckland and Christchurch to be quarantined but the rest of the country can move freely?

23
up

Perhaps it's a realistic assessment of the country's situation, and letting citizens know what could happen in the future. I know that pessimistic cynics and professional neggers won't believe this.

13
up

I think this is smart you only need to look across at Australia and see what happens if you move too slowly, they have over 2k active cases caused by two people across two states

The death rate is low for healthy people of working age. For context, you need to consider the annual mortality due to flu complications.
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/covid-19-deaths-by-age-group-and-sex

15
up

Weld - The issue with Covid 19 is it's R factor, spreads very quickly often with no symptoms. Then there is the overloading of any health system because of it's quick spread which causes a large jump in the death rate. Then there is the economic effect of people adjusting their lifestyles to avoid catching it, avoiding clubs, eating out, sports, it's endless.

13
up

It's also not just the death rate, but permanent injury from long-lasting effects that we do not fully understand.

It is / would be smart - if you could expect to discover any community transmission quickly .
We cannot expect this with the current level of testing - something which must be addressed as a priority ; what we are getting instead is talk.

If you watched the COVID-19 briefing today by Hipkins and Bloomfield, you would have seen that they agree community testing rates are too low and they expect testing rates to increase back up to ~4,000 per day and they'll be monitoring what testing is being done and if particular geographic areas aren't doing enough they'll liaise with that DHB to work out what needs to be done to bring their testing rate up.

They have been saying this for about 2 weeks now - and it is correct of course. Test numbers edged down over that period despite all that reasonable talk.

Go watch the update. They specifically talked about how the numbers had been declining over the last 2 weeks and what they were going to do to counteract that.

yes , as I said .. they talked .. and talked ( which seems to be Lab definition of addressing things ). Nothing else happened.

What do you expect to happen? What will you say if in 2 weeks we're back over 4000 tests a day?

I will say "good - but 4 weeks too late".

Apparently paashaas expects a "live cross" to health professionals out in the field actively taking tests, with the camera panning up to show hundreds of people lined up waiting their turn.

Or something.

You fail to understand .. again.
It is not the lack of talk - on camera of or otherwise - I am concerned about ; we get plenty of that .
It is the lack of testing that is the worry.

How would you suggest that this be done? I do not personally have any symptoms consistent with COVID, so would I randomly present for a test? Obviously I would not. So who are the 4000 people that should be tested per day?

The problem is not lack of people presenting - or even the number of people the GPs refer for a test under the criteria that has been given to them.
Many of those who they do refer are subsequently turned away by the labs ( where the same criteria are interpreted differently ).
The guidance given is simply too vague .

Everyone understands that it is neither possible or necessary to hit that exact recommended 4000 tests/day number - but we have been very far away from it for weeks now ( especially once you exclude testing in isolation facilities ). That is unacceptable given critical importance early detection of community transmission . Not easy to strike the right balance - but it is absolutely key and they have not managed that , despite the very considerable resources in their disposal.

and they need to test those that work at the border and flight crew on a regular time frame, that is not happening at the moment ,

Maybe paashaas wants testing dawn raid style.. A big burly nurse kicks your door in, pins you to the floor while another shoves a swab up your nose?

Maybe "pragmatist" has no idea and is talking rubbish ?
There is plenty of demand for testing however the criteria has been tightened so much and so inconsistently that the targets are not being met.

Hmmm, why don't i believe that for a second.

because you have no idea and just defending the COL no matter what the facts are ?

Or simply because i've not heard of anyone going for or wanting a covid19 test for over a month?

perhaps you should not rely on just what you "hear" .

Check "https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-nov..."

There were around 10K tests done per day on June 24 to 27th ( when people learnt about the shenanigans at the border and rushed to be tested ).
That overloaded the labs and led to changes in criteria which they are still struggling to calibrate to achieve their target numbers of 4K / day.

Yes, there was a surge (of mostly hypochondriacs) because of that event.. And since then? Where is your evidence that large numbers of people are being turned away?

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/420729/covid-19-testing-rates-drop-p...

Oh look, director of the college of GPs saying people are refusing to be tested, not that they are being denied testing.

Now that is a bit different from " not having heard " for a month is it not ?

from the same RNZ site :
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/420400/covid-19-testing-criteria-sti...

30
up

Blimey, our PM is communicating, laying out the possible scenarios and the measures to be in place for each. Anyone who doesn’t understand that that, is an expected and essential part of the role of a Prime Minister would obviously prefer the stewardship of the like of Robert Mugabe. The fact that our PM is a better communicator than many of her predecessors should be applauded not knocked.

15
up

Right? Nat voters can't figure out what they want.
PM doesn't communicate their plans 3-6-12-36 months in advance: "We need certainty! My business can't last a day without govt telling me exactly what's gonna happen tomorrow!"
PM communicates plans: "Why are they telling us this? Are they hiding something???"

Following the Aus model I guess?

“Ssshhh” Judith’s here and gedding all of the attention. “I need the limelight and want to look I’m in charge and we’re forward planning. Of course! the Victoria lockdown. We’ll say we’ll use this approach like we thought of it first...” Shame our communidy tracing app is entirely inadequate and doesn’t even provide a false sense of security!

You're well named.

10
up

Maybe if the judges put aside their usual wet bus ticket approach to sentencing, and give some jail time and fines to the 4 people that are coming before the courts now, we can mostly nip the escape artists in the bud.
It would be nice if the judges could actually do the job they are there to do, we'll see, I'm not that hopeful.

They're there to judge, not punish, as you seem to assume.

True. But I wouldn't be averse to making an example of these few. There's almost nothing more important in the country right now.

16
up

there is anger out there for the people that escape and also for the ones that come back and complain about lockdown, the latest complainer was moaning because he had to wait an extra two days because they wanted to be 100% on his second test.
sorry buddy go out onto the street and find the someone and tell them that and you might get a gob full as we had to lock down for six weeks with no one to look after us, so you can escape back to a covid free country.
the next person that goes to the paper and complains about the border isolation should have to pay the bill not the taxpayer

12
up

I feel absolutely zero sympathy for these people at all, especially not the ones living long term in Aussie, that haven't bothered to get dual citizenship, but want to come crying back to NZ for a job or a benefit when it all goes pear shaped for them over there, I definitely haven't been paying my taxes for the benefit of them.

11
up

I feel the same mate. And that crap about the Countdown idiot feeling "stressed".

Personally would've liked to see the free holiday repaid - even over an interest free 18 months - don't really care, just think that our money needs to come back.

To be fair, the Australians have made it almost impossible for NZ'ers to get Australian Citizenship - ask Russell Crowe.

it doesn't even look like he has tried though “According to departmental records, Mr Crowe has not submitted an application for a permanent visa or for Australian citizenship.”, it looks like he just expects to be one, that boat sailed back in 2001.

If he became an Australian citizen he would be captured for capital gains on world wide assets. Way better off remaining as an NZ citizen unless you're planning a crime spree.

Seems like it would have been easy enough to tie to tax residency tbh.

Why the complainer only ? Every one who come in and stays in a star hotel during the isolation/quarantine should pay their fare for such isolation/quarantine. If they can't let them take a loan, I am sure the banks would be interested in giving out personal loans at 13.5% pa. Repayments to be deducted from salary/dole.

People who escape do not deserve sympathy . Someone whose test and release from isolation is delayed because of bureaucratic bungling does.

The problem is they seem to judge that very little or no punishment is best, how they seem to mostly come to that conclusion often defies logic.
The only thing that ever seems to come into their thinking now days is the impact on the perpetrator, not the victim or the country in general.
A meth dealer in the news just the other day got nothing more than home detention, for dealing an A class drug, what kind of pathetic message does that send?

If the judges don't give these 4 people some actual punishment then they are failing the country.

I feel foreshadowing has been used throughout the saga.

Statistically we are due. covid tests only work 70% percent if you have covid. so two tests over a 14 day period leaves a 9% chance that if you have covid it won't get picked up. People who think we will stay covid free must live in some fairy tale land.

Garbage. The false positive rates are very low and false negative while higher are not 30% like you claim.

The false positive rate changes over time, decreasing as the infection develops. It doesn't stay at 30% on both day 3 and day 12 as you suggest, and furthermore there is other data showing the false positive rate is in the range of 2% to 29% (included in your first link).

So far we have had 0 "probable" cases at the border, only positive ones. This suggests we aren't getting much in the way of suspected false negatives.

Will Judith Collins come out with her own policy on Covid 19. I think New Zealanders would be more keen to know about that at this time.

I wonder if she will back down on opening the borders

I'm sure the virus will be interested in knowing what she thinks.

Good one, mate.

Her policies so far:
"I want to be PM!"

And given some past performances she won't care how she does it..!

Eisenhower once said, "Peace-time plans are of no particular value, but peace-time planning is indispensable.”

Plans are worthless but planning is essential.

Having being told by the red faced colonel that people like him were useless in war, Spike Milligan retorted something like, well then people like you sir, are useless in peacetime.

The elephant in the room here is; How long will our borders be closed?
No one is mentioning that having eliminated community transmissions and with the virus out of control in many countries, then if we wish to maintain our current status our borders are going to be closed until either the virus exceeds its natural life span or a vaccine is readily available globally.
For the borders to be still closed this Christmas is most likely; to be closed until Christmas 2021 a distinct possibility.
It seems that the 1918/9 pandemic had a life span of about six months within New Zealand (possibly due to increasing level of immunity) but was rife through the world for something like two years.
In the short term we may be able to establish a bubble with the Pacific Islands but for outbound tourism that is limited, and for inbound negligible. A bubble with Australia is high risk and flows of tourists likely to be intermittent as outbreaks in either country is most likely to force border closures.
We have paid a high price for elimination, and the consequences for maintains that is going to be both long and have considerable constraints for our economy and lifestyles.

"No one is mentioning"? I think everyone understands this.

I agree that how long is uncertain. Right now 2 months is an eternity in terms of how quickly things are changing, much less this Christmas and next.

17
up

We paid a high price once, most places are paying that high price over and over again, some countries in their third lockdown, Aussie now on their second in large parts.
There is no doubt whatsoever our approach was the right one, and still is.

10
up

And when a Nat voter finally concedes that this may have been the right thing to do after all, they'll quickly add that it was just blind luck.
As in, following the advice of the world's leading experts on pandemics is just pure luck.

Ah yes, decisive leadership by cancelling Pasifika and the March 15th commemorations at the 11th hour, instead of the 12th.

Why didn't the organizers of that event cancel it themselves before that?, like a lot of other events did? why did they make it something the government had to wade into.

I really dread the thought of a repeat lockdown. I think I've developed a sort of reverse agoraphobia.

I keep thinking we just don't know how lucky we are.

Fingers crossed we stay this way.

The government had their opportunity to manage this their way, and we supported them fully. If they fail, I will not have my and my staff's livelihood threatened a second time. I'd rather take my chances with the bug than go broke.

Currently the only people failing are members of the public, so called Kiwis coming back in.

May be they should tack a referendum on opening the borders to the September 19 election ?

If they keep the borders shut till xmas 2021 it wont just be Asia with issues of boat people.

there will be a vote on that on sep 19th
labour keep them closed
NZ first open them
national open them
ACT open them
greens keep them closed

11
up

Live
Die
Die
Die
Live

Depending on your age and immune system?
Coincidentally, the age groups most likely to vote for Labour & Greens are the ones least likely to die from the Virus. So perhaps we only have ourselves to blame for giving the boomers yet another foot up

Level 2 is the maximum necessary in any circumstance, but not total lockdown of the uninfected general population. The current policy of quarantine and testing for new arrivals, and the same for anyone with symptoms, along with tracing (and possible quarantine) of their contacts is still sensible.

The government's tracing app is a shambles. Most businesses don't have it and of those that do, few are using it. At our local Countdown-Bayfair mall in Mt. Maunganui, I have stood and watched people going in and not seen even ONE person use it.

That's because its voluntary..if they made it compulsory the libertarians would kick up a stink and start to riot and burn flags and loot I suspect.

No - it is because it useless in practice . It only could ever help if you went somewhere and did not remember ; people who are prone to this will never use the app anyway.

Which is probably going to be a lot of the time for most people, I certainly can't remember exactly what times I've been to places over the last two weeks.

So tell me everywhere you went Saturday 2 weeks prior....harder than it sounds aint it..

That's right, and what time were you there?

Turn your GPS on and Google will tell you where you've been on that date.

Between google maps timeline and bank transactions I could do a pretty good job of reconstructing my movements. The govt app is pointless in comparison.

It was made by one of NZ's leading suppliers. But there are likely limits to how good it could be given its requirement to be pretty universal and rely on QR codes, and adoption without any ability to enforce or train.

I have been in many many businesses that don't have it, my gym does not have it (which if we have an outbreak I would not attend) or my physio, they need to make businesses put it up or fine them X per week
I still see the SPCA opposite jet park still operating at level 3 but the company next door nothing

And they would be the same people who would complain if covid reappears, and contact tracing is necessary - it would all be Jacinda's fault.

Pretty bad form then by the businesses that can't be bothered setting up the posters for the app, pretty hypocritical also if they then want to moan about the government not doing enough.

I would like to hear a well reasoned argument as to why we should open the borders at all - why?

Any NZ citizen currently resident in NZ who wants to flit off overseas should be refused re-entry to NZ for 5 years. All returnees should have their passports cancelled - they can't leave for 5 years when they can then apply for a new passport. That will eliminate the flags-of-convenience-returnees temporarily scuttling back to enjoy the benefits achieved by the 5 million. Tell all MIQ's that if they fence jump they'll be on a plane back to where they came from and banned for 12 months

I have a compromised immune system. Attend the local hospital for a weekly chemo infusion. 2 days beforehand the oncology day clinic rings and asks a bunch of questions. Have I been in contact with anyone who has arrived from overseas recently, do I have a runny nose, do I suffer from shortness of breath and so on.

If I accidentally come in contact with someone who has recently returned from overseas I'm toast. I can't get my weekly life-saver

Yeah, I'm all for locking the border altogether - but then I'm biased - but you should take a tour through a clinic and see the number of patients, young and old

Does not go far enough . We should strip off the citizenship ( and probably imprison ) from anyone who has ever traveled overseas ; their loyalty to NZ is very questionable.

Funny isn’t it how a large number, contributors on this site too, refused to acknowledge the threat of CV19 admissions overloading an already pressured health system and/or hospitals and displacing the clinical requirements of all the existing patients and casualties. What then their fate? Who counts those ones? Actually it’s not funny at all.

Yeah, we are removed from reality and I fear that we will only learn when there is an out of control outbreak.

Cindy is beyond stupid. Why the eff would you quarantine the arrivals in your biggest cities when the biggest chance of new waves is from people in close contact to new arrivals? Do you really want to lockdown the biggest cities? This Risk is so obvious and so unacceptable.

I'm sure there are many facilities standing empty in bumf**k nowhere in the middle of the bush, ready to house thousands of people, with staff to feed and guard them...

Indeed. You need a) lots of hotels, and b) a nearby hospital. Where would you suggest? Mind they're using Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Rotorua already.

Our military bases would be the obvious solution. Whenuapai, Waiouru etc.

waiouru would be a good place in winter , let them try to escape from there, pick up the frozen bodies in the morning
auckland was chosen due to location to hospitals.and staff needed to man the hotels. that is why queenstown will not work

Problem is folks already live in the accommodation on the bases.

I'd have been talking to the THC about exclusively booking out their chain - though it might only equate to around 2000-odd beds, but plenty in remote locations.

Waiouru is always under-accommodated. No one wants to be stationed there. Family in the forces say you get good incentives if you offer to be put up there. In fact, they've sold off a fair few houses from there over the years due to lack of occupancy.

I don't think that it's "Cindy" who is beyond stupid....

Her being called "Cindy"is normally a red flag.

Honestly Ex Expat. It's oh so easy to sit in your big blue armchair dishing out whinge after whinge. Please, please say something productive.. just once! The fact is that our government has handled this situation better than most. We are lucky to be in this favourable position so a little gratitude wouldn't go amiss.

So basically when some Covid infested idiot escapes and spreads their germs they are going to lock down Auckland and leave the rest of the country alone. If that's the case, as an Aucklander, can I ask that you close our freaking airport please! I'm not intending to use it any time soon...

This isn't new information, is it? The PM previously stated the same thing.

I personally think that Judith is the best thing that has happened to Jacinda, two months before the elecion. Judith's challenges are certainly going to make Jacinda sit up more and try to run a more effective government/campaign. Expecting an uptick in the efficiency of the Labour Team.

Having said that, I am really perplexed about all this portfolio change for the National MPs under Judith. How does it matter ? An election is going to happen soon, and they are not changes in the governing party. The media's obsession about Michael Wodehouse is really funny to watch, as if his continuing in the current place or a different place under Judith Collins now is going to an earth shaking event for New Zealand (pun not intended). The media should be focussing on the details of other policies and draw out Judith on them, if they want to serve the New Zealand public.

No more idiotic lockdowns please. When will she realise that the thing is no more dangerous than the flu for the vast majority of the population? Lock down the vulnerable only, let the rest of us get on with our lives.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.10.20127423v1

So bored of reading the "iT's JuSt tHe fLu" argument.

Just take note of who trots that line out, and ignore from hereon in.

Covid 19 is the new monetary policy. More effective than the ocr. You can up the confirm case numbers and go into lock down if people get too comfortable or down the numbers and let business open again to stimulate the economy.