Lockdown's extended, but the wage subsidy isn't, and the PM can't confirm whether Cabinet considered a cost-benefit analysis when deciding to keep Auckland at L3

Lockdown's extended, but the wage subsidy isn't, and the PM can't confirm whether Cabinet considered a cost-benefit analysis when deciding to keep Auckland at L3

By Jenée Tibshraeny

The Government showed little regard for the economy today.

Not by prolonging Auckland’s lockdown by four days. But for failing to keep its word and couple this health response with financial support, and for failing to demonstrate the decision incorporated a thorough cost/benefit analysis.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson had repeatedly said he intended to extend the new two-week wage subsidy, should Auckland have to remain at Level 3 for longer than two weeks.

Robertson, as recently as Sunday night, told an RNZ reporter: “I’ve been upfront about the fact that were there to be an extension to the restrictions, we would also extend the wage subsidy scheme for a period, if it was a brief continuation.”

Auckland’s lockdown is continuing for an additional four days, but the wage subsidy is not being extended.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made no mention of this in her lengthy address announcing an extension of Level 3.

When asked by a journalist whether the wage subsidy was being extended, Ardern provided a confusing response:

Of course, we’ve already got the two weeks covered for the wage subsidy - that remains as it is. What individuals who previously may not have been eligible for the eight-week extension will be able to count this full period of Level 3 as part of their application for that extension. So we will likely see more people eligible when they take into account that full period of restrictions.

In plain English: Businesses that haven’t already received the eight-week wage subsidy extension, still have until September 1 to apply. Some that hadn’t suffered large enough revenue drops to qualify, may be hit hard enough by a longer lockdown to be eligible. But businesses that have received this eight-week subsidy, and are now on the two-week subsidy, cannot get an additional week’s payment.

Ardern also said there was no plan to provide targeted support for hospitality businesses. 

When asked by interest.co.nz (at 38min 45sec in the video) why not extend the two-week subsidy to three weeks, Ardern said:

It does imply that… it’s a simple act to extend for a four-day period. It is not.

We are already processing, and have tens of thousands of applications that are already being processing with those payments.

And so, our view is, if we find ourselves any longer than that, then absolutely we will come back and revisit that decision. But for now, with a Sunday cut-off, we’ve kept it as it is.

Put to her that Robertson said the subsidy would be extended, Ardern provided another jumbled response:

Keeping in mind, the extension was due to lift roughly on Wednesday midnight. Now we have several extra days where it is extending.

Of course, people will have different work cycles for that period.

The decision has been made, if we extend beyond where we are now, yes we come back. But with a Sunday lift, we are processing those applications as they stand.

It is not a simple exercise to simply tack on additional. It would require an entirely new application process and regime. Our focus is getting the money out the door quickly for everyone who’s already applied.

If I was a business owner, I’d be thinking, ‘It’s no simple exercise for me to scale my operations up and down with alert levels or make staff redundant. Why can’t you add an extra week’s payment to the subsidy without requiring a new application?’

I’m sure we can all agree the Government can’t keep paying wage subsidies willy-nilly. Even Robertson has acknowledged this. Ardern has also recognised the intention isn’t to go into lockdown every time community transmission of the virus is found.

But until systems are strengthened to the point the spread of Covid-19 can be controlled without a lockdown, additional support for business is surely required.

No, the taxpayer ideally shouldn’t be propping up businesses doomed to fail. And yes, the Covid-19 bill is adding up.

But I would rather the taxpayer fork out $585 a week to keep someone employed while heavy restrictions are in place, than $490 a week to support them for up to 12 weeks via the Covid Income Relief Payment, and possibly for longer after that if they have to go on Jobseeker Support.

What’s more, with the Reserve Bank doing everything it can to reduce interest rates, which helps asset owners the most, it’s essential the Government does what it can to support those who aren't necessarily enjoying reduced mortgage repayments or aren’t in a position to borrow and invest.

The RBNZ’s monetary policy response is top-down in that it provides support to those with debt through the banking system. The Government needs to ensure there’s a sufficient bottom-up response, and support is reaching those who need it the most.

Money aside, if Ardern said, ‘We will temporarily provide some support, like we said we would, as we understand the impact of this lockdown is worth more than 18 days of disruption,’ this would've provided a bit of confidence, which would've gone a long way in the current environment.

Question mark over cost-benefit analysis

But, adding fuel to the fire, Ardern couldn’t confirm whether Cabinet asked Treasury to provide it with a cost-benefit analysis on what to do with alert levels.

She dodged questions (at 24min 33sec in the video) on the matter, making the point in a long-winded way, that it’s impossible to know how the virus would spread differently at Level 2 versus Level 3, and how this would impact the economy.

She said any economic modelling would be based on a number of assumptions around Covid-19 clusters.

This is a fair point. Imperfect information makes economic forecasting virtually impossible at the moment. But what we needed Ardern to say was, ‘Yes, we engaged with Treasury and its best estimates under these scenarios are…’

Many of us agree healthy people make for a healthy economy. 

But today was a day for the Prime Minister to allay businesses’ concerns and let them know she values economic advice as much as she does epidemiological advice.

Ardern needed to show she’d made an effort to be as eloquent when talking about the economy, as she is when rallying the troops in the fight against the virus.

She missed that opportunity.

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Blatant disregard for the economy.
As people know, I am skeptical on the merits of lockdown. However, if we do it then there needs to be compensation.
And it's even worse when GR had said he will extend the wage subsidy if the lockdown is extended.
This govt really don't have a clue.

100% And these lock downs are cutting the deepest into the labour voter pool as 10 thousands of jobs are lost. The wage subsidy is just delaying the inevitable for thousands of businesses and people, and labour know the economy can't sustain this.

I'm skeptical of how realistic the alternatives folk promote on here are. They either seem to rely on "just a flu" or an optimistic belief in how well NZers will adopt masks, contact tracing and social distancing.

With widespread COVID in NZ hospitality and tourism will be dead. Other businesses will work from home where they possibly can. People will not be out and about spending.

I did see an interesting article from McKinsey the other day highlighting places with stronger non-medical interventions were doing better economically than those without. The dichotomy of lockdowns vs. economic health seems a false one.

Statement by assertion is just magic thinking. My friend reckons that even his deepest blue mates think that Labour is on the right track.

What does that make pandemic management by assertion then?


Well the 'we say we're doing stuff but we're not actually doing it and we're not going to keep tabs on it until someone asks us' school of pandemic management. You know, the one we've got.

You keep repeating that severe distortion as if that is what actually happened. It wasn't.

"We are regularly testing workers at the border"

Because if that isn't what happened, why did the PM come out and say she was disappointed their expectations were not being met, and why did the Health Minister say he was getting regular updates on border testing? Did they say those things for no reason? I know you're desperate to pretend there hasn't been any stuff-ups at all, but come on dude, both the PM and the Health Minister are on record on this one.

I know you're desperate to pretend there hasn't been any stuff-ups at all

Totally and utterly untrue. What I am interested in is 1. the truth, and 2. putting things in context. I can't say the same for you.

Because if that isn't what happened, why did the PM come out and say she was disappointed their expectations were not being met, and why did the Health Minister say he was getting regular updates on border testing?

Because that's exactly what happened.

What DIDN'T happen, which you keep claiming, is this:

we're not going to keep tabs on it until someone asks us' school of pandemic management

They were already in the process of rolling the testing out. They weren't doing it nearly as quickly as they should have been or notifying cabinet comprehensively of what was happening when, but nonetheless, it was happening, yet you persistently keep saying they didn't do anything until the media asked them about it. It's completely untrue.

They had completed 2 test sweeps of workers in the MIQ facilities prior to the current outbreak happening. It wasn't all boarder workers (such as port and airport staff) as it should have been, it probably wasn't even all workers at the MIQ facilities, but they were rolling out the policy and ramping it up.

Do you really need weekly testing of someone who works at a maritime port in a back office doing accounts receivables who has 0 day to day contact with ship crew every week? Well if your policy is "all workers at a port must get tested" then that's a question you have to come up with an answer for.

Scheduling who needs to be tested how frequently, across multiple shifts, across multiple sites, dealing with people who are on leave or not working on the day the testing people are on-site, and then organising staff to be present on-site to do all of that testing are all issues that need to be worked through. It's a complex situation. You can't just click your fingers and have everyone tested because you wish it to be so.

They aren't really hurting Labour voters as many jobs are basically subsidised until after the election, at a variety of levels. Businesses can get the extension payment right up to early September, so the money will carry through until after the delayed election date for many, then perhaps the damage worsens. The question is about what the voters understand, not what Labour knows and hasn't told anyone.

Many voters are tribal, so they will vote for who they always vote for regardless.

You could only get 8 weeks starting from sometime in June, so most on subsidy have run dry. And the latest 2 weeks is about cut now too.


No need to be skeptical about lockdowns. They are unnecessary. There is no researched evidence to suggest a level 2 lockdown will result in any different outcomes to level 4. The key factors appear to be mask wearing, hygiene, physical distancing, contact tracing, and hospital beds. Lockdowns are about control - treating the population like they are stupid. Just look at the way Jacinda and her comrades talk to everyone during briefings - to quote Polly Gillespie "treats us like we are IQ deprived children". They are a socialists' dream - using a virus to flatten the poppies rather than flatten the curve. The condescension and infantilizing seems to be even worse when they reference South Auckland clusters.


Three comments from pre-ordained bias so wide you could drive a bus through it.

This is a bigger change - even if the media is studiously avoiding it. Growth had already passed the finishing-line and coasted on around the turn; what we are seeing is the acknowledgement that fixating on 'money' was flawed leadership-wise, and lying to ourselves sustaining-our-species-wise. What we are seeing is an ebbing of what was a flood-tide; neoliberalism has been found wanting and the planet is on it's knees.

We will see a residual of comments from winners in the past paradigm, as above. And we will see a residual of belief-based media, failing to examine the mantra. The simple fact is that business - en masse as practiced - was unsustainable. So it was going to be in trouble anyway. So why the lament, and why the headline?

Serious question,

You're obviously committed and researched on your view. Haven't people had theories on growth limits or scarcity forever? What makes this time different?

I can't speak for PDK but this is the first period in recent history that we're using sources of energy with lower energy returns rather than higher returns. Throughout history we've moved up to higher density energy sources (wood --> coal --> oil etc). We're now at the point where the energy return is diminishing (of fossil fuels primarily). As fossil fuels still make up the bulk of world energy use, this obviously has ramifications for the economy and peoples way of life.

Given that energy is the ability to do work, all other outputs rely on it. You can't produce, move, build or do anything without it. Unless we increase efficiency faster than energy availability declines, we're not going to be to produce or do as much 'physical stuff' going forward. Obviously thermodynamics means there are hard limits to efficiencies and some that can't be circumvented (it'll always take X number of joules to raise X amount of weight X high etc.) This obviously conflicts with the economy and it's seeming requirement for endless growth and expansion.

The energy density and intermittency of renewables means they seem unlikely to be able to ever provide the same energy availability we enjoy now.

Energy density, while important, is not really the main part of it.

It's accessibility and affordability of extracting the energy. Even if something produces a good positive return of energy on energy invested, it can still be very expensive to extract. If oil prices drop, those operations may be shut down, and prospective exploration may shut. Because while the energy industry is one of the ones with a longer horizon for projects (10 years is not uncommon), they still are affected by business cycles, and it's quite possible for things to over-correct.

There's a huge amount of coal in the ground, enough to give us huge global temperature rises, but most of what is left will never be extracted and burned.

This blog covers the whole situation from a physics, chemistry and maths perspective: https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/post-index/ it includes looking at other alternative energy sources such as nuclear, geothermal, biomass, wind and solar that could be used to replace oil and gas on the scale necessary (hint: there are none) - here's the summary post of that analysis https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2012/02/the-alternative-energy-matrix/

It's more 'net energy' that I'm getting at, believe it or not this actually has a bearing on what's affordable to extract anyway. For example, if you have to invest lots of resources (energy) extracting something, obviously your break-even cost is going to be higher. Marginal energy sources will therefore struggle to be developed as you need to invest more than they're worth.

If you look at his summary he basically says the same thing:

Not only does this conclude the end of the phase on Do the Math where we evaluate the quantitative and qualitative benefits and challenges of alternatives to fossil fuels, it also points to the fact that we face the end of a golden era of energy. Sure, we managed to make scientific and cultural progress based on energy from animals, slaves, and firewood prior to discovering the fossil fuels. But it was in unlocking our one-time inheritance that we really came into our own. Soon, we will see a yearly decrease in our trust fund dividend, forcing us to either adapt to less or try to fill the gap with replacements. What this post and the series preceding it demonstrates is that we do not have a delightful menu from which to select our future. Most of the options leave a bad taste of one form or the other.

When I first approached the subject of energy in our society, I expected to develop a picture in my mind of our grandiose future, full of alternative energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, geothermal, tidal, etc. What I got instead was something like this matrix: full of inadequacies, difficulties, and show-stoppers. Our success at managing the transition away from fossil fuels while maintaining our current standard of living is far from guaranteed.

Yeah, I'm familiar with EROEI and 'net energy'. And while economic cost is closely correlated with it, it's still not quite the same subject.

It can lead to muddled thinking and incorrect conclusions if they're assumed to be the same thing - and I'm not implying you've demonstrated that here whatsoever, just being particular that the real problem is affordability / price, and not directly EROEI.

I agree with you that they're often correlated but not entirely interchangeable.

Riiiight. Okay. So I think economic growth (in its current form) is a fundamentally flawed concept that we will look back on with disdain much the same as we look back at those who supported flat earth theory. I support sustainable capitalism with some loosely defined elements of social demoncracy. I am an evironmentalist and work in a career of sustainable development. One would describe me a centrist with tentacles reaching left and right, north and south, and any other direction I deem as sensible and sustainable. I'm the fundamental definition of a policy-based swing voter, having voted Labour in the last election but unlikely to do so this election due to the lack of wider policy, failure of past policy, and some concerning socialist behaviour straight out of the Marxist textbook (and in my view, a pathway to corruption). I do not subscribe to partisan politics at all. Notwithstanding, I have no f*cking idea what your repsonse has to do with my post above.

There are no Marxist textbooks, and middle of road social democratic left sure ain’t on script. Clearly you have read no Marx

I was waiting for that - was wondering who was going to pick up on it. You are the champion! In that sense, it was a metaphor referencing Marxist theory and the level of market intervention being observed. In particular (and amoung other things), I do not agree with recent legislation aimed at controlling log prices through occupational licencing. While the legislation was pushed by Jones, there appears to have been no scrutiny or pushback from Labour caucus.


I don't think you, or anyone, should be personally offended if the PM uses simple language. She's speaking to the entire population, including those who may not be as smart as you, or have as broad a vocabulary - so yes, she needs to present in a manner that can be understood by everyone.

Hmm yes it does seem she needs to speak to us like children. Its that level if intelligence thats taken in by her and her teams lies.


There is no researched evidence to suggest a level 2 lockdown will result in any different outcomes to level 4.

The key factors appear to be................... physical distancing,

Come on - don't be obtuse. You don't need to lock an economy down to achieve physical distancing. It is still a key part of a solid Level 2 response.

I think this is the endgame after years of slowly removing personal responsibility and critical thinking from the populous.

3 examples - Health and Safety in corporates (it is absolutely ridiculous) - Traffic trucks (12 people to pick up rubbish on the side of the motorway or trim a bush) - and my favorite , turn signals at traffic lights (without these a lot of people could only turn left) . A lot of people are unable to think for themselves.


Sometimes I think it's better to let children get hurt, rather than protecting them from the harm, such that they learn from the error.

Likewise, I sometimes wish this government had let COVID spread throughout the country and wipe out these bleating business owners, as everyone would be cowering in their homes attempting not to get infected rather than queuing for overpriced crap flat whites.

But no, the government attempted to protect everyone, so, like children, there are those who did not learn the lesson and are far more concerned with me me me, what about my bank account...

Do you really, honestly, believe that you'd be better off had there been no lockdown at all, and COVID was rampant across New Zealand? Do you really value the economy over the people that constitute that economy? Not gonna sell much if people are dead, sick or hiding.

Waah, I don't get an extra 4 days of wage subsidy... Shouldn't be any bloody subsidy at all - you lot all bleat that you're capitalist - so put your money where your mouth is - capitalism eschews government intervention - however I don't see many of these so called capitalists turning down wage subsidies, or cheap loans.

Turn off the money taps, let the cards fall where they may, the weak businesses will fail, those that actually have a solid business model, are well managed and have saved for a rainy day will survive - and frankly we'll be better off for it. Short term pain, long term gain.


Ah yes, the 'solid business model' that allows for zero revenue for an unknown period of time, at almost no notice. But hey, the government and RBNZ is printing money and racking up debt - by your logic we should have just let the state collapse. Short term pain, right?

The number of Polygilotals upticks is seriously disturbing

The alternative is COVID kicking off here which would have a larger impact on businesses than another couple of weeks of lock-down. Bear in mind that the government doesn't create wealth, it just redistributes it (after paying its own expenses). Hence compensation is not paid by the Govt, but by the same businesses and people that are claiming it (and their current and future off-spring).

It beggars belief that 89% of AKL businesses are claiming the latest round of wage subsidy, while at the same time (if you believe the herald) flights to Queenstown are fully booked for the week following L3! I'm all in favour of trying to help struggling businesses stay afloat, but bad stuff does happen, and people need to be prepared to crimp their lifestyles accordingly rather than rely on the 'Govt' to keep them whole.

I think you'll find a lot of those holidays were booked months in advance (mine was February, for instance) to get a cheap enough holiday in the first place. Given you're on a hiding to nothing in terms of getting actual refunds, you might as well use the credits that you've probably already paid for a long long time ago. I wouldn't read that much into it tbh.

Just to add a perspective. Im an IT contractor operating as a sole trader. I've not worked meaningfully since February. I can only speak for my industry but there are barely any jobs available. It started to pick up again in the couple weeks just prior to lock down 2.0. But now back to square 1. Now personally I have deep cash reserves and can sustain my business for another 6 months without earnings, but my industry and way of life is completely paused every time there is lock down. And it will take time to reboot. I know many others in this position. Everyone focuses on low income earners, hospitality etc, but try getting professional or mgmt role right now. Its near impossible.

Sure bad things happen, and I am happy to protect the venurable (old, fat, minorities) but you shut down the economy and significant numbers of people suffer. Not a problem if you have a job. Don't have a job right now? You're screwed and people like me are essential being asked to burn cash to keep old and fat people safe. We should continue to be compensated.

I'll still vote Labour, but only because I think J Collins would be like having Ming the Merciless as PM.

Maybe do a few business mgt papers & critical thinking, online. Could help in other areas.

I've thought about LinkedIn style blogging, but Studying? Meh. One Bcom and a few industry quals are enough for me. I'd rather spend this time with my kids making forts in the lounge or playing lego. Or researching investment opportunities. Also its been 10 years since I was this fit =)

I've always factored in the odd recession into my budgeting and Im realistic that the situation is a giant s*** sandwich no matter what, its just that I think its only fair business owners are compensated for enforced lock downs. I also wanted to point out to some people here that these lock downs do hurt the bottom line for a lot of people.

End of this year will be interesting. The high unemployment thing will start to bite & the govt will be much less sensitive to public opinion.

The world needs a vaccine pronto quick smart.

Yes, they have a clue, they have a whole bunch of them, which is why we are right up there, and I mean RIGHT up there in our dealings with this pandemic. in the world. Anybody thinking we can prosper with this thing running wild is off their rocker, and if that is you, then so be it.
We will have a far, far better chance of getting through this economically WITHOUT the virus, even you must instinctively know this.
Right now there are many American firms looking to relocate here. We will do just fine, if we get rid of this thing then ALL of us do what we need to help stamp it out quickly should it reappear. There is NO alternative to this for us, there is almost nowhere else where it is possible to do what we can, they would have to lock down for just about ever.
You can be as skeptical as you like, but you are wrong.


PM is loosing the plot and from here on will be downhill till election, if she continues like today.

All she has to do is tighten it up then?

Demonstrating lots more National voters than Labour on here
Sorry you guys but JA will win with 48% and polls this coming week will surprise you


Agree 100% with article.

Today's performance by JA has opened up the election for National as bound to do more goof ups.

Was talking to a friend who works in Travel Industry and their is a talk of promoting and supporting National party boycotting Labour.


Your Travel Industry bud is screwed whether National gets in or not, It's too costly and dangerous for people to go on holiday overseas right now and for the foreseeable future until the coronavirus is under control. Do you not understand that? Or are you one of the idiots out there that think it's all a hoax like this guy: BBC article Man who believed virus was hoax loses wife to Covid-19. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53892856

Yep international travel industry screwed.
But not all of the domestic needs to be.

Agree Travel industry followed by hospitality, International student... is screwed for now, for how long is wait and watch but is important specially for NZ and definitely will have to adept themselves like many other businesses and for that government participation is important. Besides industries certain regions are finished like Te Anau and government has to see how can support the people going future.

Interesting to see she died of heart problems caused by the virus rather than respiratory.

I have lots of friends in Europe who have been going on European holidays to as usual over the summer. Tourism is not dead there.

I suspect that they don't need to get travel insurance if travelling withing Europe. No insurer will provide coverage against a known pandemic - so I can't see widespread tourism restarting for quite some time (unless within a Pacific or Australian bubble - and both seem a way off).

My partner and I are going on holiday to Lake Garda in Italy next month. We're not worried about a thing!

What is their proposed solution? Wider open borders or more subsidies for themselves?

My Wife is(was) a travel broker, there is lots of industry support for more subsidies for themselves. I said " tell 'em they're dreaming". Lucky I like tents.

Well, there's always support for free money for any non-viable business.


I think she chose the politically safer option. If the businesses fail due to the extended lockdown, COVID is always there to blame. What if Auckland turns into Melbourne less than 60 days before the election?

Yea I don't get how she was ever going to do anything else. She can't politic on delivering policy so she needs to make stamping Covid19 out work. Given there's still question marks in Auckland, an extension was the only thing on the cards.


This govt has never shown any clue about cost benefits, from their earliest days killing the oil and gas industry (costing 10's of billions in extra imports) to shift production of the oil and gas to other countries. Or student allowances that saw no increase in students, or NZF's porkathon PGF, or the extended 1st lockdown. Why would we expect a leopard to change its spots?

What kind of moron would apply a "cost benefit" to life or death, or whether we have a liveable planet?


Cost benefit is applied to life and death every year.
Because the govt doesn't have unlimited money it needs to prioritize what it does in terms of road safety, in order to reduce or stabilise road deaths each year. It's about mitigation and risk reduction rather than avoidance of death.
Sadly, but realistically.

Perhaps analyses to date have necessarily factored in the likelihood of NZ's population to socially distance, use contact tracing, and use masks willingly and effectively.


What kind of moron? I think you will find cost/ benefit applies to every aspect of health. Except covid that is.....


How do you think Pharmac decides on which drugs to fund? They have to decide who may die and who may not on the basis of cost. Did you know the cost of NZ's economic recovery package could have saved the lives of around 40 million starving children over ten years? Get a grip Palmtree. Everything is about cost/benefit on life or death.


The adult kind.

Palmy, how do you compare anything?

The adult kind? Funny guy. Perhaps you would like someone calculating your financial worth to society and decide the figures don't add up, before you are quite ready to go? Say the Titanics' life boat is overloaded. Do you measure up who gets tossed back by applying a cost benefit analysis? When my mother was dying. no one came to me and said, "it's not financially worthwhile spending more on treatment." "how do you compare anything?" Price and quality are obviously fine for pants and spaghetti, applying it to existential threats, are at best simplistic, at worst, delusional!

a hospital for everyone then? a personal physician for everyone... not cost effective is it?

How long should you wait in an A&E.... ideally not at all.... but do they have 50 doctors sitting there in case someone comes in? Like it or not.. cost features in the equation.

That's cute. Gotta remember that one next time NZTA defers upgrades to SH2 again.


You apply a cost benefit to life or death every time you drive your car.

Jacinda has taken the easy option, to appeal to people incapable of second-order thinking - like you. She's "saving lives", therefore anything goes.

We need to ask some tough questions:

> If Covid spreads and some vulnerable people die from it, how many of those same people would have died from opportunistic infections anyway?
> How many people have died as a result of the lockdown - suicides, missed health appointments etc?
> How many people will die as a result of the economic damage?
> If we continue to pursue the "elimination strategy", what happens when the rest of the world learns to live with Covid19 (like we do with the common cold and flu).

I suspect if we answered the above honestly, we'd realise that the elimination strategy is nonsensical. It's a slow strangulation of our economy that will cause more damage than Covid ever could.

However, it's a rare scenario in which top-down socialist control is an easier sell, so Jacinda is pursuing it.

Saviour complex?


I believed in flattening the curve. Keeping us isolated for years not so much. Considering I am an antisocial hillbilly I never thought I would one for opening up borders against a pandemic. Trouble is this pandemic isnt really what I thought it might be. We need to learn to live with it. My grandees and my children need to get on with their lives.

What's stopping them? Life has changed, as it always has and always will. Having a vague notion of nostalgic entitlement, is no guarantee of a return to a "golden era". Make the best of what you've got.

David Seymoron?

Um, the maroons at Pharmac?

NZTA, and Treasury.

Neither have folk who have argued that staying open and having more widespread COVID in the community delivers better economic outcomes. They are shouting it, but without support.

Oil and gas industry is still there, btw.

Given something like 95% of the oil we produce in this country is exported because it is light sweet crude that we don't have any capacity to refine in NZ, or need for such high quality fuel, exactly how does stopping oil and gas exploration in this country lead to additional imports over the status quo?


The overseas evidence shows that lockdowns are unnecessary, and considering the enormous economic cost...

Anyway, here are some facts. Covid19 deaths as a function of age in Germany Notice how the bulk of deaths are over 80 years old. The average life expectancy in Germany is 79 for males and 84 for females!

Exactly. The Covid lockdown makes as much sense as locking down to prevent the flu, or the common cold.

Not exactly. COVID current death rate is around between 4% and 5%, which is much higher than common flu's 0.1%. The catch is this 4%-5% has been achieved by all the efforts governments have put in place to contain the bug. Wuhan's official COVID death tool is 4%, however, the US intelligence believes the real number is 16 times higher than that. So it could become considerably worse.

You confuse case fatality ratio with infection fatality ratio. CFR cannot be trusted because of a multitude of reasons. In any case, CDC estimates a CFR of between 0.2% and 1%, and accounting for asymptomatic cases not tested, estimates it could be as low as 0.26%. Iceland has the only comprehensive unbiased testing regime, calculating one of the more reliable CFR which is under 0.5%. However, even this could be well over-estimated because virus testing is at a point in time; it does not identify people who have had the disease and recovered to the point that they do no show up in testing (bearing in mind the virus has to be present in the nasal cavities for a positive test to be shown). It is no secret that the true IFR will only ever be shown by serology tests but here's the kicker - these tests have been banned in New Zealand by the MoH (https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2020-go1737). Why would the government ban serology tests for COVID? Fact is - your numbers are wrong and the true infection fatality ratio is most likely to be about three or four times the flu. As treatment improves, I have no doubt it will lower to a level similar to the flu.

Maybe read all of the text on the page you linked to?

Pursuant to section 37 of the Medicines Act 1981, the Minister of Health hereby prohibits the importation, manufacture, packing, sale, supply or use of any kits and/or other test materials intended for use as point of care testing for COVID-19 infection or for post-infection confirmation using an antigen or antibody detection system unless the particular test kit and/or test materials:

Emphasis mine.

That's not a "ban", that's "quality control".

Potatoe potato. However you frame it, you can't bring in testing kits unless the MoH say so. It's like AQIS in Australia blocking New Zealand apples under the guise of biological border protection from fire blight. You really believe it was about fire blight? I can accept there is a need for quality control, but when the tests would be so helpful in the context of the current health crisis, why are they not here already (as far as I know, we don't have them yet...but please prove me wrong)?

They used serology testing as part of the recent Rydges case to try and find other potential vectors between the visitor from the US and the maintenance worker.

I was confused about this - last I heard is that it was strongly recommended by Prof Michael Baker (and others) because it wasn't being done. Then the Govt said "We have already used these tests to find out more information about this cluster, particularly in households to see if anyone else has had the virus." But Baker et all would have known if they did - they are the primary health advisers to the Govt on this. So less than a week ago we have a loud call from a number of leading health experts (including Baker and Wiles) to do serology tests and at the same time Bloomfield and Ardern said they were "looking at it" despite having implied that they had already used them. Eitherway, it wasn't clear. Hopefully they have started and it isn't just a bit of tokenism to simply comply with what the experts have been saying all along.

Closer to 0.5% infection fatality rate (1 in 200), and there are numerous treatments that are being found and applied to reduce it further. Singapore has had just 0.05% case fatality rate. risk of death if infected: <20yrs 1 in 100000, 20-30 1 in 15000, 30-40 1 in 5000, 40-50 1 in 1500, 50-60 1 in 500, 60-70 1 in 100, 70-80 1 in 40, 80+ 1 in 10. The risk is the same as a couple of months of your normal risk of death.

One has to catch it first...


Of course there was zero real economic analysis. It's a point Michael Reddell, quoting several papers over a series of articles, has forcefully made. The latest such epistle is here, quoting John Gibson (Univ Waikato).

....it all goes to the more general point that proper marginal cost-benefit analyses should have been being done by officials and ministers – should now be being done – and aren’t. It has been known from the start that private distancing choices would make a material difference, but those rational private choices have too rarely been seen factored into New Zealand official decisionmaking.

Interesting as always from Reddell.


As I said earlier more people will die of depression, mental illness and poverty as a result of our govt's perverse power grabs. History won't treat them lightly.

Well, stop saying it, because you are wrong

The information on the effects of unemployment to mortality is well known. The fall of the Soviet Union being one example. You have no basis for your comment unless the cost benefit analysis is done. I've a professor friend doing a paper on the subject & that is most likely to prove you wrong. Horribly so.

Mind you it was coming anyway, it is the rate at which it comes that is at question.


Initial analysis by Shamubeel Eaqub finds that lockdown has been less costly than the alternative: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/300083404/heres-why-lo...

As James Shaw said, we could have a recession with deaths, or a recession without deaths. Either way we were getting a recession.

It's up to you to prove that the recession we have now had is worse than the recession we would have had had we managed the situation differently.

At present the evidence available shows the opposite of what you claim.

Some of his assumptions and statements could be questioned. For example:

'In the three months to June, the number of hours worked fell by 9 per cent from a year ago, similar to Sweden'

Number of hours worked could be quite unreliable and misleading, given that many people were effectively furloghed during that period. They may have 'done' their 40 hours per week, but may have only been productive for 10 of them.

In which case he could be under-estimating the impact of the lockdown.

Maybe he allowed for that in his modelling. Don't know.

Sure. But reasoned analysis that you just gave is quite different from people claiming as a fact that the lockdowns we have had are worse than the alternative.

If other people can produce evidence and data (not anecdote or reckons) that rebuts or disagrees with Shamubeel then they should go ahead, I'd be keen to see it.

Oh so economists are ok as long as they have neo-liberal tinge. So much for relying on expert economic advice

Maybe, but perhaps not as wrong as you suspect. I am coming across LOTS of people every week whose mental health is waning.

Except suicide is down and Stuff published figures this week showing deaths in last 5 months are below last year


Simply wrong (so far) according to this article: Coronavirus: While Covid-19 takes lives around the world, New Zealand's response has led to fewer deaths from all causes. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/122476223/coronaviru...

Fewer work & road deaths etc result simply from closing down, but I admit I was surprised that suicides have fallen thus far. Hopefully too, not just a timing thing, as we move from the curiously peaceful calm of first lockdown to harsh economic/social realities emerging more clearly now.

Perhaps the hardest to measure but critical factor will be the future rather than immediate impact from lockdowns, eg loss of life/reduced life value of thousands of elective surgeries delayed, tens of thousands of cancer diagnoses delayed, cardiac/diabetes/etc treatment delayed by lockdowns or not sought due to Covid-fear, etc. With direct personal knowledge, like many kiwis, even if 'only' dozens of people get stage 4 cancer diagnoses this year rather than (treatable) lower stages they might have received in March, it is just as terrible for everyone as a Covid death. Ditto the counterfactual (how many more Covid deaths if adopted different strategy). In both cases, if not reported (as 'too hard to get data' or 'not a story' in 2022) we'll all be left with a false impression from 'easy' reporting.

You might also say the same thing about NZ's high suicide rates over the last 20 years as we've created despair by pushing housing costs up and the value of work down.

I don't think that is the cause, suicide rates have been generally falling over last 20 years of house price rises. Marginalization of men and lack of rewarding relationships for them seems to be dominant cause of suicide (young men and middle age men are big risk groups).

Well, I would very much agree it is important that we look critically at the causes of suicide (like you have in this post her) rather than make blanket assumptions as people have elsewhere here. For example, men may also be suffering there because their traditional role as breadwinner is ineffective in the face of devalued wages and inflated housing costs. The interesting book Deaths of Despair discusses the plight of white Americans in the flyover states as they've faced a loss of hope as financially viable life prospects have reduced.

People are going to die of depression, mental illness and poverty anyway despite there is a lockdown or not. The poverty situation will just get worse as RBNZ keep lowering interest rate to benefit the rich. Then when it reaches the break point, we are all screwed.

People are going to die of old age too. And given the age mortality of COVID closely mirrors natural mortality, the overwhelming majory that succumb to it would have likely passed within months of getting the virus anyway. It's an ethically awful discussion to have, but unfortunately something we need to have a mature discussion about.

"As I said earlier more people will die of depression, mental illness and poverty as a result of our govt's perverse power grabs. History won't treat them lightly."

Edit: More people would die of depression, mental illness and poverty due to the after effects of a pandemic raging through our communities killing 10's of thousands, destroying families, work places, supply chains, economic capacity, and crushing NZ's 2nd tier health system, routing health budgets, resources and faith in democracy.

The problem is we have not been through the worse that could happen with a full on covid infestation, giving people the chance to speculate. Talk to any other citizen of any other country, ANY country, that has borne the brunt of this and deep down you know what their answer will be. Avoid it at all costs.


I think we are now taking the worst path possible.

The discussion should never have been Business v Health.

We are locking down to protect a relatively small cohort of people, then compensating businesses which even without covid have a horrendously high failure rate.

The real debate is about the value of a life. At this stage we appear to value over 60s a lot more than under 40s.

So what do we do?
I am naturally inclined to the Swedish approach but there seems very very little support for that. It won't happen.
So we go with the current approach (or a variation on it) but be prepared to throw more and more compensation out there. Because it's just not fair on the exposed businesses not to do so.
What angers me most is Robertson not keeping to his promises of compensating business for the longer lockdown.
They should also be helping the council out. Because before we know it many of the services that we take for granted (local libraries, pools, rec centre will shut down.)
It really seems that all the pollies and bureaucrats down there in Wellington with their safe, cushy jobs have no clue.


Therein lies the problem the politicians are all still getting paid no matter what happens to the economy.

They are all friggin useless. I think I won't vote this election.

Don't do that. There's always a least worst option, even if the difference is razor thin

Nothing we can do, we have a bunch of pollies that look after themselves and in doing so the biggest voting cohorts.

Basically I see us ending up with the US approach. The young just do what they want, ignore the rules. It spreads rapidly, but for the most part they are fine (barring exceptions of course).

As for voting, I haven't voted in the general election since '98. I vote in referendums, but every election read through all the policies and people and just wonder what the point is. I will vote in the referendum again this year, but when it is a choice between evil and incompetence the main ballot can stay fresh and clean.

The point is to make the least worst choice for NZ. Preferably towards a state that maximizes combined NZer happiness over long term and minimizes the seemingly inexorable slide to totalitarianism or borrow-yourself-rich failed-statedom (which seems a more 'stable' end point for government than the freedom we currently enjoy)

Good points.
And I disagree with people who say 'you must exercise your democratic right.' Surely part of living in a free democratic country is to say 'yeah, nah, they are all friggin hopeless and don't merit a vote'

Fritz, I'd recommend reading Dr Jin Russell's response to Matthew Hooton's recent Herald column. It's a lengthy and detailed thread of tweets here - https://twitter.com/DrJinRussell/status/1296732653865992193

Your welcome

However Dr Jin's thread is still only a one sided analysis/list.

The point is there are clearly very strong health aspects to how we manage this - and someone like her is the expert.
But she's not qualified to talk about wider economic and societal impacts.
All these things need to be weighed up rather than the medical people totally dictating the conversation.
That is a key point of Reddell's - where is the cost/benefit analysis? Rightly he doesn't necessarily say the govt's decision is the *wrong* one, rather that their decision making framework appears too unbalanced and shallow.

An equally incomplete analysis is here:
This example Regarding the Covid Card

I feel like the people who are pushing CovidCard which has to be worn around your neck:

Good quote from a Swede I saw the other day: "I can't wait for this all to be over so I can return to my usual social distance of 4 metres rather than 2."

It comes as no surprise that the majority of those in support of lockdowns are remunerated from the Government purse. Baker, Wiles, Skegg, Wilson, Jackson, Hendy et al should all have their income significantly cut in alignment with the rest of NZ. I wonder then if they would be so eager to promote the percieved "safest" route possible without consideration for the consequences. It's easy to be conservative when such actions don't impact on your family. If they acted like the supposed academics they are, they would put more effort into a risk-balanced approach rather than the one that is best for their own reputations.

Worst path? People from covid ravaged countries implore us not to go down their track.


Covid-Fatigue .. the media is saturated.

All Members of Parliament talk/view EVERYTHING through a Covid lens. It's not even a great lens

Going forward the out-workings of Covid-Fatigue:
- Fatigued people start to shut down. So people may tune out. People will become unaware of government requirements.
- Fatigued people can lash out. Frustration may grow between responsible, economically active citizens and highly compliant, fortress NZ types. Our policy free and vacuous political landscape could easily lead to wide spread resentment.

The economic contraction is starting to bite. The Election has been pushed out and Covid-Fatigue might see political fortunes pull back a little?


That most kiwis think JA is a competent leader should tell you alot about this country. Folk here are simple minded and rather poorly educated, more likely to follow along like sheep rather than use critical thought.

One thing this government is good at is handing out money that doesn't belong to it. That alone appears to be enough to satisfy the majority.

And yet, here we are, still the envy of the world.

And yet, the virus doesn't consider how our response stacks up internationally before spreading in the community.

We're the envy of the world because the photos look good and most people come here for holiday. Most of the world hasn't lived under the regime of local government here, nor seen the water quality of lowland rivers in the North Island, nor the 1080 drops, nor the meth, nor understand that 150 years ago all this was forest

Within next 20-50 years there will quite certainly be superintelligent AI's. All projections about perceived problems and the future of earth fail a few years beyond that point because their unpredictable influence will quickly dominate the world. Pretty good chance it will wipe out humans and perhaps all life, either through malice or indifference, or maybe we get lucky and are kept around as pets. All other concerns about the future pale into insignificance compared to that.

Hopefully they can solve MS Windows OS upgrading problems

Swedes may disagree.

Rest of planet overjoyed and dancing in streets re it’s fantastic leadership

I would suggest the places where the populace are the 'happiest' is where certainty has been delivered. Whether that's the Swedish approach, or the NZ approach.
I think the issue is that uncertainty with the NZ approach is growing, and hence the angst.
Certainty is a really vital thing, on both a personal and business level.

You speak like the Swedish approach has worked. Did you not read the recent paper suggesting herd immunity in Sweden is 'nowhere in sight'?


Sweden's economy also contracted a comparable amount to it's neighbours (who had stricter lockdowns) so I don't really know what you're crowing about. It's just far too soon to know which approach is best.

You've got the wrong end of the stick. I wasn't passing judgement on which approach is 'best'.
What I WAS saying is that I think approaches that provide a good degree of certainty (to the extent possible) are 'best'. And that could be the Swedish approach, or the NZ approach (especially if it was managed better). But certainly not the USA or UK approaches, which have been shambles and highly uncertain, chopping and changing.
My brother and his family live in Sweden, and they have been able to go about their daily business with a reasonable degree of certainty, and not jumping in and out of lockdowns. That counts for a lot. Not just for business, but for societal things as well such as schooling.

That makes more sense.
The trouble I have is people claiming 'this approach is better' etc. We don't know and won't know for a long time. However, this shouldn't invalidate what we're doing currently which (to date) at least seems to be a relatively successful strategy when compared to what other countries are experiencing.

Claim's of lockdown 'destroying the economy' are facetious though and often people are making bad-faith comparisons to justify their own political views.


When is a business 'doomed to fail'? Is it when it can't meet its debts under ordinary trading conditions? Or when it is forced to close its retail-facing operations at three days' notice - again - for the second time in six months? Which is also expected to pay staff who are ready and able to work as if they had worked, without any of the revenue that would otherwise be coming in?

They don't understand, but they don't have to. They're still getting absolutely stonking salaries paid to them either way, that most small business owners or sole-traders could only dream of. Just wave it away, repeat a few agency-bought lines about hard and early and then carry on, knowing that you'll be on the cover of at least one international magazine between now and the election and won't ever be expected to actually answer a question.

GV i agree with your comments in your first paragraph but could you propose an alternative health response that is likely to have less of an impact on businesses over the medium term?

Im not aware of one.

I'm not proposing an alternative health response, I'm proposing the government follows through on what it says it will do. Like with commercial rent relief, like with border testing and now with the wage subsidy extension that isn't happening. They are in a position where they can just change their minds at a whim, but business owners are not.

I am skeptical on the lockdown but if they do it, as they are, they have to support the economy more, even if it is very costly. That's the huge cost of that decision which the government must bear.
Why has Robertson broken his promise? Does he now think it's unaffordable? Can he see lots more of these lockdowns which makes it even more unaffordable?


After reading the comments so far, all I can say is - has the sky fallen on your head yet?

Its due to fall end of September

OB1, too funny.
Do you take every risk event before thinking about what to do.
There is a school of thought that looks to first avoid risk, then mitigate likely impact.

Seems a massive false dichotomy is falling from these comments on all of us.

How long can NZs elimination continue?
Who, exactly, is still arriving into NZ?

This is a good question. I wonder whether we're seeing more "covid refugees", than genuine citizens and residents coming home.

Yep good question. If the numbers arriving decreases so does the risk.
Obviously part of the arrivals must comprises kiwis based in places like Australia who are losing jobs.

Good examples of the supposed "great communication" from the PM.

That has been bothering me for quite a while.

It is optics first and substance second for these professional politicians.

Yes Roger. Jacinda-splaining is a term for it.

We have all seen this movie before.


It is identity politics in action.

The same material delivered by Simon Bridges would not be celebrated as "great communication".

media tribalism. Young left wing females get an easier ride because media are mostly young left wing females

No treasury modelling?
So bloody what
Models are a technocrat way of est things
Econ forecasters and virus modellers have lousy record. Politicians are elected to make judgements not slavishly follow models

Seriously? And the Coalition have shown such magnificent judgement in...(can you name a single well thought through and delivered initiative)

I think many of the professional whiners forget that plenty of retrospective analysis has been done of previous epidemics and pandemics, and the economic effects of managing or not of medical outcomes. Right from the 1918 pandemic where American cities that had stronger interventions fared better economically afterward than those who ranted against masks as draconian attacks on freedom (like we see now on Facebook in NZ).

The plans for approaches to pandemics were formed out of learning and analysis of previous experience, not in complete isolation. I worry that those who shout "why wasn't a full cost-benefit analysis of X different scenarios done before doing anything?" completely miss the context of history and how plans for pandemic management were actually developed over time.

As we see in the USA now, hoping and pretending and telling people it's "just a flu" doesn't seem to be having great economic consequences. We can't hope and pretend straight off the bat that people would have quickly and effectively adopted social distancing, mask use and contact tracing: they still have not.

Government should not have to pay out for all business risks. The rate it is doing so is already ridiculous.

So who should pay for an unforeseen, unprecedented government-initiated lockdown? Is that a normal business risk? Business owners aren't choosing to close their own doors.

GV27 - every reader here has had enough warning to have their backsides covered.

The 'I'm making money and only want to make more; my narrative will therefore reject....' brigade, are now finding their trousers were down.

Tough. It was always going to happen. If you want to sue anyone, try suing those who told you - erroneously - that you could bet on growth forever.

The one-in-a-lifetime event that no living, working person has ever lived through was always going to happen? Do you have any idea how much additional working capital sitting in redundancy every business would require to weather multiple lockdowns of in-determinant length with zero revenue?

The end of growth was always going to happen, duh.

COVID has clearly brought us a foretaste of what is to come.

Its a huge rate.
Insurance doesn't cover any.

- we are the Government, we are funding it.
Its not like the COL cabinet are a group of tech billionaires, or mideast oil princelings

Add up your tax rate, add GST rate, add local govt costs - even add utilities.


Continuing lockdown madness, all for the sake of a disease that has proven less deadly than influenza for people of most ages - see table below, from a highly respected Swiss study. (Numerous other studies in multiple countries yield similar figures.)

By deludedly trying to "stamp it out" our PM is simply delaying natural population immunity. In many other countries, this immunity now protects the small percentage of people who are actually vulnerable.

Age Risk of Death
5-9 0.0016%
10-19 0.00032%
20-49 0.0092%
50-64 0.14%
65+ 5.6%


Of course all those “recovered” folk are just fine.
Have you in fact listened to real people who have had this virus?
They are not all fine after a bit of a flu

Correct. Some of them get very sick indeed, unfortunately. And develop chronic conditions.
But the same happens with other viruses....

Can you give some concrete figures or evidence to support your statement 'the same happens with other viruses'? I'm curious to see if the rate of complications is in fact comparable.

Plenty develop chronic conditions without a virus, think the epidemics in obesity, heart disease, diabetes. I do the sport of Waka Ama, we took out a fellow in his early 50's a year or so back. Looked okay, wasn't badly overweight. He had a heart attack in the boat, we've got it on video. We couldn't see it at the time, but in the carpark after he was sitting on a bollard as he was feeling unwell and fell off that straight on his face right in front of me. So how will he fit into Covid statistics when he gets it? Our steerer has diabetes, how about him? So much flawed logic about and I know you can do better.

No, I'm just asking for specific data that 'other viral infections' lead to long-term damage to organ systems at a comparable rate to what COVID19 appears to. There's been papers published in medical journals recently that suggest the possibility of longer term health complications as a consequence of COVID19 infection. Fritz wants to discount this risk and dismissed it. I don't think it's possible to do that currently as not enough is known about long-term sequalae.

So far Fritz haven't posted any data supporting there claim. If it's a factual claim then it shouldn't be hard to do. I certainly haven't heard of many causes of mild influenza infections leading to long-term cardiac or renal problems.


Don't put words in my mouth! I didn't dismiss the risk!
All I said is that other viral illnesses come with risks too.
See below.
I don't have data to hand, and we don't have highly robust data yet on long term covid risks anyway so it wouldn't be possible yet to do a robust comparison.

But the same happens with other viruses....

You imply here that other viruses pose the same risk. I don't think you can make this claim.

we don't have highly robust data yet on long term covid risks anyway so it wouldn't be possible yet to do a robust comparison.

Exactly. Hence the need to implement the precautionary principle until more is known. How idiotic will it look if we open up the country for the 'it's just a flu crowd' (economy argument - which is highly flawed and simplistic anyway), only to find it sets up people for long-term disability and all of the associated economic costs of this down the track.


I don't have data to hand or the time to look for it.
But you can think of many viruses which can create long term health problems - epstein barr (glandular fever), hepatitis, influenza, HIV etc etc.

* Given the prevalence of EBV (virtually everyone has had it), very very few people are left with long-term health problems from it.
* Hepatitis and HIV are blood borne infections, therefore they're pretty hard to catch if you're living a 'normal life' (unlike covid)
* Influenza usually doesn't lead to long term heart damage and chronic congestive cardiac failure. It can exacerbate existing cardiac conditions and cause acute CCF but I haven't heard of many cases of people developing long-term cardiac impairment as a direct consequence.

Ebv has been linked, even if theoretically, to many chronic conditions.

Yes, but how many people (barring those who develop lymphoma) honestly have ongoing symptoms as a result of a past EBV infection in everyday life? Very very few. To put it in context, there's been less than 20 cases of EBV causing myocarditis in all of the medical literature (despite 90% of the worlds population having had it).

Yeah. However but having been infected with it as a child and having had a serious adult dose of it are very different things. Not sure of the prevalence but I have known a few people who came down with chronic fatigue syndrome after contracting ebv.

Fair enough, I'll give you that one.

Interestingly if you look at case reports from people who have contracted COVID19, a large number of people seem to be reporting ongoing chronic fatigue too following infection. Sound like you're aware of how disabling this can be, perhaps another reason to play it safe until more is known about it right.

Yeah this is an interesting argument and clearly you saw Sunday. However, I know a few people (about 6 I think) who have had it and recovered. Most say it was like a bad cold and a couple said it was like a flu. Some said it was benign and mild. All but one kept working from isloation. And none of them have any recurring effects. The media is going to cherry-pick the worst stories because they generate the largest audience. Sunday would have been pretty boring if they reported based on the people I knew.... "Yeah it was like having a cold. But I could still use a spreadsheet so that's OK."

Watch this from 31.15 regarding our wonderful leader:-))

That’s the Anzac spirit! Endless whinging in the face of an Act of God. Complaining about bureaucracy while urging ‘more detailed cost-benefit analysis’. Complaining about government spending while asking for more subsidies for their business. No one can make a worthwhile prediction at the moment, we have to deal with it.

So holding politicians to account is whinging?

The complaint about whinging is due to fact that regardless of how much gov hands out business wants more.
Yet they don’t like gov spending or taxes and think everything spent on things apart from roads and business support is taken by scrounged. Massive hypocrisy

It's not hypocrisy. The government shut down business, not Covid. Therefore the government should compensate. If they built a road through my house I'd expect compensation in full.

The handouts aren't exactly generous, there are plenty of people being paid a lot more than the $500 a week Jacinda is handing out.

Are you suggesting widespread COVID in our community would not impact these businesses to the same degree?


Wow. Ok. I guess it's good to have that stated outright.

In that case, point to a country that is *not* suffering from the economic effects of this situation.
There are plenty that have done nothing, or very little, in the way of lockdowns. Are they spared, economically? No.

Nobody said there would be NO economic suffering. I said there would be less.

Sweden has taken a relatively light touch, which has had less economic impact:


Lol! Barely, and they still had a higher death rate, ongoing restrictions and currently no clear signs of 'herd immunity' according to the most recent study.

3.2 million adults
How many businesses?
Plus are you going to ascribe all business failure to gov lockdowns?
What % of new businesses and extant ones fail pa?

When you don't have any better suggestions, yes. And at the moment the 'better suggestions' are either 'stick your fingers in your ears and hope the virus goes away' or 'do the same things, but more competently, which we would, because we are competent, promise'.

So... your argument is knowingly accept incompetent pandemic management? Yea. Pass.

It's not about accepting incompetence, it's about having an adult perspective on the difficulty of managing an unforeseen and enormously complex situation, when the main tools at your disposal are press conferences and a bunch of people of varying abilities called 'public servants'. Most of the criticism here isn't 'holding them accountable', it's whinging about how the gov't 'just don't understand business', or sheer wishful thinking that there's an easy solution just waiting to be found.

Good call brisket, as it turns out they have made some excellent calls in the past - extending the window for returning kiwis at the start of the first lockdown turned out to be one of the best possible decisions despite the enormous bleating of the opposition. This allowed huge numbers of kiwis to return and avoid costly and risky quarantines further down the track. I'm sure more of these great decisions will become apparent with hindsight. I do not see a lot of credit being given for these hard decisions; people seem to think its their duty to oppose/criticize the govt at any turn. You see this behavior in retail - people are much more likely to write a letter of complaint, than a letter prompted by satisfaction.

Extending the window was so they could avoid mandatory self-isolation and wander around the community with impunity. It was absolutely mental to do in the midst of a global pandemic. People who came in after this were still able to enter, they just had to self-isolate for 14 days. But it doesn't sync up well with 'hard and early' so no one talks about it, nor about how they later backflipped and said 'actually if you've been overseas in the last two weeks, you should self-isolate'. I'm astounded that someone would try to spin this as an 'excellent' call but I really shouldn't be.

Yea, Interesting take GV and I accept your points based on your perspective and assumptions. Have you read NZ's Pandemic action plan which outlines that returning kiwis voluntarily self isolate (only for two days) during an outbreak? Turns out the Govt was going above and beyond this plan from early on - As it played out, and with impending level 4 - it was a wise decision long term wasn't it? I think you are not factoring the incentive this gave people to get back asap which is what they wanted - the timed/staged approach to levels? Harder to entice everyone to come back to level 4, even worse if they do this after... This saved the NZ untold quarantine costs, and ultimately may have bought us more time covid free. May have been dumb luck - a lot of this appear to be - but its doubtful. Public mingiling and spread was inevitable and hence a lockdown was imminent. Even now we rely on people to look after their own health/seeking testing lest the virus spread unchecked - just look at our current situation, how long things had gone under the radar. There always needs to be a lot of faith put in the public just as they had early on; theres no other way. "Excellent" may be hyperbole... maybe "genius" is better?


Have to agree with Polly, we're not a bunch of IQ deficient 5 year olds - and being regarded as such is frankly insulting...
Having seen the damage done to businesses first hand, it is hard to assume any type of economic cost-benefit was even considered, a family members business has reduced staff by 90% as you simply cannot operate a business with zero revenue and outgoing costs for 5 months when the goal posts keep changing by the government

I've voted labour before but these guys are incompetent and unable to develop anything other than blanket policies, have poor execution and short sightedness - problem is most of the opposition is not much better

Election time is going to be a tough decision as it's a competition between bad and bad....


It's wiping out a generation of work that many have put into building up their businesses. Vast destruction of capital, and in so many cases they won't have the financial wear-with-all to ever re-establish once they close their doors. But Labour MP's, only a couple of whom have ever run a business, are far removed from the industrial sector and surrounded by a bubble of civil service salaried friends, they are not exposed to the devastation they are doing.

I worked on contract in government a few years ago. It's quite an eye opener.
Very much a bubble

Fritz. I have close buddies at senior level in the public service. There are pockets of excellence and some very hard working people but the bubbles are as large and insular as ever. Reddells work on abysmal PS productivity tells an alarmingly compelling story.

Foyle. MSM is running a 'more in sorrow than anger because there is no alternative' line in its reporting of the service business closures that are only the forerunner of the wider capital destruction you cite. The nation needs balanced coverage on the financial impact to form considered cost benefit views on the CoLs lockdown strategy but is not getting this from the MSM. People need to know about the coming pain of serious businesses, especially when wage subsidies end, rather than the glossed over tongue clucking accounts of cafes doing it hard which is standard MSM fare.

Lisa Owen was quite good on radio last night, pushing Hipkins quite hard on the economic aspect.

Lisa Owen is a lightweight - as are Ferguson and Chapman.

Hill is capable, Mora and Espiner could be if they de-fragged. That's about it. Too much ideology, too much PC, too much belief.

100%, it takes years to build up a business and make it sustainable only to have a government response to a pandemic pull it apart

Maybe don't vote? That's the direction I might be headed.

Heaven forfend that an elected politician should use values to make decisions eh?
Far better to rely on technocratic “expert” opinion from economists who get their forecasts wrong year in year out and get paid regardless

You make your decision based on the best information you have, processing the said information with best knowledge you have to achieve the best possible outcome/avoid worst possible outcome on average. Not on values. Religious people make decisions on religious values. I do not expect that from a secular leader.

As a political scientist I would like your first 2 sentences to be so. A recent paper, however, illustrates that, in a time of great stress, most leaders followed other countries. Very few were politically brave enough to make such an informed, independent, courageous decision based on optimal health and economic outcomes. Better politically, it seems, to present as a leader within the pack, and to suffer less harm than others, than seeking the least harm possible.

So very true. We see it in all aspects of western governance. Civil service and politicians always want to follow what others have already done so that they can avoid blame for failure. That is mostly a good thing, as they adopt ideas that have generally been proven to work, but in a period of radical, calamitous upset like this it sets you up for failure - and leads to things like the appallingly slow initiation of effective quarantine in NZ, (when best information suggested wuflu was 5-10x more deadly than now known) - and our civil service and govt were paralyzed in inaction like rabbits in headlights.

So all values are religious values?
And all science is objective

No. But "value-based" decision making is very clearly demonstrated in religion. And we are talking about decision making in specific context. In other words, we are assuming decisions can be made. If there is too much unknown, too much uncertainty, too little knowledge to inform a decision then we are outside such context.
And science is not all objective. But still knowledge informs decisions. If you do not accept the knowledge, then you have to disprove it and come up with new knowledge that provides a better explanation, that is what you have to do, You cannot use values instead of that.

So when Hitler invaded Poland UK shouldn’t have declared war

Mike. Yes, we need more feelz in politics, eh, what with the current 'kinder fairer world' approach delivering such a fantastic slew of 'transformative' policies. A shame more voters don't follow Leila Harre's famous injunction to vote with the heart rather than the head. Probably with 'imagine all the people' playing in the polling stations.

Reason and feeling and values are not mutually exclusive in philosophy or politics

"the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" Yeats.

BBC Hong Kong reports 'first case' of virus reinfection. "Hong Kong scientists are reporting the case of a healthy man in his 30s who became reinfected with coronavirus four and a half months after his first bout."

Second time asymptomatic...

"It may be that second infections, when they do occur, are not serious - though we don't know whether this person was infectious during their second episode."

And not sure person infectious.
And different strain to first time round.
- a degree of immunity you think?

I'm no epidemiologist, but the fascinating thing will be whether antibodies/vaccine will be effective for only some people, some strains, some time. That's true with all vaccines, but the "vaccine=instant fix" narrative (even aside from distribution logistics rendering it nonsense) may get a nasty shock if, rather than the usual "protects nearly everyone, for all known strains, for a year or two" the first Covid vaccines "protect some people, for the strain we used in trials, for 3-6 months." But at least aggressive vaccine nationalist countries might self-select as massive 'stage 4' trials for poorer countries shunted aside, who'll get version 2.0.

I'm sure there'll be scientists conduction studies to find what strains of COVID19 pose the most medical risk. As the virus evolves you could get more or less virulent variations of it. They could then target the vaccines against the high risk strains and let the low-risk strains circulate.

Perhaps an undiagnosed condition that leaves him immuno-compromised

It's never been about health and economy. Some did economy first, slammed by virus (US, UK). NZ did health first (& very narrow health expert focus at that), now economic reality looming. The messaging was powerful, sounded plausible, and unquestioned, even promoted by media. It started months ago when PM expertly flipped a question about economic impact to an 'or' and slammed 'health or economy' as a false dichotomy. She was right. Trouble is, the thing about false dichotomies is both are false. Even if we pivot to a 'health and economy' strategy now, many businesses will be gone.

Covid 19 is being wielded as an Anti-Trump weapon on the US. The USA is doing better than most of Europe in terms of death rates. There was also some gross mismanagement in certain democrat states - notably New York. Cuomo insisted on sending potentially infected elderly people IN to care homes, with predictable results.

I expect the countries having a rough time of it now will be faring better than us by next year.

npc. If you didn't read the recent independent analysis of media reporting in the US on C19, suggest you have a look at it. A clear bias of under reporting C19 mishandling by officials in dem states and comparative over reporting in rep states was identified.

Best comment in this thread. There was a false dichotomy and people angrily cling to it. But there doesn't look to be an easier out here.

Australia is a good case to study , you have a number of states with different levels and different outcomes but the two biggest victoria and NSW had the same strategy but have vastly different outcomes,
i have been watching NSW closely and they have managed so far to control their outbreak with fast contract tracing and mass testing, they closed their borders later than everyone to victoria so maybe we should be checking to see what they do well to copy here
although they always stayed in our level two when we moved to level one, maybe that was our mistake we should have gone to a level 1.5

The article is clear. The government did not follow through on promises made about support going to lock-down again. This is regardless of what any of us think should be done or should have been done etc.
This is also the case with the virus elimination strategy. Regardless of what we think, it was the government who decided this to be the strategy. Thus, they needed to do ensure that it would not come through the boarders. Again, this is regardless of how hard or impossible such task maybe. We did not force government to do it, the government decided it for us.

thats the problem, they have no policy for job creation or replacement. the shovel ready projects, many are months and months away, are not creating jobs they are keeping some of the existing people in jobs, but many of these construction companies are slashing the workforce regardless. But they are not creating new jobs just destroying them.

Exactly. So much for 'shovel ready'.
Highly incompetent government. Heart in the right place, but incompetent.
Stories are starting to emerge of building companies going under, or under severe stress. Again, why hasn't the government been much more proactive in getting companies redeployed into building houses for the government (social and affordable). It's not rocket science. It would kill several birds with one stone.

I'm surprised by the turnaround in commenter sentiment. During the first lockdown, a majority of commenters on this site were in favour of LD and the CV "elimination" goal. Talk was mostly about health and saving lives, not about economic consequences, this seems to have changed markedly in today's comments

I'd liken being critical of the lockdown and "saving lives" to being a Trump supporter - it wasn't a tolerated opinion.

Now that the lockdown is obviously a farce, people have the confidence to be critical of it.

Sadly, true. As one of scores of scientists in broader fields than epidemiology suggesting in March/April available optimal 'health and economic outcomes' strategies rather than either foremost, the flaming was fascinating to see, and experience. The narrative was powerful, fear-enhanced, and media-magnified. So, diverse views disappeared.

It's been fascinating to see the elevation of epidemiologists as saints sitting just beneath the throne of the goddess.

Funnily enough epidemiologists do have a bit to say about epidemics, strange as it might seem to you

No not strange at all. Very valid that we should hear from them.
It's just at times there has been a decided lack of balance providing other perspectives, such as economic ones.
Also one of them annoys me, the way he seems to love the limelight.

i think it is because we did it first time so well , we got were we needed to go and it cost a lot to get there, then we are told the borders are tight and we are tightening all the time when we find flaws, we will do our best to keep it out believe everything you hear us say at 1pm.
and we find out (some us all ready knew) there was no testing of border facing staff or MQIS staff unless they were symptomatic, no masks worn from some, also most went home to their families at night (only the armed forces dont) and mixed and mingled with the public.
we can be 99% sure this came across the border (from the genome testing)how we may never know and that in itself is a problem as it may happen again which we dont know where to fix.

Yvil. I was a supporter but that was conditional on elimination being achievable. I even agreed with the latest AKL one despite disruption to business interests in the city and personal inconvenience with travel etc. But as each day passes and community transmission continues I'm losing my faith. Even the dear leader appears to be this morning walking back from further lockdowns; no doubt her pollsters have also picked up on the change in community thinking that you have identified in comments. But Cindy has backed herself into a corner in construing this as a C19 election. It'll be interesting to watch her spin a retreat into a positive.

Hi middleman. You really want to live in a country where politicians or "dear leaders" double down on their stance despite all cost rather than change tactic and opinion when faced with new information and public opinion? interesting... Personally I don't see that as being backed into a corner or weakness, rather, proper responsive leadership. I suspect future lockdowns will be rely on a "firmer level 2" as the app takes off and new level 2 laws are introduced.

No, absolutely not. I want leaders who are willing to change tack when faced with scientific facts and logic. But exploiting a crisis to create a single issue election and thus avoid revealing a paucity of policy and talent is cynical manipulation and deserves being mocked when reality crashes the party.

Thanks for the reply middleman. I can see what you mean, there is a lack of "silver lining" policy thinking, how can NZ grow and respond to this going forward, what is the strength in our position? It is frustrating, unhelpful but understandable to see Labour resting on their laurels and playing it safe as possible - at least until the election is in the bag. No political party seems confident enough to start putting eggs into any baskets so to speak. I hope to see more proactive planning for our long-term game plan soon, as the economy we will soon inherit come Sept will look very different to what it is now.

I was all for lockdown when the infection fatality rate was thought to be 2-3% (or up to 5% if hospitals were overwhelmed). Not at 0.5% (and dropping).

Yes it seems we have been lied to and also threatened by number like 40'000 deaths in NZ or more...

How much rehearsal time is required by the Minister of Arts and Culture to deliver those confusing and jumbled responses to what is known will be obvious questions from the media pack? If it is done off the cuff it is truly impressive

Also impressive is int.co not being cowed by peer pressure in calling out the PM's verbiage.

I think our PM is right to focus on protecting everyone health first and focus on business as a second priority. Remember we can rebuild business but we can't bring back dead people.
If we let National open the flood gates again and let infection levels sky rocket and run out of control. I very much doubt that NZ property and business will be that attractive to continue external investment.

Article: Singaporean-based Kiwis duke it out: $2.3m for Ponsonby bungalow valued at $1.95m – New Zealand Herald. https://newzealandonlinenews.co.nz/singaporean-based-kiwis-duke-it-out-2...

CJ, I respect your views, and say this in that vein. Also apolitical. My specialty is policy effectiveness/outcomes, and care not a jot for parties, only which can achieve better outcomes (and I've not seen evidence yet to suggest Nats could have done/do better). Your comments appear to highlight the false dichotomy I mentioned above, which as far as I can tell has become widespread. It needn't be your stark description of 'health then economy' or 'economy first, health be damned' (although latter probably unfairly characterises Nats, so let's say 'economy with health management'). The point it misses, with respect, and which Nats and Lab appear both to have missed to date, is that optimal 'health and economy' outcomes was, and remains, a viable policy objective.

Completely agree.. and we dont need to look to far to see examples of that. Victoria went too light and too late... and are facing the consequences. Whereas NSW imposed restrictions that allowed businesses to stay open, under some restrictions, and have largely contained the spread of the virus with exceptional work in terms of contact tracing.

Its easy for Jacinda to err on the side of caution, but we must ask at what cost does that caution come with. Could restaurants operate in less restrictive ways?... takeaway only.... or the 4m2 rule applied in NSW to ensure restaurant capacity was suitably reduced.

Again, it's not necessarily that lockdown is the *wrong* option, it's more how they are mis-managing it all and how they are mismanaging the economic support. They are still farting around with a whole lot of supposed 'shovel ready projects', not to mention the lack of action in redeploying building companies onto government housing projects.

Let's play this through. Cigarettes kill a LOT of people. Alcohol too. Ban both.

Cars - banned. People bring the flu and other infectious diseases over the border constantly. Shut it. No more tourism, no more leaving. HEALTH FIRST.

Obesity is a huge killer. Ban sugar. Bread. Pasta. Red meat.

Health first right? business be damned.

Where do we draw the line? You want to draw it across Covid, which is far less deadly than obesity. Why?

Oh, I don't know?? Maybe because it's a contagious disease?

Can I catch your obesity?
If you drink a beer does it damage my liver?
Can you force me to eat red meat?

It's clearly a complicated concept...

We wont have a health service if we don't have businesses to pay taxes, therefore they are equally as important.

The highest mortality rate appears to be those in the 80+ age group so perhaps it's time for the sake of the younger generation to move to a control rather than eliminate strategy.

Some people listen to part of what is said
Gov and PM said repeatedly this week that L3 lockdown will not be needed every time

Hopefully Kiwis will get better at masks, distancing, hygiene and tracking / contact tracing.

However, by the quality of talking points-fed ranters on Facebook (and some here) who equate recommendations to wear masks with with onset of simultaneous fascism and communism I do have concerns that enough of society will not do it well, or will actively undermine efforts, because their anger, their need for simple answers, and their need to be "right" and feel in control outweigh their appreciation of potential impacts they may have on others.

Wowzers. Thanks for the read.

on the wearing of masks i have always wondered why the government took so long to push it.
was it
A supply issue, B identification issue, C nanny state worry about alienating voter population.
to me it was never a health issue as to why they did not push earlier, as we have seen many of the countries that wear masks ie asian countries do much better than countries that dont

If the border management omnishambles is anything to go by I suspect its option "D" just plain incompetence.

Yeah, seems like a no brainer to wear masks. Govt execution on the requirement has been typically poor. It would have been cheap for the govt to ensure that every household had a supply of masks over the last 3 months. Just get NZ post to drop 10 in each letterbox at any point. But instead you are relying upon a lot of poor or disinterested people to organize them for themselves, which obviously hasn't happened.

I get the impression Western countries advised earlier on that masks should be prioritised for healthcare workers rather than everyone rushing out and buying in bulk early on before stocks were built up.

Good grief the facebook ranters need to realise last 3 years has shown this Govt cant deliver anything let alone a communist regime.

I think we're quite safe from any kind of ulterior motive.

True that. But, both ways, of course. So, lockdown arguably wasn't needed this time, or the first.

Lockdowns achieve excellent health outcomes, yet when the sledge-hammer and hacksaw of 'lockdown' and 'quarantine' were the only tools in the toolbox, other tools weren't used, and saying we might now think about popping down to Bunnings for some new tools after the first ones reveal they aren't the only ones we need to build with doesn't fix what's already been created. (Although it might prevent further destruction).

that may be due to reluctance of the government using bluetooth enabled devices to track people for quick and efficient contact tracing, ironic as most people that carry a smart phone are tracked anyway by certain big corporations whom use that data to sell.
that is why they MUST bring in the covid card as an extra tool if we want to stay open

Covid card good example of suppression of alternative views and capacity to enable better health and economic outcomes. Presented by media/ pollies as new, because suits 'innovative, agile, responsive' narrative, but I'm sure Sam Morgan would be first to admit it was known elsewhere long ago. Feb/March by memory. Ditto truly contact tracing, testing, etc - here all blithely accepted nonsense of claimed 'gold standard' for months when plainly neither was (still isn't). But anyone who said otherwise, or suggested ways to make it work, was slammed.

Morgan is a great entrepreneur though, and why scientists suck. He knows it's not about ideas, nor even best outcomes, but timing. No-one wants to hear how to avoid breaking something not yet broken, but when it's broken, we'll pay anything to fix it!

Given that non lockdown strategies have failed to eliminate elsewhere this is effectively both an acknowledgement that elimination has failed and that a core strategy change has been made.

Not so sure. The "failed elsewhere" narrative is common (eg applied to Sweden, Taiwan, Sing, SK) but misses nuance of reality (eg ignores that Sweden accepts mistake in care homes where most deaths occurred. If account for that, position differs. Ditto for others for different reasons). It also misses the reason why the "failed elsewhere" narrative is promoted, often to "prove" that "our" approach is best, and avoids asking hard questions. Third, maybe most importantly, the dichotomy itself may be false, ie lockdown vs non-lockdown. There is no incentive for those following one to enable nuanced thinking, because they are promoting "theirs" as best, but it fails to recognise other available strategies that might achieve better outcomes, including those that could still (in NZ and a few other countries) enable elimination but not necessarily with the epidemiologist's sledgehammer lockdown.

Seems to me the biggest issue is more about the fundamental lack of diverse, disruptive, critical thinking. The external messaging has to be good (10/10 to JA), but "behind the scenes" should be structured chaos for optimal outcomes, not the Kumbaya we've seen with scientists now telling the public that their way is the only way. It's fine to counter misinformation, but as a scientist that's what really frightens me, when the in-group breaks out the kool aid.

have they, we only compare to victoria not NSW and they did not lock down they kept a constant level two, they have a battle on tier hands but they seem to keeping up with it. maybe thats a lesson we can learn here its better to lose some freedoms than all freedom, at least most business can keep some turnover going
i agree with david seymour why do we pick the worst example to compare to not similar ones that are doing just as good

Agree completely... living in NSW and have to say I was nervous about not locking down NSW but they have done a fantastic job on limiting the spread without imposing on peoples freedoms to the same extent we have seen in Auckland..

Tail wagging the dog regarding cost analysis; if the diseases associated with Covid are allowed to spread in Auckland and into NZ that is the true cost to the economy and peoples health (possible level 4 across multiple regions). She seems to be speaking perfectly plain english, and maybe yes she could be slightly more 'reassuring' but having said that they have already made the decision to eliminate, so...

We aren't really having the discussion in any proportion, are we folks?

What we have done is told everyone to stay in their staterooms because of rising damp. This has impacted those who rent out deckchairs, build deckchairs, formulate projections of future deckchair-use, have borrowed to buy deckchairs, or bought shares in deck-chair-related companies.

Both the locking-down and the 'rent more deckchair brigades are various percentages of 'wrong'; almost completely sheeted-home to 'failure to scope adequately'. Neither are factoring-in the paradigm-shift already in motion. If the virus hadn't appeared, the globalised system was already starting to wobble like a child's top slowing. Who is going to assert that things were going to continue as they had in the recent past?

Nice one! Meanwhile QE pumps asset bubble massively expanding already huge wealth inequality as tens of millions jobs are destroyed in 'real' economy. Gummint paying the band to keep playing, letting the elite board life raft, and telling the common folk we'll be safe on the lower decks.

Nor is it just soaring stock market making rich immensely richer, even wage subsidies/$600UI/$1200pp etc purportedly to ordinary people is passed on to the rich, for rent/mortgage/Netflix/Amazon, boarding the lifeboats with all their gold.

And curiously the same, differing only by degree, with conservative govts (US) and liberal govts alike (NZ). Interesting times.

Ron. A smart guy like you will be well aware of the unspeakably grim landscape had the QE team not swung into action. The optics of obvious deficiencies in the hastily deployed programs make entertaining tabloid fodder for valid criticisms but need to be balanced against the alternative scenarios had they not been deployed. The Nostradamus corner is tolling its oft repeated prophecies with today deck chair analogies and bands but realism in the form of immediate impending disaster is for good reason dominating the agenda.

Fair call. No claims to smart. (And econ degree is my oldest and dustiest by far). Nor against QE as part of balanced approach. Just watching predictable, thus avoidable, outcomes come home to roost is increasingly depressing. (And to be fair, lots of s**t I never saw coming). Especially the impending disaster rightly dominating the agenda, yet policies stoking it rather than reducing it.

Maybe Jackson Hole this week will see some nuance. It seems Powell is seeing it (and probably has for some time, ditto likely Robertson, and he's even more down to earth I think), but when the hole's been dug and the shovel and ladder options both present pain, and the elites closest to power urge more digging, and the President who put you in the role demands it, and your own massive ETF holdings will benefit, the shovel must look mighty tempting to anyone without the moral fortitude of a Mandela...

Ron. A fascinatingly dynamic era to live through. Hamlets question seems relevant; 'what should such fellows as I do, crawling between earth and heaven'

Aye. And the MSM still prattling on about Left and Right, thus missing that the disenfranchised firmly identified Hillary Clinton as 'establishment' and Trump as 'spoiler'; neither of which are LvsR.

But I'd call them uninteresting times - rates trending below zero and all..........

Good call. Hidden by 'overall' lead proclaimed by MSM, Biden's lead is also much narrower in the few states that matter for the electoral college. Smart to have ordinary people on the Zoom links but the DNC convention parade of elites reinforces that (barring a stock market crash, etc) Trump could win 2020 for exactly the same reason he did 2016, with the continuing lack of Dems awareness likewise. Interesting too, this bloke (below) notes Sanders/Warren might have appealed to those perhaps now more likely to vote Trump than Biden, as the only Dems who understand/respect their plight. The Obamas are also perceived firmly in the establishment camp now too. In other words, is Biden/Harris "the establishment" now as Hillary was in 2016?

They're Angry, Not Stupid! Why Trump Is Likely To Win Again

PDK. As one of your parasitic non productive capital owners I'm finding the below zero interest rate times definitely 'interesting'. Opportunity and fear mixed in a stimulating cocktail. I'm sure you'll be delighted for me.

I am sick of the cant do Government, why do we not have a can do approach.
We can make sure people are tested for CV before they come here.
We can regularly test all our front line border security people and organizations, we can have someone make a list and check off who has been tested each week.
We can set up certified private isolation hotels.
We can use all of the armed services as part of border control.
We can bring in tourists and students to keep the economy going, by giving them the option to get tested first, and pay big money if they want, to come here.
We can use our Covid free status to make big money from the mega rich who want a safe haven.
We can at the stroke of a Govt pen, let Auckland use more water from Waikato River instead of it flowing to the sea.
We can create legislation to make it an offence to not abide by Quarantine rules and make people coming here, sign a declaration and paying a bond which they lose if they don't stick to the rules.
We can have a right wing party in NZ.
We can make it a crime to aim or shoot a gun at a police officer, we can make it an automatic 2 year sentence if you don't stop when requested by the police.
We dont have to be soft and PC, we can get our shit together, and we can set ourselves up to succeed.

I see there are some of the 'you can't stop progress' brigade still alive.

the telegram is on it's way

I see the "Zero Progress Culture" is alive and well.
The message will never arrive as they don't want to receive.
Just keep not trying to get ahead, as Jacinda will look after you.

Businesses need certainty. Obviously that is extremely difficult in this environment however where the finance minister links the wage subsidy to the extended lockdown and JA fails to follow that then its extremely worrying.

How do businesses and their staff have any confidence about the future where the PM and the FInance Minister are saying different things?

Perhaps she needs to talk to Grant Robertson at the same 'kindy teacher' speed she chooses to talk to the public with.

There's only 2 ways out of this situation: 1) A highly effective and widely distributed vaccine, or 2) Herd immunity, done well - NOT like Sweden or the US.

Which are we going to choose?

I( have to ask if you understand what herd immunity is, how many people it would take to achieve it and how many of those would end up dead or with long lasting serious effects

Well go here for that info: The first talk tells you. By a Yale specialist: https://www.covidplanb.co.nz/videos/. Now watch the first 10 minutes of that and tell me his argument is not well reasoned.

Infecting every healthy person up to age 50 (65% of NZ) with minimum viral innoculant (perhaps with hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin prophylaxis that are suggested to reduce deaths by up to half if taken prior to infection) while ensuring everyone is optimally topped up with vitamin D, and preferably after going on a month long fitness program for all, would only kill a couple of hundred NZers on road to herd immunity - about same as dies in that group naturally in 3-5 months anyway.

People underestimate the benefits of pushing the level of infection to zero.

In contrast to most countries our economy has working pretty much as normal with the exception of tourism and education sectors.

Because of this the economy bounced back faster and stronger than most expected and this would have not been possible if we would have not been COVID free for about three months.

Obviously economy is not all but many seem to ignore that.

The government underestimates the economic damage and futility of trying to push infection to zero.

In contrast to most countries our economy is much more badly damaged, as a direct result of the failing tourism and education sectors.

Because of this the economy will flounder in the future as the hidden damage manifests in years to come. What a terrible price to pay for being ostensibly COVID free for about three months.

Obviously economy is not all but many seem to ignore that.

"with the exception of tourism and education sectors"... u sure about that... how about i buy you a dinner tonight at a nice restaurant.. in Auckland... oh wait... yea.

NSW saw a similar cluster issue coming from Victoria... put in place some restrictions but kept bars and restaurants open.....and have contained the cluster.

Its easy for Jacinda to decide to go hard and go early for all NZers... but she aint paying wage subsidies anymore... despite Robertsons comments.

b21 - i am guessing you dont work in Tourism, Education or Hospitality industry.... also guessing you dont live in Auckland.

You are making a lot of assumptions about personal stuff there, but this is exactly what I was talking about, the impact of the lockdown is negative for the economy, nobody denies that, it is just the impact of not having a lockdown what people tend to miss, that would affect pretty much all sectors of the economy once we get into health crisis like we've seen in other countries and will eventually be forced to do so anyway.

My opinion: Adern is a good communicator I'll give credit where credit is due. However, lets be honest about her inability to manage an economy.
When all this pandemic is over (years away?), I doubt Jacinda has a grasp on geopolitical issues such as New Zealand's national security, China espionage, trade etc.

'However, lets be honest about her inability to manage an economy'

Or to manage anything.

Given we've had anemic growth for the last decade-plus while massively increasing household debt to record levels and importing masses of new residents...it seems it's been a while since we've had anyone with the skills to "manage an economy".