Chris Trotter argues most New Zealand politicians would rather appease a minority than unleash the majority

Chris Trotter argues most New Zealand politicians would rather appease a minority than unleash the majority

By Chris Trotter*

Minorities are a problem. In a staunchly majoritarian political culture, such as New Zealand’s, successive governments have learned to deal with the problems posed by minorities, primarily, by not dealing with them. The New Zealand state bends over backwards to accommodate minority demands.

With considerable justification, the authorities tend to argue that defending the general interests of the majority, against the specific demands of a well-organised and vocal minority, is likely to make the problem worse. Politicians, in particular, are extremely leary of making problems worse – especially when quietly appeasing the minority responsible for them will, almost always, be the surest way of making them go away.

There are times, however, when the actions of minorities affect the majority in ways that cannot be ignored. The behaviour of the nation’s evangelical churches – most particularly the derelictions of the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship – constitute an urgent case in point.

Drawing their inspiration from the overwhelmingly right-wing evangelical churches of the United States, New Zealand’s evangelicals have been in the forefront of challenging both the reality, and the authorities’ handling, of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Though the Government and the Ministry of Health have been at some pains to play down the extent of the Mt Roskill church’s intransigence, the sheer size of the “cluster” it created, and the seriousness of the threat it posed to the rest of the Auckland community, argues for it being considerable.

Given the beliefs of the worldwide evangelical movement, matters could hardly be otherwise. At the very heart of what is, in essence, their First Century understanding of the Christian faith, the evangelicals see themselves as being in the same position as the Christian congregations operating under the watchful and unforgiving eye of the pagan Roman Empire.

In their own eyes, they are God’s elect: his special children; who are called upon to suffer persecution at the hands of a fallen world for their uncompromising adherence to “the way, the truth and the life” proclaimed by their redeemer. It is precisely this First Century mindset that leads groups like the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship to cut themselves off from the wider society. Paradoxically, they are already “self-isolating”. Not from the Covid-19 virus, but from the soul-destroying contagion of New Zealand’s secular – i.e. wilfully sinful – society.

This would have been a tough nut to crack. The harder the State threatened to strike them, the more certain the Mt Roskill evangelicals could be that, like the martyrs of the early Christian Church, their place in heaven was assured. The Government, wisely, turned to the broader Pasifika community for the help it needed. We may never know exactly what variation of Christ’s supremely ambiguous, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s”, the more moderate and mainstream Pasifika pastors offered up – but it worked. (Perhaps all it took was a veiled threat from the Government to remove the churches’ tax-exempt status!)

It’s a delicate business, this balancing of minority/majority rights. Democratic theory requires the state to protect the rights of the minority from the so-called “tyranny of the majority”. It is, however, very dangerous for a Government to openly and obviously privilege the rights of a tiny minority at the majority’s expense.

Certainly the National Party Prime Minister, Rob Muldoon, was unwilling to placate the minority of New Zealanders who, in 1981, were adamant that the Springbok Tour should not proceed. With the telling example of the 1972-75 Labour Government in front of him, Muldoon opted to keep faith with his party’s supporters by ensuring that the Tour went ahead. The consequences of that decision: the deep divisions it opened up in New Zealand society; have stood as a powerful historical argument against ranging oneself unequivocally on the side of the majority. It was only the dumbest luck which prevented the Springbok Tour protests, and the Police effort required to contain them, from spilling over into deadly violence. Politicians on both sides of the ideological divide drew the obvious lesson: never again allow the political stakes to rise so high.

In no other facet of New Zealand political life have the arguments favouring minority appeasement enjoyed such enduring currency than in the vexed matter of Maori-Pakeha relations.

Once again, it was the majoritarian convictions of Rob Muldoon that exposed the dangers. The forced removal of 200 Bastion Point protesters, in 1978, required a truly massive effort from the state’s instruments of coercion. Bastion Point made very clear to the authorities the enormous difficulties which a more geographically extensive manifestation of Maori protest would impose upon the state. “Winning” would likely require the use of deadly force, which would, almost certainly, provoke an armed terrorist response. Like the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms assailed by the Norsemen during the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, the New Zealand state opted to buy peace with gold.

There are limits, of course. Should the price of social peace rise to a point where the majority is no longer willing to pay it, appeasement will very quickly become a dirty word.

Had the General Election of 2005 been held a week earlier, it is highly likely that Don Brash, the author of the in/famous “Orewa Speech”, would have become Prime Minister. His commitment to repudiate the Treaty of Waitangi, curtail the Treaty Settlement Process and abolish the Maori Seats (all policies which the polls indicated enjoyed majority backing) would have pushed the country to the brink of civil war. Significantly, it was Brash’s successor, John Key, who steered his party back towards the appeasement policies initiated by National’s Jim Bolger and Doug Graham in the early-1990s.

The question posed by the absolute necessity of keeping New Zealanders – all New Zealanders – safe from the Covid-19 virus, is a simple one. Is it possible to envisage any other set of circumstances where the demands of a minority, no matter how well organised and vocal, are swept aside by a majority which refuses to put itself at risk? Will the experience of seeing the wishes of New Zealand’s capitalist minority overruled in the name of protecting the health of all those New Zealanders who do not own and/or run businesses (the overwhelming majority) embolden those same New Zealanders to advance radical majoritarian claims in other areas?

And, if they do, is there any minority – economic, social or political – which can, realistically, expect to stop them?

*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. He writes a weekly column for His work may also be found at

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NZ's statistics by ethnicity are normally categorizing data into a such an order -- NZ European, Maori, Pacific, Asian, Middle East and other, which may reflect how NZ as a country or government as a whole view the pecking order of each ethnicity group.

I personally find it really disgusting whenever see any NZ's statistics being presented in such an order.

Um.. so how should they be presented then Xingmo?

Two options:

1. by descending or ascending order of statistics

2. by alphabetic order of ethnicity

xing, I think it's more about the size of of each ethnic group. Keeps the graphs nice and orderly. It's unfortunate you take umbrage but I doubt there is any preconceived bias on NZS' in regard to pecking order. No doubt people who fall into the "other" category are equally annoyed, as at first glance the description seems dismissive but I think it's more reflective of how NZ's population has evolved over time. Each ethnic group has just been tacked on as they grew in #s

This is how the pecking order is presented on Stats NZ's website.

Clearly, Asian population of 700k is far more than Pacific population of 300k.

How would you explain this?


It's a very valid question.
Remember though that NZ has very close historic ties to the Pacific, dual citizenship and so forth which might be a factor.
But it seems inconsistent, You either do it in numeric order, in which case Asians are above Pacific, or you don't.
If you don't, should Maori be above Pakeha as the indigenous people of the land.
Good question X!!!!

My wife's ancestors' canoe arrived about 1300 AD. She has her line written down , 29 generations, I think back to this event. Please stop repeating rubbish like, "indigenous" when that word does not apply. Also the Moriori and in the South, the Ngati Mamoe among others would have something to say about even being here first.

Are you saying the only indigenous people in the world are in some small valley in Africa? You need to check the definition of "indigenous".

How does China do it?


1. Good
2. In Reeducation

So Uyghurs would be fairly near the bottom of their pecking order then, and Bai would be near the top.

The sorting of ethnicity data from largest to smallest identifiable group is not pejorative. It is an easy way to ascertain the relative size of each ethnic group. E.g. if someone asked what is the third largest ethnic group in NZ, by sorting the ethnic groups by largest to smallest it is easier to answer.

This is how the pecking order is presented on Stats NZ's website.

Clearly, Asian population of 700k is far more than Pacific population of 300k.

How would you explain this?


That is strange. I don't know why they would arrange in such an order. I would approach them for comment to see if they can explain before making judgement.

Fair enough call then, I guess, dude

I completely see your point, xingmowang.
There is some hidden (or not so hidden) racism against Asians in most Western countries, sadly.
In NZ, while any form of racism against Maori or Pasifika is immediately condemned, there appears to be some more tolerance towards racism against Asians. Moreover, there are some individuals who push for a "bi-cultural" vision of NZ, while the vision that should be pursued, in my opinion, is that of an open, secular, multicultural society fully respectful of the important and increasing contribution of Asian cultures in NZ.
Some of this racism against Asians might well be of the same origins as what was evident in Europe against the Jews minorities: envy and resentfulness caused by the economic success of such minority relative to the rest of the population. In the Chinese community's case, this is also compounded by the outstanding economic growth and increasing importance of China in World's affairs, which causes anxiety in many countries, especially in the ones (like the US) more subject to the competitiveness of Chinese products. In this case, racism is the natural reaction of the sore (and sour) loser.
Fortunately, such racism affects only a relatively small minority of the population in NZ, from what I have seen.
Regarding the way statistics are presented by the NZ authorities, I do not think that they are influenced by any form or racism. Possibly, the order in the list might just be an outdated reflection of the population balance as it was several years ago. I would like this to be changed to reflect current population reality and trends.

Well put Fortunr

On origins of Asiatic racism Fortunr - I suggest at least some of it is a carry over from what happened during WW2. To understand that Japan is a very different country and culture today, than it was then is simply beyond some people. It also needs some understanding of the relationship and information flows that the Japanese leadership had with their people, which makes them not much different from any other culture really.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers.

the Chinese Immigrants Act 1881, New Zealand followed the example of Canada and the Australian colonies and imposed entry taxes on Chinese immigrants.

50 years earlier than WW2.....

NZ's treatment of Chinese was appalling. Absolutely dreadful.
The atrocities committed by the Japanese only reinforced the view that East Asian people were 'sub human'.
When I came back to NZ in 1997 with my Japanese partner, there was still a lot of anti-Asian views. It's much better now, but there's still quite a lot of subtle racism.

But here's something X - you rightly complain about the historic racism shown to Chinese people in NZ, yet openly support the CCP and their racist behaviour. How so???????

The same way Maori numbers got to be bigger than the Moriori. More immigration combined with a higher birthrate.

Whatever you want to be offended by I guess


Your concern for the way NZ's minorities are treated is commendable. Can I assume therefore that you hold the same views on minorities in China? The Uighers for example.

Thinking here of Enlightenment Liberalism, which can be summarised as "do what ever you like up until the point where it limits the ability of others to do what they like."

Evangelicals. Some time ago National supporters appeared to be viewing the arrival of ex AirNZ CEO Luxon as their likely messiah? Is he not of that persuasion? Just asking.

What's that got to do with Enlightenment Liberalism (e.g. John Stuart Mill)? But for what it's worth, I think Luxon is an evangelical, like about 10% of the population.

Evangelical 0.39% from the 2013 census.

My apologies. Must have come in as a “reply” rather than new post, by mistake

"The New Zealand state bends over backwards to accommodate minority demands." Sticking plaster, nothing more. The evangelical church discussion is really just a side show, but more on that later. The problem with our version of democracy is that all members of the democracy are supposed to be able to benefit equally. But from even before colonisation, the elites have bent the systems to favour themselves. Rangatira within Iwi reserved the best and richest food for themselves first is just one example of how Maori did it. Come the Pakeha and they brought with them the European techniques. The European elites brought their own serfs with them on the promise of land. But to get that land they had to subjugate the Maori, and if that failed (which it did), they then corrupted the system of law to steal that land. Generations later, after multiple manipulations of the economy that have adverse impacts not only on Maori, but the majority of the population, the final injustice being the adoption of the 'free market' economic model which led to jobs being stolen. Bending over backwards for majority amounts to nothing more than platitudes at best, obfuscation and deflection at worst.

Grant Robertson, in a pre-election speech came closest to speaking a real solution "Real jobs, for everyone, everywhere." The one solution that promises the opportunity for everyone to take part in a working economy and have a decent living standard. Of course making it a reality will not be easy, but of what progress has there been, even under the pressure of COVID, but also the promise of MMT?

As to the evangelical church - a member interviewed on TV stated God will protect them. The problem I have with this view is that God doesn't protect against stupidity. In addition if you think you are special because of your faith then you need to re-read your texts, and think very hard about what it really means.

Suggest there is no better description of the futility & consequences of escapism than that provided by the two words “gods will.”

Or "inshallah" if you are Muslim. But yes it is invariably the consequences of human choice and action and has very little to do with God.

Foxy. Or to summon up your ancient catholic education how about St Pauls terrifying proposition that 'the powers that be are ordained of god', an implication of this being that christians ought not to resist evil tyranny.

As far as I can recall, without really wanting to, it broke down as one lot claiming that if you are bad you go to hell and the other lot if you are good you go to heaven. Remember too, more significantly, that the wages of sin are hell, but the hours are good.

As the punchline goes: "Pray to God, but row away from the rocks." Or a variation of the joke: "Give me something to work with, at least buy a Lotto ticket"

I think this is a god-awful article. You can cut and dice people a thousand ways. These were pacifica groups with strong christian beliefs, Islanders live in close family groups.
I am from a european background, but also belong to minority interest groups and probably have different ethnic groups in my DNA as well.
Often we have more commonality between our socio economic groups than ethnic.

Why does having superstitious, religious, irrational, illogic beliefs mean they should be let off the hook?
Drunk drivers are still prosecuted, despite it being the alcohol that caused the deaths
In this case, it has caused serious illness, probable death and millions to the economy

mad max, watch any of your films.
People do not have a shared reality.

I know, same with child sacrifice, wearing seatbelts, slavery etc....
Over time and generations, we will improve, that's my hope

I hope you're being sarcastic; "despite it being the alcohol that caused the deaths" Alcohol didn't cause any deaths. The individual's choice to consume it, knowing it's effects, and then choosing to drive did. Human choice and action.

My point exactly, re religion
Thanx :)

Agree. No sympathy for the selfish, un-Christian-like behavior of this church.

Great article Chris Trotter
From a centre-right greenie :)

Centre-right greenie.
That is almost every farmer in the South Island.
+ With respect for
Rule of law
Property rights
Free speech.

Yeah, am pretty boring, mainstream commoner.
Scottish heritage like AndrewJ
Love fighting unfortunately

It's the Celtic way. The lost tribe of Israel.

yep, "we" put out some pretty good engineers.
Plus this one

See you Burns Night.

Property rights do not necessarily equate with anything green, quite the opposite in fact. Look at the McKenzie Basin, Canterbury plains etc, it is property rights that have seen totally inappropriate land use because someone who has temporary control of the land commits it to something it shouldn't be for money.


Centre-right greenie. Well, 2 of these 3 words are pretty accurate.

Isn't this about the silent majority.

Remember the Values party. Done out of job & existence as their issues addressed and major parties took their initial space (damn built - works perfectly)
Fortunately for us, they didn't Greenpeace us and kick on becoming professional activists.
Douglas Murray thinking through Boris issues.

The PM's problem is she has not majority support for her policies. Past 3 yrs She missed the chance to move centre & engage the base with core policies that resonate & and successful deliver of anything.

Winnie gleefully tells any/every one that he is the success of the COL, by stopping all their stupid and ill advised programmes.

Even with MMP, governments that do not resonnate with the majority will always fit awkwardly.

The PM problem is she is coming on too Obama Democrat and Corbyn Labour. Both failures individually, the PM doubling up on the bad thinking.

Example: California.

Bollocks HT.

All political Parties, at this point, are ' bad thinking'. But the further Right one goes, the badder the thinking.

We are entering a post-growth paradigm - they will either be relevant or irrelevant. Sorry, but Labour are way ahead of the dinosaur party (well, it's being led by two relics of the past, isn't it?). Still a mile adrift of where they need to be, though.

we live in a world of abundance.

Ignoring sigmoid curves which imply the inevitable - one event could turn that abundance into scarcity practically overnight

By "we" I expect you mean humans, because I am bloody sure, if they could talk, just about every other species might argue with you.
Why are fish stocks collapsing? Why are so many other species staring down the barrel of extinction?
It is time we understand we don't own this planet

Whilst I certainly agree with you PA, to achieve the understanding you desire you would need to convince all the major religions to completely upend their philosophy that humans are "created in God's image" and the planet and its resources were placed here for our exclusive and immutable exploitation.
Good luck with that.
In my humble view humans are a malignant cancer slowly but surely killing its host

Yep thats us homo sapians. The ultimate parasite. Glad I'm one of them and reaping the benefits, while they last.

Don't know about 'way ahead'...I would say 'a little ahead'

Mostly i think you are right Henry, but to be fair about the PM and Labour I think they got derailed. In the first instance by the Christchurch shooting and subsequently COVID19, but also behind the scenes by the policy geeks and others who are too invested in the J Key view of the world now and any move to correct that is seen as a threat. In a coalition they could not railroad polices through that would correct imbalances and of course we the public never heard about those backroom discussion and who was influencing whom. This is a bit like CTs article on the Mike Moore and Lange Government where Moore told them of the group they absolutely could not afford to piss off - the bankers, corporates and business owners. My view is that is continuing, and that the damage is much worse now than it was, and therefore harder to fix and those 'dark forces' behind the scenes, even more powerful and entrenched.

I agree this is definitely a “God-awful” piece. Misssunderstandings are rife. The most glaring is the lack of understanding of the term “evangelical” and its association in Chris Trotters’ mind with his arch enemy - the American right. Most evangelicals are centrist, socially conservative, strongly in favour of social justice and law abiding and more likely to vote labour than for the right. The term would include almost all the Polynesian churches, along with most of those in denominations like Baptist, Presbyterian, , Methodist, and Anglican. While these generally tend to have a liberal and conservative wing, both liberals and conservatives are mostly “evangelical” in that they emphasise personal belief. Many of the Christians lined up against the Springbok Tour were “evangelical”.
The term he was probably grasping for was “fundamentalist”, which describes a group with a literal interpretation of the bible which can lead them to develop and follow through on misguided convictions. There are a lot more evangelicals than fundamentalists, and as a group they have probably been the most staunch supporters of the Nz COVID response, which is why this is more than academic. There was a bit of “categorise, then demonise” in this.

Yeah, you're probably right re the difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists
Still splitting fine hairs between religious nutters though
Christians and Muslims alike still think they're going to live happily in the clouds(without oxygen masks) with their wives and singing Kumbaya -ya
With their holy Father no less, who will burn them alive in ever-lasting fire if they don't profess undying love for him

Not their wives Max, 72 virgins! Their wives get left behind with the rest of us.

Plus they haven't cottoned on to the fact that if it's a sin on earth, it is likely to be a sin in heaven too, and being surrounded by 72 virgins and not be able to touch them would be torture to the people who think like that!

Dave2. Good summary. Re your demonise comment - yeah, I was uncomfortable about the moral outrage from Ardern and Hipkins, suddenly so eager to publicly lash the Mt Roskill fundies after their limp hand wringing when BLM protesters, tangi attendees, gangs etc gave similar middle finger salutes to the social gathering rules. I am as appalled as most about the ignorance being preached and have no truck with dangerous religious extremism but why the sudden moral outrage from the comrades? The answer is they are an easy target for a government reluctant to admit its stagey has failed and a new approach needed. A scapegoat playbook as old as history.


One of my favourite bugbears of PC in NZ is that certain causative agents are NOT to be discussed.
So, any inequalities in outcome for Maori and Pasifika is due to Pakeha racist health service
Having children taken into care due to assessment of risk is racist social workers
Inability to get educational qualifications to same level, is racist educational system.
Having 50% of prison pop is due to racist judicial system.

Undoubtedly these systems of State provision and supervision have racist elements.
But until it is permitted to venture a view on what contribution people themselves make to their misfortunes or unequal outcomes, without howls of "racism" then nothing will be solved or improved.

So, your favourite bugbear is that we DON'T discuss that Maori and Pasifika contribute to their misfortunes or unequal outcomes.
Let's discuss then....

You could just give us our land back and bugger off?

If you do too?

Sorry mate, we sold it to the Chinese and Aussie banks.

That's why we had to change our racial mix, do you think we can stop the Indians and Chinese coming here now?

What makes it "yours"?

I would gladly but after 6 generations the French, Irish and Scottish won't let me. Out of curiosity, what do you think would happen to the country if you could click your fingers and only Maori were left? In fact, let's take it one step further, what do you think the country would be like if colonisation by Europeans had never occurred?

I was being obtuse and confrontational. I cannot say what NZ would look like in your hypothetical scenario, if you're implying Maori would have been incapable of trading and successful commerce, you're very wrong. Have a look at the scale of Maori land lost to settlers after the Treaty was signed.

That was not the implication at all. It was a genuine question I have thought about in some detail and I don't have the answer, so I was interested in your thoughts.

My guess it that it would have been more like other Pacific Island nations, very different than it is presently but not necessarily worse (possibly better for many Maori). We have not been successful at utilising the best of Maori culture, to our detriment. In fact, I don't think we've been successful at utilising the best of all cultures in NZ - we settle for mediocrity far too easily.

Or it could have gone down the path of RapaNui - extinction

As I said to my Samoan friend when he bragged about Samoans maintaining ownership of their land when compared to Maori... "Nobody wants to live in Samoa, even the Samoans". New Zealand, like other lands coveted by Europeans e.g Canada, Australia, USA is a land of plenty, not comparable with most Pacific islands.

And you too... we are all transients

OK MM here's a start.. OT - it's not white colonialists practising racism that cause uplifts. It's the exposure to meth and family violence perpetrated by close family members and the failure of an extended family to deal with the issues or provide support to the young mother, thereby endangering the young child that causes uplifts.
To effect change, first the problem has to be recognised and accepted as real. Change comes from within - it cannot be forced.

Agreed Mike, saw Alfred Ngaro on Q&A yesterday morning maintaining the "End of Life" amendment Bill was inherently racist because Maori weren't part of the consultation process. Couldn't believe his reasoning.
You're correct in your last statement but I believe there is a deep seated reluctance to dispassionately analyse what are the contributors. Far easier to blame institutional racism and colonisation.

Those pushing the racist narrative lack objective clear reasoning and instead fall to default of racism to empower themselves and keep the ‘gravy-train going’

3,2,1... wait for the ‘you’re a racist

And, by the way, I am a Socialist and a Catholic and am v much committed to Universal Declaration of Human Rights and I do believe in institutional racism. But the latter is not an excuse for everything bad that occurs in life.

Isn't a religious communist an oxymoron? ("tongue in cheek on")

Pretty piss poor failing to understand or distinguish between Communist and Socialist or even Social Democrat. getting into Donald terrain there.

Well, Jesus was a leftie

You can't have unfettered 'Rights' with an unfettered population.

Can't be done. Just reflects tha arrogance of our species. Like housing crisis (population crisis in reality) or bird strike (really plane strike) - we skew it to us, then demand things. Which may not be able to be had.

Great points, agree. And I too am Catholic and if not socialist, then Social Democratic (along the Scandanavian lines)

The Royal Commission wanted the maori seats abolished with the introduction of Mmp.

According to the 2018 census, there were 775,000 people , or 16.5% of the population who self identified as being of Maori ethnicity. The majority of this group would have chosen their Maori connection ahead of any other part of their ethnic make up. In other words they identify as Maori because it suits them to. Governments of both stripes pander to this group, Labour more than National. But what of those people who have a Maori contribution to their background who do not choose to so identify? If my own family is any guide they significantly outnumber the previous group. My wife's and my grandparents were all 100% Anglo Irish; there are now more than a hundred direct descendants and spouses down to our grandchildren, of whom more than sixty would be eligible for the Maori electoral roll, but so far none have chosen that option. The present situation very much leaves the former group open to the charge that they choose to identify as Maori for the perceived benefits that that choice delivers.

What do you suggest ? An iron fist ? Won't work and anyways that would be castigated as well.
We are not a police state. We have to deal with people as people, not as case numbers.
Minority or Majority, the approach seems to be alright.

I have no concern with pandering to minorities - the squeaky wheel has always gotten the oil. I do however, have a problem when a minority group activity moves beyond NZ law, impacts of the rights of others and our police refuse to do anything about it. Iwi roadblocks and Ihumātao are two recent examples where freedoms and property rights of the majority are being flagrantly abused by a tiny minority with Police (tacit) support. One only has to look at any African country (outside of Botswana) to see what happens when law is applied differently to different groups based on ethnicity to see how this is a slippery slope toward tribalism and chaos. We are a long way from that point - but let's not go down that track. There is absolutely no reason we cannot support minority group concerns whilst remaining firmly within our "one rule for all" legal framework.

Accidentally reported, sorry.


I’m sorry Chris but I emphatically reject the two main premises of this article.

This article is basically saying that it’ just a small minority of Church members, who aren’t right in the head anyway, that oppose the government’s COVID19 strategy. No, there’re high profile scientists, Nobel prize winners and mounting empirical evidence that point to the fact that what we’re doing is wrong.

It’s not the governments job to please people! The fundamental guiding principal of all political parties should be to maximise the long term economic and social outcome for the country. Sometimes that means making hard choices. The government fails when it solicits once sided advice from partisan scientists, or after seeding sentiment through the media lets the uninformed public make decisions about things like cannabis and lockdown. It leads to a bad long term outcome for NZ.

So as you have said above, that is exactly what this government has done. Made the hard choices and doing the best they can.