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In 2021, the observation that the country was fast becoming unrecognisable became a commonplace in conversations across New Zealand, Chris Trotter says

Public Policy / opinion
In 2021, the observation that the country was fast becoming unrecognisable became a commonplace in conversations across New Zealand, Chris Trotter says
protest crowd

By Chris Trotter*

Two-thirds of all New Zealanders, and three-quarters of all Aucklanders told pollsters that Covid-19 had affected their Christmas holiday plans. It is difficult to think of a more moving recognition of New Zealand’s citizens’ love for one another. Unquestionably, the Covid-19 Pandemic has brought out the very best in this country.

The greatest tragedy of 2021 is that this astonishing demonstration of collective empathy and public-spiritedness was often overshadowed by the behaviour of the most ignorant and selfish among us. That the worst in New Zealand was amplified and, to a worrying degree, encouraged by the news media must rank as the second greatest tragedy.

In journalism, context is everything. If the actions of individuals and groups are not set properly in the context that gave rise to them, then they are liable to serious misinterpretation. It says a great deal about the quality and the intentions of New Zealand journalists that context was conspicuous by its absence from so many of 2021’s stories.

To hear senior journalists, day after day, question small business owners in the tourism and hospitality sectors about the impact of the Covid regulations on their hopes, dreams and bank-balances, was worse than infuriating: it generated mistrust and suspicion. No intelligent person was unaware of the impact of the Pandemic on businesses large and small. No compassionate person could fail to feel genuine sympathy for the predicament of their owners. But to hear journalists present these folk’s situation as if it was the result of malign and/or maladroit Government actions, couldn’t help but raise serious questions about the media’s intentions.

Only rarely did journalists balance their reporting by offering their readers, listeners and viewers the more obvious counterfactual arguments. One almost never heard them asking business spokespeople if they were promoting the withdrawal of all anti-Covid protections at the border. In the endless media advocacy for a relaxation of the MIQ regime, it was, similarly, extremely rare to hear a journalist remind those complaining that, very early-on in the Pandemic, the Prime Minister had advised travellers that they ventured overseas at their own risk, and that a timely and trouble-free return to New Zealand could in no way be guaranteed by the Government.

That the lines of questioning followed by many leading journalists so often paralleled closely the attack-lines of the Opposition parties did not go unnoticed by their readers, listeners and viewers. Those same Opposition parties would, of course, be quick to reject such claims – pointing to the extremely supportive reporting of the Governing parties’ actions throughout the first year of the Pandemic. The possibility that such positivity was no more than an accurate reflection of New Zealand’s outstanding performance in combatting the Coronavirus never seemed to occur to them.

Clearly, given its conduct over the last 12 months, that possibility never occurred to the mainstream news media either. It seemed at times that, among the upper echelons of the principal media outlets, a consensus had been reached that journalists had been far too easy on the Government in 2020, and that a much tougher approach was required in 2021. Certainly, the simultaneous release, by major media outlets, of the former Prime Minister’s, John Key’s, “smug hermit kingdom” commentary, did little to allay citizens’ fears that the mainstream media was “out to get” Jacinda Ardern’s government.

As New Zealand underwent the inevitable transition from the strategy of Covid elimination to one of mass vaccination, the news media’s newfound hostility towards the Government couldn’t help but augment and intensify the hostility and suspicion of those New Zealanders who, for a whole host of reasons, did not want to be vaccinated. While it is certainly not the case that journalists were “anti-vax”, the often quite truculent scepticism contained in their reporting reinforced the much deeper hostility and suspicion of the anti-vaxxers.

Not that mainstream journalism’s readiness to criticise the Government’s handling of the Pandemic in any way endeared them to the anti-vaccination movement. It remains an article of faith among anti-vaxxers that the Government and the news media are willing co-conspirators, hellbent on aiding a global assault by perverted billionaires on the rights and freedoms of ordinary people.

What can be said, however, is that the media-generated climate of aggressive scepticism, combined with the anti-vaxxers feverish exhibitions of anger and hate, contributed significantly to the febrile atmosphere enveloping New Zealand in 2021. The observation that the country was fast becoming unrecognisable became a commonplace in conversations across New Zealand. Those old enough to recall the bitter divisions of the Springbok Tour, declared the country’s mood to be much, much worse.

What made it all so much harder to fathom was that the media outlets they trusted to tell them the truth about the world seemed either unable or unwilling to acknowledge what every intelligent New Zealander knew: that their country was doing incredibly well.

The economy was among the best performing in the OECD. Unemployment was at record lows. The nation’s hospitals continued to function. Most importantly, the number of New Zealanders who had died from Covid-19 remained comfortably below one hundred.

In the Age of the Internet, all these facts were available to Kiwis at the touch of a keyboard. And yet, for businesses large and small; for talkback hosts and newspaper columnists; for editors and their teams of reporters; it was as though none of these extraordinary achievements were of any consequence.

Had all the country’s politicians and journalists lost their minds?

Sometimes, it almost seemed as though they had. It was as if a vital memorandum had been circulated, detailing a number of profoundly important changes. Specifically: the name of the country was being changed from ‘New Zealand’ to ‘Aotearoa’; and the country’s major cities were undergoing a similar transformation. In spite of the fact that they had all been built by and for the Pakeha settlers of Aotearoa-New Zealand, and named for their leaders and heroes, henceforth they would bear Māori names. Much more importantly, the nation’s constitutional arrangements were to be fundamentally revised in order to better reflect a democratically unmandated interpretation of te Tiriti o Waitangi.

When, and on whose authority, this memo and its unsettling contents was released, remains a mystery to the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders. The mystery only deepens when it occurs to those same Kiwis that, in spite of the memo obviously being received by politicians, public servants, journalists and business leaders, the rest of the population has not been included on the circulation list.

In spite of this glaring sin of democratic omission; the failings of the mainstream news media; and the increasingly barmy behaviour of the anti-vaxxers; the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders – as evidenced by the 90%+ of eligible citizens who ensured that they were double-jabbed – did not falter in their solidarity to one another, nor in their collective determination to defeat the Covid-19 virus and its variants.

These past twelve months have confirmed the fundamental decency, resilience, solidarity and compassion of the ordinary New Zealander. Which is why the 2021 prize for: The Most Significant Participant in National Affairs; belongs, unquestionably, to the sorely-tried, long-suffering, but ultimately unbeaten – and unbeatable – People of New Zealand.


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. He writes a weekly column for interest.co.nz. His work may also be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com.

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97 Comments

The govt deserved every criticism they got this year. They were sub-par by a large length. The media haven't been able to tell the truth for decades & my mind was not made up from their whistling. I have listed my gripes about this Labour Govt on another post & they are many. The sooner we see the back of them the better.

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I second that.

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I'm pretty confident that things are going to be pretty dire for our economy come next election. The timing will be the perfect storm of Covid, rising interest rates and inflation. Plenty of time for the after effects to really start to bite. Labours report card is a fail in every area of importance and they will be gone.

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To be replaced by something equally as hopeless, can't wait :|

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Well, if Nats pick up with the s... storm state they left NZ in when they were kicked out of office, I would say the alternative to this government would make "hopeless" the top end of expectations.

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On this I certainly agree. I expect quite big problems with the economy by later 2022, which will worsen in 2023.

I think the 2023 election will be close, however if Luxon and his team are even semi-competent then he should have a very good chance.

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Judging by the last few years that is a big 'if'.

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Luxon unfortunately turned out to be a NIMBY property investor. Nothing there for young Kiwis to vote for. They've seen the "talk about productivity" show before with John Key.

Young Kiwis will really need to look beyond the two Natbour.

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MAGA

Make

Ardern

Go

Away

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I am in agreement with CT in this. Sensible balanced debate is crucial to a functional democracy, but it seems that people are only interested in sensationalism, looking to polarise, to have some excuse to be angry about something. The complainers are not happy unless they've got something to complain about!

But societies flourish when everyone is kept safe. I agree with CT when I calls them " ..the most ignorant and selfish among us". I keep going on that for COVID to have spread within a community, somewhere in the chain someone has broken rules established to keep all of us safe. Over the weekend it was announced that the first child under 10 had died because of COVID. To be specific, as far as I'm aware it has not been stated that they died of COVID or that COVID was just a factor in their death. But this is a significant tragedy not just for the parents of that child, but for the whole country. While our Government was trying to keep people safe someone somewhere decided the rules shouldn't or didn't apply to them and that chain eventually reached that child. Would that that person could be held to account for that!

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People die Murray its a simple as that, people expect to be able to have a war these days with no civilian casualties but shit happens. A bouncy castle blew away the other day in Australia and killed more kids than Covid in this country. With Omicron we are about to see that vaccination is not going to work, the virus will be passed on by everyone.

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Carlos 67

Just interested to know from which university you got your PhD in epidemiology from.

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Last I checked, A PhD in epidemiology was not a requirement to post an opinion in the comments section of a financial news site.

If you don't like the opinion, either post your own or ignore.

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Who made you the arbiter of comments?

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No one. I simply read the interest commenting policy and couldn't see any reference to PhDs of any description (no link supplied as it is easily navigable on every page)

So looks like anyone is free to comment regardless of academic experience. Which to be honest is a fairly good policy in my eyes.

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Noncents.  What Carlos claims to know is something nobody knows.  So he is just making sh#t up.

And has been called on it. Good. 

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All comments by very definition have a default preface of..."In my opinion"

To assume otherwise says more about the reader than the commenter.

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That presumes that all opinions are equally informed, which they are not. See comment @ Siouxsie Wiles below! :)

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“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'

― Isaac Asimov

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The problem is Rick, the ability to speak authoritatively is construed as knowledge by the masses. And you know who I'm talking about...

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Streetwise you must be the sort of person that needs a qualified mechanic to change the oil on your car. You don't need a PhD in anything for this one mate, just watch the Aljazeera news, case numbers of Omicron are doubling in 2 to 4 days in a country like the UK that has been heavily vaxxed already. Everyone is going to get it and less you hide under a rock.

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streetwise, Souxsie Wiles has a BSc(Hons) in Medical Microbiology, a Phd in Microbiology and is the go to person for the Labour Government for CoVid. So far, she's been wrong about most things CoVid, and is also one of the anti-science people claiming Maori fairy tales are science. So whether or not you have a Phd in epidemiology|microbiology, you have the same chance of being right.

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Is she? She's a prominent media commentator, but she's not the "go to" person for Labour. In fact there is no one person. FYI:

https://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/leadership-ministry/expert-groups/covid-19-technical-advisory-group

 

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Yes she is Joolz. She even claims to be so in her papers to the court regarding employment issues with the University of Auckland. Whoops.

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No need to get snarky, dude.

It's pretty obvious that jabs don't protect from omicron, but don't take it from me, take it from possibly the best scientists in the world: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-study-shows-4th-shot-…

 

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Well actually, the bouncy castle didn't kill more people than Covid has in NZ, although I get where you're coming from.  But if we hadn't taken the measures we did to fight Covid, then many thousands of New Zealanders would have been killed, far worse than any bouncy castle accident.

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But a strategy relying on 100%, or even 90%,  rule compliance is designed to fail 

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"But societies flourish when everyone is kept safe"

Sounds a bit boring IMO. How do societies ever develop and flourish without constantly testing the risk-reward equation?

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I agree Hamish. In my world "society" is but the end result of everyone's individual actions....messy & unpredictable, but reality....testing, trying, retreating.

But we must recognize CT's world, "society" is an entity to be organised and led by his government of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Outer Roa. It is all about Dear Leader and "the team of 5 million". Dissent, or even just asking about alternatives,  is to be deplored.

It is a long stretch to talk about NZ and gulags/re-education, etc.,, but nevertheless this government...of kindness, transparency, & the only source of truth, has lifted the lid slightly to show some of worst aspects of a socialist world

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How very Maggie Thatcher! You do realise that socialism in NZ ended in 1984 don't you? The gulag working conditions in NZ you speak of were caused by the neoliberal experiment of the last 40 years. Now on life support due to Covid thank goodness. 

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Some people need to have things spelled out for them. So because you clearly didn't understand this, it is being kept safe from others. 

If someone wants to do things that puts themselves at risk, and no one else, then go for it! There are after all the Darwin Awards (misnamed) for many of those. But when your actions have a direct or indirect negative impact on someone else they you need to be accountable for that.

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So we can let the fire service stand down then?

Or before they rush into a burning house, they could just do a quick check. Was some kid playing with matches? Did some drunk fall asleep with the chip fryer going? Are there even working smoke alarms? Or was this an electrical fault? Think carefully because your answer will determine our response.

Or the tramper that gets lost and then stuck out on the mountain and triggers their PLB. Hmm, well if they took all practicable safety steps (by our standards), then we may consider send out a chopper even in these horrendous conditions. Or did they not do their research and have the appropriate gear? Well they be damned then.

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Do stop trying to be an extremist. Taking a binary stance in a debate demonstrates an inability to think and apply reason. Yes as a society we try protect people from themselves, but we also realise that despite taking all reasonable steps to ensure they are safe, sometimes people come to grief doing solitary activities, and we are prepared to try to rescue them. Plus we often don't know the cause of issues until after they are found, stupidity or an act of God, or something else.

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Well you are being binary too saying "being kept safe from others", other peoples actions affect you, and they have rights as well, even if those actions hurt others its is about how much they affect others and how much of a right it is. A simple statement like that will not  work, and people have different views on where that balance should be.

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Not just boring, but fanciful!

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It’s for your own safety!

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It is poor form when a journalist cannot overcome their own subjectivity or is beholden to an editorial agenda. The best form of journalism is simply relating the facts without without lacing them up with opinion. Kate MacNamara is excellent at doing just that, but she is a rarity afraid to say. One of the worst presentations of bias is by deception by omission. Regret to say what was once a fine newspaper, something Cantabrians could well be proud of, the Christchurch Press consistently resorts to this tactic.

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If you take an incredibly myopic view of the world and pretend that success can be measured exclusively in terms of cases, deaths, and vaccination rates, then yes, we've done a great job. World-leading, in fact.

For those who recognise that the world doesn't end there, however, our approach has left some wondering whether the cure may well be worse than the disease. The way we've chosen to deal with such people is to try and make the disease look as bad as we possibly can, and in the author's case, shamelessly try to mischaracterise them as a bunch of hate-filled, chopper-riding, dangerous fringe lunatics.

The social and economic implications of our approach are massive, and as they begin to manifest themselves we will have ample time to consider whether or not they were worth it. 

 

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It's said that the extremists in any society represent something latent, in a milder form, in the wider population. We have seen that many times throughout history. I always thought the strong presence of neo- nazi's in Christchurch was not an accident - it's a conservative city with plenty of entrenched racism.

I don't agree with the Brian Tamaki's of this world, but that doesn't mean to say that I don't think there is some sort of validity in what they say.

 

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Well bloody said!

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Nice comment Cheppo, as far as vaccination rates are concerned there is also one word that must be included - EVENTUALLY. Without question the slow vax rollout has been this so called Governments biggest failing, resulting in an unnecessary extended Auckland lockdown. Lest we forget

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Firstly, we all know Chris is a staunch apologist for Labour.

With that out of the way, I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with his views in this piece.

I think at times the media attack on the government's approach has been jaundiced and unbalanced, and unwilling to acknowledge the complexities the government has faced in managing the covid conundrum.

On the other hand, the government and Ardern in particular only have themselves to blame, in the way they shut down critical comments and questions, and revert to their favourites (Jessica, Tove).

I think open democracy has been abused over the last year or two, not just with covid, but with 3 waters, RMA reform etc.

And finally, I still really question some of their execution on covid. Especially on accessing the vaccines, and their apparent lack of urgency on trying to bolster our hospital infrastructure (yes we all know it can't be done overnight, but meaningful progress could have been made over the past year if they had approached things with an emergency 'war time' mindset)

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meaningful progress could have been made over the past year if they had approached things with an emergency 'war time' mindset)

Yep, we could have printed money and gone big on infrastructure then done a global recruitment campaign using Ardern as the face of "New Zealand wants you" and recruited 100 amazing people x 10 critical shortage areas to boost expertise and resources. Instead, we racked up debt and it looks like we'll have nothing valuable to show for it long-term.

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All that lockdowns have shown us is that there is a criminal network in NZ who just ain't going to obey any rules no matter what.

Being a criminal in NZ is now an employment option.

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I, with most of NZ I think, thought that the government handled Covid well in 2020 and that was echoed globally.

Sadly, their handling of the Delta variant has been pretty dire. They have made many serious errors- just read Sr Ian Taylor's article in today's Herald for a summary of them. They have become increasingly arrogant and more widely, this can be seen in their plans for water and the DHBs. Of course reform is needed, but not the extreme centralisation being proposed. The direction this government is taking worries me.

I am still unsure if National can make themselves electable by the next election, but now i am prepared to at least consider them.

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Agreed Linklater. I have never doubted the government’s policy for that first year and feel that most  problems emerged from mishandling & incompetency by the MoH. For instance not isolating rest homes, not testing border staff (but lying that they were.) However the hard yards of that gain were allowed to unravel & dissipate. No game is won at half time, and likewise the government , having given little thought to the second half, proceeded to lose it. Vaccines could have arrived 6 months earlier. But the PM ( Tame interview 11 April)  totally feckless and arrogant, boasted because NZ had no infections there was no need, as Claire Trevitt describes well,  Delta soon made a mockery of that stance. At  exactly that time Delta (not yet named) was coming, running 150k cases daily in India, NZ was opening up with Australia, and from previous lapses, it was clear that MIQ and/or border activity that a failure was more than likely.

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100%. The sporting analogy it's a game of two halves is informative about New Zealand's performance on COVID. I don't know if National is ready to be elected, but the nation desperately needs a robust opposition to hold the Government accountable in 2022 because the media sure as hell won't.

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As we travel through January I am feeling less and less that National have any policies other than to criticize the Labour Government's Covid progamme.  Meanwhile:

1 if we look at the new curriculum for our kids we see that Maori wording is now being wound through it so that it is almost impossible to decipher - meaning unfamiliar words obscure actual subject meanings for everyone, and so make learning harder - all done just to be pushing Maori language in subjects such as Science and Maths. 
2  We look at 3Waters and wonder what is going on - when true consultation has been abandoned.
3 An ambulance takes a family member to hospital and we find the front of house "Emergency" is shockingly snowed under and cannot fit very sick people in for assessment for a number of hours - and Covid has not yet struck. Too bad if they need ICU - triage is too hard to achieve. E.g. An emergency specialist said on Stuff last week we even have people waiting 24 hours for initial assessment after a stroke. When did things get this bad?
4  We have worries about the haphazard handing out of money to businesses with apparently little accountability - because many of us have a neighbour who worked right through with his crew, but still claimed and was able to do extensive renovations with the money. How much money will our children have to pay back after all that has been borrowed?
5 We see that public order seems to be breaking down in the name of "protest", so that a section of the population appear to be free to do as they please and are treated differently from others who may break the law. Meanwhile, people who experience break-ins may find it hard to get Police attention.
6 What is the situation with He PuaPua - is the wool being pulled over the eyes of most taxpayers in this country.?
All in all, very many problems across the board - Luxon silent on these issues - and ChrisT is right - often the only people we can call on are family and neighbours, when things go seriously wrong.

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From my observations there are three main classes of anti-vaxxers:

Firstly, there are the cult leader types, often alpha males, who under the guise of religion or some other pretext grab every opportunity to undermine the government's efforts to tackle the pandemic and at the same time gain publicity for themselves to enhance their standing in their cult.  Their activities can border on treason or anarchy.

Secondly, there are the younger age groups who have an inferiority complex and just can't make any impression on other people.  In fact. these non-descripts are non-entities whom nobody else notices in normal times.  So desperate are they for somebody to notice them that they latch on to the anti-vax protest groups in the hope that this will give them some minimal profile.  The males are probably members of Incel.

Then there's the group that have been brought up to think they are in some way special;  in effect, they think of themselves as somewhat superior to ordinary folks and are therefore entitled to demonstrate to everyone that they know best about everything.  Some of this group have liberal arts degrees but have failed in all their endeavours to be the creative artist which was once their primary aspiration.

 

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Does being anti-COVID vaccine make you an anti-vaxxer?

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Yes

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No.

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The dynamic range of permissible thoughts ranges from; (a) firmly in favour of the experimental covid "vaccines" to; (b) foaming at the mouth rabidly demanding that every man, woman, and child be forcefully injected.  

The problem is that you've got renowned cardiologists, medical doctors, scientists etc. making the government look bad with facts, logic and reasoning ... well that sort of thing should just be banned shouldn't it.    https://youtu.be/-zg1j7Zquoc

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Another group being those that have a genuine fear of what the vaccine might do to them. And that they might be a statistical outlier and actually die from it. And before you brush that off, just look to any sufferer of some 'irrational' phobia, like fear of flying, or fear of germs, or fear of a colour. For some reason though there seems to be a general rage against anyone not getting the covid vaccine and belittling of them.

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Richie Valens springs to mind. He overcame his fear of flying and went on a plane trip with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper...

Still, the exception fallacy is an incredibly pervasive one, and hard to shake.

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For some reason though there seems to be a general rage against anyone not getting the covid vaccine and belittling of them.

Indeed, it used to be just in amusement (like "Boy they're a bit off, aren't they?") but these days, the comments and attitudes toward anyone with legitimate concerns as well the loonies is vile and unkind...

We see much self-righteousness and smug scorn ("Oh, those filthy unwashed, uneducated and un-vaxxed heathen barbarians!"), and fanatical adulation and defense of Jacinda, it's comical in the mirroring of the same attack mode of the other side.

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The main one I see is the health conscious never put anything artificial in my body types. They want to be just as healthy as we were in the Stone Age with a life expectancy of 20. 

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I'm in the camp where they had a pretty concerning reaction (heart problems) to the vaccine and are now worried what the booster will do to them. I feel like this camp is under reported & discredited due to potentially effecting the vaccine uptake. It's interesting how stories like this are only just coming out now... https://www.1news.co.nz/2021/12/17/health-providers-urged-to-warn-of-ra…

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The ones I know who are most vocal first went down the rabbit hole because they were already Trumpers. COVID was all a Democrat hoax and from there, the narrative just evolved to suit whatever new changes came along. COVID is all still fake and made up etc.

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did little to allay citizens’ fears that the mainstream media was “out to get” Jacinda Ardern’s government

Did I miss something? The media has barely held the Government accountable for the most basic of failings, COVID or otherwise, but Trotter thinks that the media has been "out to get" Ardern's Government? Is this an attempt at satire?

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I found myself wondering the same thing halfway through reading the article. I'm not sure what media Trotter is referring to, but it can't be RNZ, The Herald, or Stuff.

Hell, The Herald was front-running government policy before it even became official, via its "90% Project". Anyone who thinks that politicians have no influence over media only need to look as far as Megan Woods and the recent OneRoof debacle.

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Trotter comments from from the edge of the NZ MSM bubble looking inwards. He remembers previous versions of the bubble but I have never seen any evidence he tried to look outside it or escape it. From the neoliberal and technocratic views that cover most of the bubble this government has nothing bad and could only possibly be challenged on details.

He is bad at commenting on anything covid related because he does not comment on science and in the NZ MSM assertions were never challenged and have become truisms that may not be challenged. His analysis struggles when it comes up against the contradictions between these truisms and reality.

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If the media is attacked by the left, the right and the fringe, maybe it means they are doing their job right....

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The issue facing NZ is deeper than this. It's not "anti vax" We all willingly accepted lockdowns, mask wearing, checking in, and 90% are double jabbed. The vaccine passport was a step too far by the Govt. It's the discriminatory mandates, no jab no job, inability to get enrolled for education, and to access services. The disruption to family, social and business life. We've seen this type of thing before in world history. Yes those opposing it all are a very wide and diverse group. Some of them appear confronting, but most are just ordinary Kiwis. Many are double jabbed, their conscience demands they side in solidarity. This is what resistance looks like. They all have one thing in common, the full and unequivocal restoration of their dignity and universal freedoms. This movement, this resistance is growing by the day. 

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Just wait till Omicron gets a hold here and we are effectively back into lockdown but of course it will have a different name. 2 years to build a better MIQ and beef up the hospital system but lets not worry about that. No chance we can keep Omicron out, we failed with Delta and this is 5 times the escape artist.

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Quite. The continued use of vaccine passports at the current level of vaccination smacks of spite/vindictiveness, rather than addressing a genuine threat to public safety.

The major logical fallacy being the assumption that someone who is unvaccinated is wandering around as a permanently-infected Covid zombie.

If you're going to have this ridiculous system, at least give people the option to show a negative test.

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We should give people the opportunity to show that they've had covid already.  ie they have natural t-cell immunity. 

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Not everyone who has contracted COVID-19 actually produces and/or maintain antibodies/t-cell immunity that is traceable in a test.

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Agreed.  This is a tone deaf article by Chris Trotter.  Maybe there were less than 100 deaths from COVID but what about all the other deaths.  My neighbour committed suicide during lockdown as the toll from being away from loved ones was too much.   How many people commenting on here are actually in Auckland?  If you were not, don't claim to comprehend the effect that lockdown had on mental health.  This is a disgusting government that must go.

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Stuff news supports the government Maori agenda with some quite outrageous invented stories. 

Stuff is New Zealand's Fox(fake) News on that subject.

And adding to the insult, paid for it by the taxpayer 

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Omicron seems like the final cruel gift of this year. We have the opportunity to eliminate Delta with a milder Omicron by reopening but the cost will be to unwind the impact of the vaccine program we spent most of the year and a huge amount of money strolling out. O, yeah, but the choice is a "when" and not an "if" just as a last punch deep in the guts.

 

Also, regarding changing the name of the country, people still call the Czech Republic "Czechoslovakia" despite the fact it changed in 1993. International rebranding would probably be a very long and slow process without any guarantee of success. After all, be honest with yourself, did you know or remember that the Czech Republic has actually been Czechia for five years? Probably not. That was a waste of US$24m on marketing a new name for Czechoslovakia, wasn't it.

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In spite of this glaring sin of democratic omission; the failings of the mainstream news media; and the increasingly barmy behaviour of the anti-vaxxers; the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders – as evidenced by the 90%+ of eligible citizens who ensured that they were double-jabbed – did not falter in their solidarity to one another, nor in their collective determination to defeat the Covid-19 virus and its variants

Author assumes everyone in that 90%+ did so willingly. 

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Pretty much nobody I know did it willingly, they were pretty much forced into it in the end for the sake of their jobs. I also know a couple who have had the first jab and decided not to take the second. The reason being that the penny finally dropped that the vax will be never ending. One minute the booster is 6 monthly, next minute its 4 monthly, good luck with that.

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You are making stuff up again Carlos.  'nobody I know'.  Really.  Give it a break. 

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Well i'm double vaxxed, you could call it coerced, and i have no intention of subscribing to thrice-yearly boosters. That's a redline for me to drop out of the system or actively undermine it.

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Could of been written by Goebells 

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What a load of Trotters 

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I believe this country is being destroyed. We have the highest residential land prices in the world (vis a vis income) and our segregationist PM is bankrupting the country over the flu...She should be hanged for treason.

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This is insane.

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Yep the definition of insanity is voting for Labour a second time and expecting a different outcome.

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The current PM is useless but all you clowns out there voted for her so suck it up. Wouldn't go as far as threating to hang her however, probably not a good idea old chap. She is entitled to have a life, but preferably in somewhere like Siberia.

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Who are you going to vote for on house prices though? National is a non-starter there, and are aligned on vaccines and even have a track record of supporting vaccine mandates. 

You'll need to look to the smaller parties.

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“What every intelligent New Zealander knew: that their country was doing incredibly well.The economy was among the best performing in the OECD. Unemployment was at record lows. The nation’s hospitals continued to function.

Sorry Chris there are a lot of “intelligent people” that disagree with you on this. Anyone that flushes the economy with borrowed money can appear to be doing well in the short-term. What happens when the money runs out?  NZ has spent more per capita than almost every other country to fight Covid but has it been cost effective?

Did you not read Keith Woodford’s excellent “intelligent” article yesterday? He concluded “Inflation has become a wicked problem, with no painless solutions. Demarcation between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is increasing, with societal consequences.”

 

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And the hospitals are NOT functioning - despite Covid not having swept the country.  Most people are unaware of how seriously this could affect their own family.  The hospitals in 2022 cannot cope with normal intake - there are already huge wait times at Emergency to be assessed before being admitted. Many hours waiting for most people - even when delivered by ambulance.  The waiting room then becomes a very dangerous and frightening place as the hours wear on. During 2021 we saw this article:  https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/300266661/welling…     
About a week ago another Emergency specialist doctor said wait times are now at crisis level and even stroke victims are waiting up to 24 hours to be assessed before being admitted - in other words, the damage from their stroke will not be undone.

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Thanks Chris. Good acknowledgement of the threat that 'co-governance' poses to democracy in NZ/Aotearoa. I want to see honest debate next year about how co-governance can be reconciled with democracy and the Treaty. I want it explained to me how I'm meant to be happy when my vote is worth half of someone else's. More racism doesn't fix racism. There must be a better way. 

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Clearly in the US a warning has been sounded, democracy is in mortal danger from an evangelical threat.

"Thank you for filling this chamber with patriots that love you and love Christ" this from the mob, a man in a red ski cap, on the 6th.

In NZ many churches now take their lead from US Xtians, they are the new christian nationalists, the new mob.

This govt has played a close game with this mob, giving them essential freedoms while trying to contain a virus.

The NZ public are not fooled by trash talking VFF warriors. I am proud of what we have achieved!

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The problem with this article, like so many others, is that its author writes from a biased political perspective. The handling of this pandemic has been fertile ground for the media tribes to go to war and so they have. Some like Chris, might think their coverage has been unfair. Others like me would reply, yes it's been unfair, in its 'kid gloves' handling of the government. For myself, I lament the transformation of newspapers into viewspapers. Maybe some university graduate will one day do a Masters Degree on the effect of modern media on people's mental health. I would be interested to read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My personal take on the past couple of years is that of a missed opportunity. Whether it is by luck or good fortune, I'll give the government (and of course the public) credit for getting the original outbreak under control early enough that we were able to eliminate it. We'll never know for sure, and despite Simon Bridges' publicly  calling for the borders to be closed, my suspicion is that, under National, we probably wouldn't have closed our borders as early (or for as long of a period) as we did.  

However, it was only ever going to be a matter of time before Covid-19 became established here. Which is where I think we could have done much better. For one thing, it seems like an absolutely terrible idea to have our managed isolation facilities mostly based in our most populated towns and cities. This outbreak probably was that once in a generation event where there was the political goodwill to set up a dedicated managed isolation facility somewhere away from the general public. We're lucky that Covid-19 is relatively harmless for most people. If, a few years down the line, something significantly nastier comes along, we'll be equally unprepared for it as we were for Covid-19.

Also, from my layman's perspective, it seems like we didn't use the time that we bought ourselves particularly wisely, in terms of getting the population vaccinated, or securing the vaccines that we needed to do so. Based on how the rate of infections seems to have stalled recently, one can only assume that we would have stood a better chance of keeping Delta out if we had a higher rate of vaccination during the initial phase of the delta outbreak. (Although, based on how easily it passed from person to person, and the demographics of the initial clusters, it is by no means guaranteed that things would have played out differently.)

Finally, by chance, I happen to know a couple of people involved with some of the community cases that did escape into the general population during our lockdown. This really opened my eyes to just how much spin (and blatant untruths) were being spouted during some of those 1pm briefings. I know it is to be expected from politicians. But even so, it left a really bad taste in my mouth. As somebody who has basically sat at home for the past four months, a bit of honesty and the respect not to sugar coat everything would have been appreciated.  

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Thanks Chris. 

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Maybe the reason for poor journalism is that the State now owns pretty much all of the mainstream media? Stuff, RNZ, TV1 and pays for articles by whoever wants to write for cash!

$374m has been paid out over the last few years.

News influencers are what they're called now, not journalists. It's an easy course! Online for a couple of months of work writing about anything whilst you're enrolled at a uni doing a crash course in art & literature! As long as you pay the fee's in NZ Education, you will pass. NZ's education system is a 'Pay to Play' system.

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Some of Mike Hosking's headlines in the NZ Herald.

Mike Hosking: All announcements, but zero progress

OPINION: Govt promises houses, bridges, rail, workers but delivers nothing.

Mike Hosking: Royal commission needed into our terrible Covid response

OPINION: It didn't need to be as bad as it was.

Mike Hosking: Cancelling Christmas was never an option

OPINION: In a sense, this has been a game of chicken.

Mike Hosking: Elimination strategy was doomed from the start

OPINION: As we enter this new phase, the cold hard truth is being laid bare.

Mike Hosking: When will our Government admit its errors?

OPINION: It's not how you start, it's how you finish — so how does this finish?

Judith Collins on the Mike Hosking Breakfast

Judith Collins is defending her "big fat hypocrite" comments about prominent microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles.

Mike Hosking: Govt's cannabis agenda laid bare

COMMENT: Little's reaction to anti-cannabis lobby group shows him up as a hypocrite.

Mike Hosking: Let's stop bagging Air NZ

COMMENT: Air NZ have been a good national carrier - and it's time to cut them some slack.

Mike Hosking: New National leader's clever move

Comment: Todd Muller is making strong moves with his National reshuffle.

Mike Hosking: That sinking feeling Kiwis will flee to Australia

OPINION: NZ is treading water at best, slowly sinking at worst.

NEW ZEALAND|Politics

Mike Hosking: 'Lightweight' PM running for the hills

OPINION: "The Prime Minister is a lightweight at answering tough questions."

Mike Hosking: Government's lockdown 'success' fast fading

COMMENT: The story of level 3 lockdown is only just starting to get told.

Mike Hosking: Has the Government sabotaged our economy?

OPINION: The frightening thing is, there is more to come.

Mike Hosking: Government has overcooked the lockdown

Comment: I would have pulled the trigger on level 3 at least a week ago.

Spotted: PM sporting a Mike Hosking original face mask

The Prime Minister kept her promise.

23 Dec, 2020 10:22 AM2 minutes to read

KAHU

Mike Hosking: Government knows about Ihumātao

Comment: Spending our money to extricate itself from such a problem is a scandal.

Mike Hosking: Our country needs to shake off its malaise

OPINION: I want more for this country and I want more from this government.

New Zealand cannot get richer by just boosting house prices.

Mike Hosking: Coronavirus hysteria needs perspective

COMMENT: It's hardly surprising, the Chinese aren't happy with our border closure.

BUSINESS

Mike Hosking: When do the subsidies end?

COMMENT: The dark side of this arrangement? It's a race to the bottom.

 

Mike Hosking: While we did our job, the Govt has failed

OPINION: It has been and continues to unfold as an abject failure.

7 Oct, 2021 05:00 AMPremium5 minutes to read

NEW ZEALAND

Mike Hosking: Community Covid cases leave plenty of unanswered questions

COMMENT: Community transmission is once again at large in NZ. So who cocked up?

Mike Hosking: Government owes us an apology for the vaccine mess

OPINION: There is no need to be in the state we are.

Mike Hosking: The Government is playing whack-a-mole with Covid

OPINION: The vaccine is key to moving forward - but this is a joke.

Mike Hosking: Simon Bridges' role has never been more vital

COMMENT: Simon Bridges needs to keep challenging the govt. Covid-19 response.

Mike Hosking: All I want for Christmas is a government that's up to the job… fat chance

OPINION: Government's Covid response has been lacking since day one.

Mike Hosking: My Covid-19 lockdown would be different

COMMENT: We don't have to be this draconian over Covid-19.

Mike Hosking: NZ being left behind in race to move on from Covid

OPINION: The Government's attitude is to blame.

Mike Hosking: Australia has a Covid plan and a vision - NZ has neither

OPINION: New Zealand has dropped the ball compared to Australia.

Mike Hosking: Just like Biden, the media needs to keep Ardern honest

OPINION: Questioning around our own Govt appears so far this year to be underwhelming.

Mike Hosking: Ardern needs to deliver more than spin

Comment: Jacinda Ardern has repeated the mistakes of the previous two years.

Mike Hosking: This is Grant Robertson's moment

COMMENT: It's a bit late, and should have been at least a week ago.

 

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Just remember who stood with 50 Nazi states in a vote at the UN 2 weeks ago. NZ!

The UN resolution asked members to eliminate all forms of racism and attempts to glorify Nazism.

NZ supported the Nazi's and White Supremacists block of 50 countries mainly European countries too. 

So how does taking this position correlate with the PM of kindness and her opposition to racism, hate and oversensitive-snowflakes?

If there is to be a 'conflict' in 2022. My money is on in Europe again!

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I agree with Mr Trotter - In my opinion the fourth estate has let us all down and continues to do so, to much emotion and very little fact.

 

 

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This is, by far, the worst column CT has ever written.

I sometimes agree with some of what he says, but latterly it's just been the rantings of a Labour fan boy.

The media has re-printed the governments agenda and ideas at every turn.  I don't see how he thinks they've questioned them in the slightest.  One example is the Herald's 90% project.  Utter brown nosers the lot of them.

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I would have thought the best descriptive would have been, 'have a high tolerance for pain.' 

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Thank you Chris Trotter.  An excellent column that puts the year 2021 into context.  Most New Zealanders are intelligent and can see through the media and opposition's arguments.  One only needs to look overseas at how other countries we like to compare ourselves to have performed to realise how lucky we are to have held Covid at bay for 2 years.

We are living through a 1 in a century global pandemic, no one has living memory of the last time a pandemic of this magnitude struck (1918).  There is no rule book, so of course the Government has to largely make it up as it goes along and most Kiwis understand that.

But the thing that has united Kiwis far more than anything else is the knowledge that the Government is fighting Covid for all Kiwis, not just the big business end of town.

The vaccination campaign was a huge undertaking.  Everyone understands the importance of self responsibility, but when we found out that for the vaccination campaign to be successful it required all of us to be vaccinated, we took even more responsibility, united and pushed hard to vaccinate ourselves, our family, friends and community.

The vaccination campaign is the biggest collective act our country has taken on since World War II and we passed with flying colours.

No one knows what 2022 will bring, but I feel safe and confident knowing just how united our country is.  I know that whatever 2022 does bring, we will all face it together.

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You are right Chris, what makes NZ great is that we are fundamentally a decent race. Unfortunately I think the numbers are dwindling though, driven by a left leaning agenda.

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