Lockdown stresses continue to pile up in rural New Zealand but most people acknowledge we are on the right path, and while the pain can't be shared equally, it still must be endured for the good of everyone

Lockdown stresses continue to pile up in rural New Zealand but most people acknowledge we are on the right path, and while the pain can't be shared equally, it still must be endured for the good of everyone

Someone will likely write a book one day and call it “When Madness Ruled the World (or wanted to)” and it will turn what we have been watching from afar into fiction, as it what has been occurring almost beggars belief. The behaviour of some of the politicians we have been able to observe in the last few weeks really makes ‘one’ glad to be living in New Zealand.

The behaviour of the US, led by their president, makes you wonder what sort of grip on reality exists. Unfortunately, the US is not alone with Brazil, Hungary, Russia and even the UK for a time seeming to be in a parallel universe.

Sweden was going to show the world how a sensible nation can beat the virus by adopting a business as usual approach. It now has 15,000 affected and around 1,600 deaths. It has a population of 10 million so it gives an idea of what could have happened here. And it’s not over for them yet with somewhere around 400 new cases being found on a daily basis.

New Zealand, in the meantime, appears to have almost cleared itself of the coronavirus and it has achieved this by understanding the principle of putting the good of society ahead of that of the individual. A greater good is achieved and most are better off in the long term. Countries like Brazil and the USA appear to put the rights of the individual as sacrosanct regardless of what common sense would indicate. What most within New Zealand found to be at best inconvenient and for some economic suicide, was still adhered to for the benefit of the greater good. It seems to be way out of step with the behaviour of many countries. And it was only after a dramatically increasing death toll did some regions shut down borders and the economy, by which time it was too late and much damage to both their economies and society has been wrought.

New Zealand has been lucky in that we may have had a little more time to assess the situation. But better, rational decisions were made and supported by the vast majority and thank the stars for that.

Total global declared infections are now around 2.5 million with over 170,000 deaths and the daily increase is still around 70,000. (see Johns Hopkins University map) The question that looms large is what is happening with the African continent. It may be that there is a severe case of under reporting of both cases and deaths. Many countries, due to their total lack of resources, probably cannot do a great deal anyway. Latin America is in a similar position and likewise the Indian sub-continent. So, while the first part of our journey is largely behind us, for some countries there is still a long way to run and the globe will not be able to relax until all nations are free, which will most likely require a vaccine.

The news that we are likely to be going into Alert Level 3 next week is a welcomed progression but for many it means little has changed. For agriculture, the apparent implication of the new rules means that saleyards still will remain closed is disappointing. In the short term this is not a major worry as the freezing works have not had the through put to help drive demand for store stock (with the possible exception of beef weaners). But once they (hopefully) start to lift their production then finishing farms may start to empty out and be ready to take on more stock from those farms that are awaiting to get rid of them.

Dairy farms must also be starting to get twitchy as the flow of cull cows should have been well under way by now. If the flow of all livestock does not begin soon it will start to become an animal welfare issue - not quite in the same league as human health in a pandemic but still a concern.

On the market front the lamb schedule is still being whittled away at with another -10 cents coming off many schedules. Local trade is also included in this and the North Island beef local trade also lost another -10 cents. It was perhaps then surprising to see Prime Range Meats in the deep south lifting their ewe schedule by 20 cents. Surprising because it’s pretty difficult to get them into the works in other parts of the country.

Venison, of course, continues its slippage and by next week it is likely the average price will begin with a $6. Its demise is understandable with most Northern Hemisphere restaurants closed or at best underutilised. But still disappointing for an industry that was riding a wave last season.

Farmers' markets, another outlet necessary for many rural folk are also going to remain off limits for the interim. Some artisan type producers have managed to utilise online selling which, as we saw in China back in January, is likely to be one of the changes coming out of this period of lock down. But it still doesn’t replace the face to face (be it behind a mask) experience.

I believe my lockdown tolerance must be getting closer to being exhausted as some things are starting to increasingly irritate (again). Top of the list is the pathetic internet speed which seems to have gone backwards with the additional load that ‘stay at homes’ and children being taught online has put on the system. Not being able to log onto to the IRD site as the search engine kept ‘timing out’ took the cake. A contact who has two children at home (obviously) also found that despite being able to get Netflix in the past once the school year began that went out the window. At least we never had that problem, never being able to get the likes of Netflix in the past or now.

In the meantime, we have been able to sell some ewe lambs to another breeder and extend a lease we were looking to finish for another couple of weeks, although at a cost. So, with last week’s rain and some sunshine since plus some frugal feed budgeting things could be a lot worse. Hopefully others situations are also showing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

AP Stag

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Um.... Johns Hopkins....

The comparison to Sweden is apt. NZ’s cautious policy thus justified especially as we all know now that our healthcare and tracing abilities were marginal, likely overwhelmed far too soon. Strange though still cannot fathom why our rest homes, full of the elderly and vulnerable types the government advised early on to stay out of harms way, were not locked down much much earlier. About the time of 14 day self isolating criteria, at the latest. Sadly this is where NZ’s mortalities are mostly located.

Fox, see todays endemic committee.
There you will see rest homes locked down earlier than government moh suggested.
You have got things round the wrong way.

Yes some certainly were but on their own initiative Radius Group for instance. But where our family member is, not so. As at the 21 March directive for the elderly etc to stay at home etc it was more or less business as usual and it stayed that way until the announcement of level 4. We questioned this, believe me. We have an email from the rest home 22 March confirming that this was their instruction from the MOH and we understand they were still able to take in admissions. And it was not until the Rosewood scene in ChCh unfolded, that the MOH belatedly decided to send the the DHBs in to run checks.

Ryman moved earlier as well. Neither waited for the MoH but surveyed the ongoing train and jumped off the tracks.

Yes saw that too. The thing is, 14/3 the government decrees “voluntary” isolation of incoming international arrivals. One dot evidencing some spark that some danger was imminent. And to whom the most we might well ask. 21/3 elderly & vulnerable to stay out of harms way. Good call but why had that dot not been connected to the earlier dot. As you posted some days back the like of Rosewood bumbled along quite unaffected, very unnoticed. Now eight are dead. At times like this a country needs some sort of alert and effective journalism and parliamentary opposition to ask the right questions and timely so. Pathetically lacking without a doubt.

We don't yet know what happened at Rosewood. I don't think its fair to suggest they bumbled along , or did anything wrong. Possibly , it could have happened at any rest home.

I think the greatest madness is trying to grow exponentially in a finite biosphere. This seems to be the goal of the supposedly sensible including almost all political parties, businesses and economists.

In millions of years time, intelligent cockroach-like archaeology students will be carefully excavating us from our layer of plastic detritus and saying, “what the f#&k were they thinking?”

We actually won't know the full results of the different approaches for a number of years. Sweden's approach now may appear like a failure. However, their medical chief believes it is working. He states this for a number of reasons which includes Sweden now has herd immunity and will get out of the economic hole quicker. The economic effects will cause deaths that is for certain. In addition, will the WuFlu actually lead to more deaths overall?

Let's say that NZ has 20,000 deaths per year. The government is arguing that in effect that in NZ we will have 20,012 deaths - the usual deaths plus the extra 12 (as of today). Sweden argues that their death rate will be about the same as per normal. This will take time to work out.

Sweden they have social distancing, look after aged.
Are reluctant to give dictatorial powers to politicians.


Yes, way too premature to declare our superiority.

For example, if it's found that we can never produce a reliable vaccine (as we haven't been able to for the common cold), the Swedish approach makes far more sense. Basically a slow burn whereby hospitals stay within capacity, but over a number of months/years herd immunity is generated, slowing the spread to the vulnerable.

And that's not even taking into account the economic differences between the two options. What's the use of being Covid-free if we are all living in mud huts?

At some point we may just have to add Covid to the list of things that can kill us, and learn to live with it as a society as best we can.

Possibly Sweden is more highly geared, has more capacity and confidence in its hospitals and support services such as tracking. Initially my thoughts were that NZ need do no more than 2009 with the swine flu thingy. About 3500 cases, 19 deaths, reasonably acceptable one would think. But believe NZ’s decision was based more on the run down condition of our own health facilities, they would very soon be overwhelmed and the virus would breakout rampant as well as swamping all the other everyday hospital cases that obviously still exist.

While I generally agree with your sentiment, I feel obliged to point out that there are a number of reasons why there has never been a vaccine for the common cold. The most obvious of these is that it is not economically viable for drug companies to bother producing one, as there is *ahem* no point.

So a lot of money to be made treating symptoms, but if the symptoms obviously disappear when the cause does, then so too does the money. QED Roche for example.

Have you see n their stats? At least their most recent ones?


"but most people acknowledge we are on the right path"

This shows the ignorance of many. We do not know what the right path is. This is the problem. When this virus over we may do. We may find the 'right path' was the Swedish model.

I'm all for backing the decision made by Jacinda. But what I object to is the moment someone raises an alt view they are literally hung, drawn and quartered by every msm and social media mob. What happened to free speech and rational debate.

As a contrast the BIG issue of the generation is climate change. Yet we have no sense of urgency over this (yes I know some think it's a hoax, but in contrast to the virus the agreed facts are far far greater). weird to say the least....feed for conspiracy theories too.

We should ban all international travel via airplanes. Cargo only. That way, we reduce viral spread and also reduce emissions. 2 birds, 1 stone!
I strongly agree that no one knows where this ends. All educated guesses at this stage

While the wealth can't be shared equally, we must endured this health action for the good of everyone. Already send my advisory memo to all IWI business entities, that the next 12 months is short window opening for them to use the treaty settlement funds, the remaining of 56.6million Covid19 grants, that should all to be channeled into once in life time opportunity to provide more housing for our Natives. Before the opening up border for competition flurry of RE investment from US & China, 91% of Virgin Australia which owned by largely by Asians economic tigers are about to be procured by three of CCP owned carriers, AirNZ already lost there by asking their government, the next 12 months phase is critical by all IWIs & Maori led business initiatives to buy into big chunk of NZ/OZ govt F.I.RE economic plan, the RBNZ already signalling all those loosening up criterion, OZ Banks are ready now to facilitate this credit flow. Spending in RE is a sure step of investment for future economic stability, a strong assuring post to rely upon in uncertain world economic time.

you can jump to 10 mins in to hear US pig farmer talk.


Well worth a read. Draw your own conclusions. Quite a few ‘unreliable’ studies giving broadly similar results.

In other words they don't know.

"for the good of everyone" - why? This is a vacuous statement - a form of patriotism that can be used to stifle, if not oppress any dissent. Slippery road.

I wonder why venison is so much less popular than other meats? Is it a perception that its wild therefore dirty or inferior?

I love wild venison, the farmed stuff is a bit meh.

Wild pork is nice also - much better flavour.

Yea i agree. But why has venison not been able to break into export markets like pork, beef, lamb etc? And why isn't there much here on the supermarket shelves?

Oh it has, especially Germany. Without that initial market farmed venison in NZ would probably not have eventuated to the volume now. But you have to remember that it is perceived as “game meat.” That in Germany for example makes it seasonal. In fact the hunting regulations there are excellent and are unchanged since introduced by one Herman Goering circa 1935. In the USA, the greatest red meat market there is, venison has always carried a “Bambi” stigma. Finally it is not an easy cuisine, it is an unforgiving meat to prepare as its leanness requires it to be served hot enough to stop blood run but at the same time fairly rare, even roast type menus such as osso buco, not much margin for error and even more so, being grass fed in the first place it struggles even more than beef in markets more accustomed to the less odorous grain fed meats.

It might be a bit of a cultural thing too?
Needs a bit more attention than you're bog standard steak/sausage/chicken kebab bbq fare.
Plus it's pretty expensive in the supermarket chiller compared to what is allegedly beef steak.

Toddler and Chief is trying to cause more distractions again to his lack of response to the pandemic.

BBC Coronavirus: US green cards to be halted for 60 days, Trump says. "A day after he announced the move in an ambiguous tweet, Mr Trump said the measure would protect American jobs.
It is not clear how effective it will be as most visa services have already been suspended because of the outbreak.
Critics say he is trying to distract attention away from his response to the virus. The US has nearly 45,000 deaths.* https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52377122

USAs death rate now comes in at 0.0137% over the whole population, a fraction better than Europe at 0.0139% . But now Russia is having a large surge in infections, over 5000 in the last 24 hours. There is no doubt the Europe statistics will be far worse the USA. Bar New York for whatever reason,the USA has done well to keep death rates down. Especially more so when you consider that the 2018 flu season killed 80,000 people in the US alone. And we have a vaccine for flu.

No Sheep you don't have a vaccine for this coronavirus do you not understand that. And the US infection rates are rapid and spinning out of control. You can down play it as much as you like but the real facts are there. Go and take a look for yourself especially at the "How confirmed cases of coronvirus has spread graph. Oh and by the way the US death rate has just jumped to 47,227 deaths! BBC Coronavirus pandemic: Tracking the global outbreak. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51235105

Just to point out that Sweden has a far better resourced public sector and higher levels of equality which directly affects an individuals ability to be healthy in the first instance and if struck with Covid actually survive without being killed by underlying conditions stemming from poverty induced illnesses. This will be the big wake up call to all the neo liberal structured western economies that despite claims from the right that its cheaper to cut taxes and not invest in the pubic sector while leaving it all to the private sector to somehow magically solve a pandemic...its actually cheaper in the longrun to invest and maintain in public health than close down the Country and go bankrupt...

Believe Sweden already has a virtual ledger on every citizen monitoring alcohol consumption? Fairly good data base to adapt to CV19 tracking then.