Harsh media reaction to Covid border control shambles

Media has reacted harshly to a shambles of a week where it was revealed that the isolation of people coming into New Zealand was full of holes. Highlighted on Stuff today:

Tracy Watkins:  Urgent inquiry needed to restore faith

The damage done by the government’s border fiasco is almost incalculable.

Perhaps the greatest harm is the loss of confidence in another lockdown being worth the terrible pain.

If the Government tried to return the country to a level 4 lockdown tomorrow, there would probably be mass civil disobedience.

That’s because the mishandling of New Zealand’s border measures has been a massive breach of trust.

The Government has no choice now but to urgently order an independent inquiry – one that includes sweeping powers to investigate and inspect facilities on the ground.

That may be the only way to restore confidence. Because its assurances may no longer be enough.

Damien Grant: NZ’s ‘Covid-hysteria’ failure

The latest series of Covid-19 blunders is a timely reminder that the entire premise of the lockdown was hubris. The bureaucrats went from flattening the curve to believing that they could eliminate the virus and quarantine a population of 5 million people indefinitely from the 7 billion other people on the planet.

They can’t. The inevitability of this program’s failure, however, does not mean we will abandon it easily. But we will abandon it.

Dominion Post editorial: Bloomfield’s own goal (Bloomfield can be forgiven – this time)

There is an element of the tall falling further about the latest drama. Bloomfield was put on a pedestal so when the border blunders arose, it was a long way down. Some want more than just the apology he offered after he dusted himself off. Some scream for accountability.

Even with his reputation tarnished he deserves to stay in the job and the public should avoid a distracting hunt for a scapegoat. We don’t need a public bloodbath. Bloomfield should get the benefit of the doubt. On this occasion anyway.

Andrea Vance: We were sold a Covid illusion – If there must be anger, direct it at those who set unrealistic expectations

“We will get through this together, but only if we stick together, so please be strong and be kind,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told us way back in late March.

After that the words appeared over and over and over again. On motorway signs, billboards, even on the ticker that runs across my mobile phone home screen.

It’s so ubiquitous the sentiment doesn’t really mean anything. Kindness isn’t achievable without action.

It cannot be applied only when it suits, or just to those we believe deserving of it.

A call for mass kindness is a lot more complicated offline, and in the real world, than an empty hashtag suggests.

Which is why, as a health campaign, it was destined to fail.

And fail it did, dissolving in the acid wave of anger directed at the two unfortunate women who arrived from the UK infected with Covid-19.

Humans make mistakes, they flout the rules, forget stuff, or take desperate measures.

The terror at the threat of a new cluster was tangible. The Government could have eased some of that anxiety with more realistic, and blunt, messaging.

There is no exit in sight, the virus is lurking at the border, and we must accept the risk and learn to live with Covid-19, especially as more and more countries return to normality and begin to ease travel restrictions, as they have in Europe.

But now the public feel lied to – putting future public health messaging and compliance at risk.

This shows that the potential problems may go far further than Covid – Ministry’s handling of cancer diagnosis during lockdown a ‘disgrace’, top oncologist says

The 22 Covid-19 deaths will pale in comparison to the wave of deaths from cancer that will hit New Zealand, a respected oncologist predicts.

Recently retired oncologist Dr David Lamb, who worked in the cancer sector for more than 40 years, was the head of radiation oncology at Wellington Cancer Centre, and currently holds an academic position at Victoria University, has called the Ministry of Health’s handling of cancer diagnostics during lockdown a “disgrace”. He says the move has signed the death warrant for hundreds of Kiwis.

And despite the Ministry of Health pouring millions of dollars into the health sector to catch up on cancer diagnostics missed during lockdown, Lamb says it’s too little, too late.

In May, a report by the newly formed Cancer Control Agency found there were 1031 fewer cancer registrations in April 2020 compared to April 2019, a 47 per cent decrease, due to non-urgent diagnostic services being deferred during lockdown.

But Lamb said the catch up would only have worked if New Zealand was on top of diagnostics prior to the virus hitting New Zealand.

“The 22 deaths from Covid is going to appear tiny compared to the excess deaths from cancer as a result of lockdown,” he said.

“This is as a result of lockdown not permitting cancer diagnostic services to continue their essential work. It should have been ramped up like the supermarkets.”

Lamb said the already stretched waiting lists for diagnostics would be further impeded by the thousands missed during the lockdown.

“That is complete garbage,”’ Lamb said.

“This concept that we should catch up on just the April cases in three months is really quite ridiculous.

“Let’s say in June the cancer diagnostic services are back to normal. We’ve got all the cases that would have come in during June, which is about roughly 2000 new cases each month, and we’ve got this thousand from April that we didn’t diagnose.

“It’s bound to take a long time to clear that backlog of cases and a lot more cancer patients are going to die as a result of that.

“What I’m saying is that my modelling says there are going to be wait times for cancer diagnosis that are going to be around for a number of years rather than months.

“And therefore, the number of deaths is going to be in the hundreds, not in the 10s. Or just a few.”

And that is just cancer. There are other illnesses that will be behind in their diagnoses and treatments.

Many health services were already under severe pressure. More money is essential, but it will take a lot to catch up, it isn’t possible  to suddenly increase capacity to much more than the pre-Covid capability, which will be necessary to catch up.

Does anyone have any confidence in Minister of Health David Clark to get on top of this?  Ashley Bloomfield’s reputation has taken a big hit too, with confidence in his Ministry of Health plummeting.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  21st June 2020

    In better news, the Brits have developed life-saving treatments for the fatal covid 19 syndrome in children:

  2. John J Harrison

     /  21st June 2020

    Well, you knocked that one out of the park !
    Thank goodness for an honest oncologist carefully eviscerating the many lies we have had to accept as fact.
    Isn’t it interesting that Bloomfield is on his own when giving us the bad news while Ardern is front and centre with only the good news.
    She cannot remain in her bunker next week with parliament sitting.
    Should make entertaining viewing.
    Regrettably, that will only provide a modicum of enlightenment as our economy dives further into an inevitable depression.

    • Someone asked Official Information how many 80+ people more than usual died over the lockdown months.


      100 a month..

      This has had no publicity at all.

      • Pink David

         /  21st June 2020

        Excess deaths in the UK from heart attacks, strokes, etc are currently running at 55,000 for the 3 months of the lockdown. This is not of any interest to the media.

        • We were not told what the ones here died of, of course. But one can guess. And this was only that age 80+ age group. It’s too high to be chance. The numbers are not identical every week, of course, but 100 a month more than usual is too high to be a coincidence,

          I have read about the excess deaths elsewhere, but don’t remember it being on the news.

          Cancer deaths are going to rise because of the lockdown, and that came from a specialist who knew how much treatment had been put off because of the lockdown so that the hospitals could be kept free for the 15 covid patients who were in them,

  3. Duker

     /  21st June 2020

    What a surprise the usual labour government haters on Stuff/Dominion/Sunday Times find fault
    Andrea Vance …check
    Tracy Watkins..check
    Damien Grant … check …does he work for free, as he doesnt have any real competence in any area, ( his day job is insolvency despite being previously jailed for fraud) and heaps of real journos were laid off.

    • What a surprise, the usual messenger attacking while ignoring just a few examples of widespread dissatisfaction with dysfunctional border controls.

      • Gezza

         /  21st June 2020

        I read yesterday that one or both of 1News at 6’s Simon & Wendy weekly presenters have been told they are due for the chop. The CEO’s cost cutting, says they can only afford one presenter now. Be interesting to see who gets the job. 1News seems heavily weighted towards females.

        • Gezza

           /  21st June 2020

          “the Weekend Herald is aware of journalists on six-figure salaries who have been told this week they no longer have a job.

          As part of the restructure, it is also understood TVNZ will reduce its 6pm 1News bulletin to only one news reader.

          A TVNZ spokesperson and Dallow said “no comment” when questioned this week about potential news reader changes.

          It is not yet clear if TVNZ has made any decision on whether Petrie or Dallow will go but both were seen by colleagues leaving meetings carrying envelopes and “looking gutted” this week.”


          • “As part of the restructure, it is also understood TVNZ will reduce its 6pm 1News bulletin to only one news reader.’

            Good. The to and fro between two people reading the same script is distracting nonsense.

            I hope they also dump the screen wipe when crossing to some live feed saying it’s a live feed, so we can hear someone from the public that they didn’t live far away from where something happened.

            A couple of nights ago it took two news readers and at least two live reporters to say not much more than police statements had already said.

            Tonight is Country Calendar, which I often watch. I hope they ditch the dismal country wide weather forecast that airs about 20 minutes after a much more detailed countrywide forecast. I’m sure many farmers are like me and prefer to get their location specific weather information directly from Metservice.

            And I hope they stop telling us what to wear or to do or not do depending on some vague weather forecast. I prefer to make up my own mind.

            • Gezza

               /  21st June 2020

              “I hope they also dump the screen wipe when crossing to some live feed”

              Yes. That’s new this year and is an irritating, unnecessary effect. When I first started making me little local wildlife videos the programs I was using to put them together & edit the clips both have “transitions” effects you can insert between separate video clips or cut clips. I quickly discovered they should be used sparingly if at all, ruined the ‘flow’ & were mostly a waste of time.

            • We had one newsreader for many years; we don’t need two. Much was made of the 3 ones being able to sit close together again; who had noticed that they were not doing this ?

              The US has an ‘award’ for the most pointless live crossover,

              Here’s X, standing by a lamp post that could be anywhere.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  21st June 2020

      Andrea Vance a messenger fir the Centre Right… . Thanks for that Duke a good belly laugh is always great for your health!

  4. FarmerPete

     /  21st June 2020

    Hard to argue with much of the above. The be kind message is well and truly worn out in light of the governments decision not to hold anyone accountable. every time I see those obnoxious ‘unite for the recovery’ ads I grind my teeth. What a crock. Business has taken a massive hit and there is no clearly articulated plan for the way forward. A final thought- are those ad voice overs done by Tamati Coffey? It sounds like it to me.

    • Ding dong !!!! This is a covid 19 announcement. Wash your handy-pandies, kiddies. Ding dong !!!’

      One came on three times when I was at the Base having a muffin and coffee, and it was quick service, I was there for 15 minutes (?) and was told to wash my hands three times !

      The unite for recovery ones are Labour election ads with their slogan, paid for by us, as David Seymour pointed out; one was so blatantly the union (the one where the people are going back to work) that I am amazed it was let through. I assumed it was Unite, the union, and didn’t realise that it wasn’t (officially) one.

  5. Pink David

     /  21st June 2020

    Interesting data from Texas. Models, again, shown to be completely hopeless at prediction. IFR sitting at <0.1%, less harmful than a bad flu season.

  6. Tom Hunter

     /  21st June 2020

    Well Big Whoop! The MSM trying to have it both ways. No wonder they’re dying.

    Where were these pricks during the lockdown when almost anybody who made those points got shouted down as not caring about Old People (“sob”), among other calumnies against St Jacinda of Corona.

    All of this was entirely predictable. Track, trace and quarantine have always been the solutions to a pandemic, not this stupid “lockdown” policy copied from the CCP, who always naturally knee-jerk their way to such a policy, but which had, and still has, precious little evidence that it works – Lockdowns don’t work. What does?

    And spare me the claim that it has “worked” here. That’s just correlation not causation and taking an autistic view of elimination being the only goal. It’s like saying that a Police State policy on roads that resulted in zero road deaths “worked”. Yeah – if that’s the only measure that counts.

    Having said that I grudgingly accepted the argument that if our Public Healthcare system was so crap that we couldn’t do what Taiwan and South Korea did then a lockdown might be the only of squashing the curve. But given those crap systems there was no way in God’s Green Earth that they could then be used to “eliminate” the virus or even hold it at bay for any length of time.

    To be fair to Jacinda and company this is not down to them but down to our Public Healthcare system. National have said they would have done exactly the same and I’ve no doubt they would have, although a Tony Ryall would never have missed the things that dopey Clark did as Health Minister.

    Our Public Health system revealed that it is not our strongest feature but our weakest. Having to shut down much of the nation to save the healthcare system means that it is actually our weakest link, not our strongest. This was always going to happen and should have been the No. 1 argument against the insanity of the goal of “elimination”. Here’s another blogger, Alex Davis at The Emperor’s Robes way back on June 4:

    Eventually however whoever is in power in New Zealand will have to accept the inevitable: they will *have to* re-open the borders and watch Covid19 do what it has done everywhere else: slightly shorten the long lives of a small number of already very sick old people. Their deaths will be tragic and very public (unlike those for example of cancer sufferers whose treatment was delayed by lock down). The ship of New Zealand will come to rest exactly where it would have otherwise, Covid19 will be among us causing little harm to all but a handful, but we will be vastly indebted, causing harm to many.

    Why read Vance, Watkins and Grant when unpaid amateurs figured it out long before.

    And then there’s all those non-COVID deaths to come as a result: Visible Death vs. Invisible Death. And here I blame not just the Public Health officials for apparently never having taken that into account but Jacinda and co for not asking the question. In Britain they did:

    Matt Hancock, the health secretary, refuses to give a figure for the potential non-Covid fatalities from this catastrophe but the cabinet was told it could be up to 150,000 avoidable deaths.

    Again entirely predictable. But did these brave MSM reporters raise these matters? Did the NZ Herald and Stuff and OneNews and company address any of these arguments? I don’t read or watch any of the bastards nowadays so must rely on people who do, and from what they’ve told me (and almost all were huge supporters of the government and lockdown) they never were. Nor did those people want to hear such things anyway, so the MSM at least knows its audience.

    • National wouldn’t have made the lockdown go on for so long; they, like the rest of us, believed the four weeks of lockdown lie. They wanted to end it much sooner. I wonder if the PM now wishes that she’d made this happen.

      The line that if you question lockdown you are a heartless and selfish brute who puts money ahead of human life is rife in the US, according to a Canadian friend who lives there, married to an American and has been abused online and called hateful and other things if she raises the question.

      It’s impossible just now to know how many preventable deaths here happened because of the lockdown. But if the UK has had 150,000, would it be a reasonable guess that we have had 10,000 ?

      • Duker

         /  21st June 2020

        “National wouldn’t have made the lockdown go on for so long; they, like the rest of us, believed the four weeks of lockdown lie. They wanted to end it much sooner. I wonder if the PM now wishes that she’d made this happen.”

        have you seen the results in Victoria , its 15-25 new cases PER DAY, and they are airport arrivals.
        They were only at the level 3.5 stage and maybe moving to level 2 , which has been halted .
        We left all that stuff weeks ago because our form of stronger lockdown was a success.

        Half measures only mean that restrictions have to be bought back in, which is why we delayed the level 3 and 2 to be really sure . Its worked, as all new cases are arrivals at airport not spread internally inspite of all pubs, restaurants, sporting fixtures back to full numbers.
        Australia doesnt have that in any state,. So kitty be careful what you ask for , Im sure you dont want Victorias 20 new cases per day.

    • Kimbo

       /  21st June 2020

      Yep. The same MSM has now done a 180 turn on the issue of exemptions for those coming from overseas to attend funerals. Previously it was “heartless health officials denying mourners access to funerals”. Now it is “incompetent health officials allowing mourners to attend funerals”. Gotta sell that fish and chip wrapper!

      • Duker

         /  21st June 2020

        As well the have been pumping every person with a mere work visa who is ‘stranded overseas’, as its only citizens and permanent residents who can come, and around 2500 who were given an exemption, including Avatar film makers.
        The numbers game means that those that are ‘stuck’ will have to lower their expectations till next year some time. If then……cue more wailing from people who only have a limited time work visa but claim to have made NZ ‘home’.
        Not how it works, unless you are already on path way to residency type of visa, its all over rover. Try again in 5 years but at least they are stranded in country they were born in most instances.

  7. Pink David

     /  21st June 2020

    NZ should make this compulsory.


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