National hopelessness, conspiracy and paranoia

National is in a seemingly hopeless position in the polls, and they are understandably frustrated that this week’s Covid outbreak and lockdowns have stopped them from campaigning in person around the country, and has made it difficult for them compete for media coverage. It is a hopeless situation for them, with little they can do about it.

Unfortunately leader Judith Collins and her deputy and National’s campaign director Gerry Collins are making things worse with some of their policy promotion choices, and seem to be heading into conspiracy territory.

Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): The paranoid style in New Zealand politics

“We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”- Richard Hofstadter, ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’, 1964

Nothing wrong with asking questions, is there? Where’s the harm in that? ‘They’ haven’t turned that into a crime as well, have they?

Such was the tone of the National Party’s press conference on new community cases of Covid-19, in an ill omen for the tenor of the campaign for our next election – whenever that proves to be.

National leader Judith Collins offered a small hint of her likely approach when news of the four South Auckland cases broke on Tuesday night, saying the return of the virus would “come as a shock to all New Zealanders who believed what we had been told – that we had got on top of this virus”.

If there were any reservations about going negative, they were not on display as Collins and her deputy leader Gerry Brownlee instead doubled down on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked about the Government’s timeline, Collins said she was “hearing a lot of rumours”.

Several minutes later, her deputy leader Gerry Brownlee outlined – unprompted – an allegedly suspicious series of events in recent weeks, as if joining the pieces of the puzzle with string on an overloaded pinboard.

“The messaging around a possible further outbreak of Covid-19 began … about 10 days ago; on top of that there was the issue of masks, we were encouraged to start purchasing masks to have them available in the emergency kit.

“Dr Bloomfield went a bit further, in one interview I saw suggested that people might wear a mask for one day a week, just to get used to the idea of wearing masks.

“Then you saw the Prime Minister’s visit to the mask factory … along with Dr Bloomfield, after 103 days of no community transmission having a test himself – all very interesting things to happen a matter of hours before there was a notification of the largest residential part of New Zealand going into Level 3 lockdown.”

Pressed on what exactly he was implying, Brownlee replied with a smirk: “I’m just outlining facts … it’s an interesting series of facts.”

Exactly what those facts were meant to prove was left unsaid – although leaving it to the vivid imaginations of tired and scared New Zealanders was perhaps the point.

Then, outlining her desire to delay the election to November or even next year, Collins appeared to borrow from Donald Trump’s playbook in casting aspersions on the trustworthiness of postal voting – despite the fact New Zealanders can already apply to cast a ballot by mail.

“This is a serious issue, it is not a laughing issue, it is not something to joke around, and it’s certainly not something to have just put in an envelope and sent off with no verification as to who anyone is.”

Jacinda Ardern certainly has a big publicity advantage over her campaign opponents, but heading into paranoia and conspiracy territory is a hapless and probably hopeless approach for Collins and Brownlee.

This is on top of tired old policy position announcements like getting tough on gangs and building more roads, as well as the very disappointing National caucus position opposing cannabis law reform.

The line of attack from Collins and Brownlee comes from a darker place, and it is hard to know which is worse – that they genuinely believe in some sort of grand cover-up, or are prepared to stoke such sentiment out of political expediency.

To be clear, there is plenty of ground for legitimate criticism of the Government’s response.

Information about the locations visited by the new positive cases has dribbled out slowly and inconsistently, leaving those who may have been a casual contact on edge.

Ardern’s refusal to engage in “hypotheticals” about the likely extension of Auckland’s lockdown, given the 14-day incubation period that we have all learned about, seems overly cautious and potentially counterproductive in preparing people for a long haul.

But making ominous references to “interesting facts” does nothing to address those concerns, and runs the risk of undermining public buy-in for a longer lockdown, should one be required.

These are very poor attempts to hold the Government to account.

And they are unlikely to be rewarded by voters.

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53 Comments

  1. David

     /  13th August 2020

    So the medias position is now trust the government and attack anyone who questions the messaging. Frankly that is frightening, should we just accept that the government has stuffed up, not question it and just annoit them with a 2nd term with the only question is should they have a coalition partner.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th August 2020

      Nationals default action=Dirty Politics.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  13th August 2020

      “the government has stuffed up”
      You mean the lockdowns werent strong enough and should have lasted longer.?
      The 100 days without community transmission showed it did work. People getting tests if they have symptons – when it could be flu- is up to individuals

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  13th August 2020

      TV One worked National over tonight. Especially over Nationals insinuations. National has made a strategic blunder in this regard. They should have dug in deep and reiterated things looked suspicious. Many of the public would have agreed. And…given the lies this government has been telling, National would have almost certainly hit pay dirt sooner or later.

      Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th August 2020

    Three more months of lockdown?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th August 2020

      Art shop should last another 3 then Al.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th August 2020

        Plenty won’t I think. Auckland lockdown will hit the whole country hard. “Be kind” will be the cover for destroying many lives.

        Reply
  3. duperez

     /  13th August 2020

    Judith Collins is “hearing a lot of rumours”? Indeed, straight out of the Donald Trump playbook.
    “People are telling me… that’s what they’re saying… I don’t know if it’s true… but that’s what they say… there are a lot of rumours about…it’s very interesting what I’m hearing.”

    “Hydroxychlorobrownlee apparently works, it works just fine. Well, that’s the rumour.”

    It is rather tawdry, it’s also rather pathetic. Not just that it’s come to that in itself, but it’s come to expecting that people would somehow not notice.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  13th August 2020

      If you say. I personally have the popcorn out.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  13th August 2020

        If you’d had the popcorn out for months and observed Trump, and observed Collins in recent weeks you’d see and recognise the style. Well, maybe not.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  13th August 2020

          Time to spin, eh. I don’t know what Trump has to do with our situation. But then again the hatred of America, National and rich pricks is well know amongst the Left. It’s a global thing.

          However, Jacinda has painted herself into a corner. She said it’s a Covid election. She’s got it.

          Reply
  4. lurcher1948

     /  13th August 2020

    Someone on TV has just said “Ms Collins has to stop whining”.I hope Ms Collins is approaching meltdown and there will be another National Party leader change,whose left to take over? Mr Brownlee?

    Reply
    • LOL Gerry Brownlee? He’s become the washed-up Rudy Giuliani of the National Party, spouting his sad conspiracy theories about Ardern and masking.

      They are so lost at sea, that it would not surprise me one iota if National under Collins and Brownlee tries floating a kiwi-style pizzagate,

      Reply
  5. Gerrit

     /  13th August 2020

    The attacks from commentators on Collins is relentless. If people are so sure of Arderns footing why the rambling attacks on Collins? In blogs and the MSM.

    Is there a building resentment against Ardern and must she be protected at all cost (or to the tune of $50M)?

    If the polls are correct why worry?

    Or are people picking up the groundswell of discontent?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th August 2020

      Collins is being deliberately provocative…floating conspiracy theories along with…Brownlee.

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  13th August 2020

      ”If the polls are correct why worry?
      Or are people picking up the groundswell of discontent?”

      Bingo!

      Like the security staff at my ANZ branch who had to constrain a bro who went berserk and called out ” this is bs.” The reason was a middleclass Milly with a face mask and latex gloves telling him and later me that they would prefer it if we used the machines for deposits. I reminded her ANZ had discontinued the fast deposit envelopes…and I wasn’t interest in the other machines. She looked most put out.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  13th August 2020

        Yes . Thats a deliberate attempt by the banks to FORCE customers not to use bank tellers and go ‘online’
        Its only a side issue to covid, but they are using the lockdowns to advantage themselves…she may get a bonus if the teller transactions drop away

        Reply
    • No Gerrit, people are picking up on the similarities between the Collins/Brownlee dirty politics game and Trumpism are are rightly and strongly rejecting it.

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  13th August 2020

        I guess it depends upon your view point and who you talk (or more importantly, listen) to.

        Dirty politics to ask for democracy? oh well Ardern made this a covid election so why are people surprised National will follow suit?

        Usurp democracy at your peril.

        I stand by my call that Collins is forcing Ardern to accept a government of national unity with a call to delay the election. Ardern is resisting for she (Ardern) knows all the secrets in regards of who knew what and when will be open to inspection when we have a unity government.

        If your bubble is confined (like yours sounds like it is) to like minded individuals, you will always get the answer you espouse.

        Lots of rumours circulating that the virus is now spread to Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

        The Ardern 1 O’clock party political broadcast will be interesting.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  13th August 2020

          The convention in NZ always has been for the PM to call the election date ‘thats for their political advantage’. Its never been a date thats ‘fair’ for the opposition leader.

          Remember Muldoons famous quote after the snap election was announced.
          Doesnt give the oppossssition mush time eitherrr

          In this case Sept has been the majority of dates ,5 out 7 after the 1999 election.
          And the 2011 Nov date came a month after NZ winning the Rugby World Cup which Key used the final as an election rally, as he was entitled to do so.

          Reply
  6. duperez

     /  13th August 2020

    There is a tendency when a new acne pimple appears to pay attention to it.

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  13th August 2020

      Went to the local 4 square last night
      Only 10 allowed in at a time.
      Lots of stocking up from a good humored population
      Except for one Karen doing her nut.
      Bet she was a right wing voter
      All such behaviour does is turn off the rest of us towards your cause.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  13th August 2020

        Those Karens ( or Garrys) are typically going on a rant to those they consider beneath them…. service workers of many kinds, banks, police, call centres, shops etc

        Reply
  7. Alan Foster

     /  13th August 2020

    Pressed on what exactly he was implying, Brownlee replied with a smirk: “I’m just outlining facts … it’s an interesting series of facts.”
    Yes, saw this on TV – Brownlee looked a real plonker

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  13th August 2020

      Looks can be deceiving of course.😂

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th August 2020

        So can words. Obviously the government knew this was coming. It has been emitting warning noises for days to cushion the blow.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  13th August 2020

          No it didnt ‘know’ The Korean guy who tested positive on arrival back in Korea just confirmed what they had been saying ALL ALONG. Un detected cases in small numbers were still highly likey’

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  13th August 2020

            You don’t know they didn’t know. They knew to test all the family and then their contacts. That’s probably about three days of knowing.

            Reply
          • Duker

             /  13th August 2020

            The Korean guy was 12-15 days ago, thats when the ads started reappearing and the warnings about new cases are ‘likely’

            Reply
  8. Corky

     /  13th August 2020

    Funny how you can be famous in whatever field of endeavour you like. But if you start to deviate from how most people think…you suddenly become a conspiracy nut. I don’t mind being called a conspiracy nut. In fact I welcome it. It means, rightly or wrongly, I can think for
    myself.

    Pete Evans, ex star chef is another nut who has given Jacinda a serve. Is he right or misguided? Time will tell.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12356031

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  13th August 2020

      Please dont confuse thinking for yourself and adopting ‘ nutjob of the day’ conspiracy theories. They never have thought for themselves or even ‘worked it out’
      Yes , you have a potpourri of odd views, as they seem to attract your interest like some bright shiny things. The secret is to know when you are wrong on subjects, I find that happens to me all the time and I evolve

      Reply
  9. Brian Johnston

     /  13th August 2020

    Is the Covid thing a massive scam. NZ big lockdown 4 deaths per million. South Korea no lockdown just masks 5 deaths per million. The current lockdown appears to be more like Sth Korea.
    Outbreak in Auckland. One house. Really. Instead of locking down one house and following up with testing. Lockdown the whole of Auckland. Really.
    Does the Covid from China have American DNA. Apparently yes.
    We are being played big time. Too much double speak going on. The truth will come out.

    Collins popularity is not the highest and not helped by:
    Collins has to know Watson is innocent along with Lundy and McDonald. Bain innocent. Adams cringed when she had to hand $800k to Bain.
    Pora received $2.5m and he put the rope around his own neck chasing a reward.
    Why say all this. Collins has been both minister of police and minister for justice and brought about no changes. Her own track record makes it difficult for herself.

    We have to stop calling our politicians The Right Honourable. It is just too much.
    This applies to all of them.
    I am not singling out National. Labour is equally as bad possibly worse.
    Little Andrew minister of Justice. No help for Scotty or the others.

    We need a new party. One is on the way for the next election.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  13th August 2020

      “Outbreak in Auckland. One house.. Lockdown the whole of Auckland. Really.”

      3 other workers at the Mt Wellington Frozen goods warehouse tested positive
      One other student at Mt Albert Grammar ( connected to family) tested positive

      Thats the point, by the time the first test result comes in there was already half a dozen or more others positive who havent been tested yet, some say it could be over 20 as a good 40% of cases dont have symptoms.

      Your understanding of how infectious diseases spreads is incomplete…ask Victoria how the softy softly lockdown process works and we would throw away all the previous lockdowns which were sucessful. The risk was always there because testing people twice in quaratine might still miss some people as its not 100% foolproof.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th August 2020

        Testing is far too slow. The cost of delay is huge.

        Reply
        • MoH and Government said they expected more community cases and assured us they were well prepared, but the first time it happens they don’t seem to be able to keep up with testing. This is very concerning.

          And outside of their prepared PR exercises information has been hard to find and slow to come out. Also concerning they can’t get basic communication right.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  13th August 2020

            There are queues and delays to get tested and then delays to get results. Meanwhile there are tests that give results within an hour.

            Reply
            • David

               /  13th August 2020

              Just drove past the Christchurch East testing station and the queue is many many blocks long.

            • Corky

               /  13th August 2020

              Did you have to urinate on the side of the road like others?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th August 2020

              Wasn’t me, a local shopkeeper friend who had to cut short his annual holiday to fly home from Queenstown and prepare his business for lockdown. I didn’t ask about their toilet history.

            • Blazer

               /  13th August 2020

              ‘who had to cut short his annual holiday to fly home from Queenstown and prepare his business for lockdown’

              must be really doing it…TOUGH…!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th August 2020

              All working people up here have to take winter holidays because summer is hectic work. Open 6 days a week for most of the year is indeed doing it pretty tough. Guess you wouldn’t know that.

            • Blazer

               /  13th August 2020

              Good to see that Covid has barely impacted their lifestyle…then.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th August 2020

              Actually it has. No annual holiday. 8 hours in their car getting home from Auckland airport. Your comprehension is not improving.

      • Pink David

         /  13th August 2020

        “Your understanding of how infectious diseases spreads is incomplete…ask Victoria how the softy softly lockdown process works and we would throw away all the previous lockdowns which were sucessful. ”

        Victoria has had the strictest and longest lockdown in Australia. There is nothing ”softly softly’ about it.

        Amusing how your only answer on this is more lockdown. Longer! Stricter! Earlier!

        Reply
  10. Brian Johnston

     /  13th August 2020

    Duker: Testing positive is not the point. Having covid is the point. There is a difference.
    You do not seem to understand what is happening. Testing positive does not mean one has covid. Testing positive is to scare the hell outa people. You mention Victoria which along with other socialist states have high covid outbreaks or rather high levels of positive tests. Jacked up. Part of the scam. Covid is no more infectious than influenza.

    A lot of nut jobs rabbiting on about conspiracy theorists. There is nothing wrong with questioning the official explanation. In fact we should. For example Lee Harvey Oswald did not shoot Kennedy and there still has not been a proper investigation.

    Ya wanna know what a conspiracy is, Google; Jekyll Island secret meeting.

    A conspiracy is where 2 or more people plan in secrecy. They plot and scheme for all sorts of nefarious agendas and reasons.

    9/11 is another good example. A plane did not fly into the Pentagon

    Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and MLK were also victims of a conspiracy.
    James Earl Ray did not kill King. Sirhan Sirhan, mind controlled.

    John Lennon taken out by a conspiracy. The gunman was controlled

    Jim Garrison said of the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations, same organisation.

    None of the above involved a “lone gunman”

    Non de plumes, aliases all over this site. Why cant people identify themselves?

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  13th August 2020

      Oh dear
      This one has crank magnetism.

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th August 2020

      How is Jekyll island and conspiracy. .do tell!

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  13th August 2020

      I don’t put my name up because I am in New Zealand and I bribed Wayne Barnes to make sure NZ didn’t beat France in the Rugby World Cup in 2007. If I put my name up, knowing that I’m responsible for NZ losing would haver people despise me or deal to me. If they dismissed it, they’ll think I’m just a nut job rabbiting on with a conspiracy theory.

      The same with me saying that I know all about John Lennon being taken out by a conspiracy, the gunman being controlled and the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations being tied up to the same organisation. I won’t say anything about the Michael Jackson situation either.
      🙃

      Reply

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