Covid rumours and truth

First the official truth:

Gerry Brownlee, Judith Collins and Winston Peters have all been guilty of encouraging rumours and conspiracies.

On the border testing laxness and rumour and conspiracy mongering: The truth is out there, but National’s looking in the wrong places

Like two-thirds of The X-Files Lone Gunmen, deputy leader Gerry Brownlee and Judith Collins, went full tinfoil hat.

Brownlee posed a series of questions suggesting the Government knew more than it was imparting about community transmission. (After a horrified public backlash, he somewhat retreated).

The thing is, Gerry, the truth is out there. You just weren’t asking the right questions.

There is much to probe about the Government’s response to this fresh outbreak.

Border restrictions and quarantine kept the virus out, but there was always a chance an infectious person would slip through.

Having made the sacrifice of a seven-week down, the public trusted that should that happen, a thorough testing and contact tracing system coupled with swift isolation would avoid further punishing restrictions on our freedoms.

And yet, testing centres have been overwhelmed, with lines stretching up to two kilometres and people waiting all day to be swabbed.

There were reports of mums queueing with young children, people turned away because they weren’t in a vehicle and others forced to queue with symptomatic people – with little social distancing and hardly anyone wearing a mask.

Others have experienced problems signing in to or registering for the Health Ministry’s NZ Covid Tracer app, which collects and helps track users’ whereabouts.

Uptake has been low: it has just under 1 million registered users, around a quarter of the eligible population.

But if public apathy was a problem – official complacency was even more worrying.

It emerged that fewer than half of the staff of the 6000 to 7000 staff who work at the border and 32 managed isolation and quarantine facilities were tested for Covid-19 in recent months.

These facilities are the most likely source of the south Auckland outbreak.

It is possible to challenge and test the competency of the Government’s management of this crisis, while broadly supporting the approach.

That’s actually the duty of the Opposition.

But by choosing to appeal to paranoia, National isn’t just damaging its own credibility and electoral fortunes, but is wilfully sabotaging trust in health advice and the authority of Government.

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71 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  16th August 2020

    Moral virtue deserted the National Party…long…ago.

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  16th August 2020

      Always onto the important things being discussed Blaze, or not!
      We are told that we should only believe what we are told at the 1 o’clock briefing but unfortunately in the last couple of days the wrong school mentioned as having a Covid infected pupil, and far worse the Health Minister said he had looked into a Ramen Shop’s media claim that a person who later tested positive had been there.

      “We are not going to continue to comment on every speculation on social media, because there is a lot of false information. We do have a very consolidated process in place so when we do make announcements here, that information is all correct and accurate.”

      Turns out he was wrong…again.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  16th August 2020

        Ray I say Ray ,I realise moral virtue is not important to the right.

        It’s all about the …economy…right?

        Reply
      • Fight4nz

         /  16th August 2020

        “ Always onto the important things being discussed ”?
        Pakuranga college has a casual link not a case. Error made, admitted, corrected, apologies given.
        Claim looked into. Comment not made. Not even a contradiction. Where’s the “far worse”, “wrong again” in that?
        I understand B’s temptation to be dismissive of empty hot air and hyperbole.

        Reply
        • No apology was made when I last read the story about Pakuranga College,

          The Minister has admitted the inexcusable slackness that may well have led to this new outbreak, but no apology has been made for that, either.

          The hot air, hyperbole and self-praise by the PM and her fawning followers has been well and truly shown up for what it was.

          Reply
  2. Corky

     /  16th August 2020

    ”But by choosing to appeal to paranoia, National isn’t just damaging its own credibility and electoral fortunes, but is willfully sabotaging trust in health advice and the authority of Government.”

    Seems to me National are one step away from being proven right( again). There’s too much concern about conspiracy theories…and not enough focus on government stupidity, ineptitude and plain idiocy…things that fuel conspiracy theories.

    Thankfully we have talback radio.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  16th August 2020

      Yes National are not presenting this manifesto of theirs in a compelling fashion….

      ‘and not enough focus on stupidity, ineptitude and plain idiocy…things that fuel conspiracy theories.’

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  16th August 2020

        No need, Blazer. All National need is to be in power. The proof is in the governance. Labour have already failed. Time for them to sling their hooks..and for Jacinda to hit the UN.

        Reply
        • Poor UN if that happens.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  16th August 2020

            6 more years , KK.
            Its a lot harder when you have a young family and the travel for an international job. Neve can still be in Auckland of Wellington near her Mum as most travel is around the country.

            Maybe UNICEF when the kids are in high school? Thats 12 years away ! UNICEF HQ is in New York

            Reply
      • Corky

         /  16th August 2020

        Crikey, I thought I heard Gezza.

        Reply
  3. John J Harrison

     /  16th August 2020

    Pete, I am sure you would have read HDA in today’s Herald on Sunday.
    She tears the ineptitude of Ardern and Hipkins to bits over their lies and willful disinformation.
    She firstly restates the lies regarding lack of enough PPE gear ( not forgetting the whoppers regarding lack of flu – jabs ) , testing kits and the disastrous lack of testing of front line workers to the point where only 1/3 had been tested over the first 5 months.
    HDA then slates the gold – standard contact tracing system that Ardern told us was world class.
    Fact, it never existed !
    HDA makes the point that we have failed to adequately succeed in tracing from a single family and closing down our biggest city of 1.7 million at a weekly cost of $440 million per week.
    Ardern has been shown up as unprincipled charlatan in playing politics at the expense of our health and our devastated economy.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  16th August 2020

      Ah I see what ails you John….a diet with too much HDP and causing symptoms of Hoskings disease…..it is treatable.

      Reply
      • John J Harrison

         /  16th August 2020

        Blazer, kindly detail what she wrote that is incorrect.
        We are all waiting with baited breath.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  16th August 2020

          It is merely her opinion.

          Reply
          • John J Harrison

             /  16th August 2020

            Blazer, she detailed FACTS.

            Clearly you are on a fact – free rant this morning.
            We all await you detailing where she has erred in her article.
            Or has Frazer House failed to send you the script ?

            Reply
    • Corky

       /  16th August 2020

      Damn straight, John. It’s a sad litany of bullshit and government failures. Even sadder, it’s par for the course when a socialist gummint is in power.

      Reply
  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  16th August 2020

    There are a lot of folks in the Leftist media running shotgun for the CoL’s mess-ups/cover-ups.

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  16th August 2020

      Not just in the leftish media, they function in here without addressing the issues but instead just denigrate and discussion.

      We see so many…blazing squirrels here.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  16th August 2020

        Brownlee is the biggest squirrel to fall out of….a tree.

        Reply
      • Fight4nz

         /  16th August 2020

        “ HDA in today’s Herald on Sunday.
        She tears the ineptitude of Ardern and Hipkins to bits over their lies and willful disinformation.”

        The right wing MSM and allies in here demonstrably leading the charge on denigration.

        Reply
        • John J Harrison

           /  16th August 2020

          Since when has the MSM been right wing ?
          Perhaps it is simply a case of the scales falling from their eyes and noticing the truth for once – as opposed to the copious amounts of fairy dust they have previously been blinded with.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  17th August 2020

            The MSM is owned by wealthy right wingers.

            As Norwegian historian Rutger Bregman pointed out at Davos,billionaires paying millionaires to spread their propaganda.

            Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th August 2020

    It is possible to challenge and test the competency of the Government’s management of this crisis, while broadly supporting the approach.

    That’s actually the duty of the Opposition.

    If this apology for a journalist actually meant what she has said she is disgracefully and abysmally wrong. It is never the duty of the Opposition to broadly support the Government’s approach.

    Either she cannot write or cannot think or both.

    Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  16th August 2020

      Er, yes it is.

      Or at least it often is during (and as per the key qualifier you’ve omitted), “a crisis”.

      Plus her statement about the Opposition’s duty related to the primary clause, “It is possible to challenge and test the Government’s management” (and its policies for that matter too), not the secondary, “while broadly supporting the approach”. Which Her Majesty’s loyal Oppositions often do too, on a regular basis, not just during crises. Hence the not uncommon refrain from Opposition spokespeople at times, “We support the Government in this matter…”.

      And credit where it is due, Brownlee has confirmed he got it wrong in dog whistling to conspiracy theorists:

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122453434/gerry-brownlee-admits-getting-into-a-bad-spot-over-covid-conspiracy-theories

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  16th August 2020

        The Opposition have the option to broadly support the Government but certainly not a duty – crisis or otherwise. A crisis makes it more imperative that alternative responses are considered.

        If it was not meant to apply to the condition it was just sloppy writing as I offered.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  16th August 2020

          Let me help you by omitting the intervening offending phrase, which is grammatically subordinate and as per good comprehension should be regarded as such. Therefore it does not govern the following sentence. Instead:

          “It’s possible to challenge and test the Government’s management of this crisis…That’s actually the duty of the Opposition”.

          Looks like the lady has passed Civics 101 to me. And we disagree on her writing skills.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  16th August 2020

            It’s ambiguous at best. The comma implies a distinct pause as spoken and the following phrase hangs in the air to be referenced by the second sentence.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  16th August 2020

              Let’s get pedantic….recalcitrant…..nonsense.

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              Kindly play with your crayons – but don’t eat them! – while the adults talk, Blazer.

              And the tools of clear expression are important, because without them you cannot adequately and accurately communicate worthwhile thought or understand those of others. Mind you, judging by your efforts on Your NZ, “worthwhile thought” and “Blazer” are rather a contradiction in terms. Instead, you treat the minutiae that contributes to accuracy in the same way a baboon chancing upon a stethoscope might use it to scratch its arse. Usually I wouldn’t be so unkind, but hey, you fired first.

              But here. I’ll give you the chance to redeem yourself by kindly explaining how “recalcitrant” had any relevance to the thread, other than being a “big” word that sounds scary and impressive.

              And that’s Mr Pedantic to you, thanks very much. And Alan is not Mr Nonsense, he’s “Mr Tosh”;)

            • Blazer

               /  16th August 2020

              As I know you would never be condescending or patronising,my use of recalcitrance, is an observation that some posters can not accept that they have been exposed and resort to…grasping at straws or increasingly…strawmen.

              May comments always be made in the best…possible taste.

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              Sorry, B, I was just channeling my 7th form English teacher who once observed of me in that nasally whiny accent of those who are of Scouse/Cheshire origin, “in theerty years of teaching en three different countrees, your the most arrogant pupil I ever had”.

              Those who know me suggest he was on the money. 😂

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              The test for Alan would be how you could write the same thoughts, all of which are valid, yet removing the alleged ambiguity, and still maintaining the invaluable tension of the competing juxtaposition, and ending with the same emotionally-effective punchline. Alan has a point that an intervening side-thought does distract from the logical thread. Maybe just a straight copy-and-paste and touch-up does it:

              While broadly supporting the Government’s approach to this crisis, it’s possible to challenge and test the competency of the management,

              That’s actually the duty of the Opposition.

              Yeah, nah. The primary clause runs straight on to that very effective last sentence/ Nonetheless, if you are not paying careful attention it is still possible to misread the Oppositions’ duty is to support the Government’s approach.

              So perhaps Alan might like to expend a few minutes of his valuable time and suggest an alternative.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th August 2020

              I was just about to make the same reordering which is the obvious improvement.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th August 2020

              You could remove all doubt be starting with “Although they broadly support …”

            • kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              Not convinced, Al.

              Put it this way, Blazer sold me on his understanding and use of “recalcitrant” (albeit I’m not sure the cap fits you). Whereas now that you’ve thrown the element of doubt in my mind, I’m not sure what is and isn’t the Opposition’s duty has being accurately expressed!

              Anyone else finding they have too much time on their hands during lock down?! 😉

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th August 2020

              Despite the Opposition broadly supporting the Government’s approach, it is possible to challenge and test the competency of the Government’s management of this crisis – the latter being the duty of the Opposition.

              Belt and braces.

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              No, as a flat piece of prose communicating information it may work. But as you’ve run it all together it lacks emotional punch. Especially with the last bit. The original worked really well because it had that, “wait for it, wait for it…Pow!” Effect.

              And whatever else, good persuasive writing has to warm the heart, as well as inform the mind.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th August 2020

              While broadly supporting the Government’s approach to this crisis, it’s possible to challenge and test the competency of the management.

              Challenging and testing is actually the duty of the Opposition.

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              Yes, I thought of something like that, but it is cluttered compared to the original, which yet again dissipates the punch.

              Sorry, Al, I’m a tough subbie. 🙂

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th August 2020

              At least the punch hits the target and not the spectator. She cluttered the ring by bringing the spectator into it.

    • Lurcher1948

       /  16th August 2020

      Ms Collins is the latest cab of the rank,another cab is approaching

      Reply
  6. artcroft

     /  16th August 2020

    Much is made of Brownlee’s comments. It was clumsily done but I wouldn’t be surprised if a future inquiry reveals that Dr Bloomfield was pretty sure there was a new outbreak present in the country when he made his call for masks to be stock up on.

    Not that I blame him for this. I’d have played it the same way. However watching how the media form the narrative around this is telling. You quickly see that every story needs a villain and National are it at present, and what ever they do will be villainous until a better villain appears.

    Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  16th August 2020

      “ HDA in today’s Herald on Sunday.
      She tears the ineptitude of Ardern and Hipkins to bits over their lies and willful disinformation.”

      Seems MSM have another villain.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th August 2020

      Our media and academia are a Lefty disgrace at present and feed off each other.

      Reply
      • Fight4nz

         /  16th August 2020

        Academia by and large are disinterested beyond who is offering best research funding.
        Media for the Right
        – coverage of Bridges flailing
        – coverage of Miller’s flailing
        – coverage of Collins flailing
        – headline billing for security breaches, flaws in distribution of medical supplies, testing regimes, error in naming of College, etc, etc, etc
        – unfair advantage for election
        – Talk back radio, as confirmed by Corky on a number of occasions

        Media for the left
        – broadcasting of daily updates by Jacinda

        MSM always is and always has favoured the Right

        Reply
  7. John J Harrison

     /  16th August 2020

    By the way, where the is the venerable Megan Woods ?
    You all know she took charge of the border two months ago – right ?
    So now that there is a litany of failures published in the left wing MSM where is Megan and her defense of her portfolio?
    Crickets !

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  16th August 2020

      Woods will be happy that in your hour of need you seek her to give you solace. What is it that has some people wanting to be mummied every moment of the day?
      If your determination to not trust anyone in the government more than .00001% on anything were bottled, you could sell the product to other serially disenchanted living in some parallel universe.

      Reply
  8. David

     /  16th August 2020

    Given how many times Bloomfield has lied to us and 2 ministers its not surprising rumours fly around.
    Fly jabs, PPE, testing of Frontline staff…

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  16th August 2020

      I wouldnt say ‘lied to us’ , it seems that the officials and staff in Auckland doing the testing – Auckland Regional Public health have been repeatedly misleading MoH and Ministers in Wellington.
      Now the latest that the hotel, security and other medical staff at the quarantine hotels havent ALL been tested as the bureaucrats and ministers have been told. Seems to be some ‘didnt want to be tested’ …. its crazy that a refusal is allowed in the circumstances.
      Is it a few senior medical staff in ARPH ‘ allowing the refusals to happen’
      ARPH are also the group running the covid testing clinics around Auckland – its combination of the 3 local DHBs

      Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  16th August 2020

        Sorry, I’m presuming what you mean is that those who refuse to be tested should be redeployed to another role. Which is fair enough. But By law, as I understand it, no one including the government can compel someone against their will to undergo any medical procedure or test.

        Reply
        • Maggy Wassilieff

           /  16th August 2020

          Under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act the DG of Health and the Minister of Health can order persons to:

          report for and undergo a medical examination or testing of any kind, and at any place or time, specified and in any specified way or specified circumstances:

          http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2020/0012/latest/LMS344177.html

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  16th August 2020

            Very interesting. Thanks, Maggy.

            Reply
          • Fight4nz

             /  16th August 2020

            Which, based on “public” outcry, the Minister has now imposed.
            So do you want the government to be heavy handed or not?

            Reply
          • NeoPundit

             /  16th August 2020

            Thank you for not conflating persons with people. Natural rights are still part of the law of NZ, although the state can maintain plausible denial when this isn’t common knowledge.

            Reply
            • Maggy Wassilieff

               /  16th August 2020

              I’m not legally trained….
              so the distinction between persons and people escapes me…

              I only used persons because that is what is used in the legislation.
              It’s not a word I would have normally employed.

  9. John J Harrison

     /  16th August 2020

    Oh, oh dear me, Winston has jumped the fence and left the reservation.
    Now a majority of MP’s want a delayed election.
    What will Ardern and Frazer House now do ?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  16th August 2020

      Stick to their guns,.

      Reply
      • oldlaker

         /  16th August 2020

        In terms of constitutional obligations, I believe Ardern will have to give way if a majority in the House doesn’t have confidence in her. Peters has her snookered.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  16th August 2020

          They don’t have confidence in her if she sticks to the scheduled election date…but they all – National included – have confidence or at least tacit approval for her to continue longer than expected until the next election? If pushed, it would be interesting to see how the GG would interpret that constitutional contradiction.

          If Ardern disagreed she would have to resign, and the GG then appoints the next cab off the rank who has sufficient votes in the House – Collins or Peters, whomever National and NZ First decide – and they administer a care-taker government, until the next (delayed) election. No, that doesn’t work, we can’t have a caretaker during a time of crisis.

          Even more reason why Ardern has no viable reason to stick to the currently-scheduled date. Which I would guess she was never intending anyway, and she just wanted to give herswlf some more time to deal with more pressing matters over the weekend.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  16th August 2020

            Choosing the date of the election..is by convention..the sole perogative of the PM, never has required the approval of the house.
            Hadn’t happened here for some time but NOT ALL times losing a vote means the government has to resign.
            On the other hand losing a direct vote of no confidence is grounds to call a new election. That’s what losing confidence means. In the circumstances we are already past time for the existing parliament to remain, a election means parliament is dissolved anyway.
            I think this is a stupid thing for Peters yo do

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  16th August 2020

              I was going to say even the caucus of the party isn’t require to approve the date first.
              I can’t see the GG not accepting the advice soley from the PM to dissolve parliament so the election can go ahead.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th August 2020

              Losing a confidence vote doesn’t mean a new election if there is an alternative majority coalition government.

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              @ Alan

              Yep. And there’s no way Ardern from a party political perspective would allow that to happen as she would forfeit the actual and PR power of incumbency, and give the electorate a chance to see Collins in the job. Including daily press conferences with Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 😉

            • Kimbo

               /  16th August 2020

              I think this is a stupid thing for Peters yo do7

              on the contrary, it is very clever IMHO.

              Preempts and seemingly forces a decision Ardern was almost certainly going to make (and she will say as much).

              ..makes Peters out to be a major player

              …and differentiates himself as an important and necessary counter-balance within his own coalition Government

              …gets himself valuable publicity and media oxygen

              …and cements in at least a few more months in which to come up with further stunts to get his party over 5%.

              And Jacinda joins the long list stretching down Lambton Quay and back to the Beehive who have been played and used in the long 40+ years of Winston Peters’ political career.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th August 2020

      With his usual cunning Winston preempts Jacinda’s call.

      Reply
  10. duperez

     /  16th August 2020

    Both Collins and Peters want the ballot to be later to give their support time to rise from the toilet.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th August 2020

      An extraordinarily graphic image, dups. As their’s move out, Jacinda’s move in?

      Reply
  11. Kimbo

     /  16th August 2020

    And Andrea Vance has a sense of humour. Most amusing:

    OPINION: Last week the country’s top editors and most-seasoned journalists gathered in a darkened room.

    (It must be dim because too much sunlight causes our second reptile skin to grow.)

    No 30 on the agenda was a totalitarian, internationalist screed designed to undermine New Zealand’s sovereignty.

    As the mainstream media, funded by billionaire George Soros, it’s been our role for the past 18 years to quietly seed this plan to restrict individual property rights and redistribute wealth, in the name of climate change.

    On instruction from the Government, we’ve been trying to keep a lid on news of a second wave of community transmission for weeks. But last week the information leaked out. Now, Dr Ashley Bloomfield is just trying to keep people quiet with masks.

    Fortunately, Bill Gates was on hand in New Zealand to advise how to get this United Nations mission back on track.

    I’m being flippant, of course. But Covid-19 conspiracy theories are spreading like, well, a virus..

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/122448922/the-truth-is-out-there-but-nationals-looking-in-the-wrong-places.

    Reply

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