Ardern interview – lockdown, eradication, data, duration, business on hold

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was interviewed by Hillary Barry for Seven Sharp yesterday.

 

On what the lockdown means – we must stay in our homes, it “really relies on all of us” because “because this is what’s going to determine…actually whether we get out of alert level four as quickly as possible”.

On David Clark’s bike ride, avoided with “I was just going to give you the charity of my silence”, and then a lecture on what we the ordinary people must do to comply with Ardern’s requests not to do exactly what Clark did. Poorly handled by Ardern.

Contain or eradicate the virus? “Every time a case comes up we all pile in, we stamp it out, we contact trace, we self-isolate. We keep going through that process for as long as we need to.”

On testing and data: “My goal is that we’re in a position where we have enough testing we feel real confident about the decisions across New Zealand

On allowing online business: “We need to stop people congregating or being in shared spaces as much as possible, and that includes people being in warehouses and facilities where they’re packing orders. And so it’s about both sides.” A one-sided no.

Extending the 4 week lockdown? “…my hope is as we get closer to that four weeks we’ll have a really good idea of what’s going to happen next, and it might be that some regions come out, might be that some regions need to stay in a little bit longer”

“All the data we’re sharing with you I’m getting as well, so you’ll see what’s happening with the numbers and what’s happening in our regions, how we’re looking in order to come out of Level 4. So we’ll keep sharing that and you’ll see us in real time starting to process that data, tell you what it’s looking like and what it will mean for us being in level 4.”

Note she says “All the data we’re sharing with you I’m getting as well”, not ‘all the data I’m getting I’m sharing with you’.

So we are left to guess by the number of cases per region, I suppose whether they stop increasing, on the likelihood our regions will have the restrictions relaxed or not after 4 weeks.

It seems like a well prepared interview, I would guess with questions provided in advance.

It doesn’t really tell us anything much we didn’t already know or could deduce.

 

 

Hillary Barry: This week we’ve been reporting that some people are still confused about what the lockdown means. Others are clearly ignoring the messages. What do you want to say to New Zealanders as we head into our second weekend?

Jacinda Ardern: Just how important it is that we all stay at home. And I just can’t make that clear or express it more firmly because this is what’s going to determine whether a) whether we are successful in breaking the train of transmission, b)  whether we save lives, and c) actually whether we get out of alert level four as quickly as possible. So it really relies on all of us.

Hillary Barry: I mean, your own Health Minister went out mountain biking, Your thoughts on that?

Jacinda Ardern: Oh I’ve shared my thoughts quite directly as you can imagine Hillary.

Hillary Barry: (hard to hear) to share with us what you said to him?

Jacinda Ardern: I was, as I said this morning, I was just going to give you the charity of my silence, but you can be assured I did not give him the charity of my silence.

What we need people to do is stay local and also stay away from risk. And that’s really important because ultimately we don’t want our emergency services or other people having to come to your rescue., and that’s why that’s so important right now.

But I do accept people will want to go for walks around their home, or around their street just to get a little fresh air.

We do need to make this as bearable as possible, but we also need to limit your contact and you risks.

Hillary Barry: It is a bit of a confusing time for people, and we’ve heard a lot in the early stages of this crisis about flattening the curve. Just to be clear, is New Zealand trying to contain this virus, or trying to eradicate it?

Jacinda Ardern: Yes so right now we’re in a period where we’re trying to get back control. You know at the early stages there we ran the risk of that number of cases really starting to grow quite rapidly, and that’s why we went through those stages or alert levels really quickly.

Now that we’re at alert level 4 what we’re trying to do is get that control back, manage the transmission, but essentially get rid of it.

Now that doesn’t mean that we’ll have a situation that because Covid will be with us for a number of months, where if we have  a case in the future that’s failure,  it just means as soon as that happens we again have to stamp it out.

Every time a case comes up we all pile in, we stamp it out, we contact trace, we self-isolate. We keep going through that process for as long as we need to.

That doesn’t mean being in alert level 4 for months and months, but it means getting control back, and getting into a position  where we can start working very hard on eradicating it every time it comes up.

Hillary Barry: Leading scientists say we need more testing and more data. What do you say to that, particularly about the data?

Jacinda Ardern: I agree with that. We need as much information as we can. It means we can make the best decisions we can about coming out of alert level 4 and doing it with confidence.

And so we had today the most tests that we’ve had in any one single day, roughly three and a half thousand tests, but we’re building up our capacity to have even more. My goal is that we’re in a position where we have enough testing we feel real confident about the decisions across New Zealand, but right now actually compared to others our testing is very good.

Hillary Barry: And are you happy with that data that you’re getting out of that?

Jacinda Ardern: Again, I want to keep growing  it. Today was a good day in terms of those numbers, but the longer we have that, then the better data we have, then the better decisions we make.

Hillary Barry: Now there’s growing concern about the impact on out economy of course. Business people appealing to be allowed to trade online. Now given that you can still get goods offshore, could you change the rules around that to help business out?

Jacinda Ardern: I utterly understand why people will be raising that issue, but the thing we need to think about is not just the person making the purchase, but the businesses that are having to  then come together in  order to process those orders. We need to stop people congregating or being in shared spaces as much as possible, and that includes people being in warehouses and facilities where they’re packing orders. And so it’s about both sides.

The best thing that we can do for our economy is try and make sure that the public health impacts of Covid are as small as possible, by helping or focusing on public health. That means that we can get ourselves in a position where we’re supporting our economy by not being in a prolonged lockdown.

So if you look at countries around the world who have probably put economy first, they’re now in these prolonged lockdowns, which is not only bad for our health because people die, but also in the long run bad for jobs.

Hillary Barry: Speaking of a prolonged lockdown, what are the chances, not that we’re this far into it,  that you will need to extend the lockdown?

Jacinda Ardern: Of course we were very open from the outset that four weeks was what we felt was needed to (?) the chains of transmission in order to make a really good judgement about what next for New Zealand.

At the moment it’s actually a bit too early to say because we haven’t gone through the full two week period yet, we haven’t seen the full benefits of the lockdown yet.

But my hope is as we get closer to that four weeks we’ll have a really good idea of what’s going to happen next, and it might be that some regions come out, might be that some regions need to stay in a little bit longer, but my goal is to have New Zealand in Level 4 for as little time as possible.

Hillary Barry: So are you saying that you will probably wait until that four week period is over before making a decision whether to extend it or not?

Jacinda Ardern: New Zealanders will really get a sense at the same time I do, because all the data we’re sharing with you I’m getting as well, so you’ll see what’s happening with the numbers and what’s happening in our regions, how we’re looking in order to come out of Level 4. So we’ll keep sharing that and you’ll see us in real time starting to process that data, tell you what it’s looking like and what it will mean for us being in level 4.

The interview finished with family stuff that isn’t important to the country.

Not mother of my nation

Hillary Barry is away and not appearing on the Paul Henry Show this week, She’s away to meet Oprah Winfrey apparently. More reason to avoid TV3 in the mornings when she gets back (I like Barry but can’t stand celebrity worshipping crap).

Stuff reported the big news – Hilary Barry off to meet Oprah

That trivia was bad enough, but this annoys me even more:

Luckily, one of the pantheon was available. Veteran news anchor Judy Bailey, commonly called the mother of the nation, is subbing in until Barry’s return.

Lucky for whom? It may be lucky that I avoid Henry’s show most of the time.

I’ve never been a fan of Bailey’s bland presentation and less of a fan of her attempts to de-age herself, but that’s her business.

But I find it very irritating when celebrity marketers label her a “mother of the nation”.

To me and perhaps most of us New Zealanders she is just party of a dysfunctional family of so-called celebrity self worshippers.

I see nothing that justifies one of them being labelled as the mother of my nation.

Television presenters versus celebrity entertainers

There has been continued moves towards ‘celebrity’ style entertainment in news and current affairs, away from presenters who are detached from the stories.

On Twitter yesterday:

I remember fondly the days when journalists weren’t the story. @JournalistsLike

I responded with “They’re now not just the story, they’re the show.”

The move towards celebrity fronted shows that use news and current affairs for material started with Paul Holmes. Until recently there was a long running John Campbell show, and now 3 News sets the tone for the day with the Paul Henry show.

Currently the One News home page is promoting two personalities associated with their Seven Sharp show, and the news that follows is lightweight at best:

OneNewsHome

3 News call all their news and current affairs programs ‘shows’.

3NewsShowsAnd personalities are promoted in most of those shows. Television has become 24/7 show time.

And this transformation from serious news presentation to entertainment looks like continuing, according to this item at NZ Herald:

Future uncertain for TV3 hosts

Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts may no longer be the faces of 3 News when a major revamp takes place later this year.

TV3 Head of News Mark Jennings has revealed to the Herald that a new-look bulletin will launch in November, when the network integrates its television and radio newsrooms into one operation.

Jennings said 3 News will be “the next cab off the rank” following a complete overhaul of the network’s daily news programmes, including the launch of Story this week.

“If you look in the last six months, we’ve launched three new projects. Paul Henry, Newsworthy and now Story. We have put a lot of concentration and commitment into those products. Six o’clock probably hasn’t had quite the same attention.”

He said the revamp will focus predominantly on style and content, rather than presenter line-ups. However, he said he cannot rule out presenter changes as a possibility.

It would be sad if Barry and McRoberts are “revamped” and replaced with “style”. They are two of the best presenters currently on air – they don’t let their personalities dominate the stories. They may survive – but note that John Campbell didn’t survive a revamp.

The future is probably uncertain for all news and current affairs hosts in a ratings driven dumbed down celebrity obsessed television world.

At least we have a range of online options so we can filter out the candyfloss.

UPDATE: From Alan’s comment:

TV is becoming a niche for those too incompetent or passive to search out anything else.