The bold court actions by some Aucklanders against the Prime Minister and other government officials, seeking a writ of habeas corpus, were always doomed to failure.

For the cold hard fact was the ill-considered lock-down was legal. Thus we were subject to the imposition of a Police state with elements of the worst of North Korea and other historic dictatorships, not even matched in wartime.

As the Australian Prime Minister pointed out, we have not one but two crises to deal with, namely a health issue and an economic concern. That’s a tricky balancing act which the Aussies have tackled, ironically still only incurring a similar death toll on a population basis to us.

Australia will still suffer a deep recession. We will have a 1930s type depression which will bring in its wake a health crisis far worst than coronavirus, killer of the old and infirm.

Depression, suicides, family violence and despair lie ahead.

New Zealand had a huge opportunity to minimise all of that for the reasons I’ve previously outlined.

For by the time the virus reached our shores we knew from the evidence elsewhere who it killed and why. Instead, the government acted as if it could kill us all, in the process damaging the economy and pushing us into at the least, a five year depression.

The goal should have been to get people back to work, publicise the spacing and insist on face masks.

More people would have copped the virus but in the vast majority of cases, as the evidence abroad shows, been back on deck in a week.

Even restaurants could have opened by having a bowl of warm water and soap on a table at their entrance with a pile of towels. Diners would wash their hands-on arrival and departure.

Each table could be surrounded by screens and confined to say groups of no more than four.

Instead a blanket ban destroyed I’ll wager, 60% of family businesses, their owners have put passion and long hours into building.

I could go on with numerous other examples but my salient point is this. We must never again allow a situation where the law allows a young woman with much charm and little real world experience, to legally take such dictatorial powers.

The current legislation needs to be reconsidered in Parliament. While it’s conceivable situations could arise in the future requiring such a heavy-handed approach, the supporting legislation should require say a 75% Parliamentary vote.

Had that existed there would have been sufficient pragmatists in the Opposition plus NZ First that would have prevented the disaster we have lying ahead.

The Prime Minister’s partner spoke out in her defence a week back, accusing critics of an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach.

That would be valid if we were solely dealing with a health crisis. But we’re not, thus the reality is that the government is at the top of the cliff, pushing everyone over. It’s been a catastrophic misjudgement.


I’m not so sure it’s legal. Unfortunately the litigants were ill-suited to the challenge. Clearly the measures implemented by the Government under level four were aimed directly at controlling the population rather that the virus. Hence the absurd restraints on outdoor activities and driving your own car to your own properties and the ridiculous conceit of a public health bureaucrat deciding what is essential for every person. A functioning Supreme Court should be up to the task of determining that any measures taken under health or emergency legislation should actually be justified as necessitated by the risks they claim to address. In this case clearly they were not.

    Exactly, it was about control to see what they could get away with! I hope they get exposed sooner rather than later, the NZ public will need to start protesting in the street!

    Its completely legal, the Judge says so in her two judgments. Even the Bill Of Rights Act has a clause allowing extraordinary events.
    Mr Wilkinson is as ill suited to dispute the legality , as in time will reveal Mr A and Mr B to be a similar legal deadenders of junior high school level understanding.

Speaking of dictatorial powers – one thing that really concerns me is this:
An excerpt from this reads “A special law to enforce health measures such as social distancing under Covid-19 alert level 2 is being considered by the Government, which has acknowledged its strict response to the virus is breaching human rights. ” Hopefully there will be vigorous debate on this in Parliament. Enough is enough.

This idiotic government could of stopped this virus entering New Zealand, the border should of been closed to all before we had even one case here. That way New Zealand would of been in its own bubble and we all could of continued operating. We would not be in the mess we are now. I know a lot of you will say we had to let New Zealanders back in , but I say why put all at risk for a few. It would of been a lot cheaper for the government to of funded the few that were out of the country until it was safe to being them back in.
We have a prime minister who is so far out of her depth and thinks a smile and a concerned look will fix everything. Well she’s wrong again labour have screwed this country and it’s going to take National to sort out their mess again.

    Yes, NZ should have demanded a clear test result before boarding an inbound plane. No-one has a right to get on a plane infected thus endangering its crew and passengers before alighting and endangering everyone they meet.

markscreaminggoosearmstrong April 27, 2020 at 10:38 am

I think you’re again working with the benefit of hindsight, Sir Robert.
In February you predicted CV19 would cause economic difficulties. Fair enough but hardly rocket science and you fell way short of suggesting lockdown was a bad idea.

Now that our lockdown appears to be successful, you’re looking around the world and telling us Australia managed things better. Well, Australia has the advantage of a better climate an even more spread out population base than we have in NZ. (Even so, I am surprised they appear to have got off so lightly in their urban areas.)

I believe our government, looking at what was happening in Italy, made the decision any NZ Government would have made; to conservatively manage this unprecedented situation and most importantly avoid the risk that a major CV19 outbreak would flood our medical services cause many unnecessary deaths.

Yes, the conservative way will result in more economic decline but as (I believe) Ghandi said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” I believe any prudent NZ government would have taken similar steps to protect our weak.

So yes, we are indeed a great nation and that is why our economy will recover quickly and the blinkered capitalists can continue to chase their golden dreams at the expense of the poor and our poor planet.

    Lord Keynes famously said:
    “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
    To my embarrassment, I initially supported the lockdown – for the first few days. New data came in, and I realised that I had been wrong. This is called flexible thinking.
    Australia has managed the crisis better. You know it, but you are dissembling.
    You see, our lockdown was the most extreme in the world. Extremists, dogmatic ideologues, and inflexible mad scientists seldom do much good.
    I don’t agree that any other government would have pursued the most extreme lockdown in the world for five full weeks.
    Only a simpering, snivelling apologist would think that would happen.
    Lastly, the government has not protected the poor and weak, with this extremist lockdown. These people will bear the brunt of the economic crisis.
    Try again.

      Mate , your flexible thinking is my hindsight.

      markscreaminggoosearmstrong April 27, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      Ha ha I don’t think you need to be embarrassed about supporting the lockdown.
      And please fill up that nasty cake-hole, put your toys back in your cot and try to stop descending to witless insults.

      C’mon mate, if you’re going to be rude try for a little humour or you’re wasting words and may as well leave your keyboard alone and get back to the fridge. You’ve mostly mis-used a few big words but I’m an optimist and I reckon it’s possible that there may be hope for you yet. Even if intelligence adult discussion is beyond your capabilities. But give it a shot – what do YOU think another Gummint would have done?

      Also not sure which idea I need to change as if you’d take the time to read wot I rote you might find I have supported the conservative approach and hope a pandemic brings out the conservative in all of us, I really do. If a week or two more makes our economy down the tubes while others flourish then off to America you go and raise the IQ of both countries (with grateful thanks to Sir Rob…the late one).
      Ah….that’s better…all good now? Toys sorted, cake plate cleared of crumbs and drool, screaming honk over. For now.
      Crisis? What crisis? Peace and love to all humankind. And you too mate. 🙂

    You seem to have forgotten that on the 18th of March. The NZ Prime Minister declare that NZ would follow Taiwans (Gold Standard) strategy…..then a week later announcing lockdown?
    I am guessing somebody got to her panic button. It will be interesting to read the advice/cabinet papers that allowed the Level 4 decision to be rushed in.

    We didnt need to lock down the borders early.
    But we needed to start screening passengers early on.
    On the 13th of February I travelled by air from Cambodia to Thailand, then returned 3 days later. I was temperature screened both before departure and on arrival both directions. Medical staff were at the airports presumably looking out for coughing and other signs.

    In New Zealand……NOTHING..

    It appeared in Early February that commonsense was missing at senior levels of Government. Look at the various announcements/media releases/interviews !

      markscreaminggoosearmstrong April 28, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Lots of people saying we should have locked down the borders early. Some saying we should have screened passengers early. Many saying we shouldn’t have locked down for so long…or not at all?
      Very little such comments made at the time these decisions had to be made by our leaders. Much less knowledge from global experiences available when these decisions had to be made.
      Tough decisions.
      Comments and criticism is cheap and easy in retrospect is and that was and remains my main point.
      I’m no economist though I did study economics a little until I found I could argue either way, given the supplied situations/facts in my studies, and decided economics was a bit of an imprecise and dark art and not for me.
      Tell me Sir Robert and others – can we really create a long term disaster to our economy purely by a month or two of close to nil activity? Why can’t we rebound into a situation mostly like before? Excluding in your answers, of course, the global problems in many countries much worse affected by us that are hitting out export markets hard, because they are irrelevant to the direct effects of our lockdown that is so heavily criticised in this forum.
      It also seems to me regardless of whether our PM is an actress or effective leader, surely her being lauded by the foreign media is actually good for NZ’s economy, a plus for how the world sees lil ol NZ? As is our perceived success in “fighting a global pandemic, whether true or not? Are these perceptions not a positive thing that might help – even a little – our tourism and export markets to recover from the damage all you doom and gloom pessimists are predicting? Are your doomsday predictions not at least capable of damaging our international reputation and recovery?
      Oh well, best I get back to my work in NZ’s most hated industry…

      Tow truck driver?

As Dr David Katz said in the NY Times “I believe we may be ineffectively fighting the contagion even as we are causing economic collapse” (20 March). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/opinion/coronavirus-pandemic-social-distancing.html

    Ron , this is an old and out of date article.
    Given recent reports , the science is moving very fast on this.
    A week is a long time in a pandemic.

I totally agree. Furthermore, it will signal to business not to be too worried about the possibility of more shutdowns…and therefore, invest.

Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong have gotten this virus under control without lockdowns, in part no doubt a good chunk of that success is due to East Asian culture, we could certainly have done as well as we have emulating them or at least the Aussies.

I disagree with you on your long depression claim, the Great Depression didn’t last much longer than the incompetence of government that triggered it, barring more government stupidity we’ll bounce out of this in weeks, the areas of our economy affected by international actions won’t be so fast to recover, but that’s not down to the NZ government.

There’s talk of a Trans-Tasman bubble, such a bubble could be extended to East Asian countries that have controlled the virus, and to other countries as they do so, some European countries and Canada aren’t far behind us in reducing infection rates. If such a world spanning bubble were to eventuate even our tourist industry could be brought back to life within a year, many of the previously popular destinations for the Taiwanese etc would also be off the agenda, so not so many poms and Swede’s visiting NZ, but a lot more from select other countries.

The two misconceived habeas corpus cases were doomed to fail as soon as they were filed. But that is because they were argued by litigants in person who didn’t have any legal acumen, and whose cases were factually bereft of any merit. The most recent judgment was particularly regrettable because the Judge heard only from a Crown lawyer, and overlooked relevant law: the Court’s judgment was per incuriam, meaning the pronouncements on the legality of the Director General’s orders were not necessary to the decision the Court was being asked to make. This aspect was in lay terms gratutitous. It has no binding force on other judges.
Most aspects of the measures are lawful, but the order made by the Director General of Health quarantining of the whole population is almost certainly not. See my article published at https://adls.org.nz/Article?Action=View&Article_id=53.
In the UK, Parliament recognised the limits of such orders and passed legislation tailored to a nationwide lock down, but hashed up the regulations, tried to fix them and will likely face a legal challenge mounted by litigants of substance with lawyers of skill.
Supine compliance occurs here.

We in NZ are being subjected to an absolute ‘con’ by Ardern, one or two so called ‘experts, and even more so by the ‘media’. I put media in inverted commas because that is what they are in name only. How else can you explain why, every time Arderns photo is on the Herald/Newshub/NewstalkZB/Stuff etc etc website, its an air brushed or otherwise very complimentary display of her? Any why photo’s of others e.g. Bridges, anyone associated with National, Raelene Castle ( especially her-some terrible photographs)…are usually very uncomplimentary. CNN in the States is rabidly against Trump and even though they came out looking stupid over the impeachment attack they still persist. I am ‘ over’ Ardern and the sycophantic press in NZ ( can you guess?). IF she actually gets elected to something in the next election ( a first for her ) this country will be totally under control of the socialists in Labour, the Greens…scary stuff.

    I’d like to take issue with a lot of what you say Alan James but the only thing I’ll say is : do you know Raelene castles full back story ??
    I don’t mean her present situation.
    Give the poor woman a break !

Finally a balanced article, agreed if folks cant feed themselves and pay the mortgage/bills our society will suffer poorly.

Well Said Bob – We have a Formula1 race car and instead of getting Lewis Hamilton to drive it we have a learner driver – MMP failure! When we adopted the MMP system (from I think Germany?) we abolished the main rule which was; Whom ever receives the most votes must form the coalition – we yanked that rule and now we have the inexperienced socialist, with communist tendencies, tail wagging the dog!
Funny how Socialists hate Capitalists YET need the Capitalists money to carryout Socialism
I greatly fear the future with this lot in control

From The Daily Telegraph (DT) today – and the Top Comment.
I hate Trump bashing. Its not Kiwi. Normally they discern, allow, rationalise. I hate anyone bashing without sound, cogent honest reason. (But for Jacinda and her commie mates I will make an exception). 😊
Just thought there was good logic here….

John Steed 25 Apr 2020 7:11PM

The BBC is too biased to recognise accusations of bias as valid, and thinks such accusations are marks of ‘extremism’. The Trump hating is a case in point. Take the present debacle of Trump’s alleged proposal to inject disinfectant… I saw this, and what Trump was quite plainly doing was thinking aloud, thinking outside the box, and trying to demonstrate an open mind to a range of possibilities. He suggested that medics were looking into all sorts of possibilities, including using scanning and ‘injecting disinfectant’, i.e.something to clean out the body and kill the virus. I didn’t think for one minute that this was literally about people injecting undiluted Dettol into themselves, but of course, because it is Trump, his political opponents, including the BBC, are all over it, and professing horror at the idea as if it was his proposed cure, rather than one of a range of ideas to consider. He simply said that he understood the medics were looking at all kinds of possibilities, including this.
When you consider that we treat cancer with essentially harmful Chemotherapy, and we inject tiny doses of diseases into people as vaccines, and we wash out organs which have had contact with corrosive materials and we use anti-biotics, which might be called a type of disinfecting agent, his idea is not as outrageously stupid as people are making out.
And I note DT’s article mocking him on this point allows no comments.
What is sadly stupid is his present reining back on it, and trying to make out it was sarcasm, purely in response to all the mockery and deliberate mis-interpretation.
It’s this sort of partisan reporting of what is going on that makes me disregard any reports, or opinion, unless I have seen for myself what has actually been said.

    Murray everyone likes to see a bully meet his judgement day.
    Trump makes it too easy.
    ” nuke a hurricane ”
    You should watch : “James Corden : The room next door.”
    That’s gold , enjoy.

My prediction is the next issue will be the universities. Their reliance on overseas students and the accommodation business is going to see them have issues very soon. Looking at Victoria’s 2019 results a big source of income came from overseas fees and fees from the accomodation they provide to students.

The prime minister and others are in serious trouble because,….

The proof that it was all a HOAX is almost trivial.

The Covid-19 HOAX can be seen in the way Covid-19 spread.

It spread to the whole world but jumped over the major Chinese cities.

You know Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, etc. On March 16, more than 3 weeks after the lockdown,

Beijing Municipality had 442 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 20 million),
Shanghai Municipality had 353 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 23 million),
Guangdong Province had 1,357 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 104 million),
Hong Kong Region had 141 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (population 7 million).

Get that… it didn’t appreciably spread (before or after the Chinese lockdown) to any of the major Chinese cities.

But it massively spread (before the Chinese lockdown) to Iran and Italy.

How’s that?

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province.

The Washington Post reported that 5 million people left Wuhan between January 10, i.e., the start of the Chinese New Year travel rush, and the lockdown.

Get that… five million leave Wuhan for elsewhere, but do not appreciably spread the disease.

How’s that?

And what about Africa?

As of April 16, there were only 16,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in all of Africa.

Get that… only 16,500 cases in all of Africa.
Africa, which has seen massive Chinese investment accompanied by over a million Chinese workers.

How’s that?


    Wow Johnny.
    They should have updated the publication date on that document in line with their timelines.
    Huge investment by China into Africa signifies they are waiting / hoping for default on those loans so they can step in.
    They already have control of one of the largest ports in Africa.

      What are you talking about?

      The New Zealand lockdown occurred on March 25.

      It was already clear that the Chinese situation had stabilized.

      It was already clear that the 5,000,000 people who travelled to their place of origin for Chinese new year had hardly spread the virus.

      They totally ignored all this while pointing to Italy.

      In fact, the new cases in Italy had peaked on March 20 and it looked like the Cindy et al would miss the opportunity to institute a lockdown if they didn’t move fast.

      So they moved fast.

      So…. A conspiracy to impoverish New Zealand or something bordering on criminal negligence?

To the point again!
I think Jacinta is probably quite a nice person but. politically an far left idealogue with no practical or business experience, who is way out of her depth and continually resorts to speech bubbles, photo shots and selective scientific/medical advice from politically motivated advisors who are pushing their own draconian barrow for their shot of fame. All to our collective detriment!

But sadly most of the Sheeples will forget this come next election!!

Very well said.
Sir Robert, you did manage to bring down Muldoon. How about this government? This government is incredibly dangerous and really needs to go.

I gave up, years ago, arguing about the law with property developer clients. If I won, I was right, if I lost I was wrong – in the case of win, dinner was on me; in the case of loss, dinner was on me.

If we all go to Bobs restaurant ” bags ” I be the first one to use the bowl of soapy water.

Well, we have new legislation courtesy of the Director General of Health masquerading as the Parliamentary Drafting Service, Select Committee, Three Readings by the full House of Parliament and the Governor General’s signature.
I don’t know why we bothered with all those other people.

Frederick Williscroft April 27, 2020 at 8:41 pm

Earlier today a post suggested we imposed a severe lockdown based on what was happening in Italy. Well if that’s the case what a poor comparison. New Zealand is not Italy, or even close. As Sir Robert has already mentioned many generations live in one house and they have a far higher proportion of elderly then we do.Their big cities have far greater population density and they do not have the geographi isolation advantages that we have. It is pretty obvious that with,say,a level 2 lockdown our hospitals would not have been over run. As it is they are embarrassingly empty. I admire anyone’s enthusiasm that we will bounce back quickly but frankly I can’t see it happening. Double digit unemployment for a concerted period and a massive slump in GDP. I guess the only hope is a National govt being elected – at least many have business acumen and so are best placed to at least come up with some solutions- something this current lot are totally incapable of.

Main Stream Media free April 27, 2020 at 9:53 pm

The issue is that this Government is purporting to play ‘God’ and control a natural phenomenon. Ironic when they are a selection of those most spiritually devoid New Zealanders that can be assembled.

The New Zealand lockdown occurred on March 25.

It was already clear that the Chinese situation had stabilized.

It was already clear that the 5,000,000 people who traveled to their place of origin for Chinese new year had hardly spread the virus.

They totally ignored all this while pointing to Italy.

In fact, the new cases in Italy had peaked on March 20 and it looked like the Cindy et al would miss the opportunity to institute a lockdown if they didn’t move fast.

So they moved fast.

So…. A conspiracy to impoverish New Zealand or something bordering on criminal negligence?

Boarders locked when the first two came in from the middle east that is when I started saying to friends and alike,”Shut the boarder then work out what exactly to do from there”
Alas Tax-cinder do not asked for my opinion .

As for Ashley Bloomfield being New Zealander of the year , $520k as a public servant is over payment .

You have Mr Bloomfeild saying more than enough PPE and Flu shots in stock, while Doctors and Nurses are saying they don’t have any ! , I beleive the Doctors and Nurses

I am considering Court action on the grounds that Ashley has exceeded the powers granted to him on the grounds that his orders were not reasonable to contain an epidemic in that he:
1- prohibited me from paddleboarding in sheltered waters from my private jetty at absolutely no risk to anyone
2- Closed my wine shop giving all my business to the supermarkets. This was an overeaction to the risk because every control exercised by the supermarket could be exercised by the wine shop. I will report him to the commerce commission of anti competitive behaviour.
3- Closed butchers, bakeries and green grocers for similar not good reason.
I know I probably won’t win because the Judges need their next promotion approved by Government but it might be fun.

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