John Key is 100% correct. The economic crisis lying ahead is immensely greater than the health (covid) threat. The latter can be managed but requires realism which is sadly lacking.

For months numerous different experts have claimed a vaccine will be found/won’t be found. So what if it’s not? Is New Zealand’s future to be a defacto closed-off society from the rest of the world?

There’s a pervading placidity in New Zealand, what I’ve earlier described as a phony war mentality, as in 1939. But what lies ahead in terms of unemployment is horrific.

Economic contraction feeds off itself and 2021 will be a year of continuous disastrous economic news. The major employment demand will be for police and prison officers as crime surges. The signs of that are already there.

The 14-day imprisonment for incoming folk cannot continue. I’ve said it before. There’s an easier way, such as issuing a covid card in which incoming passengers have 2 weeks apart checks signed off by a doctor before departure for New Zealand, and then one on arrival.

Tourism was our biggest export earner but literally no-one will come if they have to endure the 14-day nonsense. The unique thing about it is it provides thousands (200,000 in New Zealand and an estimated circa 100 million in Europe) of relatively low-skilled jobs.

Italy, Greece, France and other European countries run by grown-ups have recognized the John Key reality and now have the welcome mat out. Sure, there will be periodic covid breakouts which will be dealt with when they arise, without permanently closing down the nation.

The current strategy is simply untenable, namely fingers crossed that a vaccine will be found. But what if it’s not as many experts predict? Do we sink into a 1980s like Albania, locked off from the world? Well, count me out as I want no part of that.

There’s a limit to how far smiling sweetly can be passed off as good government in a crisis. But managing anything, be it a business or a nation, often-times call for hard trade-off decisions to be made. Locking up the country and raising tens of billions of debt to spray about and mask the underlying economic crisis, is simply a short-term cop-out. Given no rescuing vaccine arising, it will ultimately be exposed by its disastrous unhidable and long-lasting consequences.

New Zealanders have always been easy to regiment. For example, if the British government introduced an insulting advertising campaign of a mushy woman wringing her hands and saying, “Be Kind,” there would rightly be a massive public uproar. The responsible Minister would be forced to resign and spend the rest of his life, Profumo-like, in charitable endeavours.

As for the Scoutmasterish “we’re a team of 5 million,” words fail me. That would bring the total collapse of the British government and rightly so.




Dead right Bob.
I have said consistently that Covid19 , like measles, dengue fever etc is a health risk we must learn to live with.
Meanwhile, the socialists / communists currently governing our once prosperous country are driving us over the cliff due to their collective ineptitude.
My grandsons children will be paying for the economic disaster that the COL have so ineptly bequeathed us all.

frederickwilliscroft August 5, 2020 at 4:21 pm

I could not agree more. We seem to have become a nation of sheep who are oblivious to the reality of what’s happening. The media don’t help.Robust journalism is a thing of the past. It seems that labour will romp home in the election based on “keeping us safe”. They seem to have no policies. Just borrow and spray some money around.

    I don’t believe labour are going to ‘romp home’ at all. Sure, the recipients of the billions labour are dishing out will probably vote for them. But there are a lot of pissed off people as well. From Taranaki ( remember arderns first act as pm? Out of nowhere culled oil/gas exploration), property owners with a few assests who won’t want labour/greens in any form when they realise what the greens ‘wealth tax’ means for them, small business owners, landlords,farmers, etc…I think its going to be very very close, and the 3rd placegetter is going to be the ‘ key’….love it to be Act!

A vaccine isn’t going to necessarily save the day either. There is no fail-proof annual flu vaccine; a cure hasn’t been discovered for cancer; how is a hastily put-together, unproven vaccine going to be the almighty cure for the world for a virus that mutates, and that the experts don’t fully understand? We have to just get on with our lives, worldwide, and protect the vulnerable when needed. And maybe the Governments spend money on health as a preventative long-term plan, not just quick-fix vaccines / ambulance at the bottom of the cliff ‘remedies’.

frederickwilliscroft August 5, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Incidentally Albania were one of the first countries to open their borders to all, I think on June 1. So there we have it. Albania is now more enlightened than New Zealand. Words fail me.

A more nuanced border testing regime (eg 3-5 days prior, pre-board, landing, 3-days post), with rapid test results, inflight masks, airplane cleaning with light treatment, & quarantining only those (few) testing positive, plus effective in-country testing and tracing (despite contrary claims, NZ has had neither to date), and a few other tweaks, would enable border opening, safely. This has been said since March by scientists ignored. The astonishingly strong political/health establishment messaging has perhaps been “too” good, exacerbated by media sycophancy (with a few exceptions), ineffective opposition, and populist derailment with charging arguments (ignoring the real issue that quarantine is itself sub-optimal solution), so that robust discussion for serious options enabling better economic (and, ironically, health) outcomes have been impossible to have, since at least March. Some now airing it tentatively at the AKL conference. But indications suggest allowing new thinking to penetrate the wall may have to wait till after election, lest voters become confused by the cognitive dissonance of perceived excellence vs. a strategic pivot enabling better outcomes. A pity, because the formidable messaging machine could be used to explain it well, and NZ could be the real global success story, removing at a stroke the existing qualifications and harsh realities yet to emerge in the public consciousness.

Excellent post …!

Here’s some stats from today to show everyone how close to the edge we are:
– There are 452,000 New Zealanders on wage subsidies.
– Despite this, in the last quarter, the number of people not in the workforce rose by 37,000.
– the number of employed people fell 11,000.
– hours worked fell a record 10.3 percent.

The total number of hours actually worked in the June 2020 quarter fell 9.3 million hours (10.3 percent) compared with last quarter and decreased 8.2 million hours (9.1 percent) compared with a year ago. These were the largest decreases recorded since the series began in 1986.

Labour isn’t talking about the economy, to ensure that we don’t think about the economy.

The election needs to be all about the bug. With the help of the media talking about politicians affairs (who. cares.) she thinks she will win the election. She might.

Let’s hope her secret solution, waiting to be revealed after the election, isn’t socialism 2.0. We could have some exotic surprises coming around the corner if she “doesn’t let a good crisis go to waste”. Remember though, there’s always Australia to escape to (for now).

The Sheeples are running rampant.

Frankly the current government is a disaster. Largely a group of well meaning middle class straight-from-uni minor administrators who appeal to the same.
They have never been cold hungry unemployed etc etc. It’s all academic to them. Stopping the country working is a catastrophe. A catastrophe that the government seems completely blind to. The government is full of “nice” people attending committees and fiddling as Rome burns. It’s hard to believe that the media hasn’t ripped them to shreds. God defend NZ from those who want everyone to be serfs.

Well said Sir Bob. The utter bullshit propagated by the lunatics running the asylum – NZ unfortunately – seems to have blinded huge swathes of the population to reality. A cursory knowledge of vaccines is enough to know that to rely on one is insane. There is a huge resistance to vaccines and for very good reasons. Look after your own health and be smart. Don’t look to the borrowed squillions and aunty comrade jacinda to help, they are utterly inept. If Key and English had been in charge when the panic began there would have been a far different and more intelligent approach.

First I would like to thank you Bob for this site and your daily posts, which I look forward to reading together with the comments.

I tend to disagree with you about 20% of the time and this is one of those occasions. Having a Covid-19 test 14 days before and upon departure/arrival will not work as you can become infected in the interim period and that infection may not be picked up until day 12.
You inferred that having periodic Covid-19 breakouts is acceptable in return for opening New Zealand up to tourists. I think the people of Victoria would strongly disagree with your rationale.

There will be a vaccine that will work and Oxford University will announce that their vaccine is successful by the end of this year. It astounds me that our Government haven’t already placed an order conditional upon the vaccine passing human trials by a specified date.

I note my opinion is diametrically opposed to yours Bob, John Key and everyone who has posted a comment so far. We’ll see who made the correct judgement within the next 120 days.

A “pervading placidity.” What a telling phrase. New Zealanders are highly domesticated, living as they do in a benign, insulated country, and thus are easy to manipulate, it seems. A great post, Sir Bob!

And now Ardern has announced that Labour will go into the election with ‘no policies’. Covid 19 management is apparently all that matters. So we have a government with all the failed policies of their previous campaign now announcing that policies (they come back to haunt you) aren’t important. Yet they are at 60% support in the polls. Monty Python, anyone?

‘Borrow, spend and hope’ policies of successive NZ governments have reduced NZ from the 5th richest country in the OECD to now the 40th richest. In addition, 53% of adult New Zealanders are presently dependent on either welfare or the wage subsidy.

This Labour government is intellectually lazy and clueless. Expect them to be bullied by the communist Greens in the next term.n

NZ Herald: Most Kiwis want New Zealand’s borders to stay shut to non-residents, despite high-powered calls to soften restrictions to ease economic pain.

Likewise, most Kiwi’s want an extension of the wage subsidy, especially if you are receiving it.
Am I missing something? Or was the “Master class plan” to where we are at now, about flattening the curve?
The curve being the spike in intensive care and death rates from Covid, hence we needed to flatten that curve to help avoid overwhelming the health service.
Realistically, is there now a plan in place to manage ourselves out of this bubble we now find ourselves in?
Well, possibly there is, though I doubt the NZ public will find out prior to the election. Political suicide for any party to suggest herd immunity.
You may as well, send a death threat message to the oldies, of whom a large part are the NZ voting public.
Realism simply is not considered , or at least made public , yet!
I liked the quote I read the other day, by a U.K epidemiologist, which was somewhat realistic.

“The bottom line is that older people have got a lot to gain from lock downs and a lot to lose from the infection.
Young people have a lot to lose from lock downs and not much to lose from the infection.”

Translating this to political speak.
“The bottom line is that older people will not vote for us if we risk infection.
Young people the majority of whom, will not be voting.

Sweden. Starting to think they may have got this right? Covid 19 seems to be a disease which wipes out the very old, sick and vulnerable, relatively quickly. Total sympathies with those who have suffered or lost loved ones. Unmistakable fact is that the curve has flattened. Look at the Swedes. Simply put another way. The very old, sick, or vulnerable person, can only die once.
Second wave? Maybe? If your one of the vulnerable group, you’re happy, unhappy?
In NZ most of the over 70’s are in awe and love what our Govt has done. Cost, to them is irrelevant, because they will never be paying it off.
If you’re younger, fit, and healthy, welcome to a future of higher tax, debt servicing.

    ALL countries are suffering financially.

    On media narratives and Sweden, here’s an interesting take on one of the many perceived truths about Covid: https://www.zerohedge.com/political/destroying-western-medias-swedish-public-health-disaster-narrative-two-simple-charts.

    Judge the data from such sites yourself of course, but I saw a top Swedish official interviewed recently. She seemed (patiently) exasperated by the manifold half-truths and straight-up BS even by the mainstream media outlets most people tend to trust, perpetuating a widespread simplistic “Swedish failure” narrative, self-affirming a “dominant [ie our] strategy must be right” perspective, and stifling independent/ nuanced/ critical thinking.

    The Al Jazeera interviewer plainly suffered from such perceived beliefs too, with hectoring mansplaining and borderline hostility, but she addressed each of his points factually, with remarkable patience.

Excellent post,Sir Robert.
Thank you

I saw the PM on telly last night, usually she has an inane toothy grin but some reporter asked her a slightly difficult question. She had an overly exaggerated worried expression and her head was ducking and diving all over the place. Weird! It’s often an indication of dishonesty; I think there’s something not quite right there.

    She’s just having a horror moment…..she thought for a moment it was Judith Collins in front of her and an adult question was going to be asked of her..!

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