No Minister

Archive for the ‘NZ National Party’ Category

Two classes of New Zealanders

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It’s been a staple of Leftist politics and language since the days of Marx at least, and of course it is a template that can be applied to events further back in history than his time, notably the French Revolution and the Glorious Revoluton of 1688.

Whatever names were given it in different time periods and situations – Feudal Lords vs Peasants, Business Owners vs Workers, Colonialists vs Colonised, Us vs The Other – it has always basically amounted to Oppressor and Oppressed.

I think two quotes are applicable here, the first being the complete one rather than the usual shortened version, since the second part is eerily close to where we are now and where we are going:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

In this situation we should also not look to George Orwell’s dark vision of Nineteen Eighty Four but a different future dystopia, one that has appealed to me more as the years have passed since the great Counter-Culture revolution of the 1960’s.

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”

I have of course made sure that the tags on this post are not just for the Labour Party, but also for National, ACT and the Greens.

I was informed that these were OTT comparisons to NZ

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Vaccine certificate will be central to the new ‘traffic-light’ system – RNZ

It is that sort of comparison that causes the opponents of the current Lockdowns to be ridiculed. And no, you won’t be able to convince me that basically I am (and just about everyone I know) is just the same as the Nazi SS.

It’s certainly time to re-visit this goodie, even if she has resigned, because luckily you’ll still be able to laugh without a vaccine certificate.

Mapping the National Party

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[Tom] You are right. There were (and are) a substantial number of National MP’s who would have similar views to myself.
Wayne Mapp

This will be an ongoing, updated series of Wayne Mapp quotes that I think relevant to at least the NZ elections of 2023 and 2026.

I think they’re relevant despite Wayne having quit politics in 2011 after twelve years as an MP and three years in power as a Cabinet Minister.

It starts with the key quote highlighted above, which I accept as true.

What follows is a collection of those views of Wayne Mapp on various issues.

Covid-19

On vaccine mandates for teachers:

It is almost certain that National won’t oppose this. I imagine that had National been in government, they would have also promoted such a policy.

On what 80-90% vaccination will lead to:

With all of that, Lockdowns will disappear, though masking won’t.

On vaccinating the Maori gangs:

They will need incentives. And that means it could effectively channel money into gangs. Maybe that is a price worth paying if it lifts the Maori vaccination rate.

On Maori gangs in general:

The current government has gone completely soft on gangs, even though they are the biggest source of crime in NZ and will be licking many young Maori into a life of crime, violence and zero aspiration.

Lockdowns.

On Covid-Zero (August 2020):

So far as I am concerned, Plan A (eradication) is best for NZ. Supported by both National and Labour. The reason being is that we have an excellent chance of pulling off Plan A.

The end of the Zero-Covid policy:

I do my posts so that the alternative mainstream view is actually put forward…I would note that my viewpoint has a large consensus in NZ, including the two major parties. It is not typically the case that those who stand out against the prevailing viewpoint are correct. More frequently the minority is wrong.

On civil liberties vs Lockdowns:

“It is that sort of comparison that causes the opponents of the current Lockdowns to be ridiculed. And no, you won’t be able to convince me that basically I am (and just about everyone I know) is just the same as the Nazi SS.

In India Covid (April 2021):

India normally has about 27,000 deaths per day. Covid deaths is now 3,000 a day, but in fact will be at least double that. The overloading of the hospitals means people are not being treated for other conditions, and so will also be dying.

So probably a 30% increase over the normal death rate. That will certainly put stress on the heath system, and the dealing with the dead.

Government in New Zealand

On the 2020 election result:

Going more to the right will not get National back into office.

Key and English both understood which parts of the Clark government intiatives were cemented in, and which weren’t. And by reassuring the public on the things the had become part of the fabric, were able to win three elections, and be the largest party on the fourth.

On the two Chinese MP’s in National and Labour:

In what way are either Yang or Huo compromised? Yes, I know about their links to China. Why does this compromise them?In fact I believe it is the opposite.Both Yang and Huo serve as a valuable conduit, not just to the NZ Chinese community, but also to the Peoples Republic...

We need deep insights and connections and Yang and Huo provide precisely that.I realise Tom will not agree with any of that. But from what he writes, he seems to want NZ to have quite an antagonistic relationship with China. In my view, on that he is wrong.

On the concerns of Ann-Marie Brady and diplomat Finny about China:

I have read Brady’s work, and spoken to her. She is an China alarmist. I don’t agree with her perspective. As for Finny’s view, well that is his opinion.I don’t think New Zealand should have a solely transactional trade relationship with China, with China being held at a distance. It needs to be deeper than that, as indeed it is.

On NZ & China:

No, no, no
Somehow Tom missed the Memo about New Zealand having an independent foreign policy. The Memo was issued around 1985, and has been reissued many times since.

China is not going anywhere. It is a huge economic power with deep links right across the world. It is not Nazi Germany.

There won’t be World War 3, though obviously many in the US do want a new Cold War (including key policy makers in the current Administration – think Kurt Campbell). As apparently does Tom. Fortunately Tom’s advice will be ignored.

On failed National leader Todd Muller:

I presume there are two possible reasons why they hate Todd, one his failed leadership and two his liberal green credentials. I suspect the latter is the reason.
,,,
Similarly Labour is more to the left than the middle Democrats. For instance probably two thirds of the Key cabinet (and Nats generally) preferred Obama to the Republican contenders. So successful National leaders are very much like Romney.

I would also note that New Zealanders, by inclination, are far more green than US voters. And younger New Zealanders are overwhelmingly so.

More on Culture Wars:

In the US the abortion debate seems to be a sharp divide between Republicans and Democrats. In New Zealand, National MP’s nave a variety off views, from quite liberal to quite conservative. Thus it is a subject that is not discussed in the National caucus, except to note that it is a conscience issue.

On Winston Peters:

Having known Winston just about my entire adult life, I don’t believe he wilfully lies. 

On abolishing Ministries:

Well there you have it. You think that National should be against Ministry of Women’s Affairs. What you don’t seem to understand is that many National women MP’s were and are strongly in favour of the Ministry and were much part of its origins 

On National & Maori:

Unlike the Republicans, the National Party does not do culture wars. The reason being that National is not nearly as uniformly conservative as the contemporary Republicans. 

My prediction, there will be a substantial empowering of iwi in education, heath, housing supply and social policy in the next few years. National will go along with most of this once they are back in government, just as they have done so since 1990.

In that sense Don Brash was a bit of an aberration, one that National is not keen on repeating.

On diversity in government organisations.

I would see a government organisation as having only 3 Maori out of 130 as having a pretty unacceptable lack of diversity….In fact my view is standard orthodoxy across the public service, and in virtually every New Zealand political party. I would even say ACT. They may not publicly state it as their position, but from what I observe, it is certainly part of ACT’s practise.

Government in the USA

On the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff claiming to have stepped into the Presidential chain of command and called his Chinese counterpart to “reassure” him:

There is also no way that this is going to be seen anywhere near as dangerous as Jan 6. Most people will have been reassured they were protected from war, just as they were when Nixon was in his end days.

On Thomas Sowell (don’t tell Ele):

Thomas Sowell is a rather predictable reference for Tom Hunter. I have read most of what Sowell has written over the years and have been rather unimpressed. He has very little recognition of community wide effects of decades of discrimination, and its effects on the psyche

On Black Lives Matter:

I am rather surprised that you miss the point of the \”Black Lives Matter\” slogan. As I am sure you must know, it is based on the fact that way too many unarmed black people in the US have been killed by the police.

On other Conservative/Right-wing Blacks:

In a population of 40 million black people, you can always find some contrarians. It does not change the issue that the US has a problem with systemic racism, derived ultimately from its history of slavery. There are way too many cases of unarmed black people being killed by police officers for it to be dismissed.

Is there a problem with gangs and nihilism? Yes, just as there is in New Zealand. In part this is also the result of decades of discrimination and inequality

On Biden vs Trump:

And at least in my mind, Biden is way better than Trump.

On Biden foreign policy

What do you think the percentage of Nat MP’s who would prefer Biden to Trump? I reckon it would be around 75% (at least).

And Trump has pulled out of numerous Arms Control Agreements and the Paris Agreement. All of which have strong bipartisan support in New Zealand.

So yes, Trump has been bad for the Western Alliance nations. He has fundamentally weakened the Alliances. Biden will get them working again.

I think most of the world will be happier with a less fraught and fevered approach to foreign policy.

On Israel vs. Iran:

I expect that Biden will succeed in reviving the JCPOA. In that case I would not expect any particular action by Israel. The JCPOA has extensive inspection protocols, the results of which will clearly be shared with Israel. Provided the agreement is adhered to, Israel won’t take any military action.

Israel’s concerns will arise at the end of the agreement when Iran is no longer bound by the JCPOA. The western nations will expect an extension of the JCPOA, since it is predicated on Iran remaining bound by the NPT. It is an obligation of the NPT that Iran can not legally acquire nuclear weapons.

On VP Kamal Harris:

As for Kamala Harris, as you say, she was always the logical choice. In fact through the debates she was my choice to be the candidate. She simply looks presidential.

She will strengthen the ticket. She is probably the most moderate of all the VP options, and comes across as savy and strong.

On the Hunter Biden emails and MSM/Big Tech burying it:

I would be surprised if the the voters give two hoots about Hunter Biden. In my experience these sorts of attacks are the mark of the desperate.

On Arizona State Sec, Kathryn Hobbs, saying in 2017 that Trump appealed to his neo-Nazi base:

As you well know the Secretary of State within states is typically a political office, so shock horror, they have political views. Have you any evidence at all the Kathryn Hobbs is doing her job in relation to the election in any other than a professional manner.

On Biden’s election victory:

What I think is happening is that the Republicans are trying to steal the election. So in Republican controlled states, hand recounts are being required, knowing they cannot be completed within the relevant time. 

On the January 6 “insurrection”:

If you can’t see the difference between the BLM demonstrations/riots and the events at the Capitol, then you have a completely skewed view as to what happened.

On child smacking legislation:

Hmm, Bob McCoskrie going on about the smacking legislation. Did he seriously think the Children’s Commissioner would do anything other than oppose smacking?
It is worth recalling that John Key made common cause with the government to get the bill through parliament.

The George Floyd BLM/Antifa protests in 2020.

On a white couple defending their home from a BLM mob.

From what I have of this, it was a ridiculous thing for the couple to do. And I am surprised that Tom wants to defend it. Perhaps he is only doing so to wind people up

As I read them you seem to be opposed to all the demonstrations. Basically blaming Antica for it all.To virtually all NZers it is odd position to take. You have ended up aligning yourself with Trump on this issue.

I certainly do hope that Trump loses the election. His approach on this issue is in its essence, crude and divisive. He is part of the problem, not the solution. 

Renewable Energy

Wind farms:

Probably at the moment the most notable is the UK. No new ICE cars after 2032, massive construction of zero emission power generation plants being mostly offshore wind farms. The new ones in Dogger Bank are truly enormous, taller than the Effiel Tower. The UK is also building new nuclear plants for base load.
The big step up in wind farms should give Tom a new chance to say how crazy that is.

Electric Vehicles:

Get used to the change in technology. ICE cars won’t be manufactured for too many more years…In the meantime it is rather tiresome to keeping reading of the dinosaurs revolt.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 19, 2021 at 1:33 pm

Posted in New Zealand, NZ National Party

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Advice from the peanut gallery

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There’s an interesting post this morning from the Point of Order blog, David Seymour and Judith Collins meet Daniel Hannan.

The article talks of the fusion between Liberal and Conservative politics, using the British Conservative MP Hannan as one of the more clear-headed and articulate examples.

Basically it’s giving advice to both New Zealand political leaders, while also taking a rather subtle swipe at them:

“We classical liberals were few enough before 2020. The median voter was always to our Left on economic issues and to our Right on cultural ones. As is often pointed out, the political centre of gravity in Britain is ‘fund the NHS, hang the paedos’. The epidemic has made us even more of a minority. Around the world, people are more frightened and therefore more authoritarian.”

“Thatcher’s brand of Manchester liberalism never colonised the Conservative Party. At best, it formed a contingent alliance with mainstream Toryism – an unequal alliance, it should be added, for the free-marketeers were always the minority.

This reminded me another recent Spectator article focusing on ructions within the US Republican Party, where the Never-Trumpers appear to be fighting a rear-guard action, but which quoted Thatcher:

At the level of principle, rhetorically and in Opposition, it opposed these (left-wing Labour Party doctrines of planning, regulation, controls and subsidies) … and preached the gospel of free enterprise with very little qualification. 

Almost every post-war Tory victory had been won on slogans such as ‘Britain Strong and Free’ or ‘Set the People Free’. But in the fine print of policy, and especially in government, the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the left. It never tried seriously to reverse it. Privatization? The Carlisle State Pubs were sold off. Taxation? Regulation? Subsidies? If these were cut down at the start of a Tory government, they gradually crept up again as its life ebbed away. The welfare state? We boasted of spending more money than Labour, not of restoring people to independence and self-reliance. 

The result of this style of accommodationist politics, as my colleague Keith Joseph complained, was that post-war politics became a ‘socialist ratchet’ — Labour moved Britain towards more statism; the Tories stood pat; and the next Labour Government moved the country a little further left. The Tories loosened the corset of socialism; they never removed it.

The Conservative MP’s who allowed this to happen naturally became Thatcher’s opponents and they were known as “The Wets”, a term that Thatcher herself coined that has come to describe all such Right-Wing politicians in the Western world. Thatcher’s formidable personality, intellect and the sheer brute force of election success, kept these people on the back foot through the 1980’s. They got their revenge in forcing her to step down at the end of 1990 and appeared to have “won back” the party with the rise of the hopeless John Major, followed by an unexpected close victory in the 1992 general election. Until the rise of Brexit they once again became the face of the party, as they had been pre-Thatcher.

That article also included a quick vignette of the similar opposition that faced Ronald Reagan in the 1970’s from the old guard of the Republican Party. Reading the following is a reminder of what the status quo of mainstream Right Wing parties always amounts to:

  • Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dismissed Reagan as “a minority of a minority” who “has been taking some extreme positions.”
  • New York’s Republican Senator Jacob Javits: Reagan’s positions are “so extreme that they would alter our country’s very economic and social structure and our place in the world to such a degree as to make our country’s place at home and abroad, as we know it, a thing of the past.”
  • Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy said Reagan’s candidacy was “foolhardy” and would lead to a “crushing defeat” for the Republican Party. “It could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in American political life.”
  • Former President Gerald Ford: “I hear more and more often that we don’t want, can’t afford to have a replay of 1964.” If the Republican Party nominates Ronald Reagan “it would be an impossible situation” because Reagan “is perceived as a most conservative Republican. A very conservative Republican can’t win in a national election.” Asked if that meant Ford thought Reagan can’t win, Ford replied to the New York Times: “That’s right.” The Times story went on to observe that Ford thought “Mr. Reagan would be a sure-loser in November” and that Reagan held “extreme and too-simple views.”

I appreciated the above points being concisely summarised in this quote:

In other words, there’s nothing new here with this alarmism about “political extremism” from GOP Establishment figures about a conservative outsider and his supporters having the nerve — the nerve! — to invade what they see as their private club.

A club with the best manners and temperament too. Quiet. Civil. Good food and drink and good conversation that stimulates the mind but does not upset the stomachs of well fed and credentialed people. One can go home from the club, there to read the newspaper and chuckle about the silly things the Leftists are getting up too, while knowing that it’s really nothing important to get upset about or – god forbid – fight against.

To sum it all up? The Renew America Movement is nothing more than the umpteenth rejection of conservatives by Establishment Republicans. They stand for the socialist ratchet. They are the embodiment of what Reagan called the “pale pastel” Republicans.

Reagan and Thatcher the extremists eh? Perhaps, but to borrow a phrase from our Lefty brethren, they were on the right side of history.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 16, 2021 at 9:52 am

This sounds familiar

Having put up a message from the embattled National Party I feel obliged to also post a piece on what I think is their central problem in this time, even more so than poor candidate selections and the extreme MSM bias against them.

The problem is almost a philosophical one, though it is often cast as a managerial and political one.

What is National to do in government?

I thought about this while reading an article in the US magazine, The Federalist, There’s A Reason DC Democrats Are Always Winning, Even When They Lose. First the “good” news:

Washington Republicans are excited for the 2022 elections, and they have reason to be — they’re going to do well. They’re heavy favorites to take back the House of Representatives; and despite a very bad Senate map, it’s a coin flip they’ll retake that too.

There’s a certain amount of “so-what” about this since the Presidential party almost always loses seats in the mid-terms after they win a Presidential election (the Bush 9/11-powered mid-term of 2002 being the exception), and since 1994 when the GOP finally broke the forty year stranglehold of the Democrats on the House, those mid-term election results have meant not just slimmed down majorities but the Opposition party coming into power.

As a side note, I’m always amazed that people who think they know American politics have no idea that the Democrats held the House between 1954 and 1994, which meant they controlled the Budget and all the legislative mechanisms of internal state power via their subsequent control of House Committees. With forty years in the saddle the leadership of those became almost like a royal family, with power passed down like an inherited nobility. The Senate and the Presidency get some input into those areas, and they have their own domains of Constitutional power, but if you control the House you control the machine.

But it’s what you do with that power that matters. Nancy Pelosi knows this:

She’s thrown away a House majority before, back in 2010. But guess what? Before she did, she changed the entire country with Obamacare. That was her exit bomb; that was the sacrifice she made. And now she’s back, Obamacare is still the law (because of the Republicans and the legacies), and the temptation is going to be to return to laughing at her when she loses again in 2022.

Except that if she gets her $3.5 trillion spending bill that GOP laughter will be hollow.

But if she gets this budget through, well then who cares. Her legacy will be remaking the role of government and its interactions with an increasingly dependent class of citizens in the most major way since President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society 60 years ago.

At this stage it’s hanging by a thread – not because of the Stupid Party, which has effectively voted for it – but because of a handful of “moderate” House Democrats and two moderate Senate Democrats (with a few others hiding behind them). The likely driver for those Democrats is that they come from so-called “Purple” districts or States, but that’s the point of this article:

Democrats know that if they can get those policies implemented now, many of them will remain forever. They’ll lose Democrats in the process, but so be it — there will be more Democrats in the future. It’s impossible to watch politics professionally for over a decade, through some of its liveliest battles in a long time, and not come to the understanding that Democrats in general do politics differently.

Here’s how this dynamic plays out: When Democrats are legislating on something major, they look around the field and say to themselves, “Yeah, we’re going to take some casualties on this one, but we’re going to change America.”


And then they blast right through it. Pelosi is going to lose members for this overhaul of our country and she knows it — she’s just decided that given the trouble they’re already heading into, it’s worth it.

By contrast what does the GOP do with its time in power?

When it matters, Republicans look around and say, “Oh no we can’t do that, we’d lose a man. The Democrats would take seats.” They are virtually a majority for the sake of being a majority. They just want to polish it up, put it on the shelf, and look at it. 

To put it simply, Republicans approach politics like America fights wars: They don’t want to lose a single man. Democrats, on the other hand? They look at politics like the Russians looked at Stalingrad: The congressman in front votes now; when they fall the next man gets elected and he will vote too.

I loved Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev in Enemy At The Gate (not a great movie) and I can see Pelosi with that mindset.

So you see a repeating pattern to American politics: There isn’t a true back-and-forth. Instead, Democrats change the country a lot while they’re in power. Then Republicans hold power and push the pause button. There’s no rollback that a new executive order can’t undo.

Maybe they cut taxes; bring back the Mexico City policy; junk a regulation that Democrats created but didn’t manage to implement; but that’s about it. When was the last time Republicans passed a huge law — one that changed America forever the way Democrats do every time they hold serve in American politics? You don’t see it.

Similarly here. The one “big” pro-active thing I recall from the Key National government was flogging off 49% of an SOE power company, but that was merely the last gasp of the reforms of the 4th Labour government. Also note that it was only 49%; the cultural and political winds had shifted and National have a great nose for such.

The problem is how much longer this can continue, especially given the love of Big Business (and Big Government)? As another article, The Revolution Will Be Bureaucratized, pointed out:

It’s boring and sounds tired, I know, but ballooning state power is not a silly fear of “Zombie Reaganites” and insufferable libertarians. It’s a vehicle of cultural tyranny as much as economic. It’s a tool for the political establishment to bulldoze our culture from their sad office buildings here in Washington.

Elites love corporate power, but they also love federal power. (Unless, of course, Donald Trump is exerting it.) Note that the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable both supported Biden’s vaccine requirements.

That last will be true here also, although in New Zealand’s case it doesn’t matter because we really don’t value our freedoms and civil liberties as much as most Americans do. We’ve proved that in the last eighteen months.

From Biden’s “child tax credit” extension, which conditions nearly all families to depend on the federal government every month for aid, to his extension of the federal eviction moratorium, this president and his elite champions are not worried about these power grabs. The blueprint for Democrats’ infrastructure bill is more proof of that. Their goal is to create a leftist elites’ utopia, blending cultural leftism with neoliberal economics and imposing it on America by any means necessary.

I did appreciate the last two sections of that second article:

Mocking libertarians is a conservative tradition, made all the more fun in recent years as many reflexively defend Big Tech and woke capital. But reflexively dismissing their dry warnings about liberty does not serve conservatives well in this perilous moment.

Simply put, we’ve let our government become very big as its stewards have become very radical. It’s a vehicle for their cultural revolution, not a distraction from it.

A vehicle for cultural tyranny is exactly right, even when it presents as supposed economics – measures on control of water and “fighting Climate Change” likely being the focus of such here in NZ.

We didn’t used to be like that but now that we are, any future “Right Wing” government that claims it’s a “Big Tent” for conservative, classical liberal and perhaps even a slight tint of libertarian thinking, owes its voters to not just slowly reduce government employee numbers but reduce the number, size and regulatory power of the state institutions they inhabit.

If they don’t then they’ll just be weaponised further with vast sums of money and bodies by a future Labour-Green government. Incidentally – for those National people who only care about government spending as a % of GDP and taxes – that will also put paid to any future tax cuts. Actually that’s almost the case now: the giant spend-fest of lockdowns means you can probably look forward to new taxes and tax increases from a future National-ACT government. They’ll have no choice because they’ll have allowed Labour-Green to make the big choices for them.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Die MSM, Die – A Public Service to National

Readers will be well aware that I have very little time for the National party nowadays, having voted for them for about twenty years.

However, I have some sympathy for their struggles with a bought-and-paid-for MSM in New Zealand, which apparently extends to an endless character assassination campaign by cartoonists on the National leader, Judith Collins. I don’t have much time for her either but if those cartoonists had any sense of decency they’d hurl at least a few scathing caricatures at Jacinda Adern. God knows there’s enough material.

However the latest piece of news on this front is a new low, with National MP Chris Bishop:

Here is an opinion piece which I pitched to Stuff and the NZ Herald. Neither decided it was worth publishing. At a time when the PM commands the airwaves on a daily basis at 1pm, it’s important for the National Opposition voice to be heard and for constructive criticism of the government.

Ok. Fuck the MSM and their bullshit bias. If Social media, and especially blogs, are still to mean anything in this environment I think we owe it to readers to publish his piece, How Did We Get Here:

Lockdowns are incredibly expensive: it has been estimated a countrywide Level 4 lockdown costs the economy around $1.5 billion per week. That’s before you count the social cost: kids not at school, families split apart, the mental health impacts of being cooped up at home for days on end. I think almost everyone thinks we should be doing all we can to avoid them.

Sadly, it’s become clear in the government’s response to the recent delta outbreak that while Kiwis have done all they’ve been asked to do – the government hasn’t been playing its part. The “team of five million” has been let down.

Two things have become clear. First, we had no alternative but to lockdown because of our woefully low vaccination rates. Second, despite claims to the contrary, the government had done very little planning at all around how to respond to a further outbreak, particularly of delta, since the first COVID lockdown last year.

It gives me no pleasure as the Opposition spokesperson for COVID-19 to say that New Zealand’s vaccination rates, by world standards, are hopeless. For most of this year we had the world’s slowest vaccine roll-out. Chris Hipkins said at the end of 2020 we would be “at the front of the queue” but the reality is we are at the back of the pack. This is not the “year of the vaccine” we were promised by the Prime Minister.

The vaccines are safe, they work, and the data is very clear: the higher our vaccination rates, the less need there is of lockdowns. Every single person that goes and gets vaccinated brings us closer to freedom: freedom from lockdowns, and freedom to travel. That’s why the government’s ineptitude over vaccine supply matters. The government simply failed in its most important job: to get a supply of vaccines as early as possible and make sure as many people were vaccinated as possible as early as possible.

The government’s incompetence is astonishing. We were one of the last developed countries to sign contracts with vaccine manufacturers in 2020. We were then slow to approve the Pfizer vaccine. Hundreds of millions of jabs had been given by the time we approved it. We were then slow to actually order our doses, not doing it until January 29 this year. And we didn’t even bother to ask Pfizer if we could pay more to get earlier delivery of the vaccines, as other countries did. Compare the cost of paying a bit more to the cost of lockdowns, and do the maths. It’s a no brainer.

Incredibly, the government has claimed at various points it would be “unethical” or immoral to have a faster vaccine roll-out, because other countries need the vaccines more than we do. Leaving aside the internal inconsistency in this argument (other countries need them now too, but you don’t see the government giving ours up do you?), the New Zealand government’s first responsibility is to the people of New Zealand – and that means rolling out the vaccine as quick as they could. They failed.

The second failure by the government is their failure to plan for delta. The Prime Minister claimed on television this morning that delta only emerged in MIQ in June. That is completely incorrect. The first case of delta turned up in early April in MIQ and it has been raging across the world for most of this year. The government has sat ensconced behind the barriers of Fortress New Zealand and smugly looked at Australia, but they weren’t doing the work behind the scenes to prepare for when delta turned up here.

A smart government would have done an audit of all our MIQ facilities in light of delta to make sure infection control practices were up to scratch. Instead, a public walkway was allowed to share the same air as an exercise yard at the Crowne Plaza in Auckland and there was a vaccination centre right next to the Crowne Plaza. COVID positive people are still allowed to exercise in an underground car park in Wellington. Only now is the government reviewing MIQ facilities in light of delta.

A smart government would have had a plan in place for more quarantine facilities beyond the Jet Park. Instead the government had to scramble to get more quarantine facilities going like the Novotel Ellerslie – and then a COVID positive man escaped from it, putting us all at risk. It has taken over 24 hours to move many people from the community into quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, because the coordination plan between health officials and MIQ wasn’t in place.

Some of our current problems date back to the response to the first outbreak last year. Contract tracing has been an ever-present issue. There have been four expert reviews of contact tracing since April 2020. All have found it wanting but little has been done by the government. In this outbreak, it took six days for the government to second public servants from other departments to start contract tracing. By its own admission the government will fail to meet the contact tracing target metrics designed by Dr Ayesha Verrall, ironically enough now Associate Minister of Health. In this latest outbreak there are still 5000 contacts who have not even had a single phone call from a contact tracer!

A smart government would have had a plan in place around testing. Other countries use saliva tests and rapid antigen tests that return results in 15 minutes. Speed of testing with delta is critical, because the virus moves so far. But the government insists on using expensive and time consuming nasal PCR tests as our main testing technique. The result has been people who are told to get tested waiting 10-12 hours for a test or giving up and going home – or even worse, not even bothering. We should be using saliva testing much more widely – recommended to the government a year ago – as well as rapid antigen tests. Incredibly, these tests are banned in New Zealand.

There’s more I could mention. The failure to use Bluetooth tracing even though we’ve all been told for months to turn it on. The refusal to build purpose-built quarantine. The lack of preparation in our hospitals for a delta outbreak – no new ICU bed spaces have been provisioned over the five months.

The government borrowed $62 billion last year on the COVID Response Fund.  Did they spend this on contact tracing, testing capacity, and extra ICU capacity? That would have been sensible. Instead it was used as a slush fund. Instead the fund was spent on art therapy clinics, cameras on fishing boats, horse racing, public interest journalism, and school lunches. Yes, I’m serious.

Auckland is in lockdown – again – because the government failed to vaccinate quickly enough and the government failed to plan for delta.

I should add the usual blog disclaimer that simply because I have published this piece does not mean that I agree with all of it. In fact it’s the usual National angle of agreeing with what Labor does but with the promise to do it better. Hence the talk of superior control of people with Bluetooth tracing and purpose-built MIQ camps – but with no mention of getting after proven treatments like monoclonal antibodies for people who do catch the virus, presumably because just talking about such treatments might further damage an already slow vaccine rollout.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2021 at 12:17 pm

7 reasons why ScoMo is likely to lose the next election

Not my title but one from Arthur Chrenkoff at his Australian blog, The Daily Chrenk, which I happened upon even though I don’t follow Aussie politics much.

“ScoMo” is the Social media nickname for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who won an unexpected victory at their last general election.

Each of the reasons is lengthy and detailed but I’m going to extract the quotes that I feel apply to Centre-Right political parties around the world, but especially National and ACT here in NZ.

Reasons 1 and 7 are not applicable here. The first asserts that the State governments have reaped positive public support while the Federal government has not. The last deals with the government’s slim majority.

2. We’re all in this together, but some animals are more equal than others

If you are on public payroll, as more and more Australians increasingly are, or if a substantial part of your income derives from government payments and support of one kind or another, as again is the case for more and more Australians, COVID really doesn’t matter… Of course the public servants and the government support recipients are two demographics which already lean heavily towards Labor and the Greens.

“The laptop class” of professionals in the private sector who likewise a) still have jobs, and b) can perform them from anywhere with an internet connection is probably evenly split electorally.

By contrast, the hardest hit by lockdowns and border closures are those in the traditional Coalition base: business people, particularly small and micro business owners, a lot of whom have seen their dreams destroyed and livelihoods go to the wall or are at the very least are seriously struggling.

I’ve not looked into the NZ data for these categories but I suspect that we have a higher proportion of the population dependent on the government, a laptop class trending more to Labour/Green, and a smaller proportion of small or micro business owners.

3. Do tread on me

Australia has never particularly been a libertarian polity, certainly nowhere near the United States in that respect.

[but] the pandemic has revealed just how passive, compliant, reliant and authoritarian the majority of the population is. It helps if you don’t have a skin in the game (see the point above), but this does not explain the whole phenomenon. On the other hand, those more mindful of liberty, a less intrusive and powerful government, fiscal responsibility, cost-benefit analysis, rational risk assessment etc. are clearly in the minority in Australia – but they are also traditionally part of the Coalition base.

Even more so in NZ, as the chart of a recent survey of nations on the topic of Covid responses demonstrates.

4. The policy non-manifesto

What does the Liberal Party stand for anymore? Arguably, Liberals are not a party of small government anymore. They’re not a party of fiscal responsibility and good economic management anymore either, having presided over the past 8 years over a monumental blowout in government debt (John Howard and Peter Costello must be crying themselves to sleep every night) and virtually unrestrained spending.

On cultural issues, there is but a feeble pushback, if any, against the triumphant march of identity politics and wokeness. The Liberal Party’s traditional advantages in national security and immigration don’t count anymore,

By contrast National set an excellent track record on debt in their last term, continuing on from the days of Bill Birch and Michael Cullen, and while spending growth was higher than I would have liked the government was at least on a path to being a smaller part of the economy. But there’s no evidence that will apply in future, thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Also, as they repeatedly remind us, “National don’t do Culture Wars”, which was acceptable in the days of the abortion and gay marriage debates, but is not acceptable as wokeness gets pushed into our public schools, healthcare, other government functions and frankly right in our faces every day, unlike theories in academia (the ones that don’t escape into the wider culture that is).

5. Vote for us, we won’t be quite as bad as Labor

The apparent lack of core beliefs (political survival and managerialism don’t count) in turn translates into an inability to sell the voting public any particular vision for the government, and give them reasons to vote for the Coalition rather than the other mob. Having abandoned any tangible commitment to smaller government, less spending, less debt and so on, Liberals have trashed their historically main advantage over and point of differentiation with the left.

How can anyone in the Morrison government argue with a straight face that they are a party of good economic management while Labor will spend, spend, spend, and drive Australia into debt? Sure, as in we will spend only $200 billion while those economic vandals on the left will blow out the budget with their irresponsible $205 billion promises.

Sounds familiar. I’m rather reminded of the last NZ general election where National promised a debt level of $155 billion, as opposed to the outrageous and profligate $180 billion of Labour.

6. Vaxed, unvaxxed and dangerous

This is the real Achilles’ heel of the government; everything else could have been forgiven or overlooked if it the rollout worked. Vaccination was going to be the solution to all our COVID problems; instead, it turned out to be another COVID problem.

As with “Reason 1″, the question is why the Australian Liberal government deservedly gets brickbats for a slow vaccination rollout with planning and management mistakes, while the NZ Labour government has not? Behind those mistakes are reasons unique to each country, but those differences should not explain the different sense of accountability.

I’d guess that it’s down to two reasons.

First Adern probably being a better communicator than Morrison.

Second, the Australian MSM traditionally being more feral than here, with a better Left/Right balance to start with and a willingness of Right Wing media to go after the failures of a Right wing government in exactly the way the mainly Left MSM in NZ have not done so over Adern’s myriad failures.

All up though, those reasons suggest that National are in for a very hard road to regain government any time soon, short of exhaustion with Labour’s failures or simply making themselves look like Labour in all but cosmetic appearance.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 31, 2021 at 3:43 pm

A small example of National’s failures

Readers will be aware that I’m not too hot on the National Party, despite having voted for them fairly consistently in both Party Vote and Electorate Vote since returning from the USA twenty years ago.

Frankly I’m not too keen on ACT either, despite having thrown my Party vote to them as recently as 2008 and 2020, and possibly again in 2023. Seymour’s recent talk on matters of Chinese Lung Rot responses has been disappointing, even as I understand the needle he has to thread with a fearful and frightened public.

But this latest piece of news, courtesy of Elle over at Homepaddock in her latest Rural Roundup, raises in one more area, just why National has been so poor in supporting their voters over the years. The link is to a specific National Party announcement, “Labour must stop flooding rural NZ with pointless and onerous regulation”, with this part in particular of note to me:

“As it stands, the Water Services Bill would expose tens of thousands of rural water schemes to disproportionate bureaucracy, just so they can continue supplying water between, for example, a farmhouse, a dairy shed and workers’ quarters,” Mr Luxon says.

“Despite warnings from National and major sector bodies at select committee, the bill will require Taumata Arowai to track down and register around 70,000 farm supply arrangements, each of which will need to write safety and risk management plans.

Well yes, we can all see where this is going. Bureaucratic boxes to tick that, like the OSH forms on worksites and dairy sheds (parlours darlings) across the country, will be filled in so that backsides are covered.

As an aside I was amused during my tractor/truck driving ag contractor work last season to so often brush past farm signs reading:

“WARNING: ALL VISITORS AND CONTRACTORS MUST SIGN IN”

But once more I have to point out that National has already failed in this regard. Before the Clarke administration left office they passed legislation that would tighten up considerably on water schemes in general (Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (Revised 2008)). Throughout the nine years of the Key administration the implementation of this moved closer and closer to rural water schemes.

It finally reached our district in 2018, when all the farmers of our district were called to a meeting held by the local Council to discuss the fate of our scheme.

The system was designed by the Council in the early 1980’s and then built largely by the farmers. From 1984 it was providing a gravity-fed, year-round, drought-resistant water scheme. To farmers like my Dad it was a god-send after decades of faffing around with springs, wells, dams, crude flitration systems and pumps.

And now we were told that the regulations had finally caught up with us and the system would require millions to upgrade to the new standards and even then, the houses would have to be disconnected from the supply, pushing us fifty years back into a past of spring, wells and pumps. This despite individual farms having steadily added increasingly better filtration systems to back up the system’s original ones.

Fortunately the Council were very much on our side in understanding what crap this all was – in forty years of operation not one sickness, let alone death, has been traced to the system. They concocted a letter to government explaining in classic Sir Humphrey fashion that, given all the new water discussions going on with Labour, the Council regretfully could not possibly move on changing the system until they were sure what was needed.

It bought us three years.

I’m afraid that I rather offended a National party woman farmer at the meeting who wanted to conduct a petition that could be carried to government by our local National MP. My suggestion instead was that if we all dug in our pockets for a few thousand dollars each we could easily get $150K or more together and – considering his “good looking horses” tax legislation – get it to NZ First on the understanding that Winston Peters could get a similar change made to the Black Letter law by specifically excluding our district from the Act.

It got a hearty laugh and “hear, hear’s“, but went down with her like a cup of cold sick.

The truth is that this legislation sat on the books throughout National’s nine-year reign. Perhaps we were not sufficiently aware of it ourselves but surely our National rural MP’s were? A huge cost impact for no effective gain in safety or water quality. Havelock North we are not, with farmers keeping a close eye on the system.

So now I’m expected to get all excited and revved up about National’s “fightback” against this new legislation? At this stage I’m looking at National and thinking, why bother now? The damage is done and will be further done before National returns to government.

At this stage the best we can hope for is that our spendthrift government may throw a few million our way so the system can be upgraded to meet their imposed standards, but even then, from a nation-wide perspective, it’s a waste of money that could be better applied to other things, like ICU beds perhaps.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm

Dark Clouds cannot hide the light of the Sun

Former Labour Party MP Raymond Huo never got as much attention for his links to China as did his National counterpart, Jian Yang.

Naturally, given the state of NZ’s MSM, the focus, where it happened at all, was on the dreaded National Party potentially selling out to China.

Labour never gets those accusations or implications in public forums outside of blogs.

And so…

“I have never believed so firmly as I do now that the future is China’s!

While China and the Chinese people are putting all their concentration on developing the economy and lifting tens of millions out of poverty, discussing high speed rail, basic infrastructure, landing on the Moon and prospecting on Mars, on the other hand, a few western countries are being led along by a kind of new ideological Cold War, and using a White terror to oppress China and Chinese overseas.


Making fake news, saying a deer is a horse, democratic hypocrisy… this has already become a normal state of affairs, but I firmly believe, dark clouds cannot hide the light of the Sun:

“A thousand sails pass by the wrecked ship, and 10,000 saplings shoot up before the withered tree.”

No matter whether ethnic Chinese or Chinese citizens in foreign lands, when we live overseas we must be upright, proud people of China!”

That’s Huo speaking at a “study session of Xi Jinping thought” at Auckland’s Metropolis Museum on Saturday, July 10. He quit the Labour Party before the 2020 election, in a rumoured deal between Jacinda Adern and National’s then leader, Todd Muller, that saw Yang leave National also (“A Glorious New Dawn Has Broken Over Our Harmonious Society”).

Written by Tom Hunter

August 6, 2021 at 1:43 pm

NATIONAL ON GANGS

Following on from Labour’s laundering of close to three million dollars of public monies from the proceeds of crime back to the Mongrel Mob I am pleased to see Judith Collins release National’s policy re gangs. In bullet point format ….

New Firearm Protection Orders to seize illegal guns from gangs.

Bring back Armed Response Teams.

New criminal offences for violent gang crime.

New Aggravating sentence in the Sentencing Act for gang members.

Ban on gang insignia in public places.

Trial tasers for Corrections Officers.

Increased penalties for assaulting Corrections Officers.

New Legislation – no public funding for gangs.

require gangs to prove income is legitimate.

Clearly National and Labour are chalk and cheese when it comes to gangs made worse by a Police Minister whose standing in the Police force is trending south at a rate of knots.

Written by The Veteran

July 22, 2021 at 10:21 am