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  Talk Elections
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  International General Discussion (Moderators: Gustaf, afleitch, Hash, Kalwejt)
  New Zealand political discussion thread
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Author Topic: New Zealand political discussion thread  (Read 5305 times)
President Pericles
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« Reply #50 on: April 17, 2020, 05:18:08 am »

New Zealand's coronavirus strategy continues to have great success. The growth rate yesterday was just 15, and today it was a mere 8 new cases. Sadly, there were 2 more deaths today. That brings it to 11 total deaths and 1,409 total cases. There are now 816 recoveries and just 582 active cases.

Yesterday, Jacinda Ardern laid out what alert level 3 will look like, though there won't be a formal decision on whether to leave full lockdown (alert level 4) until Monday. She likened it to being in 'the recovery room', rather than a rush to normality (she is a great communicator and explains things easily and clearly). Malls and retail remain closed at level 3, but drive-throughs and online shopping open. Sectors like manufacturing and construction, where work from home cannot occur, will go back to work. This is estimated to increase the active workforce from the current essential workforce of 500,000 to around 1 million. Schools up to Year 10 (so 14 years of age) will reopen but on a voluntary basis, with the ideal being that schools are open for those who can't look after children at home but people are encouraged not to send their children to school. So it's a looser lockdown, but the message remains stay home and save lives (and be kind, of course).

I think the government is taking the right approach here. There is debate about how much the lockdown should be relaxed. A group of academics formed a 'Plan B' group advocating a much more drastic and quicker return to normality, arguing the lockdown is an overreaction (while saying vulnerable groups should stay in isolation, sounds a bit like the UK's original herd immunity strategy). This is nonsense. The threat not coming to pass because we went hard and early against it does not mean the threat never existed. Even the Westpac bank acknowledged that the lockdown is probably the best approach economically, with the worst-case scenario being the gains made being lost and so a return back into lockdown being required.

Elimination is working and is the right strategy not only from a public health perspective but economically, and ultimately New Zealand may end up being able to return to something much closer to normal life domestically and with a smaller economic hit-while not taking the monstrous death tolls-that are being seen overseas. I'm very grateful to have Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister and such sensible leadership through this crisis.
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CumbrianLeftie
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« Reply #51 on: April 17, 2020, 04:35:31 pm »

Some people are sniffy about the adoration Ardern can get from "progressives" outside New Zealand.

But genuinely, she is pretty impressive.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2020, 09:26:37 pm »

Some people are sniffy about the adoration Ardern can get from "progressives" outside New Zealand.

But genuinely, she is pretty impressive.

Yeah overall she is great, especially in a crisis like we have right now. Her record isn't as great domestically but I think the government is on the right track and they definitely deserve another term (hopefully with just the Greens as coalition partners rather than NZ First) to rectify some of the social injustices and inequalities in New Zealand.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2020, 05:27:09 am »

Today, New Zealand had just 9 new cases and now has just 466 active cases. With the level 4 lockdown having worked and New Zealand being on the track to eliminating coronavirus, Jacinda Ardern announced that next week we will move to level 3 (a more relaxed lockdown) and then in 2 weeks from that the government will review the guidelines. The end of level 4 was originally supposed to be in 2 days time, but has been extended by a few days to 'lock in the gains' so we don't have to return to lockdown and probably also as Anzac Day is this weekend. This seems like the right call, and it's a relief how we're getting such low case numbers. Hopefully we can steadily eliminate the virus and return to normal life domestically responsibly.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2020, 05:45:38 am »
« Edited: April 27, 2020, 06:03:25 am by President Pericles »

At midnight, New Zealand will leave level 4 lockdown and enter level 3. We now have a total of 1,469 cases and 19 deaths (today had 5 new cases and 1 new death). There are now just 270 active cases. So we are on track to eliminating the virus domestically. Jacinda Ardern said "We have done this together," and "There is no widespread community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle." With regards to US politics, Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield declined to comment on Donald Trump's recommendation of injecting bleach.

On May 11 the government will decide whether to further ease restrictions and enter alert level 2, which will be much closer to normal life for most people. Hopefully people continue to take this situation seriously so we don't have to remain in lockdown for much longer. Level 3 is still pretty restricted, it has been described as 'level 4 but with KFC' and the main difference is an increase in economic activity, we still have to generally stay at home.

New Zealand is on the right track, and it looks like we can end up being a success story through this sad and traumatic time. Of course we have been harmed too, with 19 lives lost so far and what's likely to be a severe economic impact-the best case estimate for unemployment is around 8.5%-up from 4.0% currently-and potentially much worse.
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NoobMaster69
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« Reply #55 on: April 28, 2020, 08:30:09 pm »

At midnight, New Zealand will leave level 4 lockdown and enter level 3. We now have a total of 1,469 cases and 19 deaths (today had 5 new cases and 1 new death). There are now just 270 active cases. So we are on track to eliminating the virus domestically. Jacinda Ardern said "We have done this together," and "There is no widespread community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle." With regards to US politics, Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield declined to comment on Donald Trump's recommendation of injecting bleach.

On May 11 the government will decide whether to further ease restrictions and enter alert level 2, which will be much closer to normal life for most people. Hopefully people continue to take this situation seriously so we don't have to remain in lockdown for much longer. Level 3 is still pretty restricted, it has been described as 'level 4 but with KFC' and the main difference is an increase in economic activity, we still have to generally stay at home.

New Zealand is on the right track, and it looks like we can end up being a success story through this sad and traumatic time. Of course we have been harmed too, with 19 lives lost so far and what's likely to be a severe economic impact-the best case estimate for unemployment is around 8.5%-up from 4.0% currently-and potentially much worse.

Itís awesome that she managed to get a hold on this so fast considering flu season is right around the corner.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #56 on: April 28, 2020, 08:37:47 pm »
« Edited: April 28, 2020, 08:42:53 pm by President Pericles »

At midnight, New Zealand will leave level 4 lockdown and enter level 3. We now have a total of 1,469 cases and 19 deaths (today had 5 new cases and 1 new death). There are now just 270 active cases. So we are on track to eliminating the virus domestically. Jacinda Ardern said "We have done this together," and "There is no widespread community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle." With regards to US politics, Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield declined to comment on Donald Trump's recommendation of injecting bleach.

On May 11 the government will decide whether to further ease restrictions and enter alert level 2, which will be much closer to normal life for most people. Hopefully people continue to take this situation seriously so we don't have to remain in lockdown for much longer. Level 3 is still pretty restricted, it has been described as 'level 4 but with KFC' and the main difference is an increase in economic activity, we still have to generally stay at home.

New Zealand is on the right track, and it looks like we can end up being a success story through this sad and traumatic time. Of course we have been harmed too, with 19 lives lost so far and what's likely to be a severe economic impact-the best case estimate for unemployment is around 8.5%-up from 4.0% currently-and potentially much worse.

Itís awesome that she managed to get a hold on this so fast considering flu season is right around the corner.

Yeah that was a real worry. The government's modeling did say they'd have had tens of thousands of deaths if they didn't act decisively, and I think a small difference in timing could have led to a much worse outcome-it was just in time. By the way we had just 2 new cases today and now have 226 active cases.

I'm not sure if people will be responsible now so we don't have to go back into lockdown, but I'm hopeful and the trend is good so far.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #57 on: May 13, 2020, 08:50:36 pm »

New Zealand had the third consecutive day of 0 new coronavirus cases, and is now down to just 65 active cases. Today, we entered Alert Level 2, which is mostly normal life just with some social distancing requirements (most mass gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people), the economy is now running at nearly full capacity. I think we now have a reasonably good testing and tracing capacity in place. The 'Recovery Budget' is coming in a few minutes.

For other countries, this shows that intervening earlier would likely have been much better not only for health outcomes but economically and socially today. The UK for instance would not only have saved tens of thousands of lives but probably been able to return to normal life sooner and with less economic damage had they acted more decisively. New Zealand wasn't naturally invulnerable to this pandemic. We were probably less prepared than most of Europe with only around 200 ICU beds in the entire country in late March-just 4.7 per 100,000 people (just over a third of Italy's capacity), and we have higher obesity rates than the UK. However elimination is not a realistic strategy anymore in most of Europe and the US sadly, so those countries have a much more difficult set of challenges and choices.
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jaymichaud
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« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2020, 06:50:54 pm »

New Zealand had the third consecutive day of 0 new coronavirus cases, and is now down to just 65 active cases. Today, we entered Alert Level 2, which is mostly normal life just with some social distancing requirements (most mass gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people), the economy is now running at nearly full capacity. I think we now have a reasonably good testing and tracing capacity in place. The 'Recovery Budget' is coming in a few minutes.

For other countries, this shows that intervening earlier would likely have been much better not only for health outcomes but economically and socially today. The UK for instance would not only have saved tens of thousands of lives but probably been able to return to normal life sooner and with less economic damage had they acted more decisively. New Zealand wasn't naturally invulnerable to this pandemic. We were probably less prepared than most of Europe with only around 200 ICU beds in the entire country in late March-just 4.7 per 100,000 people (just over a third of Italy's capacity), and we have higher obesity rates than the UK. However elimination is not a realistic strategy anymore in most of Europe and the US sadly, so those countries have a much more difficult set of challenges and choices.

21 deaths and 9 days since the last one, too. NZ really deserve a round of applause for this one.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #59 on: May 27, 2020, 08:17:51 pm »

We keep getting good news about the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand. We are now down to just 21 active cases, and this is the sixth day in a row of no new cases. Sadly the death toll is now 22, due to a death from a few days ago being added to the totals.

Active Covid-19 cases in New Zealand

The level 2 restrictions are gradually being loosened, tomorrow gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed. The economy has taken a hit, and there is pressure to move to level 1 quicker and open the borders to countries like Australia. Right now further changes to alert level 2 restrictions will be considered on 8 June by cabinet, and then on 22 June cabinet will consider a move to alert level 1. It's a hard balance to get right and with the benefit of hindsight maybe there was an even better policy of a slightly looser lockdown that could have been done. Overall though, I'd rather not risk a resurgence of Covid-19 in New Zealand, and prefer to be cautious here.

The Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the other day that as a rough comparison, if New Zealand has followed the same track as the UK we would still be in lockdown, and perhaps have around 3,000-3,500 deaths and 250 new cases per day right now. Of course it's hard to know exactly how things would have gone, but it's hard to deny his basic point. I'm very grateful that we avoided such a scenario.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #60 on: May 28, 2020, 03:44:21 am »

Actually I gave the wrong numbers, I had yesterday's number for active cases. New Zealand had 12 recoveries today, and we're now down to just 8 active cases.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #61 on: June 07, 2020, 10:32:26 pm »

New Zealand now has 0 active cases of Covid-19! Jacinda Ardern announced that at midnight tonight, we are moving to alert level 1. Social distancing measures and limits on mass gatherings will be gone. The borders will remain closed and contact tracing measures will still be in place. It's basically back to normal life here. This is such a relief, and an amazing achievement.
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CumbrianLeftie
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« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2020, 09:24:11 am »

And it is right that Ardern is getting the credit.
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Lucas Whitefur
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« Reply #63 on: June 10, 2020, 06:51:53 am »

New Zealand now has 0 active cases of Covid-19! Jacinda Ardern announced that at midnight tonight, we are moving to alert level 1. Social distancing measures and limits on mass gatherings will be gone. The borders will remain closed and contact tracing measures will still be in place. It's basically back to normal life here. This is such a relief, and an amazing achievement.

I am extremely jealous of you.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #64 on: June 24, 2020, 01:23:37 am »

New Zealand has had a bit of a setback in its fight against Covid-19. We now have 11 active cases, which have arisen in the last 8 days. Most of those are in managed isolation facilities for arrivals from overseas, and so we have those under control.

However, last Tuesday two people who were granted a compassionate exemption from isolation due to the death of a family member were found to have Covid. It seems we got lucky with that case as they just isolated with another family member. They did come into contact with another person because they got lost, but apparently they had enough fuel for a drive of around 640 km and didn't use public facilities. So far no community transmission from that has been discovered. The problem was that they weren't tested before they left isolation, and it seems there's been inconsistent testing of people leaving isolation early or testing people at the end of the 14 day quarantine just to be sure.

The government therefore suspended compassionate exemptions and are reviewing their quarantine procedures. It is a worry that there were these mistakes being made. However, mistakes are probably inevitable and I think we have the systems in place to fix any issues and if there are cases outside the quarantine facilities to contain them pretty quickly.

I was a bit confused about why we were getting so many new cases after such a long streak of no new cases. It seems though that more flights into New Zealand are occurring and more people are coming back now that we are at level 1. Indeed, the quarantine facilities are getting a bit overloaded and so they can't all be in Auckland now-new facilities had to be established in regional towns like Rotorua. Overall, this week shows that we can't be complacent and need very tight border controls.
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President Pericles
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« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2020, 07:46:32 pm »

Health Minister David Clark has resigned. He made a series of blunders. There was of course his original breaking of lockdown rules. He made two further mistakes in recent weeks. With the recent border botchup, he was reported to have not visited any managed isolation facilities himself. His bigger mistake though was to refuse to take responsibility for the mess and instead say it was just Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield's responsibility. This goes against the principle of ministerial responsibility, but more importantly Bloomfield is immensely popular while even before that 57% of the public wanted Clark to resign (according to the Newshub poll). Clark said in his resignation statement today that he felt he'd become a distraction to the government's Covid-19 response (though he probably also was a distraction to the Labour Party's election hopes). Jacinda Ardern said she agreed with that after some "frank and open discussions" with Clark, and appointed Chris Hipkins (who is also Education Minister) to be Health Minister. After the election the position will be reviewed and Clark may return to cabinet, but he won't be getting the Health portfolio back.

It was a good idea for Clark to resign as he was indeed a distraction to the government and deeply unpopular. He embarrassed himself with his own stupidity and arrogance. However, I wonder if he's been treated a bit unfairly too given the success of the government's Covid-19 response. Maybe in cabinet he was a key figure in making things go well, or maybe he was just a non-entity there. The problem for him is from what the public saw of him he came across very badly.
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CumbrianLeftie
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« Reply #66 on: July 02, 2020, 07:05:10 am »

He did the right thing. Maybe it isn't totally fair as you suggest, but politics often isn't.
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« Reply #67 on: July 05, 2020, 12:08:45 am »

I think that the reaction to him riding a bike at a parking lot a kilometer or two from home was overblown (I remember he did something else that seemed more flagrant though), but he was definitely a liability.
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