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New Zealand wages high-stakes effort to halt virus outbreak

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By NICK PERRY

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Whole swathes of New Zealand locked down until Tuesday despite the fact there are no cases outside Auckland, and the Wellington cluster is well and truly contained.

Even then restrictions for weeks to come in areas that have had no cases. Beyond ridiculous.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

saying people could go “spread their legs”

I fully agree with this advice.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"A successful effort could again make the nation's virus response the envy of the world"

BWHAHAHAHA!

1 ( +11 / -10 )

New Zealanders believe in their leadership and fellow citizens to stick it out. It's such a rare thing in the world, I actually think they will do it.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

Even then restrictions for weeks to come in areas that have had no cases. Beyond ridiculous.

Absolutely ridiculous that a democratically elected government that won by a landslide during a pandemic due to their policies, would then enact the policies that got it elected, that are still popular with the people, when right-wingers from other countries think it's a bad idea.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

My questions would be:

How much is this costing the NZ economy?

How many life years lost will that account for on the population?

What happens each time NZ opens up to the rest of the world?

or

When will NZ open up to the rest of the world again?

I am not envious of NZ at all. In fact I am not envious of UK my homeland. For all the silly things that the JP government has done at least they have yet to take away my freedom.

That said I am interested in this live action experiment because over the last couple of years quite a lot of people have been critisized for not acting quickly when the threat is small. This will be a test case to prove if that theory actually works out in practice.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

New Zealanders believe in their leadership and fellow citizens to stick it out.

It's nice to see people with a bit of backbone, prepared to make a few basic sacrifices for a short time for the good of the nation. So much of the world is inhabited by self-centered, lily-livered babies who aren't prepared to anything except complain.

Whole swathes of New Zealand locked down until Tuesday despite the fact there are no cases outside Auckland, and the Wellington cluster is well and truly contained....Beyond ridiculous.

Exhibit A. Lack of basic fortitude or stoicism.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

How much is this costing the NZ economy?

Their economy was at pre-pandemic levels before their current lockdown. There is of course a dip right now.

How many life years lost will that account for on the population?

How many will not be lost to covid? Both are rhetorical questions.

What happens each time NZ opens up to the rest of the world?

They haven't opened up to the world, and aren't intending to until they are vaccinated. They have very strict quarantine measures.

I am not envious of NZ at all.

You don't have to be, you don't live there. It would be really frustrating for you being in a place where they are democratically choosing to do something you dislike.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

NatorToday  03:56 pm JST

When will NZ open up to the rest of the world again?

What about Japan ?

I am not envious of NZ at all. In fact I am not envious of UK my homeland. For all the silly things that the JP government has done at least they have yet to take away my freedom.

How do you define 'freedom' ?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@strangerland

Ardern may have won the last election but polling is showing her government falling in popularity as they fail to deliver on initiative after initiative. Latest polling has her party in the mid 30s as opposed to the above 50% she got in the election.

Up until the current outbreak, NZ had the slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world, and was a sitting duck for COVID. Arrogance and complacency at its finest.

With the rise of ACT, National now has a viable coalition partner, and the next election is theirs to lose.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

NZ should remain locked down until it is safe for people to work. It is the only way to make NZ the most livable country in the world amidst the pandemic.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

A successful effort could again make the nation's virus response the envy of the world. 

Nah. It’s old. Draconian lockdowns - meh

And a successful effort would only be until the next Covid outbreak…

A more wholistic approach would be better.

I see an opposition politician getting quoted in this article too, as well as info about people wanting to visit relatives abroad.

The article doesn’t mention how New Zealand lost some filming by Amazon recently due to the restrictions either.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@strangerland

Life years lost can be calculated so it is actually just a question of someone doing the maths. They did the maths for both the UK and Australia on the first lock-downs and found out that more life years will be lost than lives saved.

Live years lost include young people who will loose out in the long run. The point being is 6 months extra life for an 80 year old more important then 5 years less for a 25 year old. The gamble being that there is a way of countering the loss to 25 year olds with good policy but obviously no way of countering the 6 months for the 80 year old.

I know that this site is a pure NZ love fest and you somehow get to say what you want without modding whilst the rest of us are on the fast delete. However my original questions deserve proper answers because there is a health cost to shutting down and that does need to be balance against stopping the virus spread. More importantly will the policy prevent the virus or just slow it down for a future time.

It is a good question if Japan will open up as well. It looks very much like all countries will have strict border controls but those who have accepted the virus as part of life will open up a lot quicker than others. NZ is an outliner and maybe that will be an economic cost in the long run. Long run being more than 5 years.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Pray for New Zealand

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

> NatorToday  03:56 pm JST

My questions would be:

How much is this costing the NZ economy?

How many life years lost will that account for on the population?

What happens each time NZ opens up to the rest of the world?

or

When will NZ open up to the rest of the world again?

I am not envious of NZ at all. In fact I am not envious of UK my homeland. For all the silly things that the JP government has done at least they have yet to take away my freedom.

That said I am interested in this live action experiment because over the last couple of years quite a lot of people have been critisized for not acting quickly when the threat is small. This will be a test case to prove if that theory actually works out in practice.

The question you might want to ask is is my freedom and money worth the life of another or rather many others?

In your case, and Japan's case the answer is a clear no.

In the Kiwi's case, the answer is a clear NO.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Strangerland,

The New Zealand government that you note won by a landslide last election is apparently not quite so popular now, according to what I see at Google:

https://amp.rnz.co.nz/article/7c50b5f1-9adf-42a7-81d5-e1e7a50304f2

Would need the support of a “Green” Party to govern were an election held now…

That is polling from before this latest outbreak too. As the lockdown gets old for more and more New Zealanders, I’m guessing the trend won’t be good - unless they adjust course given the changes in conditions. Surely they will I think. This won’t be the last Covid outbreak unless they get even stricter about the border.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The politics are irreverent.

The realities of this pandemic, and the Covid variants mean that a number of scenario, plus the subsequent strategies and plans have to be taken into account.

Here are the major pinch points ….....

Another challenge is a lack of intensive-care hospital beds. A recent report by a group of experts noted that at the pandemic's start, New Zealand had fewer than one-third the number than the average in developed nations, and little had changed since then.

New Zealand's vaccine rollout has been the slowest of any developed nation, with only 39% of people having gotten at least one shot and 22% fully vaccinated. The country chose to use only the Pfizer vaccine and didn't approve its use until two months after U.S. regulators first approved it for emergency use.

if the confidence of the people wane, well that could spark a political kick back.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Another challenge is a lack of intensive-care hospital beds. A recent report by a group of experts noted that at the pandemic's start, New Zealand had fewer than one-third the number than the average in developed nations, and little had changed since then.

“The New Zealand health system is still poorly resourced to deal with any large outbreak of a disease such as COVID-19,” the report found.

There that is why NZ's only option forward is to stay under a strict lock-down. It is never too late, NZ can still solve this problem.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is a fundamental difference between NZ's strategy and pretty much the rest of the world:

NZ - We let none of our people die

Rest of world - we accept some people will die

I know which society I'd prefer to live in.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Since the world will have to live with Covid NZ's policy of keeping it out will effectively seal the country off from the outside world for the foreseeable.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why do these articles keep saying NZ is 'the envy of the world'?

I don't want to live in a penal colony with chunks of the economy wiped out and holidays banned. Do you?

Are NZ going to do this with flu too? Seasonal flu kills people, so why not lock down then too?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

GBR48Today  08:56 pm JST

Why do these articles keep saying NZ is 'the envy of the world'?

I don't want to live in a penal colony with chunks of the economy wiped out and holidays banned. Do you?

Are NZ going to do this with flu too? Seasonal flu kills people, so why not lock down then too?

LOL Wild speculation there don't you think?

It's hardly a penal colony when (for many months up until last week) people were free to live their lives without the need for social distancing, early closing of restaurants and bars, social distancing and the constant threat of dying from a horrible virus.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

> fxgaiToday  08:21 pm JST

NZ - We let none of our people die

OK so not from Covid.

But how about, people driving cars? Are associated deaths accepted, hence New Zealanders permit themselves to have the freedom to drive, even though some will die?

Oh god here we go.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Frequently we hear about the virus rampaging down under. Understand that it is inevitable. Contrary to popular opinion, lockdowns are necessary. Knowing this is the case, people should prepare accordingly. Alternatively, I think the virus situation will get worse. Realistically, we should wait until things get better. Doing as advised is best! Even so, I can understand how people must feel frustrated at the situation. Right now in Japan, we should be grateful we are not in the same situation. Nevertheless, good health to you all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In a country of 4.9 million, only 22% fully vaccinated. The answer is obvious, so what is the delay? If they can get access to the vaccines that work, they should be able to fully vaccinate in less than a month.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Are NZ going to do this with flu too? Seasonal flu kills people, so why not lock down then too?

We've had flu vaccines for a long time now. Hospital stays associated with the flu tend to be shorter, and you are more likely to die of covid than the flu. Besides, did they lockdown for seasonal flu before covid? No. Why would they do it after?

I'm not 100% behind lockdowns. The associated costs, such as mental health, loss of income etc, are too high. By way of a personal example, I have an elderly aunt who lives alone, doesn't drive and has recently been having trouble booking a spot for her grocery deliveries. However, the consequences of her contracting the virus could be far, far worse. So, provided the current lockdown succeeds in severely limiting the current outbreak, I'm prepared to give it the chance. I'll give it to next Tuesday, then I'll re-examine my position.

https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20201218/covid-19-is-far-more-lethal-damaging-than-flu-data-shows#1

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Vaccinations have sped up rapidly since the outbreak began, with health workers now giving doses to nearly 2% of the population every day.

However, it's not all moonlight and roses:

"The Government is working on a plan to eke out Pfizer vaccine doses between deliveries, as demand for jabs threatens to outstrip supply."

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/126210677/covid19-government-plans-to-stretch-out-pfizer-stock-as-delta-cases-mount

I hope they figure it out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder how New Zealanders feel about the US deciding booster shots for fully vaccinated Americans are more important than first shots for unvaccinated New Zealanders

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Nator

I am not envious of NZ at all. In fact I am not envious of UK my homeland. For all the silly things that the JP government has done at least they have yet to take away my freedom. 

Really??? What about all these states of emergency that you keep having in Japan. Sounds like a serious incursion of your 'freedom' to me.

That said I am interested in this live action experiment because over the last couple of years quite a lot of people have been critisized for not acting quickly when the threat is small. This will be a test case to prove if that theory actually works out in practice.

It will be the second test case. The one last year worked, so I would expect this one to work as well.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thunderbird2

Since the world will have to live with Covid NZ's policy of keeping it out will effectively seal the country off from the outside world for the foreseeable.

You obviously don't keep up with the news. They plan on opening up next year.

GBR48

Why do these articles keep saying NZ is 'the envy of the world'?

Because they have 5 deaths / million people.

I don't want to live in a penal colony with chunks of the economy wiped out and holidays banned. Do you?

A penal colony? Yeah right. The economy is doing fine. Japan's state of emergencies are doing as much hard to their economy. Holidays banned? Where did you hear that nonsense?

Are NZ going to do this with flu too? Seasonal flu kills people, so why not lock down then too?

Oh, you are part of the 'Covid is no worse than the flu crowd'.

1glenn

In a country of 4.9 million, only 22% fully vaccinated. The answer is obvious, so what is the delay?

They waited to fully authorise the virus rather than emergency use only. They will be mostly vaccinated by October.

If they can get access to the vaccines that work, they should be able to fully vaccinate in less than a month.

You have to realise that a population of 5 million also means that the infrastructure is built for 5 million. Sure in Japan, you could vaccinate 5 million quickly. There is infrastructure to allow that. In NZ it will take longer. Two or three months...

falseflagsteve

No they won’t, they are delaying the inevitable and causing untold hardships on innocent people. You can’t have a closed island policy eternally and Covid ain’t going nowhere

Umm, next year. I guess you missed the news too.

The best they can do is speed up vaccines and do a health campaign for weight loss. New Zealand has a obesity problem especially within the indigenous population. Obesity and Covid is a terrible combination even for the young.

Weight loss? I'm not sure where you got your degree in public health, but I think that regimen may be a little too slow to react to this virus and its variants... ;-)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

falseflagsteve - it is and it would. That’s an idea not to be scoffed at. The problem though is it’s a medium to long term course and in the short term it wouldn’t have any effect at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh god here we go.

Coming from “letsberealistic” that’s ironic. There are no solutions, only tradeoffs.

"The Government is working on a plan 

Reminds me of Baldrick from Blackadder for some reason.

If there is a commonality between these antipodeans and Japan and many other places it seems to be government monopoly on retail vaccine distribution, and that seems to be been a big failure. I’m still trying to book a vaccine with my local municipal administration with no success.

I wonder how New Zealanders feel about the US deciding booster shots for fully vaccinated Americans are more important than first shots for unvaccinated New Zealanders

I imagine that New Zealanders are not under the impression that the “US” is a socialist operation, and that if they want vaccines they will have to seek to obtain them through standard market forces.

Some people may think that is “unfair” but free market price signals are a key means of efficiently distributing goods where they are in demand.

What about all these states of emergency that you keep having in Japan. 

It’s a “state of emergency”, not a real state of emergency. A good thing about post-war Japan are its constraints on central power, although it does show authoritarian influences remain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

fxgai

It’s a “state of emergency”, not a real state of emergency. A good thing about post-war Japan are its constraints on central power, although it does show authoritarian influences remain.

How many restaurants and bars have gone out of business because the "not really state of emergencies". It's an affront to your "freedoms"! ;-)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No doubt a lot have been affected by the pandemic, but government locking the entire economy down would surely have been worse for the economy.

The benefit of a lockdown and strict quarantine was in terms of perhaps saving some lives in the short term, but is more costly in other ways.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the Japanese government’s approach, but I am grateful that the country’s constitution keeps the authoritarian tendencies at bay.

Reading some New Zealand headlines today it strikes me as a somewhat nationalist place, as if questioning the government strategy is like a form of treason or blasphemy. But it’s not much unlike other places either, as I read of police making many arrests of those not abiding by the lockdown rules.

The New Zealanders posting here too seem mostly adamant about their path, with a few dissenting.

This is the reality that you’d think a nations leaders would be aware of, if they were in touch. New Zealand’s Ardern seems to have a good reputation so I’m going to guess she changes course before September is out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

fxgai

This is the reality that you’d think a nations leaders would be aware of, if they were in touch. New Zealand’s Ardern seems to have a good reputation so I’m going to guess she changes course before September is out.

Kinda assumes that your way is right and hers is wrong. I'm going to guess that she won't change course before September is out. We shall see.

ScoMo on the other hand will flap to whichever breeze is strongest. ;-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reading some New Zealand headlines today it strikes me as a somewhat nationalist place, as if questioning the government strategy is like a form of treason or blasphemy. 

For Americans who grew up in the extremist environment of America in which the individual always takes precedence over the group, the idea of having a sense of dedication and duty to your people can seem like being brainwashed or sheeple.

Look at the Covid numbers and gun deaths in America compared to other countries to see why we take pride in civic pride.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is the reality that you’d think a nations leaders would be aware of, if they were in touch. New Zealand’s Ardern seems to have a good reputation so I’m going to guess she changes course before September is out.

Her policies are popular with the majority of New Zealanders. Should she go against the wishes of the majority because a minority don't like the policies? And would you classify doing so as a smart move politically or ethically?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Nation-wide Lock-downs: The Envy Of The World!!

lol. Insanity. Please, please shut down my economy, dear political leaders! We NEED lockdowns, especially after discovering that near-fully-vaccinated nations like Israel now have THOUSANDS of cases coming from FULLY-VACCINATED citizens. Why not? Nothing can stand in the way of their quest for more CONTROL.

Go for it, New Zealand! Destroy your poor! Ruin your small businesses! Expand that coercive government control into EVERY aspect of privacy. "My Body, My Choice?!" lol. Can you believe that these very same authoritarian minded Leftists used to spout this slogan in FAVOR of limited government,when it suited them, of course...lol. What a flip-flop!

Hey...like Napoleon once said, "Let us wait a little; when your enemy is executing a false movement, never interrupt him." Let's let Kiwis bask in their glory of achieving "not one new case of (now-largely non-leathal in vaxxed citizens) COVID Uber Alles". Let them reap what they politically sow when they voted for eternally more government control at the ballot box.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am only now realizing the full incompetence coming from the NZ government:

"New Zealand's vaccine rollout has been the slowest of any developed nation, with only 39% of people having gotten at least one shot and 22% fully vaccinated.

"The country chose to use only the Pfizer vaccine and didn't approve its use until two months after U.S. regulators first approved it for emergency use.

"The negligent execution of the rollout has left New Zealand a sitting duck for the delta variant.”

“The New Zealand health system is still poorly resourced to deal with any large outbreak of a disease such as COVID-19,” the report found."

"A recent report noted that at the pandemic's start, New Zealand had fewer than one-third the number than the average in developed nations, and little had changed since then."

All of these problems can be sourced squarely on the present NZ government. It's been in power for years prior to this pandemic, and all other developed countries are doing better on vaccinations and on creating hospital beds than the Left-leaning shut-ins on their now-eternally isolated rock.

But hey, let's trust this same government to get rid of a...global pandemic...with....total economic and personal lockdowns!? Surely they can do SOMETHING right, right? Surely this government can at least DESTROY the economy and livelihoods of a large segment of its population correctly?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Go for it, New Zealand! Destroy your poor! Ruin your small businesses!

I don't get it. This doesn't jive with the fact that NZ has had a booming economy. How is it destroying their poor or their small business?

Or are you imagining they'd run this like America could, and leave their small business to fail if they were to do a lockdown?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All of these problems can be sourced squarely on the present NZ government. It's been in power for years prior to this pandemic, and all other developed countries are doing better on vaccinations and on creating hospital beds

Other countries have done so as they've been preparing for deaths. NZ has already succeeded in mostly preventing deaths. It seems you have a problem with their methodology, even though it's been wildly successful.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Her policies are popular with the majority of New Zealanders.

You are looking in the rear view mirror no?

Maybe you missed it but Google shows political polling showing that the current New Zealand government’s popularity was in decline, even before this new outbreak and lockdown.

Should she go against the wishes of the majority because a minority don't like the policies?

The leader should keep eyes on the road ahead, rather than only looking behind.

And would you classify doing so as a smart move politically or ethically?

Changing policy in the face of changing circumstances (and decreasing poll numbers) is exactly what I would expect from a smart, ethical leader.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hito Bito

"The country chose to use only the Pfizer vaccine and didn't approve its use until two months after U.S. regulators first approved it for emergency use."

Hmmm. And we get posters who complained in the US that the vaccine was only emergency approved. You can't have it both ways. They ensured that the vaccine was safe before approving it for use on New Zealanders.

Also, I'll wager in a few of months NZ will be in the higher vaccinated bracket in the developed world.

Surely they can do SOMETHING right, right?

5 deaths per million sounds like something right. The us is 2000 deaths per million. By my calculations that makes New Zealand 400 times more right than the US. And I'll note that NZ have been freer ver the last year and a half than the US. So yeah, they got it right.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

fxgai

Maybe you missed it but Google shows political polling showing that the current New Zealand government’s popularity was in decline, even before this new outbreak and lockdown.

Yes, but that is because it became so high last year as a result of their Covid response. Since MMP was established, no one party has been able to form a majority. Ever. Last year Labour was. It was unprecedented. So it is only to be expected that popularity like that would wane.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So it is only to be expected that popularity like that would wane.

Ok, talk to Strangerland about it for me.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

fxgai

So it is only to be expected that popularity like that would wane.

Ok, talk to Strangerland about it for me.

Why? I agree with Strangerland. The government is still wildly popular.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You were saying that waning popularity is to be expected, but think they are still wildly popular?

Well, if we can be bothered let’s check the next polling results. Last time out the trend was seemingly down for the wildly popular New Zealand government.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

fxgai

You were saying that waning popularity is to be expected, but think they are still wildly popular?

Yes. I don't know why that is so difficult to understand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Misguided government bumbled the vaccine rollout, and now are being touted for their quasi successful lockdowns, which will soon prove futile in the face of delta.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Goyt

Misguided government bumbled the vaccine rollout,

Vaccine roll out is going well. It had a delayed start compared to some countries because they decided for full approval of the vaccine rather than emergency use. (The reason being that there wasn't an emergency.)

and now are being touted for their quasi successful lockdowns,

Very successful lockdowns. Limited damage to the economy and only 26 deaths.

which will soon prove futile in the face of delta.

Bold claims and it almost sounds like you want them to fail...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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