Tuesday, March 31, 2020


With the Prime Minister issuing an Epidemic Notice under s5 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act we essentially have government by fiat.    It allows the government by Order-in-Council to override existing legislation ... sometimes referred to as the Henry V111 clause.  

Make no mistake about it ... the government has arrogated to itself unprecedented power.

That's why Simon Bridge's Emergency Response Committee is so important.    It's the only check on Executive power we now have with the media all pretty much compliant and singing the government's tune.


Snowflake said...

Are we not enduring a pandemic? If you’re so offended by the powers granted under an Act passed in 2006, it’s curious why the Nats never repealed it.

Psycho Milt said...

I presume it's not that he's offended by the powers granted under the Act, he'll just be aware that National needs something, anything, to make Simon Bridges look vaguely relevant right now.

Anonymous said...

Dr Mr Veteren, given we have a pandemic as declared by WHO it would seem to be the appropriate Act to use.

Yes, the NZ Govt has extreme powers, but the NZ Government system is wider than just one or other political party, as one of your depth of experience of life must know. It includes the officials, officers of parliament, courts, justices of the peace, and even lawyers have a judicial role in commonwealth countries when there is a usurping of power (for an example see what has happened in Pakistan).

So, we have these extreme powers for extreme circumstances, which revert once the circumstances are over. The Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act - also used with a National Emergency Declared is another example.

It seems from my observation that the Directors of Health and Civil Defence are both capable, experienced, competent and trustworthy people who will use their powers judiciously during this time and then revert once that time has passed. The same could be said for the Police Commissioner.

As the story goes, Robert Muldoon decided he wasn't going to hand over power having decisively lost the election as his reasoning was Labour didn't have any experience. He received a visit from senior civil servants and officers of parliament, who explained to him there was an easy way and a hard way to transfer governing power - the hard way involved them using their powers to arrest him and remove him. His visitors included the Commissioner of Police and the head of the Defence Force.

So, in the extremely unlikely event that something similar were to happen following the current pandemic, I would have similar faith and trust in our senior civil servants and or the courts to do their job, which I am sure they would.

In the interim, instead of worrying about such unlikely events, perhaps we should be happy we have coherent political leadership, and highly competent heads of departments, commissioners etc, who with their wider teams are putting in a huge effort to get NZ through this global pandemic in the best shape possible.

Andrei said...

anon @ March 31, 2020 at 9:13 PM

Is that you Jacinda?

Tom Hunter said...

As the story goes,

Well that's a fascinating story.

But it's complete bullshit. According to Barry Gustafson's biography of Muldoon - His Way - it was visits by his own Cabinet that did it.

The same could be said for the Police Commissioner.
Well I thought so too until he opened his gob the other day about not driving to the beach for a walk and "having a little trip to our place.". Sounds like he's one of those classic authority figures who lets power go to his head - for the greater good of course.

Anonymous said...

"Is that you Jacinda?"

No, sorry - and I wouldn't want her job for quits

Police Commissioner: "Sounds like he's one of those classic authority figures who lets power go to his head - for the greater good of course."

I have followed that specific conversation with interest as our local beach is where I like to go to walk, and I live just far enough away that I need to drive to the beach. I can follow the logic around the beach question, and instead I have modified my behaviour and I am walking to the much closer local park.

They have flip flopped several times on the beach question, with different positions at various times between the Commissioner and the Prime Minister.

As the saying goes 'the devil is in the detail' and that level of detail has taken a bit of sorting out over the week. Clearly they don't want the Bondi situation, and just as clearly there are a number of people in our society who have trouble with any sort of coherent instruction or logical rules.

I don't think the Commissioners statements taken as a whole over the last 5 days indicate the issue you are expressing. He and his team are having to deal with a fair number of idiots on a daily basis, and seem to be doing so in reasonably good humour and a sensible approach. The very odd exception is being reported, but generally a very common sense approach is being taken.

Tom Hunter said...

Meantime over on RNZ I see some sad little Victoria University Law Professor getting a bit worried about Keeping our liberties alive in lockdown.

Too late for that now pal, although he does give a preview of where this is heading - good intentions and all:

The nervousness in our society is understandable. However, the official talk of carrying papers, reporting on neighbours, mobilising the military and providing police with massive discretionary powers increases this anxiety

Awwww... Think that's over the top? I see the Police, like their counterparts on Airstrip One, have built a special website where you can dob in your neighbours without jamming up the Police phone lines. Although even it crashed today under the load from all our little inoffizieller Mitarbeiters.

And then there's the head of the NZ Police Association, Chris Cahill, who's now suggesting that a curfew may be necessary.

Oh well. That's how these things go once you jump off the cliff of emergency powers. I wonder where we'll be in a couple of weeks time as the Police and the Army are steadily debilitated by COVID-19 isolation procedures, which is why Cahill is making this suggestion now.

The Veteran said...

Flake/Milt/Anon ... not offended at all. The legislation exists for a purpose and clearly this is the time to use it. But unbridled power is dangerous and there has to be a mechanism in place as a check on potential abuse.

Seems to me you are arguing against such a system and if you are then we have real cause to be worried, very worried. But then again I guess it fits with your ideology.

Wayne Mapp said...

I don't believe that the Commissioner of Police and the CDF ever threatened to arrest Muldoon. That is just an urban legend. It is simply not their role to take such unilateral action, and they would not have done so.

My understanding (from direct authority) is that it was his colleagues. In particular it was George Gair and Jim McClay who talked sense into him. But it wold have also been others of the top team

Anonymous said...

Vet, I am arguing that you do have to use emergency powers when necessary - this is such a time.

I was also arguing that we do in fact have checks and balances in our system of government, and these can be utilised if necessary.

My ideology as such is not to the left, probably more right/libertarian if I had to describe it. Poor assumption from you there with regard to me.

I do not subscribe to the US based conspiracy fantasies about a totalitarian government take over in a Western democracy.

Yes, there are concerns here in NZ right at the moment, and I have discussed them with colleagues. Following the discussion my position is I have faith in the integrity of the total NZ system of government, the integrity of the relevant officials, and the courts.

I actually think having observed our Prime Minister over the past year, that I have faith in her integrity around this issue.

Anonymous said...

Apology for discussing an urban myth. I stand corrected on that one.

Tom Hunter said...

My ideology as such is not to the left, probably more right/libertarian if I had to describe it.
I have faith in the integrity of the total NZ system of government, the integrity of the relevant officials, and the courts.

I actually think having observed our Prime Minister over the past year, that I have faith in her integrity around this issue.

These people may have integrity - Jacinda certainly does not strike me as any sort of dictator - but once they get focused on solving a single problem and they have emergency powers at hand then it can start to get pretty ugly.

I do not subscribe to the US based conspiracy fantasies about a totalitarian government take over in a Western democracy.

US-based? I can recall any number of Lefties who have assured me of the gathering cloud of Fascism that was about to descend on Western democracies - although that was usually when a Right-Wing politician was in power in Britain and the USA. Despite having a richer, deeper history of democracy than much of Europe.

Anonymous said...

Presumably people who wouldn't know actual Fascism even if they fell over it.

The Veteran said...

Anon 11.13 ... the hard left and the fascist right are joined at the hip in terms of their (non) respect for civil liberties.

In that context and we're getting to the point here where any criticism of JA and the government is somehow deemed to be 'unpatriotic'.

Well, having experienced the shambles at the countries boarders which can best be likened to a Swiss cheese on steroids and the push back from the Flakes of this world who had the temerity to suggest it was all our fault because we exercised our right to travel at a time the government (your government) said it was Ok to do so ... I say nuts to the unpatriotic meme.

The government admitted in parliament during the discussion around the establishment of the ERC that in respect of decisions made regarding the crisis it got and will continue to get some things wrong ... its the job of the ERC to expose those failings and if the Bridge's Committee somehow offends your sensibilities in doing so then stiff s**t.

The arrogance of some who see their beloved government challenged continues to amaze.

Anonymous said...

Vet, I also experienced the border issue, coming back into NZ a couple of days before the compulsory self-isolation. Compared to the thoroughness in the Asian countries I came through, it was a dogs breakfast at the NZ border - I couldn't believe how slack it was.

I think the accountability committee is a good idea at the moment and fits with the general theme of whole of government functioning well, in particularly unprecedented and trying times. It is a check and a balance and adds further accountability to current decision making. Where did I state otherwise this evening?

With regard to Fascism, plenty of people throw the label about to groups they disapprove. The historical Fascists were extremely thorough and ruthless in their exercise of power. Hence my comment - most people left or right wouldn't know what actual Fascism was, or how it operated. If they did understand that they wouldn't use the label in the first place.

Tom Hunter said...

it was a dogs breakfast at the NZ border - I couldn't believe how slack it was.

As also documented here at No Minister with that young guy's March 21 video uploaded to YouTube.

Anonymous said...

God almighty not the border again. Unless you quarantine every passenger in a lockdown hotel for 14 days on arrival there is nothing you can do to stop an infected person entering the country.

Lots of criticism but no answers. Now is your big chance Veteran and anon to tell the world how you would have handled an influx of people arriving home under stress. Fancy 14 days in hotel veteran before you could go home. Christ we would never hear the end of it.

One word about temperature testing and we will know you don't know what you are talking about. GO FOR IT. Tell us how you would do it

Anon 10:18. Don't bother aplogising. That was the old No Minister. This is the new No Minister hardhitting cutting edge and all that bollocky bullshit.

John Disraeli

Anonymous said...

So you are saying it's easier to lockdown a whole country, rather than inconvenience a smaller number of people then?
Hard choices had to be made and been squeamish isn't a good solution.
If we manage to eradicate the virus, then open the borders with little or no control, we are back to square one.


Psycho Milt said...

So you are saying it's easier to lockdown a whole country, rather than inconvenience a smaller number of people then?

Well, it is much easier, so he probably is saying that. In our case, "lock down a whole country" means "ask people to stay at home to the extent possible," which isn't significantly different from the government's approach to border controls before the lock-down.

Enforcing quarantine on thousands of returning NZers, on the other hand, would require a massive logistical operation: planning, requisitioning and preparing facilities, hiring or seconding staff and training them, supplying the quarantine facilities with essentials etc. I've yet to see any of the bleaters about not closing the borders account for how they personally would have ensured that the means to do so appeared overnight.

Psycho Milt said...

But unbridled power is dangerous and there has to be a mechanism in place as a check on potential abuse.

If only National were up to such a job. In government they've proven uninterested in civil rights, so there's no reason to assume they've suddenly found a love for civil rights now. I expect only partisan nit-picking from the National MPs on the select committee, based on their actions to date. Hopefully the reps from other parties will provide a real focus on protecting civil liberties.

Andrei said...

Here is an April Fools joke for you - except it is not a joke and it certainly isn't funny

Here is a running total of the Deaths registered in England and Wales each week this year compared with the number death registrations for the same week average over the previous 5 years - this data is complete to the week ending 20th March 2020

Sorry it is hard to tabuate data in this stupid blogger form - the op line is this year and the figure underneath is the the equivalent week averaged over the past 5 years

The data comes from here https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales

3-Jan-20 10-Jan-20 17-Jan-20

12,254 14,058 12,990

12,175 13,822 13,216

24-Jan-20 31-Jan-20 7-Feb-20

11,856 11,612 10,986

12,760 12,206 11,925

6-Mar-20 13-Mar-20 20-Mar-20

10,895 11,019 10,645

11,498 11,205 10,573

14-Feb-20 21-Feb-20 28-Feb-20

10,944 10,841 10,816

11,627 11,548 11,183

And what this data shows is that despite the hyperbolic reporting the death rates in England and Wales at least are pretty much in line with what you would expect and the only unusal thing about 2020 is the sense of panic over what is a normal event

Wayne Mapp said...


All you are showing is your usual hatred of the National Party. To you any questioning by National MP's is simply nitpicking.

Noel said...

Excuse me if I am wrong but I was under the impression it was a bipartisan committee chaired by Bridges.

Yesterday came across as a political points scoring exercise.

Perhaps it will improve today.

ROFL said...


Psycho Milt said...

Wayne Mapp: I freely admit to not being the most objective observer who could be found for comment...

Anonymous said...

Andrei...This from your link birth deaths and marriages.

"A total of 138,913 deaths were registered in England and Wales between 28 December 2019 and 20 March 2020 (year to date), and of these, 108 involved COVID-19 (0.1%); deaths that occurred up to 20 March but were registered up to 26 March, the number involving COVID-19 is 210."

This matches worldometer which has them at 200 for 21 March. You haven;t factored in the Ulster or Scottish deaths either

Today is the 31st, in ten days the death toll from covid-19 has gone from 200 to 1,785. We call that a pandemic I don't know what the fuck you call it in Russia. Mild cold, Under the weather perhaps?

Petri dish

Psycho Milt said...

Andrei: yep, and hopefully our own measures will keep our death rate fairly normal for this year too. Of course, if that happens the figure will then be used by conservatives to bolster their claim that the whole thing was a big fuss about nothing by an incompetent government, but that's BAU.

Andrei said...

Petri Dish all that counts is the number of deaths and the demographic in which they occur, the way they are recorded cause of death not so much

They have added to this release new rows which tabulate the deaths coded as respiratory disease and hose explicitly coded as respiratory disease associated with COVID-19

It is early days yet but the data shows that as the weather warms the deaths attributed to respiratory diseases decline as is a well known phenomina and this is in the data despite the COVID-19 diagnoses begining to appear in the coding

It all comes down to what he doctor who wrote the certificate coded the cause of death is but if you expect to see around 1000 deaths from respiratory alilments and that is more or less what you observe it matters not a whit whether they were attributed to COVD-19 or something else

Anonymous said...

Don't talk bollocks Andrei....go peddle your agenda elsewhere. You have neither the epidemiological nor medical experience to make judgements. Moscow under lockdown I see, Supervlad ain't a happy bunny.

Andrei said...

PM you cannot rewind the tape and replay the shutdown period without the shutdown and see wha difference it made

But what you can do is look at what happens in Nations that haven't shut down but kept calm and carried on.

We will see

I'm not surprised that the Prince of Wales has ermergd from his period of isolation due to a COVID-19 diagnoses unscathed by the experience.

Anonymous said...

And I am not surprised a beautiful 16 year old girl with her whole life in front of her was killed by a disease that did not exist 6 months ago. No underlying health issues.

If she read English she might have even read your crap and thought it was all a big joke.Now go away before someone else believes you and goes out partying.

Petri Dish

Tom Hunter said...

Petri dish is ignoring the one thing about this virus that is certain, which is that the demographic it's primarily lethal too is very old people and those with underlying respiratory and circulatory conditions.

Petri Dish then uses the usual statistical exception to spread fear and panic even further.

Naughty Petri - that sort of thing will lead to division, polarisation, confusion and diversion from the job at hand.

Andrei said...

Worse than that Tom - he uses emotive terms to describe her "a beautiful 16 year old girl with her whole life in front of her"


"No underlying health issues."

How does he know this? - the actual details are not in any story I can find - maybe she had cystic fibrosis for example. Regardless it is an anomaly for someone that age to die of COVID-19

The BBC went to town over a 21 year old woman who suppoedly died of COVID-19 all based on a facebook post complete with obligatory selfie of said woman to illustrate the story which on investigation evaporated

Same in the US, a young man who allegedly died of COVID-!9 actually died of a drug OD

RosscoWlg said...

Thanks Andrei for the data on death rates in the UK.

I found a graph for all Europe for the last 5 years which I will send to Adolf and he can publish it. It covers the flu season for that period and of course as we would expect there is little or no difference to previous years.

On another matter my sources tell me that nothing is happening at our major hospitals, staff are standing around, no elective surgery, and of course no 50,000 waves of patients needing Covid help.

In fact staff are being sent home early on full pay.

All smacks of panic and lack of true analysis. Going from Level 3 to 4 in 48 hours confirms that theory.

I cant stand Socialism in in all its form but we have to tip our hats to Sweden who have handled this in a logical way by advising their people to basically do what we did at Level 3. Sanitise and keep your distance.

Imagine with a bit of leadership based on smart analysis rather than the type of fear raked up by the like of Petri Dish and his ilk, we would all still be working.

Oh and we wouldn't have needed a bail out by the International Capitalists that the Left hate so much, except when they want them to fund their incompetent spending habits!

The Veteran said...

Noel ... the ERC is not bi-partisan (look up the meaning of the word). It's a Committee comprising members from all sides of the House with National and ACT forming a majority.

It's there to scrutinise and provide a check (the only check) on the exercise of power by fiat which government has arrogated to itself during this time. Scrutinise includes asking the inconvenient questions.

John Disraeli ... 14 days in a Hotel under lockdown is exactly what the Oz government is doing. NZL?

Green Card said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RosscoWlg said...

The Vet NZL is doing the hotel lock down thing. A friend of my daughter has just come back from Europe and is in mandatory quarantine in a hotel in Akl, even though she lives in Wellington.

Apparently the food is not great but they are working on it and the Rec Cross is helping.

Total Quarantined in Akl is apparently over 3000, over 20 hotels etc.

The Veteran said...

RW ... tks for that. Better late than never. Voluntary self-isolation was never going to work and contributed to the spread of the disease. A number of those coming in from o'seas would have treated self-isolation as a joke to be observed in the breech.

Noel said...

Oops cross party.
Forgot about the Greens.