Surely even the FBI will now agree this was motivated by anti-semitism

The Jewish Chronicle reports:

The British terrorist who took four people hostage inside a Texas synagogue ranted about the “f***ing Jews” in the final phone call he made to his family during the siege, a recording obtained exclusively by the JC reveals.

The FBI infamously said they didn’t think the hostage taking was anti-Semitic motivated. Maybe now they will see what has always been clear – of course it was. You don’t just happen to choose a synagogue by coincidence.

Benefits of Covid-19 vaccination

The Epoch Times reports:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study on Jan. 7 which found that every one of the 189 vaccinated people who experienced a severe outcome after contracting COVID-19 had at least one risk factor, like being 65 or older.

Scientists affiliated with the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases studied approximately 1,228,664 persons aged 18 and over who completed primary vaccination from December 2020 to October 2021, receiving either Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or an “unspecified mRNA vaccine.”

Among these, 2,246 contracted COVID-19, including 327 who were hospitalized, while 189 had a severe COVID-19 outcome. Thirty-six people had a COVID-19-related death, including nine persons discharged to hospice, the study found.

The key thing to note this is a study of vaccinated people. Basically it says if you are vaccinated and you have no risk factors, then you don’t die from catching Covid-19.

All those with severe outcomes had at least one of these risk factors, and 77.8 percent of those who died had four or more risk factors, the CDC said.

So if you are vaccinated and don’t have multiple risk factors, you will be fine.

More MIQ madness

Stuff reports:

Abigail Peden lies on a couch in Papua New Guinea moaning with pain as her father tries hard to keep it together.

But all Dan Peden has been able to do is wait and watch his 9-year-old daughter suffer for almost four days and hope she will be treated before the shattered bones around her elbow, caused by a fall, create a lifelong injury.

The Peden family, originally from Rotorua, are in Papua New Guinea as missionaries. Unable to get the surgery Abigail requires in the lesser developed Pacific nation, they desperately applied for an emergency managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) exemption to fly her home to New Zealand, and are now waiting for a decision to be made.

A doctor’s report seen by Stuff from the New Tribes Medical Centre in Goroka states Abigail’s young age means her condition is urgent, and she will need a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon in New Zealand to operate.

This is not a decision that should take days for the Government to make.

It is not a decision that should even take hours.

Within minutes of this landing on the desk of the decision maker, the decision should have been made to let nine year old Abigail return immediately.

Creepy

NewstalkZB reports:

A former high-profile Wellington public servant was allegedly caught on camera performing a sex act in a woman’s house multiple times while she was out. 

Today in a pre-trial hearing at the Hutt Valley District Court prosecution lawyer Mark Shaw alleged the man had entered the woman’s home at night twice, removed his clothing and performed a sex act in her lounge. 

The man is facing a representative burglary charge and an alternative charge of being in a building unlawfully. 

He has entered a not guilty plea to the charge of being in a building unlawfully and has been granted interim name suppression. The man has previously worked as a high-ranking public servant. 

Shaw said today that while police had charged him with being in her home unlawfully, that didn’t cover the gravity of the man’s alleged offending. 

While he told the court the primary motivation for the man’s behaviour may have been “pleasure”, Shaw said the offending was against her privacy. 

“You can look at the footage, he’s masturbating.” 

It is generally a good idea only to masturbate in your own house. It is definitely a bad idea to break into your neighbour’s house and masturbate in their house.

Experts confirm Kiwis can legally return home

On the 17th I exclusively blogged the story of a Kiwi family who got home without an MIQ booking by transiting through New Zealand, and exercising their right to stay. The Herald confirmed this story on the 20th.

On the 19th I ran a guest post from Tudor Clee who spelt out why and how New Zealand citizens have a legal right to enter New Zealand, and can do so through transit and only incur a $1,000 infringement fine.

On the 21st the Herald confirmed this, quoting a Bell Gully partner:

“Yes it does, in terms of the core provisions of the Immigration Act, citizens have the right to enter and be in New Zealand at any time,” says Bell Gully partner Willy Sussman, whose specialities include immigration law.

He said family members had, however, been stressed by comments made by joint head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Chris Bunny, who said in a statement to the Herald: “It is a legal requirement to have a valid MIQ voucher to enter New Zealand. If someone arrives in the country without a valid MIQ voucher, then their case may be referred to NZ Police for enforcement action.

This is basically bullshit. The Immigration Act is very clear that citizens do not need an MIQ voucher to enter NZ. They may need a voucher to board a flight, but not to enter NZ. The reference to the Police is also bullshit scaremongering.

“We would be extremely disappointed by anyone who purposefully ignores the process, especially when there are thousands of New Zealanders, often in difficult circumstances, who want to come home and who follow the rules.”

Goode said the Auckland Airport Novotel MIQ facility had been “half-empty” during his family’s stay, “so we weren’t taking anyone’s place”.

MIQ management is so incompetent that they can’t match supply of rooms with demand. Half the rooms sit empty.

Stuff also has confirmed NZ citizens can legally enter via transit:

Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) has “zero tolerance” for Kiwis attempting to get into the country by posing as transit passengers – but an immigration lawyer say’s he can’t see any legal reason why they shouldn’t be able to do so. …

Arran Hunt, a partner with Auckland law firm Stace Hammond, said he had “a little bit of respect” for whoever came up with the idea “as it is an intriguing way for Kiwis stuck offshore to find a way into New Zealand”. …

Hunt said he can’t think of any legal reason why a New Zealand citizen entering the country on the proviso of travelling to another country should be denied entry, although they would still need to do their time in MIQ.

“Effectively it would be preventing a New Zealand citizen from entering New Zealand, and forcing them to leave the country.”

So three separate lawyers have said it is legal.

Reti calls on Musk to help Tonga’s communications

A smart idea from Shane Reti, and it may result in action.

A positive indication from Musk.

Pro-vaccine mandate nutters in the US

I’m pro-vaccine. I have just booked in my booster shot and my five year old is getting his first shot this week.

But while the anti-vaccine movement has its share of crazies, so does the pro-mandate movement, especially in the US.

A poll by Rasmussen found:

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democratic voters would favor a government policy requiring that citizens remain confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Yep 59% of Democrats think unvaccinated people should be locked up and confined to home. Nuts.

Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications. 

And 48% think you should go to jail for questioning the vaccines!

Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Anti-vaccine camps!

47% of Democrats favor a government tracking program for those who won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Big Brother is here.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Just sheer hysterical madness.

But it gets even worse. Here’s the editorial of the Salt Lake Tribune:

Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.

Do you remember the outcry over Japanese internment in WWII? Here a semi-major newspaper advocates for the military to detain anyone unvaccinated.

The wrong science debate

Professor Gaven Martin writes:

There has been considerable debate around the intersection of NCEA, mātauranga Māori, and science. But it is the wrong debate.

I would like to offer a different perspective, informed by the review of mathematics education I chaired for the Royal Society of New Zealand and Ministry of Education recently.

So he is an expert in this area.

Like many of the significant shifts we have seen in education and NCEA over the last few decades, the current debate is underpinned by slogans and little if any evidence.

First, there should be no doubt that our national teaching of science, technology and mathematics (henceforth just “science”) delivers cruel results.

In 2018-19 our 13-year-olds scored their worst-ever results in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) (60 countries); and 15-year-olds had their worst-ever Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results in reading, mathematics and science (about 90 countries).

Since 1994 we have gone from 64% of Year Nine students meeting the international benchmark for Maths to just 53%. For Science we have gone from 73% in 2002 to 63% in 2019.

We have been in both relative and absolute decline for more than 20 years. The economic costs to the nation and the impact on individuals of this are truly appalling. Read An empirical portrait of New Zealand adults living with low literacy and numeracy skills, by an AUT study group, and then weep – I did.

By the way, the slogan underpinning this declining performance in mathematics is “we (NZ) teach knowledge with understanding and they (everyone else) teach rote learning”. Evidently we don’t teach much at all, while other nations give their children life skills.

But surely the worst thing about our current education system is the way it exacerbates – indeed grows – inequity. The relative performance of Māori and Pasifika peoples in science education is a dark stain on our nation, and we simply must address it.

The current slogan for the NCEA changes appears to be, “Many Māori are disengaged from science because they don’t see their culture reflected in it”.

There is no evidence that such a claim has any bearing on education success rates. 

It’s an assertion made with near religious belief. But as the author says, what is the evidence behind it?

It’s about the way our children are tau​ght, and the knowledge and skills teachers bring into the classroom.

The notion that a curriculum change will lift our under performance is farcical. It is about how we teach.

  • Perceived deficits. Frequently, the cultural background of both Māori and Pasifika students is perceived as a deficit within the schooling system. A recent study found that teacher expectations in New Zealand secondary classrooms were lowest for Māori and Pasifika students. Teachers referred to perceived deficits in home backgrounds and attitudes of this group of students by stating that Māori and Pasifika students lacked motivation, goals, aspirations and parental support. Studies decades earlier found exactly the same perceptions.
  • The very strong correlation between socio-economic status, and the quality of teaching (and teacher knowledge of the disciplines, along with their own experiences in science – which they usually do not like teaching). Students in higher decile schools (7-10) are three times as likely to get university qualifications than those from lower decile (1-3)
  • Poor preparation for schooling is identified as lack of ability and baked into a child’s education in perpetuity by our teaching methodologies including de facto streaming practices (slogan here is “student centred learning”, as if any teacher could manage teaching a class with 20 different centres – spread across years of the curriculum).

So focusing on these issues is far more likely to improve performance.

She’s running, he’s running

Stuff reports:

Wellington City councillor Fleur Fitzsimons is bowing out of local body politics but is not ruling out running for Parliament.

“I have done five years and there have been highs and lows,” she said on Tuesday, as she announced she would not stand for council again in local body elections later in 2022.

Fleur is, like me, a political animal. The only reason she would quite Council after two terms is because of the chance to stand for Parliament.

But she is doing the right thing. Far better to not stand again for Council because she is interested in Parliament, than stand again in October and cause a by-election a year later if she becomes an MP.

Rumours around Wellington have long circulated that Fitzsimons was considering running on a Labour ticket in the Rongotai ward in the next general election.

On Tuesday, she said she was not ruling this out, but would need to discuss it with current Labour MP – and former Wellington deputy mayor – Paul Eagle.

The fact Fleur is retiring off Council, is an incredibly strong indicator that Paul Eagle will stand for Mayor.

This isn’t a bad thing. Paul may be in Labour, but when he was on WCC he showed a real ability to work constructively with people from across the political spectrum. And Wellington needs a Council that can work together, as opposed to the chaos of the last few years under Lester and Foster.

Councillor Nicola Young – politically to the right of the Fitzsimons – was someone she now considered a friend.

“I have found her to be someone really committed to Wellington,” she said.

This shows you can disagree on politics, but still work well together. Nicola is very good at working constructively on issues.

The inhumanity of MIQ priorities

Molly Codyre writes in The Independent:

It’s been nearly two years since New Zealand essentially closed its borders with the introduction of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system. Two years since the option to go home – a human right, and a lifeline for expats – was ripped away from most Kiwis. Jacinda Ardern spent press conferences referring to those back home as the “team of five million” and urging people to “be kind”, while the one million New Zealanders who live overseas looked on in desperation, the message clear: you are not welcome here. …

The Facebook group Grounded Kiwis recently obtained government data under the Official Information Act outlining how many emergency allocation spots had been approved in the period 1 July 2021 to 6 September 2021: just 7 per cent of applications for those suffering the death of a close relative were approved; only 10 per cent of people with a terminal illness themselves were allowed to go home. 

Think about that. Only 7% of those who had a close relative due were given MIQ priority. Only 10% of those with a terminal illness were given MIQ priority. That is inhumane.

For the second Christmas in a row, just four of our five family members will be able to be together. This time, I’m the odd one out. The concept of hugging them all in February was getting me through. Now I just feel spent. I’m sick of shouting about how angry I am, I’m sick of writing articles and letters and telling the devastating stories of those who have been locked out of their country for months and years. I’m sick of watching athletes, pop stars and international DJs get coveted spaces over the average citizen.

DJs and pop stars just waltz into and out of MIQ on demand, while people who are dying can’t get in. The priorities of the Government are really fucked up.

The co-governance agenda

Graham Adams writes:

When the Prime Minister claimed in her first term that her government was going to be “transformational” many voters took her seriously — until it became apparent she was unlikely to transform anything much, whether it was unaffordable housing or inadequate public transport or introducing a capital gains tax.

Perhaps, however, we should have been listening more closely when a year ago — and only a few months into her second term — Ardern referred to “foundational change”.

The change in wording was quickly dismissed as a rebranding exercise dreamed up by Labour Party strategists to distance the government from its failure to be in any way transformational. But foundational change is certainly what we are getting in Ardern’s second term — even if most citizens remain unaware of the steady remaking of the nation’s constitutional arrangements via a radical interpretation of the Treaty as a 50:50 partnership.

Hard to deny that is the agenda, when it is being implemented every day in almost every portfolio.

What voters have not been told clearly is that these three seemingly unrelated events — road blocks (as an expression of rangatiratanga over traditional territories); iwi co-governance in Three Waters; and giving matauranga Māori parity with science in the education system — are all part of an overarching programme to implement a radical view of the Treaty.

Call it a strange coincidence if you like but all three were foreshadowed clearly in the revolutionary document He Puapua that was presented to Nanaia Mahuta in November 2019 but kept from the public (and Winston Peters as Deputy Prime Minister) until after the 2020 election.

However, because nearly the entire political commentariat deny that He Puapua in any way informs, inspires or predicts government policy, most voters are unaware that the co-governance model outlined in that revolutionary document is being steadily implemented in a wide array of domains.

The Government denied the document had any status, but their policies since suggest the opposite.

Nevertheless, voters are starting to have their suspicions. And if anything is likely to have convinced them that something deeply underhand is going on, it was the revelation in November that Cabinet had agreed in July that Three Waters would be compulsory.

That, of course, made a complete mockery of the “consultation” period with councils — that culminated in a summary of their submissions being sent on October 22 to Mahuta’s office for appraisal.

The consultation had been sold as a democratic exercise to get councils’ feedback on whether they were likely to opt in or out of the new system. Now it is clear that opting out of a programme that would transfer ratepayers’ assets to four regional entities — and share governance equally with iwi — had never been a real possibility since at least July.

People are very worked up on the Three Waters issue. If the Government refuses to compromise, their provincial electorate MPs are going to be wiped out in 2023.

Why anti-zionism is often anti-semitism

A good article on how anti-semities often try to hide behind what they are doing by calling it anti-zionism. Firstly what is zionism?

Zionism — the movement for Jewish self-determination and statehood, reflects the millennial longing of Jews to return to their ancestral homeland in the land of Israel. Zion is a biblical term used interchangeably with Jerusalem. This longing to “return to Zion” has been a tenet of Jewish tradition since the Romans destroyed the Jewish Second Temple in 70 CE and dispossessed the Jews of their sovereignty over the region. …

Zionism posits that Jews ought to have a safe haven from the bigotry and endangerment they suffer perennially as a minority culture among non-Jewish majority cultures — be it from Tsarist pogroms, Hitler’s Europe, the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands, anti-Jewish restrictions in the Soviet Union or the increase in antisemitic violence in contemporary France.

Zionism asserts that the Jews have the same right to self-determination and nationhood that is typically afforded to other nations.

To be a Zionist basically just means that you support the right of the State of Israel (as a Jewish state) to exist at all. Technically anyone who supports a two state solution in the Middle East is a Zionist. That is all it means. It doesn’t mean you support particular boundaries, just the right of nationhood.

Zionism is a big tent that includes progressive Jews, conservative Jews, apolitical Jews and non-Jews who believe in and support the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish homeland. There are Zionists who are critical of Israeli policies, just as there are Zionists who rarely voice disagreement with the Israeli government. There are diverse views among Zionists about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about how to promote peace or support for a two-state solution.

Again anyone who supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state is a Zionist.

Those who propagate “anti-Zionism” distort what Zionism is and define it narrowly and perniciously. Some express criticism of specific Israeli policies by assigning blame to “Zionism” or “Zionists,” thereby turning a critique of policy into a negation and demonization of Jewish statehood and its supporters. Denying the plurality of thought among Jews and Zionists, anti-Zionism envisions Zionists as a monolithic evil and as inherently opposed to Palestinians’ human rights and to the values of social justice. Like classic antisemites, sometimes anti-Zionists even use “Zionist” as a derogatory term for all Jews or interchangeably with all Israelis — a dangerous conflation.

Anyone who tries to blame Zionists for something, is often using it as code for Jews.

Anti-Zionism views Jewish power as fundamentally malevolent and denounces the Jewish aspiration for sovereignty. Often anti-Zionists do not scrutinize other nations or movements for nationhood to the same degree. Israel is regarded simply as an illegitimate state, founded on a lie. Some anti-Zionist activists have even sought to normalize the exclusion of Jews en masse from political movements unrelated to Israel unless they proactively denounce Israeli policies.

In February 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron stated, “Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of antisemitism. Behind the negation of Israel’s existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews.”

If you want to criticise the policies of the Israeli Government, then criticise the Israeli Government. But people who rant and rail against Zionists are basically just spreading hatred.

A Canadian broadcaster quits

Tara Henley writes:

For months now, I’ve been getting complaints about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where I’ve worked as a TV and radio producer, and occasional on-air columnist, for much of the past decade.

People want to know why, for example, non-binary Filipinos concerned about a lack of LGBT terms in Tagalog is an editorial priority for the CBC, when local issues of broad concern go unreported. Or why our pop culture radio show’s coverage of the Dave Chappelle Netflix special failed to include any of the legions of fans, or comics, that did not find it offensive. Or why, exactly, taxpayers should be funding articles that scold Canadians for using words such as “brainstorm” and “lame.”

Everyone asks the same thing: What is going on at the CBC?

When I started at the national public broadcaster in 2013, the network produced some of the best journalism in the country. By the time I resigned last month, it embodied some of the worst trends in mainstream media. In a short period of time, the CBC went from being a trusted source of news to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody of the student press.

Damning words.

It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

To work at the CBC in the current climate is to embrace cognitive dissonance and to abandon journalistic integrity.

It is to sign on, enthusiastically, to a radical political agenda that originated on Ivy League campuses in the United States and spread through American social media platforms that monetize outrage and stoke societal divisions. It is to pretend that the “woke” worldview is near universal — even if it is far from popular with those you know, and speak to, and interview, and read.

To work at the CBC now is to accept the idea that race is the most significant thing about a person, and that some races are more relevant to the public conversation than others.

Sounds like it could apply to other countries also. And note this is not a conservative complaining about wokeness. This is someone who used to be on the left of the CBC staff.

To work at the CBC is to submit to job interviews that are not about qualifications or experience — but instead demand the parroting of orthodoxies, the demonstration of fealty to dogma.

It is to become less adversarial to government and corporations and more hostile to ordinary people with ideas that Twitter doesn’t like.

It is to endlessly document microaggressions but pay little attention to evictions; to spotlight company’s political platitudes but have little interest in wages or working conditions. It is to allow sweeping societal changes like lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and school closures to roll out — with little debate. To see billionaires amass extraordinary wealth and bureaucrats amass enormous power — with little scrutiny. And to watch the most vulnerable among us die of drug overdoses — with little comment.

It is to consent to the idea that a growing list of subjects are off the table, that dialogue itself can be harmful. That the big issues of our time are all already settled.

It is to capitulate to certainty, to shut down critical thinking, to stamp out curiosity. To keep one’s mouth shut, to not ask questions, to not rock the boat.

This, while the world burns.

How could good journalism possibly be done under such conditions? How could any of this possibly be healthy for society?

Maybe Mediawatch could ask Tara on their next show, and ask these questions of NZ broadcasters?

Guest Post: Are Kiwis too scared to come home? The border is wide open.

A guest post by Tudor Clee:

In January 2021 Prime minister Jacinda Ardern righteously exclaimed that “We have to let people who have a legal right to live here – such as our own citizens – to come home, otherwise you are making them stateless.”

Within months MIQ bookings were closed and she was doing exactly that.

The challenge was how to remove the rights of millions of kiwis without ‘removing’ the rights. It is well known that Kiwis cannot fly back to New Zealand without an MIQ Voucher – that can only be obtained from a perverse squid game lottery system, or making an Emergency Application. It is often claimed that this lottery system breaches Section 18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 – being the right to enter New Zealand. But it doesn’t. And hats off to the cleverest lawyer Ms. Ardern could find. 

No citizen is stopped entering. Let me say this one more time, no citizen is stopped entering.

They are stopped boarding an overseas commercial aircraft that will be penalized if they allowed someone to board without a voucher.  It only has one flaw – citizens can still board the aircraft without a voucher if they are transiting New Zealand.

For instance, on a ticket from Sydney, to Auckland, to Los Angeles. 

Assuming the citizen meets the entry requirements for the United States (fully vaxxed, a $12 ESTS Visa, and a hotel address) they will be allowed to board in Sydney to Auckland.  On landing in Auckland there is nothing the Government can do if someone ‘decides’ they wish to enter New Zealand instead.

Nothing.

The reason for the change of mind doesn’t need to be explained. A citizen intended to only transit and then they decided not to.  It is the beginning and end of it.

The “Right to Enter” is more than just fluff – it is the name of the Section in the Immigration Act 2009 and goes as far as spelling out the right in detail, including that a citizen cannot be deported.

13 New Zealand citizens may enter and be in New Zealand at any time

  • (1) For the purposes of this Act, every New Zealand citizen has, by virtue of his or her citizenship, the right to enter and be in New Zealand at any time.
  • (3) (b) no New Zealand citizen is liable under this Act to deportation from New Zealand in any circumstances.

As such a citizen can walk off the plane in Auckland. Go to health check, go to immigration, stamp in, have their bags collected, and be put on a bus to MIQ.

All without a voucher.

They can’t be put in a room, forced on a plane, waterboarded, beaten up. Nothing.  

The conundrum for the Government was how to stop people exercising this basic right. The first course of action was to provide misleading information on their own websites.

https://covid19.govt.nz/travel/international-travel-and-transit/transit-through-new-zealand/

This page discusses transiting in New Zealand. It states:

“You can only transit New Zealand through Auckland International Airport, where you must stay in the transit area of the airport. You cannot apply to enter New Zealand.”

It doesn’t provide an asterisk to advise New Zealand citizens that they don’t need to ‘apply’ to enter New Zealand and cannot be held in a transit area. The ambiguity helps maintain the falsehood that the border is shut to Kiwis.

The second course of action is to maintain the high level of fear for all travellers. One person told me her friend said the transit passengers were ‘escorted by armed Police’ as if to ensure no one make’s a break for it.  Whether that is true or not, in the era of Covid hysteria, it was enough to put at least one person off flying home.

If a Police Officer of Immigration Officer attempted to ‘hold’ a citizen in a transit lounge they would at best only be sued for false imprisonment and likely fired – and at worst criminally prosecuted for kidnapping. 

The Government is fully aware they cannot criminalize a citizen entering.  As such the sole penalty for entering without a voucher is a measly $1000 infringement notice – essentially like a parking ticket that does not go on your record.  This is on the basis that it is a ‘medium risk offence’

A breach of a requirement where the worst potential outcome of the breach is a possibility of transmitting or spreading COVID-19 or limiting the capability of the public health response, which does not otherwise meet the description for low risk or high risk.

How this is arrived at is not explained.  Every single traveller has a ‘worst potential outcome’ of transmitting COVID as we have seen with foreign DJ’s who freely enter the country, break the rules and even then are still not prosecuted.

It also doesn’t ‘limit’ the public health response – it makes use of it.  MIQ was set up for overseas citizens returning – and these are overseas citizens returning.

In my view the infringement is challengeable in Court – paying a fine to enter your own country, or for the Government’s failure to plan a public health response 2 years into a pandemic, doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would hold up in court.

So the question is – why is the news and social media filled with the most horrific stories of grief, loss, desperation, of Kiwis stranded overseas when they can simply get on a plane and fly home tomorrow?

The explanations I have had included not wanting to ‘take’ a space from someone else.

This is of course total nonsense. There is enormous capacity at MIQ – they have space for summer DJs, foreign sports teams, The Wiggles, the previously unheard of Dutch Cricket team, and yes, even more DJs.  They definitely have space for Kiwis.

They also have a successful home isolation program that was used for 4000 plus actual positive Covid cases to stay in the community and of course a Member of Parliament coming home. 

The other explanation is that people are scared of what will happen to them.

I accept this. Most of the people I’ve spoken to are law abiding citizens. The notion of having to ‘break the law’ is terrifying, even when ‘breaking the law’ is going home and paying a fine.

How interesting that most people would be prepared to speed to catch a flight they are late for (and risk an infringement) yet are terrified of getting the same infringement for going home.

How reprehensible that we are living in a country our own citizens are ‘scared’ to return to. Given there is a way home, immediately, there is no longer an excuse for the endless posts of misery. 

The solution is entirely in the hands of Overseas Kiwis.

Tudor Clee is an Auckland based Barrister who assisted 30 pregnant couples through the MIQ system including filing 8 Judicial Reviews pro bono to obtain MIQ vouchers.

Tudor has also provided the document below which goes into more detail around the law says, but note this is not formal legal advice.

MIQ Transit v5 by David Farrar on Scribd

A cowardly way to close the border

The Government has decided to effectively close the border and not give overseas Kiwis any chance of coming back to NZ indefinitely, and rather than have the PM or a Minister announce this at a press conference where media could ask questions, they sneak it out at 8 pm at night via tweet from a departmental account.

It’s cowardly and the opposite of accountability.

It also suggests that the Government thinks it can keep Omicron out of the community. They should read the fable of King Canute.

The cost of the Auckland Rural Boundary

Don Brash writes:

What would bring prices back to a more affordable level? Only the removal of the artificial boundary around Auckland which is keeping section prices at truly ridiculous levels. At the moment, 400 square metre sections (one-tenth of an acre in the old terminology) are being offered in Papakura at $977,000, with title not available till 2023. That isn’t the price of a house, but simply of a very small bare section. That implies that the price of land is in the order of $20 million per hectare (allowing for the need to leave space for roads). Given that the price of good dairy land is around $50,000 per hectare, it is clear that something is seriously nuts.

$20 million per hectare vs $50,000 per hectare. It is nuts.

Labour promised to repeal the boundary in 2017. It was a good policy. Merely moving the boundary just moves the price difference. Abolishing it would result in a huge drop in the price of land in Auckland.

But surely we don’t want urban sprawl? Why not? Less than 1% of New Zealand’s total area is currently urbanized. If in a decade’s time 1.25% was to be urbanized, would that be a disaster if, as a consequence, the great majority of ordinary New Zealand wage and salary earners could afford to buy a home? (By way of comparison, some 9% of the United Kingdom is urbanized, and 15% of the Netherlands.)

The recent deal between National and Labour now makes it easier to build up, which is good. But you will only fix the housing crisis if you allow people to build both out and up. As Don points out, an increase from 1.0% to 1.2% urbanisation would still be miniscule compared to other countries.

But what about the environmental impact of urban sprawl? How can we tolerate that? Well, the Government is planning that most of us will be driving electric cars within a few years and given that, it is by no means obvious that allowing the suburbs to spread a bit further will have a serious environmental impact. Indeed, high rise apartment buildings – made of concrete and steel, requiring 24-hour lighting and elevators, often involving air-conditioning systems and certainly requiring electric clothes dryers rather than an old-fashioned clothes-line – may have a more adverse impact on the environment than “sprawling suburbs”.

Exactly.

Despite all the media stories about “house” prices – and yes, I know the price of building materials has gone up over the years, and wage rates as well – the real culprit is not “house” prices but section prices. Those have gone through the roof, and the only way to reduce them, and thus to reduce the price of the house-and-section package, is to remove the artificial boundary around Auckland (and our other major cities).

Those who oppose the removal of that boundary are effectively condemning nearly half the population to a life of continuing financial stress, with all the adverse consequences for the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of literally millions of Kiwis.

I hope National in 2023 campaigns on abolishing the boundaries.

False equivalency

Ben Kepes writes:

A few months ago, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman​ took part in a protest in support of the Palestinian people living in Gaza and, more pointedly, Israel’s treatment of those individuals.

At the protest, there was much rhetoric around the perspective that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people is akin to the way the Nazis treated the Jews during the Holocaust. 

More recently, coverage of the Voices of Freedom anti-vaccination, anti-lockdown and anti-Covid control protests have shown people wearing yellow stars and carrying placards likening Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and our current government to the Nazi Party.

The false equivalency is tiresome and offensive. I know the serial number of my great grand mother on the train that took her to the concentration camp where she died, along with 140 other members of her family. When you have that happening, then you can compare things to the Holocaust.

Let me be clear for those who didn’t do Year 9 history: The Holocaust was a specific event in which the German Nazi party, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, sought to permanently eradicate the entire Jewish people from the face of the earth.

Alongside this, other classes that the Nazis regarded as subhuman – homosexuals, Gypsies, the disabled – were targeted. Roughly 11 million human beings where slaughtered in this time, six million of them Jews.

While I absolutely agree that Israel continues to treat Palestinians in Gaza poorly, there is no genocide going on – it is correct to contend that they are subjugated, but words matter. Genocide has a very specific meaning, and it doesn’t apply in this case.

And in the case of those anti-vaxxers using the Star of David as part of their protest, Jews were forced by the Nazis to wear the Star of David across Europe. Failure to do so could, and often did, result in execution.

Likening the vaccine passport to this is a hugely false equivalency – the vaccine pass is fundamentally aimed to keep citizens safe.

You can criticise Israel without comparing them to Nazis. Likewise you criticise the human rights implications of vaccine mandates without comparing them to Nazis. In both cases you trivialise the actual Holocaust.

Federal Vaccine Mandate struck down

The BBC reports:

The US Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden’s rule requiring workers at large companies to be vaccinated or masked and tested weekly.

The justices at the nation’s highest court said the mandate exceeded the Biden administration’s authority.

Separately they ruled that a more limited vaccine mandate could stand for staff at government-funded healthcare facilities.

This is totally unsurprising. The powers of the President don’t extend to ordering private businesses to do vaccine mandates.

If you want to implement a vaccine mandate, you should pass a specific law authorising it, as they did in NZ.

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