Saturday, April 18, 2020

What use is empathy?

But the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff isn’t empty. It is crammed full of casualties. Right now 1.4 million existing on wage subsidies wondering if or when they will work again. 30,000 more eking out an existence on a benefit wondering if or when they will work again.

Empathy is a rather useless trait because it merely requires you to 'walk a mile' in EVERYONE else's shoes. Leading exactly where? 

The decisions required from a government should be utilitarian. Based on the greatest good for the greatest number. I see no evidence that they have been.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Jobseeker benefit numbers and wage subsidies at April 10, 2020


The cost of the wage subsidy is now twice that of the ANNUAL spend on working age benefits (see my previous post)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The lie I really take issue with

This is the lie I really take issue with.

Verbatim from the Prime Minister at today's  press conference:

"Three and a half weeks ago NZ was in a unique position. Unlike other countries we had enough lead-in before Covid 19 reached our shores. That meant we could make a choice.
We could allow a wave of devastation to hit us like it has in other countries or we could take decisive  preemptive action by going hard and early into lock down to stop the spread of the disease in its tracks. We chose action and the indications at this stage are promising. We will never know what would have happened if we'd taken the first path but the projections were for thousands of deaths if the virus got away on us, many more sick and in hospital and the COUNTRY AND OUR ECONOMY GRINDING TO A HALT REGARDLESS."
Why would the economy have ground to a halt?

Can anybody explain that to me?

We know that Covid 19 is relatively harmless to the working age, those who keep the economy afloat. Hospitals in crisis would be a dreadful but a contained catastrophe. As it stands nobody has been going there anyway.

Lives have a value. Pharmac calculates it somehow. Hospital administrators do it all the time when juggling waiting lists.  New Zealand may have sustained much greater loss of life if it hadn't gone into lock down BUT the economy, notwithstanding the damage from external factors beyond our control, would not have ground to a halt.

It would have been hurting, undoubtedly, but the government, with an unholy rush of blood to the head committed the proverbial extremely unkind act of 'kicking a man when he's down.'

Wage subsidy cost already supersedes ANNUAL working-age welfare benefit bill

Wage subsidy data at April 3:

Just to give you an idea of how much $5.361 billion is, it equates to:

MORE than the ANNUAL combined Jobseeker, Supported Living Payment and Sole Parent Support cost of $4.525 billion


37 percent of the ANNUAL Super bill at $14.562 billion

Not that I begrudge the claimants. I save my bitter resentment for this reckless government.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Bit of much-needed excitement

Amazing display by mother nature today. You can see the 3-4 metre wall of wave in Muritai Bay and in the foreground is sea where it has never been before. Not in the 25 years I have lived here.
A park bench and pontoon had both disappeared. A young man sped past on his motor scooter heading south with surfboard tucked under his arm. I smiled quietly wondering how the police launch was going to cope with that.

And while I enjoy a bracing bumpy flight into Wellington Airport (remember airports??) you can leave me out of ferry trips across heaving seas.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Good example of the confusion that abounds

The opinion of a Timaru lawyer, questioning the legality of the lockdown, a better communicator than dear leader:

"In the meantime, if we comply with the rules, enforceable or not - because they are good law - then we will get to the end of the 4 weeks, flatten the curve, and carry on in restricted fashion with a health service able to cope with whatever comes its way, which is the point of all this. After all, the virus has cemented its place in our health environment and in the fashion of viruses, has secured its own survival by not killing everyone it meets." (My emphasis)

This guy makes sense to me and yet when I click on the embedded link midway through the article I read this:

Alert level 4 - eliminate

And yesterday: "Almost two-thirds of New Zealanders are willing to have the current lockdown extended so Covid-19 can be eradicated, a new survey has found."

There is a distinct whiff of the Mad Hatters tea party about all of this. And it's getting stronger by the day.

Still we've had all manner of bureaucratic bullshit going on for a while in this country. Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, Predator Free 2050 and most recently Road to Zero - the elimination of all road deaths. We haven't even achieved that in the lockdown!