• World-leading?

    So, the Herald has found someone, as we can see from today’s issue, who is able to explain why we should not claim to have been “world-leading” in our response to the covid epidemic.

    It seems that we have been kidding ourselves when we celebrated our low total number of deaths from the virus (at just 27 so far) when others – even on a percentage of total population basis – have registered lives lost to the virus at much higher numbers. And we were also mistaken to have congratulated ourselves on the immediate bounce-back our economy has enjoyed. Neither of these measures matters a damn, it seems, and we should concede that others – with much higher death rates and flat-lining economies – have nevertheless done so much better.

    Such advice should be gratefully received, if only to reinforce what many of us know already – that critics of the government will reach for any stick with which to beat it, even if they have to defy the evidence and rationality to do so.

    Bryan Gould
    9 October 2021

  • The Virus, Not The Government

    I wonder if Mike Hosking ever reads the paper in which he appears so regularly? If he does, he might have noticed a report in today’s Herald about the problem that could face churches in Auckland if a vaccine passport becomes mandatory for those wishing to attend church services.

    The chair of the Auckland Church Leaders Group, Jonathan Dove, is reported to have said that the issue placed the churches in some difficulty, but “that’s because of the virus, not the government.”

    Such calm common sense is clearly beyond Hosking, whose across-the-board hostility to the government leads him to treat every multifarious and adverse intrusion of the virus into our daily lives as brought about by the failings of the government.

    It is comforting to realise that so many of our community leaders have a better understanding of the issues that face us than do some of our supposedly well-informed (and paid) commentators.

    Bryan Gould
    8 September 2021

  • TheHerald’s Dilemma

    The Herald must find itself on the horns of a dilemma.

    On the one hand, it wants to show itself as supporting the national interest – hence its commendable campaign to achieve a 90% vaccination rate.

    On the other hand, it wants to ensure that the government loses the next election to National (or even, heaven help us) Act – hence its determined efforts to undermine the government by constantly chipping away at it on a number of issues and from a number of viewpoints.

    The dilemma arises because it can achieve the second objective of undermining the government only by fragmenting the national effort to counteract the pandemic – an effort whose best chance most of us see as lying in a nation-wide resolve to stay strong, as represented by a government whom, and whose strategy, the people trust and support, as the polls show.

    So, which is it to be? The standard-bearer for the national interest or the scourge of the government in the “National” interest?

    Bryan Gould
    3 October 2021

  • The Gadfly

    Opinion polls, as opposed to elections, provide the participants with a chance to give effect to a fleeting impression, rather than a considered judgment. The poll will often reflect something that has caught the eye rather than engaged the brain.

    An opinion poll, in other words, is likely to reward the gadfly, rather than the serious politician – one, in other words, who has responsibilities in the real world and who can therefore be expected to do things of consequence rather than simply posture.

    The latest polls bear this out. The “big winner”, we are told, (though such terms are inevitably relative) is the gadfly-in-chief, David Seymour – and this comes as no surprise. The times are tailor-made for political gadflies. When the pandemic poses challenges on every front to the government of the day, there are endless opportunities for the gadfly to alight first here and then there, without ever having to face the challenge of real events himself.

    The only reason we are invited to take the poll results with more than a pinch of salt is that the Herald sees some mileage to be made from them. David Seymour remains as far from the responsibilities of government as he has ever been; his value to the Herald is that he allows more pressure to be heaped upon the unfortunate Judith Collins and therefore hastens the day when National choose a new leader.

    Bryan Gould
    28 September 2021

  • Seymour and Collins

    The Herald continues to hitch its wagon to David Seymour’s coat-tails. They don’t seem to realise that Seymour is almost entirely an (inadvertent) creation of Judith Collins.

    If it weren’t for the fact that Collins is performing so badly as National leader, Seymour would not be noticed. For those interested in arithmetic, his rise in the polls is almost exactly the mirror image of Collins’ decline.

    There is little evidence, in other words, that Seymour is doing anything to increase the total right-wing vote; such support as he is gaining is won at National’s expense.

    Whether the right as a whole might do better under Seymour’s rather than Collins’ leadership is perhaps debatable. For what it’s worth, I am not convinced. For every right-wing voter who might return to the National fold if someone – anyone – other than Colllns were leader, another would leave, discomforted by Seymour’s far-right position and beliefs.

    The Herald may need to think again.

    Bryan Gould
    16 September 2021