People stayed home at night watching television looking for some direction … Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks appeared and Identipasses … –Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale, 1986
Exploiting the ‘pandemic’ for power and fearmongering
by Roger Childs
The arrival of the coronavirus in New Zealand in March 2020 gave the prime minister the ideal opportunity to increase her power and popularity. The Labour/NZ First/Greens Coalition was struggling in the polls and Jacinda Ardern gratefully seized the opportunity to give her government emergency powers and effectively close the country down.
With her excellent communication skills and winning smile, backed by the confident Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, Ardern had the nation watching daily press conferences to learn about the latest developments. Phrases like the team of five million and be kind to each other struck a chord with most. Most businesses had to close down, but the Finance Minister subsidized these with wage subsidies and through them provided payments for people who had lost their jobs.
The four to six week lockdown was obediently accepted by the vast majority as the price that needed to be paid for keeping covid 19 at bay.
Ardern the saviour
When Lockdown ended in May with only a small number of cases and few deaths – most elderly people with serious underlying conditions – the prime minister’s popularity soared and she boasted of how New Zealand had one of the best records in the world for dealing with what was called a “pandemic”.
Fortunately for the government, the economy performed far better than most experts predicted, largely on the basis of continuing foreign trade and the outstanding efforts of the farming community. The latter, however, did not get the support and gratitude it deserved.
The election was looming and with National, led by the divisive Judith Collins, in disarray, Labour swept into power with an absolute if small majority. Hundreds of thousands who had never voted for her party in their lives saw Ardern as the nation’s saviour and abandoned the Tories. This 2020 ballot will always be known as “the covid election”.
Majority rule divides the country
We will be the party that governs for all New Zealanders. –Jacinda Ardern on election night 2020.
Wrong. Since getting absolute control of the House of Representatives the Labour Party has pushed through legislation or made decisions with little consultation or respect for the principles of democracy on which New Zealand has been built. Some examples:
- Oil and gas exploration was abandoned.
- The Marsden point Refinery was closed down.
- Labour’s Maori caucus — a powerful party within a party — has pushed ahead with implementing He Puapua, a programme which ultimately aims to have co-governance by 2040 between the Crown and part-Maori who represent about 15% of the population. (He Puapua was developed in 2019, but Ardern didn’t breathe a word about it prior to the election and New Zealand First’s intelligence failed to pick it up.
- Communities lost the right to demand a referendum on the allocation of separate seats on their councils for part-Maori.
Scores of Acts of Parliament and amendments have been passed – often under urgency – reinforcing the government covid response strategy. Thirteen items of legislation alone were rushed through in March 2022.
The divisive issues of vaccinations
… those who opt out won’t face any penalties at all. –Jacinda Ardern, 22 September 2021
After the “success” of the 2020 Lockdown the arrival of delta and omicron strains of the virus in 2021 has seen government policy split the country. Auckland was locked down for 107 days from mid-August last year, thousands of businesses went to the wall and tens of thousands lost their jobs.
A key area of dispute was vaccinations and the prime minister did a U-turn on the issue of penalties for those who wouldn’t get the jabs. Labour nailed its colours to the Pfizer mast but Ardern refused to reveal the terms of the deal with this Big Pharma company which has a checkered past.
Those who made the choice not to trust the experimental ‘vaccines’ / gene therapy which had short circuited the usual lengthy trials, have been discriminated against in being–
- unable to use many public facilities
- excluded from most cafes and restaurants, and numerous businesses
- sacked from their jobs in the health, education and many other sectors
- excluded from many groups, clubs and meetings.
Throughout the “covid period” Ardern’s regime has been dutifully supported by the compliant Mainstream Media which has slanted the news in return for handsome Taxpayer-provided payments from the government.
And to back up the official covid strategy, so called expert virologists and scientists such as Michael Baker, Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy have parroted a pro-government message emphasizing the dangers of not following policies such as getting vaccinated, and exaggerating likely covid 19 casualties.
Protests increased culminating in the unprecedented occupation of the grounds of parliament in February this year. This development was world-wide news especially the eventual violent clearance of the area by the heavily armed police.
The covid cloak is slipping
The adverse publicity of this protest plus the declining popularity of the Labour government has eventually led to the announcement that vaccine mandates would end in early April. But will the prime minister let go? Opposition leaders, notably ACT’s David Seymour, have emphasized the need for her to pull back.
Covid policy making has been the big power play since March 2020, and has given Ardern enormous authority and influence, but will she finally end the covid policies of wearing masks, social distancing and requiring vaccinations? Many countries overseas have now dropped these conditions and are learning to live with covid just as they have survived with influenza and other diseases in the past.
Ultimately the end of these restrictions in New Zealand will throw into sharp focus the myriad social and economic problems facing the country, such as
- continuing family poverty
- rising housing shortages
- affordable housing out of reach for many
- escalating mental health problems and suicide rates
- increasing racial separatism
- the divisiveness of the undemocratic He Puapua programme
- the need to rethink climate change polices given the lack of evidence that its happening
- the economic costs of the unnecessary reduction of carbon dioxide and methane emissions
- the need to resume oil and gas exploration
- the lack of acknowledgement and support for the vital role of the farming sector.
Maybe Jacinda Ardern’s biggest fear is that once she loses the crutch and the covid cloak drops from her shoulders the public will see the reality — the empress has no clothes.