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Category Archives: Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand tried for years to deport the ISIS supporter who injured 7 shoppers in a stabbing attack last week – Yahoo News

Posted: September 6, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Police guard the area around Countdown LynnMall after a violent extremist took out a terrorist stabbing attack before being shot by police on September 03, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

New Zealand has been trying for years to deport a man who injured seven people in a mass stabbing, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He was previously arrested twice, and police found ISIS propaganda in his apartment both times.

The man was appealing his deportation and authorities were legally unable to keep in him jail.

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New Zealand had been trying for years to deport an ISIS supporter who injured seven people in a supermarket stabbing spree last week, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a press conference on Saturday.

The attacker had been served a deportation notice in 2019 after his refugee status was revoked, said Ardern, but a drawn-out legal process allowed him to remain in New Zealand even while authorities knew he intended on carrying out a terror attack.

Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a 32-year-old ethnic minority Tamil from Sri Lanka, grabbed a knife from a supermarket shelf on Friday and attacked seven victims, placing three in critical condition, before being shot dead by police who were monitoring him.

Samsudeen arrived in New Zealand in 2011 on a student visa seeking refugee status, which he was granted in 2013, per court documents made public on Sunday.

He became a person of national security interest in 2016 after uthorities noticed him sympathizing on Facebook with terrorist attacks and violent extremism, according to court documents.

During their investigation, authorities also discovered that Samsudeen's refugee claim was based on a fraudulent document, prompting them to revoke his refugee status, according to Ardern.

Court documents also show that Samsudeen was arrested in May 2017 at the Auckland International airport when police believed he was about to fly to Syria. Police searched his apartment and found a hunting knife and ISIS propaganda.

According to the NZ Herald, Samsudeen had told a fellow worshipper at a mosque he would commit a "lone wolf" terrorist attack if he was unable to go to Syria.

Story continues

He was later released on bail, but was arrested again in August 2018 after purchasing another knife. Police also found more material relating to ISIS propaganda in his apartment.

Samsudeen was served a deportation notice while in jail. He appealed against it under New Zealand's Immigration Act, saying he would face "arrest, detention, mistreatment, and torture" if he were to be sent back to Sri Lanka.

In July 2021, he finished his sentence related to the 2018 arrest and was released while awaiting his deportation appeal. New Zealand's immigration agency wanted to keep him in jail, concerned that he would be a risk to the community, according to Ardern.

"It was incredibly disappointing and frustrating when legal advice came back to say this wasn't an option," she said. Because of his appeal and circumstances, Samsudeen was likely to be considered a "protected person" under the country's Immigraton Act.

Authorities also knew that Samsudeen wanted to carry out a terrorist attack and looked into charging him under the country's 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act, but the charges were rejected because planning an attack isn't a crime in New Zealand.

"Agencies used every tool available to protect innocent people from this individual," said Ardern. "Every legal avenue was tried."

After his release, authorities ordered police to monitor him constantly, deploying 30 officers to watch him for 50 days until the attack happened, reported The Guardian.

Police commissioner Andrew Coster said at the Saturday press conference that the officers monitoring Samsudeen kept their distance from him because he had a "high level of paranoia" toward their surveillance, and therefore took two minutes to get to him after he started his stabbing attack.

Ardern said her government is pushing for a new anti-terrorism law that will broaden the definition of terrorist activity and criminalize the planning of terror attacks. She also said that the attack on Friday should not be pinned on any one community.

"It was carried out by an individual, not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who was gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community," she said.

"He alone carries the responsibility for these acts. Let that be where the judgment falls."

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Jacinda Ardern weighing up end to New Zealands nationwide COVID-19 lockdown after new cases announced on Monday – 7NEWS.com.au

Posted: at 3:03 pm

South Island mayors are eager to see their COVID-free island come out of lockdown.

On Monday, after health officials announced 20 new cases - all in Auckland - Jacinda Arderns cabinet was expected to meet to discuss the COVID-19 restrictions in force across the country.

Auckland is confirmed to stay in an extreme level four lockdown for another week.

But for the rest of the country, which has endured 20 days of lockdown so far, its an open question.

Many South Islanders believe they should get back many of their freedoms with a move to level two, which allows Kiwis to get back to work and school while retaining gathering caps and some mask-wearing.

There has not been a confirmed community case of COVID-19 on South Island since last November, when a nurse working in NZs quarantine system contracted the virus.

To have Wellington with, say, 14 active cases and the South Island with none, and for us all to be at the same level doesnt make a lot of sense to me, Westland Mayor Bruce Smith told Newshub.

The opposition has also called for South Island to shift to level two.

South Island people and businesses are being put under unnecessary stress for no good reason, National party leader Judith Collins said.

Unless the government is again keeping vital information from New Zealanders, theres no reason why the South Islands alert level shouldnt be dropped to level 2 with immediate effect.

Other mayors arent so sure.

Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan said he was a supporter of New Zealands worlds best elimination response.

Whoever is giving the government their advice over the last 18 months has done a great job, he told AAP.

Im not an epidemiologist. Ill happily go along with what they want.

Rachel Reese, Mayor of Nelson, said a move to level two would require rigorous controls at Auckland airport and the Cook Strait ferries.

There is a very strong push for the South Island to drop a level, she said.

Timarus mayor Nigel Bowen said his community also expected a shift.

By all accounts COVID is not in the South Island, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the decision hinged on more than simply case numbers.

The absence of cases and positive wastewater testing, making sure that all those contacts, who had further testing to be done, that testing has been done, he said.

All of that matters.

Weve all got a job to do here, and well consider the advice that Dr Bloomfield gives us and make a decision.

Robertson, who grew up in Dunedin, said hed had plenty of feedback from South Islanders on a move closer to normality.

The South Island knows that its helping to contribute to New Zealands overall ability to stamp out this outbreak, he said.

Weve all got a job to do here, and well consider the advice that Dr Bloomfield gives us and make a decision.

Monday is the third day in a row New Zealand has reported 20 new cases, which takes the total outbreak to 821 cases.

There are 40 people with COVID-19 in hospital, and six in intensive care units.

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Jacinda Ardern weighing up end to New Zealands nationwide COVID-19 lockdown after new cases announced on Monday - 7NEWS.com.au

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‘Splitting a half strength’: Bizarre way Jacinda Ardern and team celebrated level 3 – New Zealand Herald

Posted: at 3:03 pm

Lifestyle

1 Sep, 2021 09:06 PM2 minutes to read

Jacinda Ardern tells ZM's FVM that she celebrated moving to level 3 by sharing a takeaway coffee. Video / ZM

Most of the country is tucking into takeaways and barista coffee at level 3 while Auckland watches from a distance.

And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern herself was one of those lucky enough to get a takeaway coffee the day Wellington moved to level 3.

She told ZM's Fletch, Vaughan and Megan how she and her staff celebrated the return of takeaways yesterday.

"One of my team came and brought me [a coffee] in the morning, which was lovely," she shared.

But what she did next will shock coffee snobs around the country.

"I then split it with some other staff members who didn't have one," she admitted. "We have a small bubble and I felt guilty having one, so we rationed the coffee."

And while the radio hosts joked that it was "so socialist" of her, Ardern went on to say "the saddest thing for them is that I drink half-strength coffee!"

Turns out the PM doesn't go hard and early on the caffeine, even after a level 4 lockdown.

"But after no one having coffee for that long, they needed to take it easy. You don't want to go too heavy, too hard."

Last year when the first level 4 lockdown lifted, Ardern revealed what she'd been craving the most during lockdown.

2 Sep, 2021 05:00 AMQuick Read

"Weirdly, I don't drink a lot of coffee and yet I still remember when we moved the ability to go and get a takeout coffee, that felt like a real landmark moment for me," she told The Hits' Laura McGoldrick.

"If not coffee, what does keep you going?" asked the radio host.

"Well my day doesn't start as early as a breakfast radio host but it's often dark at both ends of my day. I drink tea like it's water, I drink a lot of tea."

"Very English, milky. I drink a lot of milky tea just like my grandmother.

"Clearly in this interview you've deduced that I was born old."

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We had years to prevent a terrorist attack – we deserve to know what went wrong – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 3:03 pm

OPINION: Hearts sank across the country when we heard the news of an attack on shoppers at an Auckland shopping mall.

In the midst of a Covid outbreak, which on Friday claimed another victim, it seemed like tragedy being heaped on tragedy.

But few of us were prepared for the prime ministers admission just hours later that this was a terrorist attack, that the man who carried out the attack was a known threat known to herself, to security agencies and to police and that he was considered to be such a threat to national security he was under 24 hour surveillance.

Specially trained police officers were, in fact, just metres away when he stabbed his first victims. They had tailed him for 53 days, involving up to 30 officers. He bypassed all of that by making preparations for the attack look utterly mundane; just another trip to the supermarket.

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We know that at any one time there are 30 to 40 people who are under the watch of our security agencies. Not all of them are in New Zealand some are overseas.

But I understand only a handful of them, if that, were thought to pose such a significant risk as the Countdown terrorist.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a press conference about the Auckland supermarket terror attack on Friday evening.

He had the singular attention of the security agencies and the Government.

The tight circle of senior government ministers who are briefed on matters of national security were aware of the threat he posed and were kept regularly up to date by police.

What we do know is he had their attention because he committed numerous crimes and acts that made his intentions clear.

The Government's explanations so far suggest it was let down by the law at every turn.

But we know that there were years of warning that it could come to this; we also know that some law changes were in train, but they dont seem to have been afforded particular urgency.

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Armed police patrol the area around Countdown LynnMall after a mass stabbing incident on September 03, 2021.

We also know that the attacker came here as a refugee, and that efforts were being made to revoke his refugee status because of those crimes and his various acts.

There will be one question on most peoples lips: given everything the authorities knew, why wasnt he deported?

I have been told that the question of deportation was raised in Cabinet on at least one occasion by former Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

We dont know the reasons why that was never acted on, however.

Because of suppression orders that lifted only late last night, the prime minister said yesterday she was unable to answer. We can expect more on that today.

But one reason appears to be the difficulty of doing so under existing laws.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

The question on everyones lips: Why wasnt he deported? Pictured: Police investigating the LynnMall scene.

Authorities had several years, however, to consider whether this case demonstrated that the law is no longer fit for purpose.

In the immediate aftermath of an attack like this our thoughts, of course turn to the victims first; the stabbing of seven people just going about their business at the supermarket would be unthinkable, except that we have already experienced the horror of a terrorist attack before, and understand the senselessness of this violence.

But this act of terrorism is also unthinkable because it was utterly predictable.

Yet it happened anyway. No amount of finger pointing will change that.

But we deserve to know why it went so wrong.

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Covid-19: Here’s why Jacinda Ardern’s British critics are wrong – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: September 1, 2021 at 12:21 am

OPINION: British columnist Matthew Lesh, writing in The Telegraph , claimed Jacinda Ardern was trapped in her "arrogant Zero Covid policy.

Unfortunately the claim is devoid of accuracy and demonstrates an absence of proper research, which is ironic given the writer is the head of research of the Adam Smith Institute.

Rosa Woods/Stuff

University of Otago Professor of Public Health Michael Baker was part of the group which advised the Government on coronavirus.

To throw back at him his offensive opening sentence, there is no poetic justice in his article for the honest intellectual Smith was.

Lesh does acknowledge that New Zealands economic growth has been high and mortality low during the pandemic, but he downplays the significance as if it is only a 2020 phenomenon.

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First, through its elimination strategy, New Zealand has one of the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates in the world 5 deaths per million.

Compare this with the United Kingdoms 1,961 deaths per million (20 August). If we had followed the UKs more laissez faire approach we could have had over 10,000 deaths instead of 26. New Zealands last Covid-19 death was in February 2021.

Second, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development has ranked New Zealand the best performing member country for its Covid-19 response including economic performance.

Supplied

Ian Powell, former executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

And thirdly, New Zealands elimination strategy has given us amongst the highest levels of freedom from lockdowns in the OECD over the last 18 months, based on the Oxford Stringency Index and Economist Magazines Normalcy Index.

Lesh is misleading in his description of New Zealand following a zero Covid strategy. In fact, our elimination strategy in its focus on community transmission is more practical than this. It recognises that we might not keep the virus out of the country all the time but, if we get an outbreak, we will stamp it out quickly in order to protect the public.

That is why New Zealand went into a national lockdown as soon as we detected the beginning of our first Delta variant Covid-19 outbreak on August 17.

Genomic testing showed the virus was introduced from New South Wales by an infected traveller who arrived on August 7. The virus had not been circulating for a few weeks in New Zealand.

Lesh is wrong to claim that Australia has seen rising daily cases despite continued harsh lockdowns. Through quick strong lockdowns Delta variant outbreaks have been largely eliminated in the states of Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia along with Northern Territory (Tasmania has managed to keep it out completely).

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

SNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks during a Covid-19 update and press conference on July 26.

Cases are rising, dangerously so, in New South Wales but, despite the protestations of its Premier to the contrary, it is because of the slow response and very loose lockdown enabling the virus to continue to spread. Harsh lockdowns have worked in Australia; loose ones havent.

Using our low vaccination rate for alleging that Prime Minister Ardern has little serious interest in protecting New Zealanders is dishonest. Our vaccination rates are dictated by vaccine supply which has been hard to control. As a small economy in the OECD we have less negotiating leverage than much bigger economies and countries such as the UK that are vaccine producers.

In fact, we are comparable with the much bigger economy of Australia and by the end of this year every adult New Zealander is scheduled to have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated.

Further, the very quick national lockdown currently underway is hardly the behaviour of a Prime Minister who has little serious interest in protecting New Zealanders.

Lesh claims that New Zealands vaccination centres were closed down because of the lockdown. This is disingenuous. Recognising that our workforce capacity would be over-stretched the government suspended vaccination for one day to allow essential testing centres to get up and running. Now we have both vaccinations and testing for Delta surging concurrently.

Once the population is fully vaccinated by late 2021, and we know more about the implications of various policy options, New Zealand will be well placed to make an informed choice about continuing with an elimination strategy or switching to a looser suppression approach if that appears optimal. Until then, we hope the country can continue to keep its options open.

When Adam Smith advocated his invisible hand in market economies we dont believe he envisaged that objectivity and empirical evidence would be thrown out the window as a consequence in the way Lesh has done.

Ian Powell, former Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, and Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington,

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Has Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand got its Covid-19 response all wrong? – The National

Posted: at 12:21 am

Latest analysis: Covid Delta surge in vaccinated societies shows masks are here to stay

As the Delta coronavirus variant causes thousands or tens of thousands of cases a day in countries ranging from Israel to Japan and the US, another nation is dealing with an outbreak of a very different scale.

New Zealand is in a strict lockdown introduced initially because of a single coronavirus case detected last week an uncompromising response that reflects the countrys elimination strategy for Covid-19.

There have been 63 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in the community in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of active cases to 210, the highest figure since April 2020, as the web of contacts linked to the first person to test positive expands.

If the elimination strategy requires regular lockdowns to control outbreaks, then it may not be sustainable in the long term

Prof Nick Wilson, University of Otago, New Zealand

Thanks to intensive contact tracing, testing and isolation, experts believe the country will, however, be able to stamp out this current outbreak, even if doing so takes several weeks.

The elimination strategy of the government led by Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, contrasts with the suppression or mitigation approach used by many other countries, which is based on vaccination and more limited lockdowns. New Zealand has fully vaccinated about 23 per cent of its population, the lowest of the OECD group of developed countries.

Australia and Singapore have also adopted the elimination approach to Covid-19, and plan to continue until high vaccination rates enable a move to a policy of suppression living with the virus. But will New Zealand follow a similar strategy?

Elimination has downsides, including a significant effect on New Zealands international tourism industry.

Even New Zealanders have found it difficult to return to their home country because of the strict border controls imposed to keep the country Covid-free.

But there have been significant upsides, not least the lowest mortality rate in the 38-member Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with only 26 deaths recorded.

This is a tiny fraction of the number seen in many nations and is extremely low even after taking into account the countrys modest population of about five million.

At home, New Zealanders have typically enjoyed more freedom than their counterparts in other developed countries since the coronavirus emerged. Concerts and sports matches have taken place without the need for social distancing or masks.

The countrys economy also recovered faster than that of most OECD nations, although continued lockdowns could cause a reversal in economic fortunes.

A study published in May found that after disruption during the lockdown early last year, vital hospital services in the country, particularly cancer treatment, had not been heavily affected by the pandemic, helped by the fact hospitals were not overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases.

Opinions on whether New Zealand can maintain its strategy is divided. Some experts outside the country think that, in the long term, elimination is unrealistic.

Prof Eskild Petersen, an infectious diseases specialist at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, suggests that his countrys experience indicates that, with high vaccination rates about 70 per cent of Denmarks population is fully vaccinated it is possible to live with the virus.

"In Denmark we have about 1,000 cases per day. The schools are open. Theres no longer a mask mandate in public spaces. People get infected, but hospitalisations remain low, he said.

"The strategy of New Zealand a nationwide lockdown is very, very expensive compared with our strategy, where we have immunised as many people as possible as fast as possible.

The relative benefits of an elimination strategy will decline, according to David Taylor, professor emeritus of pharmaceutical and public health policy at University College London.

In time, if the world is going to normalise and it will we will probably get better vaccines produced and better drugs. At that stage, the advantages of trying to run an isolation policy fade away, he said.

A woman ensures she is well protected during lockdown in Wellington on Wednesday. Getty Images

While New Zealand has indicated that it could begin to open up to the world next year, it has not said that it will abandon its elimination strategy.

Travellers entering the country will be treated according to the risk level of the country they are coming from, with some having to undergo managed isolation and quarantine.

This scheme, in which those arriving have to isolate in particular hotels on arrival, has been key to preventing the coronavirus from entering New Zealand.

Experts in the country said it is not clear how the coronavirus will affect health in societies over the long term.

It may become an endemic virus with a low-level impact, or it could impose a significant continuing disease burden.

Until the outcome becomes clear, they argue, it may be sensible to maintain elimination, a strategy popular with New Zealanders, according to reports.

Covid-19 testing in Wellington, as level four lockdown continues across New Zealand. Getty Images

When more people in New Zealand are vaccinated currently only about one in five residents are fully jabbed it may be possible to continue with elimination even when easing up on border controls next year, suggested Prof Nick Wilson, of the department of public health at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

It will mean that outbreaks arising from imported cases become more feasible to control, he said. Travellers to New Zealand will also need to be vaccinated, so that will help.

"But if the elimination strategy requires regular lockdowns to control outbreaks, then it may not be sustainable in the long term, given that the public acceptance of lockdowns will decline, as it is starting to in places like New South Wales in Australia.

As well as preventing illness and death from Covid-19, the elimination strategy stops health services from becoming overburdened during coronavirus outbreaks, Prof Wilson said.

When hospitals are overwhelmed by Covid-19, treatment for serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease can be affected.

Prof Wilson cites modelling, which indicates that, even with high vaccination coverage, New Zealands health system could become overloaded.

"Many other measures for Covid-19 control are likely to persist in 2022, for example extensive community testing, extensive wastewater testing and mask use requirements on buses, he said.

As it vaccinates, New Zealand is continuing with austere control measures and giving itself time to decide on a long-term approach.

After all, as Ms Ardern has noted, once elimination is abandoned, there is no going back.

Updated: August 25th 2021, 1:48 PM

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5

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Has Jacinda Ardern's New Zealand got its Covid-19 response all wrong? - The National

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Covid-19: Jacinda Ardern and the last lockdown – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 12:21 am

OPINION: Labours bet the house this time. It could be politically disastrous for Government if it cant eliminate Delta and we end up like New South Wales, spending months in a state of perma-lockdown until enough of the population is vaccinated.

One of the things that has become very clear during this lockdown is that we are in the last gasp of the current elimination strategy.

The dual practical and political purpose of this particular lockdown is to buy enough time to get the vaccine rollout done, before getting on with trying to reintegrate with the world and get back to life with a variation of normal.

That new life will regrettably but quite possibly require masks, certain limits of public gatherings, and general public health measures for some years.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bet the house on the latest lockdown, says Luke Malpass.

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Delta is a game-changer. It is a hackneyed phrase: the prime minister has said it, Australias Scott Morrison and NSWs Gladys Berejiklian have said it. It is a well-accepted fact. But it has been a game-changer in more than one way.

Obviously it has had a big effect on the lockdown strategy. Its fast spread is the reason for going into lockdown less than eight hours after the first case was discovered and announced.

When it comes to keeping Delta out, the view is that there are no proportionate responses. The Government is chucking the kitchen sink at it.

Thats one way it changes the game. The other and this has been reflected in the arc of changing language used by Ardern over the week is that elimination of Delta, even in the medium term, is not going to be a sustainable strategy. The transmission is too quick; it will be too hard to keep out. Fortress NZ, kept safe from Covid at the bottom of the world with our big blue moat and our closed border, isnt going to be able to rely on those any more.

Since March this year, Ardern has used the language of a barricade versus individual armour to describe our Covid response and vaccine rollout: 2020 was the year of the barricade the closed border and 2021 was to be the year of the vaccine, which would provide each of us with individual armour against the virus.

The move to individual armour theoretically meant being able to dismantle the barricade.

But what if the barricade cannot be relied upon to work? It was no coincidence that Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins explicitly warned only the week before Delta was discovered that we should all prepare for a short, sharp level 4 lockdown if it did arrive. The Governments health officials had formed the view that, with NSW on our doorstep, it was almost certain to arrive.

Sir David Skeggs group, which was advising the Government on reconnecting with the world, also had the view that Deltas arrival was inevitable in the next few months. As it turned out, by the time Skegg got up and gave his speech on the reopening plan two Thursdays ago, Covid was already back in the community.

So elimination is highly unlikely to be sustainable. There were as many cases within a week of discovering this outbreak as there were in almost the entire month at the start of last year when Covid first arrived. Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield has summed up this difference in the most straightforward way it might as well be a different virus.

For the Government, this will have fast-forwarded the messaging around what had looked like a slow and steady plan to reopen without scaring too many voters. And if it does manage to stamp out Delta which is looking positive but far from a slam dunk the political task ahead could potentially be made even tougher.

The most difficult thing politically about reopening was always going to be the rhetorical reverse-ferret that will be required. For 18 months, everything Ardern and Labour have done has revolved around keeping Covid out. We were told it was crucial for the economy, the health system and saving lives. And it was.

Now that will have to drastically change as we reopen and accept that Delta will arrive and that, even if we wanted to, tackling it with lockdowns would simply end up costing far more than it was worth.

Skeggs group has said that New Zealand should retain its elimination strategy for now, because it can easily be jettisoned if no longer needed. But once lost, its lost forever. Once the country starts to open up again early next year which the Government, rightly, is determined to go ahead with elimination will remain the policy. But it is completely unclear how this will work.

In no small measure, the Government has successfully used fear as a big motivating factor for people over the past 18 months. Now fear could work against it. As with a lot of things in this world, the Government cant fix Covid, and will essentially have to level with the public about this fact.

Ardern said as much on Thursday: No-one wants to use lockdowns forever, and I can tell you now that is not our intention, because we have new tools for managing Covid and we will use them. But for now, while we vaccinate, elimination is the goal.

But this all turns on the vaccine rollout working and getting through basically everyone who wants a jab by the end of the year. Thats precisely the reason Ardern has turned the top of the 1pm update into a misleading advertorial about the vaccine programme, in which she or the minister fronting produces a huge headline figure of the number of New Zealanders who have either booked or had at least one vaccination. Its a nonsense number.

Being booked and being vaccinated are not the same thing. Trying to pretend that the rollout is quicker than it is by blowing up a concocted headline number does no-one any favours and hurts the Governments credibility.

But it does speak to the political vulnerability of the Government. Elimination is still the strategy, and it needs to hold until the population gets vaccinated. The lockdown has given the vaccine programme a real shot in the arm, but the high rate of 85,000-plus vaccines a day isnt sustainable, because of a lack of vaccine it will have to slow by a quarter or a third. The big delivery of vaccine some four million-odd doses wont arrive until October.

All of that means this is the last-gasp lockdown. Delta is going to be here, it is going to have to be managed, but lockdowns wont be how it is done. They are too tough, too costly and, ultimately, compliance is unlikely to remain as high in the future.

Elimination via lockdowns was arguably the best strategy. But in a world of Delta, the economic juice wont be worth the squeeze. Now the Government has to remind Kiwis that it cant save every life, and also realign its messaging around the fact that health outcomes are never the only consideration in policy-making.

This lockdown may drag on, and there may still be others before the end of the vaccine programme, but it is now clear that its time in the Covid toolkit is coming to an end.

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Auckland remains in level 4 for 2 weeks, Northland likely to move to level 3 from midnight Thursday – RNZ

Posted: at 12:21 am

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says if the country had not moved into lockdown, daily case numbers could have been around 550.

Cabinet has confirmed all of New Zealand south of Auckland will move to level 3 from 11.59pm on Tuesday night. Ardern says this will be for at least a week, to be reviewed at Cabinet next week.

Northland will likely join the rest of the country at alert level three from 11:59pm on Thursday, Ardern says.

Cabinet has also confirmed Auckland will remain at alert level four until 14 September. Cabinet will consider next steps for the region on 13 September.

Ardern says level 4 "is making a difference".

"The job is not yet done and we do need to keep going."

For Auckland and Northland, Ardern says the cases in Warkworth were found late in the lockdown and were not equivalent to the cases in Wellington, where cases were monitored and did not appear to have spread.

"We just haven't had that level of time for the cases we're concerned about in Warkworth, and with possible contacts beyond. Once we have that same level of reassurance in Northland we feel safe to move alert levels.

She says the government is awaiting test results from wastewater in Northland, and tests from people who were at locations of interest. If they all came back clear Northland could move to alert level 3 at 11.59 pm on Thursday.

"Just an indication here if all those tests come back clear," she says.

Ardern says if New Zealand had not moved into alert level 4, estimates of the number of new cases today could have been about 550.

The red line on this graph represents what our case numbers would look like if we hadn't moved into lockdown, the prime minister says. Photo: Pool image / Robert Kitchin /Stuff

"The more we do to limit our contact, the faster we will exit these restrictions," Ardern says.

"Auckland is doing a huge service for all of us. And not just now, but throughout this pandemic. It's Auckland that has maintained our gateway to the world, that has done a lot of the heavy lifting in welcoming Kiwis home safely, that has worked hard to keep Kiwis safe when there has been an outbreak. Auckland has done it tough."

Ardern says the government is considering further restrictions under level 4 to prevent transmission occurring at the workplace. "It is a privilege to be open at level 4," she says.

Asked about supply of vaccines, Ardern says decisions will need to be made this week about whether New Zealand can continue to scale up vaccine delivery beyond what the government initially planned.

She says New Zealand has about 840,000 doses of the vaccine in the country, and has been receiving about 350,000 each week.

"Our planning has been for the programme to administer 350,000 doses per week. We have the supply and infrastructure to do this sustainably over a long period of time."

There has been an increase in demand, she says, and the government is working to reach that but falling short would merely mean falling back to the government's earlier plans.

"If we are unable to do this then the worst-case scenario is we pull back to our planned volumes ... contrary to the reporting, we are not running out of vaccine."

Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall has slammed Bay of Plenty District Health Board (DHB) after it asked Pacific people to show their passports at Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

The DHB apologised last night over the move, acknowledging it was not the DHB's policy, nor a requirement, and that it had affected trust and confidence with its Pacific communities.

Asked about the request for people to bring passports to vaccination appointments, Bloomfield says that everyone is eligible to be vaccinated whatever their immigration status.

He says it was an attempt to smooth the process, as having a form of identification in absence of a National Health Identification number can speed it up.

Ardern says health professionals go through a process to ensure people are being given their dose and can be given a second one, but "there are ways we can do that without any ID".

"We just want you to be vaccinated, so being physically here, is enough. Nothing more."

Ardern says the government is working on both maintaining people's bookings while also having a surge of vaccinations in Auckland.

The Covid-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board believes a woman's death may have been caused by myocarditis, a rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine.

Bloomfield says he recognises this will be a worry for some people.

"I want to reassure people that the vaccine is a lot safer than being infected with Covid-19. This is a very rare side effect ... we collect very good information on any adverse effects and we're not seeing anything out of the ordinary with this vaccine compared with what the experience is in other countries.

"The safety profile of this vaccine is very very good."

Ardern notes the most common cause of myocarditis is a viral infection.

Experts have been welcoming signs that the lockdown has been curbing the spread of the Delta variant, and with new case numbers dropping to 53 today - down from a high of 83 new cases yesterday - the government will have some extra confidence in its decision to lower alert levels in wider New Zealand.

Speaking about today's case numbers, Bloomfield says while it is 30 fewer cases than yesterday, it is just one data point. However, he says 52 percent of the 83 cases reported yesterday were household transmission, and 72 percent did not create any new exposure events.

"So of those cases reported yesterday ... only 28 percent are considered to have been infectious in the community, which may simply have been a visit to a supermarket ... or may be an essential worker.

He says 101 of the total cases are essential workers, just four of them who have been infectious in the workplace and seven who were infected in the workplace.

All of the new cases announced today were detected in Auckland.

Ardern says it's too soon to say if daily case numbers have peaked.

Bloomfield says there is no evidence of any different symptom pattern with Delta, and it is not known yet whether people in the New Zealand outbreak are experiencing milder symptoms if they have been vaccinated.

Ardern says she does not yet have a timeline for when the government will open up fresh MIQ spots.

"We have put a bit of a hold on that for now ... with an outbreak of over 500 people we are using the facilities for those individuals and that is the right thing to do."

She says the Crowne Plaza, which is also currently out of action, is one of the biggest facilities also.

"It only takes one ... it's actually about being vigilant regardless of the number you have coming in. What's clear though is our ability to expand that number is very limited. We just don't have the workforce to do it."

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Jacinda Ardern says NZ ‘not going to run out’ of Covid-19 vaccines – The Global Herald – The Global Herald

Posted: at 12:21 am

1 NEWS published this video item, entitled Jacinda Ardern says NZ not going to run out of Covid-19 vaccines below is their description.

The Prime Minister said there has been a reduction in locations of interest around the country since locking down.

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Anzus at 70: Still a model for peace and prosperity in our region – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 12:21 am

OPINION: September 1 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Anzus Treaty in San Francisco. Planned celebrations in Washington and Canberra will likely go unnoticed in New Zealand. After all, the country has now been outside the tripartite alliance for more years than it was an active member. But the anniversary offers a chance to reflect on what really matters in New Zealand-United States relations.

First, it is important to recall why Anzus came into being. When signed, New Zealand and Australia were fighting alongside the US and others in Korea. With wartime memories still fresh, the Anzus Treaty eased Australasian apprehensions of both a possible resurgence of Japanese militarism and a looming communist threat. The pacts three signatories agreed to consult about how to respond collectively if their security was threatened in the wider Pacific region.

Considered the richest prize of New Zealand diplomacy by external affairs minister of Frederick Doidge, the new alliance was based on perceived mutual benefits. As the great postwar Pacific power, the US extended a security guarantee to two relatively small, largely Anglophone states on the edge of a politically unstable region. In return, they signed on to the more general American-led Cold War competition with the Soviet-led communist bloc, bolstered in 1949 by the Peoples Republic of China.

Sunday Star Times

Anti-nuclear protests in Waitemat Harbour as the submarine USS Phoenix arrives for a visit in 1983.

For more than three decades, New Zealand operated within the framework of that bargain. Today, the benefits are probably remembered less than the costs, such as how New Zealand was drawn reluctantly into the ill-fated Vietnam debacle by its two more powerful allies.

READ MORE:* Jacinda Ardern aligns NZ's foreign policy with US in 'Indo-Pacific' speech* Annette King says Australian citizenship cancellation has left NZ in difficult position'* PM: Military support for US 'on merit' if North Korea attacked* Editorial: NZ independence from US crucial in Trumpian era

Yet, what always mattered most was the spirit of Anzus, not the letter. Although disagreement over nuclear ship visits resulted in New Zealands suspension from the alliance in 1985, the negative repercussions of that break were largely limited to high-level political links and to military and intelligence co-operation. Trade with the US even grew thereafter. As US secretary of state George Shultz memorably phrased it, the two countries parted company but did so as friends.

That is not to deny relations were understandably frosty in the aftermath of the anti-nuclear dispute. However, as fellow liberal democracies, the two states have found ways of compartmentalising disagreement over the nuclear issue to rebuild strong co-operative relations in areas ranging from intelligence sharing through the Five Eyes arrangement to the Biden administrations recent support for the Christchurch Call.

Nigel Marple/Stuff

Prime Minister elect David Lange and United States Secretary of State George Schultz, in Wellington in 1984 ahead of New Zealands suspension from the Anzus alliance the following year.

Such has been this reconciliation that they are now nearly as close as if they were still in Anzus together. A bipartisan Senate resolution on August 9, honouring the 70th anniversary, praised Australia as an ally but was almost as fulsome in extolling New Zealands virtues as a long-standing partner of the US.

Such gestures are mutual recognition of how fundamentally like-minded our two countries are, even when disagreeing over major issues.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern strongly affirmed these shared values and interests at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Conference in mid-July. Confirming her Governments now preferred designation of our home region as the Indo-Pacific rather than the Asia-Pacific, Ardern highlighted the importance of an open, inclusive, free and rules-based regional order. That order, which has served New Zealand so well over recent decades, has been fostered in no small measure by the regional role of the US, especially in terms of international security but also politically and economically.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Roberto Rabel: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern strongly affirmed these shared values and interests [of the United States and New Zealand] at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Conference in mid-July.

It has become conventional wisdom that, whatever nomenclature is used, the region today faces geo-political challenges echoing those that lay behind the original Anzus agreement. Many forecast an imminent choice for regional states between Beijing and Washington. Every nuance of statements by New Zealand leaders is scrutinised in this context, with some media commentaries interpreting Arderns July speech as another step in Washingtons direction.

This starkly binary framing is not helpful. Nor is the related idea of an impending clash between democracies and autocracies.

Supplied

Emeritus Professor Roberto Rabel: What always mattered most was the spirit of Anzus, not the letter.

Instead, the anniversary of this landmark agreement in New Zealand foreign policy signed at a time of more heated strategic competition in a then more troubled region offers an opportunity for creative thinking about relations with the US and Australia.

It should neither be an occasion for anachronistic longings about reviving a formal alliance forged in a different era nor for decrying that pact as some form of imperialist suppression of New Zealands independent foreign policy. Rather, this thinking must build on the reality that we live in a diverse region of both like-minded and unlike-minded states.

The aftermath of the Anzus dispute showed we can manage differences and build on common strengths, while retaining independence in foreign policy. It stands as a model for how to move forward.

Given the deep reservoir of shared values and interests, the three like-minded liberal democracies that saw value in working collectively in 1951 can surely find fresh ways to contribute together to the peace and prosperity of the dynamic region in which our destinies remain intertwined.

Emeritus Professor Roberto Rabel is a professorial fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.

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