YOU may not have noticed this week that New Zealand’s deputy prime minister Grant Robertson (he who refuses to answer emails about the pandemic because it is nothing to do with him) announced that, as things stand, there could not be a fourth booster shot.
The reason is more revealing – New Zealand has run out of money. Covid sure has eaten up the cash. Grant has spent 64billion dollars on the pandemic so far (before it has even arrived here) and there is nothing left.
Our annual health budget is a paltry 20billion dollars, the 64billion has been in addition to that. So those of you who were thinking and blogging that the unvaccinated were depriving them of hospital beds might like to rethink.
Perhaps it is profligate spending on the vaccinated which has led to those long queues for tests and treatments for diseases such as cancer (10,500 deaths per year) and heart disease (600 deaths per year and rising). Just 52 people have died of Covid in New Zealand during the last two years and most of those few left in hospital are double-vaccinated.
If you think the opposition will have a different view, think again. Deputy leader Simon Bridges (he who tried to be prime minister and failed to excite the populace) chided Grant for not having enough of the readies to spend on those tempting fourth boosters.
Bridges urged Robertson to ‘prioritise funding for vaccines, given the impact this is having on New Zealanders and the economy’. He is right there – government spending and policy has certainly had an impact on the economy, but why does he want to spend more?
Just before Christmas I posted a short video on YouTube about the alarming New Zealand pandemic spending. After raising 20,000 views in a week, it was taken down because, in the words of the YouTube censorship team, it was not in accord with Ministry of Health guidelines.
If I worked in the Ministry of Health, like its director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield (he who refuses to grant vaccine exemptions to people injured by the first inoculation), I would want to take it down too. Embarrassment is one of the most painful of emotions that any government department should try to avoid if at all possible.
Although we now live in a North Korean-style enclave (apologies to North Korea, many of you have written to me that North Koreans have more opportunities than we do), it should not have escaped the notice of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (she who promised never to introduce vaccine mandates and changed her mind a week later) that many of our sister countries such as the UK have announced they are ending all Covid restrictions. Why are our politicians competing with one another to announce further spending on a dead horse?
According to our local rag the NZ Herald (the paper that uncritically heralds government policy no matter how silly it is) Omicron is here and has been for a while. Striking a note of alarm, its lead article warned readers that this will probably lead to a shortage of toilet paper.
The Herald led its news pages not with our record trade imbalance – the second half of 2021 stands at eight billion dollars – nor the housing market, with houses prices up 30 per cent in 2021.
Nor did it lead on our total loss of tourism, formerly worth 38billion dollars per year, nor on the increase in government debt in 2021 of 19billion dollars.
But that really doesn’t matter, because Ashley Bloomfield and our dear Prime Minister are quite rightly looking out for our mental health by keeping these items of disturbing news safely away from us delicate folk in danger of running out of toilet paper. Long live the republic.