A self-proclaimed "mystic" has returned to social media after he incorrectly predicted New Zealand would go into lockdown on August 10, explaining why he's glad he's wrong.
The prediction, posted to the popular video-sharing app TikTok, claimed New Zealand would be plunged into lockdown on August 10 after community cases emerged on the August 8 or 9.
The timeline fits with Government promises to deal with any Delta outbreak, lending an air of credibility to the claims.
When news broke on Monday of the 11 confirmed cases on board the container ship Rio De La Plata, social media was flooded by those who took the news as proof that Mystic W was correct.
However, his wild and damaging predictions were wrong.
Now the "mystic" has opened up, admitting he was wrong, but warned of the dangers that would have occurred if he was right.
He claims if he was right it would have opened the door for more wild conspiracy theories, despite being a conspiracy theorist himself.
"I predicted that New Zealand would go into lockdown on the 10th of August. I was wrong," he said in a new video.
"And thank God I was wrong. Why? Because if I were right I would have been so hated and so misunderstood.
"At the end of the day, I am first a human being. And second, if I were right, people would be creating all these conspiracy theories about me that I am the mastermind of lockdowns and I am the one who is manifesting it and the one who is going to release the virus in the atmosphere.
"Yes, I make mistakes and yes, I'm not perfect. Are you?"
Following the Herald's story on Tuesday highlighting the "mystic's" dangerous false prediction, he responded online saying he's happy the media thinks he's "stupid".
"I'm happy I was wrong. Because if I were right, the news would have cursed me on a much higher level. I'm happy they think I'm just stupid."
Giulio Dalla Riva, who leads the Data with Relations research group at Canterbury University, told the Herald conspiracy theorists and those who make wild baseless predictions are damaging and are creating distractions away from the real issue, a global pandemic.
In response to the "mystic's" false prediction, he said: "Making a right prediction is easy. All you need to do is make a lot of predictions and then eventually you'll get one right.
"The danger is people only remember the predictions these people are getting right, not the ones they are wrong about.
"These people think they are changing the world and looking at very important issues, but they are not. Unfortunately, they are unfocused.
"They are creating distractions and people get confused. It's not easy for everybody to understand who is reliable and who isn't. It's quite easy to fall for these.
"All these conspiracies are damaging as they create distractions from the real issues. We end up talking more about conspiracy theories rather than deep structural issues within society.
"People get wound up by their claims [in their search for truth] and it nurtures polarisation. Often they can end up hijacking societal discussion points for political or monetary gain."
A survey earlier this year found half of Kiwis believe in some form of Covid-related misinformation and almost 20 per cent hold at least three false beliefs.
The findings came in a report from Te Mana Whakaatu, the Government's Classification Office, by examining the landscape of virus-related misinformation in Aotearoa.
A survey of 2301 people between February and March this year found 82 per cent were concerned about how misinformation was spreading in New Zealand and 90 per cent believed it influenced people's views about public health.
More than 80 per cent thought misinformation was becoming more common, as almost 60 per cent claimed to have experienced misinformation in the past six months and 21 per cent noticed it daily or weekly.
The report also estimated half of all Kiwis held at least one belief associated with misinformation, and as many as 19 per cent of respondents held three or more such beliefs.
Massey University senior lecturer Dr Jagadish Thaker was not surprised by half of Kiwis believing some form of misinformation and said even those aware of the risk could be susceptible.
"This points to a double-edged sword of self-belief in identifying misinformation — we choose to believe in information that aligns with our prior beliefs and discard other information as misleading."