Some perspective on Covid
In the winter of 2017/18 England and Wales suffered 50,000 excess deaths due primarily to an epidemic of ordinary flu.
That is considerably above the deaths from Covid-19 in 2020. Yet the UK economy grew, there was no recession, hundreds of thousands did not lose their jobs and it did not rank as the most significant event of the century. Why not? Because there was no government lockdown and no model-inspired panic, and people carried on much as normal.
I venture to say we have lost our perspective on things. In previous letters I have pointed out that if we had followed Sweden's example of no lockdown we may have suffered around 2800 deaths from Covid.
Whilst that is terrible we need to remember that in NZ each year around 33,000 people die, including over 9500 of cancer. We spend about $880 million on treating cancer per year and there are constant news stories of people unable to be funded for certain cancer treatments.
Yet with Covid we have not hesitated to spend $35 million per life saved!
There seems to be no economic or social cost that is too high to pay.
We are told it is likely that another 500,000 people in New Zealand will struggle to buy food for the table.
The Salvation Army survey reveals a growing tide of mental health issues and widespread fear over job losses.
The middle and upper earners who have retained their jobs will probably come out of this quite well, the poor will not.
Roads or inroads
When I heard Judith Collins answer Jack Tame's question "What about climate change?" with "Oh we take it into consideration with all our policies", I thought that that was great. Perhaps the National Party had had an epiphany over climate change.
But that moment soon passed, as it became evident that that was the answer that Collins thought would get her past that question.
Sure enough, the next thing we hear from her is that she will spend $31 billion (plus an extra $4 billion missed by Goldsmith of the party "best with the economy") on roads and tunnels, such as proposed through the Kaimai ranges because it would take 30 minutes off the trip for truckies.
That was an opportunity for Collins to say that it would reduce fuel and carbon emissions as well, which is what she could have said if she was taking climate change seriously.
It is sometimes difficult to know where Collins stands. One day she says there is no chance we could be 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 (true, if she were to lead a government) and then says her Government will support more charging stations for EVs.
Climate change must be addressed, in the long-term a far more serious issue than even Covid-19.
But less than a year ago, October 15, 2019, in the Carbon News Collins said: "assuming [my italics] the IPCC models reflect the relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming", a statement that is pretty much climate change denial.
While under Collins' National Party ministerial direction an OECD report said that New Zealand per capita greenhouse gas emissions "were the fifth highest in the OECD and rising while emissions in most other countries were on the decline".