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Dumb and Dumber




What do Victoria and New Zealand have in common?

Robert Carling:

Victoria and New Zealand are similar in size and population. Their current leaders, Premier and Prime Minister respectively, although of different gender, also share a distinctly leftist (they would say ‘progressive’) orientation and an ardent devotion to every woke cause. In 2020 they have both emerged as anti-COVID zealots, willing to sacrifice any quantum or type of economic and social activity and any civil liberty if that is what it takes – or they think that’s what it takes – to squash the SARS-Cov-2 virus out of existence within their borders. 

Coincidentally, fresh evidence of the economic cost of this single-minded zealotry became available on both sides of the Tasman on Thursday. 

The New Zealand statistical agency reported that real GDP contracted by a stunning 12.2 per cent in the second quarter, following a 1.4 per cent decline in the first quarter. The chart below puts this 13.4 per cent cumulative first-half decline into international perspective. This updates my chart published in Flat White on September 8, following the news of Australia’s 7 per cent contraction in the June quarter. As well as adding New Zealand, this update also includes new data from India (a 25.4 per cent decline), Brazil (11.1 per cent) and a few others. The chart also shows the index of stringency of COVID restrictions – and the new data preserve the rough correlation between more stringent restrictions and larger declines in GDP previously reported. 

New Zealand’s GDP contraction places it as the 14th largest out of the 38 countries shown. Its stringency index is similar to that of other countries with similar GDP declines, but lower than some countries that managed smaller declines in GDP. As previously noted, there are many other factors going into the mix, so the correlation can only be approximate – and in New Zealand’s case restrictions were very severe (averaging over 90 on the index) in the first half of the June quarter before being eased markedly in the second half. Given the lags, restrictions in the first half would have had a lingering impact in the rest of the quarter. 

We will never have comparable data for Victoria because quarterly gross state product (GSP) data are not produced. However, we do have the labour force data released on Thursday, which show the story is very much one of Victoria and the rest. In August, employment and hours worked in Victoria fell and unemployment rose, going in the opposite direction to the rest of Australia. That is hardly surprising in view of the government’s imposition of stage 4 restrictions at the beginning of August. But more shocking is the fact that employment and hours worked in Victoria were back to their May lows, whereas in the rest of Australia on average the increase in both employment and hours worked from May to August recovered around 70 per cent of the decline from March to May.  

We do not have a stringency index for Victoria, but we don’t need one to know that the restrictions in place since August have been among the most stringent of any place in the world since the pandemic struck, and Victoria would surely be well above 90 on an index scale of 0 to 100. 

Australia’s national labour force figures for August looked surprisingly good, but they would have looked so much better without Victoria’s fiasco. But even if and when Victoria comes back into line with the rest of the nation, the jobs recovery in all states and territories, not to mention New Zealand, will still face strong headwinds.  


  1. Posted last night, but fits in here, with the conditions of the Belt & Road policies, that are over priced, and lead to CCP control systems.

    If no law is broken, just in case, you will / could be detained.
    Probably only this years elections stayed the “dumber’s” hand.

    Daniel Andrews’ plan to give police the power to arrest people who haven’t even committed an offence were put to parliament today.
    The new laws would even give public servants the power of arbitrary detention against citizens they think might breach lockdown

    2 mins 5 secs.
    Starts on no crime arrest at 26 seconds.
    Preemptively detain any one with Covid, and or their close contacts, even if no law is broken.

    The officer and other delegated powers from other departments, just might think you may breach something, so judge and jailer they will be.

    No limit on detention time, no legislated over sight, no clear avenue of appeal,

    Will not ease restrictions yet, as the tail has to be jumped on, while the economy is being smashed.

    What will tomorrow’s freedom march be like Saturday in Melbourne?

    ……… The Victorian government could also enlist protective services officers and WorkSafe inspectors to enforce public health directions under the proposed law, ……
    ………. strengthen the state’s pandemic response, including broadening the types of government employees who can act as authorised officers. ……..
    ……. in the proposed bill include the ability to make procedural changes by government regulation rather than legislation, ability to extend family violence orders, online hosting of local council meetings and parliamentary committees, judge-only trials ……….


    There seems to be not thought though, of just what will be caught up in the “consequences”, the corrupt repecussions, that become the “unintended consequences” that will be borne by the ones caught up with these arbitrary laws.
    Already having seen how this bureaucracy operates, the authorities seems to believe they have full indemnity in doing what they believe, in what it takes.

    Makes me think of Alexander Solhenitsyn advice, his burning regrets, when in the “Gulag Archipelago”.



    • Further to the Communist Chinese, President Xi’s announced the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) in 2013
      While infrastructure may eventually be a feature of BRI in New Zealand, our location and advanced economy status creates an opportunity to examine alternative approaches that may offer more immediate and scalable potential and play to New Zealand’s comparative advantages.
      Are the Labour Party and Greens just waiting until they get the “ducks all lined up in a row” and beyond the point of no return?
      …… Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last year seemed to augur a change of tack, there has been little public discussion from the Government about the state of talks.
      However, heavily redacted briefings from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), released to Newsroom under the Official Information Act, show negotiations between Chinese and New Zealand officials on a work plan were still taking place late last year. …..
      ….. A number of briefings to ministers through 2019 said New Zealand’s participation was “carefully calibrated in line with our interests and values”.
      Exactly what projects remain in bounds is unclear, although some have highlighted climate change and environment initiatives as a less controversial area for cooperation, while Chinese officials are also believed to hold interest in the potential for New Zealand to act as a “Southern Link” between it and South America. ….
      ….. In Australia, the Victoria state government’s 2018 decision to sign its own BRI memorandum of arrangement has come under renewed scrutiny due to increasingly strained relations between the federal government and Beijing. …..

      I still would not trust Winston Peters being a hand brake on such deals.
      Just until he can have a beneficial trade off, like with the “Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry”
      National declared an open $150,000 donation, but Winston is a specialist in hiding out in these practices.
      How much will his reward be, for not declaring?
      His principles, bubbles to get a Chinese deal across the line?



    • Alexander Solhenitsyn advice, his burning regrets, when in the “ The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956”.

      …. ….. …. ………
      ….If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough.
      And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation….
      We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”


      At the right time the whole quote will have to be put into effect, not prematurely, nor not too late.
      Timing is everything.



  2. It seems that having CoVid, or being a suspect of it; can be considered a “criminal offence” so that one can be arrested, detained, sentenced, no court, with no appeal.
    hmmm. 🙁
    This is ruling in sharia style of fatwas.
    Ardern will even don a hijab to keep pace.

    NZ’s dumber is very happy to put on a hijab, and then enact draconian laws, through censorship of a manifesto, doing “cancel culture” on sections of licensed society.
    Elections has stayed her hand for now.

    Any one can dob you in, a neighbour, another business, all to have a stasi revenge, and no judicial recourse.

    A form of martial law, with out using the military, that is at least accountable.
    This is even more draconian as even non police can detain, and rule, and accountable to who?

    Summarily snatched into isolation indefinitely, no recourse, no transparency, no hearing.
    Would your situation even be required to be notified to your family, workplace etc.

    Desperation will not be too far off, as justice will seem to be faraway in another land.



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