Search
  • rmacculloch

Has the NZ Media Caught Virus Bias?

The slow roll out of the vaccine here has meant that we have fallen from near first place in the world last year in terms of setting the example of how governments should have reacted to the virus crisis, to the bottom half in 2021. Given the scale of this drop, one would have expected an overwhelming media reaction. Instead it has been rather muted. The Ministry of Health are not even supplying us with much data. I sourced vaccination numbers from the BBC (below) which reports rates per 100 people. NZ ranks 109th out of 214 countries. Many of the most undeveloped countries in the world are way ahead of us.


There is a curious psychological effect that seems to have remained from the exuberance experienced last year when we were doing better than anyone else. Namely that we are still one of the safest countries. How can that be true? The UK is within days of ensuring that every person over the age of 50 years old has been vaccinated. In other words, folks like me would be safer there than in NZ at present, since we run a not-insignificant risk of a leak from the border which could lead to an outbreak at any time, in a population which has been left unprotected in that event. Just goes to show the power of public relations, communications and the media in terms of what can be achieved to make a government look like it is performing, even when it is not.


At the heart of the matter is the subject of health economics. We're into the second year of a health crisis and yet there's been no effort to reform our health system which is becoming overwhelmed by mounting pressures coming from our ageing population. Several years ago I wrote an article on how to fix it with a former Finance Minister. Both National and Labour politicians who looked at the plan showed zero interest. Then I realized the extent to which steady-as-she-goes and status-quo politics rule in this country. In that sense, National and Labour are practically identical. Both highly conservative, at least on economic matters.


For sources, see:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-56237778