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ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Former PM Hipkins & Profs Bloomfield & Baker should be held accountable for quoting statistics that have now been shown to be wrongly estimated

Why are we still talking about Covid when many countries - like the US - have moved on? Well the US economy is currently booming and ours is stuck in the mud. The reason has emerged over time. Although our response to the virus was to be commended in early 2020 when no-one knew what we were dealing with and there was no vaccine - as NZ moved into 2021 and 2022 the response morphed into a full blown disaster. We cut ourselves off from the world and became a place where nearly every aspect of our lives was brought under government control. That time was so suffocating that NZ has not yet recovered - many of our most talented have now left, to be replaced by lower skilled arrivals. The $30 billion cost of the mismanagement in 2021-22 is money that could have now been spent on saving our health system - and with it, lives - our schools and revitalizing our infrastructure.

Former Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, argued these immense losses were justified because he was satisfied, three years on, that NZ still had negative excess mortality, saying ‘we had less deaths than you would've predicted based on the previous years .. [which] .. is unique, virtually unique around the world’. Meanwhile in the NZ Medical Journal, Baker et al. present a chart of cumulative excess deaths per million from 2020 to 2023 to support the claim that ‘cumulative excess mortality in NZ from January 2020 to June 2023 remains close to zero’. He concludes that NZ’s COVID-19 pandemic response has been among the world’s most effective. And former PM Hipkins stated in his Election Concession Speech that NZ "recorded the lowest number of Covid deaths in the developed world".

It turns out that all of them based their statements on wrong statistics according to an article published today by one of this country's (and the world's) highest ranked economists, John Gibson, at Waikato University (he's a Distinguished Fellow of NZ Association of Economists). Bloomfield, Hipkins & Baker quoted incorrect "excess deaths" indicators that used weekly death counts in the pre-Covid era to extrapolate with a linear trend into the COVID-19 era, without allowance for changes in population growth from the baseline 2015–19 period. As a consequence, Gibson tells me, "the excess deaths indicator they relied on wasn't appropriate for NZ .. yet these public health commentators carried on making their claims & relying on the inappropriate indicator for a full 12 months after that". Gibson writes, "Once allowance is made for changes in population growth rates, NZ has cumulative positive excess deaths no different to several European countries, despite what should have been several advantages, such as timing of exposure, that we had over those countries".

Below is a graph showing the NZ population that these health "experts" based their claims on, represented by the dotted line, compared to the actual population over 2020-22.

The former PM, Director General of Health & Baker based their "excess death" statements on an assumption that NZ's population trended up during Covid, when instead it flattened due to closed borders during 2020-22. The number of people expected to die had Covid not happened in NZ which they used was wrong. Too high. An exaggeration. They told us they'd saved lives relative to a wrong number due to their public health measures, when they had not saved the number of lives they were claiming.

Will the NZ Main Stream Media keep defending the likes of Ardern, Hipkins, Bloomfield and Baker no matter what the best scientific evidence shows? Shouldn't we follow the science and expert opinion? Professor John Gibson's, that is.


Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. Rob blogs at Down To Earth Kiwi 

4,724 views116 comments


“The $30 billion cost of the mismanagement in 2021-22 is money that could have now been spent on saving our health system - and with it, lives - our schools and revitalizing our infrastructure.”

This money was raised to respond to a declared National Emergency. It is unlikely the Govt at the time would have raised that sort of money to spend as you suggest, anymore than the current Govt is going to. S&P have said we have $120B headroom for borrowing before affecting the NZ AAA credit rating.


“we had less deaths than you would've predicted based on the previous years .. [which] .. is unique, virtually unique around the world’. Former Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield.

Ashley is correct. The predicted excess death rate was based on COVID not happening and population increasing. COVID happened, one of the health interventions included border control, to reduce population influx. That and other health interventions resulted in a different outcome from what had been predicted, without COVID. The outcome in this case was a negative excess death rate result. Actual population based death rate is a different measure. This article and the research conflates to different things. A common error, even from experts.


My recent expose - "BANKING 2.0" - A New trade Currency Paradigm and the End of Dominant Western-based Fiat Currencies - guest written for a vibrant geopolitical think-tank site in Costa Rico. This explains why the U$ is NOT "BOOMING"


"Well the US economy is currently booming..." Really, Mr MacCulloch??? Do you realise that in Q3 of 2023 the U$ 'grew' its GDP by $334.5 Billion, and its debt by a mind-numbing $834.2 Billion? Here are a few other titbits that may just prompt you to rethink your claim... US National debt $34.34 Trillion - 123% of GDP

National debt per citizen $102,000

National debt per taxpayer $265,000

Social Security Liability $26.6 Trillion

Medicare Liability $40.8 Trillion

Unfunded Liabilities $213 Trillion

Liability per citizen $633,000

Liability per taxpayer ~$850,000 

Student debt $1.7 Trillion = per student $38,900

Credit card debt #1.38 trillion = per holder $8,131 To try to put the public debt into perspective I compared the US External National debt to…


Some of your supposed "Leaders" are either misinformed by their chosen bureaucratic circles, or they are utterly ignorant. This is just in today (28 Feb) and is 38mins duration. It is self explanatory and is WELL worth watching and sharing, as finally the worms are crawling out of the sealed bureaucratic buckets. (1) Dr Boz_20240226_The biggest crime in the history of medicine_38min Video:

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