INDEPENDENT NEWS

Why An Impartial NZ Covid Inquiry Is Critical

Published: Mon 13 May 2024 08:53 AM
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott fears the government's over the top response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be used as the model for future pandemics. It follows former health minister Greg Hunt’s attack on states and territories over their 'unilateral' health decisions during the pandemic.
"My fear is that without a fair dinkum royal commission type inquiry into the whole response to COVID, next time a pandemic happens, and it will, we’ll take the over-the-top response to this one as the model for all future actions," Mr Abbott told Sky News host Peta Credlin.
https://www.msn.com/en-au/health/other/tony-abbott-fears-over-the-top-covid-response-will-be-model-for-next-pandemic/ar-BB1m62Wk
"The last thing we want to be is locked up for several years again in response to a disease that turned out to be relatively mild."
"New Zealand’s Royal Covid of enquiry may in fact cause more damage than good if not subject to Independent critical review and impartial oversight" says New Zealand Pharmaceutical Scientist Sir Ray Avery.
The Chair of the NZ Covid enquiry is headed up by Professor Tony Blakely a University Academic who he says is highly conflicted with respect to overseeing an independent review of the NZ Covid response.
Ashley Bloomfield, the NZ Minister of Health during the Covid outbreak in NZ, sought external advice as to whether the lockdowns in NZ should cease or be extended and stated:
"We have sought an external peer review of the public health risk assessment from epidemiologists Professor Philip Hill and Professor Antony Blakely.
Both of these University Academics are were very vocal during the Covid outbreak in NZ promoting an Elimination strategy and associated lockdowns as the best way to control the spread of Covid.
Blakely stated "it was the ‘big question’ of 2020 and remains so in 2021 - is an elimination strategy that tries to get rid of COVID-19 better than a suppression strategy that tries to control it?
And the answer now agreed by all, from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison down, is "yes". Because once Delta gets its hooks into the community, it is so very hard to dislodge.
Sir Ray Avery says "The New Zealand’s Covid elimination strategy was eventually abandoned because it was clearly not working and now Covid is endemic in the NZ community and across the ditch in Australia.
My greatest fear is that with Prof Blakely heading up the NZ Covid enquiry that either by conscious or unconscious bias he will colour the enquiry to reflect his personal beliefs that lockdowns and elimination strategies are the best way to manage future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
"Clearly Prof Blakely is hugely conflicted with respect to heading up the NZ Covid enquiry because he provided input into the NZ Labour Governments failed elimination strategy and has publicly recommended an elimination strategy as the best way to manage infectious disease outbreaks."
Sir Ray said "I think Prof Blakely is obviously an intelligent Academic and once he has reflected on his obvious conflict of interest and personal biased beliefs that he will do the right thing and resign as Chair of the NZ Covid enquiry.
"And if he doesn’t, I agree with Tony Abbot's fears that the NZ and Australian governments' over the top response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be used as the model for future pandemics and we will learn nothing from the pain and suffering that all New Zealanders experienced through the draconian elimination strategy that locked up all New Zealanders and prevented New Zealanders from returning home."

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