Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Hillman Hunter option

“I’m sorry sir, but the deluxe suite we promised you appears to have been double-booked. But that’s okay, because we just happen to have a vacant sleep-out around the back. You’ll have to share the bathroom and there’s no carpark, but there’s a nice view over the demolition yard next door.”


“I’m sorry sir, but the A-class Mercedes you booked for your road trip is stuck in Eketahuna. But never mind – there’s a nice Hillman Hunter available. It’s got 230,000 km on the clock, but that’s okay, because these marvellous old motor cars can go forever. Plus the radio still works, though it's AM only.”

We can expect to be fed a similar line by Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins now that it’s clear the government is falling pitifully behind in its vaccination programme.

After being assured eight months ago that we were at the front of the queue for the sought-after Pfizer vaccine, we now learn that we’re actually at the tail end and Hipkins is crossing his fingers that enough dribs and drabs will trickle in to keep the programme going.

We’re down to our last 30,000 doses, with another 80,000 waiting to be processed, and in Hipkins’ own words, we’re “very close” to running out. Meanwhile, only one in 20 of the people most vulnerable to the virus have been immunised, and national anger is steadily building over incompetence and false promises.

National MP Chris Bishop, possibly the only member of the National caucus still engaging in real-world politics, blames the government for leaving it too late to order from Pfizer and says New Zealand is now a sitting duck for the highly contagious Delta strain.

But that’s okay, because Hipkins has other options up his sleeve. Suddenly he’s talking about dosing us with the AstraZeneca and Janssen (aka Johnson and Johnson) vaccines, both of which are going through the Medsafe approvals process.

Quality assurance checks are holding up the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is hardly reassuring. And this from Hipkins himself: “[It’s] not as good as Pfizer, but it’s certainly still a very good vaccine.”

That’ll be the Hillman Hunter option, then.


Russell Parkinson said...

You do wonder. I am just over 60 and expected to maybe contacted sometime in July or August. To my Surprise I got a text and email on Monday last week sending me a link and a registration number.

I duly went on line, filled in the required information and was instantly given an appointment for 1pm the next day for my first jab.

So its done and a date at the end of July has been allocated for the 2nd.

Yet I have not requested anything and don't have any urgent medical or work issues that would require an early jab.

I discussed with a friend who had also had a similar experience. The only thing we had in common is that we are both in the Waitemamata Health Bowel screening program and concluded someone was using that database as part of the process.

Doug Longmire said...

It is actually even more shambolic than that Karl.
My wife and I are high risk, and are thus in group three.
Because I am a retired pharmacist and ex Medsafe Inspector, I had a high regard for rule. Therefore we were patiently waiting to get the promised phone call when our turn had come. The delay did seem to be a bit long, however...
Than as we chatted to friends our age, we heard more and more stories how they had already had their vaccine, by simply turning up at a vaccine facility and asking for it.
Bugger the rules - just walk in !!
we then contacted the local vaccine facility and are booked in late in July.
So far so good (well - sort of!)
But now we here on the news that the current stocks are running out !!

Honestly - New Zealand is now setting a new low standard for the slowest vaccine roll out in the world.

Odysseus said...

Can anyone name one useful thing this clown-show has successfully "delivered" from among their many promises over the last four years? They are beyond useless and incompetent. The public's anger will surely grow as the rest of the world reopens but we find ourselves locked inside a hermit kingdom exposed and vulnerable to any trace of the virus crossing our leaky borders. Whoops, this could be "hate speech".

Brendan McNeill said...


Some basic facts about covid-19 / Sars-2 vaccines. They are all still in their critical trial periods, due to end mid 2023. Everyone who participates in these vaccinations is participating in a clinical trial. Pfizer and other providers have all sought and obtained from the government public liability indemnity - because it is safe and effective, right?

In the opinion of many New Zealand GP’s there is insufficient information being passed on from Medsafe regarding the actual and potential side effects of these vaccines to fulfil their obligation to provide ‘Informed consent’ to the patient. Given the history of blood clotting causing severe injury and death from the Astra-Zeneca vaccine that has occurred, many countries are restricting its use, including Australia. You should consult your GP, but I suggest you would be unwise to accept that vaccine for any reason.

The Pfizer vaccine comes with risks of its own, not least of these is what is known as ADE or "Antibody Dependent Enhancement". This may not emerge immediately, but can be up to several years following your injection. It has the effect of making the patient more vulnerable to the virus rather than less vulnerable.

This is explained in more detail in this article from the International Journal of Clinical Practice where the Pfizer vaccine is explicitly mentioned:

Interestingly it is now appearing that most people who now die with Covid-19 in England have been vaccinated:

There are a number of reasons why this might be, however one not being mentioned at this time is ADE.

Furthermore, it appears the Pfizer vaccine has been responsible for an abnormal number of people experiencing Myocarditis, particularly amongst young males. This is being reported in the UK, but once again for some inexplicable reason does not appear in our local media:

I’m not an anti-vaxer, and have had the flu shot this winter, but I will be waiting until the trial results are in before considering any of these new technologies, particularly as new side effects appear to be surfacing regularly. It may be that vaccine delays here in NZ are a blessing in disguise.

Dan said...

Absolutely agree.

However I will present myself as an exception to your analogy, and testify that I would take a Hillman Hunter with 230,000 kms on the clock over a nice new Mercedes A-class, any day.
My grandfather in Masterton had a green Hunter - with one of those colour-coded sun visors across the top of the windscreen no less - and my dad had two; being the first of our family cars that I remember.
I won't sing their praises as a bastion of mechanical integrity, but they do hold a special place in my heart.

Last year, I visited an automobile exhibit at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and discovered that the Rootes Group had licensed the Hillman Hunter into Iran, where it was named the Paykan, and was in production until 2005.

transpress nz said...

Personally I don't care whether these treatments are available or not, the evidence is that covid is now no more deadly than regular influenza and simply does not justify the continuing fuss it is getting. In about 6 months the pandemic itself will be largely over but the economic and mental health damage it has caused will last a long time. Authorities aren't holding back on saying that these treatments probably won't stop the spread of that virus. So, what's the issue?

Trev1 said...

@ Brendan: food for thought. Perhaps it would be better to wait for a reliable inactivated vaccine (using dead bits of pathogen like the flu shot) rather than accept one of these MRNA types? The Chinese produce Coronavac but its reliability seems only to be somewhere between 50-70 percent. Or maybe that is good enough?

@ Dan, yes I remember the Paykan ("chariot") well, it made up Tehran's taxi fleet and was also used by squads of black-shrouded female revolutionary guards to hunt down women wearing lipstick or showing a wisp of hair under their hijab. A pretty sinister bunch (omigod, more "hate speech" on this blog, forgive me).

Mark Wahlberg said...

One of the wives had a Hillman Hunter, it kept breaking down and swallowing cash faster than an alcoholic imbibed in a room full of free boooze.

Got an email from my local Health Centre last night inviting me to register for the jab. I'm still looking at the email wondering if its some sort of trick question I'm being asked?

Hilary Taylor said...

First car in '75 was a 2-tone Hunter, metallic teal with a black roof of some sort of stippled paintwork..from memory...not vinyl per se? At age 18 I was tickled by the Rootes Group thing, that my Dad schooled me up on. I cried when I failed my 1st WoF at the Akoranga Dr testing station. Served me well until it was nicked in Wgtn and taken it back though, a bit 'rooted'. Other than enjoying whatever flak the govt gets over anything at all, I'm 'relaxed about the vacc', like others here.

Brendan McNeill said...

We have been lied to about the origin of the virus, remember when those who suggested it cam from the Wuhan lab were 'conspiracy theorists' - well it seem now that even Biden thinks the conspiracy theorists were right.

We have been using a PCR test that was never designed for this purpose, is unreliable generating at least 5% false positives. It is highly likely that the last lock down in Auckland was a result of a false positive test for the KFC worker who went to the gym and elsewhere and no one else was infected.

We have numerous articles now dialing back the number of initial deaths reported as being caused by Covid-19, but that set the tone of fear that has infected way more people than the virus is ever likely to. Remember when 20,000 virus deaths were predicted for New Zealand? We have had something like 28 from memory.

Why are we not being told about the benefits of Vitamin D3, zinc and effective drugs like Ivermectin that have been proven to reduce hospitalisation and deaths by at least 80% in peer reviewed trials. Ivermectin is the main reason India has dropped out of the Covid-19 deaths news cycle. It is cheap and widely available. Why experimental vaccines or nothing?

Why on earth is Medsafe advocating that children aged 12 and over are safe to have the vaccine? These are kids are not at risk from the virus, but they are at risk from the side effects. Check out this Mothers testimony regarding her 12 year old daughter and the Pfizer vaccine.

Karl du Fresne said...

Mark Wahlberg:

Funny, that. My wife and I both got text messages from our medical centre today – this after waiting to be contacted, as advised, mainly because we were curious to see how long it would take (and all the while hearing from less patient people who dialled a secret number and got their jabs more or less immediately).

But here’s the thing: the text said only that we would be contacted “soon” with an invitation to book our vaccination, so it’s still a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” situation (not that we exactly lie awake at night fretting about this).

I suspect the politicians are getting twitchy at the mounting public frustration over the slow pace of the rollout, so the word has gone out to health authorities to do something – anything! – to at least create an illusion that something’s happening, even when it’s not.

Doug Longmire said...

You are taking me back to my Hillman Hunter days...
1972? Hillman Hunter.
I was living in Paekak in those days and loved hotted up cars.
The Hunter was late model- bought from my Dad's 2nd hand car yard.
I took it to Fred Bayliss in Raumati to do the motor:-
Rebore to 1800 cc.
twin throat side draught Weber carb. Really cut in after 3500 revs.
High compression, planed heads.
Balanced shaft and rods.
Unbolt the radiator fan for a few extra horses.
No loud exhaust - just looked and sounded like a straight family sedan.

I Dragged off an MGB along the Himitangi/Foxton straights !!!!!

Doug Longmire said...

Our experience was very similar Karl, as above.
I suggest you ignore the don't call us and give them a ring. We did.

Richard said...

I also received a 'we'll contact you soon...' message. Typical of the 'announcement of an announcement govt.
I'm also hearing the 'we are stepping aside for the greater good. Millions of others around the world are more needy of a vaccine.
This seems to run counter to their original 'Health of NZ'ers is our primary concern' claim, but we shouldn't expect consistency, or even the truth.
If only we had an opposition remotely interested in presenting themselves as capable of governing.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Karl, this is the message I received yesterday from my health provider. It would appear I just have to tick a box.

While I qualify in a couple of their categories, Its not how I perceive myself.

""The team have identified you as someone eligible to receive your vaccine now to protect you and your whānau from COVID-19.

Our team is now providing vaccines to people in Group 3, which includes:
• People aged over 65
• People with relevant underlying health conditions
• People with disabilities and their carers
• People who are pregnant
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and safe, and we encourage you to book your vaccination appointment today.
You can get your vaccine at one of the following locations in the Tararua region:
• Dannevirke The Hub — Mondays & Thursdays
• Dannevirke Community Hospital — Saturdays
• Pahiatua THINK Hauora Building — Thursdays & Fridays 
• Pahiatua Medical Centre — Every 3rd Saturday
• Woodville Medical Centre — Wednesdays
You can book your COVID-19 vaccine in one of three ways:
1. Book online here;
2. Phone 0800 MDHB VAX (0800 6342 829); or
3. Email
We are constantly updating our clinic dates, times and locations. So if there are no available appointments that suit you, please check back again soon. For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations in the MidCentral District, please visit our DHB's website:
When you get vaccinated, you're not just protecting yourself — you're protecting our community.""

Ngā mihi nui,
The Tararua Health Group Team

hughvane said...

Now I'm even more confused; COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to
everyone in New Zealand. That comes from the official Covid-19 website

I have received a text message from my local health centre saying I "can now book ....", which could mean I have to wait until a dose is ordered so I can be vaccinated.

I feel for the poor receptionists who must be receiving dozens, if not into the hundreds, of calls daily from anxious residents (not me) about when they can ACTUALLY get their shot vs what the media, as mouthpiece of and cheerleaders for this incompetent government, is telling them.

hughvane said...

I can see it now ... "Book your Covid shot now to avoid disappointment, don't be left in the lurch! Oh, nearly forgot - there'll be a 6-week wait."

No, I am not kidding. Still, better then nothing - I guess.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Doug Longmire, your comment about dragging off a MGB on the Foxton straight brought back my own fond memories of life as a Hoon and put a smile on my face. Thankyou.!!

Andy Espersen said...

Transpress nz is spot on : “So what’s the issue?”. Exactly : What’s new?? There is certainly nothing new about this quite ordinary, flu-like epidemic – we had plenty of similar epidemics in the past. And we knew when it arrived how such corona viruses usually develop and soon fizzle out. But why, oh why, did countries not treat this one the same way we used to, namely just voluntarily avoiding moving around – and endeavouring to work and live as best we could, accepting the illness and courageously helping the victims through their ordeal.

As it happens, I am 86– both my wife and I are frail. She has a severe medical complication and is home-bound. We have now had our Covid vaccination. We were contacted by the health services who were friendly and helpful. Two capable people came to our home to give it to us. I should be grateful.

But I have no joy in my heart – I feel flat, uneasy and (in a funny way) ashamed. So many innocent New Zealanders were forced to ransom me, causing them much agony and suffering. Many thousands small businesses going under, ruining the lives of owners and their families – so many brutal refusals for people to visit dying family and friends – New Zealand’s economy ruined for years to come.

Unlike most New Zealanders I do not admire Jacinda Ardern and her government. Hubris laden and with absolutely no comprehension at all of the ethical responsibility of legislators, they enacted blatantly inequitable legislation - that is legislation hurting only poorer citizens with no secure income and in unstable living conditions (so unlike the legislators themselves!!).

I guarantee that if we old folks had been asked beforehand whether we preferred to cause so much misery to our fellow citizens or to run a slightly higher risk of dying from a fairly mild new type of influenza, 95% of us would have chosen the latter. But nobody asked us.

Trev1 said...

In breaking news it appears the bulk of the vaccine doses, 8.5 million of New Zealand's 10 million, were not ordered from Pfizer until late March this year with delivery starting from this month. Pfizer appear so far to have adhered scrupulously to their contracts, as you might expect a litigation-conscious American corporate would. So we have been bullshitted by this clown show all along, and continue to be. The rollout also continues to be a shambles, with many in Group 4 already vaccinated while those in Group 3 wait for their call.