Select Committee presentation Sept 2021

Evidence of Simon Thornley, to New Zealand Parliamentary Select Committee, on the Public Health Amendment Bill. September 2021.

The covid-19 response as exaggerated and profoundly harmful. Instead of mandating experimental vaccines and ongoing lockdowns, our group advocates for returning to protection of the elderly, increased capacity in hospitals and early treatment of covid-19.

There will be legal experts who will address the mechanics of the bill, however,  our focus will be on the scientific evidence that relates to the need for extended far reaching powers entailed in the proposed amendments to the Act.

I wish to draw your attention to epidemiological evidence that the threat of covid-19 is exaggerated in the minds of the government and media. This is relevant to the nature of the proposed far reaching powers. One such example is that the distribution of age at death with covid-19 is almost identical to the distribution of age at death in earlier years when the virus was absent.

Professor John Ioannidis, one of the world’s most eminent epidemiologists wrote:

“Median age of death with COVID-19 typically tracks average life expectancy in high-income countries.”

Many people are not aware that the average age of death with covid is about the same as our life expectancy – about 82 years. This information contradicts  that which  is often portrayed in the media, and by other academics that the average number of years of life lost from Covid-19 is 16. It is simply implausible that this is true, since Covid-19 would then be causing the demise of patients who would have otherwise lived to the age of 98.

One of the reasons that covid-19 has become exaggerated in the minds of the public, politicians and scientists is that the definition of a covid-19 death is loose. Yet such deaths are paraded in the media as tragedies due to the virus. From an OIA request in June, it was found that even a positive PCR test was not required to count as a death from covid. The definition in New Zealand or overseas do not indicate that the person would have otherwise survived were they not infected with the virus.

Other reasons to suppose the pandemic is severe is that there is excess mortality in some countries. However, closer inspection of this data shows that this excess death occurs in close proximity to restrictions in mobility of citizens in that country. This indicates that it is the response to covid, rather than the virus itself that is the primary problem. Other evidence points to the excessive use of invasive ventilation and restriction in access to usual healthcare that were the primary drivers of this excess death.

The PCR test itself has faced intensive scrutiny and has been not recommended for widespread use in the community. The diagnostic accuracy, which has been tested in a large German study indicates that the assay does not reliably even distinguish between people with or without symptoms of a chest infection.

What is more, evidence indicates that the restrictive actions of the government so far have already caused substantial harm. This includes at least a 50% increase in children attempting suicide and presenting to hospital. Unemployment has increased since March 2020 in New Zealand with a 30% increase in eligible adults requiring the jobseeker benefit over the period inwhich covid restrictions have been imposed. Special needs grants also spike over lockdown periods, indicating that these policies come down most severely on our poor communities. Severe lockdowns have cost the country at least $1B/week, a figure that is well outside the amount usually thought to be reasonable for such health spending.

In summary, our objection to the amendments in the act are related to the proposed legislation of disproportionate powers to contain a health threat that we believe has been grossly exaggerated. The powers contained within the act infringe many of our fundamental freedoms and rights and are now causing severe harm to the economy and health of our children. Our group wishes to advise the government that this act should be repealed rather than extended. Thank you to the committee again for the opportunity to present.