“I’m just outlining facts": watching New Zealand getting red-pilled, in real time
What a time to be alive: I am watching both mommy bloggers, influencers and the deputy leader of the National Party go full Conspiracy Mode.
Right now, I’m in Auckland, New Zealand — and I’m watching the conspiracy narrative that has gripped America spread like wildfire on my home turf. It’s a case study unfolding in real time, and it’s fascinating, horrifying and just really, really sad.
I know some of you reading this are in New Zealand too, but some of you are overseas.
But I think covering what I’m seeing here at home right now is relevant to all of us, and how our world is changing.
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Yesterday, I watched the deputy leader of the opposition get up in front of press (and in doing so, the whole of New Zealand) and say a bunch of loose statements, all in a very specific order, which basically insinuated that the government knew a second lockdown was coming weeks ago.
Essentially — that it had been planned.
Not that health professionals have been warning us that COVID-19 may well get loose in the community again — but that the whole thing was part of a master plan of some kind. Or at the very least, they’d held information back.
Justin Hu has the moment:
When Gerry Brownlee left the podium, a reporter instantly said “what are you saying there then” — to which he replied:
“I’m just outlining facts.”
I can’t really put into words how frustrating this was to watch: a politician essentially saying the conspiracy-mega-catchphrase “I’m just asking questions”.
As in: “Was 9/11 really a terrorist attack or were bombs planted to bring it all down? I’m just asking questions…”
As in: “Why was that man’s leg bleeding the wrong colour blood after the Boston marathon bombing, was he a crisis actor? I’m just asking questions…”
As in: “The fact that we were encouraged to start buying masks several weeks ago and why was Jacinda Ardern visiting that mask factory and they’re all very interesting things to have happened a matter of hours before a large part of New Zealand went into lockdown! I’m just asking questions….”
I was sad.
“The media should ask their own questions,” sniped the Gerry’s boss Judith Collins, the leader of the National party.
I was fucked off.
What Gerry was doing in that little standup was essentially an oral version of the meme the QAnon-adjacent NZ Public Party (and various influencers) sent out yesterday.
It was a dog whistle to this very crowd.
Gerry’s comments have done something else.
They’ve empowered all the influencers who are currently sharing this “leaked” tip that the New Zealand Defence Force is going to put New Zealand into full lockdown on October 1st:
The full text that has been spreading echoes the rumour that did the rounds in America: that COVID-19 is just an excuse so the government can exert their control, via the military, to do all manner of unspeakable things (microchipping us, mark the beast, satan, 666 etc).
It’s like being back in the 80s all over again.
The source of the email is unknown, and it contains numerous spelling errors including “Lietenant” which is quite funny as it’s allegedly written by someone in the NZDF.
Kia ora, I can't say who sorry as he will get into trouble and already got into trouble for disagreeing to go to the South Island (but flew out today) he rang he last Thursday to say the NZDF (himself) and the Govt, met to put into place a full lockdown by Oct.
NZDF will be taking over (martial law) on Oct 1st all of the hospitals, quarantine bases and airports.
They will assign their troops to regions to enforce mandatory testing with household testers.
They will train using the same plan of attack he used in Timor.
They refused to hurt NZERS, however was told they had to use brute force and any force necessary.
The training for the next two weeks is dealing with protests riots and a significant job loss in NZ.
I'm letting you know only to prepare (as you already are) and to warn your whanau to stock up asap.
Feel free to let any and everyone know.
Please don't say I said and re word for yourself. I am letting as many know as possible.
The Lietenant that informed this person cried when they were zooming as he didn't want to do what was being asked of him.
He trains troops to take over seas.
He was told that if everyone said no to Hitler there would be millions of lives saved. He has a choice to say no.
But please let everyone know. Who knows if it will come to fruition but after tonight announcement it's happening already just as it did in the ghettos during ww2
Of course it ends with namedropping Hitler. Of course.
I saw this message so much yesterday in influencer circles it made me want to stab my eyes out. And these people are digging their heels in:
In an effort to retain my sanity, I started to investigate how influencers were getting this information — pre-Instagram story.
From what I can tell, it originated as an anonymous post on Facebook several days ago, and spread pretty quickly onto other mediums.
You’ll notice the two Facebook pages that got the most likes were “For the Qulture Reports” and “We are Q”.
Both of these are QAnon Facebook groups.
“For The Qulture” shared the NZDF lockdown conspiracy theory a total of 196 times.
And while “We are Q” didn’t share it as widely, I’d note it has more group members — over 54,000 — with eyeballs on it.
I dunno — maybe it’s just me, but looking at where this stuff originates makes me feel slightly more sane. It also makes me feel slightly more sad that New Zealand influencers never really think about this stuff before hitting “share”.
Because then the New Zealand public — their fans — see their idols talking about this stuff all day on social media, and then the deputy leader of the National Party is on the 6pm news saying that yes, it’s all very suspicious, isn’t it, and then his boss — the leader of the opposition backs him up by saying yes, the media should ask their own questions, we all should, should’t we, we’re just asking questions.
How did we get this way.
How are we going down the exact same path already well trodden in the USA. We’ve seen how that’s gone, and how it’s going:
And now here we are, too.
In Whangarei, the town I grew up in, there are protests. A sign reads “WE DO NOT CONSENT.”
I feel tired.
PS: There is still some sanity left, and I adore journalist Kim Hill hitting back at Collins this morning.
This editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal is also heartening:
“As a group of more than 50 of the country’s leading infectious disease and public health scientists and professionals, we ask the following of our political leaders:
Although it is election year, we urge politicians resist the temptation to scaremonger in an attempt to score points in the media.
Instead, they should use their moments in the spotlight to amplify messages of our health system’s preparedness and how New Zealanders can individually make a difference at this critical time.
A cross-party parliamentary task force on COVID-19 could be one way to ensure this cooperation happens in a timely and productive fashion.”
PPS: Here, have a cat I just met:
Thanks for reading this. I am writing a bit more than usual at the moment — and yes, I know it’s all about conspiracy thinking. But I think that it’s important.
This conspiracy stuff is important for as many eyeballs as possible, which is why I am putting it out for free. Members — I appreciate your support that lets me do this digging. Unique content for paying members will keep coming: I’m just prepping a post about some of the poster designs we did for Tickled that never made it out, and on Friday I’ll do a AMA so we can get together and talk about what the fuck has been going on.
At some stage I will return to more regular programming: offbeat rabbit holes, cats, documentary stuff, strange stories, film stuff, some laughs.
Stay sane. We’re in this together.
Great post David. I'm not sure if you've heard it yet, but Kim Hill's interview with Judith Collins this morning on RNZ's Morning Report was a masterclass in journalism. She didn't let Collins get away with anything and hammered home her questions, to which Judith had to finally admit they have no evidence of the government withholding any information.
You can listen to the interview here: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018759286/covid-19-judith-collins-hits-back-at-grant-robertson-after-he-called-opposition-claims-nonsense
My husband and I have just moved back home to NZ from Australia. After watching that press conference with Gerry and Judith from our managed isolation hotel room, I just felt so sad that this tacky brand of populist politics we saw in Australia (and the US) has made it over here. Thank you for using your journalism skills and platform to counteract this thinking.