It seems I was on to something yesterday when I queried whether the Ardern government was laying the mat down for a backflip on lockdowns. First, one of Ardern’s Covid advisors starts talking about “learning to live with Covid” — and abandoning lockdowns. Now, right on cue, the government’s media lackeys gear up the spin cycle.

But Stuff’s article praising Denmark is unintentionally hilarious, not because of what it reports, but what it doesn’t.

First, what the Team of $55 million wanted you to hear.

If you were able to fly from Auckland to Copenhagen today you would step into a very different day-to-day reality.

Denmark has just dropped the last of its domestic pandemic restrictions, becoming the only European country to do so.

This is the propaganda talking point you’re supposed to take in: thanks to the equivalent of buying vaccines at Reduced To Clear, Ardern has been spared the embarrassment of running out. And, as the government wants to impress on you vaccines macht frei: hence, the media lackeys dangling the carrot of “Ooh, look — Denmark has opened up!”

Vaccines set you free. Photoshopped image credit Cam Slater. The BFD.

So, yep: the new spin has begun.

But it’s this inadvertent comedy gold that had me spitting up my coffee.

So what lessons could New Zealand learn from the Scandinavian nation, and can it give any clues to how New Zealand will move from here?

New Zealand has much in common with Denmark […] Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Danish counterpart, Mette Frederiksen, are wunderkinds of the liberal international media; progressive female leaders who have carved out a reputation for practical but also inspiring leadership.


As it happens, there are quite a lot of lessons New Zealand might learn from Denmark. But, somehow, I don’t think Stuff journos would approve.

Most notably, Denmark is cracking right down on immigration: especially asylum seekers. While Jacinda Ardern endlessly criticises Australia’s offshore processing policy, Mette Frederiksen is all for it. In fact, she admires Australia’s policy so much that she copied it.

Going even further, though, Frederiksen has recently outlined a “zero vision” on immigration which would have Jacinda, Golriz and Ricardo reaching for the smelling salts. Frederiksen’s vision includes not offering asylum to any refugees at all. In fact, Denmark has started sending non-criminal refugees home.

Why would they do that? Because, they argue, liberal immigration policies are destroying Denmark’s social fabric. If the number of immigrants isn’t reduced, Frederiksen says, Denmark may “lose its social cohesion”. In fact, it’s already “under threat”. Frederiksen is specifically targeting Muslim immigrants.

Pursuant to that, Frederiksen is enacting laws to limit “non-Westerners” to 30 per cent of the population in any given area. She also wants Muslim schools closed.

They are definitely not us, as far as the Danes are concerned.

Just the sort of vibrant, diverse multiculturalism the Danes are rejecting. The BFD.

Among the measures that Denmark has aimed at Muslim immigrants, a new law proposes that all religious sermons must be translated into Danish and submitted to the government. The Danish government states that the measures are necessary to curb Islamic extremism.

Denmark has already moved to jail Imams who practise Sharia law on matters such as divorce. The country has also banned Islamic preachers such as Australia’s Sheikh Shady from entering the country.

The burqa is also banned in public, in Denmark.

But… but… diversity is our strength! Not according to the Danes, it ain’t.

They’re “following the science”, after all: a recent academic study from two Danish universities found that, contrary to the oft-repeated claim, there is “a statistically significant negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust”. Specifically, the study found that “continued immigration and corresponding growing ethnic diversity” had a negative impact on community cohesion.

Perhaps Stuff might want to rethink their glowing comparison between Ardern and Frederiksen.

Otherwise, their readers might start thinking that New Zealand can learn something from Denmark, after all.

They are not Us, as far as the Danes are concerned. The BFD. Photoshop by Lushington Brady.

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What New Zealand Could Learn from Denmark

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...