Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Barry Soper: The roadmap for Auckland is like a road to nowhere - it has no finite end


One of the most frequently asked questions when you are on a road trip with the kids is: "How long until we get there.?"

These days you can look at your navigation map and give them a pretty good idea.

The Beehive's roadmap for grown-ups in Auckland is a bit like taking them on a road to nowhere, it has no finite end. The city could still be on the road at Christmas, providing the road doesn't leave the city.

And with the Covid numbers showing no sign of tailing off - even the Prime Minister's now calling it a tentacle that's hard to shake - they can't say how long we'll be on the road and where the map will take us.

And that's about as close as Jacinda Ardern got to admitting the lockdown's been a failure, which it most certainly has been, although they would have us believe without it thousands would have the virus with our hospitals resembling a medical outpost in a war zone.

That's a reflection on abysmal planning.

Ardern did say it's clear that long periods of restrictions haven't got us to zero cases, which of course is stating the bleedingly obvious.

"But that's okay, elimination was important because we didn't have vaccines, now we do we can begin to change the way we do things," she added.

At least elimination's off the table.

But the question is, when will that change come? Imagine if you are a hospitality business in Auckland, trying to plan for your future. This indeterminate announcement tells you you'll be able to open in a limited fashion once we have reached the third signpost.

When that will occur is anybody's guess.

That's the problem with this plan, there's no sign at the end of the road and there's no telling how long the road in an around Auckland will be.   A vaccination target to raise the chequered flag would have helped.

In the meantime, if you do have nine of your mates around for a barbe, which you are now allowed to do in Auckland, keep an eye on the weather forecast. You won't be allowed to go inside.

But then what if you are caught short?

Ardern giggled her way through that one: "Keep it outside, nice and simple, if you haven't got a good bladder, don't stay for for long."

No-one in Auckland was laughing.

Barry Soper is a New Zealand political journalist, and has been featured regularly on radio and television since the 1970s. Currently, Soper's main role is political editor at Newstalk ZB, a radio network in New Zealand.


Janine said...

Barry, everything is a joke to this woman JA. If she was not getting paid during lockdowns,like many New Zealanders, there would not be lockdowns. Two years ago the health authorities should have set up our system so we could cope with most outcomes from the pandemic. Those that wish to be vaccinated should be.Other treatments looked into. The country should be opened up and a serious illness treated like an illness not used as a political ploy.

New Zealanders, including the media, seem very gullible. I suggest all parliamentarians and public servants have their pay halved except our frontline health workers.

Terry Morrissey said...

On a road trip the kids would be with grown-ups. I'm afraid we aren't.
But you've been to Parliament Barry. You've listened to the obfuscation,hyperbole and the occassional bit of bullshit.Do we expect a different result?

Rob said...

What gets me is they spin elimination but won't change their plan to track down cases.

If this was the Wild West, its like the Covid Gang are out there robbing banks and shooting up towns. In the early days, once they'd hit the bank, they would sit and drink in the saloon for three days before the law arrived and rounded them up. Now there's the Delta Gang, they hit the bank, have a couple of shots in the saloon and move on to the next town. But the sheriff and her deputy (who incidentally won the best sheriff and her deputy award in 2020) turn up three days later and expect the same result. When any locals offer to help, form a posse or have any suggestions, its no thanks "we've got this" ... its just incompetent madness.

DeeM said...

There's no road map out of Covid lockdowns because our government has bet the whole house and contents on reaching 90% vaccination first - or is that 90% of Maori - it's hard to keep track, but either way they have no idea when that target will be reached.

If I was being KIND I might say Jacinda has all our best interests at heart and no cost is too high to save one Kiwi from Covid. But I'm being realistic and what I suspect this is about is JacUNda being able to crow to her UN mates that not only did NZ manage the Covid crisis better than any other of the 192 countries on Earth but it has also achieved the highest vaccination rate in the World. So don't be surprised if the 90% target creeps up based on the usual toilet-paper modelling from Shaun Hendy.

The Brian Tamaki attended protest in Auckland met with the usual media scorn and contempt and all political parties have seen fit to toe the line on this. However, in many other countries protests like this these were the beginning of a much larger public outcry which ultimately caused governments to yield on lockdowns and return to near normality.

The question is - are enough of the NZ public at the point where they are sick and tired of lockdowns and are willing to protest en masse? I suggest the answer is a clear NO.

In that case, unless JacUNda reaches her "best leader in the World eva!!" status or we decide as a nation to say enough-is-enough, we'll be playing with lockdowns for a while yet.