It has come at a time when this community, like most of New Zealand, is struggling to accommodate this life under siege which, unfortunately, has become commonplace.
For some, like myself, it’s even worse than that. Covid has meant the end of a consultancy business that had been, until relatively recently, providing a welcome addition to the family coffers. Tragically, for others it has meant a total “wipe out”.
Note the number of well-established big city restaurants that have called it quits over the past week. You can only survive on non-contact deliveries for so long.
Sadly, it makes little difference that those of us living in the provinces (with the exception of school children) are experiencing only modest disruption to our daily habits.
For many, even those living under Level 3 lockdown, the biggest inconvenience is boredom. But with boredom, we have time to think.
We are starting to ask whether the current strategy is worth the chaos in the lives of so many decent law-abiding citizens who, unlike ourselves, really have been suffering the consequences of a divided society. That unacceptable scenario must force the question: Is there another way?
More specifically, what to make of the Government’s reluctance to open up the international borders to enable enough double-vaccinated, Covid-tested tourists to be admitted (strictly controlled ) who would help the economy and mental health of those running the thousands of “at risk” businesses. Surely there is no need for the South Island to continue operating with the same levels of restrictions that only appear justified in the top half of the north.
Why is our Government so reluctant to admit that it’s “elimination” strategy has been an expensive failure when 99 percent of the world’s democracies have, on reaching 80 percent double vaccination, opened up everything and are learning to live with the virus?
The dogmatic commitment to this “out of date” policy makes no sense!
It also opens up fertile ground for those conspiracy theorists to peddle their examples of ulterior motives.
In such a climate where fear is used in order to obtain compliance, we could ask whether there are indeed non-disclosed reasons for maintaining this unachievable objective. I suspect this Government just likes the idea of being in control.
However, it must be worried that our vaccination rate will slowly but surely reach the target where there is no more rational justification for keeping the foot on the nation’s neck.
My hope is that our councils around the country will become emboldened by their recent, overwhelmingly-supported showing of independence and move on to other “pushbacks” that result in more nationwide “backdowns” — and the nation opening up sooner rather than later.
The people have demonstrated that hegemony will only be tolerated when it appears to be the only option available. It is clear that time is well passed.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.