Friday, October 15, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: Things we have learned this week


I think as we wrap this week, we just have to accept we are at a point now where counting cases is actually pointless. 

Delta has got away on us, it's had a good laugh at our elimination strategy, and off it's gone and there’s no stopping it now. 

Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, but earlier access to vaccines, a few more ICU beds, a better MIQ system and all the other things we didn’t do would’ve been great, but that ship has sailed. 

So here we are, and let’s look on the bright side. We’re allegedly not ever going back into Level 4. So that’s it. That’s all the bright side I can think of.  

As Auckland, Waikato and Northland enter another weekend at Level 3 and the rest of the country in Level 2, we only have to look across the ditch to see how this thing goes. It takes time, and lots of it. We long ago kissed goodbye any lingering thoughts of a ‘short sharp’ lockdown, but what we need to accept is that this could go for quite a while yet. 

The kids who thought they'd be gearing up for school Monday will be home instead. The retailers who thought they may've been able to open by now, still shut. The gyms, the hairdressers, the physios, all still waiting. 

So how do we keep up the stamina for it? I spoke with a girlfriend in Sydney the other day and she said after 15 weeks of lockdown, survival mode kicked in. She YouTubed how to cut hair and became the family barber, she got creative at home with the kids doing stuff they wouldn’t normally do. Tried to make it an adventure basically. 

But the emotional rollercoaster is real. When Freedom Day finally arrived, she said it actually felt weird to see lots of people out and about and going into places, and things returning to ‘normal’. Easy to forget what normal is after all that time. 

Here, we're still at the carnage stage. I feel bad for the events sector, they’ve been politely waiting a very long time to be told what might happen for them. I was surprised they didn’t kick up more of a fuss about a plan forward for their sector, but a lot of the festivals are run by Jacinda’s mates, so they may’ve been trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. 

But we’re now seeing the cancels start to ramp up, Canterbury’s A&P show, Bay Dreams, Christmas in The Park, other smaller scale festivals. God only knows what'll happen if Rhythm and Vines doesn’t go ahead, there’ll be anarchy amongst the PM’s usual teen fan base, and she won’t want that.  

The other thing that’s struck me this week is the hypocrisy going on and the blame shifting. We need to abide the rules and stop illegal gatherings, but that doesn't necessarily apply to gangs and their cohorts? We need to stay put, but absconders who don't may or may not be named, questioned and charged. 

I think if the Pulpit of Truth could do us a favour and stop blaming Aucklanders, most of whom are trying their best, and just harden up on the leaky border and the problems known to them that're creating the bulk of the distress, that'd help. 

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.

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