An international event as widespread and influential as the Covid 19 pandemic was always going to force nations to change the way they do things in order to survive in a world where choices are at a premium.
While most governments have reacted to this threat to their sovereignty in a conservative manner and hoped for the best, few have been bold enough to adopt policies that offered greater rewards in spite of increased risk of failure.
Some, like our own country, have squandered advantages that accompany an island state that provided protection against the initial onslaught not available to most other nations having to impose lockdowns that dramatically affected the economy.
The old adage - “fiddling while Rome burns” is an apt description of our government's oversight, even accepting that their early decisions were justified and had proved successful In halting the spread of the virus.
But whatever the reasons for the last twelve months of inertia, we have transformed as a nation proud of its reputation valuing the aspiration of becoming a true egalitarian society to one that has been deliberately divided based on race and employment preferences.
For want of a better term, (l call it our “postequity” period) it looks as if we have abandoned all those characteristics that ensured we emerged from previous national challenges (world wars, international financial crises, environmental disasters and other epidemics) with our international and humanitarian reputation in tact.
We are now in a period where many of those qualities of citizenship that supported us through every major threat to our existence are being cancelled.
We are being born again in a society that favours individual endeavour only if you happen to be of one particular skin colour or openly state your allegiance to a system opposed to individual expressions of thought - climate change, free speech etc.
It didn’t need to be this way.
Where l live amongst some of the lowest decile communities in the country, the opportunities for every New Zealander to participate fully are accepted as being part of our heritage. It just so happens that the biggest and most successful local businesses are Maori owned and operated. It is no surprise that these innovative and intelligent people have been able to take advantage of opportunities available to everyone.
When you talk to them, they just want the government to get out of the way and let them get on with it. I applaud their endeavour. It is refreshing in this current climate where Maoridom is continually portrayed as victims and under resourced.
The truth is that this false narrative is promoted not only by the government but unashamedly by the media and many of those employed by the State or its agencies because it is in their best interests to do so.
We are being divided as a result of a deliberate act of government to ensure control of just about everything is vested in the hands of an elite group of unaffected ideologues who wouldn’t recognise truth even if they fell over it.
Meanwhile, the common citizen just tries to find ways to feed their families, hoping that one day we will be relieved of this gigantic betrayal and return to a society that values freedom of choice more than it fears death itself. Our forebears have shown us that sacrifices by some are often the key to future prosperity for all. We should not forget their contribution to an environment where equal opportunity is available to every individual irrespective of race, creed, sexual preference or place of the societal ladder.
There is no greater aspiration than one that thinks more of our legacy to future generations than the immediate difficulties experienced in the process of establishment.
We should return to the days when we all believed in those guidelines. But time is of the essence. It may soon be too late.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.