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A little relief.

Written By: - Date published: 2:56 pm, April 16th, 2020 - 66 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, Social issues - Tags:

In recent days I’ve been thinking it would be good if the government allowed for a certain “stretching” of bubbles so that people could be reasonably social. I’m glad to see that the outline for what Level 3 will be allows for bubbles to be stretched.

So now grandparents can see grandchildren and families can offer better support within an exclusive environment that’s larger than has been the case these past few weeks.

This from The Spinoff

People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to connect with close family/whanau or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.

And schools will be open, but attendance not mandatory. A sensible move that should work out fine if ‘common sense’ is an actual thing.

Schools (years 1 – 10) and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.

And I guess the idea (also good in my book) is for surfing and such like to be subject to “common sense” too –

Low risk local recreation activities are allowed.

Finally, I’m happy to acknowledge that my levels of cynicism over what the changes might have been in terms of businesses opening up again seem to have been misplaced.

Just this morning, I was suggesting to a friend that “the servants” might be expected to get back to their job of serving the better offs. (Yeah – I did say “cynical”). So I’m relieved to see that the service sector – and I mean that in relation to consumerism – is still more or less shuttered.

Businesses can open premises but cannot physically interact with customers.

What that actually winds up looking like is anyone’s guess. I could imagine some fast food places “trying it on”, but then…I can’t really see such outlets having much in the way of customers, bar for people who might phone in an order for delivery.

And for all of you out there who suffer from “bad hair days”, well…you’re going to have to suffer a while longer, though it’s not as though you have to go out and risk encountering “the Jonse’s” down at the mall or whatever.

Might Level 3 be regarded as what was intended all along, with Level 4 a deliberate overstretch intended to help people be more psychologically prepared for quite serious restrictions on their movements and activities?

It’s certainly easier to move to a hard place if the place you’re coming from has been even harder – the imposition feels like a relief.

66 comments on “A little relief. ”

  1. BArely Here, or There 1

    People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to connect with close family/whanau or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.

    This is happening now in my neighbourhood. It never stopped happening. Except for the exclusive part. Also the surfing too. Surf or die, man.

    • Forget now 1.1

      Surf and die, d'ya mean?

      Or more accurately; surf and don't care if other people die!

  2. Ad 2

    If I don't get a haircut soon I'm going to punch a hole in the wall.

    • Janice 2.1

      I'm looking for a couple of rollers to put in the front of my hair, put a scarf around my head and be in "Hilda Ogden" style. Worked for her.

    • Gabby 2.2

      Get a hat.

    • Forget now 2.3

      You said that the other day, yet I imagine that your walls remain undented.

      BTW Have you ever punched through a wall? Protect your knuckles, and make sure that you get a bit between the beams is all I can say! It hurts. Gib's not so bad, but you can really mess your hands up trying it with an old scrim and wallboard villa. Concrete blocks are only for Karete posers who have carefully set up the leverage of that trick beforehand!

  3. Muttonbird 3

    L3 looks like the confused mess that is the Australian system. I'd rather stay at four for another two weeks.

    Schools. It’s voluntary. What the hell is that? Either keep them closed or open them fully.

    • bwaghorn 3.1

      Unfortunately the rightwinge make it impossible to stay in 4 to much longer.

      So much for not politicizing it.

      • xanthe 3.1.1

        I dont think the rightwinge are influencing the decision at all

        but it is possible that an upsurge in rightwinge demand for any particular action could just indicate Jacinda preparing the way for the decision she is about to take.

    • Koff 3.2

      Think you're right. I'm about to be released from quarantine tomorrow so will see for myself what it's like here in Queensland. When I left for Auckland, 6 weeks ago, it was level 0! From what friends have told us, it's not that confused now, perhaps because the state border is closed, the number of deaths is only 5 and very few new cases . It sounds still a far cry from what it was before any restrictions. Think Bill's right in that NZers having already lasted through Level 4 for 4 weeks should be well disposed and prepared for going down to Level 3 with the added responsibilty needed. Jacinda's going to be giving plenty of stern warnings about not wanting to revert to Level 4 because people are irresponsible, too.

    • Gabby 3.3

      Babysitters. Teachers will be thrilled. Teaching kids at school (keeping them 2m apart) while also teaching kids online. Bliss.

      • Muttonbird 3.3.1

        Just a terrible experience for teachers, students at school, and students at home.

        • AB

          Have a stressed and demoralised Year 12 in our bubble who wanted to get back to school. I blame the Byzantine complexity of NCEA – which in my (admittedly jaundiced) mind, seems to be the result of the pernicious influence that 'business' has had over education for ages.

          • Muttonbird

            I know. Let's educate rather than simply get job ready. The latter assumes the jobs available are sacrosanct. Not the path to betterment.

          • Gabby

            Not to mention the Nigel schools and universities. Poor old NCEA' like a captive of Genghis tied by the limbs to 4 horses.

          • KJT

            More the Universities, than business. In spades for the tech curriculum, But I know what you mean.

    • Cinny 3.4

      Schools are voluntary for students in year 10 or below, because those children will be under 14 and it's against the law to leave them at home by themselves.

      My plan is to send my youngest to Nana and Pa's boarding school during the week while I work. It's safer than school and she adores her grandparents, one of them is a retired teacher. She could come home in the weekends. They live around 30 mins drive away.

      However Miss 15 isn't allowed back to school, she is absolutely gutted. She excels in her practical subjects, horticulture, outdoor education and dance, so we'll have to come up with a plan.

      I did have a laugh because for years the girls have asked to be home schooled. They've since changed their minds 🙂

      We've an outlook here…. is this the worst thing that has ever happened… no….. so let's just get on with it then, we've the rest of our lives ahead of us.

      • Muttonbird 3.4.1

        Both parents in this household have lost all work for some time so ours are not in the position to have to go to school.

        But I am hugely interested in their schooling and online just isn't cutting it because the schools and teachers are not set up for it.

        Woe betide us when they are because if David Seymour ever gets near the minister of education's chair he will close all schools and there'll be one computer teaching all kids in locked rooms.

        Also I really feel for the teachers, particularly the older ones, who have to be in harms way and struggle already with the online tech.

        • Cinny

          Sorry to hear about the loss of work Muttonbird.

          Also I really feel for the teachers, particularly the older ones, who have to be in harms way and struggle already with the online tech.

          Yes, strongly agree.

          However, sadly, some kids are safer at school than they are at home.

          On the upside the skoolbo website is pretty good, my youngest is loving it.

          • bill

            However, sadly, some kids are safer at school than they are at home.

            What does that say about NZ society? And why is it in any way acceptable? If kids are safer at school than at home, then what is being done to tackle the things that make being at home unsafe?

            I'm going to assume many a social worker knows and 'accepts' such situations because they themselves view the bolt hole of school as some kind of legitimate "solution" for the kids.

            Deeper systemic problems needing tackled? Nah – that's what the "too hard" basket exists for.

            Hell. I wonder how many social workers are actually even aware of how deep systemic dynamics can play out, and how many are only personally equipped to approach such situations on a very superficial level that's informed by ideas about charity and saviours on white horses?

            -rant over-

        • Molly

          Sorry to hear about the work situation, muttonbird. I hope that changes for you both soon.

          From the perspective of a long-time home educator, the online courses to date from the Ministry have their failings, boredom inducing being one of them. I used to be on several home-ed committees, including one of the national bodies, and often used to talk to new home-educating parents. At the time, I'm sure most of them thought – what the hell, just tell me what to do. While my philosophy was mostly, you will find your own path at some point. These are possible routes you can take…

          At present, you have a tricky road to navigate. Being a teacher while being a parent. Educating your children at home, vs bringing school into your home. There are successful stories about children being "schooled" at home, but there are also very good outcomes for those who have "unschooled" their children.

          Fortunately access to the internet provides a wide range of quality resources that have not been compiled by educators to fit into curriculum requirements. They are at your family's disposal. Or you can utilise the online site that has been quickly knocked up, and see how you go. (Our personal experience with Te Kura online has not been invigorating, or encouraging, but everyone is different and it might work for you.)

          (BTW, I don't know what the age of your children are, but the standard rule of thumb for new home educators is to DO NOTHING for the same number of months for each year that the child has been attending school. Of course, hardly anyone listens to that advice, because you have a fear that your child will fall behind, but it often takes that long before you find your own groove, and from my observations has proven to be a pretty good yardstick.)

          Joy can be found in learning with and watching your children learn what you both consider important. The challenge is deciding – and agreeing – what is important.

          • Muttonbird

            I have significantly helped with my older one's work at home over the years. I believed this would help her understand good practice in how to plan, construct, solve and deliver problems and assignments.

            I believe that school should be supplemented in the home where necessary in this way.

            I was constantly reminded by my other half not to do too much but I think it has worked well and the child now lets me know when help is and is not required.

            I really want them to get back to school because it is the best environment for routine and support. Online learning feels a bit loose, and my two are actually pretty good about it. I wonder how other households are coping.

            • Molly

              If you are already practised in delivering education in this way, you are probably one of the better prepared in this situation, and I'm sure you will find a way.

              Not having access to the current online learning, I'd just suggest a caveat, that given the requirement to get something up and running, there is likely to be a noticeable lack of quality delivery. As time passes, this may improve, and probably will. Make the most of it, and that'll probably be good enough.

  4. Treetop 4

    Early childhood centres are usually kindergarten level. When it comes to daycare centres is the PM using the term "early childhood centres" to include day care for children under 3?

    Yay for the grandparents getting a bigger bubble.

    As for a hair cut I only go to the hairdresser for a special occasion. Some DIY haircuts are better than others.

  5. Stunned Mullet 5

    Elective surgery ? Outpatients appointments ?

    …and yes it's fun to make light of haircuts and the like….. unless you're a hairdresser or worse still owner of a salon/barber shop, then I suspect it's not very funny at all.

    • bill 5.1

      My haircuts thing was more a dig at Australia (I was told) deeming hairdressers an essential service or some such.

      And small businesses ought to be given straight up rent relief and such like – not a wage subsidy that might not apply, and that seems (to me) to be as much a way of ensuring WINZ stays a dirty little secret than anything else – though an emergency universal payment through IRD (what I wanted to see and still want to see) would have preserved that secret too 😉

    • bwaghorn 5.2

      Dentists? Got the achs a month ago just managed to get antibiotics out of my dentist but this molars gotta go.

      • Carolyn_Nth 5.2.1

        More to come on Dentists:

        But I think they are already available for emergency work.

        Will dentists and physios open for non-emergency work?

        More detail on non-emergency medical treatment will be provided in the next 48 hours. The prime minister said individual DHBs were doing work on how to treat elective care at different alert levels, and she wanted some consistency across the country.

        • bwaghorn

          My one says that emergency treatment only goes as far as giving drugs . She also said dentist s arnt getting ppe.

          It's a tough one as you couldnt get more close contact than climbing into a patient's mouth

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Well, it seems the same with my GPs. A lot of medical services seem to have stopped because of Covid. An Bloomfield et al say we need to keep contacting medical services for non-Covid health problems.

            I had a throat swab by a GP Monday of last week. Hadn't heard back of results – most likely strep throat & will need more antibiotics after a break from the first course which ended a couple of weeks ago.

            I hadn't been contacted by the GP with result of throat swab, meanwhile the white stiff on my tonsil has grown.

            Had a phone conversation with the nurse today (the GP is not working today), who told me my throat swab has not yet been processed, due to labs being busy with Covid.

            So I have another phone consult booked with GP on Monday. Each phone & in-person consult costs a full fee.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              Oh. Update. The GP who I originally had the phone consult with, just rang, and booked me to come in next week so she can look down my throat. Basically, the lab said they won't process my throat swab cos they're not doing non-Covid ones.

              So, getting non-Covid health issues dealt with is a real problem at the moment.

              The GP thinks it's likely not strep throat/bacterial as the antibiotics didn't clear it. It could be nothing, or it could be a virus – but not Covid cos it's gone on the for so long.

          • Whispering Kate

            Surely bwaghorn Dentists are a private practice and not part of the DHBs. and therefore should be getting in their own ppe gear. They charge a fortune, enough sometimes to have to mortgage the house. They, if they are whinging can and will pass on the price of the ppe onto the poor long suffering patient anyway.

            • bwaghorn

              She wasn't complaining as such just said they had heaps but wouldn't release it to her.

      • mpledger 5.2.2

        A friend came back from overseas and was in isolation and managed to get a tooth removed while in isolation. I'd try your GP who might refer you to ED and they'll pull it there.

    • Treetop 5.3

      The list is long for not very funny.

      Over 70, an essential worker,are immunocompromised, will be homeless, unemployment, waiting for non urgent elective surgery, have tooth ache …

      My priority is avoiding getting Covid-19 and transmitting it.

    • Gabby 5.4

      But a windfall for telephone sanitisers 2nd class.

  6. RedBaronCV 6

    I commented in open mike – trusting the same companies that couldn't adhere to employment rules to implement distancing rules …

    • bill 6.1

      Well yeah. Since putting the post up, I got to thinking about hell zones like K-Mart that have minimal customer service anyway – and the tight packed line that snakes back from the self service check-outs.

      Maybe there ought to be a requirement for them to provide systems and procedures that preserve distancing. Could the likes of the Warehouse where people 'mill' develop such frameworks? I doubt it.

      Smaller businesses could easily enough limit customer numbers to one as per my local dairy (I'm assuming all dairies have the same procedure in place).

      • adam 6.1.1

        Same with dairies up here, not working to well though.

      • Carolyn_Nth 6.1.2

        What I got from Stuart Nash being interviewed on Checkpoint about alert level 3 a little while ago: stores cannot include staff interacting with customers, plus the 2 meter rule – this basically means online orders and either home delivery or click & collect.

        • bill

          I'd like to think it limits shit to on-line orders/home delivery or click & collect.

          But I can see pressure coming from large retailers who will point to supermarket operations and argue they should not be viewed as any different to supermarkets…

          • Graeme

            Everyone that goes into a supermarket buys something. The transaction, combined with the the security footage allows pretty good contact tracing.

            Not everyone that goes into the Warehouse or Briscoes buys something, so contact tracing falls over. That's why it's currently restricted to supermarkets and dairies who generally have pretty good security cameras.

            Also why you can’t use / they don’t like you to use, cash at dairies and supermarket

            • bill

              Good points. Hadn't thought of how those things are more or less specific to supermarkets.

  7. Barfly 7

    I wish they had announced plans for a tracking app downloadable to peoples phones….and make level 3 conditional on an 80% uptake of it.

  8. lprent 8

    Might Level 3 be regarded as what was intended all along, with Level 4 a deliberate overstretch intended to help people be more psychologically prepared for quite serious restrictions on their movements and activities?

    Nope. Level 4 was what was required to make sure that any infections that occurred within the last 2-2.5 weeks of the lockdown were easily traceable.

    FFS the basic maths of tree infection make that inevitable. Otherwise what happens is that instead of having bubbles of 1 to say 6 people, you have intersecting bubbles. For my partner and I that would easily extend to be more like 50-100 people.

    And that is just starting with my sister, my partners sister, and my partners aunt. Not to mention nieces, great nephews, great nieces, and these are just the ones in Auckland who I see moderately frequently.

    My sister's partner has a close family that has at least 12 people locally (and god knows what their spouses connect to), my partners aunt has a husband with other family up here etc etc… We're lucky – most of our direct family are in different cities because we’re a wandering nation of people.

    A level 4 was designed to stop serial transmission to whole family trees. In my family that wanders out to thousands of people in this country with even limited levels of consanguinity. Or groups of friends and their friends.

    One of the reasons that I’m so anti-social is there are way too many family to get any work done otherwise. Which is what I’m not looking forward to after lockdown…

    Perhaps you could try to concentrate less on conspiracy theories and more on basic population maths. Think of 80+ people infected out of one person in one wedding in bluff. Multiply that by a lot and then think of New York or Northern Italy.

    • bill 8.1

      FFS the basic maths of tree infection make that inevitable. Otherwise what happens is that instead of having bubbles of 1 to say 6 people, you have intersecting bubbles. For my partner and I that would easily extend to be more like 50-100 people.

      Well, no. As cut and pasted into the text of the post in reference to a Level 3 (expanded) bubble – This extended bubble should remain exclusive.

      And I'm fucked if I know where you get the notion of "conspiracy theory" from Lynn. A short term over extension of initial conditions, in order that any actually desired situation is regarded as tolerable and more acceptable is basic fucking psychology.

      edit – And testing, although better than some other countries, is very far from adequate, and a reason why lock-down has to persist.

  9. Brutus Iscariot 9

    "Might Level 3 be regarded as what was intended all along, with Level 4 a deliberate overstretch intended to help people be more psychologically prepared for quite serious restrictions on their movements and activities?"

    Yes. The government has being using textbook fascist-pioneered methods of mass social control.

    wartime imagery/slogans

    constantly invoking fear of the other (amorphous invisible enemy)

    turning citizen against citizen to do the policing work for the state (we now act with revulsion at close encounters with strangers in public, and are encouraged to dob each other in)

    All of the above have a kernel of truth, but have been exaggerated/carried beyond the boundaries of common sense. (Surfing as a burden on the health system? The hospitals have never been emptier!)

    • bill 9.1

      textbook fascist-pioneered methods of mass social control.

      🙄 Nothing fascist about it. Hell, you might say the whole "dobbing in" culture, insofar as it's popular, suggests the possibilities for the rise of an East German Stasi situation…if that was on the cards – if we weren't in the situation of a government just trying to keep people the fuck away from each other because of a massive threat to public health.

      Y'know, you can go back in time and read of partial societal lock downs because of polio outbreaks. And you can read of children being quarantined because of TB. And none of it was "sneaking fascism".

      Bringing the 'floppy boot' down on surfing and other stuff was possibly, as I say, just a deliberate over-reach so that we'd all be happy enough to accept level 3. Now the surfers can surf, the swimmers can swim and whoever else can do whatever else, and we'll generally see it all as some kind of extension or relaxation rather than an imposed restriction. And as a result, we'll probably be more inclined to stay apart and so not spread or contract a virus.

      • Brutus Iscariot 9.1.1

        How's this for perspective – the number of Covid cases has still not yet surpassed the number of Measles cases that New Zealand had in the 2018/2019 outbreak. Measles is a highly virulent disease with an R0 of over 10 and is particularly lethal to infants and children.

        During this outbreak a number of babies in New Zealand were consigned to intensive care, with 2 dying and a number with long term ill effects. As you know, there were also several deaths in Samoa.

        Our response to the outbreak wasn't to shutdown the whole of society, even with the tragedy of kids dying. In fact, it probably didn’t even enter most people’s consciousness.

        • bill

          What do you want? Thousands of deaths and a tardis?

          • Brutus Iscariot

            No, i just want the point made that we have probably over- or mis-reacted based on a data gap and an overzealous cadre of scientists (whose credentials we have no way of assessing until after the fact). In doing so, we've patronised and arguably misinformed the public, along with turning citizen against citizen.

            Independent observers are finding the modelling used to justify the original decisions increasingly flawed – at the time it was presented as gospel. And now we have moderators on this forum banning posters for "undermining the war effort". What more evidence do you need?

            • bill

              So you think there's been an over-reaction because data that did not exist wasn't used to gauge a 'proper' reaction. And world renowned virologists who have roundly lamented the late action and inaction of governments to what they (the virologists) saw coming, are in fact just an "overzealous cadre".

              Modelling is never precise, but a range of possible outcomes. Who are these "independent observers" you speak of? What are their credentials, and what, if any, conflicts of interest might they have?

              I'd agree there are some useless "curtain twitchers" in New Zealand today. But they were here yesterday and in the months and years leading up to now. Maybe now they have sense of purpose they didn't have before – I dunno and don't care.

              Whoever these moderators are handing out bans for "undermining the war effort", well…I'm a moderator, know nothing about "a war effort", haven't banned anyone for any such like, and can't speak for others.

              Though I will just note that from your comment you would seem to identify with that camp (of underminers or whatever) and yet you're still here commenting. – shrug –

            • patricia

              Brutus Iscariot…

              apples and oranges Measles = vaccine Covid-19 No vaccine.
              Do you think Trump got it right? Or Sweden?
              Facism is not health rules in a pandemic.. that is a stretch.

            • Incognito

              You sound … confused or extremely stressed.

              I’m terribly sorry to hear that you’re upset about your brother in arms self-destructing again. He was like a tenacious Terminator and kept coming back with the same denialist behaviour and even using the same false equivalences – you used measles while he used TB. Previously, it was CC and this time, it was the pandemic. He had been been warned so many times and yet …

              Anyway, you’re in Bill’s care now 😉

            • Gabby

              You're probably wrong. Of course we'll never know.

            • Cinny

              Brutus Iscariot, I'd rather we over react and be alive than under react and be dead. What about you?

        • JanM

          There is a vaccine for measles

        • Rosemary McDonald

          I always have an ironic chuckle when folk start doing the disease one-upmanship thing.

          Shall we throw in the 150-200 deaths per year from rheumatic heart disease?

          Perhaps the truest indicator of the third world living conditions endured by generations of Godzone's children.

          Oh, and BI, you might want to check your measles data as well.😉

        • AXH

          There is a vaccine for measles which most of the population have received. Not the same.

    • McFlock 9.2

      Except covid actually kills people, while the fascist "unseen enemy" was a slander against minorities.

      People are being dobbed in for endangering other people.

      Our hospitals are empty-ish because most people have been participating.

      Surfing is a burden on the health system, but also people trying to save a surfer's ass end up possibly being exposed to that fool's undiagnosed covid infection.

      • Ed1 9.2.1

        Our hospitals are empty-ish because they have to plan around being able to shut any ward at short notice, they want to limit the numbers going through Emergency (which is why Testing stations have been set up away from hospitals), and many health staff will want to stay away as much as possible – if an operation is not essential, they don't want either the patients or doctors there!

        But I am not personally involved – and common sense isn't always right . . .

        • Cinny

          Ex husbands partner is a lab worker at the hospital. She's flat out. However not all the admin staff are there, for a reason, it's common sense to keep them safe if their work isn't essential.

  10. Jum 10


    RNZ 'But while it might look safe enough, Ardern still has an intensely difficult decision to make on Monday. A serious outbreak after restrictions have been eased and a frantic return to level 4 would be a disaster, economically and socially, and she won't be absolutely sure that can't happen.

    If it did happen she would risk losing the public support that was so strong in the beginning. She would have made the wrong call.

    The alternative isn't much better. Extending alert level 4 while the situation appears to be under control and improving would severely test public patience. Businesses desperate to get back to work would be hugely disappointed and political unity would probably fracture.

    Earlier this week the Treasury released a set of scenarios which clearly showed the economic impact of staying in lockdown for an extended period, horrifying figures with estimates of unemployment potentially rising to more than 20 per cent. Those scenarios will weigh heavily on the prime minister and her cabinet on Monday. '

    How clever the enemy of Government for the well being of the people is.

    Everyone is doing a superb job of protecting fellow New Zealanders.

    Then, the chatter starts from the dark side about overdoing the lockdown, followed then by the chatter by monied interests of the financial death of the Kiwi if we stay in 4, followed then by the chatter of both on whatever level is decided upon.

    Methinks the dark side would favour the Darwin factor.

  11. North 11

    Nice gathering of perspectives there Bill. I have decided confidence in the circus-free leadership we have.

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