I am going to avoid the temptation to blog about the Wellington protesters today and instead concentrate on the bigger picture. Although I will say that a rich businessman who is helping to fund the protest being completely indifferent to the fact he may be supporting Nazis in his quest to improve business conditions says a lot about current business practices.
Jacinda Ardern said yesterday that everyone is over Covid. She is right. We all want this to end. We want a return to earlier days where the most contentious issue was the construction of a cycleway on a local road.
The attacks on the Government’s performance have intensified. Challenges that 18 months ago could be dismissed with disdain now carry more weight because not only are we not Covid free but we are going backwards rather quickly.
To National and others it is of no relevance that the rest of the world’s performance is worse.
For instance China, the nation that through infrastructure muscle and the ability to control a very compliant population previously tamed the virus is now struggling. Hong Kong, a city with 7.8 million people, has a large Omicron wave hitting it.
From the Guardian:
Hong Kong reported 15 coronavirus deaths and more than 6,000 confirmed cases for a second day in a surge the Chinese territory’s leader says is overwhelming hospitals.
The government announced plans to have construction crews from mainland China build isolation units with 10,000 beds after crowding at hospitals forced patients to wait outdoors in winter cold.
There were 6,063 confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours, raising the territory’s total to 46,763. That was down slightly from Thursday’s 6,116 but one of Hong Kong’s highest daily totals.
Hong Kong has tightened travel and business controls as it tries to contain the surge. On Friday, the chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced the election for her post would be postponed by six weeks to 8 May due to “public health risks”.
Taiwan is hanging in there and has like New Zealand beaten back previous incursions. Boosted by tight immigration restrictions some Pacific nations remain Covid free although Tonga is the latest Island nation to succumb.
Locally we are well placed to get through this. Our adult fully vaccinated rate is 94% and two thirds are boosted. In Auckland and Canterbury an impressive 99% plus have been vaccinated. Half of our children between the ages of 5 and 11 are vaccinated. These are world beating vaccination rates.
And despite claims of calamity by the opposition we have a huge stockpile of Rapid Antigen Tests. Ardern is not going to make the same mistake as Australia and allow the market to determine their supply, no matter how upsetting to those seeking to profit.
But everyone is very nervous and very tense. At one level I understand what motivates some of the Wellington protestors. It is deep rooted fear and their refusal to accept the science is their means of dealing with something that is too difficult for them to handle.
The event is a super spreader event. Five police officers tested positive for Covid recently. The virus must be rife in the village where sanitation and mask wearing are not prioritised.
National and Act are busily politicising every aspect of our performance with rhetoric that is deeply dishonest. If ever there was an issue that required cool headed debate it is this one.
Stay safe everyone and look after each other. Once this wave is finished we can work on our new normal, one that will hopefully include the eradication of poverty and preparation for climate change.