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What Do We Keep?

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, February 7th, 2022 - 37 comments
Categories: Anzac Day, covid-19, Deep stuff, health, history - Tags:

The things we don’t regret keeping are a strong measure of what we don’t value. COVID’s 2 year anniversary asks us this simply through what we commemorate:

  • many value festivals enough to take the risk of mass infection. Will we?
  • did we miss the larger gatherings of Christmas? What shall we keep of them?
  • who of us gathered solemnly at our letterbox last ANZAC Day to commemorate the fallen, rather than by the thousand at a cenotaph? Will we try?
  • did we do anything specific for Labour Day? Arbour Day? Valentines Day? Guy Fawkes?
  • are we really missing the Waitangi Day speeches and protests?
  • Prime Minister Ardern is determined at least to get people together for her wedding, but not without risk-induced postponement: would you?
  • family reunions foregone; reconstituted or snuffed?
  • will we make the effort to commemorate our dead, when we were prevented?
  • when indeed is the last time we made any effort to go out?

Will we regather our emotional energy and revive what it means to be human, or is solitude and loneliness a willing price we pay for lethargy and risk evasion?

COVID doesn’t just have costs to rights, politics and mobile.

COVID asks: what actions demonstrate the truth of our values, what are we discarding, what real effort measures our humanity to ourselves and to each other.

37 comments on “What Do We Keep? ”

  1. Koreropono 1

    A lot of good questions.

    I hope we keep the decency that we once showed each other.

    I hope we keep the belief that every person should be treated equally.

    I hope we keep the bit where we protect our children and make sure they're not excluded from society (though to be fair we were always lacking on that bit).

    I hope we keep the belief that we have the right to bodily autonomy and informed consent.

    There's a lot we ought to keep, and let's hope the minority learn that we won’t continue on this self-destructive journey they've taken us all on.

    • Cricklewood 1.1

      Sadly, I think the shicsm that mandates have cleaved into society will take a very long time to heal. Sure it's a small proportion of the population but it still represents a large of people, with Omicron there seems to be very little justification for mandates from a medical standpoint so it becomes an inducement to vax or a punishment depending on which side of the table you sit on.

      In terms of the other stuff, for me it's to hell with Covid I'm living as normally as possible and will continue to do so come what may.

      • Treetop 1.1.1

        I'm living as normally as possible

        What are the biggest constraints for you?

      • Sanctuary 1.1.2

        This idea we can live "normally" (by which I assume the OP means pre-COVID) is a chimera. Vaccines and this opening up is merely the end of the beginning. Immunity wanes. New variants will emerge. six months ago we'd never heard of Omicron. Who knows what lies around the corner? A variant even as deadly (let alone more deadly) than Delta and as transmissable as Omicron will trigger another full blown crisis. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. But COVID variants are going to be around and causing public health problems basically forever now. Mask wearing and vaccine mandates are here to stay, as long as COVID remains highly transmissable and dangerous to vulnerable populations.

        As for the mandate schisms – thats tough, but in a crisis a certain manichaeism is inevitable. Nothing can be done about it, except to tell people the great age of the government indulging narcissism and entitlement because it is basically of no interest to them is over.

      • Anne 1.1.3

        Sadly Cricklewood you are right. The gulf in society will take a long time to heal. But I have no qualms about who is to blame:

        Yesterday I travelled across Auckland on the city’s main motorway. Along the way I passed under numerous 'flyover bridges' each of which were covered with individuals waving large NZ flags and jiggling a motley collection of bill boards/banners.

        Did the organisers give any consideration to the massive distraction for motorists and the potential for accidents? Obviously not. It crossed my mind at the time… typical of these self-serving fools who don't give a damn about anyone other than themselves.

        I won't be forgiving them their follies any time soon.

        • Koreropono 1.1.3.1

          And I imagine the many people harmed by fear mongering, discrimination and segregation will not forgive those who facilitated and perpetrated it – and smugly so. Good on those individuals for taking the time to stand there in support of everyone's freedom – even that of the minority driving the fear and thinking they've got a right to inflict harm onto others while they're doing it.

          • Anne 1.1.3.1.1

            I may have misinterpreted your comment and my apologies if that is the case, but the minority driving the fear etc. were the individuals on the bridges and in particular their leaders.

        • Cricklewood 1.1.3.2

          That's the problem, no side is willing to forgive the other…

          What a shit show.

          • Bill 1.1.3.2.1

            Will I forgive the boards of all the professional medical bodies who did not stand up or speak up against the initial introduction of mandates on medical, scientific or ethical grounds?

            No.

            Will I forgive any person who acted as a "force multiplier" for the government's mission to punish and bribe its way to huge injection coverage?

            No.

            That leaves millions of us to get on famously 🙂

          • gsays 1.1.3.2.2

            I think forgiveness is not that much of a reach.

            The millions of dollars spent on advertising and marketing, the constant repitition of news stories about mass graves, chillers for corpses etc. Then … a vaccine, two doses and you are safe.

            Folk got scared, shit-scared. They then fell into line with the state's response and now would find it hard to break or question their tribe.

            All thoroughly understandable and forgiveable.

            How you could bear a grudge from the other side of the divide is a little harder to get. You got your cure, you have the state funded narrative, you keep your job, moral high ground in family/domestic turmoil.

      • gsays 1.1.4

        That small part of the population excluded by the unnecessarily discriminatory passports is growing too.

        Questions are being asked about passports efficacy eg Soundsplash. Hipkins alluding to triggering the tech in the passport that will require boosters to keep it valid. Cafes and other food businesses being creative so that they can stay inclusive.

        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/02/likely-that-people-will-need-a-booster-for-vaccine-passes-covid-19-response-minister-chris-hipkins.html

        • Cricklewood 1.1.4.1

          Have meet a few like me that haven't downloaded the passport. I wont because I am completely opposed to mandates so refuse to participate in the system.

          There's now quite the community which is operating in an almost parallel economy haircuts, restaurants even a pub or 3 and most things in between. I've meet a bunch of new people and can honestly say they have been without exception some of the friendliest most generous people I've come across. Certainly not deserving of the opprobrium they are getting from some quarters.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.4.1.1

            Does avoidance count as "opprobrium"? If so then count me in.

            • Shanreagh 1.1.4.1.1.1

              I also avoid non mask wearers as my belief is that non mask wearers are more likely not to be vaccinated. As a risk management step I don't go to places that don't offer the vax passport. Others can support them, it is not a view I am willing to risk sickness or a shortened life to support.

  2. Treetop 2

    I have asked myself the question, had Covid 19 not have occurred what position would the country be in when it comes to housing, health, education, business, child poverty and the governments spending?

    Covid 19 has a negative impact on the well being of people and that people are probably more cautious when it comes to decision making about many aspects of their life.

  3. Yes, I'd like to see us keep our emphasis on the collective as opposed to the individualism/me, me, me of neoliberalism.

    The PM said it best: together we can overcome.

    • Shanreagh 3.1

      Agree totally with this. I don't and would not regret ever seeing again, the MSM and the "looka me looka me' stories of individuals who have done nothing, mostly, except make bad decisions. An exaggeration but you know the feeling.

      I am liking and ie not missing going into restaurants where you cannot even move your chair back without locking chairs with someone at the next table. The ones that seem to be thriving or at least still here in Wellington are those who always had good table spacings

      I actually think the mandate schisms are overblown. With such a high vaccination rate the numbers of non vaccinated will be getting fewer and fewer. Hopefully Novavax will catch some folk who do not like the mRNA concept. To be honest if the Loopy people from David Farrier's article are representative, Groundswell, Tamakis party of the anti vaxx people then I am not missing their presence.

      To be honest in all my wider family and I come from a family where we had 18 aunts/uncles of whom 16 married and had children I do not know of any anti vaxxers. In my circle of friends there have been two who have had to have special processes but that was because they were immuno compromised.

      I think we should also keep the idea that employers can make a requirement for vaccinations for front facing jobs for public safety. Many occupations had them earlier on and this will continue.

      I did not miss some of the tourists one bit…..campervans, cruise ships

      I valued our modern communications zoom etc. I am on the committee for several organisations and we are continuing with Zoom even as the necessity has passed. Workplaces where employees can work at home have found that Zoom can work. BUT people who work need the stimulation, even if it is just the important social side with their colleagues. So working from home and zooming can be a long term thing but not without work at work days.

      We purchased vaccines and passed them on to Pasifka countries and that worked, hopefully it will continue.

      I have moved on from open air festivals (years ago as I get badly burned and these places don't have enough shade) Public displays of drunkenness/drugginess don't do anything for me especially en masse. I am sure that for a while, despite what the organisers are saying they can continue with vaccine passes. perhaps more modest endeavours.

      I do miss other cultural events, films, events in halls and galleries. I was wanting to go to the Mid Central Fielddays as the range of inventions there is amazing, also A & P shows.

      The odd thing is I valued the pause and the disruption to the mindless pursuit of 'things'. It is sad that it had to come at such a cost. I do not begrudge the spending actions taken to help businesses, people. Perhaps this can be translated into a better focussed and functioning well being budget. We put health above all and so far the sky has not fallen.

      I am still hopeful we can put some better ideas in place for the future before the pressures for BAU come crashing down on us.

  4. lprent 4

    For me, very little changed.

    I work more remotely, but way less than I did in the 1990s and early 2000s – when I would generally physically go to work about once a month.

    For me, working at a workplace has been the abnormal for the majority of my working life.

    These days I rent a desk across Newton Gully. But that is because my partner works at home as well, and I find her work conversations distracting for my coding and she finds my sprint meetings to be the same for her work. We haven't got around to buying a lager place.

    I do a lot more international work. But I don't fly to sites much because I changed jobs. But that was fir one job and qas largely an experiment. I didn’t bother having a passport for several decades.

    I don't go to movies very often. But that has been dying away ever since we started using streaming services and stopped using the free to air in 2012.

    Doing less of the sunday brunch, but I am cooking more.

    Less of the in-person interactions. But everyone is more remote from Auckland to Invercargill an offshore so we were starting to do more phone, and network contacts anyway.

    Went out last night for my partners birthday. Andiamos. As usual were excellent- just as they have been since the early 90s when I had breakfast there most days before hoing back home to work.

    I have seldom been interested in any large groups. Intelligent discussions have an inverse relationship with the size of the group. People are just so slow at explaining their ideas and joys verbally.

    So for me, covid was mostly more of the same apart from the irritations in getting hardware in a timely fashion

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    The thing we should have kept, that the government appears to be ditching at maximum speed, is a prudent approach to low and unskilled migrants. The wage suppression the policy of illegally admitting hundreds of thousands of these people created has impoverished working people, and is a major factor in the housing crisis, which is, first and foremost. a crisis of affordability.

    Workers whose wages have not kept pace with inflation for three decades are poorly situated to escape the ruthless exploitation of unregulated slumlords. Treasury resumes its baseless and utterly unprofessional Pollyanna view of migration (ie not based on any studies in NZ), and wages, conditions, and financial security continue to retreat.

    Savage must be turning in his grave.

    • Belladonna 5.1

      I absolutely agree about the low and unskilled migrants – who are massively exploited at every step of the way.
      And I include the 'education to residency' pathway – which should be closed before the borders reopen to students. The English language schools and 'business studies' degrees were a disgrace to the education system in NZ – and purely a cash cow for the businesses concerned.

      I'd like to see that any business making a case for 'skill-based' immigration, to demonstrate how they (and the relevant industry) are upskilling Kiwis to fill these jobs in the future (apprenticeships, training and mentoring programmes, expanded tertiary places, etc.). It's an indictment on education planning in NZ that we have an ongoing and critical shortage of such professionals as: doctors, nurses and veterinarians (all professions which are trained/qualified in NZ). If the tertiary institutions aren't training/qualifying enough people to keep pace with retirements as well as the natural loss overseas – then government needs to be looking, very hard, at why not.

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.1

        I used to tutor English – but the language mills don't meet my minimum integrity requirements. They are as exploitive as casinos. Mind, our tertiary institutions are not always much better.

        Many of the poorer migrants come here for residency. If so, they need to have access to jobs that will afford them housing and a career path quite rapidly. Cyclic exploitation of poorer migrants ought to concern the self-styled progressives in power – as well as the charlatans that pretend to economic competence.

      • Shanreagh 5.1.2

        Very good points.

        I agree with the idea of those wanting to import skilled people being required to demonstrate how they are taking steps to upskill NZers to fill the jobs.

        I also like the idea of Stuart Munro from the other day of having a sinking lid on unskilled seasonal worker so someone using 100 this year gets to bring in 60 next year, with they or the industry responsible for making a range of full or part time jobs available for NZers. The industry needs to work together so that someone wanting full time job can get it.

        • Belladonna 5.1.2.1

          And, I'd like to see a legislative change where NZ permanent residents and even NZ passport holders, who have another nationality, can have their NZ citizenship/residence stripped for immigration/employment fraud (looking here at the cases which basically amount to slavery).
          Yes, I know "not all immigrants" – but it's become common to see cases reported in the papers of businesses set up by new NZers which are exploiting immigrants illegally (liquor stores, restaurants, small shop-front businesses, etc.). Sending the fraudsters back to their home country, if convicted, would be a much more appropriate consequence – and a far greater deterrent.

  6. Bill 6

    The things we don’t regret keeping are a strong measure of what we don’t value.

    I won't regret letting go that last tiny vestige of respect I had for liberals.

    I won't regret letting go a capacity for empathy if (or more likely "when") people who aggressively pushed shonky medicines on others suffer blowback in any way, shape or form.

    I won't regret letting go toxic (erstwhile) friends who lost their heads and humanity these past two years.

    And I can't think of any other "letting go" that's on the cards 🙂

    • Tricledrown 6.1

      Bill you have published a massive load of misinformation over the Pandemic creating unnecessary division in society.

      NZ has had the best response both economically and health.

      Yet you can't accept the truth.

      You are part of a fanatical extremist movement.

      No diplomatic skills just abuse anyone who disagrees with you.

      Luckily 97% of adults disagree with your reheated conspiracy theories.

    • fender 6.2

      I won't regret feeling sad for those who perish due to their unhinged belief of anti-science and conspiracy theories peddled by rogues.

  7. Just Saying 7

    NZ is a distant island. No government 'achieved' that and we were able to look far better than the benefits that the laudable and timely initial actions in locking down brought us.

    It was a time to gather information and should have been at time for assessing those in the population at greatest risk, whatever the later decisions regarding the whole country. It should have been a time for offering those people all of the protection and support the government and communities could provide. It should have been a time for widespread community awareness of just how vulnerable and isolated many of our fellows, (including so many who were not dangerously vulnerable to the virus) were. It should have been an opportunity for assessing our needs and of bringing communities together to meet them.

    At the same time it would have been valuable to assess the essential material needs such as vital drugs and other products that we could, but do not produce here, and the fact that there might well come a time when we really are cut off from such essentials. A time to make a start on at least small scale production of them – to allow for such efforts to be ramped up in a future emergency.

    This was an opportunity lost. Most especially in genuinely bringing people together. Remembering what democracy is, in people being informed included and empowered and not infantalised. The chance to be the capable caring adults most of us are so able (and in my honest opinion, aching) to be.

    This could have been a chance to really face up to the dire dangers our fragile world, our communities, and individuals are facing, and a coming together and learning what we can do together.

    And it is not too late.

  8. Patricia Bremner 8

    The mandates have forever scarred us. No, Bill we will adjust to a new survival tactic, in time it will be largely unremarkable.

    Everyone thought New Zealand was forever divided by the events of the disrupted Rugby game in Hamilton over Apartheid Now we signal in sport by bending a knee before some games, our growing wish for an end to racism. Aotearoa/NZ the World is progressing.

    We thought we had moved on from the patriarchal society, but the "witch trials" go on, just with greater sophistication. Rude crude mean stories shared with leers to undermine a very capable PM. and her partner.

    We are more aware of contacting people, though visiting casually is a thing of the past. It may return when better vaccines/treatments are developed.

    We thought most had reset and learned we must share resources and learn to recycle and reuse. Most of all we thought "Equity" was beginning to be understood. Along comes L.O. Luxon. "National believes in equal opportunity Labour believes in equal outcomes" So equity is not in his tool box.

    • Shanreagh 8.1

      Very thoughtful Patricia. As one who was around in 1981 and who had family on both sides many of us thought this tour was a huge country -dividing wrench. I still feel that its impact, being from my view, state supported violence (our country invited them in) was of far far greater impact than vaccinations.

      I am not sure of the number of the fors and againsts in the Springbok tour but the figures were truly more of a divided country than a vaccination rate heading for the mid 90s. The mandates affect few, but perhaps people are concerned about it. I can understand that.

      To be honest I have not met a person who is concerned about the vaccination who has been able to tell me about the concerns without dipping into misinformation or illogicalities (I mean if you have been vaccinated in the past……) Hopefully those who did have concerns about mRNA will be making plans to get Novavax.

      Though those not vaccinated by now ie with Novavax are maybe not reachable, we should respect that they have made their decisions, know the consequences and move on.

      The snarling misogyny is typical of the response to any woman leader and seems intense where we have a leader who is hailed overseas as well as here.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.2

      yes Yes, there has been some progress on some fronts, despite "stories shared with leers to undermine a very capable PM and her partner", "L.O. Luxon" et al., and "She's a pretty communist' 'thinkers' resisting with every fibre of their being.

      How will future generations remember our time?

      2022’s Imperative: Letting Go of Our Past to Birth Our Future
      [18 January 2022]
      The epic disruptions wrought by a dramatic surge in heat waves, storms, floods, droughts, fires, and now the COVID-19 pandemic leave us desperate to return to life as we previously knew it. In our growing panic, we forget that it is exactly that previous way of living that created the current emergency.

      This is not a temporary problem that we can put behind us by electing new political leaders or reducing our use of plastic bags. We are dealing with false assumptions about what and who we are that lead to deeply flawed collective choices. We must publicly challenge those false assumptions and replace them with our deepening understanding of how life works.

  9. Belladonna 9

    "Will we regather our emotional energy and revive what it means to be human, or is solitude and loneliness a willing price we pay for lethargy and risk evasion?"

    For many people, their lives in a Covid – and thus potentially in a post-Covid world – haven't changed a lot. Yes, no overseas holidays (but for many that's never been a realistic option); and possibly seeing less of friends and family in person. But if you were a relatively solitary introvert, your life probably didn't change a lot (well, apart from the stress levels of living in a pandemic)

    But I see a real demand for a 'return to our normal broadcasting' from a big sector of society.

    * Young people in their late teens to thirties – are very keen to have large-scale music events again (Soundsplash is a good example of this – thousands of teens attending, even though there were alerts about Omicron in the community).

    *Anecdotally, I'm seeing teens starting to look at the great OE again – not going right now, but watching the dropping Covid cases overseas – and thinking it's on their horizon again.

    *Many people are looking forward to our Arts scene opening up again. I, for one would be very sad never to go the ACS Christmas Messiah again. And I have lots of friends in the arts and creative sectors who are really struggling right now. Not just music, but theatre, dance, literary festivals, film festivals, etc.

    *It's become evident that it's critical that schools be in-person as quickly and as much as possible – for a whole raft of reasons: educational, social, equity, etc. While some parents are looking into home-schooling – they're quickly going to find that it requires enormous commitment and significant costs, and that MoE don't make it easy (nor, to be fair, should they – it's their job to ensure that it's at least as good as in-person school).

    *Equally important, for kids, is for their out-of-the-classroom educational, social, sporting and arts groups. These are a hugely important part of their lives, and were bitterly missed during lockdown/restrictions. For kids who may not be particularly academic, these are their opportunity to shine, and to form friendships in a tribe that 'gets' them.

    *Gathering together for weddings, funerals, and other family/whanau celebrations is missed more than almost anything else. And this holds true for community celebrations like ANZAC Day as well. This is one of the things which is likely to be back as strong as ever. Missing out on those 'connection' events is one of the enduring regrets of many during lockdown/restrictions.

    There will be some things that we learned, that we retain:

    *I think that strong elements of remote working in many jobs, are here to stay. Probably not 100% – and certainly not every job. Interestingly, the shortage of qualified labour in NZ is pushing management to offer this as a default – rather than just considering their own convenience (and trust issues)

    *I'd love to say that I think that our respect and appreciation for the essential workers, doing hard, base-level jobs, to keep our society running, would be enhanced. But, sadly, I don't see that this is the case – already the disrespect is creeping into daily life and the media reporting. But, it's one of the elements, that I personally want to retain.

  10. Just Saying 10

    note this was intended as a reply to drowsy man 11411. Don’t know how it came to lie so far away.

    We're all entitled to choose who we freely associate with. Where avoidance is concerned it's a case of 'how'.

    Participating in scapegoating, allowing yourself to be weaponised (especially where it is socially advantageous or protective to 'get the boot in' imo) is mobbing. This includes the covert aggression so favoured and perfected by the privileged classes: ie expressing contempt, marginalising etc., through plausibly deniable and\or socially accepted means.

    And this includes, as it always has, participating in vicious gossip, expressing aggression particularly in public spaces with fellow mobbers, even under the cover of 'concern'.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1

      Does avoidance count as "opprobrium"? If so then count me in. [@1.1.4.1.1]

      We're all entitled to choose who we freely associate with. Where avoidance is concerned it's a case of 'how'.

      The 'how' of my avoidance doesn't overlap your opprobrium criteria, so all good smiley

  11. Adrian 11

    A few points, Novavax as an option is a joke it is last century’s blood-letting, mRNA is going to revolutionise targeted health care, most incurable cancers and other deadly or incapacitating diseases will surprisingly shortly be a thing of the past.

    Bill and his ilk are 1/10 of a percent of the deluded and he can only get an audience here or hanging off a bridge with an incomprehensible sign that 99% laugh at and my bet is if he is unfortunate enough in future to hear the doctor say that it’s incurable if we don’t use the new drug, he will grasp it with both hypocritical hands. I hope it works, nobody no matter how batty should suffer like millions before have if we have the means of mercy.

    The next one? 100 years like the American (Spanish ) one, or 35 like the Russian cattle one or hundreds of years like the ones before that. Don’t panic, I’m sure we are going to be O.K. Funny how a World War actually produces life saving products, practices and systems just when we need them.

    Why don’t we have more Doctors and nurses? Because in fact we do, it is just that modern medicine needs more specialists not just doctors and nurses, we now need nurses more qualified and knowledgeable than most doctors were 50 years ago, and nuclear medicine experts, brain surgeons, pre and post natal whatever’s, palliative angels the list goes on. It requires far more health workers per person to keep us healthy until that last parting breath. How many here have urged children or grandchildren to follow the path of the relieving of pain and suffering, to sway the clever from app developing or rag-and- bling influencing?

    Good luck with the future, I don’t think we are going to need much of it, we already have the tools and the clever and dedicated to see us right.

  12. Stephen D 12

    People alive in Aotearoa.

  13. Just Saying 13

    smiley a reply to Drowsy above

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  • Call for expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench
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    6 days ago
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  • Speech at 10th meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty
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  • Christchurch Call Initiative on Algorithmic Outcomes
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  • JOINT PR: Trans-Tasman Cooperation on disaster management
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    7 days ago
  • More transparency, less red-tape for modernised charities sector
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  • Speech to the Climate Change and Business Conference
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