This afternoon was day 29 of New Zealand’s lockdown. It was meant to be the first day in which restrictions would be slightly eased, but the Government in its infinite wisdom decided not to allow us out of our home prisons and instead extended the extreme lockdown until next Tuesday. After that, we will be able to do a couple more things and some more places of employment will open back up (those that are left standing of course).
As you can imagine, working from home and looking after three young children is a difficult operation. I took our three children about 100 metres down our street in order to make a waterfall with milk cartons, blocks, food colouring and water. The footpath down there is slightly steeper than outside our house and so perfect for getting the water to flow from carton to carton.
This entertained the children for about five minutes and then, as I was walking back with them and wondering what on Earth I was going to do with them next and how long it was until dinner, I stopped and had a chat with a lady who lives about five houses down from ours. (Before anyone calls the cops like the narcs we have all become, you will be happy to know that the conversation was held at a WHO-approved safe distance of two metres.) This lady is our age and has two young, pre-school aged children. She is a lawyer and is flat out trying to manage the kids and her job while her husband is also working hard in a company which is under enormous financial pressure.
Obviously we discussed the only thing that is on everyone’s mind – the shutdown that this country, and much of the rest of the world, has imposed upon itself. It was refreshing to talk to someone who wasn’t completely caught up with the overwhelming groupthink that seems to be dominating much of our mainstream and social media in this country.
Everyone is fixated on the number of new cases we have announced everyday to us by the PM or one of her health advisors and the number of deaths from the Wuflu (16 as of today’s count). Anyone who has dared to raise their head over the parapet, like the leader of the opposition, and asked pertinent questions about the government’s response or whether we are perhaps overreacting here to the pandemic have been very quickly shut down.
Alongside this we have the raising of our PM to sainthood, helped by a compliant media which has just received NZ$50 million in government funding to help tide them over. Nothing concerning about that, not at all.
As we talked my children were running up and down the street. Pulling on my legs and shouting and calling. Normal children stuff. I reflected that they will be paying for this for a very long time. We have mortgaged their future to ensure that the health system won’t get overloaded. (Except, as of writing, GPs in New Zealand are cutting their hours or are being made redundant. Our hospitals are empty as treatment and non-urgent operations are delayed sine die. The health system is more likely to collapse from underutilisation than anything else.) We have loaded them with a weakened economy, higher debt, inflation etc so that we can eradicate this virus from our shores. A Sisyphean task which, even if possible, will leave us a in a prison at the end of the world unable to leave or have visitors since the rest of the world won’t have got rid of it!
And all of that without mentioning the serious erosion of civil liberties by the government in the name of public safety without a peep from anyone here. This is a very, very dangerous precedent.
As you can see, I am fed up. Hopefully only four more days to go and we can start to have more liberties and start the economy again, albeit in a limited capacity. I worry that New Zealand’s cure is going to be far worse than the disease. We have the flu, and have decided to shoot ourselves in the stomach to make us better.