Life in Lock Down: Day 12

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April 6: Day 12 of living in lock-down…

Another day of a near-empty Park N Ride carpark;

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covid19 - wellington - park n ride carpark 6 april 2020

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And another day of near-empty Wellington streets;

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covid19 - wellington - park n ride carpark 6 april 2020

.covid19 - wellington - park n ride carpark 6 april 2020

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Light traffic on the motorway. No apparent increase in volume. Commercial vehicles sighted; a gravel-hauling truck; McAuley’s Transport; a tow-truck; “Dole”-branded truck; container-truck; another container truck, “McAuley’s”; “Downer” flat deck truck; a Hyundai traffic speed-camera van north of Kennedy Good Bridge; a police car at the Melling Interchange; a Waste Management truck; a skip-bin truck; 2 “Kiwirail” utes; 2 “New World” covered trucks; “Mainfreight” truck; “Noel Leeming” truck; an ambulance; “Rescue” ambulance; “EBT” container truck; “Chubb” van; “KAM” double tandem truck; “Super Freight” truck; 2 “Mainfreight” trucks; firefighting appliance; Traffic Management truck; “PTS” container truck; train-replacement bus; firewood truck (empty); “Salvation Army Family Store” truck; a bus with “driver training” illuminated signage; 2 unmarked road-works trucks; an unmarked covered truck; “Red Wolf” security van; “Toll” green truck; “Chemdry” van; ambulance with lights and siren; “Laser” plumbing van; another gravel hauling truck; another ambulance; and a “Chill” branded van. Commercial vehicles passing me on the other side of the road were not always able to be clearly identified.

Traffic north of Lower Hutt remaining light with only two or three  vehicles on the motorway any one time. Approaching Melling Interchange, traffic was near non-existent. Traffic was equally light south of Petone with perhaps three in front and three to my rear. Traffic at Ngauranga was heavier as SH1 and SH2 merged. Even then, there appeared to be around eight in front and eight at behind me. Traffic at the Terrace tunnel was almost nil, one in front, one at back.

The price board at the “Z” service station in Vivian Street was still dark.

Heading to Miramar, it suddenly occurred to me that the Evans Bay Marina Carpark – almost always full with freedom camping vans-  has nearly emptied out. Yet, it was full at the beginning of the lockdown.

It is clear that the occupants have decamped and have moved on. All in the last two weeks.

If this is how “freedom campers” show they are responsible tourists, then we are better off without this low-end part of the tourist industry. The temptation to “hit the road” and enjoy what little remained of their holiday seems to have been too much for them.

At my work, management has implemented a new plan to purchase supplies for clients. It is a good plan (albeit needing some tweaking to mitigate food safety risks), even though it’s taken two weeks to put in place.

Later that night, I’m driving through Wellington’s Arras Tunnel near the War Memorial. There is a road-marking work gang in the tunnel; two of the four lanes have been “coned off”, reducing to two lanes. The work gang is painting road markings.

I find this remarkable. Until now, the NZTA has stated that all normal road works have been suspended and only urgent, emergency work will be undertaken;

“In accordance with the Government guidance, major project work (Capital Works) is not seen as an essential service and work sites and workers have been stood down for four weeks.

Services to maintain the site can continue as essential services to ensure these sites remain safe. This includes things like traffic management and environmental controls. We will continue to manage and monitor environmental risks and traffic management plans to protect and ensure safety for the travelling public. It is crucial that we preserve the integrity of the asset and render worksites safe.”

Road markings are “Urgent work”?

Has the NZTA authorised this work or has the contractor decided to undertake some work-sneaking? I have emailed NZTA for clarification.

Throughout my entire day, from 9am to when I roll into my driveway at about 8.30, I sight only one police car  all day. There were more police on the roads before the lock-down.

Meanwhile the National Party, various businesses, Simon Bridges, and David Clark lead the race to see who can be the most irresponsible.

Simon Bridges

His drive from Tauranga to Wellington exemplifies the sense of privilege and entitlement that pervades some people in our society. Mr Bridges justified his drive by citing his “constitutional” duties;

“I don’t take these things lightly, but I am the leader of the opposition, I’ve got constitutional duties, I’m running a committee in extreme circumstances where there is no Parliament.”

Is the virus aware of Mr Bridges’s “constitutional” duties?

Simon Bridges is unfit to lead this country.  His display of an utter lack of judgement shows he has no future in politics.

He should and must resign before the next election.

David Clarke

As above.

Businesses

The Warehouse tried it on. So did Jenny Craig. Golf courses (for “mental health”!?). And even a sex shop. Plus umpteen other businesses.

Make no mistake: Every. Business. Is. Essential. Or so their owners and shareholders will insist.

“My business is not essential”, said no business-owner, share-holder ever.

They will cite overseas traders; poor families needing their services (which they only discover when it suits them); “mental health”; physical health; etc.

Mad Butcher” group chief executive, Michael Morton, was interviewed by RNZ Morning Report’s Susie Ferguson on 7 April. He was quite blunt;

“If you open up and doing 20% of your trade, well, you’re going to lose a significant amount of money.”

We should be crystal clear on this: businesses want to open up their businesses to trade as normal – despite the world being in the grip of a deadly pandemic – not because they feel sorry for poor people not being able to buy warm blankets, beer, or play golf, or lose weight through weight-loss programmes; or buy sex-toys.

They want to open up to make money.

It’s that simple.

Don’t let businesses; their political allies; and self-serving deluded apologists tell you otherwise.

They want to make money.

And if, in the process, the pandemic spreads throughout the country and the body-bags start to pile up at mortuaries – they will deny all responsibility for their breath-taking selfishness and point the blame at Jacinda Ardern.

They want to make money. And they will do it over our dead or dying bodies.

The National Party

I swear, it seems to me that political ideology and sheer stupidity go hand-in-hand. Exhibit Number 1: National’s Todd McClay who is demanding that – essentially – all businesses be allowed to re-open. This would cut the lock-down from four weeks to two. Because if all businesses can claim to be “essential” (and what business isn’t “essential to it’s owners/shareholders?), then how is a lock-down a lock-down?

On 6 April, Mr McClay was bitterly complaining to RNZ’s Morning Report;

“The government needs to remain agile when it comes to allowing businesses to operate during the lockdown, if they can prove or show that they can do so safely.

To date the decision making has been too arbitrary and there are too many inconsistencies. For instance, allowing dairies to open but not local butchers or greengrocers, agriculture to continue but not forestry, cigarettes to be manufactured but community newspapers cannot be printed.

An example of this is Noel Leeming – they’re allowed to sell you a jug, but not a cell phone, but the person that’s packaging that … contactless sale that’s being delivered to the door, they’re already at work. Or the warehouse that’s allowed to sell you a car battery, not car polish.

We know that agriculture is functioning, I’d ask what’s the difference between that and forestry – an industry that is hugely important to the central North Island.

I think if you’re a clothing manufacturer, or a small business that’s working from home it can be contactless, you will show that you will adhere to and respect all of the Covid-19 health and safety rules, but we need to be doing everything you can to keep these businesses running

I think if you’re a clothing manufacturer, or a small business that’s working from home it can be contactless, you will show that you will adhere to and respect all of the Covid-19 health and safety rules, but we need to be doing everything you can to keep these businesses running.”

What is really crazy is that a supposedly well-educated, sane, intelligent person could endanger hundreds; thousands; tens of thousands of lives by advocating that businesses be allowed to re-open before the virus has been eradicated.

The breath-taking scale of Mr McClay’s short-sightedness should be seen for what it is: a danger to our own well-being and lives.

Through equal measures of quick action and pure luck, we have dodged (thus far) the covid19 bullet.

People like Mr McClay, Mr Bridges, certain right-wing commentators; and businesspeople would put us all back in the line of that bullet. They will put our safety and lives at risk for money.

These people are a menace.

Buzzword of The Day

National’s media minders have issued a new buzzword for their MPs to use. See if you can spot the “magic” word:

Let’s try and deal with some of the randomness where one is an essential service and one isn’t, let’s be agile and potentially we can move to a more risk-based system.” – Simon Bridges, Leader, National Party, 5 April 2020

The government needs to remain agile when it comes to allowing businesses to operate during the lockdown, if they can prove or show that they can do so safely.” – Todd McClay, National MP,  Economic Development spokesperson, 6 April 2020

Simon Bridges and Todd McClay have forgotten that the virus can be even more agile.

Let me quote an expert who is very familiar with the threat we are facing

“The enemy we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse. This is not an opinion. This is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. Stay strong and in solidarity knowing that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people continue getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

[…]

This outbreak will not be overcome in one grand, sweeping gesture, but rather by the collection of individual choices we make in the coming months. This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices. As this epidemic continues, it will be easy to be drawn to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working and we may feel compelled to “cheat” with unnecessary breaches of social distancing measures.” – Jonathan Smith, Infectious disease epidemiologist, 21 March 2020

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Current covid19 cases: 1,106

Cases in ICU: 3 (1 critical)

Number of deaths: 1

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References

RNZ:  More industry and small businesses could reopen – National

RNZ:  Bridges defends Wellington to Tauranga commute

RNZ:  Coronavirus lockdown – Is the Warehouse an essential service?

RNZ:  Jenny Craig defends stance as essential service

Fairfax/Stuff: Coronavirus – Golf clubs could perish if greenkeepers barred from caring for greens

Adult Toy Mega Store

RNZ:  Coronavirus – Mad Butcher CEO claims government decisions hurt butchers

TVNZ: Jacinda Ardern does not want lockdown to last ‘a minute longer than needed’, but says it won’t finish early

NZTA: Roadworks and projects

Elemental: Hold the Line

RNZ:  Covid-19 – What happened on 6 April

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Other Blogs

The Daily Blog: Why Jacinda MUST keep us locked up for 6 weeks

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

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Acknowledgement: Evans

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This blogpost will be re-published  on “Frankly Speaking“. Reader’s comments may be left here (The Daily Blog) or there (Frankly Speaking).

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9 COMMENTS

  1. So no comment on Little ramming through prisoner voting reform during parliament recess and a national health crisis?

  2. Over time, and in detail, seems the useful way to observe our lockdown. Hopefully Franks efforts may prompt others to pay similar attention!

    Good reminders about the true motivation of Nats and business. They can file their “agile” buzzword along with “going forward” and all the rest. Agile has been overused for several years, often by IT people.

    Saw a Black Power guy comment today on FB, on a stuff article urging people not to travel to their Bach during Easter. He said succinctly-“Stay the Fuck Home!”-and that is what it is all about, thousands of small pro lockdown actions, repeated by the maximum number.

  3. I guess ” agile ” is the new ” stepchange ” that was a favourite expression used too show how John Key was ” passionate ” about the ” brighter future ” and how we would all be delivered too the National parties promised land in 2008.

    ” The breath-taking scale of Mr McClay’s short-sightedness should be seen for what it is: a danger to our own well-being and lives ”

    I think it is safe too assume that had National still been the government we would be looking at a much more cataclysmic situation with many more deaths having already occured.

    I think Bridges and his colleagues had a unique opportunity with the pandemic to try and show a measure of maturity , common sense and humanity by not politicking during this serious emergency and support the strict measures in place for the time of the level four restrictions.

    But the National party cannot think outside the square even during this unprecedented moment.

    We along with the rest of the world will emerge from this pandemic in due course and in time the business friendly environment will re establish itself.

    This has all happened before like post 1918.

    Right now we must all hold our nerve and as hard as it is cooperate with the restrictions or we will loose many more of our people unnecessarily.

    That should come too Bridges mind as he talks about his constitutional responsibilities and the unhelpful statements and actions of his colleagues.

    • Hey Mosa – John Key was sitting on a cusp – he never got off the cusp – he couldn’t because he didn’t even know what it meant – and the Fairfax women gazed at him like kiddies at their first giraffe, and no-one admitted that cusp sounds a bit like cold vomit, and he got away with it without anyone any the wiser – apart from some of us in the standing-room-only.

      Our tragedy is that some of these rapscallions are too damn dumb to realise that we know they don’t hesitate to use anything that comes their way for whatever purpose that happens to suit them. This may just be the way that they’ve been programmed by their succession of sociopathic school boy leaders, but isn’t good enough in a national emergency like the one which we’re currently experiencing.

      Their tragedy is that whereas PM Ardern is recognised as rising to the occasion in times of crisis, not one of the Nats has that same ability: a God-sent opportunity for someone with good leadership qualities to emerge and shine – and there’s no-one home.

      C’mon – impressed by Simon using big serious words like ‘constitutional’ ? Spare me.

  4. Nobody would drive between Tauganga and Wellington just to make the point that they could and it is ridiculous to suggest it shows Bridges is not fit to lead. He has an important role to play in keeping an eye on the free hand given to the government.
    Likewise Todd McClay made a valid suggestion that if a business can operate safely it should be given the oppetunity to apply for an exemption. Many businesses will fold due to the lockdown and those that can be saved should be given the chance to.
    The lockdown is necessary but if the pain can be lessened it should be . The wage subsidiary is a help but the costs of a small business still role in and many have huge losses due to wastage of stock.
    Just a small point I think you will find it is David Clark no e . Are you happy he is hiding in Dunedin during the worst medical crisis to effect this country.

    • Even Jacinda is starting to talk to businesses on how to prepare to come out of lockdown.

      https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/jacinda-ardern-encourages-businesses-prepare-new-normal-outside-level-4

      If the trajectory of the epidemic continues as well as it is currently we could be in Level 2 or even 1 at the end of the lockdown and we need a broad discussion on how to get back to work safely.

      Bridges is in an essential occupation. It’s just spite because Clark has gutshot himself.

    • Just a small point: David Clark is not hiding in Dunedin. You got on here so I have to presume you’ve heard about modern communications. Heard about, you seem to not know about how they work and the possibilities in their use.

      • Perhaps if you live far away north from Dunedin you think everyone who lives there is hiding. He was a fool for breaking his own rule but no-one was directly harmed, except in the future when someone copies him. I’ve had minimal contact with him by mail, no response to concerns I raised, yet 2 separate letters came from 2 different people from his office, thanking me for raising issues – not addressing them. Got the impression no-one was on top of things.

        The Associate Minister of Health is Jenny Salesa, an able politician who has a background of working in the health sector including a job in the Ministry of Health as a project manager. Obviously familiar with health officials. She seems to be the sort of person who could step up and do a good job as Minister of Health.

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