Life in Lock Down: Day 13

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April 7: Day 13 of living in lock-down… and unlucky for those who are superstitious. A day when there was a ray of sunshine from an otherwise bleak day of worrying signs.

Today, as RNZ reported;

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield reported 54 new confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, bringing the total number of cases to 1160. Twelve people are in hospital and four are in intensive care, including one person who is in a critical condition.

Today’s new figure is down from the 67 new cases reported yesterday.

If that downward slip – from 67 new cases yesterday to 54 today – becomes a solid downward trajectory, then god knows it’s been worth it. The damage to our economy; the closure of businesses (some permanently); the loss of jobs; the billions borrowed to keep this country afloat; the likely crippling of our tourism industry; and the effort made by so many people to do the right thing during the four week lock-down…

It is a little thing, but something to hold on to.

Our heroic Prime Minister warned us;

Now is not the time to change any of our behaviours.” – Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, 7 April 2020

Because only after two weeks, irresponsible and supposedly mature adults, are calling for a relaxation of the lock-down.Many of those clamouring voices are from the business sector for whom – apparently – the Dollar trumps people’s lives.

Even while National Party Leader Simon Bridges was calling for tough quarantine measures of travellers arriving in our country, so as not to re-introduce the contagion into our community, his economic development spokesperson, MP Todd McClay, was calling for relaxation of our already porous lock-down shield;

“New Zealanders are doing there bit here, largely across the board the vast, the vast majority of people are respecting these rules. I think if the government says they trust people around self-isolation, that there will be ways for businesses to open up.

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.”

National’s inconsistancy of tough border controls and relaxed domestic lock-down will only achieve one thing: breathing life back into the contagion and giving the virus a second chance.

It would undo the last two weeks of sacrifice, for immediate gain.

It must not be allowed to happen.  The government must be allowed to stay the course and the mainstream media must stop amplifying the steady stream of hystrionics from self-interested businesspeople like “Mad Butcher” group chief executive, Michael Morton. When interviewed by RNZ Morning Report’s Susie Ferguson on 7 April, he was unashamedly blunt;

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

Anyone who thinks that businesses could open “and respect all of the Covid-19 health and safety rules” is delusional or feeble-minded. Even in supermarkets like Pak N Save, where aisles are wider than smaller retailers, there are still significant numbers of shoppers who pay little heed to the two-metre social-distancing rule.

Or joggers like this clown, today (7 April) who ran past two women on Oriental Parade – within elbow-touching proximity;

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— despite the fact that Oriental Parade has a ridiculously wide footpath for pedestrians, joggers, and even bicyclists;

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He just couldn’t be bothered maintaining a safe space between himself and the two women. And he’s not alone. This blogger has seen too many other people for whom maintaining  safe “social distancing” is just not a priority. Even Simon Bridges “forgets” to keep to the two-metre rule;

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People not keeping their distance is dangerously common at the supermarkets.

Add to that all the other retailers Todd McClay wants re-opened with added foot-traffic; people not respecting; safe “social distancing” etiquette and we have a recipe for disaster.

You can be assured of one, simple inalienable fact: if Jacinda Ardern and the government were to follow Todd McClay’s and the business community’s demands to re-open businesses, the results would be predictable: a resurgence in infection. People would get sick. People would die.

And people like Todd McClay would blame Jacinda Ardern.

Stay staunch, Ms Ardern. Lives depend on your steadfastness.

Meanwhile, my work day started with my usual drive past the Park’N’Ride  on my street. There were just three cars present. A good start I thought.

Then getting on to the main road and onto the highway, I observed the commercial vehicles on the road around me; a “CMS” van; 5 ambulances; a flat deck light truck carrying stacks of beehives; a skip bin truck; 2 vans bearing the “ZAP!” logo (the driver of one van visibly in uniform, obviously working); a Kiwirail van; 2 “Downer” vans; a “Jina’s” fruit and vege van; a green “Toll” truck; a pest-control van (company name not visible); 3 police cars; an “AA” Road Service ute; “New World” delivery van; a “Rangitikei” free-range chicken van; “Nilfisk” van; a “Kiwi Green” marked van; a “Laser” plumbing van; a “Fulton Hogan” roadworks truck; a “OS” marked van; a “L.G. Anderson truck; a van marked “BBC” (bathroom company); a gravel hauling truck; 2 “JETS” covered trucks; a Mainfreight” truck; a “McAuley’s” container-truck; a “Strait NZ” van; an “Absolute Control” marked van; a white “Caffe L’affare” van; Wellington Regional Council ute; et al.

There were definitely more police cars visible and – worryingly – more ambulances.

The traffic north of Melling Interchange was once again light; three or four cars ahead or to my rear at any given time. Around Kelson, traffic increased to approximately a dozen cars in my immediate vicinity. By the Melling Interchange traffic was the heaviest I’ve seen it in two weeks with around two dozen vehicles around me. By Ngauranga, the “numbers continued to be “heavy” (heavy  compared to the last two weeks). By the time I reached the Terrace Tunnel, traffic had thinned considera=bly to about half of what I had observed further north.

Courtney Place looked “dead”; nil traffic.

At Oriental Bay, people were cautioned not to stay on the beach with lit messages;

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The weather was chilly with a blustery wind so it was unlike anyone would be sunning themselves on the sandy beaches today. A quick glance confirmed my thoughts: no one lounging on the sand.

But there were still plenty of joggers and like the fellow above, not all were showing courtesy by respecting the 2 metre distancing rule.

More worryingly; the Evans Bay Marina Carpark appeared to have even fewer freedom campers’ vehicles than the previous day;

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The campers had clearly “up sticks” and moved on. Aside from international air travel, it is hard to think of a more efficient vector for viral transmission than freedom campers driving around New Zealand; stopping in small towns and larger cities; and passing on their infection.

To paraphrase Peter, Paul and Mary, Where Have All The Freedom Campers Gone? And should anyone be making enquiries? Do the rental companies install GPS trackers in their vehicles? If so, the information gleaned from those devices could be troubling.

Perhaps it is time for “freedom camping” – aka the “low  end” of tourism – to be curtailed.

On the way to Miramar, the fifth police car in a day was parked on the center median strip on Cobham Drive (main route to Wellington Airport). Reassuring to see the Police around. Perhaps they could look into the mysterious Case of The Missing Campers?

Meanwhile, if we thought that Todd McClay; “Mad Butcher” group chief executive, Michael Morton; and other money-hungry nuts were bad enough, the Award for the most insanely irresponsible Person in Aotearoa New Zealand has to go to this prize fool:

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The virus has not yet been eradicated; new infections are still happening; and Seymour wants the lock down lifted before the four weeks is up?! Is this man deranged?

Worse still is this comment from him;

“Every day that we are locked down people are losing money, they’re losing businesses, they’ve got mental health issues that are going to arise.”

Not only is he valuing money over people’s lives – but he is exploiting mental health as a cloak to give legitimacy to his despicable suggestion. In effect he’s saying, “Never mind the risk to others; we want to make money; or else we’ll blame our supposed poor mental health on this government and the PM.”

Cue: sob story on RNZ, Newshub, TVNZ, et al about “depressed” businessman who can’t make money.

Congratulation to  Seymour for hitting rock-bottom. This is about as bad as it gets for a sleazy, opportunistic politician desperate for publicity and votes.

I’m not sure which is worse to be afraid off – the virus or a psycopath masquerading as a Member of Parliament. Maybe they’re related.

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Current covid19 cases: 1,160

Cases in ICU: 4 (1 critical)

Number of deaths: 1

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 – What happened on 7 April

TVNZ: Simon Bridges calls on Government to quarantine, test everyone still arriving into NZ

RNZ:  More industry and small businesses could reopen – National

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

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Simon Bridges admits he ‘should have been further apart’ from supermarket staff in photo shared online

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – New Zealand should consider quitting lockdown early, David Seymour says

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

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

Additional

RNZ:  Covid-19 Pandemic Timeline

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

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

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Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson

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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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7 COMMENTS

  1. I reiterate my earlier point that had we still had the Nat-ACT government in place we would be in the same situation as America is in right now with their inept handling of this pandemic.

    36 years of ” leave it too the market ” and ” rugged individualism ” have created these typical responses from business and their paid advocates in the National – ACT party.

    I have been critical of this governments lack of action and adherence too their neoliberal masters but when it comes too dealing with the mosque attacks and now this current emergency the government has provided leadership and action too help stop and contain a serious disease which the last time i looked there was NO cure.

    Winston’s decision to give Jacinda the nod has definitely saved us from the worst of the neoliberals insanity and the pandemic has made me see that a little more clearly.

    We will come out of this and it will take time too recover but that is the nature of the emergency we are dealing with and these money hungry vultures who have once again shown their contempt for people over their own profits and mercenary self advantage shows the stark reality of 21st century New Zealand and its evil economic dog eat dog mentality.

    It is slowly becoming out of step with the direction society is moving too and the news of Sky City and their cruel culling of their most important asset their staff without who they could not function and make millions has unsettled the cosy status quo we were all living with just three weeks ago as people on lockdown are now taking more notice and giving things more serious consideration.

    As for your jogger Frank it is fair too say that we have our share of selfish , arrogant shits who behave like this regardless of the circumstances , some of it is parenting , some of it is self entitlement , or just that kiwi laid back mantra of ” i won’t be told what too do f**k you mentality.

    I guess rugged individualism has spread further than i thought.

    I see it all the time when i am driving too my destination trying too avoid being maimed or killed by the actions of other drivers in a hurry who think the rules don’t apply too them despite having too adhere too them when they got their license.

    Keep up the good work and stay well.

    • Thank you, Mosa.

      There’s not a single word I could take exception to in your comment. 100% well sussed.

      Perhaps of all the pernicious influences from the last thirtysix years is the Me First attitude of individualism. Of all the things to undo that neo-liberalism has wrought, that will be the toughest to address. Unfortunately I see it amongst some on the Left as well, for whom collective action seems only to be a catchy buzz-phrase – until they’re asked to make a sacrifice.

      What gets me is that we’re not asked to give back all the land to Maori (from whom it was pinched in various ways); or go to war; or suffer food rationing; or give up meat production to reduce methane production.

      No, the sacrifice we’re asked to make is simply stay home. That’s it; stay home. Read a book. Watch TV or a DVD. Do gardening. Play computer games. Introduce yourself to your family. Twiddle your thumbs.

      That’s it.

      Thankfully, the majority of New Zealanders get it and know what to do.

      And yes, thank god the Nats/ACT aren’t in power. The implications would be too ghastly to contemplate.

      Wishing you and yours a safe Easter!

  2. No comment that the photo of Simon Bridges was taken before the stage 4 lockdown but let us not miss the chance to get a dig in .
    Have you had to tell staff they have no job and your wife and children that the house they live in is no longer their home and you have the nerve to belittle the mental health that business owners are under at the moment. Even Winston has said more needs to be done to save the many small businesses commenting it is no use putting health before the economy.

    I agree with your comment asking how hard is it to stay in your house and not drive 300 km to get to your batch as has just come over the radio. They should all get a large fine and the money go to a charity

  3. You missing campers are probably in Christchurch or Auckland as there are 12,000 German and Austrian tourist being repatriated on Lufthansa Condor Austrian and Air NZ planes back to frankfurt this week the first flew out on Monday morning there is about 10 plane loads the last of them leave on Sunday morning I think it is. One of the lufthansa 747s 400s did a christchurch fly over to thank chch for looking after their country men.

  4. “No comment that the photo of Simon Bridges was taken before the stage 4 lockdown but let us not miss the chance to get a dig in .”

    Simon Bridges accepted his error in standing in close proximity to those people. NZ would have been at Alert 3 when that pic was taken. Social distancing was required at the time which Simon Bridges has conceded:

    “”…We still knew at that stage, I suppose, that we should have been further apart. I want to make sure that in everything I’m doing outside of my bubble – my home – I’m well away in social distancing, to use the correct phrase, from people…”

    Ref: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/04/simon-bridges-admits-he-should-have-been-further-apart-from-supermarket-staff-in-photo-shared-online.html

    Re mental health. Climb of your high horse, Mr Sennitt. What I “belittle” is a right wing politician who up till now has shown zero interest in mental health issues and only does so now when it suits him to support his business mates.

    In fact, Seymour was only too happy to deride people with mental health problems in May 2018 when he stigmatised that group with a letter sent to Epsom residents:

    “… David Seymour’s letter to Epsom residents about an impending Housing New Zealand (HNZ) development has been slammed by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) which say the letter stigmatises mental health.

    However, a resident of the street marked for the development says they asked Seymour to organise the meeting to help them make their voices heard after HNZ was unresponsive.

    In a letter to residents, the Epsom MP and Act party leader invited them to voice their concerns at a public meeting and said the development would put pressure on local infrastructure.

    He added: “There is also a chance that some of the future residents will have social and mental health issues who will need to have special support measures in place…”

    Seymours letter was roundly condemned by the Mental Health Foundation.

    And just last year, Seymour derided University students who feared hate speech would impact on their mental health;

    “…

    The ACT MP plans to put forward a proposed law change, but it would need to be pulled from the ballot containing other MPs’ Members Bills.

    Mr Seymour’s Education (Freedom of Expression) Amendment Bill would force tertiary institutions to issue free speech codes of practice and not use “the avoidance of mental harm to students, staff or visitors as a reason not to comply with the requirement to protect free speech and academic freedom”….”

    ref: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/david-seymour-wants-law-cut-funding-universities-dont-ensure-free-speech-and-academic-freedom

    So save your faux outrage for someone else. Seymour is condemned by his own words and attitudes.

Comments are closed.