April 8: Day 14 of living in lock-down…
The good news first: the downward trajectory of new cases appears to be a real thing. In the last four days, since Sunday, new infections have been dropping:
Sunday: 89 new cases
Today (Wednesday): 50
The bad news? Businesses and their shop-bought political servants in Parliament and fellow-travellers in the msm will be agitating to have the already-porous lock-down lifted as soon as the four week period has ended. A certain right-wing politician – with one eye on winning his electorate and boosting his Party Vote, and another eye on potential One Percenter donors – has actually called for lifting the lock-down even earlier.
Add to the above toxic mix of money-hungry business people and their right-wing political stooges – the repugnant side of self-entitled, privileged Middle New Zealanders for whom the rules do not seem to apply – and the stage is set for a potential disaster.
With the Easter long weekend fast approaching, police have been issuing statements that they will not tolerate people jumping into their cars; boats in tow; and heading off to their holiday “baches/cribs”;
Up until this point the police have been pleading for everyone to do the “right thing”. Because as we all know, pleading works so well for a minority of Middle Class selfish idiots. The same selfish idiots who usually vote National because they demand tough “Law and Order” policies when it comes to brown people in Otara or Porirua – but don’t ever expect it used against their own privileged white skins.
The Middle Class have always expected better treatment than their poorer (mostly brown) cuzzies. Case in point, the Australian government has temporarily increased welfare benefit payments;
Jobseekers will get a $550 boost to their fortnightly welfare payments for six months in one of the largest increases to social security benefits in Australia’s history, as the government seeks to shield the unemployed ahead of a looming recession.
In a press conference at Parliament House on Sunday, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the changes, which effectively double the rate of Jobseeker Payment, reflected a desire to cushion those “who will be feeling the first blows of the economic impact from the coronavirus”.
Make no mistake, this is not about giving extra humanitarian support for lower socio-economic people who have survived on the most basic welfare benefits. The simple reason the benefits are increasing is, as Scott Morrison, disclosed: “to cushion those “who will be feeling the first blows of the economic impact from the coronavirus”. Translation: to pander to the Middle Class who will be made jobless as covid19 cripples the Australian economy and send hundreds of thousands of them onto welfare.
Imagine the howls of outrage if Middle Class workers made unemployed suddenly discovered how pitiful welfare actually is?
The Middle Class votes (unlike those in lower socio-economic groups). No government will want to antagonise that group of voters. So up goes welfare – temporarily.
That same sense of privileged entitlement is also pervasive throughout (some of) our own Middle Class.
But not this time. I suspect that the great majority of New Zealanders from every socio-economic class; ethnic group; political leaning; gender, race; etc, have had a gutsful of these entitled oafs for whom a global pandemic means very little except an impromptu holiday. Most New Zealanders, I believe, want to see the millions of tax dollars spent on Police put to good use, clamping down on spoiled pricks who think they can get away with shit because… expensive car… expensive holiday home… latest devices… nice clothes… often private schooled spawn… in short, they’re entitled.
Our ‘protestant urge to punish’ may finally be put to good use.
Up until now, Police response has been one of tolerance that has been increasingly frustrating to those of us who fulfil our collective responsibility to stay home and respect the lock-down. The Police disclosed on 8 April that they “have now dealt with 367 breaches of the alert level four lockdown rules, with 45 prosecutions, 309 warnings and 13 youth referrals“.
Only 45 prosecutions out of 367 breaches? Is this the same Police who are going uber-macho with their armed response teams? In poorer neighbourhoods, of course.
So it’s refreshing to see in the last 24 hours our police force leadership growing a pair and moving from plaintive pleas, to outright threats of arrest;
“We have … the power to arrest and we can charge for breach of the Health Notice. We’ve taken a pretty gentle approach up to this point but people have had a long time now to understand what the powers are, and so we are prepared to take enforcement action if people are deliberately flouting the rules.
And we will be out in high visibility, patrolling. We will use checkpoints in some places.
Our message to people is ‘stay home’. We’ve put too much into this to compromise it by trying to get away for a holiday weekend.” – Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, 8 April 2020
Make no mistake. The idiots who wilfully flout the rules are endangering everyone else. People have lost their jobs; their incomes; their businesses; and tragically, their lives overseas, and one here in Aotearoa.
As Far North mayor, John Carter, explained with crystal clarity;
“If we all behave ourselves, we’ll all be able to travel freely without restrictions soon. But if we breach it, and decide that we can travel and one or two or three of us spread the disease then we’re going to be in lockdown for a hell of a lot longer.”
There must be zero tolerance shown to these idiots. Prosecute and convict. No exceptions: lives and livelihoods depend on this.
Meanwhile, my own living in Lock-Down continues. Except, of course, I have little choice in this crisis and being part of the wider health sector, I’m an essential worker. (Kind of like winning Reverse Lotto?)
This morning, my usual ride to work took me past the Park N Ride carpark. Only two cars present.
On the main thoroughfare to SH2, the white motorhome was still parked in its odd, facing-oncoming-traffic, spot.
On the motorway, the following were observed; a light gravel-truck, marked “Whakatiki”, carrying a full load of gravel; a small “Kiwirail” hi-ab truck; an unmarked small tanker-truck; 2 ambulances; “Cabernet Foods” refrigerated truck; a fire appliance truck; a black ute marked “Arlington Motors”; “JC Plumbing” van; an unmarked traffic management van; an “Armourguard” branded car; a ute marked “WE” (Wellington Electricity); a “Toll” van; a “FMS” van; an “Inter Group” truck; a medium-sized gravel hauling truck; “Arrow” branded van; a “Downer” van; another gravel truck (company name not visible); a covered “Linfox” truck; a “Food Rescue” truck; a “Big Chill” truck; 2 “New World” covered trucks; “Downer” Incident Support truck; a “Mainfreight” truck; a flat deck truck carrying 4 port-a-loos; a “Downer” gravel truck; a “Chubb” security van; a “Hawkins” plumping van; a drain-unblocking plumber’s truck; a “Bridgestone Tyres” light truck; a “Prestons” light truck; an unbranded skip-bin truck, et al.
Note: several more commercial vehicles were either unmarked or their corporate logo could not be discerned.
Also sighted, a police car and a campervan, heading north.
It rained reasonably heavily the previous night. Cloud cover was clearing, and the sun was already shining over the region. Traffic north of SH58 turn-off was moderate; four vehicles in front, four to the rear. Moving south of the SH58 interchange, traffic thinned out. Traffic today trough the Terrace tunnel was the heaviest it has been throughout the lock-down, as was traffic in the city itself. Exiting the Terrace tunnel I could see about a dozen cars in front of me – a marked change from the one or three usually present.
Observation; despite the downward plunge for oil prices, 91 octane car fuel has remained steady at most Wellington major service stations at $1.95 per litre. Petrol companies have not been responsive to the massive drop in crude oil prices, it seems.
Tonight, as I watched the weather forecast on TV1, I was suddenly reminded how much I was missing my partner. We haven’t seen each other for three weeks, (phone calls and skype don’t count) as we scrupulously adhere to our own respective “bubbles”. There’s two weeks to go.
As Prime Minister Ardern has reminded us constantly, we need to Stay The Distance.
That evening, on my way home between 7.30 and 8.00PM, I sighted two Fulton Hogan road marking gangs at work; one in the Terrace Tunnel, and another north of the tunnel near the currently-blocked off Aotea Quay turn-off. More road marking work going on, in addition to that sighted on Monday night.
Is road marking an essential task during a global pandemic?
A further observation: with retailers, cafes, and most others obeying the letter of the law as well as the spirit, my bank account is healthier than ever before. There’s simply very little to spend money on aside from fuel, food, utilities, and the bank mortgage.
It’s amazing how much one can save (if privileged to be in a reasonable paying job) when consumerism is put on-hold.
Current covid19 cases: 1,210
Cases in ICU: 4 (2 critical)
Number of deaths: 1
Fairfax/Stuff media: Coronavirus – PM, police Covid-19 warning – don’t go to your bach this Easter
ODT – Star News: Cabin fever – Warning to stay away from holiday spots over Easter
Trading Economics: Crude Oil
Elemental: Hold the Line
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost will be re-published on “Frankly Speaking“. Reader’s comments may be left here (The Daily Blog) or there (Frankly Speaking).
= fs =