Waatea News Column: What happens next in Post-Pandemic New Zealand?

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The important thing to understand moving forward is that there is not and can not be a ‘post-pandemic New Zealand’ until there is a vaccine.

The free-market capitalism that has been the hallmark of New Zealand’s political, cultural and economic landscape over the last 35 years is in collapse.

Nothing highlights the cracked foundations of neoliberalism quite like a pandemic.

Without a vaccine, New Zealand will remain in border lockdown for fear of accidentally transmitting the virus here. That means migrant workers, tourists and foreign students will be stripped out of the economy and the State will need to step in.

Such an idea is heresy to small Government Free Marketeers and that’s why we’ve been bombarded with propaganda from the mouthpieces of the rich demanding we all go back to work to save the economy.

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Those self-interested voices should be ignored because this virus hits the poorest harder and if anything like the Spanish Flu, will devastate Māori and Pacifica households far worse than Pākehā.

Until a vaccine is available, New Zealand’s economy and culture will need to live under the constant shadow of a vigorous track-trace-quarantine program that will change every interaction moving forward.

It will change the way we shop, share community, interact personally and engage in public, it will be a challenge to rapidly upgrade ourselves to this new reality and to do it well we must have leaders who are able to communicate clearly what is required of us and why.

Luckily we have Jacinda as our leader, who has managed to impress almost every single one of us with her grace under pressure, but our gratitude at her leadership helping us dodge the type of health nightmare we are seeing in America and the UK must be tempered by her Government having clear economic plan moving forward.

Ever since the betrayal of working-class people by Labour’s neoliberal revolution in the 1980s, the Party itself has been too cowardly to re-engage in a debate about free-market capitalism, this unique and unprecedented pandemic forces the State to step in and become a far larger direct employer of people while private business rebuilds itself to the new market reality of social distancing.

Kiwis are grateful to Labour for saving them from a public health crisis, but that gratitude can evaporate the moment people lose their jobs. Labour need visionary courage now to save the economy and revoking many of the free market mantras it installed in the 1980s will require more from Labour than closing the borders.

First published on Waatea News.

13 COMMENTS

  1. In the second wave during winter…

    The victims will be Maori, PI and the impoverished. Those who live in overcrowded housing and also those that usually fend for themselves because of their poverty, they are the most vulnerable of this group.

    As well they are usually the ones that are most highly discriminated against by institutions who treat them as the ‘great unwashed’ and when they present themselves at the hospital or healthcare provider service the ole institutionalised racism kicks in. “Oh, could you sit there and wait, someone will see you soon”. No one comes, and they dont wait.

    So all this mainstream media locally and internationally about how the princess won the battle on her own in widdle old NZ …. stuff that only fairy tales are made of will turn to shite and she will move on to saving the economy instead because its easier than saving peoples lives.

  2. It is always the ‘unseen’ people, who are not able to access or gain care in the ‘institutional’ system, who eventually show the true cost of our lies, deciet and biases that our world and economy is built on.

    The ‘unseen’ only become ‘seen’ by the death statistics, which are often conviently re-assesed as being due to their own fault.

    • Good on you , CLEANGREEN.

      You’re onto it. If a court of law had all this circumstantial evidence , the verdict would have been read by now. All else is just arse saving.

    • US Propaganda plainly with many outdated statements and lies.
      The Chinese Covid19 patient zero has not been found and there are patients who precede any from the wet markets. Speculation from reporters is just that and usually unreliable.
      The virus in Italy did not come from China nor that in Iran.

      We should wait until independent international consensus among virologists is reported in scientific publications.
      US stuff is heavily politicised junk mainly.
      Wuhan is not the only centre in China where virus research has been an ongoing activity including the period when SARS was rampant in 2004. Many such labs internationally have specialists from many countries just as some Chinese worked in US university based labs.

      Now come on gents
      FOX NEWS REPORTED……. Yeah right!

    • China reports to have two likely vaccines but until extensive tests have been run and their effectiveness as well as side effects in a range of humans tested have given data, then modifications made and new tests run as many times as needed, then a vaccine should not be released.
      Typically you are talking years if in fact a vaccine will work for covid19.
      Best ignore the headlines of a SARS or other older vaccine producing results with covid19 as that is a dangerous assumption as well as a dangerous practice.

      There are reports that covid19 patients recovered have caught the virus again. If that is so for all strains then there may not be a vaccine. There is not one for another milder coronavirus that is the common cold.

  3. It should be noted there has never been an effective vaccine developed for a Corona virus, despite they comprise around 25% of the average “seasonal flu” causing viruses. Early indications are that antibody counts for people after having had the virus are extremely low, suggesting that even were a vaccine available it would only give protection for a relatively short period of time. Rumours out of China suggest that people who have had COVID-19 are already getting it again. All of this screams to me that no vaccine for this virus is forthcoming, although it’s obviously not impossible (just too early to call at this stage).
    Nonetheless I doubt that your border lockdown until a vaccine is found is likely, simply because said vaccine might not ever happen. NZers will not put up with draconian travel restrictions forever.

    • ”NZers will not put up with draconian travel restrictions forever”

      Good for you tube though , far cheaper as well. The only problem is that those vids are gonna get pretty old, pretty fast…

    • Are the travel restriction “Draconian” or plain common sense.
      We may have to alter the way we live and think.

  4. Commentators and political parties at election time make a fuss about the suicide numbers and vehicle fatalities then move on as another crisis takes center stage. We do not stop driving or drinking dangerously . Flu deaths are excepted as one of lives hazards as is cancer and other diseases. I doubt that a vaccine will stamp out this virus completely as it mutates .Eventually it will become something we live with.
    At seventy plus I have seen a few events happen that some say will change life dramatically but for most we push on doing the best we can to get ahead so forgive me if I roll my eyes at all those saying it is a new beginning .

    • Trevor I think it is an assumption at this stage that we can just live with it, without some form of lockdown albeit closed borders.

  5. Commentators and political parties at election time make a fuss about the suicide numbers and vehicle fatalities then move on as another crisis takes center stage. We do not stop driving or drinking dangerously . Flu deaths are excepted as one of lives hazards as is cancer and other diseases. I doubt that a vaccine will stamp out this virus completely as it mutates .Eventually it will become something we live with.
    At seventy plus I have seen a few events happen that some say will change life dramatically but for most we push on doing the best we can to get ahead so forgive me if I roll my eyes at all those saying it is a new beginning .

  6. You know I was listening to MAGIC TALK Radio sometime on Saturday afternoon and the host (didn’t get his name) was wailing and moaning about how the government was gleefully taking over the country’s business and industry.
    Why do they have to do this? he wailed.
    Why do they need to take over everything?
    They are ruining it for everyone, its not fair!
    What I would have liked to say to him was:
    “Well son, its like this: If we had left it all to your precious market forces to deal with this virus then probably most of us would be dead by now.
    That’s why we have a government.
    To make decisions that will keep us alive.
    Much too important to leave to clods who can only think about the number of zeros in their bank balances.

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