GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – What Covid has taught us


The Covid 19 virus is so small it’s estimated around 500 million of them could fit onto a pin head. Yet, over the last 11 months (yes, less than a year) this tiny thing has brought the world economy to its knees and caused an enormous amount of human misery.

Dreadful as this pandemic has been however it has taught us some valuable life lessons.

We have allowed too much of our economy to be determined by international money and forgotten we once lent and borrowed from each other within our country to great effect

That is not to say that all foreign investment is bad, but the operative word is “investment” It is hard to see, for example, how allowing a Chinese company to mine fresh water virtually for free and put it in plastic bottles to pollute the planet is “investment”. It’s exploitation.

We have allowed ourselves to become victims of mass consumption and forgotten that we can live with far less stuff in our lives. We once made many of the things we need – from clothes and shoes to railway engines. Yes there was less variety and we cannot make everything our high tech society now requires, but we were more self-reliant and less dependent.

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The pandemic has also forced many of us to re-evaluate our lives. Do I really need to work from an office in town or can I work effectively from home? Do I want to live a simpler life? What matters most to me? … are just a few of the questions with which people are grappling.

In other parts of the planet Covid is multiplying at breakneck speed. If we want to keep Aotearoa /New Zealand at level 1 we need to keep up our vigilance at the border, using the contact tracing procedures and keep up social distancing whenever possible.

Because perhaps the most important lesson Covid has taught us is how dependent we are on others for our own well-being and that you can’t have any kind of lifestyle – if you don’t have a life.

Kia kaha

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. can’t have any kind of lifestyle – if you don’t have a life.
    The same would apply to all these citizens that have expired to wont it Brian?

    Cardiovascular 14,026,134
    Cancer 6,233,367
    Respiratory 3,317,065
    Digestive 1,679,575
    Psychiatric 1,036,543
    Diabetes 934,842
    Perinatal 2,614,505
    Maternal 432,753
    Nutrition 399,858
    Endocrine 248,218
    Infectious Diseases
    AIDS 1,676,749
    Diarrhoeal 1,779,349
    TB 1,203,607
    Child. Clust. 696,866
    Malaria 731,015
    Flu 531,032
    Meningitis 279,564
    Tropic Clust. 124,951
    Hepatitis 130,448

  2. As an oldie who is pretty tech savvy, I’m getting tired of the criticisms of those who don’t use the Covid app. I would love to.I can surf the net on my phone, exchange emails and texts and messages and calls, take and edit and share high quality photos, plus a myriad of other things. But whoops! Hang on. My phone is 4 years old – too old to take the app. So, would someone like to buy me a new phone? Or would someone like to devise a Covid app which is more easily available and user friendly?

    • Rosie if you get a new fone then you will have to spend time learning to use it.
      Then if it is a smart fone that will take a while and you probably will need help as the manuals assume previous smart fone experience.
      Unless you spend up large then your new fone may not have a battery capacity that gives you multiple days of use.
      The habit of using a smart fone net capability will cost in data and soak up more of your time.
      I have one but use a smaller lighter dinosaur phone that gives me a week between charges for my normal low usage. No big screens to break either.
      Stuff the apps. I fill in a book if visiting a super market or shop, and wear a mask.
      Stick with the old fone and save a tiny bit more of the planet.

  3. It may take Covid19 to wake a few up to the desirability of NZ being resilient and providing for its own needs on a local basis are far as possible.
    In AO/NZ we used to make most of what we need from steam engines to hair clips, shoes and most clothing, most food and even our tram cars.
    Importing is lucrative and many things now imported have added little but closed down our local industries.
    A thing called import duty used to help protect local industry and employment but the greedies have slid us into the WTO and wiped local production, many jobs and made profit for importers who rely on cheap off shore labour.

    Its time to take back our potential to become more self reliant and secure.
    That has been obvious to many for some decades but civid19 may have woken a few others up – hopefully.

  4. Covid has taught us that the world has some pretty fucken useless, ineffective, greedy, selfish and self serving leaders cause too many people are dying and suffering unnecessary.


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