John Elliott: How is Level 3 working in Auckland?

I thought we went down to Level 3 a week too soon, but I recognise the tremendous pressure the government is under.

Now seven days in, we are not out of the woods. Twelve cases today, better than eighteen yesterday and sixteen the day before. We’ve still only had one day of single figures.

Delta has a long tail, the experts keep telling us. But there are other worrying signs. Criminals, including gang members, are now cases. Police are having to PPE up carefully.

There are too many cases still occurring randomly in the community. Why is this happening when everyone has been locked down, and most still should be?

People are sick of lockdown, although it was salutary to see the poll which cited two thirds of New Zealanders wanted border protection until 90% vaccination had been achieved.

A smack in the face for ex prime minister, Sir John Key, who in a most unstatesmanlike statement said New Zealand was stuck in a ‘smug hermit kingdom model’, and referenced the ‘North Korea’ option. Sorry John, the majority of New Zealanders disagree with you; a shame if it curtails your golfing exploits in Hawaii.

I want to disabuse people too of the belief that New Zealand was too slow to order vaccine. What Prime Minister Ardern did was to join with six other countries who agreed with the World Health Organisation that the vaccine roll out should include poor African and other third world countries. New Zealand signed up to that, meaning we got vaccine a little later than those who jumped the queue, paid a premium, like Israel, and hogged the vaccines.

Still, when we can get to 90% plus fully vaccinated, we can afford to breathe a bit again and ease up on border and other controls.

By many overseas standards New Zealand has done an excellent job in keeping Covid-19 at bay, but it is clearly very difficult to eliminate completely. A little bit more discipline now will pay off down the track. Look how some countries have yoyoed in and out of lockdown, confusing everybody including businesses.

I’d rather be here than Sydney or Melbourne, where hundreds of cases a day are still the norm.

Today we had 12 cases. Can we dream of zero? Probably not, Delta is such a beast. But Jacinda and her team are doing a great job keeping the worst at bay.

A little more short term pain, before hopefully some long term gain. (JOHN ELLIOTT)

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Published 1 October 2021