Andrew Dickens: Another week of lockdown, another $1 billion down the drain

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Sep 2021, 1:35PM
Auckland entered the 40th day of the latest lockdown today. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Auckland entered the 40th day of the latest lockdown today. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: Another week of lockdown, another $1 billion down the drain

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Sep 2021, 1:35PM

Here we are in yet another Monday of decision and it seems that the powerhouse of Auckland is going to remain in lockdown longer yet as the long tail of Covid seems peskily hard to stamp out.

Another week, another billion down the drain. 

Once again last week I heard business advocates asking what's the plan to get out of this. 

Actually more accurately they want to know when. 

Well your guess is as good as mine. 

That's the funny thing about wars and pandemics and the weather. 

They don't follow arbitrary timelines as defined by humans. 

The thing is, there always has been a plan. 

The plan is get everybody vaccinated.  

Now I know that’s not much of a plan but that’s the plan.  

That’s the only option humans have.  

Get vaccinated or lockdown every time hospitalisations overwhelm the health system. 

It is a great pity the plan did not include the phrase “as fast as possible”.  

In the the historical reckoning that will be seen as the government’s greatest mistake.  

But it is fair to say we’ve sped up. 

Businesses want dates in the plan.  

Dates can come and go if we’re not vaccinated enough. 

There is no point telling businesses that we will have a retrenchment from lockdowns and a slow lifting of border control from March when March comes along and we're stuck on 60 percent vaccination rate. 

And that is my greatest worry.  

That we’re going to stall.  

That too many people are vaccine hesitant. 

In the USA their vaccination rate has stalled at 65 percent. 

That's not enough. 

Biden has got tough and is starting to implement no jab, no job policies.

So much for their freedoms. 

Our government has always tried to avoid mandates because people hate being told they have to do something.  

So why doesn’t businesses themselves step up to the plate?

Businesses need to be actively telling their staff that vaccinations are critical to their company's continued survival. 

This is not tiddlywinks. 

If we fail in our vaccination rate, it's lockdown for life, no matter who's in government. 

In particular, businesses need to be telling that to the vulnerable amongst their staff. 

And they also need be telling that to the hesitant, the reticent, the lazy and the ignorant. 

Which is why I found David Seymour's little race based stunt last week unbelievably short sighted and basically business unfriendly. 

It is in NZ businesses’ interest to get the vaccine to the hesitant and overlooked as soon as they can, not having politicians actively deride measures that may aid that goal. 

It was basic petty race politics that acted against business interests.  

But I expected nothing else from a career politician who has never worked a day in business in his life.