Andrew Dickens: It's a time of self-regulation - can Kiwis succeed?

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Mar 2020, 12:12PM
(Photo / Getty)

Andrew Dickens: It's a time of self-regulation - can Kiwis succeed?

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 2 Mar 2020, 12:12PM

What a remarkable time of self-regulation and personal responsibility we’ve entered.

First and foremost is the coronavirus kerfuffle that has engulfed the world. In the battle against the bug the populace has been given the word to take care of themselves. To be sensible and to be responsible.

So no hugs, no hongis, no handshakes.  Wash your hands. Feel ill? Call a doctor and then self-quarantine. Make sure you have a plan to make sure you could spend a fortnight at home.

So how fascinating is it that so many people have blundered on through.  The infected who ran straight to GPs and the Emergency Departments in Italy without prior warning, immediately forcing emergency staff and doctors to self-quarantine and further weaken the response.

How remarkable that a handful of supermarkets saw panicked buying as people hoarded stuff meaning that those who came after them were left with nothing.  So selfish and irrational.

The run on facemasks amuses me.  Facemasks stop the infected spluttering the bug out.  They're not very good at stopping the bug getting in.  It just rocks up through your eyes or from your hands after you take the facemasks off. So why on earth are all these people hoarding and wearing facemasks.

You can’t write some of this stuff.  The stupidity and selfishness of people

But then we come to the drought in the North which is now at quite remarkable levels.  People are being asked to save water.  Some are being responsible, particularly old people who know about self-sacrifice but most are not.

Paihia has not saved a drop.  Partly because of cruise ships arriving but also because the residents have nicer properties with thirstier gardens.  And for some nobody tells you how long to shower for.  It’s what lost Helen Clark an election.

Last week in Auckland as the Council funded advertising urging Aucklanders to conserve we had three days of the highest consumption ever recorded.

The house two doors down for me has an automated watering system for their garden of palms and tussocks which are drought hardy yet that system faithfully fires up twice a day

I was swimming at a beach the other day.  It’s the famous beach that Rod Duke has built a helipad next to that has everyone up at arms.  Rod has built a massive mansion.  Last week I watched a gang of workers dutifully washing and scrubbing all his garden stairs. I thought someone’s not thinking, or maybe they just don’t care.

And then there’s Auckland’s traffic congestion because of the multiple rebuilds to get the city ready for APEC and the Americas Cup in 2021 and the future afterwards.  It has astounded me how many people have refused to change their commuting patterns and then have the gall to complain about it. By the way Victoria Street is now back to four lanes and its lovely and so it the bigger footpath but have you heard anybody commenting on that.  No.  But they couldn’t shut up about it during the 1 month build.

So three things we needed to do for our community.  Our health and support for those affected by a new threat.  Our water and our traffic flows. It’s fair to say we didn’t do well.

But we’ve been saying that New Zealanders ability to take personal responsibility has been slack for ages now and how depressing that we continue to underperform.