Kate Hawkesby: Auckland needs incentives to continue doing heavy lifting

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Sep 2021, 9:46AM
(Photo / Dean Purcell)
(Photo / Dean Purcell)

Kate Hawkesby: Auckland needs incentives to continue doing heavy lifting

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 1 Sep 2021, 9:46AM

Shout out to Auckland this morning, and Northland for that matter. The only two places still waking up in Level 4. Doing the heavy lifting for the rest of the country. Let’s hope it’s only for another two weeks Auckland.. fingers crossed. 

I saw some stats out of Australia yesterday where lockdowns are really starting to bite. One poll showed 86 percent of Australians intend on getting vaccinated – which is higher than pre-Delta. 50 percent of them want lockdowns to end when 80 percent of the country is vaccinated, so getting out of lockdowns is a big impetus.  

Their fears are the same as ours – 58 percent feared businesses closing and job losses, 56 percent worried about what effect lockdowns are having on mental health, which I talked about yesterday. And 52 percent of them find home schooling a negative. 

I think the thing with home schooling is the isolation of children at such a social time of their lives, but also the inequality of it. Your household’s home schooling regime may look very different to someone else’s.  

For every home that has a kid in their PJ’s on a laptop, there will be some homes where the child has no access to computers or wifi, where they just don’t have the resources from their school to be able to work effectively from home.  

I’m very grateful and appreciative to my daughter’s school who seem to have online learning down pat. They take a roll for each class for online attendance, the teacher sets out work and asks if anyone has questions, there are online portals they can go for resources and worksheets, they’re still submitting work and getting it marked.  

It’s probably the easiest age bracket to do the online learning to be honest. Too young for NCEA yet, and too old for primary school, which must be so hard to manage. I can’t begin to imagine how tough it must be to keep children occupied and focused and at that age when so much of the learning is visual and hands on.

Of course, those in Level 3 can’t return to school yet either, so it’s still really tough for households with school children around the country, especially with parents who’re also trying to juggle working from home. 

But yesterday was day 14 for Auckland, and there are 14 more days of that to go. And it got me thinking, what’s our incentive out of this? Obviously, demand is high for the vaccine here, which is good, but we need to keep up that momentum. Having to slow our rollout down due to lack of supply is less than ideal, especially when momentum's building. But where are our incentives?  

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian has outlined more freedoms for vaccinated people in her state after NSW hits the target of 6 million jabs. She’s outlining a roadmap for a return to normality, and setting targets to get there. 

So, as we sit here in Auckland, on day 15 of a Level 4 lockdown, with at least another two weeks to go, I can’t help wishing we’d adopt a similarly ambitious approach.