Kate Hawkesby: Aucklanders are fed up and angry and rightfully so

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 11 Oct 2021, 8:29AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: Aucklanders are fed up and angry and rightfully so

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 11 Oct 2021, 8:29AM

It’s lucky we weren’t on air last week, because we probably would’ve been sacked.  

I mean there are only so many swear words tolerable on air, but expressing the rage of Aucklanders right now would use up a lot of them.  

I get the overwhelming sense now that people are angry, and over it. I mean they were angry and over it a while ago, but it seems to be gaining momentum. There’s less empathy for lockdowns and teams of 5 million talk, and more rage. 

Rage against those breaking the rules, border breachers, gangs.. don’t even get me started on the gangs.. the incomprehensible rules we are supposed to be following, the lack of a plan, the needlessness of all this.  

All of it. It’s rage inducing. And it’s landed in Auckland, as well as Northland and Waikato laps this past week, that we're potentially not getting out of this anytime soon. 

Some people mistake rage at lockdown as being about first world problems like not being able to get to the hairdresser, but it’s actually so much more than that.  

It’s watching your mates' businesses and livelihoods go under, it’s watching your local cafes and restaurants begging for custom as they desperately try to ‘pivot’ and serve up some kind of takeaway.  

It’s families separated, elderly isolated, young people starved of any kind of normality, students suffering, kids missing school, people struggling with their wellbeing. Watching people burn through all their savings just to stay afloat. It’s a lot. 

Which is why the PM’s little tiki tour roadie with her fiancé splashed all over the news like some kind of cheesy home movie, felt like a tone-deaf slap in the face this weekend. 

As they winged their way through the provinces encouraging vaccinations, did we really need the side bar of the PM popping into her childhood home for a tour, regaling her social media audience with tales of her past? 

Sure, do that anytime we’re not suffering through a pandemic with some of the strictest restrictions in the world, as she proudly told us the other day. But her joking and laughing about Clark eating her pie, I mean, read the room. 

This whole Covid response has been so lacking in any kind of understanding of life on the ground in Auckland, which by the way is her hometown, that it’s become quite a galling disconnect.  

Whoever thought this was good PR to have the PM galivant around provincial New Zealand like it’s some fun 'trip down memory lane' roadie, missed the mark. Sure, do a vaccinate tour, but let’s not make it a political and personal branding exercise at the same time. 

It also left a gaping hole in terms of any accountability to answer any questions about the two women absconders around Northland, or front up on the 60-case number jump yesterday. 

Cancelling press conferences when it suits and instead manufacturing curated PR stunts through the PM's home town to giggle over pies, shows total arrogance and disregard for all those doing the hard yards.