Kate Hawkesby: Auckland's Level 3 move was political

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Sep 2021, 9:16AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: Auckland's Level 3 move was political

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Sep 2021, 9:16AM

So they did it, they dropped us to level 3, which they were always going to, despite case numbers and mystery cases looking pretty much the same, if not worse, than they have the past two weeks.  

Which begs the question, what the hell have we been doing in level 4 all this time if that was the case? Have they suddenly woken up to the fact elimination is out of reach and we are changing tack? If so, why aren’t they just honest about it?  

I think I know why.  

This Government is about popularity. It’s about polling and focus groups and positive trending on Twitter. This decision yesterday was a political one. How can you explain it any other way? Never has ‘lockdown fatigue’ been such a big consideration. Why is it now? 

 Because Aucklanders were over it. They knew they’d lost the buy in, and keeping it going any longer would've been – God forbid – unpopular. So they’ve given us a breather. For how long? That’s the horrible question we don’t want to really ask.. how long ‘til the breather’s over and we’re back in Level 4? I’d hazard a guess not long. 

So in the interim, what have they done here? They’ve gone from telling us two weeks ago that Delta was bad and deadly and we need to absolutely lock down and stay indoors, only to now, with worse numbers, drop a level. People have every right to feel confused, angry, anxious and dicked around.  

The Government’s been disingenuous. This is nothing more than an abject abandonment of the elimination strategy. And here’s what’s so disingenuous about it.. they’re denying it. They’re spinning it, selling it through a ‘caring’ public health lens, knowing it’s entirely political. 

Which leads me to our neighbours and what I like about Australia. At least they’re honest. At least they call a spade a spade.   

At least they admit when they get it wrong, take the public with them, apologise for the stuff ups, and keep moving forward. 

Compare that to what we get here; spoken to like toddlers, lied to, spun yarns that suit the politics and the polls, and get dished up bare faced denials. All they can say is that no, this isn’t about abandoning elimination, no we are not worried about the Waikato cases, no we are not worried about our new MIQ booking system being a bust. All lies. 

As David Seymour said yesterday, “this Government makes a big show of following the science, there is no science [here]. It’s all politics.” He also said the Government needs to ‘get the rules of the game straight’. 

And that’s sadly the crux of it, this is a political game being played with us. 

It’s not about our wellbeing and survival, it’s about theirs.