Kate Hawkesby: Lockdown flouters aren't listening and don't care

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 May 2020, 9:26AM
People having parties during alert level 3 seem to not care. (Photo / Getty)

Kate Hawkesby: Lockdown flouters aren't listening and don't care

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 May 2020, 9:26AM

The problem with Dr Ashley Bloomfield threatening that some of the "concerning behaviours" seen over the weekend (also known as parties) may slow our move to Level 2, is that the people who need to hear that message the most, aren't listening.

Nor do they care.

They're too busy partying.

If you're throwing a party over the weekend in Level 3, I can pretty much guarantee you're not sitting up straight desperate to hear the 1pm press releases on case numbers and how we're tracking.

You can only lock people up for so long before they start to go stir crazy.

You can only rely on "trust" for so long.

And if we were in Level 4, 3 or 2, it wouldn't matter, some people just want to party.

These people not only don't care what the rules are, they probably don't even know they're flouting them.

People like you and I, interested engaged citizens who read newspapers and follow news, and listen for updates, are not representative of all New Zealanders. There are large swathes of people who don't follow any news, who don't keep up to date with developments and who simply don't care.

It would be arrogant to assume everyone is like us and following the news, and digesting the rules.

And that's not to say one group is better than the other, it's just to state a fact – we are all different.

What your bubble on social media in your particular echo chamber thinks, does not reflect wider New Zealand.

We forget that at our peril.

We jump up and down and hit the complaint lines and the Facebook chat to whine about people flouting rules and not taking this seriously. We lament the rule-breakers' behaviour, but we can't actually do much about it.

And this is where the "high trust" model starts to fall apart.

This is where the current leadership who are treating us like toddlers instead of teenagers, starts to come unstuck.

Anyone who's parented teenagers knows that if you give an inch, they'll take a mile.
Boundaries need to be crystal clear. It doesn't mean you need to be authoritarian, just means you have to be clear, and sometimes actions beat words. Taking away their phone, is more effective than nagging them.

Rounding up parties and arresting people, is more effective than asking them politely not to party.

If you want us all to conform to new rules, you better be clear on what they are and have some consequences in place.

The police threatening to arrest people, is not the same as actually arresting them.

If you're just asking people nicely and trotting out a lot of "trust", you might just find the partying continues.