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Kate Hawkesby: Traffic Light System still not showing a clear road out of Covid

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Nov 2021, 9:04am
(Photo / Stockxchng)
(Photo / Stockxchng)

Kate Hawkesby: Traffic Light System still not showing a clear road out of Covid

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Nov 2021, 9:04am

I don’t know why we keep getting our hopes up for these announcements, they’re always such a letdown. I mean I guess we knew Auckland was starting in Red, and not just Auckland but a total of ten other districts around the country as well. That’s a lot of Red.

The rest of the North Island starts with Orange, the whole of the South Island Orange. No one’s in Green, because guess what?

They’re taking a “cautious approach”. Of course they are. The problem with this whole thing is the lack of definitive criteria for it. That does two things, one, gives the government all the power with little or no accountability, and two, leaves people in the dark.

Can festivals go ahead or not? Can people make holiday travel and accommodation plans around that or not? A review of the traffic lights comes on December 13th. Is that enough time for festival organisers to cancel or postpone their events which start a couple of days after Christmas? Is just over ten days enough time for contractors to get the yay or nay? For festival-goers to tweak plans? Book accommodation? Book travel? I doubt it.

It’s tough to play a game when you don’t know the rules, and this is the problem with the government not being transparent here and holding all the cards. I mean why is Auckland, as a region one of the most vaxxed areas of the country, starting on Red? The Government claims it’s because “it’s the epicentre of the outbreak.” But when is Auckland not going to be the epicentre of the outbreak?

For as long as MIQ is in Auckland, it's an epicentre. 

The definitions also state that Red is about protecting the health system from being overwhelmed. Yet the health system’s not remotely overwhelmed, not even close to it, so again, why? Starting Auckland in Red literally makes no sense. And given that, how do you justify moving it out, what’s going to change between now and when it moves to Orange?

Nothing. 

They say they’ll be looking at factors such as vaccination rates (high in Auckland), the state of the health system (again, in good shape), contact tracing and case management capacity.. well that part’s up to them, not us.

You can't punish us for something we have no control over. Surely holding Auckland back based on the government’s own ability or otherwise to do something is just plain cruel?

So we start this thing Friday, Aucklanders get to leave their boundary two weeks later, the whole thing gets reviewed again January 17th. But before we get our hopes up too much, we still don’t know what’s yet happening with Omicron. So we still don’t have a lot of surety about our lives, but then again, isn’t this just how we live now? Living in fortnightly bundles of hope tinged with anxiety.

The problem is, we’re so browbeaten by all of this, that despite still being dictated our lives in two weekly sermons, we somehow still feel grateful for every incy wincy bit of freedom they allow us.