ZB

Kerre McIvor: How are you feeling knowing about the border plan for Auckland and Northland?

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Dec 2021, 1:41pm
(Photo / Brett Phibbs)
(Photo / Brett Phibbs)

Kerre McIvor: How are you feeling knowing about the border plan for Auckland and Northland?

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Dec 2021, 1:41pm

How you feeling waking up this morning knowing that the Ministry of Health thought it was a good idea for Auckland boundary restrictions to be lifted and the whole country should have been in orange, bar Auckland and Northland. 

Apparently, in the recommendations to the government, there was even a wild and crazy public servant who thought it would be a great idea to start some of the South Island in green, but then, of course, he or she was pulled back into line and reminded of vulnerable Maori and the Delta spread so official health advice was to put the whole country in orange bar Auckland and Northland and to lift the Auckland boundary restrictions. 

Now, this is official health advice from a ministry not known for its cavalier hoots wahay, damn the torpedoes, attitude towards public health. 

This was that the border, the much-loathed border keeping us from family and friends, should be lifted because there was no reason to have it still there once we move to the traffic light phase. But oh no, no, no, no, no, no Ms all abundance and caution herself put a number of regions in red, not just Auckland and Northland for at least two weeks. No regions in green and the border has to stay around Auckland until December 15. 

She has, I suppose, the Prime Minister, being consistent in her cautious approach. She has pinned her colours to the Covid mast and does not want to see a single Covid death on her watch, and it must be really difficult juggling peoples morbid fear of the virus with common sense. 

But when the Director-General of Health says there is no public health justification to maintain a boundary around Auckland, once we move to the traffic light system, when the boundary around Auckland has served its purpose as Ashley Bloomfield said, and greatly reducing the risk of the virus escaping Auckland, thus giving the rest of the country the opportunity to vaccinate. Why the hell are vital policemen and women still stuck on the borders? People still stuck in traffic waiting to get through the much-loathed borders and others stuck in the hell of waiting for official permission to cross the border that is not deemed to be necessary by the Director-General of Health to see sick and dying relatives?  

And it's not really the end of the boundary even come December 15, because the northern border controls are going to be there. Border controls that iwi want to protect the vulnerable and their communities who haven't had the opportunity to get vaxxed yet. The police don't want to do them, they reckon up to 300 police officers around the country could have their work disrupted and Chris Cahill, the Police Association President, said it's a busy time for police anyway, there'd be far better off in their own districts, policing the higher demands they have at that time of year and all the things you mentioned, you've got the boozy parties over Christmas, you've got the family harm, the mental health, the crime that doesn't take a holiday over Christmas. 

Shane Jones says the Government bowed to pressure from what he called self-appointed hapu leaders. He says the need for checkpoints has long gone and that the highway should be the freeway. should never ever have elevated iwi to the point of having enforcement powers at the borders. 

Always good for a sound bite, Shane Jones isn't he, always good for a sound bite! So there is the tension in the North as well from those who were saying no stop wait give us time and that would be the Far North DHB chair, who also chairs Ngāti Kuri trust board, He says we just need time to get more of the people who live rurally, who are disengaged, who just need more time to talk to people they trust.

You know, time seriously? Come on now. Come on, Harry.

I understand the need to protect the vulnerable, but Shane’s right. Most of us are vaccinated. The vast majority of us are vaccinated. I mean, you'd have to be a pretty loathsome sort of person to travel away feeling ill, unvaccinated, not having a test. Surely we can depend on people to do the right thing. 

Allan who emailed me earlier this morning says I'm confused about the Northland roadblocks. Allan, I don't blame you one little bit. Allan lives in the area and says the roadblock at Mangaturoto means he has to travel through a roadblock just within his own district, which is just plain nuts. 

Kaiwaka is a no man's land between the checkpoint and Auckland. It seems crazy, and when it comes to the messaging from the Northern District Health Board, you've got Harry saying. If you're vaccinated and have been tested, there's no reason why you can't come north. Please give us time to get our vaccination levels up. We'd love you to be here under every other circumstance. 

What does that mean? 

If you don't, if you’re vaccinated and he said you can come or you can't. 

If you are vaccinated and tested then you can come up, but only once their vaccinations have hit 90%? 

You know, I was hoping there would be a clearer way through, but still, we seem to be stuck with the same old same old and according to the Ministry of Health, we never needed to be.