Mike Hosking: This lockdown is far from over

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Aug 2021, 9:51AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Mike Hosking: This lockdown is far from over

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Aug 2021, 9:51AM

You can see the picture developing here, surely.

The level four lockdown for the whole country, bar Auckland and Coromandel, for three days was, of course, a joke.  

The extension was also a joke. As far as Auckland goes, the idea that it would be in level four for a single week, given the length of the list of places of interest alone, was equally farcical. 

So, the damage so far, if you base it on ASB figures at $290 million a day is over four billion dollars. Even if it all goes to plan, such as there is a plan, some of us will head to level three.  

We will be there at least two weeks and that is more billions in damage, given level three isn't all that much different to four. 

Level two is where you need to be, at the very least, and two is a world away right now. 

This brings up a couple of important questions.  

Will we ever be in level one again? One is large crowds, it's sports, it's bars and it's events. 

Second question; is elimination real? And how long before they put the white flag up on that? 

A supplementary question; if perchance they eliminate this outbreak and we do get back to level one, what chance we get second outbreak and its level four repeated? 

It's not beyond the realms of possibility that this will take a couple of months. That’s mid-October. The damage economically at that point will be many billions. It's money the Government doesn't have. They have about $10-ish billion left from the original $50 billion they printed. 

They spent about $45 billion and got back a bit more than they thought through tax.  The irony of that is it's simply money going round and round and losing an element of efficiency each time it's spent. 

If the timeline is right, we will be into a debate about elimination. Targets for vaccines will have been introduced because the pressure will have got too great, and the race will be on to finish the vaccine programme ahead of schedule. 

The thing holding that back will be supply. The reason supply is an issue is because we got so smug late last year, we didn't order what we should have and have been at the bottom of the OECD ever since. 

The politics of this is dangerous for the Government; this isn't like last time. The anger is already palpable. Their polling has already dropped 10 points and that was before this outbreak. 

There isn't the same pot of money, and there isn't the same forgiving teddy bear in the window delusion. They are in trouble. 

They deserve to be, and they know it.