Mike's Minute: A year since lockdown, what have we learned?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Mar 2021, 9:40AM

Mike's Minute: A year since lockdown, what have we learned?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Mar 2021, 9:40AM

It was a year ago today we locked down.

Level 4. We'd never heard of level 4. And in the ensuing days talkback was littered with people who displayed one of the, if not the, most annoying habits of the past 12 months. The inability to use common sense and think for yourself.

Remember it? We were told to stay local, but local was a movable concept, apparently.

"I normally drive 12 kilometres for a walk, am I still local?"

We also got the email to dob people in who weren't following orders. Yes, we became a nation of narks. A trait reprised recently in the South Auckland lockdown when the Prime Minister was exposed for having overreacted to a so-called super spreader risk. She decided to blame the poor family and told us to dob in those who weren't doing as they were told.

We shared the global trait of panic shopping. Those of us deemed essential workers loved the quiet streets. But little did we know so many would never return, and this new working from home lark would become a “thing” and CBDs would be in real trouble.

We were, lest we forget, only here this day a year ago because the screaming got so loud over locking the border the government finally caved. But little did we know once they shut it, what a control exercise they would turn it into.

The MIQ system was finally set up. That was only after they thought their self-isolation, their “high trust model” would be a hit, but it wasn't. The MIQ system they set up, turned out to be the ongoing weak link. Although never proven the Americold lockdown and the Sky Chefs lockdown were border issues.

The MIQ facilities themselves, with their hopelessly lax testing, caused more issues.

Essentially in a year, a full 12 months, we've gone nowhere. We've locked the border, set up a half-baked hotel system that leaks, and that’s that. PPE and flu jabs were a shambles.

This new Ashley Bloomfield bloke we quite liked, until he turned out to be in charge of a useless department that was constantly caught out. Even a report commissioned by his government, penned by Sir Brian Roche and Heather Simpson told us just how hopeless they were.

Yes, we sort of held the virus at bay. But the word elimination became a joke. We were told a year ago the value of level 4 was we wouldn't have to yo-yo in and out of lockdown. Whoops.

Yes, we have done better than many, but not as well as Vietnam, Taiwan, or Australia. And our economy is paying a horrific price.

The one o'clock lectures have become a source of real anger, especially given they claimed they were delivered at the pulpit of truth. We still don’t have a vaccine rollout to talk much of, despite so many millions of jabs already dispensed globally.

We have lived, rested, and even got smug on our laurels. Our one trick a year ago has been worked, reworked, sold, and resold for 12 long months now. More people every day see it for what it is.

The bubble has become a farce. The catch phrases seem tired.

If shutting the door to re-group and hunker for a short period was the thinking, we did well, and better than most.

If it was supposed to buy us time for a plan, an aspirational opportunity to be grabbed to propel us into the new world more invigorated and opportunistic than ever, we have failed abysmally.

Overall, I wanted better for us. I still want better for us. We can do more and be more.

But between a combination of fear, ineptitude, arrogance, and dishonesty, the government aren't up for it, a lot of New Zealanders aren't up for it.

So, 12 months in, we are at a crossroads.

This has been a 5/10 experience at best. I pray the next 12 are way better than our last.