Barry Soper: Lockdown decision shows this Government isn't business savvy

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Apr 2020, 10:05AM
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Barry Soper: Lockdown decision shows this Government isn't business savvy

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Apr 2020, 10:05AM

COMMENT

It was a victory for bureaucracy over business.

Jacinda Ardern said as much when announcing the lockdown would be extended until midnight next Monday. It was an action, she said, recommended by the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

The Prime Minister then went on to show this Government isn't business savvy. Not one of the people on the Covid Response Cabinet Committee has ever run a business - and it shows.

Ardern said the action would extend the lockdown for just two business days, this Thursday and Friday, because Monday is Anzac Day. Surely she can't really believe that business only operates from Monday through Friday.

What the Government's decision has done is to close the door for at least five days to around 300,000 workers - that's if those doors are still able to be opened at the end of it.

Ardern's talked about level 3 - which we will move to next Tuesday - allowing more business activity but not social activity. The bubbles will be expected to be maintained now for another three weeks, when it'll be reviewed.

In truth this extension is all about keeping people locked up over the Anzac weekend.

Even though Ardern talks about how well we've all done, how we can pat ourselves on the back for stopping a wave of devastation that would have inevitably, in her view, occurred, it seems we can't be trusted.

Level 3, she admits, requires more trust, taking responsibility for ourselves and doing the right thing.

It's been obvious for several days that level 4 was going to be with us for longer. Bloomfield talked about his ministry being on a pathway to a gold-standard contact-tracing system, which he said was essential to come out of lockdown.

He said tracing down 80 per cent of close contacts to virus carriers within three days could be achieved within the next week.

A member of that Cabinet Covid team is of course Winston Peters, who has been putting out some confusing messages over the past few days.

He will now no doubt claim we could have been incarcerated for longer without his intervention.

Peters told us at the weekend there is "no value" in trying to save people who have coronavirus if it means greater social damage is caused.

We need to save our economy as fast as we can before further damage is caused, he said, adding the secret is we keep a sense of balance.

He rightfully talked about all sorts of things like depression, suicide, domestic violence and a whole lot of other social issues that cause far greater social damage.

"In the end the only thing that's going to save lives isn't just medical expertise - but an economy that's capable of providing the utilities to face the crisis."

He also hit back at those who say alert level 3 isn't much different to level 4.

Recently, National's Judith Collins said level 3 is just like level 4 but with KFC.

"It's sad people have to get political in times like this," he said.

Now that is the pot calling the kettle black.