Labour and National did a secret deal to rezone residential land, so secret even the councils they need to implement it didn’t know. Few people realise yet that the new Medium Density Residential Zone means an eight-metre wall one metre...

The Haps

Labour and National did a secret deal to rezone residential land, so secret even the councils they need to implement it didn’t know. Few people realise yet that the new Medium Density Residential Zone means an eight-metre wall one metre from the boundary in every suburb, or that there’s not enough infrastructure to service it.

Labour and National have independently fouled up housing for years despite ACT’s suggestions, now with their powers combined they are going to foul it up beyond all recognition.

Get us out of here

There’s an old joke in opposition when the Government makes a mistake. ‘Good God, it’s even worse than we hoped!’ Unfortunately, after Traffic Light Friday, it’s not funny anymore.

It’s difficult to capture the emotions coming out of Auckland now. By the end of November, the city will have had 187 days of lockdown, seventh in the world behind London at 207. The difference is that London is open and has certainty.

People whose businesses barely hung on through last year’s lockdowns and rebuilt during the long respite are in tears. The only bright spot is the Resurgence Payment for small business being made weekly, something ACT called for in early September. That’s still borrowed money though. ‘COVID Debt’ will be on finance ministers’ lips for years to come.

The shift to the traffic light system is needlessly complicated, and the incentives for the people we need to get us there are maddening. Let us start by trying to explain the transition as simply as possible.

When each DHB in Auckland reaches 90 per cent fully vaccinated, Auckland becomes a red traffic light. The rest of the North Island also needs every DHB at 90, even if the last one to get there is Northland (currently second to last), despite it being cut off from the rest of the Island. When all DHBs get there, the rest of the country will be an orange traffic light.

South Islanders also need to wait for every North Island DHB to hit 90, as well as their own, but that could change. Actually, it could all change when another announcement is made on November 29.

It’s worth pausing to admire the cynical political genius of making it the DHBs job to hit the targets. They’ll be abolished next year, but not before the Government blames them for one more of its own failings.

The incentives are terrible. If you’ve got yourself vaccinated, all you can do is wait for the stragglers. Your future depends on the people who are clearly least interested in helping, as if the situation is not demoralising enough.

That’s when the promised November 29 announcement comes in. Most likely, not all DHBs will be there by then. For Auckland, the Counties Manukau DHB might get to 90 per cent first doses this month, but it will take another month for everyone to get a second dose. The rest of the country’s slowest DHBs are far behind.

So, on November 29, five weeks away, the lockdown Queen will take the podium and deliver us all, saying we got close enough and she’s giving us a Christmas. It’s partly an addiction to podium power and partly that the vaccine passports, whatever you think of them in principle, won’t be ready until late November (who wants to bet on a Government IT project)?

That’s not all that isn’t ready. Booster shots, treatments, testing such as saliva and rapid antigen, contact tracing. It’s all a mess, even though these turkeys had 18 months to get ready. They spent too much time doing a little dance, not enough time ordering vaccines or, you know, asking GPs and pharmacies to help administer them.

Then there’s the people who held up the banner at the All Blacks’ game ‘MIQ sucks, let us come home.’ They speak for the one million Kiwis left offshore. On Traffic Light Friday there was no mention of them except a small segment on the COVID-19 website saying “Soon we will be on a pathway to reopening our borders and reconnecting people and businesses with the world.”

Soon we’ll be on a pathway? Where are we now, off-roading? The Government admitted to ACT on Wednesday that 86 people with COVID are self-isolating. Why do people who are fully vaccinated with a negative pre-departure test have to go through 14 days of MIQ, when they’re lucky enough to get a spot? Soon the Government will announce a five day MIQ in its own sweet time, oblivious to the pain it’s causing for no reason.

Then they said they're going to spend $120 million helping Māori get vaccinated. There are around 200,000 eligible Māori who have not had a first dose, so that is roughly $600 per person. Now, it might actually be cheaper than another week's lockdown to spend this money, but why do it along racial lines? Labour’s racialisation of everything damages social cohesion, to say the least.

If you are still reading, here is some hope. This ongoing incompetence is becoming plainer for all to see every day. What can you do? If you’re allowed out, carefully and respectfully appeal to anyone who thinks Jacinda is saving them that, yes, she did a good job early last year, but it’s been all downhill from there.

She might be kind, but she is now harming people. When the country needed clarity, she delivered the confusion of Traffic Light Friday. She talks about wellbeing, but delivering it requires leadership. In case you think she is selfless, the November 29 announcement is designed to keep her at the centre of events. A selfless leader would have been better to announce December 1 is freedom day, and get to work on actually delivering it.

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