Friday 5 November 2021

Freedom Day: “Auckland’s Coming – Ready Or Not.”

Freedom, Or Chaos: There is no safe way to let people out of lockdown while Covid-19 is raging through the community. But, as this Government is fast discovering, there is also no safe way to keep 1.6 million Aucklanders under house-arrest indefinitely.

WHEN BORIS JOHNSON announced England’s “Freedom Day”, I was scornful and dismissive. My reaction was much the same when New South Wales and Victoria announced “Freedom Days” of their own. This was irresponsible politics on steroids, I fumed. People are going to die. Which they did – and still are. Politically, however, “Freedom” appears to be a magic word. Utter it, and the ordinary voter’s crap detector instantly switches itself off.

The events of the past few days have, however, have made me realise that Johnson and his imitators weren’t being irresponsible, they were simply making a virtue of necessity. If you’re looking for an expression to mask the fact that you’ve run out of practical solutions to the problem of how to let people out of lockdown while the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus is still raging around, then “Freedom Day” fits the bill nicely.

Because, of course, there is no safe way to let people out of lockdown while Covid-19 is raging through the community. But, as this Government is fast discovering, there is also no safe way to keep 1.6 million Aucklanders under house-arrest indefinitely.

Nor would there appear to be a practical means of requiring those same Aucklanders to show a valid Vaccine Passport, and evidence of a recent negative Covid test, before departing the city for their Christmas vacation. When the Labour Government finally comes to terms with this brutal reality, then, inevitably, it will start thinking like Boris Johnson.

Matters are certainly not being helped by the fact that the Vaccination Passports needed to make the Government’s new “Traffic Light” system work, are still at the development and testing stage. On balance, however, this is probably just as well. Because, if they had been ready to go, then the fundamental flaw in the system would have been revealed in real time, rather than presenting itself as a looming problem of massive proportions.

Let’s just walk through this problem soberly and logically.

Our first assumption must be that Auckland has reached its target of 90 percent fully vaccinated by the middle of November – and that not much of the rest of New Zealand has managed to do the same.

On the face of it, this can only mean that the border remains closed to Aucklanders wishing to spend Christmas out of the city. Fine. But how does the Government then propose to require Aucklanders to simply suck that fact up for the good of the country? After more than three months of lockdown, they might not be willing to take another one for the Team of Five Million. More likely they’ve reached the point of telling the Team of 3.4 Million to go fuck themselves.

Okaaay. So the Government, unwilling to see Auckland explode, tells the fully vaccinated and the Covid negative that they – and only they – can cross the Auckland border to visit friends and family and have a much-needed holiday. Hooray! Auckland yells, and then promptly crashes the system designed to let people download the Vaccination Passport app. As if that isn’t frustrating enough, they then discover that 30,000 to 40,000 people, all trying to get a Covid test at the same time, is a recipe for the most gigantic shemozzle.

Right about then, the nit-pickers start querying the practicalities of thousands of Aucklanders all trying to get out of the city at the same time when, on the way out, they are required to stop and have their Vaccination Passports and Covid test results sighted by the Police. How’s that going to work, exactly?

[Chris Hipkins had some ideas about this problem, which were actually pretty funny in a “just shoot me now” kind of way.]

Aucklanders consider this problem carefully, and decide that queues of cars, filled with increasingly fractious family members, and stretching for miles and miles, under a blazing summer sun, does not sound like a winning formula for peace and harmony.

Also having difficulty seeing much in the way of peace and harmony in Auckland’s immediate future are those who understand the racial dynamics of vaccination. A situation in which the fully vaccinated are free to leave Auckland, while the unvaccinated are ordered to remain within the city’s boundaries until the rest of the country reaches the magic 90 percent target, will, very quickly, be presented as a neo-colonialist outrage, which grants freedom of movement to the Pakeha, while keeping Māori locked-up in a Covid cage.

So ….. yeah. You reckon that will work?

Tricky situation, isn’t it? And one not overloaded with good, or even workable, solutions. So, what the hell are Jacinda and her government going to do?

Best guess? Pretty soon she and her colleagues are going to tell the rest of New Zealand that Auckland has done enough – and had enough. It’s reached its 90 percent double-jabbed target and is ready to go on holiday.

In the kindest possible way, Jacinda will inform the rest of New Zealand that it needs to rattle-its-dags on the vaccination front.

“You can’t keep 1.6 million people under house arrest indefinitely”, she will tell the rest of the Team of Five Million. “Auckland has carried the burden of this outbreak in every sense. Nine out of ten of them have done everything we’ve asked them to do – and more. We can’t expect the city to remain in a state-of-siege forever. This is Auckland we’re talking about – not Leningrad! It’s time to give Aucklanders their freedom.”

Right about then, is when the Prime Minister will lay it on the line.

“Those of you who have yet to be jabbed have three weeks to get yourselves vaccinated – twice. If you don’t, then you stand a pretty good chance of getting sick – very sick. Why? Because, New Zealand, in three weeks’ time Auckland is coming – ready or not.”

Freedom Day.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 5 November 2021.


Odysseus said...

Yep, There Is No Alternative. People have had plenty of opportunity to get vaccinated. Auckland cannot be held hostage any longer. COVID will ravage New Zealand regardless. All efforts should now be directed to coping with the flood of cases and deaths to come. This work should have been started 18 months ago, but other priorities like devising a race-based health system took precedence. The fruits of this government's willful negligence will soon be made apparent.

David George said...

There will be hundreds of thousands of cars (and thousands of boats) heading off for the summer holidays; the "idea" of stopping them all with a "papers" demand from every occupant is so ridiculously impractical you really do have to wonder what sort of fool could come up with it in the first place. What sort of totalitarian?

After seeing Ardern's smug, manic grin when asked about the creation of two classes of Kiwis a lot of people will reach the obvious conclusion.

DS said...

It's not a matter of house arrest. It's a matter of Aucklanders staying in Auckland until this outbreak dies (and there is some reason for thinking that cases are peaking now-ish, and starting to decline. This is not general community transmission, but rather a Delta wave through Auckland's criminal underworld and its associates). In short, spend your Christmas in Auckland, not outside - in lockdown or not. So long as the internal border stays until the outbreak peters out.

There are more non-Aucklanders than Aucklanders, of course. What do you think the people of Napier think about the likes of Mike Hosking declaring that they'll be coming for a visit? Hint - they think people who want to travel in this environment just screams entitlement.

Anonymous said...

You forgot one more important action that needs to occur
The resignation of Ardern for overseeing a complete and utter fuck up of the most massive proportions
Adrian P

pat said...

This realisation was reached by the Gov some weeks ago only they havnt explicitly stated it (yet)....not long now.

oneblokesview said...

Correct on so many levels Chris.

The lack of practical awareness from the leadership is appalling.

Does Jacinda et al get any REAL practical advice, or does she/they just ignore it.

SO standby for media articles(fed by the Cabal) writing up stories about how well Auckland has done and that they are now "protected" from all those baddies in the rest of the country.
Conveniently ignoring that the risk of Covid spread is still minute in the overall scheme of things.

I suspect such seeding (yours being the first :-)
Will accelerate in the coming days.

Am picking the announcement will be made on the 29th to take effect from the following week.(If history is a guideline) Too bloody late for anyone to book anything!

Tom Hunter said...

Where we are going has been obvious for some time, as I pointed on October 17 at this post, Faces are nice and numbers are boring:

At some point soon I suspect that Adern and company will not even bother talking about the vaccination rate, and if questions about either it or case numbers are mentioned, they’ll just waffle around them.

No, even though they can’t quite bring themselves to do it yet, they’re probably soon going to start talking about a different number; the number of the day and month on which New Zealand will open up, both internally and to the world. A “Freedom Date” as the British called it.

To do otherwise would be to take numbers that have been useful to the government so far – case numbers and vax rates – and watch them be steadily turned against the government, as they already are.

David George said...

What happens if (when?) Hone And His Henchmen decide, in the absence of state measures, to unilaterally and illegally enforce border controls themselves.
Will Jacinda & Co shut them down?

Therein lies the dilemma created, in large part, by this government's cowardly capitulation to the increasingly outrageous demands from the activist Maori ethno nationalists. They seem perfectly willing to push the He Puapua agenda with chilling implications for our generally peaceful multi-cultural democracy, to kowtow to a dangerous and divisive ideology. How are the current government initiatives fundamentally different to statements from Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi that water is “a taonga that belongs to us”, and a “Tiriti-centric Aotearoa” would not be “a democracy, because… democracy is majority rules”. The Lebanon model Rawiri?

Either this government or the next one is going to have to seriously contain these aspirations and thereby risk the rise of a militant terrorist reaction from that quarter. They probably (and reasonably), for now, see that risk as greater than an uprising from the majority but their current course is clearly unsustainable politically and unjustifiable morally.

Chris, a prior essay mentioned concerns about the possibility of civil war inspired by a Don Brash lead hosing down of Maori separatist expectations. The contributory conditions to such a scenario have only become far more threatening and imminent since that election. Perhaps Don was right?

The Barron said...

One person's freedom ...

The Government is well aware that a programme of 11-5 year old vaccination is required for the protection of Primary aged children. The Government is aware it is available, but the infrastructure for roll out is still being considered.

The Government is well aware that a booster jab will be required, not just for the immuno-compromised, but for the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and front line workers. As above, the roll out is still to be determined.

Long Covid is reported at up to one-in-three of unvaccinated that suffer Covid19. Vaccination has been shown on one study to at least half the chances of Long Covid if affected by Covid19. Other studies also indicate the vaccination reduces the chance of contracting Covid19 by up to a factor of 10.

It is reasonably thought that Long Covid is under the umbrella of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As such, with CFS / ME, all will have a disablity that will have to be managed at home and in the workplace, one-in-four will not be able to work or study and be largely house-bound or bed-bound. Three-quarters of those contracting both Long Covid and CFS / ME are women. CFS / ME is across all ethnic groups, but if we follow the out-break of Covid19 in our communities, Maori and Pasifika are more likely to contract Covid19. The level of disability likely to occur in these communities as a result of Long Covid is high. Many have sole-supporting mothers, and Long Covid will have a disproportionate impact on those whanau / fanau.

There is no cure or approved treatment for CFS / ME. While there is an age bias of those being diagnosed as between 30 - 50 (as with Long Covid), all age groups can be affected. Paediatric Long Covid, along with CFS / ME is showing in greater numbers and the age bias may simply reflect difficulty and reluctance to diagnose children. If a child gets CFS / ME (and by derivation Long Covid) they my be disabled for life, restricted in physical activity and cognitive ability.

Be very aware, when you write bout your freedom, it comes at a very high price to others. I doubt anyone with Long Covid would be celebrating any concept of freedom.

A O said...

"Either this government or the next one is going to have to seriously contain these aspirations and thereby risk the rise of a militant terrorist reaction from that quarter."
Don't worry David George...they will most likely fall under the "domestic terrorism" banner when that starts to well and truly kick into gear very soon. The so-called anti-vaxxer/far-right movements will officially kick this show on the road and looking a few years down the road....everyone here and anyone that takes an interest in governmental matters will becomes subjects of interest also....

sumsuch said...

I've long tired of this all. Immediate stuff about less than a 1% death rate. Versus Roge Douglas's 'medium term' death of most of us. Labour plays politics like the immediate is the only thing. I prefer my fellow Scot Anderson's opinion on Stuff about their woosiness, unwillingness to confront us about climate change.

David George said...

A Wing and a Prayer:

Do we want accusation, suspicion, discord, derision and hatred?

Or the peace and prosperity and happiness that beckons to us at this moment like never before?

Who’s the enemy here?

Is it the basket of deplorables?
Is it the freaks and the queers?

Is it the plumbers and carpenters and tradesmen and managers who work honestly and diligently during the day and the soldiers who stalwartly defend the borders and protect us?

Is it the artists and visionaries whose expressions of unbridled creativity entertain and rejuvenate us and who continually offer to us an unending panoply of technological miracle?

Is it the institutions that guide and protect us that so many lived and died to erect and establish which for all their faults have served us so well?

Do we want revenge or justice?
Do we want contempt or mercy?
Do we want war—or peace?

And what are you aiming at in your heart of hearts?

I see even the best of men degenerating into the exchange of blows.
I see even the best of men identifying the enemy in our neighbours and friends.
I see even the best of men falling prey to cowardice and self-righteous anger.

It needs to stop.

Tom Hunter said...

Wow. The Barron just isn't going to let go of this latest excuse for massive state intervention .. required for the protection of Primary aged children.

Since I know you don't trust the CDC I'll go for the BBC on children < 12 years of age:
1 in 50,000 chance of child in ICU
2 in 1,000,000 chance of child death

Of course these near-zero odds are why "crisis" merchants like you are suddenly hitting the "long covid" button, even though the CDC, while talking about it, still acknowledges the incredibly low odds of even that condition with children.

But no: likely "Barron" will be thumping the drums for vaxxing or no school.

David George said...

Thanks AO.
I doubt the fringe extremists you mention are likely to garner much of a sufficiently motivated force to pose a real security threat. Don't be getting your guns out just yet. Thankfully we still have recourse to peaceful means to assert some sanity into our nation's course. How long that will remain given the multi faceted destruction of democracy being undertaken is the big question.

The current government have decided to expend what remains of their political capital on deeply divisive policies directly at odds with the interests and instincts of the reasonable majority and thereby sowing the seeds for an ignominious and richly deserved defeat.

Anonymous said...

"People are going to die. Which they did – and still are." That is the key dilemma for the Government (whether red, blue or whatever). At the moment NZ sits in a privileged position. If/when a hospital corridor has one of your family members (children) gasping for breath awaiting a bed, you will accuse the Government of recklessness and playing with peoples lives. Freedom comes at a cost. Is the life of a loved one a reasonable cost you are prepared to pay? If yes, swing wide the gates...

greywarbler said...

The airy fairy ideas at 9.16 never have occurred but were part of our myths.
As Greta says, blah, blah.
Do we want accusation, suspicion, discord, derision and hatred?
Or the peace and prosperity and happiness that beckons to us at this moment like never before?
We can't live in p,p & happiness, we end up arguing and wanting different. It is pathetic to even bring up such goals at this confused time when we have to take a clear look at the positives we have and how to retain them.

It was Labour and Roger Douglas' Merry Men who dreamed of nirvana and tried to slip out the side door to catch early closing when they were needed on the job to do some hard thinking.
The small percentage who do try to think in as positive way as possible, and then act need to keep at it and support each other. I have been reading a bit of Edward de Bono who is dead, but his ideas were prolific and he made sure they were printed and published.

He has a heading of Unused Potential where he refers to complacent organisations that may be able to keep going because they have a good enough market that they serve well enough. They may have a research department that turns up ten new ideas, of which they choose four and go with them. That sounds practical but he makes the point that the fifth may be excellent and be a success if an entity was given the task of taking it further.

IN NZ could be done with housing. We have tiny houses and keen people. Let a small green shoot bunch go with a clear plan and proper controls on housing and other needed things. Labour has allowed itself to be exhausted and flattened, flatulent with words and limited in action.

DeBono talks about nominated champions to pick up the ideas that bring creativity forward, and who can carry them the chosen to fruition. Let's have champions that are hard-headed, soft-hearted, active and stringy not soft and pudgy. Not full of bull, but with a successful past odf achievement where they made thingsa, demonstrated ability to lead and aid all to finish.
De Bono quotes Sir Colin Marshall then Chief Executive of Britiah Airways who noted that unless there was created a 'nominated champion' who was given responsibility for making something happen, then nothing ever did happen.p.43Sur/petition

The Barron said...

The first thing is it is not the 'latest' anything. SARS and MERS had about 40 - 28% CFS /ME, British newspapers were suggesting 1 in 3 would get this in March / April 2020, in May cross party US legislators we're petitioning for funding for this, July 2020 both Fauci and Hancock recognized this. I wrote to Bowalley Rd last year, but raised the issue elsewhere March 2020.

Everything isn't 'latest' simply because of your ignorance. In regard pediatric Long Covid, like pediatric CFS/ME it is only now being focused on. One in Three unvaccinated with Covid19 are likely to get Long Covid. There is no reason to suppose pediatric will be significantly different. CFS / ME is seen as the leading medical reason for hours of school absence in many countries. NZ does not keep records

I will go through numbers with you Tom. If NZ has a week that averages 180 cases per day, this is 60 Long Covid cases (if unvaccinated), 15 of these will be disabled to the extent of being usable to work or study. This 105.per week. If a chemical spill caused those numbers of severely disabled it would dominate headlines and governmental policy.

Of those 105, about 77 will be women. As children are a significant number of current cases, and the largest group of unvaccinated if we open up, children are likely to prominent in those with Long Covid, and those disabled.

The point is, opening up literally comes with a crippling cost. When you have your ice cream in Tirau, others will have a lifetime of restrictions.

And yes, I believe in mandatory vaccination, including the childhood illnesses, for all children. They should not be victim to their parents stupidity.

A O said...

David George...I suggest this current mob has an over abundance of political capital/ good will in the bank. This is why they did the big reversal from Team NZ to a divided New Zealand because they new they would get away with it. And nary a word from the media proves this to be true. A compliant press has led to an equally compliant nation. If we don't have a press willing to challenge government, then don't expect the in-power party to ever change.

And allow me to touch upon your 'A Wing and a Prayer' comment by adding this...what do people fear more, the virus or the unvaccinated?

The Barron said...

The reasonably accepted British stat for Long Covid in children is one in seven (14%) of those who have had Covid19. The number goes up with age.

Because of the difficulty in identifying energy and cognitive impairment in children, the numbers will not be evident until longitudinal studies.

With CFS / ME pediatric cases are serious and under diagnosed.

Tom Hunter said...

Oh - should add the BMJ study on "long Covid".

Key quotes:
A large study of children and young people who caught SARS-CoV-2...

So already a smaller proportion than the whole population of such kids.

The researchers contacted young people aged 11-17 from the database of test results held by Public Health England from January to March 2021.

So not little kids aged 5-10 then but a group that is already eligible for Covid-19 vaccines.

The most common symptoms reported were headaches and tiredness.

The high numbers of young people who tested negative reporting symptoms at 15 weeks may be explained by tiredness being common in this age group generally and the survey period coinciding with the return of school after lockdown and a likely increase in non-covid infections.

Shorter message: not the strongest study in the world, certainly not strong enough to justify mandatory vaccinations of little kids. Thankfully they seem to have good grip on the situation:
Liz Whittaker, senior clinical lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Imperial College London, told the briefing, “It’s unclear at this time whether vaccination will prevent long covid, and the JCVI will be basing their decision on the risk of severe disease and the risk of the vaccine.”

David George said...

Thanks Greywarbler, some good ideas though but I suspect you didn't watch and listen to the linked clip of the full poem. It made me weep. It concludes:

Who is the enemy here?

The snake in your heart?
The lies on your tongue?
The arrogance of your intellect?
The cowardice of our refusal to see?

The enemy is that which divides to sow discord.

The enemy is the pride and fear that stops us from lending a hand across the divide.

The enemy is the great and eternal adversary of mankind.

And if we demonize our brothers, our comrades-in-arms, do we not precisely call that dread spirit forth?

Have we not yet learned?


Even unto your enemy.
Which is you.

God forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
May what is highest guide our vision
May what is highest open our ears
May what is highest guide our tongues

And may we pray
Fearful of the hell we could so easily and carelessly create

Deliver us from evil
Shine a light into the corners of our dark hearts

For thine is the Kingdom
The Power and the Glory
For Ever and Ever


In case it needs spelling out the outro in the original version ends with The Stones' Sympathy For The Devil.

David George said...

"Sympathy For The Devil"

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith

I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Tzar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made

I shouted out,
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me

The Barron said...

Tom, if the game is pass the BMJ article, September 2021 under the heading 'Long covid: One in seven children may still have symptoms 15 weeks after infection, data show'-

As stated, until there are longitudinal studies, the scale of pediatric Long Covid will not be fully known.

Tom Hunter said...

The following Twitter video from China of little kids is probably where we're headed, Children in China lining up for pre school, QR codes pinned to their front to prove they are safe.

I'm a little surprised they've only gone for QR codes printed on paper when there are so many electronic means available.

greywarbler said...

David George 6.40
Poets can emote on a high note. The rest of us have to work through life. Personally trying to reach balance is all that can be hoped for in life so forget about the list of sainthood, as I consider good people are a blessing, they don't have to be saints. In fact saints are hard to get along with as they don't think like ordinary people.

These are good aims - Courage, Trust, Truth, Love.

'Who is the enemy here?' Those who always demand meeting standards perhaps, or pretending to do so? Trying to keep to fair and reasonable standards even when that leads to difficulties. We have to accept our own faults, and forgive our own trespasses, and then we can understand those of others. The enemy is the two-faced dissembler (or may be called 'virtue-signaller').

David George said...

Yes grey but we need the artists and the poets that peer beyond the everyday, beyond the material.
“It is not for nothing that our age cries out for the redeemer personality, for the one who can emancipate himself from the grip of the collective [psychosis] and save at least his own soul, who lights a beacon of hope for others, proclaiming that here is at least one man who has succeeded in extricating himself from the fatal identity with the group psyche.”

~ Carl Jung

David George said...

What I'm seeing, and perhaps that's why that poem had such an effect, is the outpourings of what can only be described as hate and resentment in the world. No attempt at understanding an genuine discourse.

"Shine a light into the corners of our dark hearts' exactly Jordan!


Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
~Martin Luther King

greywarbler said...

David George Well I'm trying. Don't know whether you have broken free. It may be that you are attached to the idea of some sort of supermensch or übermenschlich, which crops up in the philosophy language. A theoretical state, not so much of just trying to be a practical, caring person living amongst similar others, trying to limit deviances or overweening obsessions or indeed complacency, in oneself, and understand the necessity for a limit in others. People can be delightful and individual, not just to be dismissed as being trapped in a group psyche.

In Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman the two powerful angels on earth of good and evil consider humankind objectively:

They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse...they do things we've never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They've got what we lack. They've got imagination. And electricity, of course....'
And just when you'd think they were more malignant than ever Hell could be, they could occasionally show more grace than Heaven ever dreamed of. Often the same individual was involved. It was this free-will thing, of course. It was a bugger.

Working out how to look after oneself and one's close kin, and bringing understanding of others learnings and the importance of society modelling through a child's upbringing of the sort of society we all would wish for, should be paramount. But we have the Child Poverty people reiterate our deficiencies, the UN points an accusing finger, and we rush to save people adventuring in the wilds, but can't help a mother or family trying to manage in the midst of our society. So don't preach poetically to me, I just smile sardonically at the deceit. This urbane, materialistic society has to lose much of its ease and complacency, and do more for the neighbours down the road, uncomfortably near, not just in distant, desert lands.