Seven people died on New Zealand roads on the weekend. That was not a headline story.
But imagine if seven people had died of the covid virus. We’d be back to full lockdown panic mode.
From the beginning, back eight months, all governments were working in the dark in dealing with the virus. The severity of responses, from full lockdown to Sweden’s relative laissez faire, were all of necessary speculative.
Intuition told me Sweden probably had it right, thus my comments on this site in early March that when it’s all done and dusted, Sweden will prove to have had it right. Increasingly in Europe that is now the received thinking.
Now and for at least five years ahead comes the enormous economic and social cost of dealing with the aftermath.
The destruction of small businesses, our major employers, will be horrific, currently masked by unprecedented money printing which obviously can’t continue.
Has the New Zealand government handled it well? Again, remember as said, they like every government were working in the dark, thus a cautionary approach was logical.
So I’d give them 8 out of 10, with two points off for infantilising the nation.
The teddy bear crap, the fat woman TV advertisement wringing her hands and in a little girl voice, simpering “Be Kind”, so too the same insulting message on our highway signs and now, the “team of 5 million” rubbish, has been cringe-making. I hope the PM will knock that nonsense on the head.
The government was one of the least experienced ever to take office and in the circumstances did well.
But I’m damn sure the key lesson they’ve gained, which past seasoned governments could tell them, as they’ve all been through it, is not to place too much weight on bureaucrats advice. By their nature bureaucrats are overly cautious individuals who as is their right, have opted for safety first careers.
The same applies to academics who have enjoyed a rare place in the media limelight and naturally want to sustain it. Their safety first salaries are paid for by the private sector, the doers and shakers, be they farmers, café proprietors, builders, manufacturers and other have-a-go types.
The virus issue is still with us but surely now with better perspective, we can cope with it and get on with life.
Talk of a vaccine is now increasingly positive and panic has no place in the government response.
Rather, all efforts must now go on the economic recovery. A punitive tax approach would be the 100% wrong decision, indeed to the contrary in which incentives to inspire the doers and shakers to climb off the canvass and start again is imperative. That is now the fresh approach being argued in Europe and it’s the right one.
It will be a time for radicalism for which Labour have a proud record, first in 1935 and again in 1985.
It’s certainly no time for conservative stodge as epitomised by National’s announcement to bail out the Tiwai smelter with virtually free electricity.