Lockdown again. Yes, we knew it was coming. But if so, why we feel we are still not prepared?

A “short and sharp” decent into Level 4 lockdown wasn’t a surprise for many, as the government has been indicating it would do so if even a single case of the new strain Delta was found in the community. And it might as well be the single best thing the government could have done in this situation. The question we must ask ourselves now though, is: If they knew it was coming, why do we still feel we are not prepared to deal with it?

Our vaccination levels are amongst the worst in the world, with rates running below of those of countries with widespread COVID-19 cases, like Brazil. We saw a huge outflow of health professionals to Australia and other countries, due to changes in government policies that would ultimately harm the livelihoods of those professionals and freeze their salaries and wages for the years to come. Our ICU bed numbers haven’t changed as much since before the pandemic, and while the Labour party had fun with their new taxation laws and economic tightening in all these past months, our health system structure has remained still.

The feeling is not only that New Zealand is not ready to deal with COVID-19, and that a lot of time has been wasted by this government on the implementation of its erratic policies, but that if we can’t effectively contain any outbreaks quick and fast, that the slightest slip will lead to a total collapse.

We are now locked down again, and as it has come as a total “old-new thing” to some, this is what has been happening all around the world. So how could we possibly think we could be the only exception? Why do we feel that the little that was done wasn’t close to be enough? Why all the focus went to containment, whilst no effort has been put onto preparedness?

Even if we had managed to keep the decease out, for how long could we realistically be secluded from the rest of the world? Employers across the country are crying for help because they simply don’t have enough staff, or consumables, or materials. Our economy is crawling higher, and as we all struggle to deal with all the shortages, we could instead be using this moment to make New Zealand shine in the global stage as a real example of how to make the best out of a crisis like this one. Is the government not listening? How out of touch can it be?

As I struggle to understand why we were left where we are, we still have to play the game. And while I can sit here and complaint about it all day with my fancy coffee, sitting on my comfortable chair, in my cozy and warm home, the real harm – as always – is felt by those in much worse financial situation; those whom the government prays to help in detriment of the wealthy. It’s time for kiwis to ask themselves if this government is really delivering what is has promised, and who is ultimately accruing the benefits of its policies.