Aucklanders (many of them, anyway) are to be freed from Covid curbs soon – but the rest of NZ has cause for anxiety

More than one announcement from the Beehive yesterday has the potential to affect the country’s health and general wellbeing in one way or another.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi – for example – was chuffed about the the Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill passing its first reading in Parliament.

But critics fear this legislation  will put several of the worst criminals in New Zealand back on our streets over the next four years.

ACT Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee said:

“Three Strikes offenders make up just one per cent of all convictions, they have an average of 75 convictions, they are the worst and most violent offenders New Zealand has seen. They aren’t behind bars for petty theft or minor crimes. They have beaten, raped and murdered people.

“For every offence carried out by these people, there is a victim…”

Another announcement was targeted at the health and wellbeing of one ethnic group in our community.

No guesses needed.  The Government has approved $46.75 million and signed 26 contracts to hasten the pace of Māori vaccinations and support the efforts of district health boards to reach the 90% double vaccinated target.

But the announcement with much greater potential to have an impact on us – chances are it will be an adverse effect – came from the PM,

In a speech, Jacinda Ardern set out the government’s plan for the next steps in its COVID-19 response, including how the country will step into the new traffic light system ahead of Christmas, how Auckland’s boundary will change and what’s coming up next for the other core components in our management of COVID-19 such as community care and our testing and tracing regime.

In a press statement, she said:

  • Auckland boundary settings are to change from 15 December, ensuring travel out for all vaccinated people or those with a negative test result
  • The country is better prepared – 82 per cent New Zealanders fully vaccinated, compared to 23 percent three months ago and projections of 90 per cent fully vaccinated by mid-December

Experts are saying it’s too early to open the boundary, it so happens, but the Government has buckled under political pressure to over-ride their advice and the government could not keep Auckland locked up for ever.

But what will be the consequences of these pre-Christmas tidings of good joy for  Aucklanders (those who meet vaccination or Covid-testing conditions or who flout the rules)?

According to Radio New Zealand, the experts it consulted say it is “inevitable” Covid-19 cases will crop up around the country once Auckland’s border opens, and the greatest impact will be on communities with the least resources

Canterbury University professor and Te Pūnaha Matatini investigator Michael Plank said the changes would result in Covid-19 spreading throughout the country.

Vaccination and testing measures will reduce the number of infectious people travelling, but it won’t prevent Covid-19 spreading altogether, Plank said.

 “In addition, around one in five cases in the current outbreak has been in under-12s who are not eligible for the vaccine and are exempt from the testing requirement. Altogether, this means it’s inevitable that cases will crop up all around the country over the summer period.

 “Where these cases land in highly-vaccinated communities, it’s likely the virus will hit a dead end and fizzle out. But cases that find their way into under-vaccinated communities will be able to spark serious outbreaks.”

A Newsroom report more grimly was headed ‘People will die at home’: Covid’s unstoppable summer

Health experts say Covid-19 will soon spread to every corner of the North Island and could spark massive outbreaks in Māori communities. While those living in the hyper-vaccinated urban strongholds may not experience too much disruption, the virus will go wild wherever vaccination rates are low. Children too could suffer, with an immunologist warning that most kids under the age of 12 are likely to contract Covid-19 in the coming months.

It all stems from a sense in Government that keeping Auckland shut up is no longer politically possible. But opening the floodgates is a much easier decision to make when the consequences won’t be visible for some weeks to come.

The Government’s hope now is that vaccination rates will be high enough to slow the spread of the virus – and that the combination of the threat of disease and the restrictions under the new traffic light system will spur vaccine uptake in the regions. The consequences of getting it wrong will be dire, but they wouldn’t be felt by those calling the shots – another reason Cabinet may be able to insist it has a clean conscience.

 One issue spotlighted by Newsroom is the relatively lax penalties for violating the border rules.

The land border around Auckland is only being enforced with spot checks, and many Aucklanders are bound to risk crossing the border without being vaccinated or tested.

When Father Christmas and his sleigh land on your roof this year, it might pay to check that some of those rule-flouting Aucklanders haven’t sneaked on board before he left their city…

Latest from the Beehive

Speech to Alzheimers New Zealand’s 2021 Conference

It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to give the opening address for Alzheimers New Zealand’s 2021 conference.

26 contracts signed to accelerate Māori vaccination rates

The Government has approved $46.75 million and signed 26 contracts to rapidly accelerate Māori vaccinations across Aotearoa and support the efforts of DHBs to reach the 90% double vaccinated target.

Speech for Te Aratini, Dubai Expo 2020

Te Aratini — The Festival of Indigenous & Tribal Ideas conveys the idea of ‘many converging pathways,’ and acts as a call to ignite new and existing connections between indigenous and tribal peoples, globally.

Repeal of three strikes law passes first reading

The Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament.

Poroporoaki: Hon John Luxton, CNZM, QSO

Hon Nanaia Mahuta wishes to acknowledge the passing of Hon John Luxton, CNZM, QSO.

Speech – Opening Address NZLS Family Violence Dynamics Forum

It is wonderful to be here with you this morning, and I would like to recognise the vital role you play in our judicial system.

Marine mammal sanctuary gets green light

A marine mammal sanctuary in Te Pēiwhairangi/Bay of Islands aims to not only reverse the decline in the numbers of bottlenose dolphins in the area but better protect visiting orcas and fur seals as well.

Speech – Next steps in our COVID-19 response

Today I will set out our plan for the next steps in our COVID-19 response, including how the country will step into the new traffic light system ahead of Christmas, how Auckland’s boundary will change and what’s coming up next for the other core components in our management of COVID-19 such as community care and our testing and tracing regime.

Auckland boundary to change 15 December

On 15 December Aucklanders who have been vaccinated or tested will be able to reconnect with the rest of New Zealand in time for Christmas and summer.

2 thoughts on “Aucklanders (many of them, anyway) are to be freed from Covid curbs soon – but the rest of NZ has cause for anxiety

  1. I could not care less about Aucklanders being released from lockdowns. What concerns me is the complex and convoluted Traffic Light system which I think will penalise my wife and I. We live in Hawkes Bay and the HBDHB currently has a 77% double vaccination rate as of this morning so we are not going to get to 90% much before March 2022.

    Are we going to be restricted despite no Covid for about 18 months while Aucklanders where it is almost out of control will roam free?

    Seems stupid to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely correct, but Ardern must find some way of regaining some semblance of popularity in Auckland, she has no chance anywhere else. Looks as though she has even been found out for what she is in Gisborne!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.