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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

21 August 2021 13 comments

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21 August: Day 4 of living in lock-down…

No report from this blogger of what has been happening around the Wellington region. Being a day off, I am staying at home. Plenty of housework and reading to catch up on.

Meanwhile…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 31

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

Today’s Eyebrow-Raiser.

Caretaker Leader Judith Collins on pointless sniping from the sidelines

“I think we’re very wise to sit back and wait a little while before we go charging into full Opposition mode.

I think one of the problems we have is if people see us as constantly sniping away from the sidelines and not putting up very good policies… then we’ll go the way of traditional Opposition which is further down, and that’s not something we want to do.”

Also Caretaker Leader Judith Collins, on the sidelines

“We are in lockdown because the government did not act with urgency to protect New Zealanders. Their complacency and inability to ensure supply and delivery of the vaccine roll-out has left New Zealanders as sitting ducks; completely vulnerable to the Delta variant when it inevitably got into the community.

It is not enough for the prime minister to lock us in our homes and speak from the podium once a day. New Zealanders don’t need sermons, we need vaccines in arms right now.”

She just can’t help herself.

At a time when we are facing an even worse crisis with a vastly more transmissable mutation of covid – the Delta Strain – the nation needs calm leadership. Sniping from the sidelines is a distraction already-stressed New Zealanders will not welcome, nor thank.

Let’s not forget that the Delta Strain came from Sydney.

Let’s not forget who put pressure on the government to open a Trans Tasman “bubble” with a petition.

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Let’s not forget who seems to have conveniently forgotten that petition.

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She got what she wanted. The consequences were inevitable. Now she’s sniping from the sidelines the government isn’t cleaning up the mess she – in part – is responsible for.

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#CaretakerLeaderCollins

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By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 51

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the fourth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 11 new cases in the community, including three in Wellington

Newshub: Judith Collins wants National to avoid ‘constantly sniping away from the sidelines’ as it rebuilds

RNZ: Covid-19 – National criticises government’s handling of latest outbreak

Newsroom: Sydney returnee likely source of Covid outbreak

National Party: Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition

Twitter: Judith Collins – Trans Tasman Bubble Petition

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 21 new community cases in New Zealand today

Previous related blogposts

National: Demand the Debate. Also National: No, not like that!

Judith Collins and National: It’s a trust thing

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cartoon judith collins

Acknowledgment: Sharon Murdoch

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

21 August 2021 13 comments

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20 August: Day 3 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 22

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

The day began sunny and near-cloudless sky. It was warming up. Not good, I thought with dread: fine days bring out the people for casual strolls on the beachfront; joggers; bike riders, dog walkers; et al. Most without face-masks, judging by yesterday’s observations on Oriental and Evans Bays.

By late morning, the sky filled with gray clouds; the temperature plummeted; and it began spitting with rain.

Perversely, my spirit lifted. People were less inclined to wander out and about in bad weather and – hopefully – would instead remain home.

The drive into Wellington to begin my work-day confirmed that the weather was worsening; the gentle ‘spit’ became a light drizzle.

There were fewer cars parked at the local railway station park-n-ride – only five today. In my immediate urban area there were even fewer cars on the road than yesterday. It was resembling last year’s lockdown.

On the highway I observed trucks marked PBT, “Lowcost Bins”; van marked “The Drain Doctor”; an “Armourguard” van; “Waste Management” jumbo-bin truck (unladen); “Postehaste” courier van; white van marked “Precision”; a light-truck carrying gas cylinders; a van marked “HydrauLink”; van marked “Initial”; a “Moore Wilsons” truck; another “Waste Management” truck; a ute marked “Groundforce”; a “Hirepool” truck, with driver and passenger, parked up at Belmont, carrying a portacom toilet; a “L.G. Anderson” marked truck; a yellow soft-sided truck (“Pak n Save”?)’; an unladen flat deck truck with a hi-ab; a soft-side truck marked “Countdown”;  a “Mitre 10 – Crofton Downs” truck carrying building materials; another “L.G. Anderson” flat-deck truck carrying a container; an ambulance; “Hirepool” truck; glaziers van; a “Traffic Management” truck; “Envirowaste” truck; “Waste Management” truck; “Provida Refrigerated Logistics” truck; “Kiwi Express” courier van; “L.G. Andrerson” flat deck truck, empty; “Dixon Dunlop” gravel truck, apparently empty; a police ute just north of Wellington; a “Toll” marked truck; “Dawson’s Waste” Pumping truck; two utes marked “Vertex”, carrying scaffold gear; a “Linfox” tanker;  “Onestop Plumbing & Gas” van (parked up); another police car in Miramar;  and many more which this blogger could not determine their company markings.

There was rock-dredging taking place in the Hutt River adjacent to SH2 “River Road” by two heavy digging-machines. Operations to rearrange the river-bed seemed to have returned to “normal” during an abnormal period. Has the Wellington Regional Council sanctioned this work?

By Melling, traffic was still light; lighter than the last few days.

At the automated BP Service station, on SH2 north of Ngauranga, there were workmen present again with several heavy vehicles.  Whatever work they were engaged in seemed unaffected by the nationwide lockdown order.

Out in the harbour, the freighter from yesterday was still anchored out in the choppy waters:

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One couldn’t but feel sympathy for the hapless crew aboard the ship:

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In Wellington City, few pedestrians wore face masks. But positively, there were even fewer people wandering along Oriental Bay Parade.

Update on the Marquee this blogger witnessed being erected/dismantled outside Te Papa Museum, in Cable Street yesterday:

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The Marquee had been put up. And it’s use was obvious:

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Unlike some of the commercial-construction activity this blogger was witnessing, this work was very much essential. A new covid-testing station in the city.  Just in time, for the terrible news that was just starting to break:

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Meanwhile, in the nearby Te Papa carpark,  three campervans were parked up. It remains to be seen if they will be present on Monday morning:

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At the Evans Bay Marina Campervan park, vehicles were still apparently coming and going, despite the lockdown.

At the eastern end:

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Compared to yesterday (right) with today (left):

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At the southern end:

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Compared to yesterday (right) with today (left):

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At the northern end:

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Compared to yesterday (right) with today (left):

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Parked up roadside:

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There was no change above from the image taken yesterday.

The reason this matters is not a campervan version of “trainspotting”. If these vehicles are are no longer parked-up, but are mobile, then they potentially become super-spreaders.

As the Wellingtonian who returned by car to Wellington, driving from Auckland:

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One campervan laden with occupants could easily spread the virus throughout the north island.

On 21 August, this blogger reported one of several vehicles on the motorway:

“South of Ngauranga, a white campervan was heading north. Another person taking the opportunity to treat lockdown as a personal opportunity for impromptu holiday-time?”

Where were they heading?

They are a potential, dangerous vector for spread no one has considered.

Tonight, a campervan owner at the Marina told this blogger that the Wellington City Council had lifted the 4-day maximum parking limit for vehicles during the covid emergency. There is therefore no valid justification for campervan owners to be moving around and flouting the lockdown.

Police have been notified.

Throughout the day, this blogger had occasion to visit two ‘Pak n Save’ supermarkets; one work-related on behalf of a client; the other personal. Neither were pleasant experiences.

Though supermarket staff did their best to limit numbers entering the store, the two-metre distancing rule is impossible to practice. The aisles are simply not wide enough and customers often pass each other well within a metre.

However, mask wearing was near universal. Only three customers were spotted; one with his mask slipped down; another without a mask, and wearing only a scarf which had slipped down around his neck; and a woman who responded that she “had an exemption“.

Did she also have an exemption from the Delta Covid? She didn’t say.

But they were only three of several hundred this blogger witnessed.

People entering the stores were assiduously scanning QR codes.

Dodging the Bullet – a personal note

The Ministry of Health released a list of locations of interest where covid-infected Wellingtonians, returning from Auckland, had been in the last few days.

The locations included places in suburbs around Wellington:

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As this blogger read through the list, my heart sank. Two places on Wednesday 18 August, in Johnsonville, were on a day I visit a client. The times coincided when I accompany them through Johnsonville.

Could it be that we had crossed paths with this infected  person? I could have passed him on the footpath and breathed in as he exhaled. Delta Covid is that infectious.

I felt sick in my gut.

I quickly grabbed my work diary. Checking the appointments, I found my client’s entry.

It had been crossed off.

I had been reassigned to Miramar clients instead. This was dodging the bullet on a personal level.  By reassigning me, my Manager may have inadvertently saved me and my client from becoming two more statistics.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 31

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the third day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: North Shore Hospital patient tests positive for Covid-19, emergency department closes

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak – Everything we know so far about Wellington cases

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak – Two cities, one cluster; North Island cases grow

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak – Locations of interest pass 190 – yet more expected

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 11 new cases in the community, including three in Wellington

Additional

Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MoBIE): Workplace operations at COVID-19 alert levels – Guidance for businesses at Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4

RNZ: Daily cheer – Social media content from lockdown day 3

Previous related blogposts

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2

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Acknowledgement: Sharon Murdoch

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