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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 7 & 8

25 August 2021 9 comments

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24 August: Day 7 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 107

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

A cool,  grey, overcast, morning. This is a good start. Unpleasant weather deters people from taking strolls along crowded, popular walkways such as Oriental Bay Parade. As mentioned in previous diary entries, most do not wear facemasks and joggers run past pedestrians, breathing hard all about them.

The possibility that one of these is carrying Delta, running through unmasked strollers puffing virus with each laboured breath, does not bear thinking about. The inescapable irony; a healthy activity that could land many people in hospital…

At my local urban park n ride railway station there are three cars parked. Yesterday there were four.

It is deathly quiet. No wind, very little traffic around my streets.

But noticeable on the main roads are plenty of commercial vehicles. Just some spotted; “Intergroup” street-sweeping truck; “Bidfoods” truck parked by a Dairy; “Wellington SCL” van; “Newshub” stationwagon parked on SH2 roadside; “Greater Wellington Regional Council” ute; a gravel-haulage truck; “Noel Leeming” truck; “Drain Doctor” van; “Arb Innovations” ute; “Global Welding Supplies” hatchback; red “NZ Courier” van; “Waste Management” soft-sided truck; a glaziers van; “Bidfresh” soft-sided light truck; a ute marked “Filtec”; “Crown Lift” truck; “PBT” courier van; “Coca Cola” soft-sided truck; a firewood light truck; “Mainfreight” double tandem heavy truck; a large heavy flat-deck truck, empty; an “Owens” truck bearing a container; a “Downer” van; “Waste Management” truck; green “Toll” van; two green gravel-haulage trucks; “Pacific” fuel tanker truck; “Morepork” truck carrying a light ‘bobcat’ digger; “NZ Couriers” heavy truck; van marked “Proflow Plumbing and Gas Solutions”; “PBT” courier van; “Mainstream” soft-sided truck; “Jets” soft-sided truck; white van marked “High Rise”; black SUV marked “One News”; van marked “Plumbing World”; light truck, “Service Foods”; ute marked “kiwirail”; black ute, “Chill”; black hatchback, “Spark”; soft-sided truck, “Booths Transport Ltd”; ute, “Jennian”; van, “Wasabe Group”; van, “Chorus; two “Coundown” food delivery trucks; et al.

There were many other commercial vehicles whose markings could not be easily determined. The list above is perhaps a quarter  of commercial vehicles sighted.

The two heavy diggers spotted over the last few days, and reported on yesterday were operating:

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Their support vehicles parked nearby:

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Despite considerable commercial vehicles present, traffic volumes on SH2 was light, around three to four vehicles at any one time. Traffic density increased approaching Melling Interchange, with around a dozen vehicles present at Belmont/Kelson.

By Petone, the over-cast skies had become a light drizzle with temperature cooling.

At the automated BP Fuel station on SH2, workmen and heavy commercial vehicles were again operating today.

Around the northern suburbs, it began to rain heavily by mid-morning and the weather had become colder. This would hopefully motivate people to stay home and not cluster at popular walkways.

In the late evening, there were roadworks just south of the automated BP Fuel station on SH2, in the northbound lane. A crew comprising of three light-arrow trucks; some other heavy vehicles, and workmen on-site. Nothing quite says banal normality during a deadly pandemic crisis than roadworks.

The day finished on a jarring note.

Not the pandemic. Not the grim news that there were 41 new covid cases today.

Not that our cuzzies in New South Wales had another terrible day of increased covid numbers.

These were indeed bad news stories.  But the thing that was depressing came from our own media.

Mainstream media had finally ramped up it’s stories from carping quarters.

Radio NZ’s “Checkpoint” led off with an interview with serial-whinger and business-at-any-cost lobbyist, Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO, Michael Barnett.

Unchallenged by host, Lisa Owen, the two carried on a five-minute long moan as to why supermarkets were allowed to operate but butchers, greengrocers, bottlestores, et al, were forced to close. It was a frustrating example of child-like entitlement and neither understood the crisis that New South Wales was now in because retailers were allowed to open at will.

For Barnett, it was a simplistic situation where he suggested:

“I think that’s to hard to define… I think what you should do is give me the conditions under which I can operate. And if I can operate a butchery, or bakery, or a supermarket under those conditions then I should be able to do it. If I can do it, I can do it one on one and contactless, and if that’s the rule, that’s what I should be able to do.”

When Ms Owen asked Barnett to define safety parameters, he replied glibly:

“Absolutely, It’s health and safety. We’ve got to comply with that. Set those parameters, set the conditions which I can operate, should operate, and let me comply with that. Business is very good at doing that.”

He continued his rant:

“That’s the stupidity of the system that they’ve [government] got.”

At no point did either of them bring up the dire situation that New South Wales was in. The Australian state has failed to contain covid and the numbers of new cases each day are staggering:

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In case anyone was wondering what the differences was between New Zealand and New South Wales, these are the retailers allowed to be open during respective lockdowns:

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So New South Wales has followed Michael Barnett’s demands. Almost every retailer is open to trade. Their covid cases have exploded as well.

To date, the death toll for New South Wales is 128. For Victoria, the death toll is 820. For Australia, the combined death toll is:

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984

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Ours remains at 26.

Remember Barnett’s assertion:

“If I can do it, I can do it one on one and contactless, and if that’s the rule, that’s what I should be able to do… Set those parameters, set the conditions which I can operate, should operate, and let me comply with that. Business is very good at doing that.”

Retail Meat New Zealand spokesperson, Kit Arkwright, also echoed Barnett’s demands to open up retailing:

“If we could provide click and collect at our front door on the high street like most butchers are placed, I think that would be a pretty practical step in the right direction.

An eftpos machine at the front door and an open environment on the high street I can’t see to many risks there.”

But other businesses have disclosed they cannot ensure public safety. On compulsory QR scanning, Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) spokesperson Alan McDonald was explicit:

“If you make it compulsory then that implies somebody has go to enforce this thing and if you’re looking at particularly small businesses … that’s putting a lot of onus on the owner or people running the store to perhaps front somebody who doesn’t necessarily want to scan in.”

And Retail NZ chief executive, Greg Harford was equally clear:

“It’s not a retailer’s job to be enforcing the rules, whether it’s contact tracing or mask use – it’s just really not what we’re there for, and I think you get pretty good levels of compliance from the public on these sorts of things anyway.”

So much for Barnett’s glib and meaningless assurances that “business is very good at doing that.”

To be clear, Barnett is advocating nothing more than “all-care-but-no-responsibility”. And no responsibility for inevitable deaths should we follow his lunatic demands.

The man’s sole motive is money, not keeping people alive.

And shame on RNZ, “Checkpoint“, and other mainstream media for platforming him without robustly challenging him and exploring the consequences of his demands.

There was more whinging and demands for “certainty” and “clarity” from the South Island – again helpfully platformed and amplified by a mainstream media eager for clicks.

Sadly, the juvenile whingefest on RNZ was not alone. TV1 News today led with not one; not; two, but three noisy critics with their own agendas. Let us be crystal clear: those agendas are not focused on our well-being.

The constant flow of carping is not a matter of “free speech”. Aotearoa New Zealand is facing a deadly pandemic that, to date, has killed 4.44 million people world-wide (certainly an under-reported figure); flooded hospitals with covid patients; created a syndrome of on-going suffering called “Long Covid”; and dragged away resources from other healthcare priorities.

To defeat covid, all New Zealanders must work collectively.  The alternative is clear for us to see in India, Brazil, United States, Britain, Fiji, and closer to home, Australia.

The discordant voices from business lobbyists concerned with their profit-taking or Opposition party-leaders (yes, Ms Collins and Mr Seymour, I’m referring to you both) vying for votes, distracts us from what should be our collective responsibilities to help one another.

We should all be pulling in the same direction. But when noisy business people and ambitious, irresponsible, political leaders appear to be pulling in opposing directions, it becomes apparent that the virus has allies – or “useful idiots” –  in our midst.

For the rest of the week, I will be reducing watching or listening to mainstream media.  Yes, that includes RNZ’s “Checkpoint” and possibly “Morning Report“. Too much amplified crazy bleating during a global disaster just does one’s head in.

And as a community worker, I want my head clear to focus on my clients. Not with the clamourings of business-sotted death-merchants and those aspiring to be the next Prime Minister.

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By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 148

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

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25 August: Day 8 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 148

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

Another fine day, cool, breezy, but sunny. Just when we needed it the most, the stormy weather that battered the country the last couple of months seems to have subsided.

Four cars only at the local park n ride railway station.

Road traffic seemed decidedly heavier than the last few days. Noticed on the roads; a “Driving Miss Daisy” hatchback; a ute towing a trailer filled with cut firewood; ute marked “Plimmer Plumbing; white van marked “KPC Laundry Hire Services”; “Downer”; “X Couriers”; a high-sided open truck carrying a full load of cut firewood; “Fliway” truck; gray van, “Patch and Paint”; “Eurofins” marked SUV; gravel-hauling truck, “Downer”; gray ute, “Gemco”; white van marked “Bottle-O – Stokes Valley”; a police car racing north with flashing lights; another firewood-laden truck; “KAMS” large soft-sided truck; white van, “Initial”; “K&M” truck carrying a container; glass-glazing truck; “Fliway” truck; “Kiwirail” ute; “Envirowaste” truck; gray “Poste Haste” van; a truck carrying gas cylinders; a ute at the side of the road, “John Everiss”; a container-laden truck, “PBT”; a soft-sided truck, “Owens”; heavy truck, “Big Chill Distributors”; heavy truck, “Goodman Fielder”; a rental van, “Budget”; a van, “Jones Services”; a soft-sided, double-tandem truck, “Mainstream”; a rental van, “Hirepool”; double-tandem truck, “Toll”; yellow van, “Abe’s Bagels”; white van, “AEL Electrical”; truck, “Fliway”; “Downer” roadworks truck, laden with ubiquitous orange road cones; “Newshub” ute; two black cars, “Recon Security”; ute marked “Treescape”; police car parked-up by Jville “McDonalds”, on the round-a-bout; truck, “Ablaze Landscaping”; dumpster truck, “Downer”; truck, “WheelieBin”; truck, “New World”; car-transporter laden with three cars; truck, “K&M”; another police car with flashing lights; soft-sided truck truck, “Pak N Save”;  van, “Chorus”; van, “A to Z Flooring”; “Bidfood” truck; “Rinnai Service” van; “New World” truck; “Apparel Line” truck; police car, flashing lights, heading south on SH2; empty stock-truck; “L.G. Anderson” truck; another “L.G. Anderson” truck, laden with a container; flat-deck ute, “Aurora”; a suction-tanker truck marked “Southey’s Hydro Excavation”; an ambulance; another police car; another ambulance; a “Poste Haste” van; flat-deck truck, “Zoo”; truck, “Groundworks”; “K&M” truck; trucked marked “Firewood” (in very large letters!) with a large, full load; van, “JMAC”; van marked “Tungsten Electrical”; green van, “Toll”; truck carrying a digger, “Treescape”; black van, “Blackwell Plumbing”; van marked “Bottle-O”; car, “SCL Wellington”; van, “Chorus”; van, “Battery Service”; van marked “ABS”; truck, “Bidfood”; truck, “Jets”; double tandem truck, “Mainfreight”; truck laden with orange roadcones, marked “Hirepool”; van, “Postehaste”; van bearing “Streets” ice cream advertising; an ambulance; flat-deck truck marked “AA Vehicle Recovery”; tanker truck, “Northfuels”; et al.

As mentioned previously, there were many other commercial vehicles whose markings could not be easily determined. The list above is indicative only.

Commercial and residential traffic this late-morning was decidedly heavier than at any time since lockdown began. Without knowing that Delta was currently present in Aotearoa New Zealand, the level of commercial traffic on the roads certainly did not reflect our current emergency.

This blogger counted at least a dozen vehicles visible in the vicinity of SH58 interchange.

Riverbed work on the Hutt River was continuing unabated;

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Stopped at Melling red traffic lights, there were four vehicle in front and adjacent to me: all commercial.

Work had ceased at the automated BP service station south of Petone; all vehicles and workers had gone.

Two businesses appeared to be open to the public and trading:

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After some navigating around government ministeries and a phone call to a very helpful (and delightful!) operator, I was directed to the appropriate covid19 website to lodge a query/compliance compaint to investigate these two businesses.

It’s not a lockdown if people and businesses aren’t complying. Delta covid appreciates helpful people who take the piss.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 210

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the seventh and eighth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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Meanwhile, in an unfortunate juxtaposition of names, the singer vs the virus…

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References

RNZ: Live – Covid-19 updates on day 6 of lockdown

Newshub: New South Wales records staggering 478 local COVID-19 cases, eight deaths

RNZ: Covid-19 in NSW – State records 830 new cases

Newshub: COVID-19 – New South Wales records 818 new local community cases, three deaths

9News: NSW records 753 cases

9News: NSW records 919 new COVID-19 cases as state awaits incentives reveal

RNZ: Michael Barnett criticises essential business criteria

Stuff media: How New Zealand’s level 4 compares to NSW’s ‘strict’ Covid-19 lockdown

RNZ: Retail Meat NZ fears some butchers won’t survive extended lockdown

Stuff media: Covid-19 – QR code scanning too difficult for businesses to enforce if mandated – EMA

RNZ: South Island businesses want clarity over lockdown duration

Newsroom: The complexities of a ‘mask mandate’

RNZ:  As it happened – Covid-19 updates on day 7 of lockdown – everything you need to know

Newshub: Coronavirus – Judith Collins won’t say how many COVID-19 deaths would be ‘acceptable’ number to live with

TVNZ: Extended lockdown hurting struggling events industry

Twitter: Neale Jones – state of New Zealand’s media – 25/8/21

Covid19.govt.nz: COVID-19 compliance

TVNZ: Covid community cases reach 210, most in Auckland

Additional

TVNZ: New Covid modelling reveals grim prospects if vaccination rate is not 90%

TVNZ: Michael Baker – Covid elimination strategy allows NZ to ‘choose our future’

Other Blogs

Pundit: The Lucky Lockdown? Is This The Kick In The Butt NZ Needs?

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

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

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

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6

For Reference

Covid19.govt.nz: COVID-19 compliance

 

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Acknowledgement: Peter Bromhead

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