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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Life in Lock Down: Day 18

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April 12: Day 18 of living in lock-down…

The news today sounds good; “only” eighteen new cases. The lowest so far in a week. However, with testing far lower than usual because of the Easter Weekend, the fear is that the low number is misleading and we simply haven’t picked up more. Tuesday’s 1pm “presser” will give us a clearer picture hopefully.

Sunday is my one day off and aside from a few activities, I plan to do – nothing. At 9am I watch Jack Tame present the week’s Q+A. Guests today are Dr Ayesh Verrall, an Infectious Diseases Physician and senior lecturer at the  Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine in Wellington. She shares her knowledge and insights on covid19 and what we might expect from the contagion.

She is followed by Chris Hipkins, Minister for Education, on how schools will gradually re-open. There is talk of children observing the 2 metre rule. I shake my head at the naiveté of this. The only kids who isolate others are cliques who happen to be ostracising their chosen target-of-the-day.  Anyone who things kids will observe the 2 metre rules when many adults forget or can’t be bothered, don’t understand young people.

There is discussion surrounding foreign students (or lack thereof) and how schools and Universities will cope without their income. Jack Tame ask if government will pick up the tab for the shortfall.

The question should be why we ever allowed education to be corporatised and turned into a commodity in the first place. Oh yeah, tax cuts. Well, I think the fragility of relying on overseas students to top up our education funding has been exposed for the rort that it is.

Chris Hipkins may have let slip that the government intends to drop down to Level 3 Alert at some near stage by pointing out that “going from Level 4 to Level 3 doesn’t mean things get back to normal”.

Chris Hipkins is followed by James Shaw with discussion on planned water reforms. Evidently Federated Farmers want reforms put on hold because of the current crisis and it’s putting too much pressure on their members.

Wait, what?

But, but, but… I thought farmers were already doing the water reforms themselves?!

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James Shaw was asked about deferring the election from 19 September to November. His wise response: it’s up to the Electoral Commission to decide, not politicians. Which sounds fairly reasonable considering that bother NZ First and National want to defer the elections for purely venal,  selfserving reasons the good of the country, of course. *rolls eyes*

James Shaw was adamant that climate change was still a threat that must be tackled as urgently as before. He pointed out the massive costs to future generations of not just paying back the colossal debts incurred by the pandemic crisis, but also damage which will inevitably flow from climate change. Double hit to our children.

The panellists consisted of fellow Daily Blogger and Auckland City Councillor, Efeso Collins, and NZ Herald financial journalist, Fran O’Sullivan.

Efeso Collins pointed out the folly of lifting the lock-down too early and the resurgence of covid19 in countries where they had had prematurely.

Fran O’Sullivan was having none of businesses whinging that the government should be drawing up plans for them for the lifting of the lock-down. She told them to do their own planing and they should be doing it now. She was adamant that businesses have a responsibility for planning and not to rely on central government laying down the rules. (Oh, the irony…)

Fran O’Sullivan said that Simon Bridges and the National Party will have to re-calibrate their economics policy, in the light of the massive damage inflicted by the pandemic.

Efeso Collins agreed with Winston Peters that the election should be postponed to 21 November.

Both agreed that Prime Minister Ardern should have sacked David Clark on the spot.

After Q+A, some light lunch with feijoas off my tree; and then take the car to fuel up at the local Waitomo outlet.

Then a look at what’s been happening in the media…

RNZ reported a poll carried out by Research NZ that showed the over-whelming number of New Zealanders would agree to extending the lock-down by a further two weeks if it were necessary;

Agreed they would: 60%

Disagreed: 14%

Didn’t know: 26% 

Sixtypercent showed a high level of support.

The poll also disclosed;

…87 percent felt most New Zealanders were observing restrictions on movement. This week it has fallen to 79 percent.

“What that’s telling me is that more New Zealanders are thinking that other people are not observing the restrictions. Perhaps that’s got to do with some of the media coverage we are seeing.”

In relation to police getting tougher, 85 percent agreed and 72 percent said a 10pm curfew should be introduced to restrict any unnecessary travel.

When it comes to other people not observing the restrictions, it’s hardly surprising with the statistics released by Police;

847 breaches of the Covid-19 lockdown rules, comnprising of,

109 prosecutions

717 warnings

21 youth referrals

Those are disturbing numbers. Especially as they appear to be an increase from last week; “367 breaches on April 8, with 45 prosecutions and 309 warnings“.

What should be even more troubling is how many are escaping detection? If even one percent of those 847  breaches carried a covid19 infection, that’s potentially up to eight people wandering around spreading infection.

Worse still is Police time and resources being wasted by self-indulgent idiots, not just breaching lock-down, but holding full-on parties;

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And then, this fiasco and example of stunning moronic behaviour;

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It appears from various media reports that not only are people flouting the life-saving lock-down, but are taking the piss when it comes to the Police;

Over the duration of the lockdown period, police have received thousands of reports relating to Alert Level 4 restriction breaches and police have been following up this information, with enforcement action being taken in some instances.”

Glossop said officers cannot attend every job but priority is given to jobs where there is an immediate risk to people or property.

Vehicles were in the car park, where people often leave their cars before doing a loop track in the nearby Department of Conservation reserve. 

Ged Blackbourn, who lives nearby, said he had seen the car park full at times.  Police had occasionally visited to drive people away, but it quickly filled up again, he said.

When Police follow through on only 109 prosecutions out of 847 breaches – a 13% enforcement/prosecution rate –  what else do they expect the idiot to do?  Of course they will persist in flouting the rules.

Let me point out that if I’m 10kms an hour over the speed limit on the motorway and I get “pinged” by a radar van or police in a car, the ticket/prosecution rate is: 100%.

I do not get a warning. Not “advice” on how to drive safely. The ticket is issued without discussion.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could speed at 110kph if I’m late to work, knowing there was only a 13% chance I’d get prosecuted if caught?!?! So why treat the flouters of the lock-down any different?!

Maybe I’m not privileged enough. Like these guys;

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Note this bit:  “Officials are begging people who aren’t already on Auckland city’s islands to stay where they are.”

So if rule breakers are white Middle Class boat-owners, officials have to “beg” them to comply with the rules?

When is the last time WINZ/MSD “begged people” when it came to questioning their welfare entitlements?

If I may misquote from “Cool Hand Luke“;

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If/when we beat covid19, it will be no thanks to these people.

Next item on the agenda: the so-called “Taxpayers Union”, a thinly-disguised front for the National/ACT Party. The TU is calling for salary cuts in the state sector;

Campaigns Manager Louis Houlbrooke said “We’re asking the public sector to fairly share the burden of the economic crunch by cancelling all pay hikes until the economy has recovered. We’re also asking elected officials, public sector CEOs*, and their leadership teams** to take a 12-month twenty percent pay cut.”

“A temporary salary reduction for those paid the most in the public sector would be a prudent and compassionate response to the pressures faced by households and businesses across New Zealand. Business leaders predict unemployment to rise to around ten percent in the coming months, and private sector bosses are taking financial haircuts to limit the impact on lower earners.”

“The average public sector salary is around a third higher than that of the private sector. They also have the luxury of far higher job security. A twenty percent pay cut is a small sacrifice in these extraordinary times when so many New Zealanders are losing their jobs.”

Which is so ironic that it beggars belief. It was only 36 years ago that neo-liberalism swept through Aotearoa; state assets were privatised; and a corporate ethos introduced into government departments and local bodies. The parroted justification given by the Right when discussing high salaries for the State sector and Local Body bosses is that they have to compete with the corporate sector.

The Right introduced corporate-style “market rates” for state sector/local body bosses. Not anyone else. They did this.

Indeed, this was the very point of the State Sector Act 1988.

And now a bunch of Right wingers who have just accepted state funding – money from the tax payer

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–have the colossal cheek to complain about bloated state sector salaries?! Their hypocrisy, like our Universe, is boundless. They are not to be taken seriously; they are charlatans. [Hat-tip: Martyn Bradbury]

Meanwhile to cap off a day when we should have been celebrating the decline (hopefully) of a microscopic foe, this reminds us that where there is brilliance – there is also crass dumbness;

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— which – bizarrely – is the polar opposite to what he wrote on 23 March;

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Curious.

Are there two Gareth Morgans with differing opinions? (Poor cats!)

Has he been sipping one shandy too many, perhaps?

Or maybe, like Bob Jones, he’s just plain losing/lost the plot…?

As before, I am reminded that what I fear most is not a highly contagious virus that has killed over 109,000 people…

… but the irrationality of some of my fellow human beings.

But to end on a lighter note, I offer this witty piece from Andrew Gunn;

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Current covid19 cases: 1,330

Cases in ICU: 5 (1 critical)

Number of deaths: 4

 

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References

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Big improvement by dairy farmers to protect waterways, says report

RNZ: Most New Zealanders willing to extend Covid-19 lockdown ‘pain’ – survey

TVNZ: More than 800 breaches of Covid-19 lockdown rules with 109 prosecutions

TVNZ: Six people arrested for fighting at Auckland party during lockdown

Fairfax/Stuff:  Ambulance stuck in sand after vehicle rolls at Foxton Beach during coronavirus lockdown

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – Boaties ignoring lockdown orders slammed as ‘pirates’

Scoop:  Campaign Launched – Public Sector Pay Cuts For COVID-19 Relief

NZ History:  The 1980s – 1988 – key events

Mediaworks/Newshub: Coronavirus – Taxpayers’ Union gives up ‘ideological purity’, accepts $60,000 in taxpayer wage subsidies

Twitter: Gareth Morgan – lock down – 12 april 2020

Twitter: Gareth Morgan – lock down – 23 March 2020

Fairfax/Stuff: Somewhere on the road between Tauranga and Wellington, a Zoom meeting

RNZ:  Covid-19 wrap – What happened on 12 April, Easter Sunday

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Other Blogs

The Daily  Blog:  The Taxpayers’ Union, the great champions of the free market are taking Government Money

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

Life in Lock Down: Day 13

Life in Lock Down: Day 14

Life in Lock Down: Day 15

Life in Lock Down: Day 16 – Bad Friday

Life in Lock Down: Day 17

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Acknowledgement: Sharon Murdoch

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This blogpost was also published on The Daily Blog on 13 April 2020.

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Life in Lock Down: Day 17

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April 11: Day 17 of living in lock-down…

The good news: new cases of covid19 is down again, to 29. That’s another fall since yesterdays unexpected spike of 44.

The bad news: two more people have passed away from the virus. Both in older age group and both with underlying medical conditions.

The hopeful news: that if new cases continue to drop until we reach nil, we may have driven this virus to extinction (at least here in in Aotearoa) by the time lock-down is set to lift on 23 April. After that, until a vaccine is created or – more unlikely – covid19 is eliminated from the face of this planet, the entire country will be in semi-self-isolation. International travel will remain but a fond memory as few people will want to be put into a mandatory two week quarantine after arriving here. (And there will be bleatings galore from David Seymour, the tourism sector – or what’s left of it – and vote-chasing mischief-makers in the  National Party and it’s fellow-travellers.)

Meanwhile, to counter the  irresponsible shrill clamour from National, ACT, and the business lobby, to re-open commercial activities before the four weeks lock-down is completed – or even portions thereof – Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has urged the world not to act precipitously by abandoning restrictions;

″I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone.

At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence. The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.”

Do we listen to the science-based health professionals? Or vote-chasing politicians and profit-driven businesspeople? (That should not even be a question.)

This morning for me should have been one of my days-off weekend. But it was another work day as I filled in for a colleague whose “bubble” is simply too large and risky to allow him to interact with our clients. If covid19 got into our facility at least two, maybe three, people would not survive. And myself and five of my colleagues would be in self-isolation for two weeks. Six more pieces removed from the board, to use a chess analogy.

I’m not due to start till 3pm, so that gives me time to sort out a tap fitting/connector for my washing-machine. I realised later in the day yesterday that a visit to Mitre10 would be out of a question. They are restricted to tradespeople only (which I 100% endorse). So snap a few pics of the part I need; take measurements; look up the actual name, and then send through the info to Hutt Gas & Plumbing. I get a reply; they can provide the part on Tuesday. Sorted.

Next, at 11am I skype my partner. The internetty thingy is acting up and it takes several minutes to connect. Is this what the telephone service was like a century ago?

We finally connect and we soon chat away for the next hour. She’s been keeping stringently to her “bubble” and most of her day has been filled with an early morning walk around her immediate neighbourhood and working on her remnant stand of native forest “garden”. Kaka’s, Tui, Pīwakawaka, and other birds love her area.

Later this evening she will make her once-a-week visit to her local supermarket.

We have just under two weeks to go before we can do something as simple as have dinner together or go to the movies.

In the early afternoon, I hit the road. It’s a bright, sunny, warm  day with only a few clouds in the sky. The Park N Ride carpark is, again, empty.  People are about, walking. With such minimal traffic it’s quiet and peaceful.

The white motorhome is unmoved. Even after lock-down is over, whether extended or not, my gaze will now automatically be looking for this large vehicle parked on a main thoroughfare connecting my suburb to SH2.

On the road, traffic is light all the way into Wellington. There are only a handful of cars sharing the road with me at any given moment.  Vehicles noticed; 6 police cars; a skip-bin truck; a double-tandem “Pacific” branded fuel tanker; ambulance; a “Supreme” towing truck (the same clown who tailgated me yesterday, I wonder?); a “Linfox” truck-cab, minus it’s trailer; “Spotless Catering” ute; “EnviroWay” rubbish (or ecycling?) truck; a “Wellington Water” van”; several utility vehicles, company branded heading the opposite way; 2 “Countdown” food trucks; “Fish Factory” light truck, and a few others.

Traffic in Wellington was marginally busier than yesterday. The supermarkets will be open today, attracting people out of their homes. The weather was markedly cooler in town than the Hutt Valley; cloudier and chillier.

Outside Chaffers St New World supermarket, there was a long queue of people waiting to enter. Social distancing was well-practiced.

Both sandy beaches  at Oriental Bay were deserted;

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The Evans Bay Marina Carpark appeared to have the same number of camper vans as the last few days.

Between my home and Miramar, I had seen more police cars than any other given days since Lock-down.

At work, a colleague and I discussed the near non-existent pandemic protocols we had been operating under at the beginning of the Lock-down. Hardly surprising; 99% of the entire country (the entire world!) was unprepared. After cessation of the State of Emergency and lifting of lock-down, we considered that a full written de-brief would be essential so organisations like ours could put in place a ready-made plan for when (not if!) the next pandemic arose.

Management were woefully ill-prepared for the current emergency and the response – ad hoc as it appeared to be – was led by workers on the ground, at the coal-face. The moment Level 4 was implemented, our facility was sealed off to the public; non-permanent staff; and even management from our organisation. We had limited tools; a few boxes of latex gloves; some disinfectant; and three bottles of hand-sanitiser ‘squirrelled away’ in our Emergency Disaster Kit.

But what we did have plenty of were our wits; initiative; and commitment to get the job done. And all the while, carrying out all our normal duties as well as keeping our clients safe, calm, and reassured.

Righto, sorted.

(Management caught up with us a week later.)

The lock-down of our facility is now the “new norm”. Our clients are used to it – perhaps even reassured that the stringent measures we’ve taken is for theirs (and ours) benefit.

That night, on my way home, traffic was again light. Playing a “game”, I counted the number of vehicles I sighted whilst driving from Miramar to the Terrace Tunnel: around 45. It was a Saturday night, around 8.15pm.

Before heading home, I made my weekly trip to the supermarket. Not that I needed much, this time. Goods purchased I arrived home. First thing; leave shoes outside. Then, getting through the door, after dropping the grocery bags; a full 20 second hand wash. Then empty all items onto kitchen bench. Packaged goods studiously wiped clean with disinfectant. Fresh produce, washed under running water; shake of water; rinse again.

Then wipe entire bench with disinfectant. Cloth in soaking bucket.

Put the jug on for a cup of Chai Tea.

Relax.

Welcome to the world of 2020AD.

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Current covid19 cases: 1,312

Cases in ICU: 5  (1 critical)

Number of deaths: 4

 

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References

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – New Zealand should consider quitting lockdown early, David Seymour says

RNZ:  More industry and small businesses could reopen – National

SBS: Hasty virus lockdown lift could spark ‘deadly resurgence’ – WHO

RNZ:  Covid-19 – Coronavirus death toll rises to four in New Zealand

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

Life in Lock Down: Day 13

Life in Lock Down: Day 14

Life in Lock Down: Day 15

Life in Lock Down: Day 16 – Bad Friday

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Acknowledgement: @twisteddoodles

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 12 April 2020.

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Life in Lock Down: Day 16 – Bad Friday

11 April 2020 15 comments

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April 10: Day 16 of living in lock-down…

And the news is not good. Another death, this time an elderly woman in a rest home. With 44 new cases, a rise from the steadily declining numbers since Monday, the struggle is far from  over.

Friday is Good Friday, but there’s nothing much “good” about it. In normal times the roads would have been clogged with traffic last night and today. Far from it; they appear mostly empty. The Park N Ride in my area usually has between two to four cars each day since lock-down. Today it is empty.

On my way to the highway, I drive past the white motorhome. It’s still parked in position.

The few commercial vehicles I do spot; a light truck, unmarked, carrying firewood; a “Supreme” towing truck (which tailgated me for several kilometres – on an all but empty stretch of highway! Driver of tow-truck, rego, “WE TØW”, you need to learn to keep your distance! Otherwise your next rego plate may be “WE CRSH”);

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–a van marked “Optare”; “Pacific” branded ute; a Hyundai traffic radar van north of Belmont; “First Security” car; “Absolute Control” branded van; 2 ambulances; several recreational bicyclists; a police car heading my opposite way, north, with flashing lights and siren; more bicyclists on the harbour highway south of Petone; a “Mainfreight” truck; an ambulance; a “K9 Explosive Detector Dog” ute;

Commercial traffic on the roads is light; most of the traffic are cars. It’s a fine sunny day; barely any clouds in the sky. People are out and about, walking.At the SH58 interchange traffic is still light; three cars to me rear; one in front.  North of Melling Interchange traffic has thinned to maybe one or two cars in my field of vision. A few families are dotted along the Hutt River, on the stoney banks enjoying the autumn sun; all are well spaced apart. South of the Melling interchange, there were occasions when the highway was utterly empty of traffic.

The harbour was beautifully calm with plenty of sun shining over Wellington City;

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In normal times this would be cause for joy. But these are not normal times and fine weather bring out people onto the roads, footpaths, beaches, parks, etc. Not good places to be in times of pandemic.

It was reassuring that not one single recreational boat (or any other craft) could be seen on the water.

Approaching the Terrace Tunnel, traffic remained light, with perhaps only half a dozen vehicle behind me and nothing in front. This  is in stark contrast to normal holidays periods and weekend when the approach roads to the tunnel are actually busier than during the working week! The tunnel itself had one car in front and three behind me.

The “Z” service station fuel price board lights were still out; there was light foot traffic on the city footpaths; and car traffic was the lightest I’ve seen it all week.

Oriental Bay parade was busier, with a steady stream of bicyclists and pedestrians, though no one was lying on either the main or smaller beaches in the Bay;

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Evans Bay Parade was equally busy with walkers and pedestrians. Most kept to the two metre rule. A few did not.

A police car passed me on this stretch of road. That would be the only police seen until around 3 to 4pm. In Hataitai, these two police vehicles were seen parked side-by-side. The constables appeared to be taking a break; chatting with a young lady leaning on one car window (waaaay closer than 2 metres, folks!); or checking their devices;

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[Images have been redacted for privacy/occupational reasons.]

Perhaps one of the most bizarre things seen during this lock-down crisis is this sign on a “Four Square” shop (location not to be disclosed). The  white sign states;

“*NOTICE*

Maximum of 10 people allowed in store at a time. Please keep your distance of 2 mtrs from each other, Thanks, […] FourSquare”

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The reason the sign is utterly ridiculous? This particular “Four Square” is little bigger than your average Dairy. The aisles are hardly a metre apart and the small size of the store would make it near-impossible for ten people to keep a 2-metre distance.

This is why when businesses demand to open to the public, and promise – hand-on-heart – to implement safety protocols: Do not take them at their word.

If we had acceded to demands from  Universities NZ and Hospitality NZ to continue allowing foreign students to enter Aotearoa, and for bars and restaurants to remain open – while “promising social distancing” – the infection would have most likely spread like wildfire throughout the country.

This government is right to be firm in maintaining the lock-down. Lives depend on how we respond to the contagion.

On the way home in the evening, the city was the most deserted I have ever seen it. Except for street and commercial lighting, and a few vehicles, it was the closest I have ever compared it to a post-apocalypse movie. I spotted one ambulance and later, north of Melling, one police vehicle that had pulled over a late-model sportscar.

Wellingtonians seemed to be heeding the call to stay home and not venture out.

More than ever, we must all maintain the safety protocols; wash hands; maintain safe distance; restrict your “bubble”; don’t try to ‘cheat’. As infectious disease epidemiologist, Jonathan Smith, warned us;

The enemy we are facing is very good at what it does; we are not failing. We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse. This is not an opinion. This is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. Stay strong and in solidarity knowing that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people continue getting sick and dying.

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This virus is unforgiving to unwise choices. As this epidemic continues, it will be easy to be drawn to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working and we may feel compelled to “cheat” with unnecessary breaches of social distancing measures.

Which is why the community must do it’s bit; the Police have to come down hard on those who flout the rules; and the business lobby (and their National Party allies) stops pressuring the government to loosen the lock-down rules. The lock-down is porous enough as it is.

In fact, I totally concur with Martyn Bradbury’s call to extend the lock down to six weeks;

The health math demands 6 weeks. Incubation time of the virus is 14 days, but there are cases where it has been 19 days and 27 days, so we went into lockdown on Wednesday 25th meaning the majority of infections will appear by April 8th in the second week of the 4 week lockdown, but we need to KNOW the damned virus has been completely eradicated, so that takes us out to April 21st for the last possible incubation date and we would need at least 2 weeks of no new infections to know the sacrifice had been worth it.

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Death Cult Capitalists, Matthew Hooton, Mike Hosking & Gareth Morgan are all crying out that 30 000 deaths is acceptable as long as neoliberalism can get back to work so the stress on Jacinda to lift the lockdown at the end of the 4 weeks is building, regardless of the above public health math.

The simple truth is that Jacinda must extend the 4 weeks to 6 weeks because if we come back at 4 weeks and the bloody thing keeps spreading, she will get blamed.

It gives me no pleasure to advocate for an extension. I’m now working six days a week (to minimise the number of people required to work at a given work-place) and I miss my partner who I haven’t see for over three weeks. (We have our separate homes and “bubbles”.)

But it’s either extending the lock-down or ending it prematurely. The virus does not respect human being’s arbitrary rules. It thumbs it’s nose at us and our social and legal structures (if covid19 had thumbs and a nose).

And if the Prime were to cave  to pressures from the business lobby, as Martyn Bradbury points out, her political enemies and other sundry armchair experts would blame her for the consequences.

We need to go the distance. If necessary even , extend the distance. Don’t ever forget; we can out-think and out-wit covid19. That is our unique strength.

We just need to use our wits.

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Current covid19 cases: 1,283

Cases in ICU: 4 (2 critical)

Number of deaths: 2

 

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References

RNZ:  Coronavirus – Universities seek travel ban exemption for students

RNZ:  Covid-19 – Hospitality industry asking customers to sign in

Elemental: Hold the Line

Daily Blog:  Why Jacinda MUST keep us locked up for 6 weeks

RNZ: Covid-19 – What happened on Good Friday

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

Life in Lock Down: Day 13

Life in Lock Down: Day 14

Life in Lock Down: Day 15

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Acknowledgement: Evans

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Life in Lock Down: Day 15

10 April 2020 3 comments

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April 9: Day 15 of living in lock-down…

The news is great!

Sunday: 89 new cases

Monday: 67

Tuesday: 54

Wednesday: 50

Today: 29

 

If these numbers are correct and there’s no unknown “hot spot(s)” around the country, we have demonstrated with great clarity what can be achieved when a society acts collectively (with minor exceptions of a few idiots and misguided examples of naked commercial/political self-interest) for the greater good.

We can contrast our collective action with that of rugged individualism (mixed with a tonne of incompetence from the narcissist  in the White House) in the United States;

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Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have our own impending problem: the long Easter Weekend. Traditionally a time when thousands of Kiwi families pile into their cars; get stuck in massive traffic jams for a few hours; drive to destination ‘X’ to “get away from it all”‘ three days later pile back into their vehicles; get stuck in massive traffic jams for several hours for the return home; arrive home knackered. Wasn’t that fun?!

Not this year. The constant plea is:

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To reinforce the new imperative for this Easter, the Police ramped up their warnings in the media. There would be no tolerance of a minority who chose to wilfully ignore the lock down;

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Road policing team-supervisor, Andrew Heath, explained the simplicity of how Police would track recalcitrant selfish motorist wannabe-holidaymakers;

“So what’s going to happen for that couple is there’s going to be a notification put in against their names and that vehicle that they’ve breached the lockdown rules, and if they’re stopped again, further action may be taken.”

Meanwhile, as the majority of New Zealanders stayed home and a small minority of self-entitled idiots tried to flout the rules, those of us working in essential services carried on. Thursday would be another work day for us, albeit contrasted against this new weird reality.

At the near Park N Ride, the usual two cars were parked, alone in their vast expanse of bitumen.

On the road, commercial traffic continued to operate; 2 “Mainfreight” trucks; a “Evotek” van; “Linfox” fuel tanker; “Waste Management” rubbish truck; “Armourguard” van and “Armourguard” car; “Aquaheat” ute; “Wright Pools & Spas” ute; an “Aquaheat” van; a “McGuiness” truck; 2 “Supreme Towing”  trucks; “MRL/MRI Power” ute; 3 “Salvation Army Family Store” trucks; “Mainstream” covered truck; a police van; a “AA” Service ute; 3 “Trans Power” utes; a “Higgins” concrete truck; a SPCA ute; a “Fliway” branded small truck; a “L.G. Anderson container truck; a “Linfox” covered truck; “Spotless Catering” van; 2  “Fulton Hogan” roadworks trucks; a “Downer” ute and a “Downer” truck; “Countdown” food delivery truck; a “Laser Plumbing” van; “Capital Plumbing” van; “Wellington Security” van;

The white motorhome still parked on the side of the road. Would it still be there over the long weekend? I’d be curious…

Traffic on SH2 north of Lower Hutt was still light. There seemed no apparent change in the few number of cars were around me. At Melling numbers slight inceased to around seven in front of me and five to the rear. Still increadibly sparse as this is a major interchange in the Hutt Valley. The harbour highway into Wellington seemed marginally busier, with about seven behind and five cars in front of me. These numbers would increases or drop, but the road was never less than half a dozen. On the motorway this increased to ten cars in front and another ten behind. Definitely more traffic than yesterday. In the Terrace Tunnel, there were five cars to the rear of me and five to the front. Exiting the tunnel, Vivian Street had more traffic than yesterday with about a dozen cars in front of me.

It’s a beautiful autumn, sunny early afternoon. The sun is bright overhead in a sky studded with a few clouds. Despite the brightness of the sun, warmth is lack and there’s a definite chill in the still air.

There was a long queue outside Chaffer Street “New World”, extending out onto the footpath and around half the block;

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As I snapped the pic above, I noticed one your woman walk past the line, well within half a metre – almost elbow touching – from other people… and then stood two metres behind the last person in line. I’m guessing she would have walked closely past eight people to then “social distance” herself. Clearly did not think that one through.

At the beginning of Oriental Bay,the message on the electronic light-board had changed;

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Perhaps pedestrians had had a word in the ears of the powers-that-be that cyclists were not adhering to the 2 metre rule? Which is ironic as that is precisely the complaint cyclists have of car drivers on the road. Pot, kettle, it seems.

Coming home tonight; one Highway Patrol police car parked near the Aotea Quay turnoff. Traffic in and out of the city, between 7.30 and 8 – was almost nil. This was not the usual pre-Easter holiday traffic crush. People are heeding the call to stay home?

One hopes.

Postscript

This Diary entry  is truncated. The author spent an hour searching for, and finding, a leak from his washing machine. Actually two leaks. Were they easily reachable to fix, or right at the back, almost out of reach? Apply Murphy’s Law. That’s your answer.

One leak fixed. Just needed a tightening of a fitting.

The other fitting – munted. I’ll have to risk a quick visit to Mitre10 on Saturday.  Damn.

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Current covid19 cases: 1,239

Cases in ICU: 4  (? critical)

Number of deaths: 1

 

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References

RNZ: Covid-19: What happened on 5 April

RNZ: Covid-19 – The key developments in New Zealand from April 8

Vox: The deep ideological roots of Trump’s botched coronavirus response

Time:  The Trump Administration Fumbled Its Initial Response to Coronavirus. Is There Enough Time to Fix It?

Newsweek:  Ex-GOP Strategist Calls Trump ‘Incompetent,’ ‘Ignorant’ Over Handling of Coronavirus Pandemic

RNZ:  Police checkpoints set up to stop holidaymakers

Fairfax/Stuff: Coronavirus – Police turning back holidaymakers trying to breach lockdown rules

NZ Herald:  Covid 19 coronavirus: Police stop cars escaping for Easter, warning drivers at Auckland  – motorway

RNZ:  Number of new cases of Covid-19 in NZ plummets to 29

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

Life in Lock Down: Day 13

Life in Lock Down: Day 14

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Life in Lock Down: Day 14

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April 8: Day 14 of living in lock-down…

The good news first: the downward trajectory of new cases appears to be a real thing. In the last four days, since Sunday, new infections have been dropping:

Sunday: 89 new cases

Monday: 67

Tuesday: 54

Today (Wednesday): 50

The bad news? Businesses and their shop-bought political servants in Parliament and fellow-travellers in the msm will be agitating to have the already-porous lock-down lifted as soon as the four week period has ended. A certain right-wing politician – with one eye on winning his electorate and boosting his Party Vote, and another eye on potential One Percenter donors – has actually called for lifting the lock-down even earlier.

Add to the above toxic mix of money-hungry business people and their right-wing political stooges – the repugnant side of self-entitled, privileged Middle New Zealanders for whom the rules do not seem to apply – and the stage is set for a potential disaster.

With the Easter long weekend fast approaching, police have been issuing statements that they will not tolerate people jumping into their cars; boats in tow; and heading off to their holiday “baches/cribs”;

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Up until this point the police have been pleading for everyone to do the “right thing”. Because as we all know, pleading works so well for a minority of Middle Class selfish idiots. The same selfish idiots who usually vote National because they demand tough “Law and Order” policies when it comes to brown people in Otara or Porirua – but don’t ever expect it used against their own privileged white skins.

The Middle Class have always expected better treatment than their poorer (mostly brown) cuzzies. Case in point, the Australian government has temporarily increased welfare benefit payments;

Jobseekers will get a $550 boost to their fortnightly welfare payments for six months in one of the largest increases to social security benefits in Australia’s history, as the government seeks to shield the unemployed ahead of a looming recession.

In a press conference at Parliament House on Sunday, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the changes, which effectively double the rate of Jobseeker Payment, reflected a desire to cushion those “who will be feeling the first blows of the economic impact from the coronavirus”.

Make no mistake, this is not about giving extra humanitarian support for lower socio-economic people who have survived on the most basic welfare benefits. The simple reason the benefits are increasing is, as Scott Morrison, disclosed: “to cushion those “who will be feeling the first blows of the economic impact from the coronavirus”. Translation: to pander to the Middle Class who will be made jobless as covid19 cripples the Australian economy and send hundreds of thousands of them onto welfare.

Imagine the howls of outrage if Middle Class workers made unemployed suddenly discovered how pitiful welfare actually is?

The Middle Class votes (unlike those in lower socio-economic groups). No government will want to antagonise that group of voters. So up goes welfare – temporarily.

That same sense of privileged entitlement is also pervasive throughout (some of) our own Middle Class.

But not this time. I suspect that the great majority of New Zealanders from every socio-economic class; ethnic group; political leaning; gender, race; etc, have had a gutsful of these entitled oafs for whom a global pandemic means very little except an impromptu holiday. Most New Zealanders, I believe, want to see the millions of tax dollars spent on Police put to good use, clamping down on spoiled pricks who think they can get away with shit because… expensive car… expensive holiday home… latest devices… nice clothes… often private schooled spawn… in short, they’re entitled.

Our ‘protestant urge to punish’ may finally be put to good use.

Up until now, Police response has been one of tolerance that has been increasingly frustrating to those of us who fulfil our collective responsibility to stay home and respect the lock-down. The Police disclosed on 8 April that they “have now dealt with 367 breaches of the alert level four lockdown rules, with 45 prosecutions, 309 warnings and 13 youth referrals“.

Only 45 prosecutions out of 367 breaches? Is this the same Police who are going uber-macho with their armed response teams? In poorer neighbourhoods, of course.

So it’s refreshing to see in the last 24 hours our police force leadership growing a pair and moving from plaintive pleas, to outright threats of arrest;

We have … the power to arrest and we can charge for breach of the Health Notice. We’ve taken a pretty gentle approach up to this point but people have had a long time now to understand what the powers are, and so we are prepared to take enforcement action if people are deliberately flouting the rules.

And we will be out in high visibility, patrolling. We will use checkpoints in some places.

Our message to people is ‘stay home’. We’ve put too much into this to compromise it by trying to get away for a holiday weekend.” – Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, 8 April 2020

Make no mistake. The idiots who wilfully flout the rules are endangering everyone else. People have lost their jobs; their incomes; their businesses; and tragically, their lives overseas, and one here in Aotearoa.

As Far North mayor, John Carter, explained with crystal clarity;

“If we all behave ourselves, we’ll all be able to travel freely without restrictions soon. But if we breach it, and decide that we can travel and one or two or three of us spread the disease then we’re going to be in lockdown for a hell of a lot longer.”

There must be zero tolerance shown to these idiots. Prosecute and convict. No exceptions: lives and livelihoods depend on this.

Otherwise, this;

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Meanwhile, my own living in Lock-Down continues. Except, of course, I have little choice in this crisis and being part of the wider health sector, I’m an essential worker. (Kind of like winning Reverse Lotto?)

This morning, my usual ride to work took me past the Park N Ride carpark. Only two cars present.

On the main thoroughfare to SH2, the white motorhome was still parked in its odd, facing-oncoming-traffic, spot.

On the motorway, the following were observed; a light gravel-truck, marked “Whakatiki”, carrying a full load of gravel; a small “Kiwirail” hi-ab truck; an unmarked small tanker-truck; 2 ambulances; “Cabernet Foods” refrigerated truck; a fire appliance truck; a black ute marked “Arlington Motors”; “JC Plumbing” van; an unmarked traffic management van; an “Armourguard” branded car; a ute marked “WE” (Wellington Electricity); a “Toll” van; a “FMS” van; an “Inter Group” truck; a medium-sized gravel hauling truck; “Arrow” branded van; a “Downer” van; another gravel truck (company name not visible); a covered “Linfox” truck; a “Food Rescue” truck; a “Big Chill” truck; 2 “New World” covered trucks; “Downer” Incident Support truck; a “Mainfreight” truck; a flat deck truck carrying 4 port-a-loos; a “Downer” gravel truck; a “Chubb” security van; a “Hawkins” plumping van; a drain-unblocking plumber’s truck; a “Bridgestone Tyres” light truck; a “Prestons” light truck; an unbranded skip-bin truck, et al.

Note: several more commercial vehicles were either unmarked or their corporate logo could not be discerned.

Also sighted, a police car and a campervan, heading north.

It rained reasonably heavily the previous night. Cloud cover was clearing, and the sun was already shining over the region. Traffic north of SH58 turn-off was moderate; four vehicles in front, four to the rear. Moving south of the SH58 interchange, traffic thinned out. Traffic today trough the Terrace tunnel was the heaviest it has been throughout the lock-down, as was traffic in the city itself. Exiting the Terrace tunnel I could see about a dozen cars in front of me – a marked change from the one or three usually present.

Observation; despite the downward plunge for oil prices, 91 octane car fuel has remained steady at most Wellington major service stations at $1.95 per litre. Petrol companies have not been responsive to the massive drop in crude oil prices, it seems.

Tonight, as I watched the weather forecast on TV1, I was suddenly reminded how much I was missing my partner. We haven’t seen each other for three weeks, (phone calls and skype don’t count) as we scrupulously adhere to our own respective “bubbles”. There’s two weeks to go.

As Prime Minister Ardern has reminded us constantly, we need to Stay The Distance.

That evening, on my way home between 7.30 and 8.00PM, I sighted two Fulton Hogan road marking gangs at work; one in the Terrace Tunnel, and another north of the tunnel near the currently-blocked off Aotea Quay turn-off. More road marking work going on, in addition to that sighted on Monday night.

Is road marking an essential task during a global pandemic?

A further observation: with retailers, cafes, and most others obeying the letter of the law as well as the spirit, my bank account is healthier than ever before. There’s simply very little to spend money on aside from fuel, food, utilities, and the bank mortgage.

It’s amazing how much one can save (if privileged to be in a reasonable paying job) when consumerism is put on-hold.

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Current covid19 cases: 1,210

Cases in ICU: 4 (2 critical)

Number of deaths: 1

 

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References

RNZ: Covid-19: What happened on 5 April

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – New Zealand should consider quitting lockdown early, David Seymour says

Fairfax/Stuff media:  Coronavirus – PM, police Covid-19 warning – don’t go to your bach this Easter

NZ Herald:  Covid 19 coronavirus – Policing Easter lockdown to include checkpoints

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Police to arrest Easter holidaymakers who don’t comply with coronavirus lockdown rules

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Coronavirus – Police warn checkpoints, extra patrols will be in place to stop Easter lockdown getaways

NewstalkZB:  Covid 19 lockdown – Police setting up checkpoints over Easter

ODT – Star News:  Cabin fever – Warning to stay away from holiday spots over Easter

RNZ: Covid-19 – Easter holidaymakers warned to stay home, away from bach

Trading Economics: Crude Oil

RNZ: Covid-19 – The key developments in New Zealand from April 8

RNZ: Number of new cases of Covid-19 continues to slowly fall

Must Read

Elemental: Hold the Line

Democracy Now:  Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 2

Life in Lock Down: Day 3

Life in Lock Down: Day 4

Life in Lock Down: Day 5

Life in Lock Down: Day 6

Life in Lock Down: Day 7

Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 8

Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)

Life in Lock Down: Day 9

Life in Lock Down: Day 10

Life in Lock Down: Day 11

Life in Lock Down: Day 12

Life in Lock Down: Day 13

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Acknowledgement: Emmerson

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This blogpost was also published on The Daily Blog on 10 April 2020.

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Why Garden Centres LOVE public holidays!

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Of course, the irony here is that companies like Oderings rely on public holidays to increase their turnover.

If public holidays were treated like any other day, and all businesses were open to trade, Oderings, et al, wouldn’t have the benefit of that foot traffic to boost their own trade. Everyone would be working. It would be another ordinary day.

So it’s a wee bit disingenuous of Oderings to state,

We have got an archaic law. Nobody suffers [from us being open]. Customers don’t suffer; staff don’t suffer as we ask them if they want to be here.” – Source

If public holidays were like any other day, all businesses,  schools, and government departments should be open as well.  In which case we wouldn’t have public holidays anymore. We would have given them away for — ???

Having some businesses open, whilst others obey the law, is unfair. It’s unfair on other businesses, and it’s unfair on staff who are “encouraged” to work on public holidays so the rest of us can benefit from their “choice” to sacrifice a day off.

I see nothing remotely fair about this and Oderings and other businesses who choose to break the law are doing it for their own private gain – not for the common good. They are capitalising on restrictions that others  obey.

We either have public holidays, or we don’t. That’s what New Zealanders need to decide for themselves, and for their country.

We need to ask a very simple question: what is a public holiday?

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Easter, Chocolate, and Slavery.

Darryl Nightingale

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You might be supporting slavery when you give chocolate this Easter.

Slavery and chocolate: children sold to cocoa plantations,

http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/atasteofslavery.html

The Chocolate Industry: Abusive Child Labor and Poverty Behind the Sweetness,

http://www.veganwolf.com/news/chocolate_abuse.htm

Chocolate and Easter – the irony

He took a little child, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me . . . Mark 9:36-7

Ethical chocolate – Fair Trade Easter Eggs are in your supermarket – you may be surprised how easy it is to be ethical,

http://www.fairtrade.com.au/get-involved/campaigns/make-fairtrade-choice-easter

Give Fairtrade Certified™ chocolate this Easter and help farmers and workers in developing countries create better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Cadbury Fairtrade Certified Chocolate – an ethical choice,
http://cadbury.co.nz/About-Cadbury/News.aspx?newsID=219

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Christmas – would you like fries with that?

2 January 2012 3 comments

This story in the Dominion Post caught my attention and caused me some disquiet,

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First of all, I disagree with Mr Leota’s assertion that McDonald’s is “cheap, good food”.  Fast foods such as McDonalds, Burger King, etc, are generally high in salt, fat, and sugars, and contribute to our growing obesity problem. Our public health system then has to pay to attend to obesity related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.

However, be that as it may, the main issue of concern for me is that Christmas Day is probably  the last remaining day of the year when non-essential businesses/services close down so that families and friends can spend uninterrupted time together.

It is one day out of 365/366 when we can take a break from work and business, and just plain relax.

There are those individuals (and organisations such as the Business Roundtable and ACT) that insist that it is an individual’s right to choose when they frequent an establishment to make a transaction. However, for this to happen,

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This has to happen,

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Mr Leota and his family probably enjoyed good, quality, family-time together. But for the Leotas to be able to go to their local McDonald’s and  purchase their meal on Christmas Day – probably a dozen or so staff members had to give up their family time and sacrifice their day off.

Those individuals and organisations that insist that it is an individual’s right to choose to work  on public holidays, as a matter of  “choice”, to earn more money, are disengenuous.

There is no such “choice”.

Workers in such industries as fast food are usually hired on a part time/casual basis. The hours allocated to them to work can range from 2 hours, up to 40 hours. It is usually at the discretion of the Branch Manager. Terms of employment can also often include working public holidays, “or as required”.

If a staff member declines to work on a particular day (such as Christmas), the Manager can easily reduce that staff member’s weekly hours until they are working only the bare minimum. At this point the worker’s pay-packet is so greatly reduced as to make it untenable for their continued employment.

That is the power-relationship between a  fast-food employee (typically a young person) and his/her manager.

They have no choice. (Except to find a new job.)

That is why I find the Leota family’s outting to McDonald so off-putting. They may not have considered that for them to exercise their right to eat at McDonalds on Christmas Day – other people gave up their Christmas Day and their chance to be with their families.

We do have public holidays in New Zealand.  However, our society has changed considerably in the last thirty to forty years and recreational activities now includes shopping. And unfortunately, for people to indulge their urge for “recreational shopping” (or “retail therapy” as we jokingly refer to it)  on public holidays –  others have to work on those same public holidays.

Of course, we could all work on public holidays and make it totally equal.

But then that would mean the end of public holidays.

I am reminded of gardening centres around the country that break the law every Easter by pre-meditated flouting of the Holidays Act.  They break the law and open on days they should be closed.

Gardening centres open to trade when other businesses respect the law and remain closed. They rely on making profits knowing that they are open when other retailers are closed. (Their fine is a laughable $1,000 for opening illegally.)

If, of course, all shops and businesses were open over Easter, the Gardening Centres would lose their advantage and for shoppers it would simply be another calendar day of the year.

Who sez that breaking the law doesn’t pay?

Of course, we could simply do away with the Holidays Act altogether and all businesses, government departments, local body offices,  and retailers could be open 365/366 days of the year.

But that would mean that Mr and Mrs Leota would have been working on Christmas Day.

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Previous blogpost

You’ll have a free market – even if it KILLS you!

Additional

NZ Herald: Greasy school tuckshop food on way out

Department of Labour: Payment for working on a public holiday

Department of Labour: Transferring a public holiday

Department of Labour:  Changes to the Holidays Act and the Employment Relations Act

Related

Tasty foods linked to addiction

Tumeke blog:  Ronald McDonald becomes guest editor at the NZ Herald

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