Sunday, February 14, 2021

Here we go again (again)

This evening Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the decision of Cabinet that Auckland will move to Covid Alert Level 3 (which I often call “Lockdown Lite”), and the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2, at 11:59pm tonight. This is due to three confirmed cases of community transmission in Auckland, and is being done out of “an abundance of caution” because at this point they don’t know the extent of the outbreak—or even if there is any further spread—nor what strain of the virus it is. The restrictions were put in place because the new more easily transmissible strains of the Covid virus are becoming common at the border, and they could be a threat to the wider community.

Auckland was under a Level 3 Lockdown some six months ago, and has experience with having greater restrictions than other parts of the country, including roadblocks to keep people from entering or leaving Auckland (unless they have special permission). Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “We know from experience that quick action to impose restrictions is the best way to stamp out the virus.” Hopefully, it will this time, too.

I watched the media conference this afternoon, and when Minister Chris Hipkins said that the Prime Minister was cancelling her schedule and returning to Wellington, I suspected the Alert Levels were going up (Read also: “Covid-19: New Zealand has four alert levels, here's how they work”Stuff). I changed my plans for the afternoon because of it.

Today was a hot day in Hamilton, and I was sitting in my lounge with the air conditioner on, perusing my iPad, when the alert of the conference came through. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to go anywhere today, but then I realised that I had a couple projects I was keen to finish and I needed supplies for them.

So, I left the house and drove to the local home centre to get those supplies and then I drove home. At the time, I wasn’t sure what the level changes would be or how long they'd last, and I wanted to make sure I had the supplies to finish those projects—just in case.

As it happens, life in Hamilton will be near-normal—I can still go to the shops if I want to, but I’m not sure I want to until the Alert Level is lowered again. After all, I have plenty to keep me busy even if the Alert Level is extended—or, worst case scenario, raised.

I did not, however, make a run on the supermarket as plenty of others did. I have enough toilet paper and I know that, as well as the fact it never stops being available. I have plenty of food, too, actually. And now I have supplies for projects, as well.

The image above is a screenshot of the emergency alert I got on my phone this evening. The "try again" at the bottom of the image, in addition to being somewhat ironic, refers to that fact that in order to take the screenshot I had to push a button with a finger not recorded as being able to unlock my phone.


Roger Owen Green said...

Off-topic, but on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah this past week, I saw just about the only negative story I've seen about NZ recently. a Maori man with face tattoos being chided by the Parliament for not wearing a TIE. (Ties are STUPID). He was wearing some rock around his neck, which has some cultural meaning. It seemed good enough to me...

Arthur Schenck said...

Yeah, he's Rawiri Waititi, Co-Leader of the Māori Party, and he was kicked out of the debating chamber at one point mainly because he clashed with the Speaker, not just for refusing to wear a tie (though that was the source of the conflict). A majority of Parliamentarians decided to continue to require as a rule. The female Co-Leader of the party wore a tie as a sort of protest. He was wearing hei tiki, a pendant, around his neck in place of a tie. He argued that it was Māori business attire which is no doubt true for some Māori, but by no means all. That was beside the point, of course. It's worth noting that plenty of people—Māori and Pākehā alike—wear a pounamu (greenstone, NZ jade—one) or a bone carving pendant on top of a tie (side note: I have both of my own).

He was aware that wearing a tie was required under Parliament's Standing Orders and that made it his obligation as a Member of Parliament to observe those Standing Orders, just like it is for everyone else—including the other man who voted against requiring ties. He chose to protest the Standing Order, which is is right, but that doesn't make him free from the consequences of that protest or violating Standing Orders.

After meeting with the Standing Orders Committee, the Speaker has now dropped the tie requirement, making it optional. This actually brings men's attire more in line with women's, since they don't have a requirement to wear something specific like men did with ties. I frankly don't care about ties either way (Nigel hated them and stopped wearing them many, many years before he died). I think it should be optional for men in Parliament, just as it is now for most men in corporate environments in New Zealand.

I don't particularly care for the Co-Leader himself, for a variety of reasons. But, then, I wouldn't vote for his party, either, so there's that.