OPINION: Are we ever allowed to go back to normal?


I never thought I’d say this, but poor Auckland.

Queenstowners are no strangers to the economic fallout from the Covid response, so we are empathetic, I hope, to the suffering of our northern cousins.

Unfortunately, the entire country might come to face a long economic strangulation if we don’t snap out of this ‘forever pandemic’.

The government’s traffic light announcement the other week was surely the most underwhelming of the pandemic, and there have been a few.







It was also the most disheartening for anyone seeking a return to normal.

From where I sit, it seems freedom as we know it in New Zealand, along with the way of life we once enjoyed, is gone for the foreseeable future.

Instead we are entering the ‘forever pandemic’, where not only the virus, but the disruption
it causes, becomes endemic, our movement and freedoms are dictated by vaccine  passports, confusing traffic light restrictions phasing on and off, and our connections to the world remain broken.

The worst part is the belittling we face each week at daily briefings, being spoken to like children as we obediently listen to what we can and can’t do next week.

What we have isn’t a plan back to normality, it’s a three-year-old’s crayon doodle on the kitchen wall.

Enough is enough.

Labour’s plan is rubbish and neither National, nor the rest’s, are much better.

We don’t need a raft of complex dribble and technocratic central planning, we need to get
back to normal.

Opening up and getting on with life is the only plan that saves the economy and, more
importantly, salvages what’s left of NZ as an open and democratic country, where people are free to live a normal life without discrimination and government dictates.

Once every eligible Kiwi has had the chance to get a vaccine, the pandemic from a political
policy sense is over!

The only feasible option is for government to open up and manage the health system accordingly, and for Kiwis to accept we must live with this virus.

We should have already in creased capacity in the health care system for the current and
future demands from Covid, as we have done with the changing face of disease for generations.

Seeing our health care system as fixed is nonsense — more ICU capacity, even if it means paying nurses double, is still cheaper than lockdowns, economically.

The fact we are only now opening up dedicated spots for health workers in MIQ is criminal, as is the fact we have wasted money on all sorts of woke pet projects instead of the core Covid response.

The reality is we must reopen properly and return to normal as we simply can’t keep borrowing off the next generation due to our own fears.

These fears, by the way, are becoming increasingly irrational in some circles.

Once you are vaccinated, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US — which has a mountain of data — the reported death rate from Covid is 1.4 per
100,000 people after having the Pfizer jab.

To put that in perspective, the motor vehicle accident death rate in NZ is 7.7 per 100,000.

If you are too scared to get back to normal after being vaccinated, you shouldn’t be driving.

We don’t stop driving because we have a road toll and we don’t close the beaches because some people drown.

We have come to accept there is a trade-off in every aspect of life, and we need to accept that for Covid as well.

Existing in this state of economic strangulation, being propped up by borrowed money, isn’t feasible, while being scared of your neighbours and discriminating against people for  making different heath choices is divisive and destructive to the fabric of our society.

This isn’t living as we know it, and it isn’t sustainable.


Mark Wilson’s a lover of Speight’s, Horse George, and the National Party … for the most part