Post by Willy Nilly
Too late, your header already commented. Jacinda's boot will stay on
Auckland's neck until either it or COVID expires. Not looking good
for Auckland, I must say.
James, tell us again how "Covid-19 elimination is in sight".
It is that perception **in terms** based on what was known at the time it was published - ref: Prof Shaun Hendy.
Rod Jackson reckons another week is not enough. I think the government knows this but is sugar coating the bitter pill. One thing they are good at is sensing public opinion and the voter base is becoming weary of lockdowns.
So, no. Elimination not really in sight for stressed businesses who have no basis on which to plan. But even if the lockdown ends, in the total absence of a government plan, there'll just be another - it is as inevitable as this one was.
The first Smallpox vaccine (Cowpox derivative) was given in 1798. The WHO officially declared the disease completely eradicated in 1980. Worth pondering. Medical science has come a long way over the past 220 years, but even so, and with all the skills and knowledge now at the world's disposaI, I still wouldn't bet on the currently fast-mutating variants of Covid-19 being totally eradicated any time soon. So...
...no flippancy intended: in the interim - and it's a protracted one at that - what kind of a tangible, feasible plan can assure and secure some kind of normality both in economic terms and life in general while also coping with an all-pervading mercurial and mutating virus which appears capable of defying all attempts at its elimination and eventual eradication? Maybe I am putting this the wrong way, but as far as I know the already stretched research institutes have yet to come up with a 100% guaranteed fix, and as yet there seems to be no sign anywhere of one in prospect. In any case, as far as I know no current Covid-19 vaccine is better than 80% effective - most less so - and even then their efficacy is said to decline over only a few months. The smallpox scrape and polio dosing were for life - done and dusted. I received both and still have the smallpox scar to show for both of them. Not so today for the younger generations.
Unlike most countries, New Zealand is lagging on vaccination, despite its public willingness to get vaccinated, and New Zealand has *no* mid to long term strategy for what comes next. We have no goal, no target, no aspiration from the government of how we deal with endemic Covid.
You can bet the boffins and the economists will be working at it right now, but I reckon any such plans are unlikely to come from a five-minute back-of-an-envelope work-through. To date, now ahead, this virus stays ahead.
It will soon be two years from the start of COVID and our hospital system, critically our ICU network, is still woefully under-resourced.
When were they ever anything but? A bottomless money and resources pit. (One might rightfully observe that far too many people - and they are not necessarily thick or poor - exist not to keep themselves healthy but knowingly, wilfully to get sick - and at the exchequer's expense, not theirs. And that's where I'll leave it for now.)
We combine one of the slowest vaccine rollouts in the OECD with one of the lowest per capita ICU beds in the OECD. Yet we have hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to show for it.
Yet still manageable in Reserve Bank and credit-rating agency terms. Plus, a Covid-19 death rate that other much larger and wealthier populations would dump their entire governments for is not to be sneezed at either.
If only the government had the collective intelligence, experience and wisdom to come up with a plan and execute it.
We have a population of 5 million from which, inevitably, an excess of the brightest and best continually flee to infinitely greater and wider opportunities than are possible here. Those who don't remain to handle all the responsibilities that are undertaken in the larger, wealthier, better and more broadly educated and experienced countries by essentially the same range of disciplines but by a range of skills and talents drawn from a vastly wider and deeper pool.
So, taking these dogged, immutable factors into account, we could be doing a lot worse whichever lot are running the show, be it corporate clone seeking that backseat ride in a limo on his short and well-greased glide to a swift knighthood and the indulgences and the sinecures beyond, or a fish-shop operator who has the sheer guts and forthright, unadorned communication skills that count and that no one else in government or inopposition can even begin to aspire to, let alone emulate.
Tragic. And the younger generation currently whining about the cost of houses doesn't know what's going to hit them when this debt starts ballooning along with interest rates.
I prefer worrying to whining - less perjorative and judgemental towards those who actually do an honest, real-productivity day's work for their bread and self-esteem.
In any case, we're off on another tack now, but if one must, and to put it in a nutshell: in a perpetually stultified and perniciously low per-capita economy where the rampantly gluttonous zero-productivity wealth extractor can never be rampant or gluttonous enough, what else can you or the real-productivity young couple vainly struggling to get a foot on the ladder possibly or reasonably expect?