Folding Like a Wet Paper Bag: New Zealand Surrenders to Omicron

I am angry. Very angry. I have literally just finished listening to Jacinda Ardern’s Great Re-opening speech. Say what you like about the details, this is really the moment that New Zealand, the Western World’s last hold-out against the Virus, decided to surrender. And since it was Ardern doing the announcement, rather than Hipkins, I don’t even get to use the expression ‘Death By Gingernut.’

Bastards.

To clarify, at the end of February, New Zealanders travelling back from Australia get to evade MIQ and self-isolate instead. From mid-March it’s New Zealanders travelling back from anywhere. July-October is where the border comes down, and everyone else can self-isolate. R.I.P. Fortress New Zealand, the saviour of literally thousands of lives.

There is one cold hard fact that this plan ignores.

Self-isolation does not work. And all it takes is one muppet ignoring the rules.

(When asked about enforcing self-isolation? Ardern said there will be a “high level of personal responsibility” involved. Utter madness).

New Zealand currently has done a sterling job at containing our eleven day-old Omicron outbreak. Because MIQ has prevented multiple-seedings, allowing contact-tracing to catch people in time. There are still no cases in my home-city of Dunedin (and haven’t been since May 2020).

Now? What’s the bloody point? The Labour Government’s surrender – allowing infected muppets to bring the plague in (and somehow hoping they’ll comply with self-isolation) – will be tantamount to throwing petrol on a house fire. Let it Rip indeed – without even a Last Hurrah for (still popular) lockdown. And that means hundreds of deaths (have you seen Australia?), a collapsed health system, and a media that would unironically blame Labour for all of that. Lucky for Ardern the next election is late 2023, I suppose, seeing as hitherto the Covid Response was the One Big Thing keeping the Government afloat, and they’ve just put a massive hole in that.

So why is the Government doing this?

Basically, because it has caved to intense pressure from the New Zealand media. The media has been running wall-to-wall sob-stories about people stuck overseas – most recently and famously a pregnant woman stuck in Afghanistan. No mention, of course, that these people fall into one of two categories:

(1) They’ve been overseas for more than two years. In which case, they’ve had copious time and opportunity for return, including periods like last November when MIQ supply exceeded demand.

(2) They’ve left New Zealand at some point in the last two years. In which case, they were fully aware there was an international pandemic on, and as such should have realised that travel meant risk, and potential difficulty in getting back. We’re dealing with entitled muppets, who don’t plan ahead, and then expect the system to bend over backwards to bail them out, never mind that the lives of domestic New Zealanders are at risk here.

(Seriously. I am so utterly furious that the discourse among our (well-heeled) journalists is always about the “humanitarian needs” of those wealthy enough to afford overseas travel, never the needs of the elderly and vulnerable here in the country. High-minded rhetoric about “rights” never seems to take into account the rights of our people to not die of a potentially deadly disease, much less the wider principle of basic bloody solidarity).

If Labour winds up losing the 2023 election, this will have been the pivotal moment. And they’ll have no-one to blame but themselves.

One thought on “Folding Like a Wet Paper Bag: New Zealand Surrenders to Omicron

  1. Having lived through eh first waves in France back in 2020 (and likely having had COVID during the first round of lockdown in April 2020) before moving to NZ via Aus in 2021 (get here during before the travel bubble went pop) I support trying to keep the border close and stomp Omicron while it still looks possible (ticking along at 150-200 cases per day says we should be able to stomp it with two or three weeks of lockdown).

    But I also get the logic of “it’s here now, it’ll probably go boom soon… we might as well reopen”, even though I dislike the implications.

    What Arden and co have actually done though? Self-Isolation maintains all the bloody inconvenience of MIQ while loosing the effectiveness… And then the rolling reopening over the next six months seems to have little logic behind who it reopens to and when. Even worse, does a shitty jobs of making it clear who falls under each category… I’m an Aussie working for the NZ Met Service, I don’t know if I fall under the “Australian… where New Zealand is your primary place of established residence”… That’s the difference between being able to make it home for my brother’s wedding late this month and not being able to leave until July.

    Then the NZ media… Ugh… At least back in Aus the insane Nurgle cultists in the media have clear (and utterly horrible) politics/philosophy behind them, rather than the dim-witted, thoughtless whinge-athon that seems to dominate the Kiwi media’s pro-COVID push. You can be bloody certain that given two months of open borders and booming plague numbers the same morons at stuff.com et al. will be just as vocally whinging about “all the dead grandmas”.

    As for the bloody diva who pulled the Afghanistan stunt… She had months of warning per her oncoming kid and she could have either tried getting into NZ sooner; asked for NZ consular assistance to get a visa extension in Europe or marrying her long-term partner and father to her kid so they could stay in the Middle East (hell, given a few major countries like the US still don’t recognize long term defacto relationships for visa purposes, and many other places require a lot more hoop-jumping for defacto rather than married couples, it’d probably be a move they’d have to make sometime anyway). But nope, cue the stunt and whinge-athon.

    Liked by 1 person

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