I am optimistic. I am optimistic about New Zealand’s ability to contain COVID19.
Compared to a lot of other countries, New Zealand has been very sensible in its approach to COVID19. We have a number of factors working in our favour, which I want acknowledge and point out.
I also want note the impact that COVID19 is having on employers. My work for example was in the midst of its biggest recruitment drive for Washbay that I can remember. 8 new staff were being lined up. They would fill a mixture of part time and full time roles. Bar one who started last week the whole lot have been put on ice indefinitely. Our yard opening hours are being condensed from for example 0600-2300 to 0900-2000. Our yard has gone from 200-300 outward movements to almost zero. Our airport Avis Preferred and Fastbreak counter in the airport car park is shut indefinitely. We are having to move excess fleet vehicles to Airpark.
Compared to many countries we have a very good health system. It is relatively well funded and well staffed. The nurses, practitioners and specialists are competent and receive a high standard of training. When I look at how Samoa struggled last year with its measles outbreak, I am reminded there are countries that are too small and poor to afford the care that their population needs.
We have competent authorities. Yes you might think our authorities are slack and I have wondered about their decisions at times, but they are transparent. Compared to other countries our authorities have little corruption, are honest and when things go wrong, we have means of holding them account.
Our geography is also useful. A maritime island nation has some useful advantages in terms of distancing ourselves. Since we have no land border, our airports and ports are the points of entry and are relatively few. Which is useful to note now that the border closes to anyone who is not a permanent resident or citizen at 2359 hours.
Then there is the Government itself. Am I a Labour supporter? No, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will win this election if National fails to realise attacking what by world standards is solid leadership in the face of a rapidly evolving emergency. In a time when we need leadership she is delivering. In a time when she needed to reach out to the business community, she has tried to.
I am going to take the very rare decision to make this a public post. I think people need to see that there are things working in New Zealand’s favour. COVID19 is very dangerous, but it is not the end of the world. After all we did have World War 2, where there was rationing for years; the Christchurch earthquake was a great opportunity to learn about resilience.
Use your common sense. Wash your hands. Do not panic buy and remember if you have symptoms, find out what your G.P. wants you to do. Smaller employers received assistance in the Government announcement.
I am optimistic.