COMMENT:

It will all be flushed out in the fullness of time, of course.

But all the clues you needed were there yesterday to reveal the Government was pushed by large, intelligent, and well-researched forces behind the scenes over the weekend and into Monday, to get us to tonight's lockdown.

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The Prime Ministerial debut of a level programme on Saturday afternoon was designed to ease us into this. The message seemed to be we'll gently meander our way through stages, all hands would be held, reassuring messages would be whispered, and slowly but surely we would arrive at a nice, comfortable, not scary at all, level four. Where we'd be virtually comatose into a sense of relief that everything had been so well-handled.

The fact we went from level two to level four essentially between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning tells you that those getting to them with facts, charts and advice won the day. And maybe one day we will all be able to thank them, for they are, in their own way, heroes.

The Government has announced a six-month mortgage holiday for those whose incomes have been affected by Covid-19.

The biggest of clues came yesterday with the fact that the Government clearly had no idea beyond the broadest of brush-stroke concepts as to what actually was an essential business.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

The Warehouse telling us they'd be open was a joke. Fast food outlets announcing intentions to remain open equally so.

Focus: Shoppers protect themselves with masks and gloves at Pakn'Save Paraparaumu. Video / Mark Mitchell

By the time we got to the press briefing and the obvious questions were put forward, it became painfully evident that given they were still "working that through", that they hadn't actually done any work, any substance at all, and were scrambling to provide what really should be the simplest of answers.

The couple got married in their backyard before the Level 4 Government lockdown comes into effect on Wednesday night. Video / Supplied

In a scenario like this, there are genuinely perplexing questions. There are individual circumstances and a myriad of them, that a vast machine like a government department can't necessarily have instant, easy, and individual solutions and details for.

But what specifically constitutes essential services, I would have thought would have been worked through weeks ago if they had their heads around what was unfolding in front of them, first in China and then in Europe.

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And the potential trouble of not having a militaristic type plan is that everyone is looking for a loophole. This is where governments, if they're properly led and run, actually lead.

It is why authoritarian regimes work so much better in a crisis - because the people are already under instruction. Western countries make stuff up as they go along on a whim, bend to the pressure groups, and discuss the "issues". Basically they are loose as, until it all hits the fan.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg says she has coronavirus, taking to social media to share with fans that she was feeling unwell after travelling across central Europe, revealing that her father shares her symptoms. Video / The Telegraph / NBC News

Of course, I fully appreciate how big this has been for the Government, and in parts - like finance - they seem to be on top of their job.

But if you thought the old level one-two-three-four plan was from a well-established playbook and not stuck together at the last minute as a result of extraordinary pressure on a reluctant government, and not knowing The Warehouse isn't an essential service, gave the game away spectacularly.