Jacinda Ardern has received praise from near and far for her leadership in this pandemic and most of it is deserved. Having taken decisions that would crash the economy to save "tens of thousands" of mostly elderly lives, she has taken the country with her quite brilliantly.
Her appeal to "be calm, be kind, we're all in this together" resounded so well with some people that when out walking in the early days of the lockdown I saw her words posted on walls and chalked on footpaths.
She offers inspiring sentiments but I worry that one important section of society might not be feeling the love. People in business on a small scale – a shop, a cafe, a salon and the like – are more exposed to the economy than most people and "we're all in this together" might not be working for them.
They have been given wage subsidies, rent suspensions, mortgage holidays and tax relief to tide them over but those are little comfort when you contemplate the future. These people have invested in a productive enterprise for themselves and in the process they have created jobs and generated national wealth and taxation.
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I hear the Prime Minister and Finance Minister acknowledge their worries but I don't get a sense of real anxiety for them, or empathy. Ardern reads from a prepared daily text and Grant Robertson seems to think they should take heart from promises of public spending in the billions.
Governments are big organisations and when they blunder into business they find it easier to deal with big business. They also don't have much interest in things they consider non-essential, the decorative, frivolous or fun things, the advertising, designing, entertaining – many more services to people and companies than governments could ever imagine.
Those are the first things to go in an economic contraction, which is why so many small business people will be alarmed at the likely consequences of a prolonged lockdown. They are doing what they can to keep in touch with customers and suppliers online but what all of them need, desperately, is a good decision from the Government on Monday.
The Herald has reported the decision will primarily depend on whether Dr Ashley Bloomfield is confident Covid-19 is under control.
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Ardern has had the good fortune to share the stage with a Director-General of Health who is a model of medical and public service professionalism. Bloomfield appears to carry all the knowledge of his ministry in his head and have all the facts at his fingertips to answer any question that comes to him. He is clear, concise and free of jargon.
He is the kind of doctor you want for your personal health and his specialist field happens to be public health. He is in the right place at the right time. But, like all doctors, he would tell you he is not your decision maker. There is a reason they always say, "The decision must be yours." Health may be the most important thing in life but not the only important thing in life.
This is just as true when doctors are advising governments. These past few weeks I've often wondered what a National government would have done in the middle of March when the borders had been closed and professors of public health were calling for the next step, a complete shutdown of all but essential industries.
I can hear a National prime minister saying to them, "Well, that's obviously the nuclear option, what others can you give us?" And there were options, as Australia has demonstrated.
In fact it turns out even epidemiologists are not all of the same view. Auckland University lecturer Dr Simon Thornley, speaking, he said, for a group of them, told Mike Hosking this week, "We don't think the lockdown is justified. We think we can safely head back to work and school. We need to pay particular attention to rest homes and hospitals but to the rest of us the threat is very low."
When the Ardern Cabinet made the decision to "go hard and go early" it also moved the goalposts. It no longer aimed to "flatten the curve" of infection so hospitals could cope, it was going to "eliminate" the virus. Elimination is very ambitious, unique among nations it seems. If that remains the aim it's hard to see the lockdown being lifted next week.
Business lobbies say they do not want it lifted if any sign of a second wave of infection would mean a return to level 4. They would sooner be given more certainty about when it could end for good.
But whatever level of restrictions she announces this time, the Prime Minister needs to sound like she really does understand the agony of people whose livelihood is being choked.