By now it's clear there is a distinct divide between New Zealand and the rest of the world in terms of infection from Covid-19, one we have worked hard to create and maintain.
Basically, we and a few other South Pacific islands are virtually Covid-free. Everyone else is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic, so the situation is not going to get better any time soon.
Especially as big business in particular is relentlessly urging governments to make a minimalist response to the crisis, and to come out of lockdown and open borders well before any lasting benefit from such measures can be secured.
Meaning the disease will continue to wash around the world in a series of waves that may ultimately see the current million deaths become tens of millions.
• Bruce Bisset: National love to point the finger
• Premium - Bruce Bisset: Election leaves little to be excited about
• Premium - Bruce Bisset: Time to restore some sanity over Covid 19 coronavirus
• Bruce Bisset: Climate change waits for no one - Hawke's Bay Regional Council needs to act
Nor is there any guarantee that Covid-19 won't be followed by Sars-22 or Flu-27 and so on; a series of virus pandemics created, at base, by man stressing nature beyond its capacity to remain benign.
Multinational corporations do not care. On their collective record, human health is not a factor in determining whether to mine or drill or mill or otherwise alter swathes of the planet, and nor is the degraded state of the environment that results.
No, profit is their only driver. And we cogs – be it as workers for the manufacturer, or as part of a supply chain, or as consumers of what is made – are simply numbers on spreadsheets depicting sales and margins, profit and loss.
Bottom line: A global business has no morality except to itself. That's how it got that big in the first place.
This is a lesson history has repeatedly tried to teach us: that capitalism may be a useful tool, but unbridled capitalism – greed without bounds – is a monster.
What has this to do with Aotearoa's isolation under this pandemic? Simply, it's a chance for real change.
Barring a few hiccups, Labour has successfully shored us up against the rest of the world's plight. But while Labour may continue to govern, they are (these days) nevertheless the equivalent of neoliberal-lite; they may not be able to resist calls from big business to open the country up again sooner than desirable.
Not unless we citizens demand an alternative, and push them to accept that possibility.
And there IS an alternative. But it is "big picture" thinking requiring us to be bold and brave, and act solely in our collective interest as New Zealanders: we should embrace this enforced isolationism and make it permanent.
The world still wants what we produce, and we still need to import. But as the current situation demonstrates, trade is mostly unaffected even in lockdown.
We have perhaps 300,000 people – the existing able unemployed, and the newly out-of-work – to re-absorb into the workforce. That's a huge challenge, especially as our biggest sector – tourism – is all-but denuded and would likely remain that way.
But our second-biggest, farming, remains vital and strong – yet needs tens of thousands of seasonal workers, many of whom currently come from overseas, to stay productive.
However farming here is used to operating within co-operative models. Is it such a stretch to think we might not find ways of collectivising farm work to not only provide jobs but encourage land reform and environmental enhancement at the same time?
Yes, that's a big ask demanding much goodwill and no little sacrifice. But think how robust that could make us when facing a century of woe that could, if we fail to prepare, wash us away like flotsam on the tide.