The team of 5 million, eh? Like a well-oiled machine, we've worked in concert to stamp out Covid-19 before, and we're doing it again.
We know that for plans like this to work, all of us have to contribute and play by the rules. We've got to work collaboratively and in good faith, trusting that everyone else is doing their bit too.
Which is why it was gutting to hear about how an Auckland-based couple decided to exploit the privilege of their essential workers documentation to leave the city in alert level 4, drive to Hamilton and fly to Wānaka, potentially endangering many along the way.
It's also why there's anger, outrage and, thankfully, public pressure which changed the behaviour of restaurateurs Savour Group, who claimed the Wage Subsidy on behalf of their workers but hadn't been passing it on to those workers.
We, collectively, know these things are wrong. We know they're unfair. We also really, really care about the things that have long preceded this pandemic.
Polls show New Zealanders want action on child poverty, the housing crisis, mental health and climate. But we tend not to connect the dots to how child poverty is, in reality, family poverty by a more palatable and empathise-able name.
To realise recognising housing as a human right is inconsistent with its current place as a commodity. That screeds of contemporary research tells us the most important steps we can take to improve collective mental health is to ensure secure housing, liveable incomes and opportunities that foster a sense of community, identity and purpose.
That the "just transition" we talk about in climate action doesn't mean greenwashing inequality.
Solidarity is recognising that even though our struggles may be different, they're
interconnected. We're all better off when those of us who are struggling are able to get
access to the support they need.
The system works best when all of us have a real, meaningful say in creating it. It's not a matter of fighting among ourselves, but ensuring the rules work as best as possible for the majority of us.
There's a tear-jerker of a true-story 2014 UK film – great lockdown watching – called Pride.
At the launching point of the HIV/Aids pandemic, in the midst of Margaret Thatcher's
economic deregulation, a plucky group of young rainbow community members launch
"Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners", initially to the absolute distaste and homophobic rejection of those regional working-class miners who they're trying to help.
In time, they show up for each other, realising the interconnection of their struggles against a powerful system that does the opposite of representing and supporting them.
In Aotearoa, we can trace many similar stories throughout our history. Had it been properly honoured, Te Tiriti o Waitangi was tangata whenua generously providing for how foreign peoples could live peacefully in their land.
Unions across New Zealand have long joined arms to support better working conditions for all working people. Ngā Tamatoa, a group of young Māori activists, supported the Polynesian Panthers in their mahi to fight back against discriminatory immigration policy and the Dawn Raids of the 70s.
We've seen regular mobilisation of people across our communities to push back on the oppression of people in other countries, from anti-apartheid in South Africa to rainbow rights across the Pacific.
In the 2000s, Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga was established; teachers, parents and workers followed the lead of children in the School Strike for Climate.
Many of these actions are born in moments of immediate, identifiable injustice. It's far harder to organise and mobilise against systems that seem set in stone.
At a moment in history where the gig economy sees more and more people changing jobs – sometimes juggling multiple – regularly; our housing crisis means a third of the population aren't easily afforded the right to put down roots, moving neighbourhoods regularly; it's understandable the immediate focus for so many people is just putting food on the table and surviving each day.
When your head is in the thick of survival, there's often more than enough on your plate to think about solidarity.
That's how unfair systems persist.
One of the most frustrating catch-cries in our mainstream mental health narrative is the need for "resilience" in the face of the unsustainable daily struggle. Breathe through poverty. Bring a sense of mindfulness to inadequate income and the overdue bills. Exercise away the climate anxiety.
Sure, there's an important place for everyone having the tools to tackle whatever confronts them. But we're in a dangerous place when we conflate that with acquiescing to
fundamentally unfair circumstances. Sure, there are people who overcome those situations.
But we tend to glorify, glamourise and extrapolate those exceptions instead of recognising how they reinforce the status quo.
While the Reserve Bank decided to freeze the Official Cash Rate in response to the
lockdown to keep mortgage costs stable, the Government decided against rent freezes to
keep rents stable.
The Government's announced top-up of the student Hardship Fund will be available to just 15,000 of 380,000 students across the country, many of whom report the process is invasive, degrading and embarrassing.
We're yet to hear of any specific support for the arts and creative sector – the very thing many of us have been relying on to keep entertained through lockdown in TV, music, podcasts, writing and more.
All of these struggles are connected. Solidarity between workers, renters, students,
beneficiaries and all means seeing how powerful we are, and how things can change, when we work in concert.
The team of 5 million did it and is doing it again for Covid-19. We can bring that energy to solve anything we want.
• Chlöe Swarbrick, Green Party, is the MP for Auckland Central