The Delta outbreak has created a Fortress Auckland after the decision to keep Auckland in level 4 lockdown for at least two weeks longer than most of New Zealand.
This fortress is designed to
keep the enemy in, rather than out.
The question the Government will next have to wrestle with is how many of the drawbridges to Fortress Auckland should open again before the end of the year.
In terms of managing Delta, the lockdown is not the hardest bit.
Lockdowns are difficult, but simple. They are the "all" side of the all-or-nothing equation.
We've done it before, it has worked before and so people do it again when asked.
The difficult bit will come over the next few months when decisions that aren't all-or-nothing have to be made.
It remains possible - even likely - this outbreak will be stamped out, but do not expect to return to our pre-Delta nirvana.
The cost of a second outbreak of Delta is simply too high – and the risk of a second outbreak is also too high.
Ahead for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lie two periods still to contend with.
The first is the period immediately after this outbreak and before everybody is vaccinated.
Then there is the post-vaccination period.
A lot more planning has gone into the post-vaccination period than the next few months. It was hoped we would bubble along at level 1 until we were all vaccinated.
This outbreak has blown that out of the water, so the plan for the next few months is now changed.
Even after it ends, this outbreak will almost certainly mean a more restricted lifestyle than we enjoyed before until we area all vaccinated.
That is likely to be especially the case in Auckland.
Yesterday, Ardern said that with Delta, level 4 was now needed when in the past level 3 would have sufficed.
The view could very well apply down the track at level 1.
The old level 1 will not be Delta level 1.
The aim is to get back to level 1, but it will come with trade-offs until vaccinations are high enough.
The most obvious tradeoff to get that return to level 1 will be travel.
The numbers allowed to travel to New Zealand could become even more restricted as the Government tries to shrink the risk as much as possible.
New Zealanders would always be allowed to come in – but travel from Australia would likely halt.
It will almost certainly delay Government's plans to allow some business people to travel as part of a trial of home self-isolation later this year.
We could also be in line for New Zealand to be split into different alert levels for quite some time.
Auckland could well end up sitting at level 2 for an extended period while others are at level 1.
At the end of this outbreak, the Government will be left counting the costs.
Not least among them will be the political cost.
At the moment, Covid-19 is once again the dominant issue in voters' minds.
If Labour is deemed to have failed to deliver on critical aspects of the Covid-19 response, that will be the ultimate threat to Labour's chances.
The risk for Ardern is people will not remember the happy year of freedom she gave them before Delta.
They'll remember the painful bit of Delta and post-Delta.
If the Government botches the handling of the longer-term freedoms promised by the post-vaccination roadmap, that will be the freshest memory by 2023.
The economic reckoning will also impact on the political cost.
Voters excused the Government throwing away the rulebook of fiscal prudence for the sake of battling Covid.
A lot of debt has been drawn down in the name of Covid, and, without a doubt, it saved a lot of jobs.
But at some point, those zeroes will start to spook people again.
Labour may come to rue using that money drawn down in the name of Covid to spend on other things.
The Covid fund was supposed to be for the response, and then the response and recovery.
A lot has now been spent on the recovery bit of that, or at least allocated for spending.
It is for the Government to undergo a political reckoning on whether it was warranted to draw down hundreds of billions in debt in the name of Covid, and then to spend it in the name of the Labour manifesto.
Ardern has very much been the right Prime Minister for the Covid time.
Her challenge now is to ensure she becomes the right Prime Minister for the future – having been the one to get us to it.
That is no small task.
Judith Collins may turn out to be right when she said 2023 remained a very winnable election for National.
Before the lockdown, two polls came out showing Labour's support had dropped significantly from unsustainable highs of around 50 per cent into the low-mid 40s.
At the time, it was decreed that the Covid honeymoon was over for Ardern.
That honeymoon was clinched by Ardern's handling of the first major outbreak of Covid-19 and the nationwide lockdowns.
She knocked the bastard off, and reaped the rewards.
Now the bastard has returned, bigger and scarier.
Calculating whether the honeymoon will also return is a much more complicated matter.