Throughout this Covid-19 pandemic, there have been seemingly constant demands to specify when public health precautions will be removed.
The rowdy protest around Parliament is one more highly visible manifestation of this. One of the messages emanating from the mob is for the Government to immediately cancel vaccine mandates.
This week, National Party leader Christopher Luxon joined the chorus with his demand: "What is the plan for phasing out vaccine mandates?"
His query was still hanging in the air when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced some restrictions will be lifted as early as next month, with a gradual easing of pandemic health measures eventually leading to an end to some vaccine mandates.
She wasted no time in pointing out the announcement was not a response to the unruly occupation on and around Parliament grounds, and she then rounded on Luxon for "sympathising" with the illegal protest.
It was an extraordinary move by Luxon, on the same day we recorded two more deaths.
Herald political journalist Audrey Young swiftly identified it as an obvious attempt to position himself "as a unifying figure in a polarising debate and divided country".
To vaccinate or not has caused ructions, and some have chosen to leave their jobs over it, but talk of divisions is overstated. Never mind the chants from the crowd and opposition statements, count the pin-pricks in arms to get a gauge of public sentiment.
Luxon's call may resonate with a few but only those who have not been paying attention. The pathway to the end of mandates is already laid down, sketched by the pandemic modellers who accurately predicted the current rate of Omicron spread.
The peak of the Omicron outbreak in New Zealand is expected by the end of next month. As it eases, it follows that the country can begin reducing the measures put in place to protect as many people as possible from the worst of its impacts.
For all of the justified criticism this Government has received - the initial slow rollout of vaccine, failing to engage Māori, a confounding view on rapid antigen tests - the issue of the mandates appears an odd one to be mobilised by.
It was businesses who demanded mandates. More than 90 per cent of small to medium businesses surveyed by the Auckland Business Chamber insisted they were needed.
Beyond the essential, critical, and frontline staff, many businesses introduced their own mandates to protect the business and staff and have given no indication of lifting them, even if the mandates for the public sector are relaxed.
The mandates did much more than protect people in their workplaces. They impelled many reluctant people to get vaccinated. Those who were putting it off become motivated. Delta and then Omicron arrived just as inoculation rates were almost enough to hold the line.
This pandemic has cut its own trail and there may be more surprises yet. Politically and pragmatically, it would be ridiculous to specify a date for loosening restrictions when they still may be necessary to save lives.
For a Government to do so, and then renege, might be something to protest about.