The Government has had to make some pretty tough calls. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to weigh up the potential health costs versus what basically closing our borders will do to the economy. But that's what governments do. It's why we elect them. Tough calls. You make 'em.
But now that this decision has been made, we, the people, should focus not on what our Government can do for us, but on what we can do for each other. While whatever announcement that happens tomorrow will be key, and we're all hoping that Grant Robertson's package is enormous, there's a lot that we can do independent of government to soften what is going to be a bumpy ride.
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The obvious one is if you're showing any of the symptoms stay the hell away from everywhere. Don't take your sick self anywhere there are people. You need to get yourself tested.
The doctors and nurses who make up our health system do an amazing job, but I'm not sure the infrastructure is there if the demand on ICU beds spikes. We need to work together — but separately — if we're going to limit the spread.
We need to be supportive of one another. Emotionally, absolutely. It's a terrifying time. My own anxiety disorder is flaring up due to the abundance of horror stories I'm reading from around the world and so being one another's support animals is a good idea.
This might mean a phone call to check in on people, or a happy message in your WhatsApp chat group. If people are going to be working from home and staying away from one another for the good of our health and wellbeing then we also need to maintain connections through other means for the good of our health and wellbeing.
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This is bigger than politics. I don't pretend to speak for everyone but it would be great if we saw a grand coalition in Parliament. That instead of sniping at one another or taking credit for any particular decision, all parties came together to work for New Zealand. Yes there is an election later this year, but we need our political leaders to lead.
There are people who are working so hard to try and help New Zealand. Be it through providing advice to decision makers, health professionals, reporters who are bringing us the latest information, these people need to be supported and cared for too.
This is probably the most disruptive global event since World War II and there are very few people left alive who experienced that. This means nearly all of us are in uncharted waters and it's scary.
We also need to be aware of what the consequences of some of these protective measures will be.
While we might all talk brazenly about working from home and isn't it great how we have a wonderful fibre broadband network to allow us to do that, there are small cafes and people who work in other businesses who will hurt. If cities empty then that really nice family restaurant you went to for lunch every Wednesday is going to get screwed.
You might be now getting your morning coffee from a Nespresso machine in your kitchen, but that cafe you used to frequent is now struggling. If we're going to ultimately end in lockdown mode, then it won't be up to any of us to see these smaller businesses through, but it might be up to all of us.
So while a pandemic is bigger than politics, the politicians need to remember the individuals as well as the group. It seems now that suffering is unavoidable, but if we all think of each other, put aside any trivial differences and work together then we can get through this as well as possible. I'm going to start by writing an entire column without criticising Simon Bridges.