Auckland feels like an angry city.
Angry at the lockdown dragging on. Angry that the boundary will remain and we won't be able to leave the city even in level 2. Angry at the gang members hooning around West Auckland for a funeral despite lockdown rules. Angry at the cops for not charging the lot of them.
You'll have sensed it by now. The text from your friend that ends with "I'm over it" and an angry face emoji. The out-of-the-blue message from another friend saying "now I've had enough". She means the Government. She was a Jacinda fan. She's not any more. Or the text from the colleague noting "I have never heard people so angry".
So, yes, Auckland is angry.
And the real reason we're angry is because we don't know when this will end. We have no idea what the plan is.
We used to know what the plan was. It was to lock down until we got to zero. And we knew that was the plan until we got the jab rolled out.
But that clearly isn't the plan any more because we're not getting back to zero. So we're sitting in lockdown, kept away from the rest of the country, with no idea what happens next.
And what makes it more frustrating is that - instead of coming up with a new plan - Jacinda, Chris and Ashley waste their precious time trying to gaslight us into believing we're still going to reach zero. That game is now so far-fetched it's damaging their credibility. You'd have to be an idiot to be convinced by their play-pretend after seven weeks of getting nowhere near zero, but somehow clocking 45 cases on Wednesday with several mystery cases across the week.
It's not unreasonable to expect a plan. NSW has a plan. They know that at 80 per cent double dose they'll be allowed to visit friends in rural areas, go back to school and welcome their family back from overseas. Norway has a plan. They've just lifted all restrictions in step three of their four-step plan. Singapore has a plan. They knew they would reopen borders last month when they hit around 80 per cent vaccination.
Of course plans must be allowed to change. That's what's happening to Singapore. They've had a rise in cases, so they've sent people home to work and restricted restaurant numbers. That's not the end of the world. Aucklanders understand that could happen here too. We've dealt with four unexpected lockdowns disrupting plans already. No one is expecting a one-way direction of travel in a pandemic.
But humans need plans. You've probably already planned where you'll take your next holiday, what suburb you might like to buy your next house in, what school you're sending the kids to next year. A life - or even a task - without a plan is unnatural.
Where to get a vaccination in Auckland - without a booking
No one should be puzzled at the praise for National's reopening plan this week. Yes it's fair to say that their plan wasn't hugely dissimilar to Labour's vague reopening outline, but the difference is that National set actual targets. They told the public that at this vaccination rate, that happens. To a city - no, to a nation - of people now stuck in a months-long limbo without any targets, it was a ray of hope.
Labour needs to set targets and lay a plan. Not just for Auckland's lockdown, but for the country's eventual reconnecting to the world. The Government clearly wants to avoid targets in case they miss them and wear criticism as a result. But in the absence of targets, they're starting to look very much like they're flying by the seat of their pants and making things up as they go. They clearly want to avoid admitting elimination is over, but continuing to play pretend makes them a laughing stock.
As my once-upon-a-time Jacinda-supporter friend said: "I really do feel like they're using lockdown because they have no other option." Same. And being trapped by their lack of other options makes me feel really angry.