As we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021, it's a good time to catch up on the very best of the Herald columnists we enjoyed reading over the last 12 months. From politics to sport, from business to entertainment and lifestyle, these are the voices and views our audience loved the most. Today it's the top three from Heather du Plessis-Allan.
Don't blame the Prime Minister
Plenty of disappointed pro-legalisation voters unfairly blamed the Prime Minister when the cannabis legalisation referendum failed. They believe the vote might've passed if only she had declared earlier how she'd voted, rather than keeping it a secret until after the results were announced.
As soon as Ardern finally admitted to a "yes" vote, social media filled with messages accusing her of "zero leadership on this issue", wishing she had "mentioned BEFORE the election", saying she "was unwilling to spend a cent of her political capital to get it across the line" and arguing that it "could have made a difference to the results if she had told us beforehand".
It might've made a difference, it might not have. But it wasn't Ardern's battle to fight. It was the Greens' - and they barely tried, writes du Plessis-Allan.
Time to get strict on new arrivals
Our border is a joke right now, du Plessis-Allan wrote back in April when mandatory quarantine for everyone entering the country wasn't in place.
The half-arsed measures we have in place are simply not good enough. We know our rules aren't being enforced and aren't being followed.
Right now, all arrivals are waved through unless they are obviously sick and obviously have no satisfactory plans to self-isolate. The Government and officials tell us this is fine, because everyone waved through has pinky-promised to stay home and police have pinky-promised to check on them all within three days.
Except neither is happening.
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So why won't the Government shut the border?
We must quarantine all arrivals
Kiwis who still have jobs and who're locked down in warm, dry, comfortable houses can be forgiven for perhaps not understanding the full damage this lockdown is doing to our country, du Plessis-Allan wrote in March.
That's not a criticism of the Government's decision to order this lockdown. It was the right thing to do. Once the Government essentially closed the borders to international visitors to keep Covid-19 out, there was no choice but to inevitably try to then stamp it out too by ordering a lockdown.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
To keep lockdown as short as possible compulsory quarantine is essential.