The definition of lockdown is working-class people delivering stuff to middle-class people.
Omicron's "Red" setting means optional lockdowns for those who can work from home. If you don't have the choice then you continue to deliver stuff, sell stuff, wipe the brows of the sick, keep places running.
We are living in a time of the greatest increase in inequality in my working life. Bigger than the 80s, when the Lange-Douglas Government made changes the current Cabinet swore they would never abide.
If your wages didn't increase by 6 per cent last year then you are worse off than you were a year ago because that's how much prices rose.
But if you had assets, a house, a share portfolio, some land, then you own a much greater share of New Zealand's wealth than a year ago. An average Auckland house worth a million dollars a year ago is worth $200,000 more now. Most houses earned more than the people living in them.
If you don't own much or anything at all, then you have a much smaller share of the national wealth. Your income is a smaller slice of New Zealand's income.
Half of all New Zealanders have no "liquid assets". Y'know, like cash. Stuff that can be turned into cash fast. Just 5 per cent of Japanese are as impecunious, according to author Max Rashbrooke.
We do not have an inequality problem in New Zealand, we have an inequality policy.
Journalist Charlotte Bellis, stuck in Afghanistan, desperate to get home to have her baby has acknowledged the cruel inequality around the MIQ lottery. She at least has a media megaphone to draw attention to her case. Others are not so lucky.
Working-class New Zealanders are largely - not exclusively - Māori and Pacific. Middle-class people living in Wellington's middle-class suburbs designed a vaccine rollout that worked superbly for middle-class people living in Wellington's middle-class suburbs. But Māori consultation on the Omicron strategy began after it had been announced.
That's like seeing the doctor after you've planned the funeral.
It's been impossible to talk about how lockdowns, red lights and closed borders increase inequality without being accused of being "pro-Covid and pro-death". I've been asked, "But who will you choose to die? Your Aunty, mother, cousin?" "You are part of a death cult."
The Speaker of the House tweeted at a UK-based journalist that the reporter's criticism of Omicron policy was motivated by wanting "clicks". "I prefer an approach that values lives, especially the old, the young and the vulnerable," as though anyone questioning an enormous increase in inequality and hardship might not also value the young, the old and the vulnerable.
We have thrown away so many of our constitutional safeguards and norms that it has become mundane for the Speaker to engage in partisan demonising of news media in defence of contentious policy, attacking motivation instead of substance. The point of the Speaker is to defend the institution of democratic debate, not to wage it.
Some refuse Covid tests, avoid contact tracing or refuse vaccinations precisely because they are vulnerable and because they have no voice.
To be clear: I think they're making a wrong choice, sometimes catastrophically wrong. We should ask ourselves, if they are wrong, why can't they see it?
It's hard to self-isolate if you're in a rented house with 10 family members.
My household prepared for Omicron by doing an extra shop, so if we have to isolate we can manage. Not everyone has the spare readies to buy an extra fortnight's groceries.
Some people will never go for a Covid test or a vaccine, not because they're anti-vaxxers, but because they don't want to risk getting caught up in the system. The health department, social welfare, IRD all mean the same thing: trouble. Maybe losing a cash job. These people are vulnerable too.
I have family members who stopped using public transport because, who will feed the pets if they get a positive test? You could be riding on a bus and get pinged as a close contact. Can't see friends, can't work casual jobs. Three years since Covid began, some people have barely left their homes.
Many of us are scared of Omicron. We're also worried about how we are going to pay the bills. Whether our kids will have a normal school year.
You can judge people, but its better to make them safe. Get them vaccinated. The best people to work with families outside the Wellington beltway are health providers, church ministers or community leaders who know their own people.
Our politics do not even see the class divide; the canyon has grown too wide to see across. Yet working-class New Zealanders are asked to cross it every day.
• Josie Pagani is executive director of the Council for International Development.