On Thursday afternoon, my boss and I had a chat about whether or not to take the Prime Minister's speech live on Friday morning.
We could, if we brought in an extra person, skip the self-congratulations; the appreciation for underpaid essential workers and kia kahas to Aucklanders, and just put to air the real news – the announcements of anything tangible and meaningful for so many people who are doing it tough.
In the end, we decided to go live – there were hundreds of thousands of people waiting to see if the Government had some kind of road map out of this inertia, waiting to see if it was worth them hanging in there for another six months.
Livelihoods – and lives – were on the line. And so we took the speech live and yep – there it was. The "haven't we done well on vaccinating everybody" and "we're going for the highest rate of vaccinations in the world", the so-last-year "Team of Five Million" and the gratuitous "Auckland, I know you're doing it tough".
No, you don't. You aren't here. And you haven't been here this entire lockdown. And while we now have a traffic light system that replaces the alert level 3.1 two-step system – or will eventually when enough people have been vaccinated – there was nothing to reward those people who have already gone out and got their vaccinations as instructed and who have been told, endlessly, by that bloody unctuous official voice of Covid that the sooner we're vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to doing the things we love.
We can't. We're at least six weeks away from doing the things we love. Probably longer.
Ninety per cent vaccination rates for each DHB is a huge ask. And it was misleading and cruel to tell Aucklanders that we're "so close" - needing 16,000 more people to get their first dose. That's just their first dose. They still have to get their second. And that's if they even want to.
I know a number of people who are flatly refusing the vaccine. They're aware that their lives are going to be pretty limited. They've accepted they're not going to be able to travel. They understand the consequences and they're fine with that. And so while the refuseniks continue to refuse, we're stuck too, living pretty bloody limited lives.
There was good news for Auckland business owners, and that was a relief.
Talking to Michael Barnett from the Auckland Business Chamber immediately after the announcement of the business relief package, he felt the increased Resurgence Support Payments packages would make a difference.
He also said a survey of members found that 80 per cent of them were optimistic they would make it through the lockdowns which just goes to show the incredible fortitude of business owners. I'm not entirely sure the $10 million towards mental health and wellbeing support will be all that helpful. Trying to find trained counsellors is a tough ask at the moment and those who are working are swamped.
Allowing vaccinated business owners to open up to vaccinated customers and get back to work would probably do more for the mental health of the business community than anything else would.
I think the Prime Minister wanted to bring hope and a sense of certainty with her speech on Friday. I came away feeling anything but hopeful.
I wanted some acknowledgement – a tiny appreciation – for those who have followed the rules and done what's been asked of them.
But there was nothing to boost the flagging spirits of the good foot soldiers. Just more money being spent on people who are unable or unwilling to follow the road map out of this mess.
The forecast for Auckland is grim this Labour Weekend. And I'm not just talking about the weather.