COMMENT

So, welcome to Australia. Or should I say "g'day, where the bloody hell have you been?" Level three is Australia.

If you watched the Prime Minister's address yesterday, I reckon she made a few glaring errors.

She suggested we are in the unique position to eliminate the virus. She is wrong. Elimination is a mirage. Unless you have a vaccine, you don't eliminate a virus. And what, given we don't have a vaccine, does elimination look like? Ask anyone and you will not get a straight answer.

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She defended the potential charge of overreaction: "We don't want to confuse reaction with overreaction."

I say she said that because that's exactly what she did do - she overreacted. The 1000 hospital beds empty are proof of that, the ICU units that have barely been bothered are proof of that. The economic carnage is proof of that.

She says we are in the rare position of being able to take the next steps.

There is nothing rare about it. Rome opened some shops this week, huge swathes of Europe stepped into the light this week. Spain sent hundreds of thousands of people back to work. And that's before you get to Australia, who have been doing what we are about to do ever since they locked their country down.

As for level three, you can get takeaways, you can build a building, and you can attend a funeral.

Australia has been doing this for weeks now.

The numbers simply don't lie. In the obsession to eliminate, they have failed to accept our lockdown went too far.

Australia's numbers are equal if not better than ours. They test more, and yet have been able to do more.

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Basically, we have lost a month economically.

Ardern is right to suggest that we don't want to try too much too soon, only to go back.

But our level three is hardly going to push any envelopes. You're still working from home, a few kids might go to school, the odd wedding might be held, and you might go for a surf.

But all those businesses that had hope of being able to resurrect themselves in some shape or form, the hospitality industry for example, have been consigned to potentially two months of no income, and who knows how many jobs on the scrapheap by the end of it.

The risk they're taking now is buy-in.

Given the Australian comparison is now laid bare, how many don't quite believe in the way they did it? How many now see the health obsession, given the numbers, as over the top? How many see the economic wreckage as simply too large?

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Sir John Key was spot on. Locking down was the easy bit. Even on Monday, if they go to level three, as each day passes, their credibility will increasingly be tested.

New Zealand’s third week in lockdown was it's most deadly, but as new case numbers continue to fall, NZ remains optimistic that Level 4 restrictions may be lifted on schedule.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website