COMMENT

Is it the right call?

It's a classic Labour government call, isn't it? Sort of right, but not as right as it could have been.

You can argue at least we go to level 3, which is true. You can argue, given it's now next Tuesday not Thursday, is a couple of days and the cover for a long weekend is not the end of the world. Well no, although I am sure there are no shortage of small businesses who would argue that's yet more crippling days of no income. So it's the Easter supermarket call. We got there, sort of, just not quite as cleanly as we could have.

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I would have pulled the trigger at least a week ago. The numbers are now embarrassing in their success. There are fewer than 500 actual cases. The lockdown worked a treat. That's what you get when you are an island nation at the bottom of the world and you largely close the borders.

The really encouraging news is the level 3 call is for, initially, three weeks. It's an incentive, it is hope, and by god do we need some of that right now. Quite apart from anything, level 3 is too restrictive, so the sooner we get out of that, and down to level 2 and a world we actually recognise, the better.

I think most of us would agree that things like the borders, international travel, random gatherings, large gatherings are out for now, if not quite some time.

But increasingly, what we are seeing is the genuine questioning of some of the decisions around this next level. People who can't open, who if you apply logic not a regimented government-controlled blitzkrieg of one-stop-shop brush-stroke sameness, would actually be able to save a few jobs, get a bit of coin through, and start to rebuild.

The next question, of course, is the open-ended nature of level 3. What are they looking for? What constitutes success? When cases increase, and they're bound to, to some degree, do they freak out? Do they panic and extend level 3? Or, god forbid, go back to 4?

Given the Government's wage subsidy, we still don't know the true carnage of all of this.

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

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But let us take what we can get, this is better than it could have been, the obsessives haven't won the day around health. And even the Prime Minister managed to drum up a convenient new interpretation of elimination.

Stamp it out where it turns up, which is different to the idea of getting rid of it all together. Because, until we get a vaccine, that was, to quote Steven Joyce, "pie in the sky."

So in three weeks, let's pray we are on to level 2 and that this mess is well and truly behind us. And let's be grateful the next step on that journey starts in a week today.