COMMENT:

What do you reckon? What will it take for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to see the economic, and perhaps more importantly for her, political reality and bail on the whole June 22 nonsense and get this country open, operating, and digging our way out of this gargantuan hole.

Given the health numbers, surely even the most timid, fearful, and spellbound can now see this is in the realms of a Guinness Book of World Records overreaction.

We have the economic editor of The Australian newspaper telling 25 million people across the Tasman she is pushing our economy off a cliff.

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We have Fraser Whineray - the head of Ardern's own hand-appointed Business Advisory Council - telling her Australia is outperforming us.

We have KordaMentha people last week pleading for level one given the carnage they're seeing out there at the cutting edge of the economy.

We have Michael Baker, epidemiologist of the most conservative persuasion, saying he'd be on a plane to Australia tomorrow.

We have Michael Barnett of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce saying level 1 is needed and needed last week.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters expressed his concerns to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking over people flouting Covid-19 guidelines during the protests over the death of George Floyd. Audio / Newstalk ZB

And her Deputy Prime Minister in Cabinet arguing that she is wrong, and that the damage being done to this country outweighs the health response. The dangers to people's health now is worse than the dangers to people's health then. The economic catastrophe we are making worse literally every day by pretending this is still a health emergency.

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Just how large does the pushback have to get before Ardern finally wakes up to the fact she's hitched her wagon to a likeable wonk at the Ministry of Health who clearly has no real interest in the rest of us, unless it involves a nasal swab, an ICU bed, or some stats associated with a virus now essentially eradicated.

PM Jacinda Ardern now tells Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking NZ could now move to level 1 as early as next week. Audio / Newstalk ZB

Even if we all agree locking down a small isolated country was the right thing to do (even if a week late and with no quarantine until the end, and even if we want to fete her as a genius in a crisis) surely we are at the stage now of coming to almost universal agreement, that the next chapter is the real one. The large one, the truly dangerous one.

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And she is now hopelessly offside with the majority of New Zealanders.

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Given that, if Ardern has a nose for the main chance especially come an election in September, then June 22 will be binned. We'll get a new excuse invented like the team of five million has been better than our wildest imagination, and as a result we can move faster than we thought.

I don't care how she spins it, just spin it. Do it. Make it happen.

For a person who allegedly reads the room well, if she stepped outside just for half an hour and wandered down main street New Zealand, she would see, her and Ashley Bloomfield could not be more out of step if they set out to be completely out of step.