COMMENT:

This is unfair isn't it?

For the Government to keep on imposing level 2 rules on businesses but not on protesters is deeply unfair.

It's quite clear there is very little risk to the protesters. The director general of health Ashley Bloomfield's today said they don't need to quarantine for two weeks because there's no community transmission in the country.

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If that's the case, that the risk is so low a group of 2000 doesn't require quarantine … then why continue to punish businesses with limits of 100 and social distancing?

And let's be clear those rules are killing some businesses. We've heard today that some central Auckland restaurants are making as little as $100 a day. This weekend, I walked away from a café because the rules made it too hard to get a coffee there.

So I walked up the road and got it at a place that was cramming people in.

These rules are now only punishing the rule followers: the good among us. The rule breakers are getting the upper hand here.

I understand why the police didn't enforce the rules on that crowd. That would've been a terrible look. A group protesting heavy handed policing in the US, met with what they could call heavy handed policing in New Zealand. That was never going to happen under this police commissioner.

But it creates a rule of law problem here, doesn't it? What are the authorities going to do if a business takes the same approach as these protesters? If a bar decides to open up like normal and let the punters sweat it out on the dance floor… what are the authorities going to do? Will they turn a blind eye like they have to the protesters? They're going to have to aren't they, otherwise they're favouring one group over the other.

The double standard already is obvious. The PM is reluctant to call out the protesters and tell them off, but only a few weeks ago was very happy to tell off Burger Fuel for its unruly queues.

The answer isn't to punish everyone equally. It's to lift the rules. Because the social licence is evaporating fast. Once you've got a high-profile example of someone … or some 2000 … getting away with it … it encourages others to do the same.

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So, the PM can stick to the plan if she wants and keep us in level 2 for another eight days at least, but chances are that for many people level 1 arrived yesterday when they saw those protest crowds on telly.