It's a tautology to say that any single week in a pandemic is consequential, but to borrow and bend the obvious line from Orwell, some weeks are more consequential than others.
The 10 days since the Government announced it would loosen Covid restrictions in Auckland has shattered the effective consensus around New Zealand's Covid response and opened Labour up to serious questions of coherence.
Act, followed by National, argued that whatever strategy the Government is pursuing, it clearly isn't one focused on eliminating the virus as it has been in the past.
Days later, both parties agreed that axing the elimination strategy (which Act called eradication) is the right thing to do and that a policy of using vaccines and public health measures to suppress the virus is the way forward.
There is a political inconsistency on the right side of this argument and an epidemiological contradiction on the left.
If the Government has abandoned elimination as National and Act say, why should we care about their respective plans - the Government is opening up already, isn't it?
More likely Act and National have both read the room and realised the Government is moving in this direction anyway and both rightly want to reap some first mover advantage when it inevitably opens up more and more of the economy next year.
Both plans pluck some of the best ideas from John Key's weekend column, the criticism (much valid) of which devolved into dizzying levels of circularity: these ideas are terrible, but anyway the Government is doing most of them so what's the point?
Act and National want to be there, proposing those allegedly terrible ideas that eventually get adopted by the Government. It's a big step for National, and a sign its getting some of its confidence back on the pandemic issue, having been burnt in 2020 by its menagerie of strange and wonderful - but too frequently woeful Covid policies.
The Government is in a bind too. It's stuck in Covid limbo, having committed to open up more of the economy, but uncertain about moving away from the strategy that has worked so well in the past.
For the handful of countries with successful Covid responses, opening up has been like a game of snakes and ladders. Moving forward too far, too fast, often means going back to the beginning of the pandemic: death and lockdown.
The hope that New Zealand can open to the world one day, having skipped the mass infections and deaths of other countries, was dealt a serious blow this week by modelling from Professor Shaun Hendy which showed that even incredibly high rates of vaccination would still lead to high amounts of death, were the economy to open.
This is obviously a problem for those on the "opening" side of the debate, but it is also a problem for the Government, which has been unable to clearly articulate both how far it wants to go in terms of reopening, and how it means to get there.
This has been obvious in the prime minister's inability to say how the vaccine rollout will play a roll in the elimination strategy to which she has, at least officially, committed herself.
Prior to vaccinations, the Government had a clear eight point framework for shifting alert levels. The four criteria highlighted trends in transmission and the director-general's confidence in the accuracy of health data. In each case, if those eight points were satisfied, Cabinet would shift down alert levels.
These eight criteria were quietly jettisoned last Monday - in no small part because widespread transmission and a large number of unlinked cases would have forced the Government to stay in level 4 had it opted to use the old criteria.
Instead, Ardern and the director-general of health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield both said vaccination rates allowed the country to maintain an elimination strategy, whilst not meeting any of the elimination criteria Cabinet had been using to that point.
"The difference this time is it's level 3 with high and increasing rates of vaccination, and so it gives us further opportunity to get those vaccination rates up even higher," Bloomfield said.
Ardern added that "we haven't had that tool [vaccination] behind us supporting our alert level restrictions before. We do now".
But that position crumbled in a matter of days. Last Monday, Ardern challenged Aucklanders to reach a vaccination rate of 90 per cent of eligible people receiving a first dose by the time Cabinet reviews its Covid settings next Monday.
Eight days later, when it was clear Auckland would fall well short of meeting that target, Ardern fudged the position she'd laid out just a week prior, saying quite directly that "it doesn't" impact on next week's alert level decision.
"It impacts on our future, but we have been operating within the alert level framework which has never been contingent on vaccines," she said.
Ardern's reversal doesn't make much sense. The current alert level framework has to be contingent upon vaccines because it's quite clear that had it not been, last Monday's decision would not have been allowed to happen.
The messiness of shifting from an elimination strategy based on lockdowns to an allegedly elimination strategy based on vaccines is writ large in all of the Government's policies.
Hendy's modelling suggests the level of vaccination required to achieve elimination by jab is either implausible (roughly 99 per cent of the currently eligible population) or illegal (90 per cent of the population over 5, when jabs for the over 5s likely won't be approved until next year).
The Government is forging ahead with attempts to open the border and the economy, despite New Zealand's vaccination rates being well short of what's required to achieve elimination: A pilot for home isolation for business travellers - which was not recommended by the Government's border group - will begin imminently, the summer festival season will continue as normal (with vaccine passports), and New Zealanders will have a normal Christmas, with wider border opening beginning early next year.
All of this is being pursued while the Government acknowledges community Covid cases may never drop to zero, and vaccination levels are dropping off.
It's difficult to see how continued community transmission, an opening economy, and persistently low rates of vaccination equate to a continued elimination strategy.
This epidemiological contradiction makes the political inconsistency make sense.
Labour is clearly moving towards a more open, Covid-tolerant economy. What we're likely to see in the next few months is a debate over whether Labour has been dragged to this position by Act and National or whether, as Labour's actions suggest, that was the plan all along.
Act and National need to be careful. As with the transtasman bubble, they may find themselves copping much of the blame if reopening turns out to be a disaster.