I have written here about Auckland, our biggest city, before.
Auckland and Aucklanders suffer sometimes from the jibes of us who reside south of the Bombay Hills and north of Warkworth. The place is too big, too brash, the people too, well, Auckland.
Mostly this is just humourous banter, usually with friends or family who live in the Queen city. Most of us are quietly jealous.
Covid-19 has knocked Auckland around and it appears that this may not change in the near future.
Auckland is at a different level to the rest of the country simply because that is where our point of entry to New Zealand is, where a lot of the MIQ sites are.
Unfortunately it is simply not helped by having the population density and mobility issues that it has.
I feel sorry for my Auckland family and friends. They have been more affected by lockdowns than the rest of us, especially those of us who are lucky enough to live in areas that are well off the beaten track.
It has always been my view that this pandemic is similar to us facing a war situation.
The country has, in my opinion, not been as united about anything else since the Second World War.
Our country's total resources, including money, man-power and equipment, are all being marshalled. Most of it is in the Auckland area, to keep us safe from this virus until vaccines provide most of us with some protection.
So in a way, since about March 2020, New Zealand has been on a war footing, the enemy being the virus and its variants.
I have been surprised that the Government has stuck with Auckland as the main entry point to New Zealand and using city hotels as MIQ centres.
I guess some of the best medical care in the country is centred in Auckland, as well as the most ICU beds, so it makes some sense to make it all happen there.
The sadness is, though, when a community outbreak occurs in such an area of dense population it soon becomes a major issue with yet another lockdown needed, costing businesses dearly not only in Auckland but nationwide.
New Zealanders like to get around. We tend to travel broadly within the country for recreation, family, education and work so any community outbreak in our largest centre, the home of many large corporations who bring staff to Auckland daily for training, conferences and other work, means the chances of community infection leaving Auckland is very high.
One person getting the Delta variant on the North Shore resulted in a nationwide level 4 lockdown for at least two weeks.
This was necessary to follow the strategy the Government is implementing - elimination as much as possible.
As time goes by, this strategy is becoming tiresome for some, especially employers and business owners.
The business community is weary of trying to balance the books, keep employees and hang on to what business assets they have. Totally understandable.
Any decent government's first priority is to protect its citizens. That's what we the public expect of our politicians.
I look around the world at other countries of some similarity to us in terms of a society, a democracy and a politically stable environment.
We seem to be a leading light, compared to many.
We have had months of normality. We all knew deep down that Delta would strike in our community.
The financial cost has again been enormous but the cost in lives has been minimal.
Long-term, does Auckland need to remain the main centre for quarantine? New Zealand is a big empty country.
Some lateral thinking is needed in terms of providing facilities for people who continue to come from overseas, spending two weeks locked up in hotels that were never designed to act as quarantine centres, close to the largest population centre in New Zealand.
Otherwise outbreaks in Auckland will likely continue, causing more disruption to what, admittedly, is the powerhouse of New Zealand.
This leads to longer delays in returning to normal, not only in Auckland but all over the country.
It would be assumed that the Government has been receiving ongoing advice about moving the quarantine centres out of the hotels into a purpose built high-end facility, somewhat isolated but still close to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch and their medical facilities.
Away from the high chance that Auckland's population density provides for easy infection in the community with the need for lockdowns.
If we ever eliminate Covid, which frankly may be some time away, the facility would always be available for any other pandemic likely to arise in the coming years. Just a thought.