By Alan Titchall, managing editor, Contrafed Publishing.
The lockdown came hard and fast but, unless we had applied the sort of border control imposed in war time, which this Government would not be capable of, it was predictable.
It’s not just our vaccination roll-out has been so ponderous, the country is taking a very different approach to the rest of the world in trying to eliminate Covid rather than suppress and contain it.
As political commentator Peter Dunne observed last month, our Government is on its own ignoring the pandemic responses other countries have adopted. Its prime focus is on the health impacts of the virus, with little regard for the wider social and economic impacts, in the knowledge that our over-stretched health system can’t cope with a mass pandemic. A recent international report placed New Zealand with the second lowest number of intensive care beds per capita in the OECD, with only Mexico below it.
Until August 17 2021 New Zealand was the “last man standing” with its elimination strategy, while international experts called for an entirely different approach to dealing with the Delta variant, acknowledging spread of the virus throughout the entire population could not be stopped and vaccination will not produce a herd immunity, and monitoring people with mild symptoms was no longer helpful. They say the focus needs to shift to dealing with those people who become seriously unwell because of the virus, not just recording the numbers of cases in the community.
“Unless it really is the Government’s intention to keep New Zealand in a semi-permanent state of isolation and periodic lockdown, which no rational human being would accept as logical or reasonable, it is time for a serious rethink of our Covid approach, based on the latest international evidence,” said Dunne before the recent level four lockdown.
“Bluntly, the hundreds of troops currently being used to enforce the failing MIQ system would have been far better utilised building temporary field hospitals to boost intensive care capacity,” he said.
“The challenge for the Government is whether it will continue to cling to the elimination strategy other countries have abandoned, or whether it is sufficiently adept to refresh its approach in line with the latest evidence now being amassed in the rest of the world.”
Whether the Government can pull its elimination trick again, remained to be seen at print time.
Meanwhile, the September issue of Contractor magazine will be out as usual very soon, with plenty of discussion of civil contracting from procurement to national politics, to recruiting and other challenges we face ahead together.
At least the conference season was out of the way for all sectors before the L4 lcokdown, apart from heavy haulage. I attended both the AQA/IOQ and CCNZ conferences in the capital. One marred by hurricane-force winds and the other by a bomb scare. However, absence and adversity certainly prove good for networking, and I can’t remember conferences so ‘social’.
Meantime, keep well, keep positive. Kia mau, kia pai.