It’s been an interesting week. The National Party has a new leader and we learned that the Government ignored expert Covid advice and fumbled implementation.
First off – the Ministry of Health advised that the hard Auckland border had no justification once NZ moved into the new “traffic light” framework in early December 2021. This advice was ignored and in “an abundance of caution” the hard Auckland border retained until 15 December 2021 to allow less vaccinated regions to play catch up. But at what cost? And to whom?
Secondly – the Government’s initial vaccine roll out ignored vulnerable populations, particularly Maori, despite receiving advice about this very issue. As a result, Maori vaccination rates fell well behind the general NZ population creating a challenge to opening Auckland up to other areas.
Auckland has endured almost 4 months of lock down to protect unvaccinated vulnerable non-Aucklanders, which has had a huge economic and emotional toll. The cost is significant.
Thirdly – the shambles of the vaccine mandate requirements. The hospitality industry was advised outlets needed “100% vaccinated staff” to open. As a result, some hospitality businesses made loyal and long-term unvaccinated staff redundant. Subsequently the advice was changed so it did not apply to takeaway outlets. But the damage had been done, staff had been made unnecessarily redundant, and some outlets could not open due to insufficient staffing. The closed international border and delayed processing of work visas makes recruitment even more difficult.
Being in Government is not Easy
Being in Government is not easy. Governments must balance the needs of many various factions. Unfortunately, few Government bureaucrats understand what’s involved in running a small business.
Business owners juggle the needs of staff, customers, suppliers, rules and regulations, IRD, and their own personal households and livelihoods. Businesses need freedom to trade, compete, innovate, and serve customers.
Business is personal
During the 1980’s Rogernomics ripped the band aid off subsidised farmers, and farms were lost as a result. Suicides increased.
Hospitality and tourism businesses are similarly hurting right now. It’s not just about money. It’s about the enterprise people have nurtured and invested their lives in over years or decades, and the families those businesses support. Business is personal, and it impacts mental health.
How Cautious is too Cautious?
Which brings me back to the original question – “How cautious is too cautious?”
The Government is trying to save lives. But if the nanny state smothers us with too much Covid caution we’ll sacrifice livelihoods. Businesses employ staff, pay wages and taxes, innovate, and improve productivity. Business lays the golden egg that supports all of NZ.
It’s time, we’re highly vaccinated, and business needs to be able to just get on with it.