Thursday, 15 Apr 2021

Mike Hosking: NZ being left behind in race to move on from Covid


Much has been made in the past Covid year of how lucky we are to be able to do a variety of things the world apparently can’t.

That is only partly true. At certain periods in the past year, it is true, the ability to hold a concert with a maximum crowd is indeed a rare thing.

But increasingly the tide is turning, the world is opening up, the vaccine and the various lockdown measures have provided increasing numbers of countries with the ability to move forward.

We appear not particularly interested in being a part of it.

The cancellation last week of the Women’s World Rugby Cup did not need to happen.

Especially given on the very same day the British League organisers of their World Cup voted to carry on, both events were to be held essentially at the same time, the latter part of this year.

So the simple question is, why is it Britain can hold a world cup and we can’t?

The answer is attitude.

We don’t want to.

Rob Nichol, the Players Association head, put it best that night on the news, as he lined up behind the ever growing number of groups and individuals fed up with a strategy from a government that hasn’t changed in 12 months, when he said we need clarity and a plan going forward, given, and I quote … “the world is moving on”.

Just last Friday, in a stark display of attitude, we had the tale of two Prime Ministers. At 3pm Friday afternoon, Scott Morrison left his national Cabinet meeting to announce that: 1, they were opening a migrant worker hub in order to bring more labour into the country; 2, they were expanding an MIQ facility to get more Australians back home; 3, they had rolled out that morning their AstraZeneca jab and as part of that, in two weeks’ time their government-owned CSL will have produced a million doses.

An hour later, here, our Prime Minister announced Auckland would drop on Sunday to level 2 and the rest of the country to level 1.

We haven’t expanded our migrant worker programme, we haven’t expanded our MIQ, we haven’t passed the AstraZeneca jab, we aren’t producing the AstraZeneca jab, we don’t have any AstraZeneca jab.

We were supposed to be merely grateful that once again we had been locked down for zero cases in a week, have it extended another week and the bulk of the jabs might be here in the second part of the year.

Talk about unspectacular, talk about repetitive, talk about lacking aspiration.

The Government has the single trick, see a case or two, panic, lock us down.

Tell us to be grateful and roll out the time-honoured lines about being the best in the world.

But back to the sport.

The NFL in America recently completed a whole season without a single cancelled game.

At least 100 people a team, 32 teams travelling all over America.

The NBA is into its second Covid season.

A variety of top-level football is being played in various parts of the world.

The Olympics, they insist, is on.

The Australian Open had 1100 people arrive, quarantine and play a tournament.

Also across the Tasman, a country with a similar Covid plight as us, we have the Super Cars, the NBL, the soccer, the league. Three of those competitions have new Zealand participants … the only reasons they’re stuck there is we won’t let them back … it’s a one-way bubble.

Yes, we have hosted some cricket, and some netball and yes we have conjured up a Super Rugby tournament.

But what we haven’t done is get creative, take risks, be bold, break the mould and drag ourselves out of our fear-driven, small-town myopic trance dictated to us by a government that is without a shadow of a doubt using fear to cover their ineptitude.

The problem is simple and two-fold … 1 , they aren’t up to much. This last lockdown fiasco with its narking, finger-pointing pile on is proof.

The myriad mistakes around the PPE, the testing, the MIQleaks is further proof, not to mention the Roche/Simpson report buried at Xmas.

But 2, making it worse is we let them get away with it.

We are pitifully grateful every time we are set free.

As the carnage mounts, whether through business closures (up 130 per cent in a year) or the growing debt ($100 billion and climbing) or the hundreds of events canned, whether they be A&P shows, conferences or world cups.

We sit there and take it … hell, some still defend it.

Rob Nichol needs to be played on loop from large speakers to town squares, corners and streets up and down the country … “the world is moving on”.

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