It is with a sense of great relief that we bring you this first post-Covid 19 lockdown issue of Mahurangi Matters. Relief that the PM’s high stakes gamble of throwing the country into lockdown with just 48 hours’ notice paid off and relief that we are still here to deliver the news to our communities. Not everyone will be in this happy position. This will be the end of the road for some businesses and many people are likely to find themselves redundant or working shorter hours for less pay. It’s going to be tough paying the bills for a while, but we are up to the challenge. We’ve already shown that by our united stand against the spread of Covid-19 and it has been amazing to see how local restaurants and cafes, as well as many retail outlets, have adapted quickly to offer contactless services. You all deserve a huge pat on the back.
One of the big questions we face is what sort of normal do we want to return to? Admittedly, those of us who weren’t essential workers have had to learn to live with smaller incomes during lockdown, but our reward has been more time to relax, and to spend with family and on occupations we enjoy. Lockdown brought with it less congestion and road noise, less crime, less carnage on our roads and a lot of environmental gains. When the Government pushed the pause button on our lives, it gave us an opportunity to think about the lives we were leading and the lives we might want to live. Let’s not be too quick to jump back on the hamster wheel.
The PM’s mantra throughout lockdown was ‘be kind’ – powerful words, despite their simplicity. As we pick up the pieces of our lives, I hope we will be both kind and patient, to one another and also to ourselves.
On another note, it was with some interest that we observed the criticism of reporters who attended the daily Covid updates during lockdown. It says a lot about the public’s lack of understanding of what the media’s job is. In this day and age, when governments, councils and corporations employ an army of public relations professionals to put a positive spin on everything they do and say, the media has a vital role to play in unpicking those carefully crafted messages to find the truth. It’s not a job for a lap dog. The reporters who doggedly questioned the testing regimes and supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) weren’t being annoyingly persistent because they couldn’t think of any other questions to ask. They were holding the PM, Cabinet Ministers, the Commissioner of Police and the health authorities to account. Thank goodness NZ has a free and independent media that can challenge the powers that be in this way, and long may it survive.
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