I run the risk of making a massive dick of myself today – well to be honest, that’s a risk everyday, but today in particular, because of what I said last Friday.
Friday morning I was on the Mike Hosking Breakfast which has just a teeny tiny smidge of a larger audience than we do, just a smidge, and I said to that rather large audience, that today Cabinet would announce they’re going to open hairdressers and the beauty industry this week.
I said they’ll open them up earlier than expected, so to my mind the salon doors will swing open as of Wednesday morning, that was my prediction.
I was so confident in my prediction that I rang around various places like the desperate cooped up Aucklander I am, and started asking for appointment bookings.
Most of them responded with “what are you talking about, we have no expectation we’ll be open until December 1st,” at which point I would regale them with my prediction of early opening doors and how they should start taking bookings.
I’m not sure how much of this is me wishful thinking, how much of it is me going completely round the twist as we enter almost Day 100 of lockdown, or how much of it is real. We’ll know that by 4pm this afternoon.
Public health experts of course are against. But aren’t they always? They’re against everything, however so far, I see all of their predictions of overwhelming the health system have come to nothing, ICU being flooded has come to nothing, we’re down to 5 in ICU which is a non event. On top of that, none of the so called ‘super spreader’ events that were going to bring us to our knees have eventuated into super spreader events, so I’m figuring with so many of us vaccinated now, the game is up.
Hospo will be hoping there’s an early move for them too. But I see their worries around how they do that before a traffic light framework’s in place in terms of how they manage vaccine passes. Thing is of course, they won’t have to, until the traffic light comes in, but it’ll still confuse many none the less.
It’s a crime alfresco dining hasn’t been allowed, or outdoor food courts in malls given the malls are open, or hairdressers, when botox has been up and running. There’s absolutely no consistency but I think we gave up a while ago on any consistency from this Government.
So today we need to see cafes, restaurants, bars, hairdressers, and the beauty industry all allowed to open back up.
It’s been more than three long painful months, Auckland’s done as it is told, we’re vaccinated, we haven’t overwhelmed the health system, it’s time. It’s time for those who’ve sacrificed so much to be thrown a bone.
And also for me, so I don’t look like a dick for saying it'll happen.
The good news for the Black Caps is the test series starts on Thursday.
The bad news? Well, there was a bit of that.
New Zealand slumped to their fourth-heaviest loss by runs in T20 international history, being swept 3-0 by India at Eden Gardens this morning.
The hosts triumphed by 73 runs in Kolkata, a margin of defeat for the Black Caps that marked an ignominious end to a forgettable series.
After being competitive in the first match - which came three days removed from their World Cup final heartbreak - New Zealand were taken apart in the next two.
There is hardly need for much recrimination, not after such a successful World Cup campaign, but this series will have certainly stung the pride.
India even set themselves a challenge today, as if to make life more interesting. Boasting a perfect record when chasing and a losing record when batting first this year, they opted for the latter approach after again winning the toss.
But no mercy was shown to an already-vanquished opponent as India proceeded to outplay New Zealand in all three facets and record their biggest T20I victory over the Black Caps.
After stand-in skipper Mitchell Santner (3-27) was the only bowler to find much joy as India racked up 184-7, Martin Guptill (51 from 36) was the sole batsman to put up much of a fight in the chase.
It had looked likely to be a tough day for the tourists from the moment India raced to 69-0 at the end of their powerplay.
Ferguson, Trent Boult and Adam Milne all struggled to find their line as India had almost as many boundaries (13) as dot balls (16), before Santner's introduction pegged back the hosts.
He and Ish Sodhi combined for 4-58 from their allotment - with Sodhi snaffling a brilliant caught-and-bowled chance on an otherwise poor fielding day for New Zealand - before Ferguson (1-45) and Milne (1-47) returned to the attack as India finished how they started.
Rohit Sharma (56 from 31) again tormented the bowlers but Guptill began intent to match his counterpart, although he was fortunate to survive being dropped in the first over.
Daryl Mitchell went cheaply before Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips fell for consecutive ducks, New Zealand stuttering to the end of the powerplay on 37-3.
Guptill had added 32 of those runs and he soon advanced to a 19th T20I half century, helping his side reach 68-3 at the halfway stage. But three balls later the opener holed out to long on and the Black Caps' mission was nearing impossible.
Self-inflicted blows further hindered the tourists' slim chances, as Seifert looked for an ill-considered second run and was caught short of his ground, while Jimmy Neesham's stay was brief and a second run out saw Santner also fall cheaply.
It was ugly stuff and only a bit of free swinging from the tailenders prevented the loss from being any uglier.
Thankfully for New Zealand, they will now be donning the whites for the first time since beating India to claim the World Test Championship in June.
Thursday can't come soon enough.
Zijn er afleveringen die ontbreken?
NCEA and scholarship exams start today after a disrupted school year.
Students who have been affected by the ongoing level three lockdown are eligible for an Unexpected Event Grade.
If students don't sit the exam, they'll get that grade and if they do sit - they'll receive whichever grade is higher.
National Party education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith told Kate Hawkesby there'll be low numbers sitting exams in Auckland.
“The bit that worries me, is that is reveals a culture of achieving basic standards, then cruising, rather than striving for excellence.”
Auckland businesses are pleading for the right to reopen this week.
Cabinet will decide today whether to move the region to Step Three restrictions on Wednesday -- allowing bars, restaurants and hairdressers to reopen with public health measures in place.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has suggested such a move is unlikely.
But Hospitality New Zealand Auckland President Jamie Freeman told Kate Hawkesby he's trying to stay hopeful.
“We go to 3.3 and hit the traffic light system next week, we need to move as quickly as we can to orange and that’s when hospitality starts to make money and patron numbers are back.”
So, Northland's lagging behind in the vaccination stakes - second to last on the national league table.
But to be fair, it's not for a lack of effort.
Right now, there are campervans touring around offering vaccines, pop-up vaccination tents left right and centre.
At the weekend, the DHB staged an all-day event in Whangarei with music, dancers, free kai and vaccinations - must have cost thousands.
The result: 350 jabs.
Now, after 4 months of miserable lockdown, Aucklanders are itching to go north for a couple of weeks in the sun, spending up on accommodation and hospitality.
And Northland needs it. We've been blocked from the rest of the country, blocking us from that tourist money.
But the worry is, that Covid will depart from Auckland and arrive in Northland before Northland is ready to deal with it.
In theory, people can't leave Auckland without being double-vaxxed or having a negative test but the Government wants to run this on a trust model.
Like the drink-drive laws the Prime Minister said the other day...oh...righto.
Here's the thing. We have been pouring millions into this campaign to get people vaccinated.
But the daily increments have been getting smaller, much smaller.
We are very very close now to reaching everyone who wants to be reached.
I still believe it's absolutely a person's right to say no, even though the potential consequence falls on the rest of us as taxpayers.
But there has to come a time when we dial back on this insane profligacy, and quit making excuses for lazy people.
If you want a jab, go get a jab. If you don't, that's your privilege, and your look-out.
Former Chef and Restaurateur Adam Dickson is unimpressed with the Government's treatment of the hospitality sector.
He's behind 'Hands up for Hospo'.
An initiative designed to help those struggling, stay afloat, by way of an online fundraising auction.
Dickson told Tim Dower this is designed to help business owners who are having to shell out for lots of hidden costs.
“A little from a lot of people will hopefully see us straight.”
Some hard data has confirmed the devastating effects lockdown has been having on people's mental health.
Police have been too busy to attend half the mental health callouts in the past year – 140,000 of them overall.
Newstalk ZB can report a 55% increase in events in August and September, compared to the same months in 2019.
Dr. Angela Lim, Chief of Clearhead, an online mental health platform, told Tim Dower they’ve noticed a dramatic increase in distress that they can connect directly to lockdown.
She said people need to have some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
It's not just businesses trying to navigate the new traffic light system.
Catholic churches are planning to hold mass for people with vaccination passes, and a separate service with limited numbers for unvaccinated worshippers.
A date on when the country will move into the new framework will be decided on November 29.
The Anglican Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay told Tim Dower he's consulting with his community on what to do moving forward.
“We are committed to doing our best to continue ministering to all people.”
It feels weird to stop and think what’s become of our lives these days and how basic things like leaving your city or walking into a café, now require passes, proof and a QR code. It’s like a futuristic movie, but sadly without the hovercraft. Hovercraft would come in handy right now come to think of it, if it meant getting across borders without checkpoints.
But here we are. Regimented, archived, coded, scannable. Yesterday I spent the endless time refreshing the My Covid Record site to log on to request my vaccine pass, to then download it to my phone to then upload it to my Apple wallet and then print off a hard copy just in case.
That will only of course get us into venues domestically and will only be valid for 6 months, whereby we’ll need a booster shot and a new pass. If we want to travel internationally, we need to apply for a separate vaccine certificate.
Why they can’t be simpler and the same thing is beyond me. We also of course have our vaccine cards, which you would’ve got when you got jabbed, and I had my very first experience with having to show that yesterday.
I took my dog to the vet, my daughter came too, and the vet asked us both for proof of vaccination before we came in, so I was able to present our vaccine cards. They took them and wrote down the details to ‘log us’, and as they did I thought, this is the future, this is the new normal. Being scrutinized, judged, checked, and ‘logged’.
It’s a wacky old world. Do you reckon though that we are now so brow-beaten by being so heavily regulated with our movements, that we still just feel grateful to be allowed to move?
And speaking of movement, those of us who might want to travel in or out of Auckland have to wait almost another month to do so. And when we do, a soft border with random spot checks will be waiting; either you’re double vaxxed, can prove a negative test, or you face a one thousand dollar fine.
But here’s where I see potential trouble brewing, and look, call me cynical, but that’s a journalist’s job, look for where trouble might brew.
One, the tests have to be back within 72 hours of travel – imagine the bottleneck on testing capacity and turnaround times when you still have a hundred thousand Aucklanders unvaccinated.
You can just see that being the story – all the tests that didn’t come back in time. Does that then become another block for the unvaxxed to actually do anything? So it looks kind in theory, but in reality, they’re still screwed.
And if so, is it just a ploy to hike up vax rates? And who pays for these tests? Taxpayers?
And two, the Northland border.
The PM said, ‘being mindful of such low vaccine rates in Northland means Police will be working with local iwi on those checkpoints – so that’s going to be your choke point.
The other issue is timeframe proximity to Christmas; everyone travelling just 10 days out from Christmas day, are you kidding me?
We’ve got our pass and the ability to move, how much freedom is it really though?
The move from a hard border to a soft border around Auckland is being welcomed by trucking operators.
Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand Chief Executive Nick Leggett told Kate Hawkesby it would have made a chaotic summer period even worse.
“Kiwirail is going to have its network out, it’s peak season. You’ve got to get food, gifts, everything else on the back of the truck. Added to that, we’ve got a shortage of drivers because the borders aren’t open internationally.”
Many of us are aware now of how brutal the MIQ system has been in restricting people coming home, and separating families and friends from each other.
But this story is particularly tragic.
Shelley Grierson is currently stuck in MIQ and is desperately trying to get a compassionate exemption to self-isolate at home.
Her sister has terminal leukaemia and has been given days to live.
Despite her sister's health, a doctor’s letter to support this, and multiple negative tests, she keeps being declined.
Shelley joined Kate Hawkesby.
I spoke yesterday to a construction consultant about the housing building boom going on right now and how it’s hampered by supply chain interruptions and inflationary pressures.
Basically, the cost of building is doubling.
And as inflation creeps, its tentacles are hitting everywhere and everyone.
Auckland City Mission says it's seen the highest demand for its services over the past three months, in all of its 100-year history.
Tens of thousands of families are needing food, it’s handing out 16,000 food parcels a week, which is double pre-Covid amounts. The trouble is not just Covid and lockdowns creating more need, but the cost of living. Food, power, water, rent.
And here’s the rub, we’ve never had more money pumped into the economy, yet thousands upon thousands are struggling. Former Finance Minister Steven Joyce pointed out at the weekend that “pumping more money into a country than it has capacity for,” means “that money ends up chasing too few goods and services and that means inflation.”
It’s not just us, but overseas too, and it’s central banks, Joyce claims, which are causing the problems. “They pumped eye watering sums of money into economies in response to the pandemic.. dismissed early signs of inflation as transitory..” and now.. here we all are.
Commentators are starting to point the finger not just at the Government, but also Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr, for taking “a revisionist approach to housing, under forecasting increases in inflation and house prices, and over forecasting unemployment.”
Steven Joyce says this cocktail of Orr’s actions being “excessively stimulatory” alongside the Government’s “extraordinary amount of borrowing and spending”.. has seen us where we are now. Too much stimulation. “Money has been sprayed all the over the place, “ Joyce points out, “the public service super sized.. further increases in social welfare payments..” and expensive pet projects like light rail.
And here’s where it hurts for those on lower incomes.. “inflation is effectively a tax which hits lower income people hardest and increases poverty” according to Joyce, which ironically is the one thing this Government was going to try to fix.
So, we’re in a Catch 22 here, aren’t we?
No point pouring more money into welfare, if the price of every basic need like water, power, and food, is just going up and up.
Joyce says Government needs to pump the brakes, minimize spending, and “try to take inflationary pressure off household budgets”, instead of constantly talking about spending more.
With commentators talking up a big bounce back and surge spending post lockdown, you have to wonder how long that’s sustainable for and at what cost?
'Persistent inflation' is the last thing we need, so we can only hope the Government is listening to advice from a seasoned pro like Steven Joyce, rather than ignoring it.
Retirees say they've had a gutsful.
This is on the back of the Retirement Commissioner saying back in June, that there needs to be an urgent review into the retirement villages act.
Research showed low satisfaction around village contracts.
Associate Minister for housing Poto Williams says a review was warranted, but may take time.
And now it's taking too much time, and the Retirement Village Residents Association has had enough.
President Peter Carr joined Kate Hawkesby.
There are safeguards in place in My Vaccine Pass to prevent fraud.
People can log in or call My Covid Record to request their pass, which will be in the form of a QR code, from later this morning.
Once the traffic light system's in place, the pass will give double-jabbed people access to all sorts of things such as gyms, bars and sporting events.
AUT computer science expert Ken Johnson told Kate Hawkesby it will have the person's name, date of birth, and the expiry date of the pass.
“Venues can ask to cross-reference that information with an official ID like your license and passport, so that’s an important message to reduce the pass forgery.”
Auckland's Mayor says there's no way the Government is keeping a hard border around the region this summer.
The Government will make an announcement today about the plan for Covid borders.
Our newsroom understands Aucklanders will be locked in by the borders for the next month, before travel restrictions are eased in time for Christmas.
Mayor Phil Goff told Kate Hawkesby a hard border, with checks on every traveller, simply wouldn't work.
“I can’t see that they can have a hard border, you imagine Boxing Day, 60,000 people travelling south from Auckland, you just couldn’t do it.”
So, as I said last week with the other two polls, what you look for is a trend. And multiple polls showing the same thing is a trend.
And the trend’s not good.
Not surprisingly, with the shambolic vaccine rollout, the cluster that is MIQ, divisive policies and controversial mandates. Three waters, He Pua Pua, a never-ending lockdown for Auckland, businesses going belly up, a token insulting ultra-curated stopover in Auckland and inauthentically calling that “a visit”.
And zooming in and out by way of private jet when climate change was going to be her ‘nuclear moment’. Hard to fathom that one from the inside of the Airforce jet whizzing back and forward, that’s a lot of carbon miles.
I said last week this was a ‘let them eat cake’ approach and the clanger here is how disingenuous that is, when this is the Government that promised to govern for everybody.
Poverty, gang problems, gun violence, inadequate leadership, lack of accountability, flip flopping, protests, these things are all becoming part of this regime’s calling card. And that’s a bad look. So bad that now the polls reflect it.
Hero to zero is happening at a faster rate than most popular governments, they’re falling out of favour Term 2, most successful governments at least wait to do that until Term 3.
So, they’re down 2 as a party to 41 percent, Jacinda Ardern’s popularity has dropped 5 to 39 percent. That’s her lowest preferred PM score for two years. Labour’s decline has been consistent across the last five Colmar Brunton polls, each poll since the 2020 election has seen them drop. Ardern claims Labour’s holding up well however, she thinks it’s a strong majority to govern.
And she’s not wrong, it is a majority. 53 seats for Labour and 12 for the Greens would still be a comfortable majority to govern. But the downward spiral is on. Ardern chalks up the downward trend to ‘having to make tough decisions’. I notice Grant Robertson said it was our fault. "People are feeling anxious." he said, so it's not them it's us? I think we call that gaslighting.
But where the Government’s dipping, the opposition's not making the gains. National is only up 2 to 28 percent, but as Act’s David Seymour points out, the gap between left and right is steadily closing. With Act steady on 14 and National on 28 percent, it’s still not enough to govern, but the trend is working in their favour.
Judith Collins, whose approval rating by the way is at a new low, summed the Government’s fortunes up well when she said it would “take a while for people to accept the Government sold them a pup.”
The trend unfolding now indicates voters are waking up to that fact.
Some cheeky shoppers could be in to make a killing - reselling supermarket collectables at an eye-watering price.
They're using the launch of Countdown's Lego-like brick collection to their advantage - re-selling the items on Trade Me for as high as $200.
Trade Me spokesperson Ruby Topzand says told Kate Hawkesby it's not something new.
She says the most recent craze was the New World SMEG Knife collection.
“In the three months that that campaign ran, we saw over 600,000 searches for Smeg on site and it was consistently one of our most searched items.”
There's relief for doctors at news they'll be able to get a booster shot from the end of this month.
Anyone over 18 who's been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for six months will be able to get a third jab.
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director, Sarah Dalton, told Kate Hawkesby she heard from a lot of members who were concerned it wouldn't be until next year.
“Certainly, some of our members, particularly working in EDs who are seeing Covid-positive people every day were talking about getting the third shot privately.”
The cost of materials for house construction continue to climb.
The Cordell Construction Cost Index shows a 1.6 percent increase in the three months to September- almost twice the expected increase.
Disruptions to the supply chain, and increased demand for housing are being blamed for the price jumps.
Construction Management consultant Mike Blackburn told Kate Hawkesby the industry has been flat out.
“We’re building more houses in New Zealand than we’ve ever built in history.”
Absolute downbuzz on Freedom Day plans from Andrew Little this weekend.
He called our much anticipated ‘Freedom Day’ “nothing of the sort.”
Just when we thought escape to a red traffic light was coming November 29th, Little told Newshub, “You might have misunderstood what the Prime Minister has been saying, the Prime Minister said on the 29th of November Cabinet will do a significant check-in on the state of the system…" but.. “It won't be introduced from the 29th of November - that is the point at which a decision should be expected to be made, but it won't be introduced straight away."
He claims they’ll want to wait longer to get our vaccination coverage up, “particularly for lagging groups like Māori.”
So, if not the end of this month, then when?
Little claims it’ll be by Christmas, but that doesn’t give much hope to those of us languishing in day 90 of one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. I mean come on. Surely enough is enough. By November 29th, Aucklanders will have spent more than a hundred days locked down. But, “It won't be on the 29th of November,” Little said.
So how much longer after that can we expect freedom? A day? A week?
I can’t work out if this guy is the only one in the Cabinet telling the truth, while the others just let us believe in false hope, or whether he’s the one out of touch.
The upshot is there’s still so much unknown and un-announced, that Aucklanders are still living in a quagmire of uncertainty.
And that’s not good for anyone, not good for mental health, not good for planning purposes, not good for families torn apart, not good for businesses struggling to work out when they may get their doors back open.
Having a cabinet swinging all over the place in terms of who says what – doesn’t help.
Remember when Hipkins casually suggested allocated timeslots for Auckland border travel, only to have Robertson shoot it down, only to have Hipkins reignite it? Then we had Little saying the Ministry of Health wasn’t coping with numbers on home isolation, only to have Hipkins and Bloomfield poo poo that too and say oh no, all is well. (Standard government line when trouble's brewing).
Then Little announced he’d be talking to Bloomfield about the release of Māori health information for vaccination purposes, only to have Bloomfield essentially indicate Little can’t tell him what to do, and the information remains private.
So given the shonky circus act currently running the country, it’s perhaps not surprising that Andrew Little is suddenly claiming no Freedom Day for November 29. Maybe it’s just a ruse to dull our expectations so that the PM can look like a hero if and when the doors are flung open that week?
I mean at this point anything is possible, but all I know, is that come the end of this month, if there aren't freedoms fast beckoning, then Aucklanders are going to lose the plot.
More than they have already.