Prime Minister Ardern and Auckland Police were unhappy about Brian Tamaki’s Lockdown Protest

Today is Friday October 1st, 2021. Kia ora.

On our first trip overseas at the end of 1973, there was all kinds of excitement, but our first experience of London was our McDonnell Douglas DC9 plane being stacked over Heathrow Airport, and flying over seemingly endless streets that looked like Coronation Street. We feel as though we’re in a similar holding pattern right now.

 On Friday it was a busy morning. I texted my cleaner to find out when she expected to come. She texted back midday, but then texted again soon after 10 to ask I was home and if she could come then. It was a bit of a panic because I had showered, but JD hadn’t; anyway, I rushed around, emptied the rubbish, decided not to change the sheets, and changed the towels and put the dirty ones on to wash. After she’d finished, I walked to the local shops, and back. It was a beautiful fine day, but it was quite windy, nonetheless.

One of my sons showed me a photograph his brother had sent him from the UK, where their local petrol station is has no gas. Evidently they’re short of toilet paper.  I listened to a podcast about Prime Minister Johnson, where he claimed that the relevant industries would just have to even things out, somehow. It seemed to be nothing to do with him.

Today there are nineteen new community cases of Covid 19, all of them in Auckland. Two people who’d been to the ER at Middlemore Hospital had tested positive, and 60 patients were regarded as close contacts.  The majority of these are linked to current clusters. But Dr Bloomfield has said not to expect level 1 freedoms while the delta variant is still prevalent in the community. So that’s rather sad. It means that singing and exercise will probably not take place, since most of these activities don’t happen unless we’re at level 1.This was reported as Bloomfield claims these freedoms are things of the past, which has not been reported accurately.  What he said was that level 1 freedoms are a thing of the past while there is a Codi19 19/delta epidemic in New Zealand.

In NSW, Gladys unpronounceable has resigned. The mournful Premier has resigned not because of her mishandling of the latest Covid 19/delta epidemic in New South Wales, but because of corruption! They’ll probably get someone worse next time.

It’s now Saturday September 2nd. Today there are 27 new cases of coronavirus, all in Auckland. Another person has tested positive after visiting Middlemore Hospital’s ED. It’s suspected that some gangs have been infected, thus probably proving more of a challenge to health officials; they tend to come from larger family groups, plus there’s the difficulty of maintaining separation in a gang setting.  Today self-styled Bishop Brian Tamaki is holding a gathering in Auckland’s Domain to protest peoples’ freedoms and their right not to wear masks or get vaccinated. Any large gathering breaks all the rules for level 3. It’s reported that about 2,000 turned up for this gathering. Some of them wore masks, as did Tamaki before he took his off to speak to the crowd.

I think if there should be a protest it would be in the South Island, where there have been no Covid 19 cases diagnosed, and people there must be so frustrated at the limitations they’re required to obey. Steven Joyce, previously known as the National Minister for Everything, claims the Ardern Government is getting too big for its bossy boots. Really, that is mean and awful, in my view. Goodness me, we’re not dealing with cold weather, petrol and goods shortages, or even a great deal of sickness and death. Get over it, people!  You’re not dealing with radiation, bombings, or dreadful bodily emissions from sick people. 

In other news, in the US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has tested positive for Covid 19. Corey Lewandowski has further disgraced himself by sexually assaulting a Republican donor, who has now sued him for this. India now requires all travellers from the UK to quarantine on arrival.  And there are dreadful shortages in the England: as well as petrol shortages (many stations have no petrol), and basic foodstuffs, people’s utility bills are set to increase, and benefits to reduce. Winter is coming. The whole situation seems very cruel, and very tone-deaf on the part of Tory politicians. This comes after years of austerity, where libraries and youth centres have closed. It’s reported that one in twenty school children has tested positive for coronavirus.

I’ve listened to several interesting podcasts lately – some about Max Chafkin’s new book about Peter Thiel (The Contrarian), about the CIA’s efforts under Mike Pompeo to kidnap and kill Julian Assange (lawyers stopped this, pointing out that Assange had not been charged with a crime); and more about lawyer John Eastman’s “legal” plan to overturn the election in favour of Trump. The more I learn about this plan, and about the events of January 6th, the more horrified I am. Then there is all the wrangling about the Democrats’ and President Biden’s legislative program, and the  issue of raising the debt ceiling. Frankly, I’m sick of it all.

I was also upset by this heading in the UK Guardian: ‘Clearly not working’/ How New Zealand’s consensus on striving for Covid zero is finally cracking, along with the obligatory photo of Prime Minister Ardern frowning. I know newspapers have to print something, and there’s a huge tendency to exaggerate anything that is said, but c’mon, Man, who’s side are you on?  Prime Minister Ardern has, in my view, done an amazing job of keeping us safe here. The present restrictions are very frustrating, but it would be far worse to have the health system “overwhelmed” (I listened to a podcast recently explaining just what that might mean), and lots of deaths. Could it be that you’re jealous of New Zealand’s success, thus far?

This afternoon we were supposed to go shopping, but the chauffeur changed his mind. However a new issue of the LRB arrived in the mail, with some welcome reading in it.

It’s now Sunday September 3rd. This morning I zoomed into my church service, along with several others. It didn’t look as though many attended in person.  I enjoyed this. I then watched the service at St Mathew’s in the City on Youtube. This was celebrating St Francis. I always find the Desiderata incredibly moving. The music was truly wonderful.

Last nigh I heard that a truck driver who commutes between Auckland and Palmerston North has tested positive for Covid 19. He was tested as part of regular cross-border checks.  Consequently, there are several new places of interest, including Burger King outlets and petrol stations. There is further trepidation.

In the UK, Christmas is cancelled, and it’s all Brexit’s fault: there’s a huge shortage of petrol, turkeys, and Christmas trees (real and artificial)! They did it to themselves, too.

In New Zealand, it’s reported that there are two new community cases in the Waikato.

In the 1 pm announcement I learn that there are 33 new Covid 19 cases, including two in the Waikato area: one in Hamilton, one in Raglan; the rest are in Auckland. Hamilton and Raglan are to move back to level 3 at midnight tonight. This is not such good news.

I missed the announcement because I was shopping at my favourite supermarket, New World in Thorndon.  We bought salads, pizza bread and a doughnut, although they don’t have the lovely round doughnuts they used to have. I did get some raspberries! It was nice to go shopping. The store wasn’t crazily busy, and someone wiped down the trolley with disinfectant before I took it. They have automatic hand sanitiser dispensers – a great innovation. We also bought two other essentials: bread and toilet paper. One wouldn’t want to run out, now!

It’s now Monday September 4th.  Last night I learnt that the mother of a baby in NICU has tested positive for Covid 19 at Auckland City Hospital.  This must be a hugely stressful situation for both hospital staff, the baby’s whanau, and other parents and babies. There’s usually a significant circle of people in such events, both whanau, and hospital staff.

Yesterday Prime Minister Ardern urged the importance of vaccination, saying that a way to reduce lockdowns is through vaccination.  I am frustrated here, though. I had thought that South Auckland and the South Auckland DHB (which includes Middlemore Hospital) were in Group 1 for vaccination priority. I think Maori and people with disabilities were in Group 2, and yet Maori have been slower than Pacifica and other New Zealanders to take up the offer of free vaccines, together with all the inducements that have been offered. I, in Group 3, had to wait: till the end of May, then till after Queen’s Birthday weekend (beginning of June), then till the end of July. I had my first jab on Monday 26 July. My second appointment was cancelled, and I went along with my husband to his appointment for his second jab. I would have had the jabs much sooner if they’d been available to me. I am immune-compromised, but was told to wait my turn.

This morning I leant that a new born, asymptomatic baby has tested positive at North Shore Hospital, but the mother has tested negative. That’s another even greater mystery – how did the baby catch Covid 19?  Was the midwife infected? Were the delivery staff infected? Here, too, are swathes of people, all contacts, potential or contacts of contacts.  Evidently the father has tested positive for coronavirus, so it’s assumed he passed it on to the new baby. The chief executive is assessing what further actions need to be taken to protect the birthing unit.

Poor Auckland! What chance of their going to level 2 this week? We all anxiously await this afternoon’s press conference, but I’d have to say things aren’t looking great for going down a level. Some experts are asking if the known cases are just the tip of the iceberg. The contact tracing teams will be really busy, again.

The NZ Herald reports that there are more cases in the Waikato (an area of which went from level 2 to level 3 at midnight last night), and an Auckland taxi driver has tested positive.

I’ve been watching the new UK crime series, Vigil, on TVNZ On demand. I find it quite interesting, although it has far too many loose ends, including the following: a detective who has experienced great personal loss; a lesbian relationship (of course); a dodgy nuclear submarine; difficulties of being confined underwater for long periods; attempts by the Royal Navy to cover up crimes; the involvement of MI5, drug use, dodgy urine tests, and so on and so on. So why is this old nuclear submarine doing dangerous missions at all? Is anyone likely to attack the UK?  They are quite capable of hurting themselves, by themselves. But the series is quite gripping, and the Scottish accents and countryside are beautiful, as always. 

Last night we discovered The Newsroom on Neon (starring Jeff Daniels), and I have to admit JD quite liked it. We watched Recon (a movie) the previous night, and he found all kinds of faults with that. I am watching more are more things alone on my computer, since I find all the Elon Musk stuff really boring, i.e. I’m sure it’s amazing but I don’t admire him as a human being.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens – at 1 pm and 4 pm today. Ngā mihi.

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