How do we work with it, how do we make things better?

Diary of the last 11 hours

6.11 am 

Lying in the moonlight thinking: still haven't told that story about nearly accidentally holding up the Reserve Bank. Perhaps there'll be time today.

8.42 am

No time yet for yarns, there’s some constructive discussion to be had about dealing with the pandemic.

Sorry, no time for that either. One of the usual suspects in the mugging of local journalism has been all up in his radio station about Auckland’s agony moving from level 3 to 2.5.

He finds it a bit like being released from prison during the day but then being expected to go back into lockdown at night

There’s some sort of argument going on in here somewhere, but I’m not sure  he means for us to go to any greater effort untangling the wires than he has in stuffing them all together for a bit of a 90 second rant to fill the space between the last bunch of ads and TimeSaver Traffic.

Just in case I’ve misunderstood and this actually a growl for help, here you go.

We’re in this so-called 2.5 because they want to keep a tighter grip on large gatherings, because large gatherings are where this virus totally gets its legs. So there’s a number limit.

Yes, it’s true that if you, an Aucklander, travel out of Auckland, there’s nothing to stop you going to a larger gathering than you're allowed to at home. But that doesn't make the whole thing a shambles. The whole thing is working to a graded degree of control with the added measure of asking people travelling out of Auckland to not be dicks.

And you have been haven’t you - some of Auckland - getting out of here on a fast plane, to Naenae and Levin and Queenstown, well, Queenstown anyway, and you’re not being dicks are you?

The true answer will be yes, and no. We know this, don't we.

Generally, you can get people to not be dicks but also some of them will just glide off to their bach the day lockdown begins because rules are for some other mope and I know best. 

And some may well go to a gathering of more than 50 out of Auckland even though they are being strongly encouraged not to and that would be a bit of a dick move, but it doesn't necessarily mean the whole thing’s a shambles and here’s why.

All of this is a numbers calculation. Levels get set given the relative likelihood of people doing the right thing and people being dicks and how that fits with the overall numbers calculation that looks at present levels of infection and capacity to locate and capacity to contain.

We forget, but before we had zero cases in the community, we had a number of them and proceeded down through the levels anyway.

We can function with a certain amount of dickishness going on. This can all work.

Comparatively speaking it’s worked very well here.

The only option is to bend our lives around this virus. It’s never going to bend itself around ours. The best thing we can do is find the most workable way to do it.

It takes a lot of adjusting and we’re still working it out. Casting doubt on the whole thing, like we have some other option, really isn’t much use to anyone.

If you’re filling the minutes on a reactionary radio station, you could take the lazy route and behave like a customer at a cafe who cannot believe the service you're getting.

But if you’d like to be valuable, you could get a clue that we'll all be better off if you start asking what we might do to make this work.

10.42 am

Some idiot weighing in on this outfit that can't manage its way out of paper bag.

Nobel prize-winning economist says New Zealand's Covid-19 response is best in the world.

Like he’d have any idea. 

Midday, Cuba Mall

I like the TOP dudes. I like the excellent message conveyed in this photo op that legalising cannabis is the sane thing to do, and here’s what it feels like if you're having smoke in an Amsterdam coffee house. No cannabis is, they add, in fact being smoked. 

My first time at such a place was a revelation for the ordinariness of it. My first time  in a pub was the same; it's not a wild ride with crazed horsemen. It's a shopping trip  to New World.

The smoking is happening anyway. Legalise it and you remove the wild and the lawless and quite possibly a whole lot of health damage. I’ll take a hit of that, don't mind if I do.

Yes, I like all this. But what I like most of all about it is their willingness to stage such a truly Wellington scene for the benefit of Twitter.


More LOLs. Lockdowns are easy, declares Judith Collins to the daily newspaper in, can this be right, yes it is, Melbourne.

There is also the usual tripe about “no business experience” delivered from high above, upon her horse, implying how can the PM be capable of running things, but given what said Prime Minister has run the past three years it’s  all a bit too Christmas panto to take seriously.


Just one community case today. Almost like the system is working.


On the phone to Dad, who is 95 years old today. Happy birthday Dad.

Loyal readers might remember I wrote him this letter because he'd told Mum the gauge might be getting near empty. We’ve had another Christmas  since then and here we are near to another and it's a glad thing.

He’s happy. He's mostly reading all day long. His sister called earlier, her sight is more  or less gone. He’s sad for her and thankful for the sight of his books all day. 

I joke with him about how I think I might have come to stuff my hamstring and he's entertained. 

Mum says it's amazing, it never crossed their mind as a young couple with busy lives that they might one day be an 86 and a 95 year old and then here you are and there's an immensity  to it.

She asks how did you find this lockdown really. I know I read about it every day but how did you find it. How have you felt you felt this time?

I say the first one felt more complete somehow, this felt like a straddle. I said it feels like we're getting to understand how to bend our lives around this thing and find a way to make it work.

I said it had been good to have time to get a blog going.

She said I really don't mind the language, you know. 

Excellent. This is for Mum and anyone else who hasn’t seen it yet. 



The cheese puff recipe has sped along the New Zealand digital supply chain and emerged from the oven of More Than A Feilding reader John Burland in Mainz. He is also on the wire to alert me to excellent work done in Mainz by More Than A Feilding reader Isobel Ewing.

Until she set out across the Silk Road on a bike and wrote an epic account of it, she was reporting for the outfit I sometimes refer to here as the outdoor billboard company. Let me take this opportunity to say it’s the organisation and its priorities that I blame for the state of things, way more than the journos.

Here’s Isobel Ewing out in the field asking: how do we work with it, how do we make things better?