Not 4, but 3 in Overdrive.

Diary of the last ten hours

6.40am

Turn on the radio in the hope I was just imagining last night that Delta was now living on the other side of the border.

No such luck. Turns out it’s been at large for days, may have been frolicking barefoot for a week in the Firth of Thames, may have gone down to the beach to greet the arriving Godwits, may have hitched a ride south with a departing fuckwit.

There are just so many possibilities once you hit the Hauraki Plains. 

7.20am

What’s going to happen this afternoon? asks everyone, and the vox populi tends to be saying I’m with Nemo on this one, let’s stay here hiding amongst the anemones a bit longer can we please.

8.10am

On the other hand, Phil Goff, perhaps talking with the noise of business leaders echoing in his head, is saying Gee I know this virus is tough but this is really horrible for Auckland, I don't know how much more they can take.

Bro, Your worship, for sure there are no good choices here. But are you sure you're picking the least bad one?

On the other hand, perhaps this could be where we are headed now, slowly, tentatively but inexorably.

In theory, the success of lockdown relies on everyone to follow instructions, show consideration, not be selfish. In theory. Ten minutes in dense traffic on the Auckland motorway is your most reliable guide to the temperament and clue level of the city, and what you might reasonably expect from it under lockdown.

The true effectiveness of lockdown lies in the number of locked doors: so many places get closed. Contact and exchange that might otherwise happen just stops. 

In theory, also, everyone stays in their homes and keeps their distance and stays in their bubble and no-one sends an urgent text to their dealer and nobody slips across the border and no-one has drinkies in their driveways. But let's not get too confident about that bit.

All the billing about Delta is proving true: it permits you no Five Second Rule at all, it just keeps on keeping on, it just keeps slipping through whatever crack appears.

Maybe we can yet eliminate it. But maybe we have had our last Zero day, and we are now sliding ever so gently down the slippery slip that sees us getting to know what it is it be living with it.

If that's the case, then the greatest weight and hope now shifts to getting Pfizer in all arms and soon now we get to see hospitals filing up with people who have been asserting their right to choose which is the strangest way of looking at things: I choose to have a ventilator in me when my lungs no longer work, because I trust that part of your medicine but not the bit that might actually save me.

Or maybe we’re going to get stuck in and lock the fuck down, and once more ride this virus out on a rail and then get 98% vaxxed. Dare to dream Aotearoa kia kaha etc

9.00am

Scientists have long wondered: could a person take three lightning bolts to the head and not be rendered fucken useless

Here we see MP Maureen Pugh taking something from the InfoWars knockoff The BFD, pasting it onto her Facebook page and treating its soup of bigotry, innuendo and misanthropic projection like it’s worth even a moment’s attention and not pure toxic waste. 

Poor MP Maureen. One gets the sense the wheels are spinning, but the hamster is no longer with us. 

What was that? Oh, about $160,000 a year, plus expenses. 

9.40am 

The MIQ lobby has been filling up with New Zealanders in New York and Seoul and Frankfurt all trying, hoping to get their room booked and at least now we get some clear numbers about demand versus supply. Long story short, looks like about 22,000 people looking for about 3,000 spots.

This thing just gets more fraught every week.

I have a question, and this may only yield news I have failed to keep up with, but where did things get to with the proposal that came up about a year ago of chartering a few huge cruise ships to be floating MIQ facilities? The idea was that notwithstanding  their initial experience as actual Covid petri dish soup cauldrons, these floating hotels could be altered just as successfully as land-based ones. Is this an idea whose time has come around again?

9.42am

Meanwhile hello to the two people going door-to-door in Christchurch offering Covid-19 vaccinations for a $100 fee, wearing suits, carrying fake Ministry of Health business cards, and taking payments with a mobile eftpos machine.

Who are you?

You're either Van and Munter dressed up like businessmen and you have no clue how much of a trail you must be leaving behind you, or alternatively you're some kind of Macedonian mafia using the machines to capture card numbers and you're already on your way back to Europe.

Either way, I’m very interested to read the next chapter.

Either way, fuck you both for cheating people and potentially undermining our vaccination drive, that’s the lowest.

10.03am

Hearing just one too many KFC laments, one takes to Twitter.

11.05am

That's enough dismal stuff; wish to say hello to Te Anau, my favourite place in just about all the South Island.

Hello The Sandfly, where the coffee and bacon and egg  rolls cannot be beat.

Hello the Kepler Track which begins just a short walk away from the town.

Hello beautiful Manapouri and Doubtful and Dusky all at your doorstep.

Hello reader old mate Richard who  fancies spending some time down there before we get too old and who has agreed we must walk the terrible Dusky Track just for the satisfaction of  doing the bastard.

Hello Tim Gow who has an awesome New Year Festival happening again this year at his farm.

Hello the vast and ineffably beautiful wilderness of Fiordland that lies beyond Te Anau.

Of course you all want to give yourselves an extra hour of daylight! There’s so damn much to love down there! More power to you! I cannot wait to see you again.

Hello reader Helen! - Helen is the kind of top sort who will store your bags for you and leave the key out so you can get a shower when you arrive back in town from the wilderness - did I miss any highlights? Let me know and I’ll give that lovely town another plug tomorrow.

12.15pm

One more thing while we wait to hear what Cabinet has decided.

Let us look one more at what they have done to the Brooklyn Bridge.

And let us ask ourselves again if Auckland might have something also suitable.

Hello reader Kyle MacDonald, you mentioned this the other day and I forgot to amplify it: what better time than lockdown to liberate a lane on the harbour bridge? Why not emulate New York right now, put up a divider and let humans ride across and enjoy the absolute best way for us all to move around.

Let us not forget, a bike lane was going to be on that bridge to start with. Sixty short years later, let's finally get around to it.

It’s easy, it’s quick and it could change things immeasurably for the better.

4.05pm

PM is comfortable, PM says this is cautious, PM says we could be here for a while.

Think I get it. It was getting hard to wear any more 4 but we still need it. So we’re doing 3 in overdrive.

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4.20pm