Towing the line

In Magazine Editorial, November 20214 MinutesBy Dave McCoidNovember 7, 2021

The fascinating item of the month had to be the bipartisan approach taken by Labour and National on one of modern man’s greatest challenges, building affordable and adequate shelters for our species. Given we probably have the most fractious government and opposition duo in donkey’s years, you’d have to say the revelation that ‘we’ve been working together for some months’ came as a bolter for many.

Obviously, anyone who thinks for a moment that there’s not more collaboration and collusion going on than we plebs are ever led to believe, would be a bit naïve. Although, having said that, this lot is renowned for acting and announcing first, then consulting retrospectively. I still believe, however, that on this one, they each may have garnered more brownie points from the populous had we known.

The big kicker for me was the message it again sent to our industry. I mean, we’ve just had a divorce of sorts among those at the front lines of our political face. I wonder how much worse the issues of infrastructure, driving hours, compliance, and labour must get before we see them in the same light as Labour and the Nats see housing? Housing must really be buggered, eh?

As we roll on into Christmas, the government’s learned the hard way that you can’t use the same bat to deal with Delta, as you did to combat Covid version No.1. It’s all a bit of a mire now, with infections on the rise, Auckland becoming ever more restless, locking down the Waikato more difficult than finding a blemish on Elon Musk’s face, and with inflation and increases in the cost of money now with their heads well over the parapet.

At least those in power – Ashley and the bug doctors – now openly speak about living with it, opting for a freedom/suppression strategy correlated to infection. The traffic light system announced on Friday 22 October was still contingent on a lofty vaccination goal of 90% double-jabbed in each DHB. While we wait to hit those targets, the economic damage being wrought is almost beyond measure. At best, it’ll be early December before we see any real relaxing of the status quo, with some DHBs still languishing in the high 70% regarding first jabs. And yes, while the increased support and rescue packages announced on Friday were likely welcome news for many poor folks walking the solvency plank, they are a bit like having your stubbed toe attended to while you’re cable-tied to the railway tracks.

The thing I grapple with most is the delay in getting things going again while we pussy foot around vaccination’s stragglers and prep the health system for the influx of those who simply won’t get jabbed. The point being they’ll turn up to the very health system they wanted no part of this week, expecting it to save them next week? Odd.

Oh well. At least they can lay in bed in the knowledge that the level of service they’ll be getting will likely be 10 times better than that of their grandkids. They’ll spend their lives trying to pay off north of $160 billion. Actually, I wonder if Elon, Bill, or Jeff would pay that off for us if we asked nicely?

Read of the month? The Independent Police Conduct Authority’s public report, Concerns About Police Enforcement of Heavy Vehicle Towing Regulations and Auckland Motorway Contract.