We’ve done it again

In Magazine Editorial6 MinutesBy Dave McCoidOctober 4, 2021

Welcome everyone to the October issue – and we’ve done it again. The last time we had a nationwide level 4 lockdown, we ran Mark Amer’s Mack Super- Liner on the cover as a marker of a world gone bonkers and a memory of simpler times.

We had a massive response to the May 2020 issue. People loved it and it sold out in many places. When the government decided on August 17 that everyone should retire to the confines of wherever once again, while they embarked on another round of ‘boost our debt’, we all looked at ourselves in the office and said, “Shall we?”

So, we have. This time there’s a bit of a tweak. Our cover story format remains the same but, in this issue, we trace the journey of a particular truck through its various owners. What a truck and what wonderful folk who have their name on the ownership papers.

Back to reality. The country has done really well in this level 4 – not. If you read last month’s editorial, written in the hours following the announcement, you’ll know I’m not convinced this economic disaster was unavoidable. For anyone believing the economy’s been going ‘great guns’ up until August 17, my only response is that when five million people owe the thick end of $100,000 billion with a $5 billion per annum hole in their regular earnings, not to mention a global supply chain in tatters, it’s never great guns.

Then, of course, when we started, we had the opposite scenario to last time. In May last year, we started with most roadside facilities for truckies closed, and those supporting the industry in their various capacities contributed in some way to getting things open. This time, the facilities started open and were progressively closed in front of truck drivers’ eyes. The government decided it wasn’t going to talk much to the industry some time ago, so it was what it was.

Then there’s the absolute requirement to keep as much of the economy as possible functioning while our largest city of scale is indoors, and here we are with only one interisland ship operating. Yes, shit happens, usually at an inopportune time, and I understand we are getting new boats. But like all infrastructural shortcomings in our recent history, that replacement project has taken too long, and here we are scrambling. Thank goodness for Big Jim’s gamble all those years ago. Speaking of scrambling – the vaccination programme. The government is still stoic in defence of elimination, refusing to admit it’s now folly – not that eliminating a fast-spreading virus among mammals is ever an option – and that Covid-19 is here to stay. As I write this, it is releasing Auckland to level 3, allowing hundreds of thousands of people back to work. It’s now about preserving an economy and way of life – not that the government will tell you that.

The way we’re going to do that with the least clinical impact is vaccination. Personally, I haven’t met an anti-vaxxer yet. I’ve chatted to plenty who claim to be, but my argument is Covid-19’s nowhere near a big-enough killer to lay claim to such high ground. Were this pandemic a bird variant spawned from some hideous intensive chicken hatchery in a seedy corner of the world, or had Ebola discovered how to float through the air, each with kill rates in the low to mid 20%, then tell me you’re an anti-vaxxer, and I’ll have to respect your stance. It’ll be lunacy, but I’ll respect it. What we’re seeing here is just the West being the West. People forget that a huge proportion of us owe our very existence to some form of modern medicine. Yes, choice is important, but as we teach ‘littlies’, every choice has consequences. If you’re vaccinated, great. If you are not, then there should be a requirement for some form of compulsory health insurance, paid for via self, or a tax levy. If you refuse that, then fine, choice is important, but on your release from hospital in the event you recover, the bill you receive should be eyewatering. Your choice: you can’t have your cake…

The reality is that at the moment, we’re consigning our grandkids to a staggering bill without a second thought or giving a toss for them – something we can’t keep doing.