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Opinion: Are we struggling in lockdown?

Opinion 23/04/2020

The following is an opinion peice by Leah Panapa.

The Prime Minister has congratulated us as a nation for doing our bit and staying inside during lockdown. In fact she says 99.9% of New Zealanders are doing the right thing. 

But as we get close to completing our 34 days at Alert Level 4,  Police say (as of writing this) nearly 4000 people have breached the lockdown restrictions,  with increased reports of people stepping out of their bubbles, congregating in public areas and not obeying physical distancing rules.

The quickly rising numbers show police are now often recording hundreds of breaches per day.

When we first went into lockdown Police were applying ‘education and encouragement” in their approach but are now enforcing restrictions resulting in thousands more people being charged under the Health Act or the Civil Defence Emergency Act.

Authorities say they are worried New Zealand is starting to become complacent over lockdown restrictions.

From what I have seen in the past week, that is definitely happening.  As I drove to work last night, I was amazed at the amount of traffic on the road,It was almost busy! Along with the evening walkers, cyclists and runners, there were people quite openly gathered at the end of driveways having a chat.

More cars are lining the streets at my local park which makes me think people are now driving to get their exercise whereas a couple of weeks ago we were happy to walk around their block. Just small changes but they are adding up.

I understand, the imminent danger feels over for many of us and we are struggling with the strict rules of staying in our ‘bubble’. We are literally itching to get some contact with other people, we want to be able to go further than our neighbourhood and the reason for why we are doing this in the first place is becoming hazy? 

We have to sail the course but human nature is to become a little bit complacent from time to time and we will push the boundaries more as the days go by.

My hope is the Government won’t keep the country in Level 3 for too long; as one of my listeners described it , “dropping from level 4 to 3 feels like getting out of a straight jacket into handcuffs”.

The conversation continues with Leah Panapa on Magic Nights 7pm-10pm weekdays. Time to discuss the day's events and have your say with what matters most to you.