National | Covid-19 Traffic Light System

'The horse has bolted. They ought to just let it run' - Wellingtonian on Covid restrictions

The day before the Prime Minister's big mandate announcement and it seems likely that Aotearoa will lose some of its Covid-19 protections. But is the country ready?

Two weeks on from the end of the anti-mandate protest that took over Parliament grounds and a day out from the announcement of changes to the covid settings. Vax passes are likely to go,  scanning in to become a thing of the past and mandates are questionable but likely to change as well.

Te Ao Māori News asked Jacinda Ardern about advice received from Māori about mandates on the healthcare workforce:

Reporter: "Have Māori told you specifically, “Don’t lift the mandates on healthcare workers.”?

Arden: "I don’t know whether we’ve had that specificity. We might have. I’d need to go and check.

Some mandates kept

"What I’ve received is general, very general, feedback over just making sure that we’re careful over any phasing or change in our settings. Nor have we proposed, nor have we said, that they are going. So I’d just be cautious about that. We have said that there will be some areas that mandates will still apply, particularly where it’s individuals working with our vulnerable communities."

We asked,  "Do you think it’s time to get specific with Māori advice? We’ve seen it come up time and time again."

Ardern: "So I have received feedback from some of our Māori groups. All I’m saying is, I would not wish to misquote what may have come through specifically on one element of mandates. But nor would I want to leave the impression that that’s something they need to be concerned about."

Ready for what's next?

Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield fronted a press conference and said, "We are still in the middle of a global pandemic" and that it may be time to review settings but that it must be with caution. "We need to make sure we are ready for whatever comes next."

While the ease on restrictions is inevitable, Bloomfield says, with winter on its way, and the borders re-opening, New Zealanders need to remain vigilant.

Bloomfield confirmed today that the minister was looking at a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine and expects advice on it this week

Wellingtonians weighed in on the conversation, one saying, "The horse is bolted -they should just let it run".

"To be honest, it's at the point now where everyone else in the world is doing it. We might as well go down that path."

"I think it was the wrong thing to do at the time but it's long past now."
One cautioned, "As long as we don't end up with a situation where all our hospitals and health workers are under pressure."

WIth the clock ticking down, speculation is in full swing that mid-April will see the end of some of the mandates.