Are cracks appearing in the Ardern government’s Covid elimination-and-lockdown narrative? With the certainty of a mediaeval pope, Jacinda Ardern has posed as New Zealand’s “sole source of truth”. That “truth” includes Ardern’s Canute-like decree that the tide of Covid will be turned back from New Zealand’s shores, and that lockdowns are the only way.

Thus, Auckland’s “short and sharp” lockdown has, like the “two weeks to flatten the curve”, metamorphosed into the longest in New Zealand yet. Without a blush of embarrassment, though, Ardern insists that all is going to plan.

Yet even her own advisors seem to be suggesting otherwise – or are they laying the groundwork for a strategic Ardern retreat?

But Covid-19 modeller and informal Government advisor Rodney Jones said this level of confidence was premature, after the jump of 74 new community cases in the last three days.

“As long as Delta is in our community we haven’t beaten it,” Jones said.

“We either eliminate this in the next week or so, or as we’ve seen in the Australian states, it becomes entrenched … No-one has beaten Delta.”

In spite of this, Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield are putting on a show of confidence which seems about as misplaced as WHO’s initial insistence that there was no person-to-person transmission in Wuhan.

Jones said the more infectious Delta strain of Covid-19 was not as predictable as the original variant, meaning a “flattened” curve could easily explode outwards again.

He said if the lockdown had not resulted in a serious reduction in cases by the end of the week the country should start to think about how to adapt to it, as every other country facing the strain had.

“We need to be much more open-minded. No one has beaten Delta. And everyone has learned to adapt to it in various ways,” Jones said.

So is this a crack in the podium of truth – or laying a breadcrumb trail for Ardern to follow over the next few days or weeks?

Ardern said the Government would look to provide more certainty to events planners in the coming weeks, and was confident that vaccinations and the current lockdown would allow large-scale events to happen […]

Ardern said vaccinations, which have stepped up significantly since the start of the outbreak, would already be starting to help keep the outbreak under control.

Stuff

Call me Alex Jones, but I smell a new narrative in the making.

If I’m right, New Zealanders can look forward to a steady rollout of “scientific advice” that Delta can’t be beaten, lockdowns can’t go on forever, the country needs to open up… you know, all the stuff that we “misinformation peddlers” have been saying all along.

Then: Presto! Ardern has the means to pivot on a dime and declare that New Zealand is “learning to live with the virus”. Expect much talk about “new normal” and “following the science”.

Because the last thing “your sole source of truth” will do is admit that she got it wrong and screwed it up.

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Cracks in the Podium, or a New Narrative Spinning?
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Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...