Logan Hagoort
Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church
Editor of Founded in Grace

Information

Op-ed

I am a pastor of a Presbyterian church in South Auckland, and I love my people more than I could express.

In the last month or two, I have heard from a man who is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts and a dear old lady who is dying of pneumonia. I have heard from an old gentleman who is dying of kidney failure and a young woman in hospital with an undiagnosed health condition. I have heard from an aged woman with a shattered vertebra, people whose businesses have failed, people whose finances are low, and those whose children are struggling with schooling. Not to mention the ongoing issues surrounding the debate on Covid-19, lockdowns, and vaccines.

All of these people share one great human need. The need to feel loved and cared for. Part of my role as a minister and pastor is to care for the people who are under my charge. Regardless of your views on religion, these people under my care are longing for someone to come alongside them, and because of our Government’s decisions, I cannot do that.

Rightly so, over the last few years, our Government has been stressing the “wellbeing” of people. Ensuring that we care for people’s physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and cultural needs. Yet in our lockdowns we have only cared for one thing, the physical health of New Zealanders.

I understand the thought process behind the decision, but at what point are we going to stop and consider the impact of lockdowns upon the other aspects of our shared humanity? When will we consider the toll of all this on the mental, spiritual, emotional, and cultural needs of New Zealanders?

When will we enable people to experience the “wellbeing” that our Government has been telling us about? What about all the Kiwis who cannot have a tangihanga? What about those waiting for a marriage? What about those who cannot attend funerals?

What about those waiting for hip replacements? Or even, in my own family’s case, what about a 15-year-old girl with a deformed jaw who at times struggles to eat, and yet cannot receive the treatment she needs because it isn’t “safe” for a dental surgeon to do their work?

What about the businesses that have failed? What about the future economy of our nation? What about the schooling of our children? The list could go on!

I know Covid is scary for many people but does the cure that is being administered really justify the pain we are going through and will continue to go through for many years to come, as a nation?

I don’t know about you, but I long to sit with the family of my two dying church members and offer them comfort and hope in the darkness. Instead, they sit alone because our Government won’t let me care for them. I long to visit the young and old in hospital and just sit by their side, place my hand upon their brow and tell them they are loved, but our Government says “No”. When is enough, enough?

We apparently live in a free country. At what point will we allow New Zealanders to make their own decisions as to their health and lives? When will we allow people to have the care they need in all areas of their lives?

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Lockdown’s Toll on New Zealanders
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