Not only have our small businesses in Auckland had to suffer through a completely useless 3-month lockdown but, all over New Zealand, all businesses are also now having to negotiate their way through an even more futile and impossible system of traffic lights. And all for a vaccine that pretty much doesn’t work and a virus that is turning out rapidly to be marginally worse than a cold for most people.

Many of us are trying to support local small businesses but between the Labour Government’s ludicrous policies and management interpretation in the many and varied small businesses, it’s rapidly becoming more than one can be bothered with.

I’ve read and re-read as much international information as I can get my hands on and it’s clear that masks have so little effect on transmission that they are a pointless exercise. While I strongly object to the government’s heavy-handed and pointless regulations, I’m not interested in wasting time arguing with the Karens, so I wear a mask when it’s demanded of me – if only to keep the peace. Similarly, I played their game with the vaccine and got my jabs and, under extreme duress, my papers. It’s interesting how varied the responses are as I meander through my days. In some places, I’m asked for absolutely nothing. In others, they nearly fall over themselves to scan my QR code to comply.

Fair enough, if the Covid vaccine Stasi turn up and they haven’t done what they’re supposed to do, there will be a price to pay. The dilemma is that they are all doing it differently and the exercise remains completely pointless for various already well-proven scientific reasons.

As an example, and no offence to the business intended, last week I visited the Gateau House in Stonefields, Auckland. I’d made a point of popping over to this small business several times over the lockdown period to support them and I found them warm, friendly and helpful as we stood outside the door doing all the Stasi required mask-wearing, social distancing, signing in and contactless purchasing and pick up.

Oddly, on this visit, my first under the Traffic Lights, I was asked to present my “papers” (which unfortunately I didn’t have with me because all I was doing was a bit of retail shopping which, according to the rules is called retail and doesn’t require papers). I commented to the attractive and very polite young lady behind the counter that I didn’t believe papers were necessary for retail, pointing out that she doesn’t exactly have a shop full of people nor is it a restaurant with customers dining in.

“Yes they are [papers required],” she said, “that’s the law,” she said and she could show me on her computer she said. “No thank you,” I don’t need to be lectured, but I explained that I didn’t have them with me thinking we might find a practical way of moving past this without exposing them to any grief. Instead, with an almost panicked look on her face, she told me “I’m going to have to ask you to leave then” to which I said OK and I left.

Just as an aside, I am aware that other Gateau House stores are fully-fledged cafés and they are indeed required to operate under the hospitality rules. On my many visits to this one, I’ve never seen anybody sitting inside consuming anything so perhaps I can be forgiven for thinking it’s a retail shop. Either way, we could easily have arranged for me to step outside the door to do the business but let me be quite clear, this is not in any way a criticism of the young lady at the shop for doing her job and doing it politely, nor am I naming them to shame them. I will support them in future and will make sure I bring my “papers”. This was just an unfortunate incident.

This is however another well-deserved serve at our uniquely inept and stupid government for putting her, her management and their livelihoods at risk with such puerile and messy regulation, not to mention the antagonistic situation it places members of the public in. This is not the New Zealand I grew up in. This is not the New Zealand that I love.

For the first time in my life, I almost wish I was living somewhere else (though admittedly I’m not sure where would be much better other than maybe Sweden – and I hate the cold!).

Shame on Jacinda Ardern and her inept government. Their one success has to be their scraping the bottom of the barrel – literally – in every sense of the expression.


I've worked in media and business for many years and share my views here to generate discussion and debate. I once leaned towards National politically and actually served on an electorate committee once,...