Act party leader uses foreign media to tell the world of life under Ardern and her silent backbenchers

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Why David Seymour, leader of the ACT party, turned to an off-shore newspaper to share his opinion of Ardern’s management of New Zealand is telling. Isn’t there a local newspaper he could have featured in? Perhaps not…(If only NZ had decent amounts of oil – the US would be here installing a democracy.)

From today’s Daily Mail David Seymour writes: Yesterday morning I received a bleak text message. It was from the chairman of a local business association near my home in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket and contained a photograph of my local train station, usually a busy commuter route full of hustle and bustle.

MP David Seymour, leader of the ACT party.

It was completely devoid of life.

That snapshot spoke a thousand words: as we surpass the two-year anniversary of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, something close to normality has finally resumed for many across the globe.

But here in our far-flung corner of the Southern Hemisphere, isolated behind our still-sealed border, we endlessly push around a hamster wheel of ever more wearying rules and restrictions.

Among them is a staggering isolation period of up to 24 days for those in households where someone has tested positive, a mandatory cap of 100 vaccinated people at public events — a devastating imposition on the entertainment industry in this, our peak summer season — and compulsory mask wearing almost everywhere, including for school pupils aged eight and up.

You might think that only a devastating upward spiral of deaths and serious illness could justify continuing such measures, not to mention introducing new ones.

Alas not. They were introduced last week after confirmation of just nine new cases of Omicron, largely centred on a family who contracted the virus on a trip to Auckland for a wedding from their home in the South Island.

Nine new cases in a country where 93 per cent of the population is now double vaccinated — but nine cases too many for our Left-wing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, committed as she apparently is to a policy of ‘Zero Covid’ at any cost. 

To coin the phrase of one of her predecessors, Sir John Key, her policies are turning us into a ‘hermit kingdom’.

Bars and restaurants have folded, among them iconic spots loved by locals and visitors alike, while those that have survived so far are half full at best, courtesy of a population petrified lest they test positive for Covid and must isolate for 14 days, while anyone in their household must stay confined for a further ten…

Full Daily Mail article here.

That potentially takes people out of the workplace — and society — for nearly a month.

Thanks to these gruesome rules, weddings are being cancelled across the country and nightclubs haven’t bothered opening up.

What’s more, these businesses haven’t caught their breath since the last bout of restrictions which lasted nearly four months and were only lifted in December.

Tourism — once this country’s largest export industry — has been laid to waste thanks to a two-year border closure: since March 2020 no one has been able to enter New Zealand without first spending at least ten days in a state-sanctioned quarantine hotel at their own expense, and where they are supervised by military personnel.

To add insult to injury, we are effectively banned from testing ourselves for Covid, as happens all over the world. 

Only a ‘trained tester’ such as a medic or a pharmacist is allowed to do the job, and anyone who imports rapid antigen tests for home use could face up to six months in jail.

This is hardly in the spirit of the liberal, laid-back New Zealand the world once knew. It is little wonder that, weary of what feels like creeping authoritarianism and a never-ending marathon of restrictions, the population is kicking back. 

Ardern’s Labour Party, which in 2017 won nearly 50 per cent of the vote, has dropped to around 35 points in the polls. We’ve seen, for the first time in 15 years, the majority of Kiwis say our country is going in the wrong direction.

While the rest of the world moves forward, it feels like we in New Zealand are moving backwards, reduced to look on enviously as you go about your business.

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