By Michael Coles
Anyone on Auckland’s motorways must wonder if anyone is ‘staying safe’ at home. The roads are busy with vehicles. And it’s a joy to see.
All manner of tradie vans are on the roads, people are out working, mobile hairdressers and domestic cleaners are on the roads visiting clients’ homes (all double vaxxed I’m sure), the playgrounda are full of happy children, people are running, jogging and walking on popular beaches with their pets.
Without PM Ardern’s written permission, the people are taking their lives back. And the police must be watching the traffic cams secretly grateful that the citizens of this great land are quietly revolting – by doing little more than getting on with their lives.
A whole new underground network has been established by people who need things done and those who are prepared to do them. Try as it might, government cannot stop commerce.
So long as you don’t read the papers, watch TV news or listen to what’s broadcast by government-funded media you’d never know there was anything wrong.
Well, until you go shopping for food that is. Reports from friends of The Buzz visiting supermarkets across Auckland reveal that prices are ramping up with some items such as mayonnaise up $2 this week to $6.99 at one store – that’s just one example. But I can tell you, $300 doesn’t get much at Pak’N’Save any more.
Apart from prices sky-rocketing, some stock is in short supply and the range of products is far reduced from what it was even six months ago. For example there were no frozen chips at one North Shore Pak’N’Save store today, cooking oil is getting thin on the ground, as is flour for baking, and dozens of other everyday products. We are also paying much more for much less – there are no specials.
At a glance, the shelves look well-stocked, but on closer inspection there’s not much choice. Checkouts are also sparsely manned, just two on the tills at Silverdale Pak’N’Save this morning I have been told – and queues of shoppers snaking the isles.
One poor sap with a carton of milk for the office queued for 30 minutes and was refused service because they wanted to pay with petty cash – no cash accepted she was told.
Word from Melbourne last week was that some supermarkets are using huge dust sheets with signs telling customers that building or remedial work is going on. In reality, there is no work being done – the sheets are hiding empty shelves. But then it is turning into a bit like North Korea over there with Dictator Dan throwing his weight around.
Factories around the world have been shut, shipping disrupted, supply chains severed, and the countries with the biggest clout get what is available. So one can imagine that a tiny remote island nation such as ours won’t be at the front of the queue.
Even if food is being made, it needs to have the plastic or tin containers to put it in. They need branding and labels, cardboard boxes, shipping containers, trucks, lorries, trains, and ships to move it.
What to do? Look after yourself – and that doesn’t mean panic buying, we have to remain rational and calm and share what we have. Equally, supermarkets should not be price gouging to make up for the lack of stock.
But we can all start growing some of what we need. Fruit and vegetables can be grown and shared with neighbours.
Don’t waste food. If you have something you don’t want, give it to someone who can use it. Freeze what you can, share and help where you can.