I have been surprised (but pleased) how much more proactive the NZ Government has been than Australia. I moved from Sydney to Dunedin just over 10 years ago and became a Kiwi 4 years ago. Last year I needed an operation which is much more expensive here than in Australia, so I did not make my usual yearly trip to either Europe or North America. I did go to Sydney for Easter/Anzac and joked that my other overseas trip was to Wellington for 6 nights. I was making up for it this year with a flight to Sydney on April 14 then on to Doha on April 18 then to Bucharest, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo and finally 3 weeks in Greece returning to Sydney on June 16 and Dunedin on June 20. Obviously all now cancelled as I deal with cancellations, refunds and vouchers from tour companies, hotels and 4 different airlines.Thanks for that.
I am most concerned that my only relatives with whom I am in contact are in their mid 80's and live in a high rise block in Chatswood. I am amazed at how different it is here. Because I live alone, I am officially in a 'bubble' of 1 and cannot meet up with any friends. I can only drive to the supermarket, chemist or medical centre or to get fuel. While we do not have the technology of the UAE, I am told there are police roadblocks on the edge of the city. I can go out for exercise but preferably not by car. There are no restaurants, no takeaways, no deliveries of cooked food except for meals on wheels.
Last Saturday we went into Level 2 and those over 70 like me were 'requested' to stay isolated. However I went to Mitre 10 for garden supplies and even bought a cappuccino on Monday just before we went to level 3 when cafes were shut but I still bought fish 'n chips on Tuesday night, not possible now. I went back for more supplies on Tuesday but by then no cafe open. I now wish I had bought more supplies. At midnight on Wednesday we went to Level 4.
I worked in the garden on Thursday, went for a 5 km walk from my home into bushland on Friday, passing anybody as far apart as the metre wide track allowed, just saying 'hi' even to the one person I did know. Hopefully back into the garden today and looking forward to the supermarket tomorrow when I will discover how the new restrictions work.
My sister in Sydney is trying her best but her husband gets easily bored, understandably living in a unit. Yesterday she agreed to go with a drive with him to Lane Cove National Park and tells me it was crowded. She bought milk shakes from a cafe and the owner had to tell a family to leave as they sat down to eat on a bench despite all the chairs being up on tables. She stood way back and used hand sanitiser before picking up the milk shakes then nearly dropped them as they were slippery.
I am so thankful my sister made 2 trips to Dunedin last year, in March for my operation then again in December when we took a road trip and spent 2 nights in Cromwell. We Skype every morning but when I moved here I always thought in any emergency I could be back in Sydney within 24 hours. At that time there were direct flights in Summer now I have to fly via Christchurch but still only a little over 4 hours in the air, about 6 or 7 door to door. However I wish the shutdown in Sydney was more like NZ even though I wonder if I will be sane in (now) at least 24 days.
To be honest I don't think what NZ has done is necessary, Level 3 maybe, however Australia was also lagging on some actions and there have been a number of missed opportunities. Ruby cruise ship being one. From what I've read I also blame our dual govt system and lack of transparency for the community. People blaming the PM for State based roles etc. Just look in their group for trying to identify who is responsible for that Sydney Cruise ship and again in WA for those ships. NZ is more obvious where the buck stops and with who having neither upper house nor states.
Other issues include
- the Uni Chancellors encouraging the spread via students returning from China and not just Aust, but 3rd countries as well.
- Getting tough up front on self isolation, people should have been issued a legal notice, 5 figure fines that are actually enforced and random checks.
- Closure of many public activities quickly
- Closure of the border faster.