Relatively speaking, comparing to situations across the globe, we are doing remarkably well here in New Zealand. But expectations were raised with the descent to Level 1, and the long run of days with zero new COVID-19 cases.
This run came to a crashing halt, as we know, last week. And hindsight being a beautiful thing, we now have a narrative of apparent looseness in border quarantine protocols and processes that date back quite some time. This is real, and need to be dealt with.
For us to feel secure, we need to feel like tasks that we have trusted others to do – because it’s impossible for us to do ourselves – are being done well. We need to be assured that the processes we have trusted to Government and Institutions are working correctly.
We trust them to do it, because this is how democratic governance works. We outsource what we cannot do ourselves. We also need to feel that fellow citizens & neighbours are also playing their part- we have sacrificed much, and we need to feel like we are all in this together.
When this feels broken, either through perceptions that Government is not fulfilling its side of the democratic governance bargain, or we BELIEVE our neighbours are letting us down (whether this is true or not), then this starts to fall apart.
Hence the anger, bewilderment and call for urgent action, and scrambling by authorities to get this right. Not just from a virus control point of view, but from a basic functioning trust in democratic governance and community cohesion point of view.
And that’s why I think this is reverberating so strongly and widely.