There’s a book called Mothership which has quite a good sub-plot in it.
It is set in a huge ark ship 14,000km long which is transporting the remnants of humanity across space in search of a new planet to call home.
After 1000 years of this, things have altered somewhat – the crew have become a ruthless ruling class called the Technocrats, and all the commoners have long since been convinced that they are not on a spaceship at all.
It is a huge agrarian society floating blissfully through space, but what they are all unaware of is that they are being slowly attacked by aliens, until the lights go out.
The reason they are being slowly and imperceptibly attacked is that the aliens are a much slower species – they live a lot longer than humans, but everything takes them a lot longer to do. It’s a slow-motion attack.
It’s a lot like New Zealand politics really, except the opposition is slowly gnawing itself to death at the same time.
And instead of the lights going out, they are about to come on.
Red light district
The new ‘traffic light’ alert system is more than a little bit disturbing, mainly because Kiwis have never been very good with intersection rules.
For example, in 2004 the roundabout rules were altered slightly to include the need to indicate left just prior to exiting the roundabout.
There were some sceptics at the time who suggested the Labour government was only making the rule change to force people to indicate left, even if they were a right turning person.
However, it makes sense and in all other respects, the rules are no different to any other intersection. Give way to traffic on your right and indicate which way you plan to turn before entering the roundabout. If you are going straight though the roundabout, you don’t indicate when you approach the roundabout, but everyone indicates left prior to their exit.
So many people get this wrong that it doesn’t pay to take any notice of which way they are indicating. Some people even indicate they are turning left before they enter the roundabout, regardless of which way they are going. The logic behind that, presumably, is that they are going around the left side of the roundabout, rather than opting to drive the wrong way around the roundabout.
And traffic lights are no different, especially in Tauranga. Green means you don’t have to worry about anything, orange means speed up and red is okay, in the same way as it’s cool to eat a garlic prawn if it’s been on the ground for less than two seconds.
All over the country business owners are pondering the implications of the traffic lights system and what it means to deny someone access because of their vaccination status.
Astoundingly, the government left it until this week to rush through the required legislation to make this system legal. Taking away basic human rights is a big deal, so a few weeks to debate the details might have been a good idea.
Keep it mellow
Like a trip down Hewletts Road, no region is expected to start on a green light, but it is yet to be revealed which regions will start on red and who starts on orange. Not very helpful for the organisers of large events.
For people who have been vaccinated and have got their vaccine certificate, the only thing that will harsh your mellow is the restrictions on large events at a red setting. Those large events can go ahead at green and orange settings, but only those with vaccine certificates can attend.
In all other respects, the vaccinated can go about life as they did before Covid-19, albeit with some rules around wearing masks.
About 10 per cent of the population has decided they don’t want to be vaccinated, and it is now up to many business owners to enforce those rules at the door.
The logic is sound – basically Covid-19 is a pandemic that mainly affects unvaccinated people. It is a pandemic for those who are not immune to it, and until vaccination rates reach well into the 90s, there is still a large enough group of at-risk people to threaten the health system and everyone who uses it.
All I can say is I’m glad I don’t work in hospitality.