So we’re on Level 1

We’re now on Covid Alert Level 1 for the first time – we skipped it when we went up the levels in April, from 2 to 3 to 4.

This means that apart from international travel we are more or less back to normal. Social distancing is still encouraged but not required.

There is no limit to social gatherings. This means that sports and music events can resume.

Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off in Dunedin (Chiefs versus Highlanders) on Saturday with tickets on sale to the public.  This may receive international coverage as sport world wide has been largely been put on hold due too the Covid pandemic.

The biggest risk now is people bringing Covid into the country. Incoming travellers will still go into 14 day quarantine and will now be tested twice – testing them should always have been a priority.

Reopening of international borders, even with Australia, seems a while away yet.

Hand washing and sanitising is still encouraged. This may have wider benefits unless there are unintended consequences.

Social distancing won’t make much difference generally as the public has most ignored it over the last couple of weeks under Level 2. But it does mean cafes and restaurants and bars can get back to operating as normal.

One thing that should change is the attitude to working and socialising while sick. Codral has revamped it’s winter advertising, which was necessary because ‘soldier on’ is the opposite of what is recommended by the Ministry of Health.

There is another contradiction – some people (including Minister of Finance Grant Robertson) are encouraging people who remain working at home to go back to their offices because centre city cafes and restaurants are suffering, but others want working from home to continue to reduce traffic and CBD congestion.

Business closures and job losses continue. Some of this is directly due to the Covid lockdowns, especially airlines and anyone involved in tourism, as well as a lot of hospitality.

Having to shut down or scale back will have been nail in the coffin for businesses that were already marginal. Some won’t reopen, some will struggle more and there will be inevitable business failures.

But it is obvious that some job losses and business and shop closures have used Covid as an excuse, or have just brought forward the timing of closures.

Yesterday The Warehouse announced the closure of shops and the loss of over a thousand jobs. In normal times this would be big news, but it can be shrugged off as ‘covid’. However the Warehouse admits these moves were on the cards anyway as they looked to change their business model.

The lockdown prompted a lot of businesses to move more towards online sales. Some of this move will continue, and will affect shops and jobs.

The extent of the after effects of the lockdown are difficult to predict, except that they are likely to be substantial. World wide trade and economies have been seriously affected and at more risk than usual – a recession was already overdue and predicted even before Covid struck.

There could be a crunch yet too come. The three month wage subsidy will run out soon. Many businesses will bebe able to take advantage of a further 8 weeks of wage subsidy, but will no doubt be reviewing their futures after that. There will be more jobs down the gurgler.

Some of us can sort of get back to normal but the covid cloud still hovers over us, and the effects have already been substantial and will be ongoing.

 

 

Level 1 decision today

Cabinet will decide today whether to lower the Covid-19 Alert level to 1 today.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have signalled that the level is likely to be lowered. They have both assured the public that we have been fully informed about the virus data, so there must be know known reason to keep us at Level 2.

When we went to level 2 Ardern committed to considering alert levels again in a fortnight, which is today, and said it was a decision would be made within four weeks. It seems that one of the only reasons we haven’t lowered levels sooner is this timeline that Ardern appeared committed to regardless of what the data showed.

Last week Ardern looked under pressure and defensive when it was revealed that Cabinet had been advised that a key criteria for lowering levels, no community transmission for more than four weeks, had already been met.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters broke ranks with his Cabinet, saying we should already have lowered to level 1.

There have been no new cases of Covid detected for 16 days (as of yesterday) – if we have another new case day today Ardern would find it very difficult to convince the public of a need to stay in Level 2.

Last Wednesday Ardern advised of the new level 1 restrictions, which are pretty much only border controls with unrestricted public gatherings.

The big risk is reintroducing Covid by people brining it in to the country.

So it looks like today Ardern will announce we are going to Level 1, probably on Thursday – so far she has always given two and a bit days notice of a level change but even that seems unnecessary this time, most of the public has already relaxed and there is little preparation needed for businesses, they should be able to drop restrictions as soon as they are able to.

 

Urge for immediate Level 1 based on leaked Cabinet paper

A number of politicians have been pushing for an immediate move to Covid Alert Level 1, notably from party leaders David Seymour, Winston Peters and Todd Muller

Calls increased after large #blacklivesmatter demonstrations on Monday failed to observe number limits or effective social distancing.

A leaked Cabinet paper has added weight to arguments for a faster wind down of restrictions.

ODT:  Leak fires up calls for Level 1

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is being urged to move into Alert Level 1 immediately in light of criteria in a leaked Cabinet paper that includes a 28-day window of no community transmission.

The most recent such case was reported on April 30, 34 days ago, but director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield has said the last cases of concern were actually from about two months ago.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and National Party leader Todd Muller, who quoted the Cabinet paper during Question Time yesterday, both used the community transmission criteria to push for a hastened move to Level 1.

But Ms Ardern is standing firm on making an announcement on Monday, saying there are other factors in the decision.

Ardern has said that level changes have been based on health and other advice received, but this make sit look like they hav been more cautious than advised.

From Question Time: 2. Question No. 2—Prime Minister

Todd Muller: Why is she so reticent to move to alert level 1, when Dr Ashley Bloomfield has said there is—and I quote—”no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I’m acting on the advice of director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield. He is the one giving us the guidance to remain where we are. He has expressed comfort with us making that consideration on 8 June, but that is not an accurate reflection of his views.

Todd Muller: Is it correct that—and I quote—”from a public health perspective alert level 1 means there has been a period of more than 28 days with no new cases of COVID-19 caused by community transmission and there is an extremely low public health risk from the virus”, as is says in the paper I have here in her name titled COVID-19 Alert Level Controls, which I understand was discussed at Cabinet yesterday?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The member knows that we have made fully and widely available the settings of alert level 1, 2, 3, and 4, and in the criteria for decision making it does say, “trends in the transmission of the virus, with the threshold varying by alert level, including the director-general’s confidence in the data.” So, yes, we’ve included a period where we haven’t had cases—keeping in mind we’re only up to 12 days presently—but also the number of days where we haven’t had a case from community transmission, which was roughly about a month ago now. But that is not the only criteria. The director-general has to be confident in the data. We know there is asymptomatic transmission. We know there is a long tail. I would rather move once, do it right, and not continue to risk our economy.

But this ignores the risk to the economy of limiting the ability businesses to operate at full capacity. The longer the restrictions, the the greater the risk of businesses closing and and jobs being lost.

Todd Muller: When was New Zealand’s last case of community transmission?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I just said, it was at the beginning of May. However, that was not the last case that we had, which was, from memory, 12 days ago. I have to say I am alarmed at the suggestion from the member that, even with some of the loosest restrictions in the world, the member would still be willing to act against the advice of the Director-General of Health, open up before he has advised that we do so, and put at risk the huge effort and sacrifice of New Zealanders. I would rather do it once and do it right.

What Ardern is saying appears to be at odds with advice given by Bloomfield in advice given to Cabinet.

Todd Muller: To the Prime Minister: how can you match that answer with the fact that on 20 May you said—and I quote—”the last case of community transmission where the source was unknown was early April.”? That means we’ve had now three full cycles of transmission with no community transmission cases in New Zealand—60 days since—

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: We had a case that was linked to overseas travel but the overseas travel was outside the period of infection. So the view was that it could either have been community transmission or overseas travel. Again, the member forgets that that is but one of many criteria that we take into consideration, and we must listen to the advice not only of the scientists and epidemiologists but also the Director-General of Health. If the member thinks he knows more than all of them combined, I congratulate him, but I would rather listen to the advice, get it right, and not risk our economy.

As happened also on Tuesday, Ardern had started answering questions with poise, but she seemed to getting increasingly annoyed with the persistent questioning from Muller.

I think Muller has been holding Ardern to account effectively here. Some seem to think each question should result in the resignation of the Minister or Government, but our system never works like that.

Some assistance popped up for Ardern:

Hon Chris Hipkins: Has the Prime Minister been advised that as recently as yesterday Australian states were reporting new cases of community transmission, and will the Government take that into consideration when considering the Opposition’s urging to reopen the border with Australia with urgency?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes. We of course are mindful of the impacts of every restriction on our economy, on our businesses, but I equally will not jeopardise the gains and sacrifices made by those businesses by either opening us before we’re ready or moving alert levels before we’re ready. I reflect on the comments made by a small-business owner that they would rather live with the restrictions now than risk going back later on.

Ardern is trying to swim against the public tide here.

Todd Muller: Prime Minister, isn’t it time for a captain’s call on level 1 so that a team of 5 million New Zealanders can get back to rebuilding this country and recovering their jobs?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I have proudly made captain’s calls all the way through and it is one of the reasons that, alongside our team of 5 million, we are the envy of the world in terms of our position right now. I stand by every call I’ve made and that’s why we are waiting until 8 June.

Muller has managed to get Ardern to take responsibility for “captain’s calls” on lockdown restrictions and the slow and ultra cautious return to business activity.

Todd Muller: To the Prime Minister, why wait till midnight Wednesday, when the whole country needs us to be in level 1 today?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Because the whole country needs us to not go backwards. The whole country needs us to move once and to do it right, and the whole country wants to move with confidence. The member does a disservice when he explains that the decision-making process is as simplistic as he describes—it is not. We factor in a range of issues, including economic impact, including compliance, including transmission, and our unknowns. And I stand by every decision we have made to date.

Moving fairly quickly into lockdown in March was supported by a lot of the public, but Ardern is at increasing risk of getting out of step with public sentiment now the risks seem to have moved to negligible.

Ardern kept referring to things like “The director-general has to be confident in the data” and “We factor in a range of issues, including economic impact, including compliance, including transmission, and our unknowns.”

This makes me wonder if Ardern and Cabinet (excluding Winston Peters who has been calling for level 1 since last week) are putting a lot of weight on statistical analysis of data.

There will always be unknowns, and there will always be a statistical margin of error – statistics doesn’t work with 100% certainty.

 

Ardern sounding defensive and looking rattled over Level 1 pressure

Jacinda Ardern has generally handled the Covid-19 crisis with aplomb, aided by a largely sympathetic media. But yesterday she looked rattled and sounded defensive after pressure increased over staying at Alert Level 2 for at least another week, despite protests in the weekend largely ignoring the Level 2 social distancing rules.

There have been no new Covid cases in New Zealand for over a week and there is just one remaining active case.

Stuff: Prime Minister says Cabinet will decide on Covid-19 Alert Level 1on Monday, June 8

Ardern, concerned about the long “tail” of the virus’ spread, has previously said June 22 was the latest a decision to lessen remaining social distancing restrictions would come, and on June 8 the Government would reconsider the “settings” of alert level 2.

But after speaking with director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield over the week, Ardern said the country was “exceeding” expectations and could be in level 1 as early as June 10, “as long as we keep seeing the results we’re seeing now”.

There has been mounting pressure for New Zealand, which has counted 10 days without a new case of Covid-19, to lessen restrictions and move to alert level 1. Imagery of protests held in Auckland and Wellington on Monday has frustrated critics of the remaining restrictions.

Businesses in particular are limited in how they can operate under level 2.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who last week broke Cabinet conventions by calling for Covid-19 Alert Level 1, on Tuesday morning took to Newstalk ZB to question why the protesters hadn’t been prosecuted.

“If you’re going to have a protest like we saw both in Auckland and Wellington, where they don’t observe the distancing rules, then the question’s going to be asked, and it’ll be asked rapidly why aren’t we in level 1, or why aren’t we prosecuting these people who organised those protests?”

Asked whether he wanted the protest organisers prosecuted, or the rules to be loosened, Peters said he wanted “both, frankly”.

“We can’t have one law for one group of people and a different law for everybody else.”

He said Cabinet would not be discussing a move to level 1 at Tuesday’s meeting.

That seems to be because last week Ardern said Cabinet would not review Level 2 until next week.

RNZ: NZ Black Lives Matter march distancing breaches ‘irresponsible’ – Police Minister

Minister of Police Stuart Nash is describing the weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests as “irresponsible”, but any prosecutions appear unlikely.

Nash said while he sympathised with the cause and the right to protest, these gatherings were “disappointing” considering the pain other New Zealanders had gone through under Covid-19 restrictions.

“I think they were probably irresponsible in what they did … we are where we are because people have been very, very good about obeying the rules, for some at great cost to themselves, so this was disappointing,” he said.

However, Nash said that was an independent operational matter for police.

“I don’t have a personal opinion when it comes to this. It is the police’s [decision], they will determine whether anyone is prosecuted or not, I understand they’re not going to. They have taken a graduated response to anyone in any situation throughout alert level 4, 3, 2,” he said.

National Party police spokesperson Brett Hudson said to see thousands breaching level 2 rules in this way was “regrettable to say the least”.

National leader Todd Muller pushed her on this in Question Time yesterday and I think Ardern looked unusually tetchy.

NZ:  PM Jacinda Ardern rejects Todd Muller claim government ‘fractured’ over level 1

National leader Todd Muller said today that it was “completely unacceptable” that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters were not publicly on the same page.

“What’s happening right now is a shambles. For the Prime Minister to be standing and communicating to New Zealand the importance of level 2, the importance of social distancing and the importance of following the rules, but her own deputy is taking a completely counter view – not only subtly, but very overtly – holding the view that actually we should already be back to where we were,” he said.

Ardern told reporters following today’s Cabinet meeting she did not think Peters’ comments were causing confusion.

“He does have a different view, and he has been open about that view, he is however not advocating that anyone break the rules that are currently in place,” she said.

Ardern downplayed any tensions between the coalition partners, saying she was aware and not concerned about Peters’ decision to speak out against the government’s decision.

Another sign of a more critical media: Our compassionate PM’s mean policies

Our Prime Minister is lauded overseas for her compassion, but her Cabinet is refusing to properly support tens of thousands of jobless migrants and beneficiaries struggling through the Covid-19 crisis, Bernard Hickey argues.

Government will wait to make next decision despite only 1 live Covid-case

Yesterday’s Ministry of health Covid-19 update showed that there have been no new cases for a week, and that there is now only now only case that is still ‘active’ (and that may have been active for a month so is nowhere near new).

But Grant Robertson says the Government will still wait a week and a half before making any decision about changing the current Level 2 restrictions.

On Monday Jacinda Ardern said that Cabinet would only re-evaluate Level 2 restrictions in two weeks time – that’s on 8 June, and a change to Level 1 may not happen for up to four weeks (to 22 June).

NZ Herald: Only one active case, but Grant Robertson won’t be drawn on lifting level 2 restrictions

New Zealand has just one active Covid-19 case today — but Finance Minister Grant Robertson refuses to be drawn on the possibility of lifting restrictions earlier than expected.

Robertson said New Zealand had done “incredibly well” in the fight against Covid-19.

The Government was flexible and would review alert level settings on June 8, he said, and reiterated Cabinet would look at moving to level 1 no later than June 22.

But he would not commit to action when asked whether having only one active case made it more likely that Cabinet might consider whether New Zealand was ready to move to level 1 earlier.

“The worst thing of all would be for New Zealand to move backwards again,” he told a media conference in Wellington.

No one wants to go back to Level 4, or even Level 3. But if people see ongoing restrictions as unjustified and ignore them, and don’t take seriously and future restrictions that poses greater risks.

The Government had wide and strong public support when we went into lockdown in March. But as the apparent dangers from Covid quickly reduced the public has tended to relax more quickly that Government restrictions were lifted.

There appears to be virtually no threat now. If the Government keeps restrictions on despite this they risk losing public support, which is likely to lead to people pushing boundaries or ignoring restrictions more.

Headlines like this from the ODT yesterday don’t help:  Police allowed gang tangi

Police allowed dozens of people to gather for the tangi of a Black Power member in Dunedin during lockdown.

As many as 50 people waited in a car park outside a funeral home for the tangi on April 30, blocked roads and later gathered at a gang pad, documents released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act show.

Many had travelled from outside Dunedin for the event.

Despite the breaches, police said in an internal email ‘‘trying to stop it will only create a worse situation for all’’.

There’s a real risk that if the Government is too cautious and pedantic in trying to prevent any cases at all it will create a worse situation if there is a second wave, and the public don’t care about restrictions that may be applied again and ignore them.

With next to no cases in the country now the public is largely moving forward while the Government retains restrictions and holds back business and employment.

Pressure increasing on lowering to Level 1 and trans-Tasman travel

Opening up travel between New Zealand and Australia has been proposed as both countries appear to have Covid-19 well under control. It looks unlikely to happen before New Zealand drops to Level 1 restrictions (whatever they may end up being), and Cabinet are not due to consider lowering to level 1 for a week and a half and it has been indicated (on Monday) it may be up to 4 weeks away.

Winton Peters has been talking about a Trans-Tasman bubble for over a month, and is now breaking ranks with Cabinet and says he wants one “yesterday”, but Jacinda Ardern has indicated that September is more likely

24 April: Trans-Tasman bubble could start ‘more quickly than we think’ – Peters

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says some businesses could be saved if the country creates a trans-Tasman bubble – and he’s open to starting on a state-by-state basis.

Fifty-five per cent of tourists who visit New Zealand come from Australia and the foreign affairs minister said it therefore made sense to start planning how a trans-Tasman travel bubble might work.

“So, it requires us to put our best minds together here and in Australia. I’ve spoken to the Foreign Minister in Australia about the need for us to start thinking about that now,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on board and said it made sense to work with New Zealand on any relaxing of the border restrictions.

“I would have thought New Zealand would be the obvious candidate [for border openings] and that’s the nature of discussions we’ve had,” Morrison said.

Wednesday: Hopes to get trans-Tasman bubble flying by July

A high-powered group investigating opening up trans-Tasman travel amid the coronavirus pandemic hopes to put its proposal to politicians by early June, and get people travelling by the July school holidays.

The ‘Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group’ is made up of 11 government agencies, six airports, two airlines, and includes health experts and airline, airport and border agency representatives from both Australia and New Zealand.

Started by Auckland Airport, and co-ordinated by the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF), the team of 40 experts have been working for the past two weeks on recommendations for the re-opening of borders between Australia and New Zealand.

ANZLF co-chair Ann Sherry said the group wanted to focus on getting it right first on the Tasman before opening up to the Pacific and other destinations.

“We’ve got an early June objective to get recommendations back to government, but we’re testing it with government as we go along to make sure our thinking isn’t divergent at this stage of the process.”

Once the systems were considered by decision-makers, she was optimistic the trial might be completed in time for the July school holidays, she said.

Prime Minister Ardern was non-committal:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not set a date for how soon the bubble could be set up, saying both countries would need to be comfortable.

Ardern spoke with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday about the proposal, and said on Wednesday that there was enthusiasm on both sides of the Tasman.

The two countries were at different stages of easing restrictions, and New Zealand had had a bit more time to see how progress was going in stamping out Covid-19, she said.

“I’d say good work is taking place and it won’t be too long before we will be ready.”

Deputy Prime Minister Peters is pushing different aspirations:

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has broken rank with Labour, saying that quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel should already be allowed out of one side of his mouth, but has a different story out of the other.

However, Peters told a Trans-Tasman Business Circle briefing on Wednesday that opening the trans-Tasman border was urgent for both economies, but the two countries were not yet ready.

“If the decision was made today could we start tomorrow, I’m going to be honest and say no – but we’re working on it with the greatest of urgency now so that if the decision was made sooner rather than later, we’d be off and hopefully got every contingency foreseeable and imaginable covered,” Peters said.

Travel isn’t even allowed between states in Australia so opening up to New Zealand looks unlikely right now.

Yesterday in Parliament Winston Peters says he’d like to see trans-Tasman bubble implemented ‘yesterday’

National’s deputy leader Nikki Kaye questioned Mr Peters, who was answering on behalf of the Prime Minister in question time today, over recent disagreements within the Government on Covid-19 restriction timelines.

“Has the Foreign Minister (Winston Peters) advocated to her (Jacinda Ardern) or to the Cabinet to proceed faster around the trans-Tasman bubble,” Ms Kaye asked.

Mr Peters gave a direct response to the question.

“Take a wild guess,” he said with a wry smile.

Ms Kaye then pressed him whether he had pushed for a date that the travel bubble should come into force.

“Yesterday,” he replied before once again taking his seat.

But that may just be typical Peters posturing to an audience.

Margy Osmond, co-chair of the Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group, told the Sydney Morning Herald they expected it to commence “as early as September”.

When asked about this, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “that could be realistic”.

“I have been careful about putting down specific dates, but have been very focused on making sure we are ready, then we can move and we won’t be constrained by needing to do any administrative or logistical work at our borders,” she told media today.

Opening borders is dependent on moving to level 1.

ACT MP David Seymour has accused Peters of breaching Cabinet rules – Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters accused of breaching Cabinet rules in revealing Jacinda Ardern’s views on level 1 move

Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Peters – NZ First leader as well as Deputy Prime Minister – openly talked about conversations had in Cabinet.

Asked if New Zealand had been in level 2 for too long, he said: “My party made it very clear we thought that. And the Prime Minister has actually admitted that at the Cabinet meeting – she said it.”

According to the Cabinet Manual – the set of rules for ministers, enforced by the Prime Minister – ministers are not allowed to talk about what happens within Cabinet meetings.

“Discussion at Cabinet and Cabinet committee meetings is informal and confidential,” it says.

“Ministers and officials should not … disclose or record the nature or content of the discussions or the views of individual ministers or officials expressed at the meeting itself.”

Seymour said that by saying what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in Cabinet on live radio this morning, Peters was in breach of this rule.

It is up to the Prime Minister as to whether or not a minister is disciplined for breaking the Cabinet Manual rules.

Ardern has a record of turning a blind eye to what Peters and Shane Jones do.

Regardless of this political posturing, the public may be adding to the pressure to ease restrictions and get back closer to normal. There have been no new Covid cases in New Zealand for a week, and there are now only 8 active cases, all in the  Auckland region. The case for continuing restrictions will get increasingly hard for the Government to maintain.

The country has virtually eliminated Covid – but the big risk now is if it comes back into the country when border restrictions are eased.

And while Australian Covid numbers look proportionally similar to here The virus figure Australian officials are most worried about

…despite the country’s achievements in overcoming the worst of the virus, there is still one concerning figure looming over its recovery.

Figures released by the Department of Health show that 732, or about 10.3 per cent, of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country have been locally acquired with no contact identified.

This means hundreds of people have caught the virus in Australia but the source of the infection could not be found.

That will be a concern to health officials here, and the Government says they rely on the officials for advice on easing restrictions.

But when should we at least lower to level 1 restrictions here? There has been no community transmission since early April, and business concerns are growing.

NZ Herald: Jacinda Ardern’s wriggle room on moving to alert level 1 early

Cabinet is set to look at whether New Zealand should move to level 1 on June 22, but pressure is mounting to move earlier, with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters saying it should have already happened.

Yesterday a top business restructuring expert, Grant Graham, whose firm KordaMentha partner makes money from insolvency work, pleaded for a move to level 1 to save “unjustifiable” job losses.

Yesterday was the sixth straight day of no new Covid-19 cases, and there have been no community transmission cases – whose branches are harder to trace and isolate – since the beginning of April.

It is possible that there will be no active cases in New Zealand by Cabinet’s D-day on June 22.

Meanwhile Stats NZ revealed that the number of filled jobs plummeted by a record 37,500 in April.

The decimated industries of tourism, hospitality, and events are hoping for an earlier move to level 1, where there will be no physical distancing requirements and no restrictions on numbers at social gatherings.

Ardern said on Monday that Cabinet would consider the settings of level 2 in 10 days, on June 8, and it will meet no later than on June 22 to look at whether the country could move to level 1.

She reiterated that timetable yesterday, saying it was based on Bloomfield’s advice.

But Cabinet could decide, based on his advice, to open up level 2 even more after June 8, or consider moving to level 1 before June 22.

“We have given us some space, just in case,” Ardern said yesterday.

Ardern seems to have one eye on health advice, hopefully she has one eye on deteriorating business news, and both eyes on the election.

June 22 looks a long way away as we move close to no active cases in the country.