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Ed Said - Groundhog Day, all over again


Does it feel like we are living in some sort of twilight zone? While we enjoy the freedom of post-Covid lockdown, the rest of the world is almost the complete opposite.

We carefree New Zealanders wake up in the morning, hit the alarm, drag ourselves out of bed and get on with it. But to the rest of the world it must feel like Groundhog Day, where there’s the same enemy to fight again and again.

The plight of other nations struggling to contain coronavirus infection levels, and can’t bury their dead fast enough, is mind boggling, and a gigantic neon danger sign pointing out the dire consequences if even one of these quarantine absconders passes the virus on, all for the sake of a Big Mac combo or half a dozen stubbies.

Twenty years ago, as clocks inched towards midnight and Prince implored us to party like it was 1999, the Y2K threat hung over the world like a pall. Remember? The mere thought of a digital computer-transmitted infection bringing the world to its knees was enough to keep everyone on edge for months as the end of the millennium drew ever closer. Experts theorised on the impending crisis for months.

In the end, of course, the threat was a bit of a fizzer. But there’s no doubt that even when the power goes out, in this electronic society there’s not a lot we can do. We can’t even put the jug on while we wait.

As I write this, Victoria has just announced its worst 24 hours of the pandemic so far – 723 cases, 13 deaths. This massive spike means tough social distancing measures, and face masks are compulsory in public. And worse could be on the way.

Ever the confidence man, American president Donald Trump knows how to make the best of a bad situation and has suggested their upcoming election be postponed due to the pandemic. He certainly knows how to get creative when the writing is on the wall.

Timing is everything. Infrastructure minister Shane Jones couldn’t have asked for a more opportune time to travel around Northland (a seat he is contesting) giving money away to communities for shovel-ready projects. Voters with short memories will remember that. That’s politics – a timely showing of benevolence. I guess if Santa was electioneering in December, he’d be a popular candidate.

As the Kaipara looks to boost its economy in these uncertain times, the government investment into infrastructure and projects is also timely. Mangawhai is rushing as it considers its future growth, infrastructure and development.

Rebuilding the wharf is a fantastic idea. Looking at historic photos it’s hard to imagine that the once-proud structure was ever there in the first place, stretching so purposefully out into the harbour. Not only will it bring life to that part of town, but it will connect people with the estuary in a way that hasn’t happened for generations.

Similarly the proposed shared pathway is all about connectivity, an 8km network of paths that will join the Heads and Village, and the new Mangawhai Central development, and lots of places in between, together. And you know what that means – e-scooters. It’s only a matter of time people. And once we see these scattered all over Mangawhai, then we’ll know we are truly cosmopolitan..

Rich Pooley

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Got an opinion about something, good, bad or ugly? Let others know about it. Email your letters to the editor, info@mangawhaifocus.co.nz. Senders name can be withheld, but name, address and contact number must be included. Letters may be abridged to fit.


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