How we made covid decisions

Josie's commentary in the New Zealand Herald

"We were asked to trust only the experts - not scientists, because they couldn't agree – but public sector experts. They may have been right, but they were making decisions based on assumptions. And that's something we're all qualified to make. These were always political decisions – not party political, but decisions based on values rather than science.

In level 1, the values of those making the decisions have become apparent. Which businesses stayed open, which closed. Who's in your bubble who's not. And how long we stayed locked down. We went along with these rules even when they felt arbitrary. These were not decisions that should have been left to public health experts alone because what do they know about the risks we're prepared to take?

That's why the constant reminder to "be kind" jarred. Not to downplay kindness. It's an uncontroversial quality that we can agree makes everyone better off. But imagine you've been made redundant. You're driving home, worried how you're going to pay the mortgage, or find another job when no one is hiring. You feel irrelevant in the "new normal". Then you see a neon motorway sign flashing "be kind". Nothing that is happening to you feels kind.

Meanwhile the "experts" in the public sector are more in demand than ever. They don't doubt their worthiness. It's easy to be kind when your job is guaranteed.