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New Zealand: After the crisis comes the hard grind

How do we develop a vision whilst fighting off a crisis?

As a Londoner stranded in New Zealand, I have been following NZ’s emergence from the Covid Crisis. Despite two Covid cases that arrived here from the U.K. yesterday, survival is no longer dominating national consciousness. Kiwis are increasingly asking: ‘Where do we go next?’

Much is written in the NZ press about the New-Look Economy and the NZD20 billion ear-marked for shovel-ready projects. Let’s fix the infrastructure deficit and create a modern low-carbon economy! ‘After Covid comes the Hard Grind!’ is the current motto. The ‘team of five million’ needs to regroup with regard to rising unemployment and the big hole created by lack of international tourists, students and migrant workers. The national border is closed except for returning Kiwis.

Fortress NZ is at the heart of the economic debate here. Reading this as a psychotherapist, I am left to wonder how we all, whether Downunder or in the U.K., are coping with coming out of our own personal fortresses. Lockdown provided a simplicity of lifestyle that for some was seductive, for others depressing. ‘Act as if Everyone has Covid-19’, said Ardern categorically. We now need a new Grey Area Motto to foster collaboration, trust and courage as we venture out.

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