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Ed Sheeran

What happens next in Post-Pandemic New Zealand?
Photo: Getty Images.

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Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury: The important thing to understand moving forward is that there is not and can not be a 'post-pandemic New Zealand' until there is a vaccine.

The free-market capitalism that has been the hallmark of New Zealand's political, cultural and economic landscape over the last 35 years is in collapse.

Nothing highlights the cracked foundations of neoliberalism quite like a pandemic.

Without a vaccine, New Zealand will remain in border lockdown for fear of accidentally transmitting the virus here. That means migrant workers, tourists and foreign students will be stripped out of the economy and the State will need to step in.

Such an idea is heresy to small Government Free Marketeers and that's why we've been bombarded with propaganda from the mouthpieces of the rich demanding we all go back to work to save the economy.

Those self-interested voices should be ignored because this virus hits the poorest harder and if anything like the Spanish Flu, will devastate Māori and Pacifica households far worse than Pākehā.

Until a vaccine is available, New Zealand's economy and culture will need to live under the constant shadow of a vigorous track-trace-quarantine program that will change every interaction moving forward.

It will change the way we shop, share community, interact personally and engage in public, it will be a challenge to rapidly upgrade ourselves to this new reality and to do it well we must have leaders who are able to communicate clearly what is required of us and why.

Luckily we have Jacinda as our leader, who has managed to impress almost every single one of us with her grace under pressure, but our gratitude at her leadership helping us dodge the type of health nightmare we are seeing in America and the UK must be tempered by her Government having clear economic plan moving forward.

Ever since the betrayal of working-class people by Labour's neoliberal revolution in the 1980s, the Party itself has been too cowardly to re-engage in a debate about free-market capitalism, this unique and unprecedented pandemic forces the State to step in and become a far larger direct employer of people while private business rebuilds itself to the new market reality of social distancing.

Kiwis are grateful to Labour for saving them from a public health crisis, but that gratitude can evaporate the moment people lose their jobs. Labour need visionary courage now to save the economy and revoking many of the free market mantras it installed in the 1980s will require more from Labour than closing the borders.

Martyn Bradbury

Editor -

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