Are we there yet

It’s now a week until the Government signals whether or not Auckland can move from ‘Level 4 with takeaways’ to start enjoying a little more freedom at Delta Level 2, and whether the rest of the country can ease out of Level 2.  The novel availability of takeaways and click & collect will help the 09 region soldier on, though has deprived NZ’s genuine bootleggers (or more accurately boot-thighers?) of an apparently lucrative opportunity to parcel out baggie’s of fried chicken goodness to a desperate population.

The question on many people’s minds for the next week will be: are we there yet?  But, where exactly is there?  Increasingly, this Delta outbreak is teaching us that the future will look different to the Level 1 business as usual we have become accustomed to.  We have – hopefully – got on top of this latest outbreak.  But not without a considerable toll on businesses and people’s wellbeing.  If there was to be another community outbreak, there is no guarantee there would be enough gas left in the tank to successfully complete another extended stay-at-home lockdown – if that is what it would take to head off mass infection, hospitalisation or deaths.  Which really brings the blowtorch on lifting vaccination rates and making testing and tracing truly world class to keep a lid on hospitalisations and deaths.  And on getting the health sector better able to cope with outbreaks.

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Mark Smith

Senior Economist

Mark joined ASB in 2017, with over 20 years of public and private sector experience working as an economist in New Zealand and the UK.

His resume includes lengthy stints at ANZ and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and he has also worked at the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mark's areas of specialisation include interest rate strategy, macro-economic analysis and urban economics.

Born and bred in the Waikato, Mark studied at Waikato University where he graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Economics.

Mark's key strengths are the ability to use his extensive experience, inquisitive nature, analytical ability, creativity and pragmatism to dig a little deeper and to deliver common sense solutions to tackle complex problems.

When not at work Mark likes to travel, keep fit and spend time with his friends and family.