Cathryn, Support Worker. Auckland, NZ.

When we first heard about covid lockdowns we were a working family with boarders, going about our everyday lives. We had decided to support a young man being released from prison. We picked him up on a Friday night but Monday the country went into full lockdown! We had to contend with the meltdowns as he realized the whole country had become a jail cell. He didn't handle it and we had to have him removed. Then our long-term landlords decided to sell the house. We had to find somewhere during lockdowns, which proved quite stressful. Vax passes required; masks required. We had just been taking care of my husband for four years after hep b shots during his paramedic studies triggered ulcerative colitis, IBS spasms, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. He dropped out of studies, hospitalized many times, 17 times in a single year! He had zero compensation or income. So, I had to take on his debts and my own. We were very aware of the risks of vax reactions and lack of support thereafter so none of us were prepared to risk the vax.

We found accommodation. I fell and needed knee reconstruction. My sons and husband ended up working in a giant fridge in a food company as other employment mandated. My employer had zoom meetings with me as they begged me to get jabbed, offering to pay for GP. I asked “why” as my doctor had decades of experience yet was restricted to only being allowed to say Jacinda's words or face being deregistered. I said if I wanted to hear Jacinda's views, there's 1pm and 4pm broadcasts. I lost trust in doctors. My job was taking care of the elderly and disabled and the government mandated that whole industry. My company said congrats on 10 years of being an excellent worker, here's a voucher, you're fired!!! I had to return my tablet and ID to a stranger on a doorstep for the voucher. I wasn't allowed to discuss my vax views with any workmates and I never heard from any of them again. The elderly were becoming terrified of the unvaxed as our government painted a picture of us being full of disease. “covid is disease of the unvaxed” don't talk to your neighbour” “don't let the unvaxed into your homes” “we are the single source of truth” We weren't allowed in shops, food outlets, pretty much anywhere. People would cross the road to avoid us. People became terrified of others. Going to the supermarket involved long ques of people all two meters apart, waiting for hours in all weather outside. One of my elderly friends did not want the vax but was told by her family that she would never see her great grandchildren again. So she had the jab then had a stroke! So many of our friends and family have had severe vax injuries but none have received ACC help. We even had friends that had anaphylactic reactions to the first jab and still couldn't get an exemption. They were told to have the 2nd jab at the hospital so the docs could deal with anaphylactic shock and revive them!!

Then the food company mandated the staff. My family were all to be fired! Our new landlords panicked and sold the house out from under us and passed us over to the new owners who required us to leave as soon as our year was up. The stress levels were huge as how do you apply for a rental when the whole family has been fired with no income? Only vax pass people qualified for emergency accommodation. We were going to have to sleep in our cars at the park! Government were writing to us by mail, email and calling and texting our phones frequently telling us to get vaccinated!!. I couldn't go to my cousins funeral as vax pass only. Auckland was in lockdown and it was illegal for me to go and see my mum on her birthday! The day Auckland borders were opened there were radio broadcasts warning communities to not let the unvaxed into your homes. The government had used fear to turn everyone against each other. We were treated like lepers. Employers, friends and family had been brainwashed to turn their backs on us.

The only comfort was our church who kept in contact, having meetings, whether in person, in parks or online. It was the only source of normality in an insane world. Many others were distressed with what the government had done. Jobs, businesses and careers were lost and destroyed. Our pastor led protests in public parks for us to demonstrate our feelings. To see our pastor then arrested and put in jail for speaking was beyond belief!!!

One son and my husband were at the last minute able to provide details of how they had had prior vaccine injuries and managed to keep their jobs because of that clause. My other son was suspended from work leading to termination. He travelled to Wellington to support the protesting New Zealanders. He stayed there filming people and supporting, all the while having zoom meetings with his employer about the pending termination. The crowd in Wellington were ordinary New Zealanders who had lost everything, homes, jobs, careers and family and friends. It was stressful enough that the government blasted them with water sprinklers, loud music and broadcast to the country that they were a river of filth, refusing to meet or speak with them. On the last day my son, whom I have raised as a truthful law-abiding citizen, sent me a selfie pic with him in the front line with hundreds of police with shields and batons coming at him. Who do you call when your son is in danger?? You can't call the police as they are the ones beating innocent people, young and old, dragging them away to police cells. I didn't sleep for 24 hours as I waited to find out if my son was safe.

The food company dropped the mandates when my son asked them legal questions and had an advocate. I was then able to get a job there too. So now I'm working hard in a 5 degree fridge all day when I'm nearly 60 years old! Much harder on the body than caregiving. But how could I go back to caregiving when the government still has the power to do mandates and lockdowns on a whim? I trust nobody. I can fully understand why so many distressed business owners and ordinary people committed suicide during this time. Our own government betrayed us, turned on us and trampled on the bill of rights that was supposed to protect us. I got through this because of the support from my church and pastor. Even social media was monitored and ‘factchecked' and taken down or blocked. All had to be government approved content. Nobody was allowed an opinion. I was reminded of what Hitler did to the Jews, regarding the propaganda saying they were diseased, not allowed into shops etc. Turned the public against them so much it was easy for them to put them on the trains.

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