Michelle (68), Retired. Auckland, NZ.

Initially, along with most others, I experienced anxiety at this sudden introduction of a threat with ‘unknown' repercussions. The media escalated this daily with images and information from overseas. This response was excessive and many images were misleading (people dropping dead on the street – inferring it was as a result of Covid). This heightened fear enabled the Government to take an unprecedented step by enforcing lockdowns based on a single case identified in New Zealand. This created chaos for employers, businesses and individuals. It impacted every single person in multiple ways.

Personally, aside from growing anxiety about how this might impact my income and my safety, the lockdown put me into total isolation as I live alone. I was isolated from colleagues, neighbours, friends, family and everyday contact with my greater community. I felt an overwhelming loss of control over my life. I was also concerned about getting sick myself as there was no one to help me through it.

In addition, wearing a mask was intolerable – I am asthmatic and the masks were claustrophobic. I also knew that they provided little to no protection whatsoever from an airborne virus. People stopped engaging altogether, and would scuttle past each other without eye contact, the mask was a wall between us all. I quickly declined to use one, and faced the challenges as they came.

It was quite early on that the barrage of media ‘push' for vaccines made me very suspicious. I decided to take a ‘wait and see' approach. Never before had we been subjected to a constant daily thrust for an entire population to take a vaccine. My concerns shifted away from the virus and towards the officials who were pushing for this. When the mandates came it violated every principal of individual right to choose a medical treatment – and the punishment for making a choice not to have it was to be forced out of jobs, closing of businesses, denied access to public places. The ugliness escalated further when the government's narrative manipulated people through guilt – that they (the healthy individual) should take this unproven vaccine to protect others. Thus a divide was created in our society – the unvaccinated became virtual lepers in our society, we were labelled as the ‘spreaders of the disease'. It was not long before it became obvious that those enfeebled by age or co-morbidities were those most likely to become seriously ill or die from the virus, much the same as our seasonal flu. Many deaths were attributed to be from Covid when in actual fact they were “with” Covid, a big difference.

The outcome for me at this point in time: I have been affected by the isolation and anxiety created over this period – it changed things in my workplace and I ended up leaving. My sister was mandated out of her nursing job. She also could not get care for her 2 autistic boys which created terrible hardship for her. I have lost all confidence in the Labour/Green Government, they will never get my vote again. I have ongoing concerns for any Government now but hope our new coalition will regain my faith. I have zero confidence in the media – they have stopped reported factual news and now it is presented as a farce of magazine quality, biased opinion pieces. The loss of confidence in those I thought could be trusted has affected me deeply, to the point that the NZ I believed was the best and safest place in the world, free of corruption, is no longer a place I feel safe in.

Quarantines of any kind should be reserved for those who are sick, not the well.

NZers who were overseas and wanted to come home should have been allowed to without any restrictions.

Governments should not be ruling single-handedly, but in conjunction with qualified others.

Governments should have no part in Media – NZ should always be a democratic society and NO Government is ever the “one source of truth”.

The Nuremburg Code, Human Rights and Personal Choice over one's body should never, under any circumstances be over-ruled.

Medical professionals should always have a right to prescribe as their training dictates is best for their patient. And they should never administer any medication with having knowledge of potential risks and imparting that to their patient in full before gaining their consent to receive it.

For any inquiry to be valid, it must be carried out by qualified individuals who have ZERO conflicts of interest – ie: they were not involved in the Covid-19 pandemic response; they are not connected through employment, research or earnings to the Big Pharma industry; they are not connected to the Government. Anyone not completely neutral cannot possibly carry out an unbiased and truthful inquiry.

Mandates were not “laws” and therefore NO EMPLOYER should have been able to impose mandates into the workplace that overrode the terms of employment contracts.

Governments should be only stating known facts to the public and making decisions based on those. Not the debacle we endured where the rules, ‘facts', narrative and response, changed frequently – creating confusion and frustration.

Decisions having enormous impact on the nation as a whole should be made by qualified groups not single entities. Such as incurring huge national debt, mandates impacting on businesses and livelihoods, mandates putting enormous strain on systems nationwide (Health, justice, education, etc).

No individual or group should ever be denied the opportunity to present alternatives or raise debate when they are qualified to do so – in this instance we have specialists, doctors, lawyers and scientists who were completely disparaged by the media and government for presenting alternative views. This is extremely dangerous in any society and totally non-democratic.

And lastly – no one is above being wrong and no matter what rank a person holds, when proven wrong they must own it if they wish to maintain any respect. There are multiple indepth reports, investigations, data files and clinical trials undertaken globally that prove there are many questions to be answered in contradiction to the “safe and effective” narrative we have been subjected to.

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