Robyn (65), Retired. Auckland, NZ.

The government's response to covid ruined my life. The prolonged lockdowns affected me negatively in ways I never thought possible, leaving my life in disarray.

My scepticism towards the vaccine further isolated me. I now have a distinctive distrust in the health system and in particular any vaccines.

I remember being trapped at home and unable to go to my daily outings.

Couldn't go to cafes to meet my friends due to vaccine passports. My personal autonomy was not respected, couldn't believe this was happening here. I thought this only occurred in places like Russia.

1. As the lockdowns went on for months, and with no clear end to restrictions, my life was turned upside down. I was angry (and still am) that the government had the power to force me into a vulnerable position. The financial stress coupled with a feeling of isolation left me feeling depressed and hopeless. I developed an alcohol addiction to cope with the desperation. That dark period of time has affected all my relationships. Having neighbours and friends turned into snitches was like being in a prison.

2. I did not believe the vaccination was safe and necessary, and very reluctantly got two jabs. I had serious concerns that I may react to this vaccine, as I already had known life threatening reactions to various drugs. There was no room for individual circumstances.

As I needed to see an eye specialist, which they insisted on vaccination, so for the first time I lied to get the appointment, otherwise I ran the risk of permanent eyesight problems. Even after the lockdowns ended, the heavy restrictions on visiting places due to the vaccine passport system was appalling. I felt like an alien in my own place of birth, especially as I am a 5th generation New Zealander and various past members of my family fought and died during the Second World War. They fought for FREEDOM.

The use of vaccine app tracker was a distinct over reach of peoples private life. I refused to use it and was utterly disgusted in the clear discrimination against non vaccinated people, which created a 2-tier society. To this day I still can't believe a government would be so nasty.

3. The masking rule was not the use of common sense at all, especially for someone like myself that had great difficultly in hearing properly. I refused to wear a mask and as they are notorious for germs and bacteria. They should have been optional as it was during the start of lockdowns.

4. The arbitrary designation of “essential services”was an unbelievable degeneration of personal worth. Every job is ESSENTIAL. To be classified as such gave the experience of feeling worthless.

The accentuation of internal borders just reinforced a negative attitude and I felt like I was back in the 2nd World War! Then to have the mandates was very depressing and the terrible prospect of losing your job, to be facing the possibility of losing your home and enduring a lifetime of huge debt. The isolation for these people was heartbreaking.

My conclusion of lessons learned is that there was complete lack of informed consent, New Zealanders must have a right to make an informed decision about their own health. Considering that Covd-19 was essentially a nasty flu type virus that could be managed without destroying the economy and simply looking after the most vulnerable and elderly.

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