COVID 19 Aid and who deserves our trust – Dukesons Business Law - Business Lawyer – Commercial Lawyer

August 2020

This Blog isn't legal advice – if you need legal advice on any business law or commercial law issue, please contact me. I'm business lawyer (commercial lawyer) in Auckland who provides advice on a wide range of business law issues.

I will list some key sources of Covid 19 aid for employers and employees and then express a personal view on several matters.

First, while there’s copious information that can be accessed, here are some key links to COVID 19 aid:

I may get some flack, but I would like to express some personal views, motivated by the current lockdowns:

  • Is it just me or is the reluctance of the Government to explain clearly the yawning gap between what the Government and the Director General Health say about swab testing of border staff patently obvious? Either the Government was told that all border staff were being regularly swabbed (Government line) or it was told that this was being ramped up (Director General line). If the former, then the Government was entitled to rely on the advice being given to it, provided that there were means to check that advice. If the latter, then the Government is presumably telling porkies, unless it misunderstood what it was being advised (in which case, why the misunderstanding?). It’s a crucial issue, not to mention the core issue that all border staff should presumably have been regularly swab tested. It was frustrating watching the PM and Megan Woods getting themselves in tangles when providing long rambling but uninformative responses to these questions.
  • I saw my GP last week. He was livid about the border testing issue. He said that his practice had expressed its concern (I think that this was to the Dept of Health) in June to express concern at border staff not being regularly swab tested. Apparently, the practice was fogged off by the Dept. What can you say?
  • Does anyone really think that it would be feasible to keep going in and out of lockdowns if (when) there are further outbreaks?
  • Why isn’t there a non-partisan task force in place to deal with issues like the best way to deal with outbreaks? Leaving it with the Government exposes us to political agendas (a point made by Professor Gorman and probably by others as well).
  • How are we and subsequent generations going to pay for all of this? Again, in an ideal world, this wouldn’t be left to the Government of the day. The best possible minds should be called together to come up with an economic plan. In addition to the inevitable politicians from all represented parties, there should be economists, big and small business proprietors, big and small business advisers (accountants and lawyers – small business advisers would add a different perspective to economists and big business advisers), etc. Unfortunately, that would occur only in an ideal world.
  • Given that we don’t live in an ideal world, we need and deserve to hear what the political parties propose in terms of paying off the ever increasing debt that is being incurred by all of us. One thing about this new outbreak is that it may force the Government to provide at least some economic policy, including as to taxes. However, it really is a pity that economic policy will be determined by politics, and not what’s best for us - we're the ones who ultimately will be paying the bill.

Personally, I’m sick of hearing about the team of 5 million. It’s a feel good slogan that's also used for political purposes. Covid 19 is not only a tricky virus but it has given rise to tricky consequences, so that no Government would get everything right. However, I’m not happy with the various bungles at the border, the apparent reluctance to answer clearly some important questions, and the use of the Covid 19 outbreaks as political agenda. The focus should be on health and economics, and that shouldn’t be left largely to the Government of the day. Wishful thinking (some would say naive). Many small businesses in particular will most likely find things very difficult for some time to come.


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