Level 3 = Level 4 + KFC + 420,000 extra workers

Judith Collins so elegantly put it last year that Level 3 is basically Level 4 with KFC. At first brush, you would think it’s a pretty shit trade-off, and at a personal level still being stuck at home does suck (trust me I am hunkering down with three under 4s). But then my mind turns to thinking about the person making me that greasy bucket of chicken.

The reality is that while Level 3 has come with no real personal liberties, it has at least allowed more businesses in the economy to open up and consequently got more people back to work. These people might have only been getting by under Level 4 thanks to the wage subsidy, and hence living off 80% or less of their usual pay.

The question is just how many more people head into work under Level 3 compared with Level 4?

Well, Google’s COVID-19 Community Monitoring Report and estimates by New Zealand’s own Data Ventures, have shown that about 30% of New Zealanders physically went into work under the first week of Level 4.

Under Level 3 restrictions, Statistics New Zealand has estimated that the proportion of people physically heading into work rises to 53%. This extra 23% of people heading into their workplace represents some 420,000 workers across all regions outside of Auckland – a group which comprises industries such as construction, and some retail and hospitality businesses that are fortunate to be able to service customers in a contactless manner.

And more importantly under Level 3 the proportion of people sitting at home, twiddling their thumbs, unable to even work remotely, is 15%, which is down from 35% under Level 4 restrictions.

So as I devour my greasy bucket of chicken, while still being stuck at home in my Level 3 bubble, I can at least comfort myself in knowing the person on the other end of the transaction has been having a better week than last week.