Look, yes the billboards, posters, flyers, FakeBook posts and loud speaker announcements all talk about “face coverings” being “mandatory” and “required” on domestic planes and on public transport – trains, buses, ferries – in the wider Auckland area.
But all of this is noise. Noise designed to confuse you. Because, for all practical purposes, mask wearing in this country is optional. Always has been, likely always will be. And side note, health and safety has nothing to do with it.
How can it be said that it’s optional to wear a mask when the signs say “mandatory”?
Well… it’s an option because the lowest threshold for not wearing a mask is having “a condition” which make wearing a face covering “unsuitable” as adjudged by oneself. 
And there are several other exemptions too. And it’s been confirmed by the government agencies that the police will not prosecute people for not wearing masks. In such circumstances, where is the compulsion? And why do I say it likely always be so?
Because the dangers of long term mask wearing are well documented. I’ll hazard a guess that the government doesn’t want to be saddled with ongoing expensive court cases when people like you eventually clue on to this fact and go after them for one or another condition that’s connected back to your mask wearing.
Quite how we as a nation got to this sorry state of abject compliance is difficult to fathom. Our only saving grace is that we are not alone – the rest of the world seems similarly afflicted.
Now… before you act to judge anyone who suggests all of the above (as if this interpretation of the law might be some kind of devious circumvention of an essential health initiative), we need to remind ourselves of some truths …
The real science doesn’t back up mask wearing.
That’s is right both outright and in the manner in which the average person wears a mask, the type of mask they use, they number of times they use it, where they store it and so on. The evidence in respect of this is overwhelming including from the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) and various individuals in leading positions around the world who have advised on numerous occasions not to wear masks before flip flopping around with no good science to back up decades of advice to the contrary. 
“We don’t generally recommend the wearing to masks in public by otherwise well individuals because it has not been up to now associated with any particular benefit…It does have benefit psychologically, socially and there are social norms around that and we don’t criticise the wearing of masks and have not done so but there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly or taking it off and all the other risks that are otherwise associated with that. – W.H.O. Press Conference, March 2020.
Mask mandates (or any other mandates for the matter) are inconsistent & incompatible with basic morality.
“You have to keep others safe”, “we’re all this together” and (in NZ) “don’t let down the Team Of 5 million”) are mantras we’ve been fed ad-nauseam over the past twelve months, as if they’re some grand virtues worth aspiring toward.
The simple fact of the matter is these statements are not virtues, they ignore autonomy and they suggest that your protection, safety & defence is somebody else’s responsibility, and likewise everyone else’s is yours. This is a ridiculous notion. 
If this were true, we could extend that line logic to everything we do in life:
- Driving should be banned because other people’s safety depends on it. Do you know how dangerous it is to have 1.5 tonnes of metal hurtling down the road at 100kph, in opposing directions, separated merely by some white lines on the road? Millions die every year from this alone.
- Anyone you see smoking – it should be your right to stop other people for their own safety, not just your safety. We have no idea how many people die from smoking, but estimates are that ailments directly linked to it are in the tens of millions annually.
- The same goes for drinking alcohol. It does more damage to a person than any respiratory virus could ever hope to do.
- You should be able to stop somebody else from eating McDonald’s too. Just close down ALL fast food outlets, and in fact, while we’re at it, most restaurants too.
- Sugar and sweets of every kind should be banned. We have an actual epidemic of mass proportions with Type 2 diabetes. Almost 10% of the western world has T2 Diabetes, and it’s the one of the leading causes of death here in NZ.
One could go on and on, but no doubt you can see how stupid all of these are. Protection and defence starts with the individual, and is your own first responsibility. Your safety cannot be somebody else’s responsibility, just like somebody else’s safety is not yours.
If we, for example, use the mask mandates as a case study it’s quite clear cut. If you’re feeling fine, are a healthy, normal, functional, asymptomatic individual and you want to personally take the risk of not wearing a mask, by all means do so. You need to know that you may be at greater risk of contracting something, but hey, you may also get hit by a car next time you cross the road, or choke on some food the next time you eat — so you need to decide on the level of risk you’d like to take.
And here’s the kicker. You know these truths too.
I’ve watched you piling out of crowded bars on a Friday night, hugging and kissing your friends goodbye then pulling out the well used unwashed mask from your pocket and sliding over your face only to hop on a bus carrying just 4 people spread out.
Earlier on when we got on the same bus, mask-less, confident and calm, secure in the belief no one would question me (and they never have), your eyes would meet mine briefly.
Your fear was palpable. Fear and judgment. Your eyes asked accusingly: “Why’ve you not got on a mask?” ” You’re endangering others.” “You’re endangering me”.
But now you’re somewhat wiser in the game.
Today when we board the plane. It’s different. Your eyes don’t meet mine. They look down. They look away.
Later in the flight, when you’ve pulled your mask down to snack on your cookie and coffee there’s a hint of an acknowledgement of the absurdity of it all. Just a glimmer of an eye roll and wobbly grimace.
Because, you know it’s not about safety. You know it’s not about saving lives. And yet, it’s obvious, you’re still scared.
Only now it’s not a virus you’re worried about. It’s your colleagues, your neighbour, your friends, even the other people on the plane that you know not at all. It’s about what “they” think. It’s about fitting in.
You would rather wear a mask and go along with the crowd. Because “it’s easier”, because you “don’t want to make a fuss”, because “it’s no big deal” and because “who cares anyway?”.
Well, it is a big deal. And it does matter.
Wearing a mask means you’re going along with a government directive that makes no sense. A directive that exists purely to maintain its control on you and to show the population at large that you are controlled.
In short, face coverings are political medicine masquerading as medical science.
And if you’re reading this and you know exactly what I mean, then standing up and speaking out is not only your right (at least at this time albeit to increasingly limited degrees) but your duty.
Playing the “what’s the big deal” card in the face of this sort of tyranny is where you allow democracy to crumble and totalitarianism to take a foothold.