Duncan Garner: If Ardern gets this decision right, we all win. If she gets it wrong, we all lose

OPINION: Mark Monday down as a moment in history.

A monumental decision awaits Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as she makes the call to stay at level 4 or step down to a slightly looser thing called 'level 3'.

Or as Judith Collins described it: 'level 4 but with KFC'. Thanks Judith.

For the Prime Minister, as life changing as the Christchurch mass shooting was and as devastating as the White Island eruption was, this is very, very different.

In my opinion, it is a bigger moment than either of those events.

Who would have guessed Ardern would have all this in her first term?

She hasn't got everything right.

The rules were confusing and alternative views have been shut down.

We were shouting out to close the borders, but we got the death stare from the State.

What would we know?

And stepping back to alert level 3 is no forgone conclusion.

My understanding from within the Beehive is that she faces some late pressure to stay at level 4, hence why she set the scene last Thursday by telling us what alert 3 looks like.

That was a coded message to business about where she wants to go.

But not before time.

Ardern's decision is all about politics, because on the health facts alone - only nine new cases on Sunday - she has no other option.

I think she must signal on Monday a move to level 3.

The ICU wards never got full.

The worst-case scenarios never happened.

That's because we acted fast and firmly.

I now worry what awaits us with this economy - well, what's left of it.

I worry too how inexperienced and inflexible Labour could be when it comes to managing the economy out of this.

Yes, Ardern has empathy in spades - a crucial trait - but that won't fix economic matters.

I've asked more than once - has the Health Ministry captured her?

Has business, the lifeblood of New Zealand, been too easily overlooked?


But if Ardern gets this right we all win - and so far so good.

If she gets it wrong, we all lose - on both the health and economic front.

Failure is not an option.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.