"As of next week after 30 years building a small fitness studio business I have been coerced to walk away. I am more frustrated than words can describe as there is no sense, there is no science at all, lies from the government, suppressing the truth and holding pseudoscience as a battering ram. I have literally helped thousands of people improve their lifestyle both health and fitness-wise. To have it taken away is devastating, especially for the people still relying on my continued support and service which they are now being deprived of. It’s not my will at all to be in this situation, I hold this government personally responsible. I know many gym operators are struggling and just heard today another small operator 10 minutes from us is also closing down due to the same situation. She has the same thoughts as me. Unfair and unnecessary. "
(Name supplied but withheld).
"I am more frustrated than words can describe as there is no sense, there is no science at all, lies from the government, suppressing the truth and holding pseudoscience as a battering ram."
These are good people who have slaved their guts out to build their businesses, only to have them destroyed by a heartless Government, not the virus. Whether vaccinated or not, most small to medium-sized fitness centres and studios are not viable under the impending traffic light system, nor can they withstand further lockdowns without going broke. Some of these people are not only walking away from their life's work, but they are also losing their homes.
While we might be blaming the virus for the gutting of small business New Zealand, we must remind ourselves that it is not the virus doing this. On the contrary, it is Government over-reach in reaction to a virus that presents only a risk to the elderly and the already unwell that is doing the damage. But, unfortunately, the damage done so far is only just the beginning and will continue indefinitely as new viral mutants emerge from the darkness.
What our Government is doing in response to the pandemic is the "Scorched Earth Policy", used by the Soviets to defeat the invading Nazis.
The fitness industry is one of the many business sectors that are rapidly becoming the casualties of this policy of deliberate self-destruction, and for what purpose?
Before I go any further, let me emphasise there are solutions to getting out of what is looking more and more by the day, like a never-ending pandemic with wave-after-wave of viral mutants terrorising the population. Incidentally, there is another mutation on its way as I type this, which confirms predictions there will be more of the same with no relief on the horizon with the current strategy.
A crucial part of getting us out of this mess is getting New Zealanders fit and healthy - just by 10% - that's all. I explain this in my articles here (please take a few minutes to read them):
The charts below sum things up rather well and point in the direction we need to be going. Currently, we are doing the opposite with lockdowns, fear-mongering, business closures, job losses, family division, relationship bust-ups, and even the handing out of junk food as a reward for injecting an immune-damaging drug into our bodies.
Suppose we allow the decimation of the fitness industry, especially Mom and Pop gyms and studios dotted about in just about every town and suburb. In that case, our escape is all the more difficult. There is an organisation representing the fitness industry, Exercise NZ, which has done a great job over the years. However, I suspect they do not realise the extent of the devastation happening under their noses or how rapidly this is happening. Like most individuals and business organisations, they have been hood-winked into cooperating in the destruction of their membership's businesses by more prominent players who care nothing of the damage to New Zealand's business infrastructure or Kiwi way of life.
This article is my plea to Exercise NZ not to play into the hands of a government that seems hell-bent on destroying every remaining small and medium business.
Let me outline the background to my interest in this business sector. From 1983 through to 2,000, I pioneered corporate health and fitness programmes throughout New Zealand, setting up more than 50 such facilities or consulting for the projects.
Then, during the late '80s, along with Don Oliver and Phillip Mills, we set up and bankrolled Fitness New Zealand, which, from memory, was formed around 1992. This setup was in response to moves by the YMCA, with Government backing to set up their organisation to corral, regulate and certify the fitness industry and its fitness professionals. Thanks mainly to Phillip and Don, with me coming along as moral support, this attempted takeover failed.
I enjoyed Philip and Don's antics as they dismantled the YMCA's takeover plans. But, unfortunately, the failure of the YMCA's grand plans for domination cost their CEO her job, and the organisation failed shortly after. It has never recovered.
"During orange and red, I have to close my small owner-operated fitness studio because I am not vaccinated. Where is the sense in this? Vaccinated and unvaccinated have the same viral loads? No chance to create a health and safety plan mitigating risks.
Vaccine or closed.
I have built it up over 10 years by working exceedingly ugly hours. Ie sacrifice.
Incidentally, I have never had a day off sick. And yet I am supposed to be some sort of danger to my jabbed clients. It is ridiculous.
This is punitive. It has nothing to do with health.
Really disappointed by the Exercise Association. They are just conveying gov policies etc. like they don't have a mind of their own. Weak and gutless."
(Name supplied but withheld).
The traffic light system may be the death knell for these businesses, which are already marginal, if not worse. Exercise NZ must tell the Government that it will not play ball with their unreasonable rules and regulations. For starters, say to its members not to check a person's vaccination status.
It is time for everyone to get onto the front foot, to stop bleating like sheep and kowtowing to mandates that are destroying our way of life.
Another fitness studio owner sent me this:
"I just drafted up a discussion document with feedback from my clients.
The short version is:
current health policy means the vaccines and lockdown for elimination policy makes my business run at a loss,
it is likely to do so for the next 3 years
my best policy is to close my business and go into retirement.
There are effective public health policies discussed and recommended, with factual links and references."
(Name supplied but withheld).
Our way out: "Get New Zealand Moving"
How about Exercise NZ initiates and runs a national "Get New Zealand Moving" campaign?
Let's have open days across the country for everyone to come and give it a go! Let's invigorate, rather than destroy the fitness industry. As we do this, we will improve the health of New Zealanders, thus improving our population's resistance to this virus and all of its future variants.
We ran a have a go campaign like this in the 1970s with great success, and we can do even better now. Let's set the goal to improve the health and fitness of the NZ population by just 10%. If we do this, we will wipe out the risk of unnecessary deaths from COVID.
Let's run a national "Get New Zealand Moving" campaign.
Exercise NZ is big enough to do this on its own. My advice is to get on with it while seeking Government backing but not relying on them coming to the party.
The Government could run a massive "Get New Zealand Moving" media campaign supporting Exercise NZ. While we are at it, why not give every man, woman and child $100 to participate? This spending is far better than wasting another billion dollars on the next round of boosters of a harmful gene-therapy drug that barely works.
Hey, let's run the campaign not just for the fitness industry but also for sports clubs, event promoters, tourism and adventure operators. While we are at it, let's rope in the services of the thousands of nutritionists and natural health practitioners dotted around the country to help people tidy up their diets and lifestyle and better manage their chronic health problems such as diabetes and obesity.
Let's get NZ off the couch, away from the chips and ice creams, into the gym, kicking a ball, eating fresh produce, and into The Great New Zealand Outdoors, all the while laughing and having fun with other human beings.
Get NZ off the couch, away from the chips and ice creams.
Let's be honest about this: there is no end in sight to this pandemic which will drag on for years. Viral variants will ensure never-ending boosters and lockdowns. There is no vaccine solution. Our way out is building a healthy, resilient population with natural resistance to these viruses. Yet, to our disbelief, the Government has done the exact opposite to building population resilience.
How about we tap into the Government's $264m Sports Recovery Package?
https://sportnz.org.nz. In my opinion, these millions are just spreading out the inevitable death of Active NZ, so we don't notice. This funding facilitates the "frog in boiling water" process. If everything fell over at once, we would wake up and leap out of the pot. What I am recommending is a much better spend of precious taxpayer funds.
If we continue with the current insanity, we will lose all of our freedoms, and there will be no remaining small to medium businesses in New Zealand. All that will remain is a handful of the big multinationals. And, guess who is about to enter New Zealand: Amazon. Amazon will inherit a retail wilderness. They will have it all to themselves. Your goods will be ordered online and delivered by drone, not a courier, so you can stay at home to avoid the filth of human contact forever. Do we want this?
The Big Boys will have it all to themselves.
Let's dump the obsession with disease, isolation, fear and the delusion that drugs will save us: change it to an obsession with health. Healthy, well-nourished and happy people need not fear a pesky virus.
So let's get on with it: let's get New Zealand moving!