Why have we become a nation of scaredy cats?
Most Kiwis want New Zealand’s borders to stay shut to non-residents, despite high-powered calls to soften restrictions to ease economic pain.
That’s according to the NZ Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 poll, suggesting 68 per cent of people think our border policy should be kept as is.
About 29 per cent thought the ban could be relaxed to allow in non-New Zealand residents and citizens, so long as they quarantined for two weeks and paid for it. . .
People weren’t asked if they favoured laxer border controls or imposing more costs on the taxpayer for non- New Zealand citizens and residents.
They were asked if foreigners could come in if they underwent two weeks quarantine and paid for it and more than two thirds said no.
Had the poll asked if people wanted less stringent border controls and more costs for the taxpayer I’d have been surprised if anyone said yes.
But what’s the problem with letting in people who aren’t citizens or residents providing they are quarantined at their own cost?
Why would so many people be frightened of that?
Kate Hawkesby has the answer:
. . . Labour has seen what Covid has done for them, and they’re running with it.
Forget policy, forget issues, forget future plans, as long as they can keep reminding us to wash our hands, it keeps us in a state of fear. It keeps people on the back foot and it yields a sense of gratitude. It makes an inexperienced disorganised government look like saviours. We focus less on what they haven’t done, and how many ill conceived bills they’re rushing through, and more on the fact the international press said Ardern is eloquent. Are we really that shallow?
And is anyone questioning why new Covid advertising is coming out now? After months of Level 1, we need to start some more advertising on how to wash your hands, now? Aside from what that must be costing us the taxpayer in advertising, isn’t it essentially politically motivated? What worked well for us – Covid. What should we do in the lead up to the election? Policy messaging? Nope, more Covid. . .
Labour wants us in a state of fear and is stoking it in what must be the most cynical election strategy it could come up with.
Even former Prime Minister Helen Clark says there’s no reason not to open to border door a little more providing it’s done safely:
The current border arrangements would need to change, soon, to help the city and country’s economic fortunes.
“Even with a two week quarantine, there is so much more we can do. It will need major private sector partnerships to gear up the quarantine system.
“There’s no reason in principle why the [international] students could not come back with effective quarantine. There’s no reason in principle why tourists who are prepared to pay for two weeks’ quarantine can’t come back, there’s no reason in principle why you can’t have Covid-free travel channels with others, or that working holiday makers couldn’t come back if they are prepared to pay for quarantine … certainly the skilled workers, the global visa people who could drive the economy.
“If, post-election, the thinking can go to how to try to remove this chokepoint which is existing quarantine, that would help even within the existing two week quarantine setting. We need a national conversation and buy-in to this… from let’s get this done to how do we get the next stage done.” . .
The current Labour leader Jacinda Ardern could use her popularity to reassure the public that more people could come in safely.
That wouldn’t mean doing anything to encourage reckless behaviour, but it would mean stopping the political manipulation of Covid-19 strategy and fostering fear.
That she isn’t is a failure of leadership and it’s showing anything but the kindness she preaches we all should be practising.