Kate Hawkesby: Bring on the trans-Tasman travel bubble!

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 6 Apr 2021, 10:50AM
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Kate Hawkesby: Bring on the trans-Tasman travel bubble!

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 6 Apr 2021, 10:50AM

Remember back when we had the announcement of the announcement of the trans tasman bubble?

I won that bet against my husband who bet the PM would name a date. More fool him, I bet she’d do no such thing, she’d make an announcement of an announcement I said, and I was right. (Not gloating, OK gloating a little bit.)

So then we had another bet. That today – when she does name a date, I said I bet she will make it happen in time for the school holidays. That this is a person who plunged Auckland out of that second lockdown this year within half an hour, she can move fast if she wants to, that missing an obvious home run like opening it up in time for the school holidays would be a big miss, and it’s too obvious an opportune window to skip.

My husband argued no, that this is a government which operates ‘with an abundance of caution’.. that they won’t move in a hurry, that they’ll blame logistics and all sorts of other factors not being ready in time just so they can delay the opening date further. 

He also said, and this argument I think has the most clout.. that they may want one final push for domestic tourism, having Kiwis travel their own backyards for the holidays, rather than bugger off across the Tasman, taking their tourism dollars with them. That argument’s solid, and he may well be right there.

But it would seem too churlish I reckon, too tough on the separated families, too big of an opportunity to swerve surely? I mean it’s not just the school holidays, it’s also ANZAC day, a big day for both countries, holiday time for everyone.. come on.. surely?

We will know in a few hours I guess, who was right, who was wrong. I like to think I’m right.. not just for selfish reasons and the fact I like winning bets against my husband, but because it’s high time that bubble was open. Like many families, we have a child studying in Australia whose been unable to get home. It’s a long time not to see family, it’s tough. It’s even tougher for those with sick or dying relatives, those with struggling businesses unable to get staff, our tourism operators facing ruin, desperate for international guests, those who’ve already been waiting so long.

I get that there are still a few Kiwis worried about it, those who’ve swallowed the fear messaging and can’t quite get past it, those who think a trans tasman bubble will be the death of us all. But thankfully, the people still feeling that way are fewer and further between. Thankfully even our ‘abundance of caution’ government has woken up to the fact that this is crucial and we need to get on with it.

So I’m hoping that today that’s exactly what happens. That they just get on with it. That it’s open within the next two weeks, so that school holidays can be the giant green light to opening ourselves gradually back up to some sense of normality.