ZB

Kate Hawkesby: The Hermit Kingdom is over

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Feb 2022, 8:00am
(Photo / RNZ)
(Photo / RNZ)

Kate Hawkesby: The Hermit Kingdom is over

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Feb 2022, 8:00am

Thoughts and prayers this morning to all the panickers who wanted the border shut forever and all the hermits who were loving Hermit Kingdom. It’s over. Thank goodness. 

Congrats to the Government for waking up to the fact that life actually does go on. That you can’t actually lock your citizens out forever, that you can’t keep Kiwis isolated from the rest of the world ad nauseum. 

There’ll be some displeasure from those with Stockholm Syndrome who bought so fiercely into the Government’s rhetoric and fear mongering, their wheels will be spinning now as they imagine the end of the world’s coming. And that’s the problem when you sign up for so much brainwashing over so much time, you lose the ability to think rationally, and to think for yourself. 

So, the Government’s got it right opening us back up, but what they’ve got wrong is the timeframe. July, another 6 months away, for international visitors who have visa waiver travel.  

And then not until October for everyone else. October. And are they expecting tourists to still self isolate in October? How many tourists do you reckon are booking a trip down under if they know they potentially have to spend the first 7 to 10 days of it holed up somewhere isolating?  

Here’s the irony of this ‘high trust model’ we’re bringing back in. For all the people arriving who’re off to self-isolate, how are they getting there? What’s the rule around public transport, taxis, trains, Ubers, buses and domestic flights if you’re self-isolating? 

The PM, when asked this, clearly hadn’t thought about it and didn’t know. She did however launch into a presumptive answer that “most people get picked up.” 

So welcome to New Zealand, here’s your Rapid Antigen Tests, go and self-isolate and oh by the way, I hope you’re getting picked up. We just assume you are because that’s what the PM thinks happens.  

She was also asked how appetising we are as a country in a red light setting, to which she replied that it's business as usual in a red light and visitors can enjoy our nature and hospitality. Well, the empty bars may have a different view on that, but we won't let facts get in the way of some good spin. 

Aviation groups aren’t happy. They say for as long as we have self-isolation, be it 10 or 7 days, we’ll be “off the radar for tourists, business travellers and airlines.” 

Justin Tie-Umbers, who we spoke to earlier, from NZ’s Board of Airline Representatives, he says “self-isolation requirements need to be removed as soon as possible, or some airlines will cut New Zealand from their routes for a third summer in row.”  

That’d be a death blow to the tourism industry and I don’t doubt the Government will be working hard to avoid that. 

But they’ve created a rod for their own backs haven't they? With a sustained programme of fear over two years, the people who subscribed to that will be feeling jittery. 

The real test now, is how effectively the Government walks all this back.