Kerre McIvor: Conference travel advice another sign of Government inconsistency

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Sep 2020, 4:51PM
Aucklanders have been told they shouldn't go to places like Queenstown for conferences. (Photo / Getty)

Kerre McIvor: Conference travel advice another sign of Government inconsistency

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Sep 2020, 4:51PM

Yet more inconsistency and fluffiness from the government around rules for Aucklanders. 

Aucklanders are being encouraged to travel to prop up the terminally ill travel industry, and yet at the same time, they're being told that they shouldn't be attending conferences out of the city. 

What on earth is the difference between eating in a Queenstown restaurant and sitting in a Queenstown conference room, both in a socially distanced, safe kind of way? 

Apparently, according to the government, the alert level restrictions in Auckland meant people should not be attending gatherings of more than 10 people in the city so if Aucklanders are travelling to other parts of the country the same rules should apply. 

And yet you can travel on a plane or a bus, you can go to a restaurant - all places where there are numbers of people in one space - why can't you attend a conference if all the social distancing rules are in place?  It seems counter intuitive. 

It seems clear that the rest of the country wants - needs - Aucklanders credit cards; but they don't want Aucklanders Covid Cooties.  Auckland has by far the biggest economy - in fact if you added the next three biggest regional economies together - Wellington, Canterbury and Waikato - gives combined annual GDP of $93.3 billion, still $8.1 billion, or 8%, smaller than Auckland's GDP.

So let's ask you - are you comfortable with people from Auckland travelling to your region?  Or would you rather Aucklanders stayed in their bubble for the foreseeable future? 

The conference industry is huge,  or rather, was.  I had about ten conferences booked for the year in February - all of them have been cancelled. 

The events industry, like the tourism industry, has been decimated and they're calling for clarification from the government about what can and cannot be done. 

The government takes its advice from the people of New Zealand - what do you want?  For Aucklanders to pick up their wallets and travel around the country?  Or for Aucklanders to stay in their lanes.