These double standards around MIQ places has really get me riled.
Covid is supposed to have levelled us all. Those in jobs that were previously considered glamorous - airline pilots, adventure tourism operators, entertainers - have been left reeling from the international lockdown of countries. Those who are among the most poorly paid have shown just how vital they are in keeping communities going - the security guards, the supermarket workers, those in aged care. So it galls me when I see the PM saying she will look at finding a practical solution to getting the bloody Wiggles into the country.
The Wiggles - a hugely popular Australian group whose fan base comprises the 5 and unders - announced a series of 25 shows throughout New Zealand. Forty thousand tickets have been sold for the 'We're all Fruit Salad Tour' which is due to kick off on March 19.
The PM yesterday said she empathised with those who had bought tickets and had lost out through no fault of their own, but promoters should not be promoting events until they have everything in place - including the booking of quarantine places. She says its up to officials to work through the issues and find a solution. Come on.
What about the officials working through the issues and finding solutions for Kiwi citizens stranded overseas after their flights were cancelled and now they're left homeless because although they can book other flights, they can't get places in MIQ because they are told there is simply no space available.
If the officials can suddenly, magically find places for the Wiggles and their entourage, why can't they magic up places for young people who have no jobs, no homes, no visa in other countries?They booked their flights home, they booked their place in MIQ - flights are cancelled and officials simply wash their hands of them. Or those who want to get home to visit ailing relatives - they're left helpless on the other side of the world refreshing time and time again the MIQ home page, praying that a Willie Wonker like golden ticket into MIQ will pop up before it's too late. It's not on.
You cannot privilege one group over another - especially when that group was simply slack. When the prospect of a transTasman bubble was announced, the promoter simply went ahead with concert dates without doing any due diligence. It's entirely their stuff up. They're not the innocent party here.
However, I agree with promoter and owner of Capital C Concerts, Phil Sprey, that there should be a process by which acts can be brought into New Zealand. He told Mike Hosking this morning that the entertainment industry has been trying to work with the government to bring in acts safely and they've come up against a brick wall.