In the past, I have been all for easing border restrictions, letting in foreign students, opening up travel corridors with safe countries.
That's because I assumed that what was happening WAS actually happening. That border staff were being tested, that new arrivals were being kept apart from those who'd been quarantined longer and that they were being tested for Covid before being allowed back into the community, that Ministry of Health officials were on top of contact tracing, and that there was a plan to actually manage this virus.
But as has become abundantly clear over the past few weeks, none of what was said was true. Border staff were not being regularly tested. Those in managed quarantine facilities were allowed to mingle. There is no gold standard tracing and there doesn't appear to be a plan other than lockdown immediately. And even that was a shambles when you look at the way the Auckland borders are being managed.
So when Mike Hosking calls for foreign students to be allowed in as Australia is now doing, I now understand why the government is reluctant. It’s because they know they haven't got a clue.
They are not on top of this virus at all. The systems and processes aren't in place to allow them to do that. The reasons why we haven't seen this thing sweep through the country is because of the goodwill of the population, many of whom sacrificed a great deal for their fellow Kiwis, the fact that we are sparsely populated and spread out and the fact that we are an island.
Any country that has been able to report a good result is an island. So saying look at what is happening in America and the UK is pointless.
I actually feel sorry for the government - they have had expectations of the Ministry of Health that simply have not been delivered. And they should have been.
If there wasn't time and there weren't the resources, then the government should have been told that by officials. Not left to offer utterly meaningless assurances to the government.
I'm stunned that people think that this good enough. If this level of haplessness is considered good enough by the majority of people we are destined to be a mediocre island nation at the bottom of the world in perpetuity. Or, as I am wont to say, the Gloriavale of the South Pacific. And that's not a future I want to see for this country.