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Mike's Minute: Hermit Kingdom attitude is now haunting us

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 25 May 2022, 10:04am

Mike's Minute: Hermit Kingdom attitude is now haunting us

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 25 May 2022, 10:04am

It's coming home to roost a bit, isn't it?

What we have learned this week, whether it be the construction company now in Britain looking to fill the jobs here that pay over $100,000, the university students that haven't come back despite the door being open, the manufacturers who told us the job queue is non-existent because reputation is an issue, or the apple orchards that have left over $100 million worth of fruit on the trees, there is a theme.

The theme is we stayed closed too long.

The line that the best economic response was our health response is now being shown to be the utterly dishonest nonsense it always was.

We had this weird belief that when we were full and ready, we could simply turn the switch and the whole world would deal with us the way they used to, almost as though no one else out there was getting on with it, and even if they were, they were inferior to us anyway. So, all those who longed and loved New Zealand would simply line up and be grateful to return to life the way it used to be.

Tourism, I think, we always accepted was going to be a slow burn. It may be even slower than we thought given the figures out this week show travel in many parts of the world is at pre-Covid levels, if not higher.

We can't say anywhere near the same thing. At least part of that is on us. We never hustled and never even wanted to hustle. We became the Hermit Kingdom. Whatever reputation we had built up over the years, at least in part, has been wrecked.

There is still a bit of time to put it right. Students, hopefully, will come back later this year looking for a new start. So, fingers crossed.

But the labour issue is a crisis. Our tax rates are too high, our pay rates are too low and Australia has been open for months and is beating us to the skills.

You notice we still don’t have a maritime border open yet?

All we seemed capable of doing was panicking, locking down, and bumbling around for two years while a lot of the world moved on.

We could be stuck in orange forever. 

Our reputation, if not ruined, in need of some serious attention.

As an exercise in totality, it's a C-minus at best. Yes, we saved lives, let's toss that line in one more time, shall we?

But my word, what a stunning price it looks like we are paying.