ZB

Mike's Minute: Let's hope the Govt follows through with the border

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Feb 2022, 11:07am

Mike's Minute: Let's hope the Govt follows through with the border

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Feb 2022, 11:07am

I give the border announcement 6/10. Mainly because it's the right thing to do. The downside is it's a mile too late and the important part for our economy, the tourism industry, doesn’t start, if it starts, until the end of the year. 

You're essentially writing off the whole year before the bulk of the world, would or could, even contemplate a holiday here. 

But read the speech, and apart from the nauseating aggrandising that goes on, there is plenty of small print. The most obvious of which is that people arriving here, and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, will need to isolate the same way we do locally as a close contact at the time. 

At the moment, it's 10 days. 

For the tourism industry to have a chance by October it will have to be no isolation at all. So, in other words we will have to go from what we have now, which is one of the potentially longest in the world at up to 24 days, to nothing. 

Can we do that? Let's hope so. As we all accept, no one is booking a holiday here with any chance that they will be isolating. So really if it's October, they would need to be reassured no one had been isolating for months, because who is taking the risk? 

Do remember the rest of the world has been travelling for most of last year far, less this one, so we remain dreadfully behind. And if we are still going to be deeply conservative about it, no one will bother. 

Next issue is October.  It's most of the year away and allows the possibility that this lot will change their mind, sort of like they did last time. 

Don’t forget this has been announced before. The Prime Minister was at pains yesterday to say they expect all these dates to be a lot sooner than initially stated, but that’s not set in stone. It wasn’t last time when they cancelled it and it's not this time. 

The intent is solid but late. It will basically mean we've locked our country up for three years, longer than pretty much anyone, anywhere. 

As the study out this week from Europe shows, the damage socially, economically, and emotionally of heavy lockdowns is enormous. I think most of us feel it. 

For the ex-pats, thank God the MIQ nightmare is ending. What a historically disastrous and heartless ideologically bankrupt idea that was. 

As for tourism, I pray this actually happens and as soon as possible. The people who make these decisions never lost their pay or their job, never had their dreams shattered, and lives turned upside down. 

They’ve been dragged kicking and screaming to this. It's been torture, but we are closer to the end, and we'll take it.