Hotel quarantine centers

Editorial

Astounding Stupidity

July 6 2020 by Scott Stevens

Astounding Stupidity

We are part of the team of five million and if the government in all their wisdom want to start using Queenstown as a quarantine centre, then supposedly we should act like good New Zealand citizens and do our bit. But really, on what planet must you live to think it a good idea to bus/fly returning Kiwis within New Zealand away from their port of arrival into the country. Unless I am mistaken and returnees are in fact flying directly into Queenstown from Australia, I am astounded at the stupidity of the thought process to be honest. It is almost as if the government are trying to find ways of making our border quarantine procedures riskier.

The only place for quarantine is at the port of entry, namely Auckland. Just look at the kerfuffle caused by busing returnees to Rotorua. We need to look no further to see the effect the stigma of being a quarantine centre has on a tourism-based economy. Nobody fancies sharing a family holiday with quarantined folk or anybody they have had contact with.

Of course, if you owned, for example, a recently opened 227 room hotel on the corner of Sydney and Stanley Streets, the financial rewards would be massive. Even at knockdown bulk room pricing, to hang the ‘no vacancy’ sign up for the foreseeable future would be a dream during these dark economic times. However, for the rest of the community, there is just far too much at stake.

And why are the government continuing to quarantine people in hotels at all? Surely, they can see what everyone else in the world sees. Covid is not going away. We will be quarantining people for years. Build a quarantine centre for goodness sake. One that is designed for the purpose of isolation not a hotel which is designed for social interaction. Run by specialists accountable to the people of New Zealand, be it the health department, police or army. Anybody but hotel workers and private security.
It will only take one punk to sneak out his window to indulge in the temptation that is Queenstown for the final nail to be plunged into the heart of dozens of local businesses. I think we have the right to be selfish here and the further Covid stays away from the Southern Lakes region the better.

The concept of using Queenstown as a quarantine centre is a stupid idea. No ifs. No buts. Just plain stupid. Just as idiotic as the idea floated around a few weeks ago to quarantine international students here. Whatever the immediate economic spinoffs, the risk of housing a potential hotbed of Covid incubating youngsters in the heart of our community is just not worth the risk. Regardless of what side of the political fence you sit, or how deeply you bought into the team of five million propaganda, you must surely agree.

Scott Stevens
scott@qmg.co.nz

- Scott Stevens
Comments
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  • Willing and Able

    Putting them in Queenstown is like putting rabbits in the lettuce patch

    Posted 06/07/2020 5:42pm (1 month ago)

  • Derrin Thomas

    How blessed you are to sit behind your screen in all your privilege and find a reason to complain about New Zealanders returning home to one of the safest countries in the world during a global pandemic. While most New Zealanders worry about how they will pay their next weeks rent or if they will have a job at the end of the month you sit at home, in a town that passes for paradise and say "not in my backyard" while emphasising on the fact that we are a team of 5 million. Queenstown has gained millions during this pandemic and in my opinion is one of the last places in New Zealand that has the right to deny hospitality to any New Zealanders when this town reaps more benefits then any. Queenstown doesn't see struggle like the rest of New Zealand. We don't see a majority of people living below the poverty line, supporting families on minimum wage jobs, we don't see the extent of homelessness in New Zealand and you don't want to know that people might be able to return here, that's too close to home. Who cares if others are subjected to that, who cares how it may effect poorer communities. We are surely above that here in lil ol Queenstown.

    Posted 06/07/2020 5:44pm (1 month ago)

  • JacinTa with a D

    Where's the medical facilities to cope if we get an outbreak thanks to that punk who jumped out the window?? We are the most under-resourced in the country when it comes to health care. Build us a proper hospital JacinDa!

    Posted 06/07/2020 8:32pm (1 month ago)

  • TeamNZ

    This is a very narrow view Scott. So you think it’s acceptable for other NZ communities to take the risk of isolation and quarantine hotels but not for Queenstown??!! Bit of a double standard mate.
    The hotels in Auckland and Christchurch that are being used have regular communities living around them as well.
    We should all be in support of our kiwis that want to come home to be safe and healthy, and if this helps some local hotels make some money while bookings are way down. Why not?? Especially if they are managed as per the government guidelines with the correct staff and medical support.
    I think it is unfair for you to judge our community more valuable than other communities in Aotearoa. Yes it is a wonderful place to live but so is the rest of NZ.

    Posted 08/07/2020 4:49pm (1 month ago)

  • ComDotCom

    How much more proof do we need that the this govt cannot handle a simple process.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/122076250/government-considers-asking-police-to-guard-quarantine-facilities-to-prevent-people-escaping

    Posted 08/07/2020 9:48pm (1 month ago)

  • Laura Wrighton

    The most obvious and compelling argument for not choosing Queenstown as a quarantine venue, is the lack of healthcare in the area. 
    New Zealand had to have a hard and sudden lockdown because the  number of ICU beds per capita is extremely low for a developed country. 
    There has been years of a woeful lack of investment in healthcare by successive governments. Between 2011 and 2018 the number of beds per 100,000 people shrank from 5.98 to 5.14. To put that in context the number in Germany is close to 30. 

    Posted 10/07/2020 2:35pm (29 days ago)

  • Dan

    You do realise Scott that there are thousands of Kiwis wanting to return every day and there is simply no room left in Auckland or Christchurch. They have to go somewhere and as long as it's managed properly why cant they just put them on a charter flight direct to QT from Auckland. Touch of NIMBYism I think. You also realise that building a quarantine centre to house 15-20,000 people will take several years and billions of dollars to build? What do we do at the border while it's being built? NZ is doing just fine as we are, we simply need to severely deal with border breakers and send them to jail for 6 months minimum - that will stop anyone thinking of breaking out of quarantine for a booze run to the liquor store.

    Posted 13/07/2020 10:26am (26 days ago)