The Minister has spoken.

February 15 2021 by Scott Stevens

The Minister has spoken.

Minister Nash has spoken, do not expect any more government support for “bleeding” tourism businesses. Unless there is a change of alert levels. Ok, so rather than be proactive and support the tourism industry, just cut us off at the knees and only feed us a bit of wage subsidy every time another community outbreak occurs. Case in point right now with Auckland at Level 3. Thanks Minister Nash, thanks Prime Minister Ardern. That is really positive and kind.

Community outbreaks here and in Australia will keep happening. That’s a given but no reason to abandon plans for an Aussie Bubble and giving hope to “bleeding” tourism in our region. The Aussies let Kiwis enter without quarantine, then quickly and definitively shut us off at the first sniff of Covid, as they have done now with the latest outbreak. They do the same thing domestically. Look at Victoria. Cut off from the rest of Australia. But you can still travel Sydney to Brisbane return with no quarantine. If our leaders really gave a hoot about the lower South and West Coast, they would work harder on that Aussie Bubble.
Minister Nash says they are “working hard” but what does “working hard” mean? Because it seems whenever Minister Nash’s boss, the PM, speaks another pathway to open borders with Australia is proposed.
What was it the PM said pre-Christmas? Oh, that’s right… “Cabinet has agreed in principle to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021”. Fake news or are the words “in principle” political speak for bullshit? You decide. But for those of us who need to operate a business this teasing is just cruel.

We know there will be a stop/start nature to such a bubble. Right now, it would be closed. Like most New Zealanders, I am a big supporter of the sledgehammer method of dealing with Covid outbreaks. Shut it down quick smart. But then be prepared to open back up again. As soon as Australia starts allowing Kiwis in without quarantine again, we should be doing the same with any State of Australia that has no community cases. However, it seems the Government are not prepared to work hard enough to make an Aussie Bubble work - turning us into the sacrificial lambs who are being slowly strangled.

For the greater good we must go into hibernation, or pivot, close permanently, pick fruit in Cromwell, or just go broke. In the meantime, get your hand out for the next round of the wage subsidy because as Minister Nash said, it is the most we can expect in way of financial support.

Scott Stevens

- Scott Stevens