MIQ: New Zealand have nothing to apologize for
Jane Bowron is a Christchurch-based freelance writer and general columnist for Stuff. Columnist for television news for three decades, she is the author of two books.
OPINION: With the opening of borders comes an expectation that hordes of Kiwis will raise sticks and cross the gap to live a life of lower inflation, higher wages and cheaper rents.
ANZ economists have predicted an exodus of some 20,000 New Zealanders, triggering the latest brain drain of our brightest and best.
Hopefully, these outgoing bright sparks will have done their homework and are knowledgeable enough about the avenues open to them, should they end up in the lucky country cactus. Or any country.
* Grounded Kiwis want an apology after ‘incredibly emotional’ win in court
* Kiwis win on ground: MIQ was a ‘lottery’ when better options were available, judge rules
Our annual inflation rate may be higher – at 6.9 compared to 5.1 in Australia, but we are comparable to 7 in Britain and below 8.5 in the United States.
Without access to social security, student loans or Australia’s flood and fire relief, not to mention an arduous path to citizenship and the possibility of a new variant of border closures, Kiwis living at the whim of our Australian cousins might find themselves tweaking their thumbs and browsing through their savings as they queue to get home.
Hmm, doesn’t this all sound awfully familiar?
Who knows? If Scott Morrison’s government returns to power in the May election and Anzac Day warning Australians against his hawkish Defense Minister Peter Dutton to prepare for war with China , should materialize, perhaps Dutton will resort to outsourcing troops and hire stranded troops young Kiwis as mercenaries for his theater of war in the Pacific.
Speaking of queues, Grounded Kiwis, who struggled to get a room at MIQ and took the government to court over their treatment, welcomed the High Court ruling that New Zealand’s lottery system was unfair, that it did not take sufficient account of individual circumstances to prioritize and that the emergency allocation categories were too narrow.
Chris McKeen / Stuff
A plane from Sydney landed in Auckland on February 28, the first in a series of flights from Australia since the requirement to go through MIQs for vaccinated Kiwis was lifted. (Video first published on February 28, 2022)
If Grounded Kiwis want an apology from the government, that will fall on the ears of many of their fellow citizens, who are fed up with their grievances.
If the government, which is currently considering Justice Mallon’s 140-page decision, decides to apologize to Grounded Kiwis, then it should only be a reserved apology, as in:
1) We’re sorry, but the world has been hit by a pandemic, which we knew little about and were madly trying to get a grip on, when the Government’s top priority was trying to keep New Zealanders in their homes fenced off and safe.
2) We are sorry that our system was not perfect or fair and that many of you tried to enter the country and repeatedly failed in the lottery system. But we were up to our armpits in managing Covid, all hands were at the pump, and we had neither the time nor the manpower to focus on each individual circumstance.
4) We are sorry that you believe your rights as a New Zealand citizen have been violated and have struggled to understand the idea of doing the right thing, protecting others for the greater good and put their needs above yours.
5) We are sorry that you continue to demand your retroactive rights on the basis that by suing the government you are doing the country a service so that the next time there is a pandemic we will look back and you thank you for your dispute.