N.Z. free of COVID19: Where to from here for Aotearoa?

So there you have it. On 08 June 2020 New Zealand became the first developed nation to successfully rid itself of COVID19. We join just a handful of other nations, notably small Pacific Island nations whose borders were closed as soon as they realized the danger it posed, in being COVID19 free. The rest of the world including the rest of the O.E.C.D. nations are still fighting.

Level 1 will be nine hours old when this publishes.

So, where to from here?

Just because we are free of it does not mean we should automatically let our guard down. Nor does it mean that we will immediately reopen the borders. The very vast majority of nations around the world will probably keep their borders firmly shut until the end of 2020 at least, including – with the possible exception of Australia – all of our most important global partners.

In some respect, not having the border open for a short while is a good thing:

  • New Zealand’s many and great tourist attractions now have a golden opportunity to reconcile with the exiled locals who no longer felt welcome at many of them, or were physically priced out of the market in favour of big spending foreigners. They would be fools not to introduce “local rates” – say 25% discounts and those operators who own multiple attractions could offer year passes. The drop in prices would be offset by a hopeful surge in locals coming.
  • It is an opportunity to tighten up border controls, work out any new measures deemed necessary in the wake of COVID19 and implement them, as well as notifying appropriate authorities – Customs; Police; Immigration and give overseas diplomatic posts a chance to digest and act on them (embassies, consulates, and so forth).
  • Get more New Zealanders into occupations that have a lot of positions taken up by non-Kiwi’s, such as farming, horticulture and so forth

It is also a REALLY good time to think about a long term vision for New Zealand. What kind of country do we want to be in 20, 50, 100 years from now?

  • The same old country we have always been – one that is a bit too carefree and slightly ignorant about the world around it?
  • Do we want one that throws environmental common sense to the wind as some currently in Parliament would have us do?
  • Do we want a country that reassesses where it is going and enacts certain reforms, such as the cannabis laws coming, but nothing comprehensive?
  • Do we want a country that after a period of review, begins comprehensive reform that addresses the systemic and racial inequality; sees infrastructure reform as key to the economy; ends the drug wars and embraces our Pasifika neighbours and countries like Germany, Canada, Taiwan and South Korea?

What country, do you want New Zealand to be and why? With COVID19 gone, I believe we would be fools not to have a look at ourselves and our way of live and see what we can do better.


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