Ruta Tangiiau Mavé: Delay means a safer travel corridor

Monday August 10, 2020 Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mavé Published in Editorials
Jacinda Ardern has twice visited here as Prime Minister; this week she is sending her officials to set a timeframe to reopen the border. 18030890 Jacinda Ardern has twice visited here as Prime Minister; this week she is sending her officials to set a timeframe to reopen the border. 18030890

OPINION: I have three brothers. As the older sister I was often left in charge when our parents went out.

My brothers would run riot, play tricks on me, push buttons, be generally annoying, make a mess of things and when questioned, never knew who did it, but it wasn’t any of them and if not resolved when the rentals returned, then I got the fall-out of why?

And took the flak for it all. It wasn’t fair. It was the same for my friends.

As we got older the brothers supposedly became independent adults after 18 years.

Some brothers continued to regale their sisters with, “you can’t tell me what to do, I’m an adult, I can look after myself.” That was followed closely by “Hey, sis can you lend me some money?, I spent mine” and “Hey, can you give me a meal, a bed, a job, a hand up, hand out, fix my life?”

Then there was the classic, “it’s alright for you, you’re lucky, you have a job, you have money, you have a house, you should think about me for a change and help me cos I’m your brother”.

You would have to forgive Jacinda Ardern for not thinking the same about her little brother Cook Islands.

Mother England gave New Zealand instructions to look after her Realm countries even after they declared they were adult and independent. But if the pesky prodigal son comes into harm, all eyes fall on big sis.

He’s all cry-baby about how he doesn’t have any money, and it’s not his fault he put all his eggs into one basket, and you can’t blame him, it’s your job to fix him.

“Give me free medical and portable superannuation, and money for schools ‘cos I’m your little brother, you have to.”

Jacinda loves her little brother, she protected his health and Covid-19 free future by her instinctive motherly decision to close her border to him. 

Sometimes, my mother would say to me, “you have to be cruel to be kind”, and business advocates say in times of crisis ‘make decisions quickly, but change them slowly’. 

We’ve demanded the borders open, blaming Jacinda for stalling, not once acknowledging, we left ourselves open to an economic crisis by not diversifying.

Whose fault is it that tourism is our only income stream? Ours.

Why do our answers have to be grandiose schemes that give other countries the lion share of any profits? We should be adapting, as one door closes, open others, create new business opportunities, explore solar-powered, dehydrated, organic fruit, vegetables, koru and manioto chips, fish or beehives, to feed the pandemic-affected world.

When the bubble opens it’s likely Covid-19 will eventually come here, (it’s never going to leave the world, not even with a vaccine) and we can’t just close again, it’s not that simple.

The health ministry say we’re well prepared with 4 isolation beds, catering for possibly 10,000 people becoming infected. We will need the bubble for medevac flights.

Are we prepared to write a disclaimer, exonerating Jacinda from any fall-out? We should be grateful she waited, with 100 days of no community transmission in New Zealand, few incoming border infections and increased airport security controls tested and improved, means a safer corridor – not a rushed one.

The reality is, you can get tested Monday, be exposed to Covid-19 Tuesday, get a negative result on Wednesday, go out to meet people Thursday. Be mildly symptomatic on Friday, (“But I was negative!”) get tested again Saturday, only to be positive on Monday.

There’s no 100 per cent foolproof scenario, because humans are foolhardy, and do foolish things – look at Melbourne.

Leave a comment