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LETTERS: Call to reduce NZ flights

Monday 14 February 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Call to reduce NZ flights

Dear Editor, the announcement by the Prime Minister on Saturday (12 February) relating to a traveller who tested positive after returning to Auckland last week, probably raises more questions than answers.

Why wasn’t the public informed about this on Friday afternoon? The fact that there was a TVNZ reporter on Rarotonga on Friday afternoon tells me that the reporter knew about this well before then. (We even made it onto the BBC).  

How sure are we that this person was not infectious upon arrival? If s/he caught it on Rarotonga, who did s/he come into contact with over here?  

I find it strange that the only ‘location of interest’ initially listed (as per the Cook Islands Covid website) is the Air New Zealand flight on Monday 7 February flight (Rarotonga to Auckland).  

Surely the accommodation that this person stayed at should have been a location of interest (unless they stayed at a private house). What about the staff there?  

Judging by the two places that they visited on the evening/morning of 4/5 February, these visitors were probably having a few drinks (or a meal) before they turned up to those venues. Where were they before that? Where were they during the day on Saturday and Sunday? Did they visit the market? (The second media release issued on Saturday night 9.30pm only added two locations of interest – a shop and an island night at a hotel).  

It seems a bit of a coincidence that the person started feeling unwell on the day of departure. How do we know that? 

The Prime Minister said on Saturday “to expect existing regulations and protocols to be actively enforced over the coming days”. This is a typical Cook Islands response. Don’t initiate – just react. I believe that tourists should be required to take a PCR test a bit earlier and then take a rapid antigen test on arrival at the airport in Rarotonga. Fail the RAT and you’re back on the flight to Auckland.  

I am expected to wear a mask when I enter buildings on Rarotonga (even when I am in my local shop for less than 15 seconds each morning). But when I see a visitor walking out of a shop without a mask, I wonder if there two laws in place on the island – one for the residents and one for tourists. 

Government has indicated the possibility of ‘widespread infection’ and its intentions to keep the borders open (Cook Islands News 21 January 2022). If this is the case, then I would expect government to be open about the dissemination of information regarding this issue.

Cook Islanders deserve to be told the truth about what is happening. 

Moana Moeka’a 


‘The worse is yet to come’

So Covid 19 with the Omicron variant has finally arrived on our shores, thanks largely to PM Mark Brown’s decision to an early opening of our borders. The biggest mistake Mark Brown made was prematurely opening our borders on 13 January.

We are reliably informed that Mark Brown was advised by an overseas health expert, not to open our borders before March, as it would be risky and dangerous. Nevertheless, he ignored this advice and carried on with his own mission, regardless of what the experts say and what the majority of the people want. Probably the same thing happened in terms of finances, why the chief economist resigned, who knows?

Then amazingly on television on Saturday evening, he had the audacity to announce that we should all stay calm. What world are you living in Mark Brown? People around the world are dying, vaccinated and those not vaccinated. Calm may resonate with the fit youth and healthy adults. But certainly not with those over 70, 80 and 90 with NCD’s? Even elderly Cook Islanders living in New Zealand and Australia have passed away due to Covid complications. Read the Cook Islands bereavement and memorial notices online.

Is it true that the PM and the Health Secretary concealed vital information on the Covid for over a week relating to the tourist who was here? Putting money and wealth over people’s lives will be Mark Brown’s trademark legacy. We believe, the worse is yet to come.

People’s Lives Matter

(Name and address supplied)