Turns out John Key was right this morning. There wasn’t very much in the way of ambition or target setting in that speech from the PM today.
But we expected that. So I’m not going to have a whinge, I’m going to celebrate what we did get - which is a commitment from the Prime Minister that borders will start opening next year.
That is not bad from Jacinda Ardern given how cautious she has been this whole way through.
It was not a given at all that she would pledge to start getting on with border reopening as soon as the first three months of 2022.
The second thing we got was a commitment that the reopening would include allowing some double jabbed kiwis to come in without going through MIQ.
Again, given the uber cautious approach, that’s at least something.
Now I know full well that I am settling for very little right now. None of this is world leading or innovative.
Countries around the world are already doing this, bringing home double jabbed citizens without MIQ . Running trials like we’re looking to do. Treating arrivals differently depending on whether they come from low risk, medium risk, and high risk countries.
We are only planning to do in around six months what others are already doing
I know. I am settling for a very low bar.
And I’m settling for no clear timeline, no targets, no indication to business when they will get skilled workers in and the very real possibility that these promises get broken come next year.
Just like the Prime Minister kept promising the Trans-Tasman bubble was only three months away all the way through last year and the start of this year.
But frankly, you take what you can get from these guys.
And there is reason to be hopeful; because this speech today is now creating an expectation.
Business, travellers, Kiwis overseas, families who go this Christmas without seeing loved ones in Australia, we’ve got an expectation now that come the start 2022 we start seeing movement.
That expectation will only build the closer we get, so it’ll be hard to undo these commitments.
So yes these are crumbs, but it’s a start.
Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.
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