This Auckland border thing has become a complete shemozzle for the Government, hasn’t it?
In the space of around 21 hours, you’ve had Chris Hipkins reveal the Government is considering forcing Aucklanders to book a time slot to be able to cross the border, you’ve had Grant Robertson come out and shoot that idea down as not ‘very practical’ and then you’ve had Hipkins release a tidying up statement, promising Aucklanders they will be able to leave the city for Christmas.
That shows how badly Aucklanders have reacted to this stupid idea - and with good reason.
It would never work.
How could you possibly ask people to book a time to cross the Auckland border before Christmas?
No one’s Christmas travel plans have ever run to time in the history of the world. There’s always a crying child or a missing cat or a forgotten key that delays you.
Even if everyone did miraculously turn up on time, they’d still have to sit in their cars in queues for hours while cops at the border check every vaccine certificate and test result for every person in every car.
Its’ mayhem getting out of Auckland before holidays even when there is no police check.
Every Aucklander knows what a shambles this will be.
How do you even process the tests for every person?
The PM reckons they’d have 30,000 cars at a time. I’m assuming at a time means a day. Let’s assume every car has two people in it on average - that’s 60K tests you’d need daily.
Yesterday in Auckland, they processed 12,000. They’d have to crank that up by five times. There are 18 testing sites across Auckland. Each one of them would have to do 3,333 tests a day.
If they were open from 8am to 8pm, they’d have to each do 278 tests an hour or more than 4 a minute.
Get real. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
This smacks of a stupid idea floated by a bureaucrat in Wellington with no experience of trying to drive out of Auckland on a holiday weekend.
The trouble for Chris and Grant and Jacinda is that this has exposed how badly behind the 8 ball they are here. They clearly have no idea how to get Aucklanders out for Christmas and they haven’t got a lot of time. It’s 7 weeks away.
Clearly, the only real solution to this problem is to drop the Auckland boundary and let people travel freely.
But this is a numbers game isn’t it? Dropping the boundary will make make 1.7 million Aucklanders happy.
But then Grant and Chris and Jacinda will have to explain to 3.3 million people around the country why they’re letting Aucklanders spread Covid just before Christmas.
What a pity they didn’t prepare a little earlier for this.
Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.
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