We closed the borders in March. We have all but eliminated the virus. We now control everyone at the border, putting them into forced isolation and subjecting them to testing before they are freed. We express disdain at those who deliberately break out of quarantine, calling them selfish as they run the risk of bringing the virus back into the country. We are the “Team of 5 Million”, who endured lockdown, didn’t see dying relatives, cancelled our overseas trips and did as we were told because we believed that the government had the right health approach and that we could get COVID-19 under control.

Well, guess what? Remember how we all said that Jacinda was refusing to close the borders in March because she wanted to shine on the world stage at her little mosque shooting memorial event? She was prepared to risk the virus running rampant in our country for a photo opportunity? Were we being unfair to our publicity loving prime minister?

No. We were not.

Overseas-based victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings will get special border passes to fly into New Zealand – along with financial help – to witness the gunman’s sentencing next month.

The Government announced this afternoon that it will extend the border exception criteria to help some offshore victims and support people attend Brenton Harrison Tarrant’s sentencing, which is scheduled to start on August 24 – and last three or more days.

“We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly affected by this tragic event and understand that some who are now offshore do want to attend the sentencing,” said Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

 

So let me get this straight. Everyone coming into the country has to go into a two-week quarantine, except the victims and their family members of the mosque shootings? They, and only they, get a special exemption?

Where are these people likely to be coming from? There is no detail, so we will have to guess. Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, to name a few countries? These were the countries that many of the victims came from originally. At the risk of being branded a racist like Hamish Walker for pointing this out, are these countries not overrun with the virus? Are we not running a significant risk by doing this?

So why did we lock down? Why are our borders still closed to all but returning Kiwis? Why are we charging people with breaking out of isolation when it is perfectly OK for these people to simply waltz into our country with no isolation requirements and start up the virus again, if any of them are infected?

Why did families have to sit out quarantine for two weeks in order to visit dying relatives, sometimes not getting out of quarantine in time? Why do the new ‘humanitarian’ provisions only apply to mosque shooting victims but not to family members who were prevented from visiting dying relatives? Weren’t we all told it was for the ‘greater good’ to control the virus, and basically those that missed out or suffered were doing the right thing for everyone?

Why can’t the sentencing be broadcast via Zoom, like everything else these days?

I can’t believe the government is doing this. There is no trial. Tarrant has admitted his guilt. We all know he will be put away for a very long time. There will be no surprises here. There is no need for the family members to come here, especially under the current circumstances. It is madness.

Why were humanitarian grounds not used for the relatives of the murdered policeman Matthew Hunt, who had to sit through two weeks of quarantine before they could hold the funeral?

This is the problem with this hopeless government. They lock us all down because they love the power and control. They are enforcing strict rules on those in quarantine, even controlling how much alcohol they are allowed. They don’t actually have the right to do that, but they are doing it anyway. No wonder someone, probably bored to tears, broke out and went to a bottlestore. That does not make it okay to risk the health of the nation, but it makes it slightly more understandable. However, it pales into insignificance now.

If the inappropriate actions of a few security guards can cause a spike and a return to lockdown for the state of Victoria, letting a few possibly infected people into the country from COVID ravaged places could perhaps have the same effect. I dare the government to try to put us all back into lockdown if, as a result of their actions, we see a spike in cases of community transmission.

I should not wish COVID on anyone, and I do not wish to see it come back here, but this government really needs to be taught a lesson that it does not have the right to play fast and loose with people’s lives when it suits them. Either we do it properly and allow no exceptions, or we open up the borders and hope our health system can cope with the fallout. But, as we know, the rules can always be bent when there is a photo opportunity in it for Jacinda. The vanity of our prime minster trumps all else.

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