Member Since: 4/12/04
New Zealand's ongoing self-siege is not at all a COVID-19 ‘Success Story'
A failure in assessing risk with devastating future consequences.
On Sunday, New Zealand marked 100 days without any detected community spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. The media, government bureaucrats, and politicians worldwide congratulated Wellington for its “success” in keeping its people free (temporarily) from infection. The chattering took to social media, discussing how “lucky” New Zealand was to have its apparent capable and wise leadership in their government. ...
The land and sea borders to the islands remain completely closed to visitors. Tourism has been indefinitely canceled. New Zealend residents cannot even accept visitors from neighboring Australia. Tourism is a massive industry in New Zealand. It accounts for 6 percent of GDP, and 8.4 percent of the country’s workforce, or 230,000 Kiwis, are employed in the tourism industry. Government officials have acknowledged that Wellington may be looking at shutting down tourism for years to come.
People are getting a lot poorer. The country entered into a recession in June. A new jobs report found that in addition to the 4% of the workforce that cannot find a job, some 346,000 Kiwis are underemployed. Bloomberg reports that the nation is expected more economic woes ahead, “bracing for a severe contraction” in the economy. All of the supposed success that New Zealand has had in sheltering its people from the virus has not made a dent on the New Zealand dollar and its value related to the U.S. dollar or China’s currency.
New Zealand’s self-siege-until-vaccine strategy has already produced devastating societal and economic consequences, and there is no end of the road in sight. The vaccine, if it ever appears, will not be effective enough to protect the population from the coronavirus. When New Zealand opens back up, the virus will still be circulating around the globe, and much of the population will inevitably face risk of infection. New Zealand has temporarily shielded its 4.8 million citizens from the virus, but at a tremendous cost that is going to set back Kiwis for years, in addition to making them significantly poorer, and granting New Zealand’s citizens fewer opportunities to prosper. In the end, infections will incur despite New Zealand’s best efforts, but the damaging policies undertaken to delay infection will harm the country’s far more significantly than the novel coronavirus.