Is anyone else taken aback at the absolute cheek of some of these overseas Kiwis complaining that they may have to pay for their own quarantining?
You should see the outrage on social media.
One guy's warning he will never forgive a Government that does this because he decided to stay overseas to avoid bringing Covid into the country but he'd like to come back at the end of the year.
Another one says he feels abandoned by New Zealand.
Are these people listening to themselves?
These are some of the most privileged Kiwis. Kiwis who can afford to go on holiday, go on an OE, stay a bit longer offshore when their plans are disrupted, live and work in London.
When they demand that we back here continue to pay for their two-week hotel stay, do they realise that among us are Kiwis who are on minimum wage or might be about to lose their jobs?
The lack of self-awareness is astounding.
If this thing carries on for years – and that's a possibility – at some stage we will not just be paying for Kiwis who've been out of the country this whole time, we will start paying for potentially big numbers of people who decide to go on holiday regardless of quarantine. Already I'm aware of people who've headed overseas on holiday in the last few weeks fully aware that they'll be quarantined when they come back. That is not fair on the rest of us.
Actually, it's ridiculous it's not already happening. Queensland's been charging for quarantine since the start of the month. We've been talking about it but not doing anything for at least four weeks. It's not until National yesterday announced its firm policy of charging $3000 from October 3 that suddenly we hear there's a Government Cabinet paper considering – coincidentally – exactly the same amount.
The Government's hiding behind the excuse that it's – still – trying to figure out how to do it without breaching the legal right to come back and how to deal with people who can't afford the stay. Neither of those problems are insurmountable. They just need to get on with it.
The bill for quarantining is massive. It's budgeted to cost around $380 million by the end of the year. The country can't keep spending without restraint forever.
This is not to say we don't want these Kiwis back. Of course we do. This is their home too. But the question is: who pays for it? Them or us?
Given they're the ones still traveling, four months after the borders closed, I'd say them.
Heather du Plessis-Allan hosts Drive on NewstalkZB 4-7pm weekdays