In New Zealand’s post-Pandemic world, we have a lot to reflect on and sadly not all of it is positive.
What we learned is that we simply cannot trust what we hear from our elected leaders, their absolute control of media spin, or that the decisions they made were not politically driven.
The recent successful court case by the ‘Grounded Kiwi’s advocacy group, is proof positive that much of what the NZ Government imposed during Covid-19 was highly questionable, and whilst not strictly illegal was undoubtably immoral.
Last week (27th April) a High Court judge ruled that the way New Zealand’s borders were managed during part of the Covid-19 pandemic, did in some cases impede the right of returning Kiwis in a way that was not justified in a free and democratic society.
What is really sad is the recent discovery that the NZ Government was advised by its own health officials in November last year, that returning Kiwi’s posed no greater risk than those at home as Covid-19 was already well entrenched in the community. Despite this, the human misery for those stuck and abandoned overseas continued for another 4 months.
The knock-on effects of this ludicrous MIQ lottery system, was not just the long-term mental harm that many suffered, but it also meant that essential workers were unable to return to New Zealand. This, along with a meandering border reopening process has meant that New Zealand is now woefully unprepared for the inevitable resurgence of its tourism sector.
This sector was already hit hard with months of lock-downs, limited economic support, lack of overseas workers and a non-existent strategy to get the economy moving again. Meanwhile, Kiwi’s looked on with envy as the rest of the world returned to normal, removed border restrictions, lifted vaccine mandates and generally just got on with life again.
Nothing proved this to me more than two recent trips to Australia where it truly felt like going back in time before Covid. And how completely refreshing it was too! I attended the largest event trade show in the Southern Hemisphere, caught up with family, friends and clients, and I also took a corporate group to the F1.
All the while knowing that there was a high chance I could get Covid whilst I was there (and indeed I did), but not having the fear that the NZ government has quite carefully and I think quite deliberately created. In Australia I felt free and liberated because everyone has moved on. But the moment I landed back in New Zealand, the sense of dread that permeates our community was back.
Despite all of this, Kiwis are known the world over for their resilience and we are already seeing a huge increase in enquiry for business events, so whilst our industry will bounce back, I suspect this will take another 12 months before things are back to pre-Covid levels.
Corporate confidence is slowly returning with many clients testing the waters with domestic events, but enquiry for offshore events is almost exclusively for 2023 and beyond.
What we have really learned is how to survive and that in itself is something to be very proud of, for those that made it through.
We are now starting to see the NZ Events industry recover (albeit slowly), so provided we are able to open up to the world again soon and with no more restrictions, we should finally be able to start looking to the future with a lot more positivity.
We are now starting to see the NZ Events industry recover (albeit slowly), and now that (as of the time of writing this) NZ has finally opened up to the world again, we should finally be able to start looking to the future with a lot more positivity.