Scott Morrison, or more aptly named Scotty from marketing, is at a superficial level your typical right wing leader. He jokes a lot, tries to be a lad, you cannot take him too seriously, but beneath that bluster filled affable superficial veneer lurks an evil core.
He keeps dropping bombs in the New Zealand Australian relationship. When you remember that he is from the conservative part of the political spectrum it is not surprising but I wish he would stop doing it. Because the New Zealand Australian relationship is very important and not something that should be the subject of political games.
His latest effort was to back up National propaganda on the matter and suggest that New Zealand was holding up the establishment of a trans Tasman bubble and that Kiwis have an unfettered ability to travel to Australia.
Yesterday Radio New Zealand reported this:
Pressure from Australia for the government to adopt a two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble is once again blowing-up.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country is ready for that bubble.
“If the New Zealand government doesn’t wish Australians to visit New Zealand and spend money in Queenstown or Wellington, or other parts of a country, that’s a matter for them, it has always been a matter for them.
“I’m happy for them to open it up as soon as the Prime Minister and her government would like to do that,” he said.
He said the one-way bubble had been benefiting the Australian economy and tourism and aviation sector.
“If Australians can’t go to Queenstown, I’m hoping they can go to Cairns.”
This raises the question about what the one way bubble looks like. You get the impression that kiwis can travel willy nilly to Australia. But the reality is not quite this good.
The basic problem is that Australian states control who visits that state. The Federal Government can decree that Australia is open but to get into Sydney you have to make sure you can comply with New South Wales’ rules.
As I type this:
This did not stop the right from backing up Scomo and suggesting that things were different.
Yesterday in Parliament David Seymour asked this question:
David Seymour: What is stopping the Government of New Zealand from simply opening the border to travellers from Australian states that have had no active cases for 28 days, mirroring the way Australia treats its border in relation to us?
And not to be outdone Judith Collins asked something similar:
Hon Judith Collins: Is she then saying that the Australian Government is wrong to have unilaterally opened its border to New Zealand travellers?
The assertions are clearly, dramatically wrong.
And happening at the same time are flights from Australia of Kiwis being kicked out of the country after spending most of their lives there, or as Australia’s most detestable politician Peter Dutton describes it, taking out the trash.
And the tale of the Australian woman who went to Syria to join ISIS and has two young children is still not resolved. It appears that there is Ministerial power to override the cancellation of her Australian citizenship. Given that Dutton is the Minister involved I cannot ever imagine him doing something humane, even if there are two young children involved.
There are issues to be worked through, particularly what happens if while visiting an Australian state and there is a sudden localised spike in infections, how do they get home? Current quarantine bed numbers are limited and are only just coping with existing demand.
But this does not stop Scomo and Co taking pot shots at the New Zealand Government. It is a shame really. Diplomatic relations ought to be conducted in a more careful manner than they are currently.