Like thousands of other parents, I rushed to buy tickets for the Wiggles when their We’re All Fruit Salad Tour! was announced.
My daughter loves them with a burning passion and I have previously written about the lengths I’ll go to to get her to sing along to their songs live.
Still, The Wiggles failed to secure their spots in managed isolation for the dates the tour was booked for and, as such, I can’t understand why any exception should be made.
Every day I see stories of Kiwis overseas who are struggling to find spots in MIQ in order to return home. Some of them sound absolutely desperate.
Yesterday, when it was announced that the Wiggles had managed to wiggle their way into MIQ spots, my heart sank, thinking of how it would have felt like for these people who are so desperate to come home, to hear the same news.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins said it didn’t come as a cost to Kiwis and the Wiggles weren’t taking anyone’s spot but I fail to see how that’s possible, when others are having so much trouble returning home.
According to Hipkins, the Wiggles got rooms set aside for “contingencies”. I feel like a New Zealander desperate to see family is much more deserving of a “contingency”.
As a parent, there is one thing that is far more important than seeing my child happily dancing at a Wiggles concert: that’s simply being able to see my child, to have her near me. Many parents in New Zealand are currently being denied that right.
My child’s right to see the Wiggles doesn’t trump anyone’s right to say a final goodbye to a loved one.
The Government’s priorities feel out of whack on this one. It feels like performative politics, ignoring the much more important and urgent needs of New Zealanders. Granting the Wiggles MIQ spots they did not request in time is easy – and makes it look like the Government is open to exceptions. But what it also shows is that the MIQ system is not fair, as the exceptions are made for the rich and famous, and not for New Zealanders who want to come home.
My child can wait to see the Wiggles another time, when there isn’t a pandemic raging across the world and Kiwis every day are struggling to come home. As a parent, I feel like the Government has now passed me the hot potato: can I take my child to this concert, in good conscience, knowing others are not able to enter the country? Or do I sit this one out and explain to her later in life and I hope I raised the kind of person who’ll say “fair enough, mum”?
And now that the Wiggles have got their “contingency” spots, will ordinary Kiwis continue to be denied the right to come home? Are they not special enough for those special circumstances too? Is a final goodbye to a loved one less important that a group of rich people on a stage singing about fruit salad?
This whole Wiggles MIQ saga started off as one political hot potato — but has now turned into a giant can of worms.
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