Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Kindness wins after all

Last week, after Judith Collins announced that National would be cruel and vicious to kiwis caught overseas by the pandemic, and rob them at the border if they returned home, Labour looked like it was falling all over itself to cry "me too". But now, it looks like kindness has triumphed after all: there will be border fees, but only for people who leave New Zealand after the law passes, and for some people on temporary visas (basicly "essential" workers; families of returning kiwis will be exempt). This is a position that there's widespread support for - frankly, if you leave NZ now to go on holiday or some money-grubbing business junket, then you're not just a fool who is risking your own life, but someone who is deliberately choosing to endanger us all by potentially bringing the disease back with you. Deterring such stupidity is reasonable. But charging kiwis caught overseas was never just, fair, or reasonable, and I'm glad the government has backed away from it.

But its also worth noting that this victory belongs fairly and squarely to the Greens. Winston wanted to charge everyone. Jacinda Ardern - who supposedly wanted to govern with kindness - initially wanted to do the same. By standing firm and denying a majority for such viciousness, the Greens have given us a better, kinder policy.