Today’s ‘announcement’ by the Prime Minister about a Cook Islands travel bubble is nothing of the sort. It is actually an utterly meaningless statement that does no more than repeat that officials are still working on the issue and hope something will be in place by quarter one next year. What on earth is taking so long? The Cook Islands are Covid free. The Prime Minister must explain the delay when a month ago she said there was ‘progress’ and that it would only take ‘a couple of weeks’ before a bubble would be up and running once both sides were happy. New Zealand officials have been and returned from the Cook Islands, although even that trip was delayed and far later than it should have been. New Zealanders and the Cook Islands need answers from the Government as to why it’s taking so long. A tepid statement that officials are working towards quarter one next year is meaningless given statements in the past. ‘Quarter one’ could easily mean late March, which even assuming nothing goes wrong, is months away. In the meantime we’re going to see businesses fail and both Kiwis and Cook Islanders lose their jobs. The Government needs to get on with the job immediately. I am aware of people who need to travel to NZ for compassionate and medical reasons from the Cooks who can’t. Not good enough.
By Chris Bishop