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The Guardian Weekly - 2021-06-11

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A Covid strategy here has been a price worth paying

Opinion

Living, as I do, in “Fortress New Zealand”, it is hard to give much credence to the article Hermit kingdom – the making of fortress Australia (Spotlight, 21 May). People have missed significant family events, and it is very hard for those who cannot return home, but an elimination strategy – compared with shambolic policy, erratic governance, protracted lockdowns and multiple deaths in countries like the UK – is greatly preferred by most Aussies and Kiwis. So far, strict border control has meant we’ve been spared many funerals, dislocation and economic pain that “learning to live with Covid” would have inflicted on us. It is hardly about a deep-seated fear of migration and nor is it, as demographer Dr Liz Allen suggests, an outcome of “dumb luck”. It is because both the Australian and New Zealand governments chose a better strategy than many other countries. The rights of the individual have taken second place to those of the community – at least until vaccination programmes are completed. Greg Billington Picton, New Zealand

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