Duncan Garner: "People returning to New Zealand - don't ruin it for everyone else"

The AM Show 13/07/2020

OPINION: I've written a letter this morning. An open letter to those returning to New Zealand from overseas.

Consider it your welcome home memo. Please read it in full on your arrival. 

It goes like this:  Dear John - or Joanna - whatever your name may be. Perhaps, 'to whom it may concern' - because you should be very concerned. We certainly are.

You will be taken upon arrival to 14 days in quarantine courtesy of the New Zealand taxpayer. Yes, we're very generous. Always have been actually. Nice to be back, eh?

Anyway, please stick to the rules or you will face the full force of New Zealand law.

The two-week stay in isolation, and those of your fellow travellers, will cost New Zealand $120 million. A five-star hotel awaits. It's not hard labour, so to those already moaning, harden the hell up.

We don't afford such luxury to our struggling, low-income families, many of whom stay in emergency motels alongside drug dealers, pimps and recently-released prisoners. So please, be bloody grateful.

Don't jump the fence, break windows or skip through a backdoor to taste freedom. If you do, you will look entitled, selfish and deeply irresponsible.

We have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to get this far. We will name and shame you and parade you in court. 

You may have heard that if I had it my way, I would have closed the borders yonks ago. But luckily for you, I don't get to choose - so for now, you're still allowed back. Don't ruin it for everyone else.

Four of you so far have stupidly broken out of quarantine and face a fine or jail. I hope the book is thrown at you well and truly.

To the rest, settle in, enjoy your three hotel-quality meals every day, watch the tele, catch up on sleep, go to the gym, have a leisurely stroll, lie on the balcony - okay, fair enough, it's too cold for that. Anyway - go to bed early, sleep in, do nothing - you have the perfect excuse. It's hardly taxing. 

But please - follow the rules. Do the right thing. And remember, if you don't, we will catch you and make an example of you.

Get with the programme and pull your bloody head in.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.