Guest Post: The sandbox solution

A guest post by a reader:

NZs Dunkirk.
Bringing Kiwis home for Christmas.

The “sandbox” solution.

How does it work.
Set Queenstown as a “sandbox” destination.

NZ citizens/permanent residents etc can fly direct from overseas in to Queenstown.
Requirements:
a) They are fully vaccinated. Ie more than 14 days after 2nd Jab.
b) Come from one of the 46 low risk countries.
c) They have a negative test before departing on their flight(same as currently). Negative test on arrival.
d) They have a confirmed booking at a hotel(any of the 240 odd hotels/motels) in Queenstown.
c) They must remain in Queenstown for 5 days and get a negative test on day 5.
So they can play in the Queenstown Sandbox, eat, drink, do all the normal things. Think Level 1.

Then they can depart to other parts of NZ.

Family members, also with a negative test/vaccine can join them and stay for the 5 days.

What needs to happen.
1) Customs/immigration needs to be staffed as before Covid restrictions.
2) DHB needs to up its testing capacity or delegate it to Medical Centres in Queenstown.
3) Hotels need to produce “”5 day packages”” for inbound Kiwis to purchase.
4) Hospitality has to ramp up staffing along with all the feeder services.
5) Minister of immigration needs to allow extra Hospitality staff to be recruited in from low risk Covid Countries.
6) Airlines need to schedule Flights.
This may require a plane change at Auckland/Christchurch (think transit flights) as Large aircraft cannot land at Queenstown(Think B737, A320 only)
Given the opportunity, the airlines will find a way even if they organise charters.
7) A locals identification needs to be made available so locals can transit the road entry/exit checkpoint.
Check Points on only road access to Queenstown HW6.
SH6 at Shotover Bridge? And SH6 somewhere past the Remarkables (Drift Bay?)
8) ??% of Queenstown residents and workers to be double jabbed. (Southern DHB reports 80% plus already Double jabbed)

So how many Kiwis could come home this way?

Given some time to Ramp up and a Government decision made to be to be effective from 1st December.

AirNZ /Quantas can accommodate 150-170 Passengers per flight on each A320.

Queenstown Airport can handle 1 million passenger arrivals per year(2019 Report)
That equates to 128 inbound flights a week/(or some 18,000 homebound kiwis)
Even at half that capacity, any Kiwi that wanted to would be home by Christmas.

The ONLY thing that the Government needs to do is give Permission and then stand aside.
The private sector will sort out the logistics and how to make it work.


Benefits.
Kiwis Coming Home when they want without the stupid MIQ system.
Unload Auckland MIQ problems.
Move any possibility of an overseas Covid case to a restricted area.(Queenstown)
Get Business working again in Queenstown and ready for International Tourism when it comes back on stream next year.
More Flights for Air NZ to keep their coffers topped up.

Think of it as New Zealands Dunkirk- Get our People Home, everyone can help.

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