Those of us whose families are far away across wide oceans found a bit of hope this week. Entering New Zealand will really be rather simple.
You just need the right pitch, and a willingness to be sycophantic.
This week, Australian comedian Celeste Barber accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to visit. She will tour the country in May.
Ardern and Barber have some history. While fundraising during the 2020 Australian bushfires, Barber pleaded that Ardern become Australia’s Prime Minister. She then starred with Clarke Gayford in an ad. An invitation to visit soon followed.
Returning Kiwis have a difficult enough time finding an MIQ spot. But for non-residents, entry is completely forbidden without a reason for travel that the government considers critical.
Entry restrictions will change by May, but MIQ could still be required for travel from riskier places. And nobody knows what Covid might yet deliver.
But for Barber, it really is no matter. The Prime Minister’s invitation is a promise of an MIQ space if one is needed. MBIE always makes sure that political imperatives are met. Barber can book her flights confidently.
It’s very convenient, for those with political pull.
How does this provide hope for the rest of us whose non-resident parents have no way of entering New Zealand and no way of planning for the year ahead?
They need only follow Barber’s example. Prominent sycophantic displays are the key to entry.
If your non-resident family abroad desperately wants to come to see their grandchildren, all they really need to do is get a Netflix comedy special. Ideally, their show will talk about just how wonderful and kind the New Zealand Government has been over the past year and a half. Netflix will be looking for that kind of content in the wake of the Dave Chappelle special.
Maybe they don’t need a full show. A good tight-five – a solid five minutes of stand-up comedy – might make it into a compilation special. But it will be harder to work in sufficient flattery while still being funny.
I know it sounds like a longshot, but it’s got better odds than anything else out there. My mother does have a bit of amateur community theatre experience, and neither parent is likely to make any cricket squad that could be invited to tour.
They’ll just have to change their last name before applying. Our current last name might not help.