RNZ July 29, 2020
Surgeon John Dunn says New Zealand is risking killing the Cook Islands tourism industry with kindness.
The Cook Islands Government and the tourism sector has been pleading for weeks for New Zealand to re-open the air link, because of the importance of the industry to the local economy.
Dunn, who is a Cook Islander operating in hospitals in both New Zealand and the Cooks, also owns a small resort there.
He said the New Zealand Government’s keenness to ensure it didn’t transport Covid-19 to the islands was fine but he said there was no community transmission, so that argument no longer held.
“The reasons New Zealand continues to strangle the Cook Islands economy is to protect them, is a little bit patronising and it’s misguided. And you are going to kill them with kindness.
Keeping people separate from returnees from other destinations at Auckland Airport has been given as another reason for the delay in a decision but Dunn says this should not pose a difficulty.
He suggested travellers to the Cook Islands could board via the domestic terminal.
Tourism is estimated to constitute up to 80 percent of the Cook Islands economy.