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  • rmacculloch

Welcome to Aotearoa, Mr Page: he's barely off the plane before the Tall Poppy is put in his place

Stuff news did some investigative reporting, seemingly designed to stir up the politics of envy. In an article called "Billionarie's entourage requested Managed Isolation & Quarantine (MIQ) hotel upgrade" they report, "New details can now be revealed about [Google Founder] Page’s previously unpublicized visit [to this country from Fiji] ... sources told Stuff that during Page’s MIQ stay, there was pressure on officials for the billionaire to receive preferential treatment. Staff employed by Page .. asked for him to be moved to one of the higher-grade isolation facilities in downtown Auckland. It is understood this request was strongly resisted by MIQ officials within MBIE & the billionaire was not afforded special treatment in isolation".

Is the point to say how clobbering the billionaire and ensuring he was thrown into some three-star guest house miles away from where he wanted to be is a success? DownToEarth Kiwi suggested a way around this problem over one year ago that would have led to better outcomes for the Kiwi public, as well as Mr Page. In a post titled "How to help returning Kiwis by opening up more MIQ spaces" we said "let wealthier people pay for more expensive rooms ... the funds which the government receives from such a scheme could be used ... [to help low income Kiwis] and set up more quarantine facilities".

In other words, if Mr Page's "entourage" wished to book a whole floor of a 5-star downtown hotel at top dollar, let's say at $50,000 a day, let them. For a 2 week stay the Kiwi tax-payer could have made half a million bucks off him. Then use those funds to open more MIQ facilities & make stays more affordable for low income Kiwis entering the country.

Instead, Stuff's article proudly proclaims a victory for the Tall Poppy Syndrome. Make Mr Page suffer and make low income Kiwis who can't get bookings suffer with him. When every one of them could have been made better off by simply designing a better system with some market-based characteristics. But government ideology won't allow it.



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