John Key calling New Zealand’s Covid response ‘North Korean’ isn’t just lazy rhetoric, it’s wrong | Brian Ng

Posted by on September 30, 2021 8:58 pm
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Categories: Global Stories

Irresponsible statements are fuel for those who falsely believe their rights have been taken away

When former prime minister John Key referred to New Zealand as a “smug hermit kingdom” in his widely disseminated op-ed, I thought it was pushing it a bit, but not completely off the mark – we closed our borders to outsiders, after all. What I didn’t expect was for him to start calling the government’s response “North Korean”. This isn’t just lazy rhetoric, it’s obviously wrong.

This is what North Korea’s been through: it closed its borders at the beginning of 2020, before most of the world put itself into lockdown. It stopped all shipments in and out of the country, including China, which is its largest trading partner and aid donor. Fishing in its surrounding waters and even salt harvesting was halted, for fear Covid may be transmitted that way. Foreign diplomatic staff left on one-way tickets: one group of Russians took a hand-powered rail cart out of the country.

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