Duncan Garner: Tauranga port COVID issue a total farce, no way to manage the border

OPINION: So when does our luck run out?

This issue with the container ship Rio De la Plata in Tauranga - what a total farce.

If we dodge this bullet, I'd be amazed. If we have some mass COVID breakout as a result, we can only blame ourselves. If ever there was a case of what not to do in a COVID pandemic - this is it. 

The ship entered Tauranga's Port last Wednesday and, astonishingly, it was given clearance to be unloaded. This is despite being linked to a COVID case, an Australian pilot who tested positive for Delta. 

This ship should barely have been allowed into New Zealand waters, let alone pull up in one of our major ports.

Alarm bells ringing? Sadly not. Oblivious, blase, incompetent, all that.

For four days, 92 local port workers boarded the ship unloading cargo doing their thing. Incredibly, just 10 percent of the port's workers have been fully vaccinated.

How was this allowed? How many other times has this happened? This is the one we know about. 

Sure they were physical distancing and wearing PPE, but cross your fingers folks and let's once again hope luck is on our side.

It took until Saturday to test the ship's crew - that's four days - and 11 of them had COVID. 

Of the local port workers, 23 have returned initial negative results but by no means are we out of trouble yet.

This is no way to manage the border in a COVID crisis. To say this is weak and poor isn't strong enough. It's woeful. 

Ports make up our border like an airport. The Government had indicated border workers wouldn't be working without being vaccinated. What happened to that? And this isn't just a border issue. 

This shows how Mickey Mouse the vaccination rollout has been. Why weren't all border workers vaccinated months ago? 

Why didn't the Government make it a bottom line for turning up at work and why didn't the Health Ministry make it happen? It's a shambles.

I'm no longer sure we deserve to be COVID-free - when does our luck run out?

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.