Patrick Gower: Stop 'Kiwi-bashing' and welcome back the brain gain from overseas

OPINION: The call to make returning Kiwis pay for their quarantine makes me so sad. 

It is Kiwis bashing Kiwis and I hate it.

What has become of us? When did we become so harsh?

The simple fact is the great Kiwi knocking machine is out and the majority have decided to knock our own people.

I know that 90 percent of people will disagree with me here but I don’t care - I say returning Kiwis should be shown the love. 

The inconvenient truth here is that “make them pay” is the easy option. 

It is punching down. It is ganging up. It is envy. It is the click-bait call. It is the “this polls well” option. It is the lazy thinking option. 

Like I said, this is inconvenient for the great majority. 

People are not going to like me saying it, but it is true - Kiwis here are being cruel to Kiwis out there. 

Telling them to “pay their way” is scratching some psychological itch.

But let’s take a step back. The money we would get back at the border is literally a tiny fraction of what will spend on COVID-19. 

Yet here is our once in a lifetime chance to kick off a long-awaited “brain gain”. 

For some reason we have decided we want to make it harder for our best and brightest and highly motivated Kiwis to come home. They will pay it back with their skills and their taxes in no time. 

But through this selfish fury we want to send them all the wrong messages.

Even if they don’t want to come home we should make them feel welcome and not hated.

It is their birthright to come home through those gates.

Every Kiwi should be entitled to come home for free. 

Sure, multiple trips going out and coming back should have some controls over it.

But if a Kiwi wants to come home they should be able to.

There is an election coming so it is no surprise Labour and National have taken the Kiwi-bashing option.   

Passing a law change to charge returning Kiwis would be a gigantic waste of Parliament’s time when there is so much more that needs doing.

This is a time for leadership. Just because 90 percent  of people think something doesn’t mean it is right.

Kiwis bashing Kiwis is not OK.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's national correspondent