As far as we know, the South Island is still COVID free. If we isolate the South Island now we could slow the spread of COVID across the country. This will have advantages for the whole country as well as the South Island:
The whole country peak demand for ICU and hospital services will be flattened. Already we have professionals from around NZ who have travelled to Auckland to support their COVID response. If we don’t isolate the south, then we will be needing them back just as the Auckland situation worsens.
Contact tracing resources will also be able to cope better if we flatten this curve.
By keeping COVID out from the south for longer we can run at a lower alert level which will be better for the economy. By the time we do end up getting it we will then have a higher vaccination rate which will mean we don’t need as long in higher alert levels as we would need if we got it now.
If the South Island had a state government (like Tasmania in Australia for example) this decision would likely have been made already. However as we don’t, it’s important that we highlight the benifits not just for the South Island, but for the country as a whole.
See the articles below quoting Rod Jackson and Michael Baker