Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

Not that essential

Here in New Zealand, we are fortunate to be able to play music and play sport to crowds of spectators. We realise this is a rare thing in the age of Covid. Being an island nation at the bottom of the world does have its advantages. We have been able to decide who can come into the country. This has been based on prioritising essential workers.
To my mind international musicians and sports people are not essential – we do not need them. Event promoters say they need them to keep us entertained but forget to mention that’s how they make money. The recent kerfuffle about the Wiggles tour of NZ is a classic example. They did the hype; they sold the tickets then they applied for entry into NZ. I suspect they knew the uproar that would result when parents across the nation would have to tell their children that they would not be seeing the Wiggles show after all. The promoters counted on the government bowing to pressure and letting them tour. For the promoters NZ is the only place they could tour and make money so it was essential to them but not essential for us.
As for international sports, the examples of arrogance displayed by some global sports stars has been an eye opener with flaunting of quarantine conditions that could have led to a COVID-19 resurgence. Don’t mention the America’s Cup – this is a rich person’s sport. Why are we supporting their lifestyle? The teams are paid more then you and I could ever hope to earn for simply messing about in boats. They are professional sports people with egos the size of their spinnakers and full of wind. For some reason this was considered essential but essential to what exactly – so the sponsors and teams can make money?
I am a musician myself and understand that in most parts of the world it is very hard to make a living right now. NZ is one of the very few places to play in stadium venues to thousands of fans. International acts are not essential workers. They bring their egos and depart with our money.
A plus for us has been the realisation that we have enough home-grown talent to keep us entertained without the need for international touring shows. Many NZ performers are as good if not actually better than overseas artists. Music is essential for the collective soul and we have the workers to do this work here within our own borders.

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