Opening up New Zealand

Todd Talks
with Todd Muller
National MP

 Like all MPs, my office is often asked to help rejected applicants who want to return home to New Zealand.

We also hear from employers who can’t retain international staff because their families can’t join them here due to MIQ constraints.

Each time we read about a sports team, entertainer or film crew being let in while our own citizens can’t return from life-saving medical treatment or to farewell dying loved ones, it highlights the inefficiencies in the system.

Why did the government not enlist the help of the under-employed travel agents, airline staff and event managers? These are professionals who know how to set up and manage logistics.

They’d have quickly worked out that it’s pointless having MIQ and plane seats operated separately – that there’s no point giving someone a lottery place in MIQ when there are no flights that match with the check-in dates.

This week National released our plan for border management to reunite families, enable international travel and reinstate tourism and education off-shore markets. Our ‘Opening Up’ plan requires a New Zealand vaccination rate of 85 per cent and works on a traffic light system that prioritises fully vaccinated travellers from low risk areas in Australia and the Pacific.

Travellers from these locations, with negative pre-departure and rapid arrival tests, would not have to isolate. Those from orange-light regions like Singapore, the UK and parts of Europe and Australia would have to isolate at home for seven days with spot checks and self-testing.

National would establish a dedicated Covid-19 Agency to manage this new system, which would free up MIQ logjams as dedicated hotel spaces would only be needed for travellers from red-light countries.

If this system were set up now, we could welcome New Zealanders home for Christmas via green and orange pathways.



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