Thursday, 18 March 2021

An April bubble will be six months late

“If there is a trans-Tasman travel bubble in place by April New Zealand will still have badly missed the lay line,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Australia rounded the mark on 23 October last year when it launched a ‘Framework for National Reopening’ that allowed safe, controlled travel across State borders.

“New Zealand has had plenty of clear air to apply the same rules Australia did for its States to trans-Tasman travel, but unfortunately the crew in the Beehive simply couldn’t make the boat go faster.

“As a result many New Zealand businesses are off their foils and in some cases are sinking completely.

“Let’s be clear, an April bubble won’t mean anything substantive has changed in the risk environment of our two countries.

“How many businesses have closed and jobs have been unnecessarily lost because the New Zealand Government didn’t take on board the Australian framework and said ‘there’s really no reason we can’t be part of this’?

“This was ACT policy from August – ACT has been successfully picking the wind shifts in the COVID response all along.

“One of ACT’s key pre-election policy principles was a ‘risk proportionate approach,’ and the first key principle of the Australian framework published two months later is ‘Measures that are proportionate.’

“It has been clear since Australia launched the framework – which saw an alignment of measures to reopen safe travel across State borders – that a completely disproportionate and unsafe response to trans-Tasman travel was sticking people travelling from Australia in our Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities.

“Not only has this unnecessary requirement killed off many hundreds of domestic business and resulted in thousands of people out of work, it has made it harder for New Zealanders wanting to return home from other countries to get a room in MIQ.

“This Government doesn’t deserve any thanks if it finally makes quarantine free two-way travel across the Tasman possible.

“It deserves to be pilloried for having been a needless obstruction to it happening for so long.”