“The Government’s stealth ban on some New Zealanders returning home for Christmas is biting and it should respect basic human rights by being more innovative,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Undermining the fundamental right of citizens to travel is the kind of nonsense you would expect in authoritarian states, not in a free and open society.
“After failing to find a way of legally stopping Kiwis from coming home, the Government bullied Air New Zealand into limiting its flights, and has now put in place a voucher scheme restricting the number of MIQ places available.
“In April, Jacinda Ardern said ‘it would [never] be okay to stop New Zealanders coming home.’
“That was the correct position. The law says, ‘every New Zealand citizen has…the right to enter and be in New Zealand at any time.’
“The Government should be finding innovative ways to expand MIQ capacity instead of limiting New Zealanders’ rights in an underhanded way.
“The virus isn’t going anywhere. New Zealand can’t afford to cut itself off from the world.
“We need to get ‘Taiwan smart’ on Covid-19. The goal must be to achieve elimination with no more lockdowns.
“Horticulturalists who rely on RSE workers from Covid-free countries in the Pacific are at breaking point. Meanwhile, the Government is bringing fishermen in from Russia where Covid-19 is rampant. That’s completely insane.
“ACT has said all along that we need to take a risk-proportionate response. Risk varies and we must manage it accordingly.
“The new government must start to take a Taiwanese approach and treat different countries and travellers with different levels of caution.”