“A media release from Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash talking up New Zealand ice cream exports is ridiculous when New Zealanders are frozen out of going overseas to promote their products,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Nash thought he was giving journalists a scoop but he doesn’t understand the realities exporters are facing.

“It’s ridiculous to talk up burgeoning export industries as the saviour of the economy when exporters can’t actually get overseas to promote their products.

“Even if they could go an promote their wares, New Zealand’s isolation is making it harder and harder to export. Exporters across the board are reporting higher and higher charges as planes and ships bypass our hermit kingdom.

“Nash talks about the potential the ice cream industry has - but that potential might never be realised if these businesses can’t get overseas because they’re unable to return back to New Zealand.

“The rest of the world is opening up. We risk being left behind and shut out while the rest of the world moves on.

“It’s time for Labour to get real. We need a strategy to reconnect safely with the rest of the world.

“New Zealanders who are fully vaccinated and have tested negative should be able to return to New Zealand to self isolate. Whether they are Kiwis stranded off shore, or business people who need to travel overseas.

“The simple question for the Government is: do they want to safely reconnect with the world, or keep us in crisis mode forever? It’s time for this hokey pokey policy to end so we can let our ice cream manufacturers have their cherry on top.”