Thursday, 11 March 2021

No reason NZ shouldn’t be part of business travel network

“Whether countries have an elimination strategy for COVID-19 or not should have no bearing on whether New Zealand explores establishing a business travel network to re-ignite investment in a post-vaccine world,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Yesterday in Parliament the Prime Minister said New Zealand’s elimination strategy was standing in the way of progressing this, in the process casting unfair aspersions on Singapore and Taiwan because their strategies are apparently different.

“But Singapore presently has no community transmission of COVID-19 and Taiwan’s case numbers are negligible and so effectively controlled through effective technology they pose little risk.

“Both places are finding innovative, low risk ways to get people moving again and much-needed investment into their economies, and there’s no good reason New Zealand shouldn’t be doing the same.

“ACT says that if a full-blown trans-Tasman bubble is too hard for this Government, perhaps this more restricted option could work.

“Countries prepared to embrace technology and work with the private sector can really make things happen.

From March 1 people from a list of low risk countries and regions have been able to enter Taiwan for business purposes, using shortened quarantine periods, under strict conditions.

Likewise, since 18 February Singapore has been allowing a limited number of business and other ‘high economic value’ travellers enter under special bubble arrangements.

“In the Singapore case business visitors need to stay in bubbles of a maximum of five, carry contact tracing devices and stay and meet at approved facilities.

“They must present a valid negative PCR test before leaving their home country, have the same test on arrival and carry digital contact tracing technology.

“These are highly policed baby-steps, but they’re important to prove that direct business-to-business engagement can start resuming.

These are the sorts of questions that led the chairs of five of our largest listed companies to write to the Government asking what the longer term plan is for living with COVID-19 and re-engaging with the world.

“ACT has stepped into this vacuum with our COVID Response Plan 2.0 – we encourage the Prime Minister and her advisors to read it and use it to develop their own coherent plan of the way forward.”