“Tourism providers in New Zealand don’t have to ask 'where the bloody hell are ya,' they know they’re across the ditch as today Australia welcomes vaccinated travellers from around the world to enter the country without self-isolation,” says ACT’s Tourism spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, the Government’s border reopening strategy, lasting until October 2022, doesn’t factor in isolation-free travel at any stage.

“Its border reopening strategy doesn’t actually reopen the border, and is out of step with World Health Organisation recommendations and the rest of the world.

“That hasn’t stopped the Government spending taxpayer money on Google and Facebook advertising, promoting New Zealand as a tourist destination despite the fact that they’ve slammed the door shut.

“While the Government’s strategy provides certainty for the tourism sector, it’s the wrong kind of certainty; that they’re not going to see tourists from overseas anytime soon.

“Tourism businesses, many of them small, have battled it out through the pandemic and yet still aren’t able to gear up packages for either Spring or Summer 2022/23.

“The very least the Government could do is commit to a date before the Summer season where travellers will be able to come into New Zealand without isolation.

“ACT says that MIQ is no longer a useful mechanism for protecting New Zealanders, given Omicron is circulating heavily in the community.

“Omicron is here, the peak is not far away. As the rest of the world moves on, it’s time we gave our tourism and hospitality sectors a break and moved on too.”