Drop isolation rules for incoming travellers

Travellers entering New Zealand should be able to enter the community immediately provided they have a negative Covid test on arrival, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“Under our new Omicron rules, only people with Covid and the people they live with have to isolate at home. But the Government is forcing everyone arriving into New Zealand - who have passed a pre-departure test - to isolate for seven days. It doesn't make any sense.

“People arriving into New Zealand should have to take a test on arrival. If positive they should isolate. If not then they should be free to go about their business.

“The current rule is an unnecessary requirement that serves as a massive hurdle for Kiwis wanting to come home to visit family, or tourists wanting to come to New Zealand.

“The Government should also speed up the incredibly slow timelines for the border re-opening. The border should be open right now for Kiwis anywhere in the world to return home, without going through MIQ. Then we should quickly open to tourists and other visa holders too.

“It is nuts that Aussies keen to come here for a long weekend have to wait until July and still have to isolate, and that other split migrant families must wait until the end of the year.

“MIQ made sense when the border was our best defence against Covid. But with almost 15,000 daily community cases of Omicron and just 41 coming through the border Kiwis are now far more likely to get Covid in the community than from international arrivals.

“These simple changes would kick-start tourism into New Zealand. Let’s face it, very few tourists will travel here only to have to isolate for a week.

“Isolating ourselves has been challenging for Kiwis. From the families that couldn’t see loved ones, to the hospitality businesses who don’t have any international customers - Kiwis are hurting.

“It’s time to re-engage with the world.”