National welcomes removal of pre-departure testing

The Government has finally done the right thing in belatedly abolishing pre-departure tests for travel to New Zealand, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Australia did away with pre-departure testing weeks ago. The world is moving on and so should New Zealand.

“This step will remove a barrier for travellers to New Zealand and will help boost tourism, business and leisure travel. It’s a vital step in reconnecting with the world after two years of isolation.

“The only question is why it has taken so long for the Government to act. Chris Hipkins admitted weeks ago that the value of pre-departure testing was low, including saying that its ‘days were numbered'.

“Pre-departure tests made sense when we pursued elimination and were trying to catch every case. But with thousands of cases in the community daily, they are well past their use-by date.”

“I have been inundated with correspondence in recent months from Kiwis who have struggled with the requirements of pre-departure testing before being allowed to board a flight. They were expensive, increasingly difficult to get overseas and made zero sense in today’s Covid-19 landscape.

“Today’s announcement is a good step forward and one that National has been calling for.”