Delivering a Smart Border

 

National will deliver a smarter border that allows New Zealand to safely reconnect to the world.

Covid-19 is going to be with us for a long time and we can’t afford to isolate ourselves forever. The latest dire projections from Treasury show decades of deficits and sky-rocketing debt.

National has a plan to defeat the deficit, restore the economy and secure New Zealand’s borders from Covid-19.

You can read our Smart Border Policy factsheet here.

Changes to the way our border arrangements operate due to Covid-19 are as fundamental as the changes in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York.

We need a dedicated border agency to provide strong security and policy advice to the Government on how we secure the border and safely reconnect to the world.

The first phase of our smarter border plan is to establish Te Korowai Whakamaru/NZ Border Protection Agency, to provide long-term security for New Zealand families, their health and the wider economy. The agency will be established within National’s first 100 days of Government.

The second phase of National’s smarter border plan will enable New Zealand to safely reconnect to the world, and will establish safe conditions for skilled and essential workers to re-enter the country, providing relief for the many industries that depend on them for survival.

National will:

  • Implement a booking system to manage more arrivals into New Zealand safely

  • Allow accommodation providers to gain approval to act as managed isolation facilities to scale up capacity

  • Immediately invest in and deploy Bluetooth contact-tracing, and invest in new testing technologies

  • Investigate streamlined travel arrangements for low-risk countries and territories


New Zealand currently has space for 7300 people in managed isolation at any one time, and up to a third of this capacity is not being used.

New Zealand needs to grow its way out of this economic crisis, which means we need a plan to get essential workers back into the country.

You can read our Smart Border Policy factsheet here.

National will prioritise returning Kiwis while enabling essential and skilled workers, students and, eventually, long-stay tourists to book a place in managed isolation facilities.

Our horticultural industry, for example, is desperate to fill the worker shortage created by border restrictions that is putting $9.5 billion of the country’s economy at risk.

Our Smart Border Policy announcement builds on National’s previously-announced plans to put some steel into New Zealand’s border defence by:

  • Establishing Te Korowai Whakamaru/NZ Border Protection Agency to provide comprehensive oversight and management of Covid-19 at the border

  • Requiring international travellers to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test before arriving in New Zealand

  • Making contact tracing technologies compulsory for agency employees, border facility workers, and District Health Board staff who treat or test patients

  • Rapidly deploying Bluetooth applications to enhance contact tracing

  • Striving towards a wait time of no longer than 60 minutes for a Covid-19 test

  • Widening the availability of Covid-19 testing nationwide

  • Regular testing of aged-care workers

  • Allowing future lockdowns to be more targeted and shorter in duration

National’s entire Border Security Plan has been costed at $120 million over four years.