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NZ's borders staying closed for next 12-18 months 'untenable' - Todd Muller
06:04 am GMT+12, 29/06/2020, New Zealand

National's leader Todd Muller says the Government should be sharing details around border openings with the public and that keeping the borders completely closed for the next year onwards is "simply untenable".
 
New Zealand still has tight restrictions around who can enter the country, but the Government has been toying with the possibility of opening a trans-Tasman bubble with Australia and a bubble with certain countries in the Pacific. 
 
“The last two weeks has been shambolic and I am just making it very clear a shambolic internal border and a strategy that says we stay completely closed to everybody for the next 12-18 months is simply untenable,” Muller said. 
 
“We won't recognise this country in terms of economic impact if that is our reality in 12-18 months' time.”
 
When asked today to clarify comments about New Zealand staying closed being “untenable”, Muller said there was “no visibility” from the Government.
 
“The idea we stay completely locked up without a plan from the Government around how you integrate your border management system with other country's border management system is simply untenable,” he said. 
 
“We've got no visibility in terms of how we would manage the Australian situation, no visibility around the Pacific despite the fact most of those countries are without Covid - they (the New Zealand Government) can't manage the current border situation at all.”
 
Recent border failures included two people who tested positive for Covid-19 travelling down to Wellington from Auckland before being tested, and a number of people having left managed isolation without undergoing tests. 
 
Since then, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought in the military to oversee isolation and quarantine and appointed Housing Minister Megan Woods to look after the facilities. 
 
Just over a week ago, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said a travel bubble with certain Pacific Islands was “a matter of weeks” away. 
 
A quick turnaround on a trans-Tasman bubble seemed less plausible, however. 
 
Peters said at the time he had been in constant communication with people about the trans-Tasman bubble, “with respect to say, Tasmania”. 
 
“What you've got is a federal system where the states are not even allowing inter-state travel - until we can crack that, we need to say either let's do it state by state and that's a Canberra decision, or let's wait until Australia sorts itself out.”
 
Victoria saw a spike in cases, with 49 new Covid-19 cases reported Sunday. 
 
Muller said today the Government needed to be clearer with New Zealand around the criteria for border bubbles.

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS

 


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