With tourists arriving, are we still serious about seven day iso?

Thu, 14 Apr, 2022

“Opening the border to tourists should make the Government revisit its seven day isolation rules, because nobody seriously believes a tourist will follow them,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT said when the border started to open that our highly restrictive approach to COVID would collide with reality because foreigners wouldn’t stand for it. Instead the Government has avoided the issue by maintaining rules that tourists just won’t follow.

“If the rules are followed, then any tourist visiting New Zealand must take a test if they feel unwell, and isolate for seven days if they are positive. The Government is asking us to believe that a tourist who tests positive is going to report it, and isolate for seven days in the same accommodation.

“Just imagine, you’ve arrived at Auckland international from Sydney with your partner and two children. You’ve got bookings to go to Rotorua, Te Papa, and rented a car to drive around Central Otago, and you’re taking the kids on the Earnslaw along with some quiet time at the Onsen Pools. You’ve also booked six nights’ accommodation, and all your tickets, too.

“You’re young, boosted, and healthy. You know if you report a positive test you’ve got to isolate in place, stay in one hotel for seven days with the kids at extra expense and then miss your flight home. If you test positive, are you going to report it?

“Even if the Government says tourists will follow its isolation rules, it has absolutely no way of enforcing the rules, so it’s reassurances mean nothing.

“The same goes for any tourist who stays with someone who tests positive. If you stay the night with your Kiwi cousin and they test positive, are you going to isolate with them for seven days? If not, then why should New Zealanders isolate when a household member tests positive?

“If the Government isn’t confident that tourists will report positive tests and isolate for seven days, then it should dump its isolation rules. Instead it should follow Singapore’s lead and institute a ‘72 hours and out with a negative test’ rule. That’s what ACT called for in Move On our fourth policy paper in response to COVID-19.

“Isolating for three days of your holiday would be a serious burden, but unlike a week, people might actually do it.”