Peters pushes for trans-Tasman travel

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The future of a trans-Tasman bubble is under threat because Australia and New Zealand have different views on border restrictions.

Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says his country's border will most likely be locked down until 2021.

The decision to shut the border was one of the main reasons for Australia's success in suppressing COVID-19 and it would not be lifted for general travel any time soon, ABC reports.

But yesterday Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the trans-Tasman bubble had not been jeopardised after a border botch-up resulted in New Zealand having two active cases of Covid-19.

Today, Peters told Morning Report he had heard from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that borders for trans-Tasman travel would open by July or August. "You've got a bit of a mixed message there."

While Australia was addressing border restrictions as a country, some states had low case numbers and Peters suggested travel between them and New Zealand should be allowed.

"Let's travel safe, let's not hold everything up until the slower state gets itself ready."

There is a desire for travel between the two countries, he says.

People should be wearing a mask when travelling "internally" or internationally, he says, referring to the two cases that flew in from Australia on a full flight.

"We can do it, but you got to stick to the protocols. You cannot have any slackers."

He wants to know who is responsible for the bungle at the border. There have been promises to do better, but no apology from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for it.

"You'll never get improvement, you'll never get accountability in this or any other organisation until we find out who decided that they would take the law into their own hands," says Peters.

'The military now run this' - defence minister

The man now in charge of the isolation and quarantine system, Air Commodore Darryn 'Digby' Webb, declined to be interviewed.

He is expected to hold a news conference later today.

Defence Minister Ron Mark says Webb is working on repatriation of foreigners here and New Zealanders abroad. He was never involved in testing or decisions around compassionate exemptions.

"He's been given total charge and responsibility now."

Mark told Morning Report that Defence Force personnel are already working on the COVID recovery across the board from logistics to support.

Bringing in the military "is not the prime minister declaring martial law and putting troops on the streets with machine guns and tanks".

It was about using the logistical expertise of the military, he says.

"The military now run this. This will bring some rigour, discipline, logistics skill and talent."

He says the military is good at auditing itself and ensuring people complied.

"One thing the military is good at is breaking those standard operating procedures, tutoring people on how they'll be done, monitoring to see that they are complying and enforcing compliance by those who are meant to the administering the system and getting rid of people who do not perform to standard."

The military did not tolerate tardiness, he says.

Risk of new cases 'never' going away

University of Canterbury professor Michael Plank, who is an expert in modelling complex systems, such as the way COVID-19 spreads, told Morning Report borders were "our first line of defence".

He says the risk from cabin crew, people mingling and working at quarantine facilities still remains.

Contact tracing and getting the testing right would be the two ways to go about curbing the spread, he says.

"It is incredibly complex managing thousands of people at any one time in a quarantine facility. The tests aren't perfect - they do return false negatives. There is a risk people could get infected while in quarantine.

"The risk is never going to be completely removed from cases coming in from overseas."

He hopes restrictions ate followed and no one will be allowed out of quarantine without returning a negative test.


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Think about it

Posted on 21-06-2020 09:06 | By

Seriously, think about the millions who die prematurely due to air pollution, poor sanitation, poor housing, poverty, malnutrition, smoking, drinking, eating crap. Do we have border closures for these? Are they printing money like it’s going out of fashion for these? No. So relatively speaking it’s a complete overreaction. Why? Brainwashing and control. You’ve fallen for it.

Numbers game

Posted on 21-06-2020 08:58 | By

Death is inevitable. 60 million will die this year from various causes. Many are avoidable and if the same “effort“ was put in by governments as with this thing, way more could live longer. Around the world the will be double or more killed on the roads than Covid. More people will take there own lives than Covid will take. And don’t get me started on heart disease fuelled by eating crap, all condoned by governments because there is money to be made. Regarding the mortality rate - it’s coming down all the time as we learn there are many many more asymptomatic cases that are not counted. I maintain it is a complete overreaction and the restrictions and border closures are as more politically motivated than health motivated. It’s about installing fear to keep control of Kiwi minds. Feel free to disagree.

@Slim Shady

Posted on 20-06-2020 13:47 | By morepork

We obviously strongly disagree over this. That’s OK. But I would point out that the emphasis here is on KNOWN cases. It is likely that more will appear (although we all hope not. ) As noted previously, there are similarities, but also major differences between a SARS type virus and the common cold or ’flu. Your "’flu" (SARS-CoV-2) has so far killed around 470,000 people and is continuing to do so. Although you are correct that influenza generally kills around the same number as Covid is doing, Dr Anthony Fauci has said: "Influenza has a .01 mortality rate; Covid is 10 times more lethal." If Covid in NZ kills ONE person who is dear to you, it is one too many...

Come on Winnie

Posted on 19-06-2020 19:41 | By

Get this border open. The whole thing is a lie and shambles.

Safe as houses

Posted on 19-06-2020 13:12 | By

The regime has everyone spooked to death over a cold virus. What’s clear is that this government and its officials are making TCC look competent. There have been thousands of people coming in over the last 2 months and there have been thousands of lapses - people mingling with others at different stages of so called quarantine, people in so called quarantine mingling with hotel staff or general public. And yet we have had 2 known cases from thousands coming in and all the failures in protocols. What a load of tosh.

Winston is insane.

Posted on 19-06-2020 11:45 | By morepork

Given the situation at the moment and the deep concern about our borders, it is just stupid to press for more border traffic right now. Maybe, when the new practices and procedures have earned confidence, it could be considered, but at the moment the ONLY way we are likely to have further cases of Covid-19 is because they have crossed our borders. I’d like to see at least a month of "freight only" traffic with NO people allowed in (except, perhaps in extreme circumstances) but I realize that is unlikely. Winston is not helping at the moment.