NZ should open borders to countries with Covid - Muller

National Party leader Todd Muller. Photo: Getty Images
National Party leader Todd Muller. Photo: Getty Images
National leader Todd Muller says waiting for a vaccine or for other countries to eliminate Covid-19 before the border reopens would leave New Zealand "on its knees".

Speaking to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce on Monday Muller called for the Government to describe its thinking about the conditions under which it would look to relax border restrictions..

"The New Zealand strategy cannot be that we stay locked up until everybody else gets to zero or we have a vaccine. This country would be on its knees if that was the case."

Earlier in his brief leadership, Muller said the National Party believed Australian skiers should be able to come to New Zealand this winter.

But Muller said the "shambolic" response to testing people in quarantine of the past fortnight meant New Zealanders were now less willing to talk about how we might allow people to visit or travel internationally.

"It has reduced New Zealand's confidence in having a conversation, because even having a conversation right now creates the sense that 'oh, you mean we're going to open the border and get overwhelmed'.

"But you've got to start framing up what short to medium to long term country strategy is," Muller said.

"There has to be a greater standard in market, in terms of health checks, and confirmation of being free of Covid, than what's been the case, and you should be able to work with Australia and others to land what that looks like.

"Just because it is present in a country shouldn't mean that nobody from that country has the capacity to visit this country.

"We've got to be able to imagine a different engagement with the world than that."

Muller said it had to be possible to be able to have confirmation of people's health before they got on a plane and their health status when they got here, to the satisfaction of health and border officials in both countries.

"Then you should be able to have a conversation about what that means. Does that mean when they arrive two more weeks? Or is it a lesser time?"

Asked if he would be comfortable for visitors from any country, Muller said his point was that it was "simply untenable" to not be developing a plan on how to reintegrate with the rest of the world and the Government needed to communicate.

"We've got no visibility in terms of how they would manage the Australian situation, no visibility around the Pacific, despite the fact that most of those countries are without Covid.

"They can't manage the current border situation at all. The last two weeks has been shambolic and I am making it very clear that a shambolic internal border and a strategy that we stay completely closed to everybody for the next 12 to 18 months is untenable.

"This Government needs to be clear with New Zealand about what that criteria would look like."

Comments

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Does this man have any understanding of bugs? Many men don't, biology is considered an unnecessary subject by many. Likewise, any understanding of the history of plagues? It is an incredible comment from a proclaimed leader - lets have trade and open borders like March - haven't we just been there and have the evidence of what happens to infection rates? Trade, the economy, lives and citizen welfare - does he not understand it is all one and the bug will seize any opportunity to spread itself..

Really can't see the charisma free version of Muldoon getting much traction with that idea. Of course once Covid is under control in Aus that will happen, but Victoria is in the grip of a bad outbreak so not much chance of that for a while. This seems like another way to continue banging on about the so-called 'border bungle', wasn't the plan to take a break from the attack politics and produce some quality policy?

Another Tory pillock. Be careful how you vote people.

Another misleading headline more like! Here ... let me fix it for you! "Muller demands plan from clueless Government."

It's a pity that National doesn't suggest some constructive solutions given it is so unhappy with what the government is doing. Instead, they stand on the sidelines slinging insults and completely missing an opportunity to demonstrate that they can for once put the people of NZ ahead of their own political and personal ambitions. Criticism is easy. It is a lot harder to be constructive--and I'm yet to see any evidence that National even have it in them.

So does MAGA Muller want to kill thousands of Kiwis, and drive the health system to bankruptcy, just to stop Jacinda making tRump look bad?
Or does he have another reason, like, does he have shares in a funeral home?

We'll manage Todd. However, it looks like you just cemented your position as opposition leader..

Todd Trump?

The alternative: Keep the country closed down under St. Jacinda, and ruin it financially.

I ask Todd Muller to look into his own party member Jia Yang, who has refused for 2 years to be interviewed and corresponds only in Chinese. We know very little about Yang but is getting paid 170k, had longstanding links with the Chinese communist party.
The National party becomes a laughing stock here and overseas for allowing Yang amongst their ranks and in Government.
"I guess money talks, he Todd!"

"corresponds only in Chinese."

ODT, is this not racist? Is it not his business to respond in what is presumably his native tongue if he prefers? He may wear the consequences of doing so (primarily, serious communication issues with those incapable of understanding Chinese), but it remains his choice.

It's not racist to report a fact. That he should be a New Zealand parliamentarian and not correspond in either of NZ's official languages when conducting his role as a New Zealand lawmaker is a concern worth raising.

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