Jacinda Ardern announces unprecedented border closure effective 11.59pm Thursday

Jacinda Ardern announces unprecedented border closure effective 11.59pm Thursday

New Zealand’s borders are closing to everyone but citizens and permanent residents.

Foreigners will only be able to enter New Zealand if they board a flight before 11.59pm tonight (Thursday). 

The rules will apply to the Pacific although there will be some exemptions on humanitarian grounds.

There will also be exemptions for key health sector workers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern assured this is for people, not products.

She told people not to panic buy.

There are 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and no evidence of community transmission.

Here's a statement from Ardern:

The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with them may also return.

“Protecting New Zealanders from COVID-19 is our number one priority. In recent days it has become increasingly clear that the spread of the virus in other parts of the world means we need to take even stronger border measures,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Today’s decision stops any tourist, or temporary visa holder such as students or temporary workers, from coming to and entering into New Zealand.

“The rapidly worsening global health situation means that the threat to people’s health in New Zealand has risen, even in the five days since we took the world-leading step of requiring 14 days of self-isolation for anyone entering the country.

“All of the cases of COVID-19 identified in New Zealand relate to people travelling to New Zealand and bringing the virus with them – therefore we need to further restrict the risk of people bringing the virus into New Zealand.

“All of the evidence to date is that returning New Zealanders understand the requirement for self-isolation but I have become increasingly concerned that visitors to the country either may not be able to adequately self-isolate for 14 days or chose not to and that is an unacceptable risk that we must eliminate.

“These changes also apply to the Pacific, which has previously been exempted.

“It remains the case that the protection of the Pacific from COVID-19 is a major concern for the New Zealand Government and these measures support that.

“A small number of exemptions to the new measures can be sought for humanitarian reasons, essential health workers and citizens of Samoa and Tonga who need to travel to New Zealand for essential reasons.

“The Government understands that this decision will have a significant impact on the economy, which is why we have put in place a world-leading support package for business and will continue to work with and support all affected industries.

“However, such temporary measures are essential if we are to avoid the worst of what we are now seeing overseas,” Jacinda Ardern said.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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73 Comments

We need to distinguish between long-term overseas based Kiwis who have not lived and paid taxes here in some time, and Kiwis who happen to be overseas on a short holiday, secondment or less than six months. We do not have the resources for our massive overseas citizen cohort to come back to NZ and draw down from the state that they have not supported. It is harsh, but it is time to have that conversation before we are overwhelmed.

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Don't be ridiculous.

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You can't keep your own passport holders out! That was tried by the UK with its east african Asians with UK passports - to the eternal shame of a once great country. That was about 60 years ago and still makes my blood boil. However a mid-point between your opinion and mine might be putting such long-term absent Kiwis into special quarantine of say one month per year they have been away and doing so on Auckland Island or equivalent.

Auckland Island ghetto eh? Perhaps we don't need to do that, we could make them wear a yellow ex-pat patch on their clothes and do menial work for the good of the Motherland where ever it is needed. Seriously, I think some of the comments are disgraceful - the Nazis started off claiming the Jews were causing economic harm and look how that ended up.

You are right. My attempt at humour could be taken up by a warped person and leave us with a category of inferior Kiwis leading to persecution. Best to avoid putting people into identity groups and playing the identity politics game.

Exactly, keeping people out of New Zealand is just racism, we are all immigrants here and so everyone should be allowed to come here.

I doubt they will be flooding back to New Zealand when this government has dragged its feet in dealing with this crisis.

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Some NZers of Chinese descent are sending their children to China FROM New Zealand. They know where it's safer.

maybe sending unaccompanied children on long flights to get 14 days quarantine in china is the best option for a caring parent,definitely a view that is getting support on here.what if they have problems with immigration.passports,visas

Yet there you are happily tapping away as life goes on normally...maybe look at Italy and do some thinking.

I am thinking of Italy and that’s why I believe this government is not doing enough.

What would you do?

Italy's culture of all the family sticking together will have had some contribution to spreading this thing around their more elderly population, and really, it was the luck of the draw who saw it first outside of China and the rest of Asia. Italy drew the short straw. Our elderly are quite separate from likely carriers, so we do not have the same risks as other cultures in that.

They might have repatriated money to NZ, bought assets here and paying rates, taxes, have families here who are contributing, so on and so on. They have a right to come back by right of their citizenship. That should not change, anytime. They should not be gauged on their economic value.

So we have maintained those things for them at our expense? Solid argument. I am not judging them on economic value, I am judging them on their contribution to the state they are about to return to. If they have close ties to NZ and own significant interests here, they will still be tax residents. Them, I have no issue with.

We are heading for a massive labour oversupply in the coming months/year. We need to make sure we not just a passport printing office for Kiwis who don't want to contribute, who only want to pop home when times get hard in whatever their preferred location is.

'I am judging them on their contribution to the state they are about to return to'.
That is judging them on their economic value, in my view.

I understand where you come from. But it is not morally right to deny entry to your own citizens. Then the concept of Nationhood itself is shaken. What if every country adopts that attitude ? We can tighten our citizenship rules for the future and curtail immigration if all the Kiwis now overseas return. But that kind of mass return is not likely, is it ?

No, I tend to agree, but I struggle to see the clear morals in the citizens who are paying for the upkeep of the state having to suddenly share it with those who, for all intents and purposes, have opted out. It's not an easy conversation to have - perhaps if we see months and months of returning Kiwis as things slow down overseas, we will have to think about what we do next. I have already seen cries on social media for overseas based Kiwis to have their student debt expunged because they suddenly can't pay it for various reasons.

Many of the Kiwis overseas might have already become citizens of other countries too. They will assess the situtation in those countires vis-a-vis NZ before deciding to return permanently. The same way they assessed the opportunities before going overseas. So there is no need to panic. Money should not cloud our morals, thought that is what has been happening and brought us to this time and place.

20 years ago when I worked in a specific PI country my living there was totally dependant on my work visa so lose your job and you had to leave or be deported as an overstayer. Maybe I loved that country and hated my own - well that made no difference. So if Kiwis return they should be welcomed (ref the Bible's story about the prodigal son).

A labour oversupply is a great opportunity to get our infrastructure and housing and environmental issues under control.

Would also provide great insight for those who look down on those employed in manual labour

They do tend to be more the 'go-getters' we need over against the 'stay-at-home-keyboard-warriors'

So .. in your view , who else should be declared a second - class citizen with reduced / no rights ?

According to Jacinda's announcement today all foreigners. I'm less prejudiced - reduced rights for all who quibble with my comments. Maybe a smaller font of pale colour in italics whereas those who agree with me can have Times New Roman big, black and bold. It wouldn't be hard to implement once I own Interest.co.nz

errrr, ok...

Amen!

So Kiwis like myself who are abroad but are building houses (Pay GST) and have significant investment in NZ (which pay taxes) can’t come back just because we have been gone for an extended time? You should think about that some more because I pay tax and use no resources of the NZ government.

Paradoxx, you poor diddums.
Both my grandfathers (and possibly your great-grand fathers if you are a younger kiwi of several generations which I suspect you are not ) had to go halfway around the world to face over 3 years in the stinking, foul, decomposing-body-ridden, rat-ridden, muddy, cold, trenches on the Western front of France in WW1 facing day after day, with little respite, German machine-gun bullets, deafening explosive shells, showering shards of flesh-piercing shrapnel, the men around you shell-shocked, poisoned by gas, being shot for deserting,... rotting food......I could go on and on.

Count yourself lucky mate. Don't be a whiner.

Good call.
Spruikers, any updated predictions about house prices? Since we're no longer gonna be the safe haven for rich foreigners...
Also near zero immigrants in the foreseeable future.

Depends on credit impulse. Maybe they lower LVRs. Maybe they pay you to take out a mortgage. Maybe the NZD goes Zimbabwe. In which case, we're all billionaires. But as long as house prices don't go down.

The spruikers will update you as results arrive hahaha.
Just think if businesses fold during the crisis then those that survive will probably be able to charge more and recover their losses when it's over.. more money will be in the system hopefully

"will update you as results arrive" - That kinda goes against the idea of what a prediction is, doesn't it?

they missed the window, now everything is going to be a step behind

Yes a whole month to slow and unfortunately its not a case of better late than never, we now have to many cases here already. Should have also been organizing a decent quarantine facility a couple of weeks ago. We could still be flooded by returning Kiwi's if they can get flights.

Sadly I strongly suspect you're right. Time will tell though.

This govt had a chance to learn the lessons of Europe ; instead they dithered . Directly responsible for many thousands of avoidable deaths that are to come.

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One election promise fulfilled! Lower immigration. Well done Covid19, I mean the Government.

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Housing crisis about to switch from one type of crisis to another type of crisis.

I’m betting on at least a 10% boom in the next two months. In the interests of openness, I am a property bear, but kiwis just can’t help themselves. Property only ever goes up, don’t you know?
Prices went up 8.32% during the Spanish Flu epidemic....

It wouldn't surprise me anymore.

I see the drongo property clock guy at one roof is calling for lvrs to be abolished now.

In the selfless interest of FHB of course.

Crikey, is he just a sociopath?

Is that code for property coach?

Good job, should have happened years ago.

This self isolation bs needs to be sorted out too. Lots of households with people 'self isolating' who are sending children to school or who have other house members out and about.. people aren't taking this seriously and will not, until people they know, start dying.

Well what a strange world this has become in such a short amount of time. Stock market crash. Inbound tourism crash. Outbound tourism crash. Trade crash. Oil crash. Inbound immigration crash. Unemployment heading to the stars. Interest rates crash. Drought.
On the first day of 2020 who would have called it....

Mother Nature making sure that the Earth bounces back and becomes livable again for 2000 more years. Lucky are those who will be left to enjoy that. And future generations.

But tell me? For all vested interest PM, ministers, politicians, OCR team, RBNZ, Banks, local body politicians, International monetary support, independent economist, not so independent Banks economist, and so on - Will any of them interested to let their property value to go down? - precisely good answer, they all collectively shall pull any levers than you can think of to save it... namely using future generations bail out system
World has been warned earlier.. that this is the year of the pest/year of the Rat.

Man, Prag is going to go off about this and throw in a female dog and a whinger in to boot about this!
I called for boarders to be shut a week a bit back and he disagreed and I was a whinger and a female dog. I said we could talk over this in a month.

Good call. A lot won't make it back before international flights grind to a halt. Also, where are all these planes being parked up?

They will put on flights for Kiwi expats... get yourself to London, you’ll be fine.

If they are selling for cheap enough, I wouldn't mind a few for tiny houses. Keep the wheels and I won't need to stick with the building regs.

Good point. In the US all the parking spots have been taken by Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

BOOM!

Thank God – the missing piece in the oddly curious border puzzle found, and placed.

It's relatively easy to close the borders.
The hard bit will be opening them again; to whom and when.

very true ; but at least there will be plenty of time to ponder that.

Ah, no, there's still three jigsaw pieces missing.

Test, Test, Test.

Good call I believe, I would also like to see compulsory supervised quarantining happening asap.

For contrast. Australia went ahead of us again.

https://youtu.be/lfMnOZEoPws
A much more surer crisis leader performance.

The Australians are working on the concept of a "Bridge"
A bridge to get Australians across and through this crisis.

Doubtful our PM will use the same linguistic framework.

Note So Mo talks of speaking to our PM.
Our PM had no choice but to follow the Australians.

We would be lost without the Australians leadership!
We must remember this for the future.

To be fair "hugs" are her speciality so no wonder she's a bit lost right now.

Another day anothrr knee jerk reaction to a problem that was obvious a moth ago but she ditered arround.

That's the thing.
Real it's "on the run:, and lead from Australia.

Here this afternoon to parliament, the Customs Minister is saying, I have been to Auckland airport and it's all good ....... people are filling out their cards.........

Then Scott Morrison talks to PM and bingo. No non citizens.

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/HansS_20200...

Simon O'Connor: Acknowledging the Minister's answer—and thank you—can she confirm to the House, though, that every single returning passenger has at least one person-to-person engagement to specifically outline their health obligations?

Hon JENNY SALESA: I can confirm to the House that what I saw this morning when I went to Auckland International Airport was a lot of interaction from different people. So every person who gets off an international plane is stopped by a health person and given a self-isolation card. They then have to fill the card out and then they queue up to two other health folks who then go through the form, either approve it or not approve it—they actually mark it OK or not—then everybody goes on to customs, and it is at the customs booth that folks are then asked again about their self-isolation plans. These forms are then collected, handed to Healthline, and we have the police, who are helping us in terms of spot checks. Those who have filled in their self-isolation plans—police are now going through and doing spot checks to ensure that folks who've said they're self-isolating are indeed self-isolating.

The PMs announcement would have been better if she had told us, as the PM of Australia told that there is joint work to align the controls of both countries... Aligning New Zealand and Australia.

From sky news as above https://youtu.be/lfMnOZEoPws

This is context and a big omission. Omissions are not good. Not good in times like this.
Crisis management there needs be crystal clear transparency. Crisis leaders need be clear and transparent.

This is another miss. Another miss like the last week, last Thursday "I will tell you in 5 days because medicines come on planes"

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Some of you boomers are pathetic you were crying about cinda not closing the borders and now she has you’re still crying. grow up.

A new national sport once this really hits.
Laugh at the young poor mortaged up whinner. Guess what... we've done this before, three times and lived through it and guess what we shrugged our shoulders and got bloody on with it. Dont worry, I'll have your avo smash and latte.

I think she has the job of deciding how far to push while doing least damage to economy.
It's about leadership and we have been too slow in acting because one rye has been on damage to economy

No we are not all immigrants here I hate when people trot out that line! I like many was born, raised and educated in NZ and existed from day one in NZ. I never immigrated from anywhere but emigrated overseas.

Yip, but we must welcome with open arm just vigilant to monitor our expat citizen, permanent resident and their family to return back home (around 80K?) - monitor/support their self isolating mechanism, monitor couple of their false negative test - before let them back to society.. ps. even after 24 days, some of those well fit individual can be known as a good 'host' aka carrier. How many to date, out of those 28 current numbers again? that came by from local/community transmission, if I'm not mistaken just one. Correct me if I'm wrong please. The rest were coming separately through our robust border screening.

KO - you are rolling the dice each time you import a case and hoping it doesn't kick off community transmission. The more cases you import, the shorter those odds get.

We need to be ready to impose immediate local quarantines as a precaution if we find community transmissions. As the Chinese found out in Wuhan if you dither or wait to see what happens it takes months to mop up the mess.

Life imitates Art.

"Winter is Coming.'

If there is one thing you can't change or keep out, is the coming change in season, which virus's love.

'Tic Toc'

Well it's a shame it had to be Coronavirus, but at least the government is finally doing something about immigration!

I see there may be risks of re-infection may be a possibility now, which would mean a vaccine might not be overly effective. Perhaps we need to be looking at what India has been trialing a bit, the use of retrovirals, mostly used for AIDS.