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Travel update: Ministerial trade trips to resume next month; Vaccine rollout may hit a speed bump; Immigrating to NZ likely to become harder for low-skilled people; Vaccinated people may be let in to NZ before vaccine rollout is complete

Travel update: Ministerial trade trips to resume next month; Vaccine rollout may hit a speed bump; Immigrating to NZ likely to become harder for low-skilled people; Vaccinated people may be let in to NZ before vaccine rollout is complete
Jacinda Ardern

Travel will soon be back on the cards for government ministers and officials involved in negotiating trade deals. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead a “trade and promotional” delegation to Australia in early July.

In June, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to London and Brussels to progress negotiations for New Zealand’s free trade agreements with the United Kingdom and European Union.

This will be the first ministerial trip since COVID-19 hit.

Ardern, in a speech delivered at a BusinessNZ lunch on Thursday, also said she intended to “actively pursue an enhanced trade relationship with the US over the coming term”.

She mentioned the change of administration in the US, and a "deepening relationship with President Joe Biden across a range of issues".

More detail on immigration policy changes due Monday 

On the issue of immigration, Ardern said, "The Government is looking to shift the balance away from low-skilled work, towards attracting high-skilled migrants and addressing genuine skills shortages in order to improve productivity."

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi will deliver a speech on immigration policy changes on Monday.

Vaccines may temporarily run short

Ardern said the vaccine rollout is on track.

“In the last week alone, we vaccinated just shy of 80,000 people,” Ardern said.

“Later this month all DHBs will be in a position to vaccinate over 65s and by the end of June, we’re aiming to have administered over 1 million doses.”

However, Ardern warned there could be some speed bumps ahead.

“There is some risk that we’ll have a period between shipments when we run low, or out of vaccine temporarily," she said.

“If this does happen, it would be prior to the larger deliveries we are expecting in July, but does speak to the difficulty in scaling up smoothly and managing eligibility, demand and supply.” 

Niue next in line

Ardern said Niue was the “natural next addition” for quarantine-free travel.

Since the commencement of the trans-Tasman bubble, more than 70,000 people have landed in New Zealand from Australia, while more than 57,000 people have travelled the other way.

Quarantine-free travel with the Cook Islands will begin on Monday.

Vaccinated people from overseas will 'possibly' be able to visit NZ before vaccine rollout is complete

On the issue of travel more broadly, Ardern said: “The first question we are asking, is: do we need to have completed our vaccine rollout in order to open up our borders beyond the bubble arrangements we already have?

“Will people who’ve been vaccinated in other countries be able to come in even if we haven’t finished our vaccine roll out?

“The answer is - possibly. But there are two things we need to consider.

“Firstly, we will be relying heavily on emerging evidence about how effective vaccines are in preventing not just symptoms of the disease, but transmission between vaccinated individuals.

“Early data is promising. A recent study in the UK found that the likelihood of household transmission was halved where an infected person had been vaccinated, on top of the vaccine being 90% effective at stopping infection in the first place.

“But as we have seen, no vaccine is fail-safe. We have had our own recent example of a fully vaccinated border worker contracting COVID-19.

“The second consideration alongside vaccine efficacy is the question of COVID variants.

“At this stage Pfizer is holding up well, but our reopening plan will need the flexibility to continue highlighting and responding rapidly to countries where variants emerge that might pose a risk to the immunity we’ve built up in New Zealand, or are working to build up.

“That’s why, as work continues internationally on vaccine passports, New Zealand will remain actively involved in those discussions, while also considering other tools for managing and monitoring risk at the border.”

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The stuff about immigration was interesting and would have sent shivers up the spines of the elite business people and assorted fat cats in the room, but I'll believe it when I see it.

This Monday Minister Faafoi will be outlining the case for change in New Zealand’s immigration policy in a speech in Wellington

He is announcing a 'case' for change, whatever that means, followed by an inquiry that will take several months to complete, after which existing policy will be drafted/amended.


At least they're making the right noises. Hopefully it sticks.


Now that our closed borders have brought temporary migration into NZ to a halt and have reduced our tourism and hospitality sectors to shadows of their former selves, it is about time for some bold action, not noises from a government in its 4th year in power.

I see this as a final chance for us to have a decent go at a somewhat prosperous socioeconomic future.


Most of us are more than happy the tourists and immigrants have gone. Thank you covid - doing what politicians won’t do.

You're celebrating the destruction of 25% of NZs GDP. hmm okay.


Where did that figure come from?



I meant to say exports - 25% of exports. Choose any pre 2020 MBIE report. For the year ending 2017 tourism made a 14.7 billion (direct) + 11.3 billion indirect contribution to GDP (which for the year ending 2017 was 205.42 billion according to trading economics). Foreign student education makes up ~5% of exports so that's 25% in total. There are indirect effects too. Look how badly A2 milk got hammered because the diagou channel dried up. Will those exports ever come back? Foolish to welcome that kind of economic destruction IMHO.

Less the value of currency taken by NZ citizens travelling abroad, estimated at 8 - 10 billion, which is enabled by the huge number of flights arriving and departing.

And foreign students are just residency for sale, with all the negatives of the rapid population growth that ensues. Export education has also degraded our learning institutions, what with all the fraud and cheating and lowering standards to ensure the foreign students can pass their courses.

Education meh. There's no causation, ie. the dumbing-down will continue. We've just simplified an already oversimplified economy. This mantra of "build back better" is just empty talk. I think there'll just be more foreign direct investment (FDI) which translates to rent seeking foreing capital buying houses and businesses after out currency depreciates. Prepare for more drops in living standards.

Which points t I how poor a measure GDP is.

200% heavy load on our 20 years behind infrastructure...what's the point to have that 25% of NZ GDP?

Nothing some more cheap credit can't fix.

Sorry to burst your bubble but we’re still here.


Tourism and hospitality won't get us to that prosperous future.

But a state controlled economy will?


They are good at making noises. On Monday will announce the date for next announcement.

Following Bidens lead along with the deepening relationship.


Nothing new here just the usually babble
IMPROVING WELL-BEING IN NEW ZEALAND ... - OECD › publicdisplaydocumentpdf
6/09/2019 — New Zealand has refined the migration system over the years to attract ... Immigration is high with a focus on attracting high-skilled people .

Easier said than done, the border has only been closed a year and businesses are squealing about the shortage of low-wage workers.


Already this year I have spoken at the US Chamber of Commerce, showcasing New Zealand’s credentials as a stable country to invest in and do business with

Perhaps, team Cindy could sell advisory services to the Biden government on how not to run an infrastructure rebuild programme.

Would that Team Include Bill, Judith, and Johnkey? At least Judith could show them how to make a great cheesecake (gallons of cream and sugar)


FYI John Key got more Americans to invest in NZ than any other PM. And by invest I mean sell large swathes of pristine land to rich Americans for them to build their doomsday bunkers on!

Thats SIR Jonhkey please

Come on, Peter Thiel is a Kiwi!

Stable house prices.

Why herd immunity is slipping away -

"We’ve been talking about getting to herd immunity as this percentage of population that we have to get to, this milestone beyond which the virus is going to have a lot of trouble spreading and I wanted to talk to some scientists.
So I called up a bunch of scientists across a range of disciplines, and I asked them that question to see how close they thought we are to this herd immunity threshold.
Person after person that I called told me that not only were we not that close, but that we may never get there".

eaasy to calculate -- % success of vaccination times % of population vaccinated even at 90 by 70 that's only 63% and of course whilst that would slow down tranismission massively -- it will still leave us with a significnat number of people getting teh virus -- btu our health system SHOULD cope - if we have taken this time toget enough steroids , oxygen, ventilators in ...... big if with this mob

We were Never - Never not going to have covid -- it was always a matter of time - the borders cant stay closed forever - and the rest of teh world was always goign to open up-- the myth that we could avoid it was only ever that --

The question will be how the public reacts when kiwis start dying -- and they will -- and the rhetoric of lets not throw it away etc will sound very hollow!

Especially as the majority of victims will be Maori and Pacifica- simply because they are least likely to have the vaccine and most likely to have underlying health conditions --
time will tell how Jacinda and Hipkins spin that !

If lots of people are dying surely the vaccination rate will go up. The antivaxers will change their tune very quickly you watch.

Before our PM could travel to Australia I thought her being vaccinated was a must!

If Pfizer CEO won't take jab, why should she?

Care to share any evidence, or just spreading baseless rumours? According to a statement from the company he has now been vaccinated. He was on record in December saying he hadn't had it yet as he didn't want to cut in the line, but absolutely would when he was due. This has now happened.

I agree that highly populated countries like the US, with porous borders are unlikely to ever get there. Hence, it becomes a personal responsibility to protect yourself - given as so many locals will not (a large anti-vax community), and so many who have not had the chance (overseas migrants) will arrive on a constant and regular basis.

It is really a desperately changed world post-COVID. I almost feel guilty for living in an island nation - the suffering elsewhere is unimaginable and heartbreaking.

Often though Kate you have no option other than to simply row your own boat. Our dear elderly ex neighbours in New Jersey have done exactly as you say. Taken every precaution and measure with sensible consistent application. Now vaccinated they are venturing forth albeit conservatively. First time in 14 months, church, golf club, normal supermarket times, broad family occasions. As you will understand that is though still far from the social norm in the USA.

We don't need to get there. I mean I know we've spent the last year with propaganda being rammed down our throats about how terrible it is, but as time goes by the data won't be able to be argued with and it should sink in that the instance of serious illness from Covid outside the elderly, is very low.

It ripped through first time because there was no vaccine and a lot of vulnerable elderly people. The vulnerable people are now either dead or vaccinated (you can't die twice after all). Every wave will be lower than the last.

In a year's time most of us will be vaccinated, and almost all of the vulnerable groups. Young folk may or may not, but won't be fussed either way. The health system will be fine. Covid will recede into the background and just be another thing that can kill you. Something to be wary of but not neurotic about...

One of the things about Covid-19 is that you'll reach herd immunity eventually, whether you want to or not. The option is how society chooses to do it.

Israel should be the bellwether on vaccination.

Necessary and I hope received well, as many countries try to move their reliance away from China.

But I would also hope our Government is looking at ways to improve our resilience as a country, and how to get better employment opportunities for ordinary Kiwis. Some possibilities that investment will do this, but for long term gain, I suggest some sponsorship is required.

NZ always kept the moral high ground as a negotiation pillar, framing, other things linked to it too.
Not now.
That has now been trashed.
Read the comments against her.

Ardern isn’t as lovely as she’d have you believe
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is fawned over worldwide for her empathetic manner. But increasingly, her actions stink.

They probably say the exact opposite over at The Guardian.

I bet there are plenty would swap boris for jacinda and being able to go to a soccer match and maybe have saved some of the 127,000 that have died of covid.hard to believe they want to make our health system like the NHS after that performance.

The problem was not the NHS, but the politicians not doing lockdowns, mask mandates, closing the borders etc.

If Ardern was the PM of the UK there is no guarantee she would have results any better than what is there now. Comparing apples with cheese.


Once upon a time, the Telegraph though always to the right politically, was a decent newspaper but no longer. Now it's a rabid, right-wing rag.

There certainly will be a lot more than a hint from Mr Morrison that given Australia’s stance and resilience concerning the aggression towards them from the CCP that the timidity and supplication in that regard, forthcoming from our government is highly unwelcome. Mr Morrison jolted our Prime Minister, over trans Tasman travel resuming, not entirely justifiably for sure, but nonetheless he did so and produced an effective result, and undoubtedly he will not hesitate to do so again.


With people debating whether it is safer to live in your car or be beaten up and raped in motel accommodation, no immigration is justified.
The priorities are
1 Build houses. Unemployed? - here is a hammer .

2 Train kiwis to fill skill shortages - no excuses

3 If you business cannot train it's own staff or afford to pay decent wages then we all would be better off if you went broke and the people and resources were used more productively elsewhere. - no excuses.

4 If in the rare cases that overseas staff are required or justified, then the prospective employer must first build a new house for the employee. In the current market where we are short of about 20,000 to 40,000 houses there can be no justification to effectively turf a Kiwi out of their home and give it to an immigrant.


Like your style Chris. Other countries like Israel, South Korea and S'pore have national service for their young people. No reason why NZ couldn't do the same focused on building houses and infrastructure.

We have one coming up in our family. Familiarity, with hammer, saw and on would certainly be of huge benefit in both direction and potential.

Great skill to have.

“In the last week alone, we vaccinated just shy of 80,000 people,” Ardern said

My maths tell me that at this rate it will take about 500 days to vaccinate us all, but wait there's more, we need a 2nd shot! so really at about 10'000 vaccinations a day with 2 doses needed, it'll take 1'000 days to get all of NZ vaccinated, that's a bit shy of 3 YEARS!

Silly comment really. Nobody is pretending the current rate is sufficient.

Haven’t had any lockdowns for a while so I think vaccination of quarantine workers is doing the trick.

Your maths might tell you that but they certainly won’t tell the government that. Unless one is hopelessly indoctrinated with the palaver and spin, think most NZrs are by now resigned to the fact that the government & MoH have a very economic regard for the truth of the matter.


In two years she will have a lightbulb moment when she discovers that her neighbour across the road hasn't yet received their first vaccination.

No it will be a level 3 lockdown the day before the wedding that does the trick.


Good news to announce? Look who's front and centre delivering it.

No He Puapua questions thanks.


The National Party needs to reverse it's promotion of mindless immigration. Their current approach is another reason not to vote for them.
Not that the Labour Party is flash on the issue either


The National Party first needs to sit back and take solid stock of the credibility and capability of its MPs & candidates . Some absolute shockers going back to Key’s Gilmour & Barclay. And then the sorry tale of Ross, Walker, Falloon, alongside Boag & the concubine from Southland & Mr Woodhead on the brink of the slippery slope too. NZ & NZrs want to have representatives in government that at the least are respectable, earnest and capable. Surely that is not too difficult to attain.

you missed Judith Oravida One Nation Hansen-Collins

Well said Foxglove.

Accidentally reported, sorry.

I just had a quick check and the MoH are reporting about 380k vaccines ready (last updated 9th of May) to use so even at 80k a week it would be over a month to use the supply on-hand if shipments stopped completely. From what I can see the shipments don't appear to be the bottleneck presently, the PM must know something we don't?

Also, regarding vaccine effectiveness against Covid-19 variants, it is effective and the boosters being developed will be more so. There was an excellent bit of research/modelling in the British Medical Journal a few weeks ago on this topic showing that a 70% vaccination rate spread evenly across the population would stop all Covid-19 variants presently known (based on using any vaccine available for use within the UK.)

Surely Ardern shouldn't be traveling offshore without having been vaccinated.

I noticed she is only going to Australia, clearly she is not going further afield as she does not want to quarantine.