Regional border process must be better

Aug 18, 2020

The EMA says a main concern of many of its member businesses from Taupo to Northland is getting through regional borders, with or without the right paperwork.

“The system is just not working properly and there is no consistency of information to the police manning the borders, or to those trying to get through,” says EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.

He says the EMA has been talking to Government and officials over the last 24-hours on streamlining the process.

“We find it puzzling that people who have had exemptions as essential workers since lockdown in March cannot now use them to get through to do their jobs even though this is Alert Level 3,” says Mr O’Riley.

He has heard anecdotally of dairy factory workers at Pokeno being turned back at the border, waste management crews who live on one side of the border who can’t get through to work, and a farmer who has property in two regions but can’t tend them properly right in the middle of calving season.

“Some of our members have been told that it will take the Ministry of Health up to seven days to process their applications for exemptions, by which time we’ll likely be back at Alert Level 2!” Mr O’Riley says.

“All we’re asking is for officials to adapt and respond the way they’re asking business to adapt and respond.”

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