Reconnecting plan positive but parts need to be turbo-charged

Source: EMA

The EMA says the plan for reconnecting New Zealand to the world will be a relief to those in the business community needing to travel but pressing issues remain with the current system.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says increasing access to vaccinations and ramping up the pace of the rollout makes complete sense and believes many EMA members will take the opportunity to vaccinate early.

"Given the feedback we’ve had from our two Vaccinations in the Workplace webinars, people are ready and waiting for their call up to get it, so it is great news that everyone will be eligible sooner."

"Our members will also be pleased to see the self-isolation pilot and new testing and vaccine checking systems at the border, but we think that to really reconnect with the work this should be prioritised further."

Mr O’Riley says he has no doubt some of the EMA’s 7,400 member businesses will put their hands up to be part of the trial and looks forward to working with the Government to prioritise these.

He cautions that while the pilot and the new risk-based border pathway would potentially ease some of the issues with MIQ, the booking system and capacity issues still need to be urgently addressed.

"Lack of access to MIQ spots is hamstringing a number of businesses who need to either bring in critical staff or get their teams overseas and back. Most importantly the connection between people in New Zealand with their families globally and the ability of expatriate Kiwis to return and participate in the economy must be prioritised."

This does not do away with the need for other initiatives such as the overstayer amnesty, which as well as increasing the available workforce will also remove a significant case load from Immigration New Zealand, enabling it to focus on other immigration issues, Mr O’Riley says.

"Overall, the plan’s initiatives recognise the need to balance better the elimination strategy with keeping our economy open and gives us more options to safely reconnect with the world."

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